Even in these unsettling economic times, when I speak with the heads of various wine auction houses, the message is always upbeat and positive, even when they are no longer achieving 100% sales. Since Hong Kong’s elimination of wine duties in February 2008, the growth of the auction market in Hong Kong has been phenomenal. Hong Kong now accounts for more than two-thirds of total auction revenue for most major auction houses. The markets in London and New York not only look small, but the future looks dismal. read more
My hosts at Haikou in Hainan island, knowing how much I enjoy local food, were eager to take me to a typical Hainanese restaurant. The parking lot of the restaurant was like a giant hypermarket replete with a huge set of buildings. We entered an area that looked like something in between a large Malaysian hawker stall centre and a giant wet market. I was told it was a very popular restaurant with the locals called Qiong Cai Wang.
When I was in Italy this summer I discovered a wonderful restaurant in Alba called Piazza Duomo. In a city of only about 30,000 people, I didn’t’ expect to find a restaurant that served colourful rice crackers to whet your appetite and used ingredients like Japanese seaweed, Fujian lapsang souchang black tea and dashi soup stock. The menu at first glance reads like a typical Langhe restaurant with items like tonnato, the popular local sliced veal dish, agnolotti ravioli pasta and the item that puts this region on the culinary map, white truffles. read more
As soon as I arrived in Taipei, I dumped my bags in my hotel room and went out immediately to get a bowl of niu rou mian, beef noodle soup. My association with my favourite cities in Asia are not with its famous monuments, buildings or its history, but with the smell, the food and the people. When I slurp down a mouthful of niu rou mian with its rich, brown savoury broth and succulent beef chunks and chewy noodles, my entire being says, “Ahhh, I am now in Taiwan.” read more
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