Home Food Two Weeks in Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore, and Japan

Two Weeks in Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore, and Japan

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In the second half of October I traveled Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore, and Japan giving seminars and some wine dinners along the way. It was my first visit to each of the island nations and I had a lot of fun meeting people along the way and tasting local foods. Following is the collection of photos I shared to Instagram while traveling.

 

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Wan Chai, Hong Kong – colorfully painted residential buildings in the old Wan Chai area of Hong Kong. #hongkong

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Spring Deer Peking Duck – dinner at a locals’ favorite, Spring Deer, in Tsim Sha Tsui of Kowloon. #hongkong

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Star Ferry, Hong Kong – crossing Victoria Harbour to Kowloon on the Star Ferry, looking back at Wan Chai, Hong Kong. #hongkong

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California Chardonnay Seminar, Hong Kong – dude. My name is giant. #hongkong

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A History of California in 8 Wines: A New Look at Chardonnay, Hong Kong – my enormous gratitude to the incredible job the team here in Hong Kong did at putting together a California wine event and hosting me for the seminar. It was an honor to speak to Hong Kong’s wine trade and media, to present such an incredible line up of wines, and to learn more about the interests and enthusiasms of the people here. It was so much fun to speak with attendees after. My deep thanks to Stony Hill, Hanzell, Ramey, Clendenen Family, DuMOL, Matthiasson, Sandhi, Ceritas for letting me take your wine across the Pacific to tell this story. It was an incredible set of wines to taste side-by-side and a unique opportunity to share them with the people here in Hong Kong. Thank you. Wines: Stony Hill 2011, Hanzell 2014, Ramey 2016 Hyde, Clendenen Family 2015 Le Bon Climat, DuMOL 2016 Estate, Matthiasson 2014 Michael Mara, Sandhi 2015 Sanford & Benedict, Ceritas 2017 Charles Heintz. #californiawine #hongkong #wine @california.wines @calhkwine @stonyhillvineyard @hanzellfarm @rameywinecellars @jimclendenen @dumolwinery @matthiasson_wine @sandhiwines @rajatparr @sashimoorman @jraytek

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Morning Pastries, Hong Kong – this is my undoing: in many ways I care far less about eating than I do about tasting and trying things. So this morning while going for a croissant to eat with my coffee I had to also grab the sweet potato bun (front left) and the corned beef bun (front right) because what on earth do those taste like?! The sweet potato bun I still can’t quite solve but liked. It is hollow on the inside (surprising) and very mild in flavor (common to the morning buns here) while just a hint sweet on the inside (also slightly surprising). The entire inside also was fuzzy-red just like you see on the outside and how on earth did they accomplish that?! My best guess currently is that it is made of potato flour, slightly sweet, and shaped like a sweet potato, rather than that it is made of sweet potato. The corned beef bun was exactly what you’d expect: a fluffy glazed bun with corned beef inside. So, you know, yum. #hongkong

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View of Hong Kong from the Peak Trail, 1400 ft / 427 m – traveling to Hong Kong has been a dream of mine since my teens so being here now feels like a genuine privilege. I didn’t expect how incredibly green the city is. There truly is no other city in the world simultaneously so urban and so verdant. The skyscrapers of Hong Kong are surrounded by wild green mountain forests – hiking through the mountain park eventually you turn the corner and there is only mountain forest (as shown in photo 3 here) – and then between the island of Hong Kong and Kowloon there is the water. The haze in these photos is early morning weather, not smog. The city and landscape a feast for the eyes. #hongkong

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The Peak Tram, Hong Kong – riding the incredibly steep Peak Tram back down the mountain into Hong Kong. #hongkong

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So kind. Thank you! It was lovely to meet you and so nice to speak with so many attendees afterwards. Thank you for having me in beautiful Hong Kong! 💕 #repost: @kalai804… A History of California in 8 Wines: A new look at Chardonnay 🇺🇸 What a privilege to attend such an informative masterclass. Elaine Chukan Brown speaks with poise, in-depth knowledge, focus, and humor, taking us on a journey of California’s wine industry from the early pioneers of post-Prohibition, to adapting Burgundian winemaking techniques, to understanding its unique terroir and different micro-climates. The 8 wines presented were so different, and the one that really made an impression on me was the Sandhi Sanford & Benedict 2015. The reductive nose, sharp acidity, salinity, and “minerality” definitely does not fit the typical California Chardonnay profile. And it’s refreshing to know that winemakers are doing what they feel are right, instead of following the same formula that’s worked in the market for years. Thank you to all the wineries that gave their wines for us to taste. 🙇🏻‍♀️👍🏼👍🏼 #winelover🍷 #californiawines #californiawine #wineeducator #winegeek @hawk_wakawaka @calhkwine @california.wines @sandhiwines @rajatparr @sashimoorman

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Four Seasons Hot Pot, Hong Kong – fantastic food, local tradition. Hot pot three ways, with one pot split in two sections (here in the pot in the front of the photo, so impressed by that). Each section or pot has its own broth type but then you also order the kinds of ingredients you want to cook in those broths – specific vegetables or roots, meat types, tofu, and mushrooms – and you cook them yourself on your cook-table to eat not as soup exactly but as cooked meats, vegetables, roots, or mushrooms flavored by the broths you’ve chosen but then flavored even more by your own personally made dipping sauce. The food cooked in hot pot is cooked in broth, then served to your individual plate and once you receive it, you choose how to eat it. You can have it as is from hot pot or, more likely, dipped into your own individual concoction of soy sauce flavored with garlic, green onion, sesame, peanut, hot chile as you like. When you go out for hot pot and order you are first handed the ingredients and utensils to make your own dipping sauce. Then later you are given your hot pot with broth and ingredients to cook. Every personal dipping sauce is unique. Enormous thanks for including me in hot pot (and not making me cook any of it). The food was delicious, and you were right. My dipping sauce just kept getting better as the meal went on. #hongkong

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Breakfast, Hong Kong – last breakfast soup in Hong Kong (this visit). #hongkong

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Sweet Buns, Hong Kong – OHMYGOD I LOVE THESE. One of the things I love about traveling is finding new treats to try. Here in Hong Kong even the sweet buns are not too sweet, which works so well for me. I love these. In the front here is the lotus seed bun – all puffed dense bun on the outside with only just slightly sweet lotus seed paste on the inside. Do not try to cut this. It is for biting. On top is the sesame bun. The inside is filled with a sesame seed paste slightly sweeter than the lotus seed paste but here surrounded by a crisp, savory, toasted sesame outside that moves your mouth from crunch to squish and all through yummy. These are awesome. I love how aware of texture food culture is here. #hongkong

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So very glad you enjoyed the seminar and the wines! Thank you for your thoughts and insights on the seminar. #repost: @openwines.hk… A History of California in 8 wines: A new look at Chardonnay by Elaine Chukan Brown 喝葡萄酒,酒的顏色、香味、口感和餘韻等感官上的表現固然重要,但如對酒莊背後的歷史和葡萄園的風土有認識,將會更添樂趣。 昨天參加了一個由California Wines主辦,Elaine Chukan Brown女士主講的大師班,內容包括了八枝來自美國加州不同產區的Chardonnay,每枝酒都展現不同風格,令參加者充份認識到加州的Chardonnay,已擺脫了一般誤傳的,只是單一以豐滿的果香、木香和澎湃的酒體取勝,而可以是典雅幼細,有美國特色、Burgundy風格的白葡萄酒。 Brown女士詳盡細緻地講解,從加州的Chardonnay如何從十九世纪初的酒禁後的陰霾走出來,業者如何挑選不同風土的葡萄園,釀製出他們追求的風格,再讓參加者印証他們面前八款的Chardonnay,把他們對加州Chardonnay的認識和味覺享受,引導至一更高的層次。Brown女士的大師班,可算是筆者過去一年參加過的試酒會中,收獲最豐的一次。筆者原本已是加州Flowers酒莊的Chardonnay擁,經過這次大師班,更加相信加州不同風格的Chardonnay,必有一款合讀者的口味! #californiawineshongkong #masterclass #chardonnay @calhkwine @california.wines

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Outdoor Houseplant Market, Manila – a huge square full of houseplant vendors, open only after dark. #manila

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Breakfast Sweet Cakes, Manila – Treats local to the Philippines to try! from top: Sapin Sapin, Biko Pandin, Cassava Cake. These are small bite, only very slightly sweet treats to finish a meal. The texture varies between them but they do all tend towards sticky-squishy. The Cassava Cake is of course ground cassava root, which I quite like as it has been a good option for me when my diet is restricted from grains. There is just a slightly granular texture here. The Biko Sanpin I believe is tapioca. It is the stickiest-smoothest of the three and obviously colorful. The Sapin Sapin I believe is cooked and shaped sweet rice. It is the sweetest of the three, though still only slightly, and is also the most granular texture. Pleasant across the board. I love trying these local foods. Yay! #manila

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Orchids around Manila #manila

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Pacific Grouper, Manila – an incredible dish of Pacific Grouper served with greens and broth. The flavors here were delicate, subtle, and incredibly elegant. This dish was nothing but a pleasure. It was deboned, then portioned table side. As my bowl was handed to me our server explained the fish cheeks (I was raised to recognize fish cheeks as the best part) are offered to the woman at the table in recognition of her beauty, and because it is believed the fish cheeks also enhance her beauty. What I have seen of Manila culture has been quite charming. The people here are so kind, and I would say even loving in their simple, everyday interactions. It has been disarming and refreshing to receive. Thank you. #manila

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Night palms of Manila #manila

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Welcome to Singapore (this is all live flowers). #singapore

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Both Christmas and Valentine’s Day in Singapore #singapore

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Yam Pau, Singapore – my tour of the buns of Asia is almost complete. Here, a yam paste squish bun. Beautiful. #singapore

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Cantonese Food, California Wine, Alaska King Crab – three of my worlds smashing together in Singapore. #singapore

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Ferrari Dinner, Ritz-Carlton, Singapore. #singapore

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Koi Pond, Changi Airport, Singapore – so many beautiful gardens inside the Changi Airport. #singapore

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Selecting Dinner, Tokyo #tokyo

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Sashimi, Tokyo – incredible. #tokyo @somm_antics @dierberg

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Fugu Peacock, Tokyo – subtle, surprising. #tokyo

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King Snapper, Tokyo – we named him Hector. And he was good. #tokyo

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Damien Hugot Grand Cru – after dinner we move on to the Champagne bar and drink something wonderful. #tokyo

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Night Walk, Tokyo. #tokyo

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Midnight Ramen, Tokyo. #tokyo

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Love Advice: find someone with whom you feel like Matt does about Mouton Rothschild Eau de Vie. #tokyo @somm_antics

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Tokyo Station, Train Station. #tokyo

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Water Canals in old Kamakura filling from intense rains. #kamakura

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Japanese Maple, old Kamakura. #kamakura

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Rice Bowl, Tokyo – departing Tokyo with an extra rice bowl to bring for the flight. I hit some sort of health set back soon after arriving here and have spent two days in bed and three days with full body pain and debilitating abdominal cramps. Gratefully the abdominal pain has eased but I am still mostly unable to eat. The day I spent actually in Japan, rather than just in my hotel room, was full of great stuff to see. So I am grateful for that. Heading home to new fire evacuations throughout Sonoma County. Our house is outside the current evacuation area but the expected winds can change things quickly. Sonoma County is currently undergoing its largest evacuation in history. Stay safe, everyone.

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