Random Eats from Shanghai to Bangkok

Shanghai is probably the most beautifully cosmopolitan city of mainland China that I have visited. I found Shanghai a lot easier to get around and more accessible than Beijing. The most memorable dish I had during my brief stay was this plate of fried pork strips with peanuts and dried chiles from a Bei Dong restaurant. As a whole, I found food in Shanghai simpler than Hong Kong and Bangkok. It was either spicy or salty or sweet but rarely complex.

The morning before leaving Shanghai, I went on the street to buy a “Taiwanese” style breakfast pancake with eggs and a Western sausage mixed with ketchup, mustard and hot sauce. People were stamping their feet in the cold while waiting for a pancake to be cooked, and it was well worth the wait. It was amazing, like a breakfast burrito fusing the taste of the East and the West.

Back in Hong Kong, my hometown, I was fascinated by the delicious home cooked meals my nephews were having at my sister’s place. There were some chicken slices in a soy-based sauce, minced pork, steamed broccoli and rice. What lucky boys they are!

The Hong Kong cocktail scene has drastically improved over the past few years. There were some new cool bars that served artisan cocktails. One that my friend recommended was Tai Lung Fung in Wanchai whose “girly” cocktails were to die for. I had the Tropical Haa that was a lychee-flavored cocktail with Blue Curacao, various fruit juices and vodka.

In Los Angeles, there are many types of vegetarian and vegan cuisines, but it is impossible to find the Cantonese vegetarian cuisine that I grew up with. I had to stop by a Cantonese vegetarian restaurant in Hong Kong and the vegetarian fish, made from tofu skin with a sweet and sour sauce, was nothing short of nostalgic and delightful.

Arriving in Bangkok, my filmmaker friend Josh Kim took me out to my first meal in the ultra modern Siam Paragon mall that was nothing short of delicious. My favorite was the appetizer where you’d wrap some dried meat with peanuts, vegetables and chiles in wild betel leaves (Mieng Khem). Very light but tasty.

Desserts in Thailand are full of variety and color… and I love Thai desserts. I love trying out McDonald’s stores all over the world. Here’s a McParfait with white and black chocolate chips, fruit jellies, vanilla frozen yoghurt and bobas at the bottom. Where else could you get something like this?

I outgrew my boba craving a decade ago but I couldn’t helping getting this boba milk tea with custard at the bottom, boba in the middle and palm jellies floating on top.

From Greyhound Cafe, a popular Thai Italian fusion place, this soft-shell crab over spicy fettuccine is the bomb.

Here are some beautiful red velvet cup cakes that I never ate. I took a picture of them displayed in a shop outside a Bangkok subway station.

Thanks to our friend Gilbert who invited Josh and I to a home-cooked dinner at his place on my last night in Bangkok. Gilbert’s maid cooked up a feast of flavorfully authentic Burmese dishes including Burmese soup noodles with fermented fish, different curries, fried salted fish, curried potatoes and etc. that made my last meal in Bangkok tastily memorable.

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