All posts tagged: food

A Brunch Affair at the Commune Social

The Commune Social is my current go-to spot in Shanghai. I love their beautifully-curated brunch menu and the restaurant’s desserts are simply to die for. Plus, it’s located in a stunning space designed by famed Shanghai-based architects Neri & Hu. Good food and a trendy vibe? Be still my heart. For brunch, the set menu is 188RMB for 3 dishes of your choice. Plates are brought out tapas style and great for sharing. I like that you can add additional plates for 68RMB, which is overall a steal for the quality of food you get. I’ve been wanting to share this restaurant for a while now because a lot of readers visiting Shanghai have asked me what are some of my favorite spots. The team behind Commune Social (led by Chef Jason Atherton with Kim+Scott Melvin) are incredibly talented and I genuinely love how well crafted each dish is. The Commune Social doesn’t take reservations, so queues on the weekend can be 1hour+. If you don’t like waiting, either go early on weekends or visit for their …

A Curated Food Guide to Tianzifang 田子坊

Tianzifang 田子坊 is Shanghai’s charming equivalent of New York’s Chelsea Market+Highline. Once a 市集 (traditional Chinese marketplace), Tianzifang was remodeled in 1998 to become an artsy retail complex. From small trinkets to independent art galleries, there’s no shortage of things to see and eat. The area’s biggest charm? The lines of clothes drying in random corners of the streets, reminding you that older Shanghainese locals still live in the traditional lane houses. Tianzifang is known to be very touristy but since making my official move this January I’ve discovered so many more unique storefronts. Like most places in Shanghai, Tianzifang is full of little alleyways that are incredibly fun to get lost in. As this area is always on my list of recommendations for visiting friends that only have a weekend layover in Shanghai, I’ve been wanting to consolidate a short list of food options in the area. The below is by no means a comprehensive list of things to eat in Tianzifang but these are a selection of my favorites that all have distinct shop styles of …

Seasonal Vegetarian Fine Dining at Fu He Hui 福和慧

Michelin-starred 福和慧 Fu He Hui is a gem in Shanghai’s fine dining scene. For lunch and dinner, you can select from four different vegetarian prix fixe menus (ranging 380RMB-780RMB), including a seasonal special. For first timers, I would recommend trying the ‘classic’ Fu He Hui menu. From decor to food, Fu He Hui is a gourmand’s oasis in the center of Shanghai city. Come with the expectation that you’ll pay a premium for your meal and prepared to be impressed. *I dined with a party of 4 so the below pictures are a mix of the classic 780 RMB menu and the 580 RMB menu. My dream plate of amuse-bouches. Left is 百叶包, a tofu pouch full of 马兰头, a really fragrant vegetable known as Indian Kalimeris. In the middle is 糖醋“排骨”, classic sweet and sour “pork.” In this case, pork was substituted with king oyster mushrooms wrapped around burdock roots. Lastly, on the right is marinated tofu shaped into a traditional bottle gourd shape. I adored this soup, the consommé had really deep flavors and was an absolute feast for the eyes. Look at …

Why Gyukatsu Motomura is a Tokyo must-eat

Gyukatsu Motomura is one of those raved about places in Tokyo that’s a must-try if you’re in town. Worth the hype wait? Absolutely. The Shibuya location has the bigger shop front but if you’re like me and always running off to the next city, Gyukatsu Tokyo Station (Yaesu entrance) is the perfect traveler spot. In case you haven’t had gyukatsu before, it’s like the older brother of popular Japanese comfort food tonkatsu. Instead of a fried pork cutlet, you get a beef cutlet. A beautifully marbled beef cutlet. Hence the first thing you’ll do when you visit Gyukatsu Motomura is choose the size of your beef cutlet (100g, 130g, or 260g). Keep in mind your gyukatsu comes in a set with rice, miso soup, potato salad, tsukemono pickles, and shredded cabbage! My friend Mizuha and I ordered the 130g Gyukatsu Set with Yam (tororo in Japanese) and were both very satisfied with the portion size. As you sit elbow-to-elbow other diners in the tiny L-shaped store, the simultaenous sound of gyukatsu sizzling on grills was Tokyo at its finest. Great food, small space, and light chatter doesn’t get better than …

Tasty Vegetarian Lunch at Brown Rice Cafe

Finding a healthy vegetarian cafe in Tokyo is always exciting. For a city with so many different types of cuisines, it is surprising that vegetarian/vegan cafes are few and far between. While Japanese cuisine boasts tempura, tonkatsu, and deliciously fried things you can eat, its use of seasonal vegetables is always underrated. So if you’re in the Omotesando area and want a vegetable-ful lunch set, I highly recommend Brown Rice Cafe. Popular with the office ladies, Brown Rice Cafe has a simple menu: vegetarian curry, steamed assortment of vegetables, and the Daily Special. Since it’s the cafe branch of Neal’s Yard and Remedies, you can pop over next door for some organic skin care shopping after your meal! Highly recommend getting the Daily Special–it’s a great mix of seasonal vegetables and getting a sample of different Japanese seasonings. You’ll walk out feeling energized for some shopping afterwards. Harajuku is the more colorful fashion hub nearby if you’re not feeling like Omotesando’s up-scale name brands. I cannot believe the year is ending already! I’m in Singapore this holiday season, but I’ll be posting an year end review …

Discovering Tokyo’s Trendy Wine and Dine Scene: L’AS ラス

L’AS ラス is a gem of a restaurant in the quiet backstreets of Minami-Aoyama. Boasting a diverse wine list and creative Franco-Japanese menu, L’AS is an absolute must-visit with its fresh ingredients and stunning flavors. My friend Mizuha and I dined there on a Sunday night and the restaurant was buzzing with energy. The animated chatter of diners enjoying their wine pairings pleasantly echoed throughout the restaurant. After the first couple sips of wine and bites of my caramel foie gras sandwich (it tastes just as phenomenal as it sounds), I wish I discovered L’AS earlier. Highlights of our meal include the crab miso with potato purée and the roasted duck with figs. Definitely start the night off with some champagne, sit back, and enjoy the culinary adventure created by Chef Owner, Daisuke Kaneko. At L’AS there is only the omakase menu but every so often it is changed to accommodate new seasonal ingredients and recipes. As we visited in September, we were excited to find traces of late-summer and early-fall ingredients in all our dishes–cherry, fig, pumpkin, etc. For my fellow wine drinkers, I highly recommend getting the wine pairing to go with each course …

Devour Amazing Chirashi at Ginza Sushi Marui

If you’re shopping through Ginza and suddenly crazing amazing chirashi or sushi, you don’t have to go far. Ginza Sushi-Dokoro Marui is tucked behind the main pedestrian crossing in Tokyo’s glitzy shopping district and one of my new favorite eateries. Tokyo can be overwhelming with its endless amounts of sashimi and sushi options but if you want a high quality yet affordable (and very filling!) lunch break, definitely grab a bar seat at Ginza Sushi Marui and watch the sushi masters perform their magic. A little tip: lunch sets are the best way to sample a Japanese restaurant’s various foods, as prices for dinner can skyrocket at least double or more! Keeping that in mind, Ginza Sushi Marui is wildly popular with the lunch crowd so get ready for a short wait on the weekdays. While the more popular lunch option is the sushi platter, I switched things up a little and ordered a Zukeana Chirashi-Zushi, a hearty bowl of tuna and conger eel over rice. Verdict? Absolutely amazing. The large bowl was filled with surprises under the rice–little sweet tamagoyaki pieces, snow crab …

Somtum Der: Isan Thai in New York City

Isan Thai Food Nestled in NYC’s East Village From the Northeastern part of Thailand, Isan Thai food is distinctly different from its sweeter central-cuisine cousin (think Pad Thai). For one, it’s SPICY and fiercly so. Isan Thai also serves up copious amounts of sticky rice, Som Tam (papaya salad), and Nam Tok (grilled meat salad). I’ve enjoyed all the trendy Southasian restaurants in New York City recently but Som Tum Der has been the standout in terms of food. Big flavors, filling portions, and phenomenal grilled meats are some of the things I consistently find in my visits. Disclaimer: Som Tum Der received its first Michelin Star in 2016. As you can imagine, people are clamoring to try this place out now that it’s earned a coveted French star. Surprisingly, only one other Thai restaurant in the world has been awarded a Michelin Star (if you’re ever in Copenhagen, go visit Kiin Kiin Thai because I’ve heard raving reviews). So try to get a reservation if you’re going during peak hours–I never had trouble getting a table last summer but these …

Tokyo Food Winter Guide: Spanish Tapas and French-Style Yakitori

Where did the time go, it’s Spring already! Here is Part 2 of my Tokyo Food Winter Guide, which covers everything from the insanely popular BAKE cheese tarts to delicious french-style yakitori. This post contains a bunch of the places I tried that are more fusion than my previous post, A Tokyo Winter Guide: Sushi Zanmai, Ginza Maru, and More. I visited Jiyugaoka for the first time this trip and I’m excited to share my finds! Jiyugaoka (part of Meguro ward) is a lovely neighborhood of Tokyo that’s fairly residential, mixed with a bunch of fusion restaurants and quaint storefronts. If you’re in the Jiyugaoka area this spring, be sure to visit when the cherry blossoms are in bloom because most streets are lined with these stunning trees! For more food and travel recommendations in Japan, check out my favorite Tokyo food blogger Maki’s site, Tokyo Eats. And lastly, thank you to Mizuha, Sena, and Haruka for showing me all these wonderful places. You girls know the way to my heart. Jiyugaoka – Spanish Tapas and BAKE Cheese Tarts   In case …

A Tokyo Food Winter Guide: Sushi Zanmai, Ginza Maru 銀座圓 and more!

Tokyo, ただいま! People say the best time to visit Japan is in the Spring for hanami, the cherry blossom viewing festival; or in the Fall, to see the country’s beautiful Autumn foliage. But a true foodie knows Winter in Japan means two things: Ramen tastes even more amazing than usual (cold weather, hot bowl of noodle, go figure). Tsukiji Fish Market in the Winter time is a FIESTA! (Fish fatten up in the winter time so it’s one of the best time of the year to get sushi and sashimi). Plus, with the traditional marketplace moving sometime in 2016, another reason to go visit now. While I adore my previous summers in Japan, which were filled with cold soba noodles and sweet kakigori in the sweltering summer heat, I love wintery Japan. It is the perfect season for warm comfort food. I’m looking at you ramen, oden, and fried-everything. Plus, this time around, winter fashion was in full swing and Japanese girls really rock the furry coats and beanie look–some great food fashion for thought! Below, you’ll find a round-up of the foods I chomped on …