An axis for artistic and creative-types of the Asian persuasian… Redefining Otaku Culture.

Hong Kong’s first Hooters is already causing controversy

HK-Hooters-Cover

FoodBeast/Next Shark (by Ryan General):

American restaurant chain Hooters, known for its skimpily dressed female servers is about to open its first restaurant in Hong Kong. A month before its launch, however, the sports bar that bills itself as “delightfully tacky yet unrefined” is already attracting controversy.

Set to occupy a prime location in Hong Kong’s Central district along Wyndham Street, Hooters Hong Kong will be just one of the 30 branches that Bangkok-based Destinations Resorts will be bringing to Asia on behalf of Hooters Asia.

While preparations are all well under way for the Hong Kong opening, Hooters Asia general manager Mike Warde is also fending off criticisms about the company’s image and hiring processes.

We’re a sports bar, a family-oriented, fun-loving, entertainment outlet. We have standards for our service and food,” Warde told South China Morning Post in an interview.

For Warde, the Hooters girls who he calls the chain’s “brand ambassadors” are not dressed provocatively but are simply wearing sportswear. He also denied that breast size is a factor in the company’s recruitment.

That’s a myth. That was 30 years ago,” he said while showing a photograph of Thai Hooters girls with small breasts. “The reason they don’t look flat chested is because they are wearing Wonderbras.”

HK-Hooters-02

A friend of one Hong Kong applicant, however is refuting his claim. Scarlet (not her real name), an applicant herself, said her friend who applied didn’t pass because of her breast size.

Her boobs are smaller, so of course they won’t hire her,” she said.

The recruitment process has been going on for months and so far 12 Hong Kong women, one Japanese woman and two European women are being considered for the job.

Aside from normal food-serving tasks, Hooter girls are also expected to perform two-minute dance numbers at certain intervals.

They stop whatever they are doing, wherever they are, and dance every 45 minutes,” says Warde. “In Thailand guests pay them to do hula hoop and the money goes to charity. We have pom-poms and we take them to the rugby pitch to support teams.

To stay in shape, they are also required to attend three kickboxing classes per week.

We teach the girls to be a lot more respectful of themselves, have more confidence in themselves. They have a fit body and fit mind and we bring out their characters because we put them all over social media,” he added.

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They said, ‘This is the largest size’ – I think that was true. But it’s crazy that the largest size is extra small. My boobs were exploding and my ass was half showing out,” the 24-year-old said.

When I went for the uniform fitting they said I’m the only girl with boobs. They want to hire locals, but most local girls are really skinny.”

Scarlet also found the salary disappointing and realized she could earn more as a beauty therapist. The HK$15,000 ($1,932) per month offered for a five-and-a-half-day week is barely above standard.

They said I would get good tips, but in Hong Kong I don’t think the guys would pay a lot. There isn’t the tipping culture here,” Scarlet said.

Back in the U.S., the company has closed about a dozen stores in recent years, with observers saying the concept of “breastaurants” is outdated.

Warde believes that it will be a different story in Asia. “In Asia we are a new brand. And in America they’ve been closing the ones that haven’t been performing and reopening others. Over the last four years it’s growing, they are on the up again,”he said.

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In the next five years, the aggressive expansion plan of Hooters Asia will also see restaurants opening in Indonesia, Thailand, Macau, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Link

Tokyo Station’s top 5 breakfast spots

 

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RocketNews 24:

 

As one of Japan’s largest train stations, Tokyo Station is the central hub for many of the JR lines as well as the Shinkansen (bullet train). You can expect some standard grub in most stations, but Tokyo Station has plenty of food places that go beyond the basics. Before setting out on a trip, why not arrive a bit early and enjoy a delicious breakfast before boarding your train? It’s the perfect start to your adventure.

Here we introduce five of the best breakfast spots within the station itself:

 

  • Juicy fruit at Senbikiya

brekky1

For anyone who loves fruit for breakfast, you can’t go wrong with Senbikiya’s breakfast waffle set (600 yen/US$6).

Senbikiya is a specialist luxury fruit store, and it can get pretty pricey with one parfait setting you back over 2,000 yen ($20). But with the breakfast set you can experience the store’s sense of luxury without breaking the bank.

The waffle set includes fruit, yogurt, waffles, salad, and a drink. All this for only 600 yen! Unbelievable!

If you ask a Senbikiya fan what their favourite fruit is, a lot of people will probably reply with the cantaloupe (musk melon), and the waffle set comes with beautifully prepared slices of this delicious fruit. It’s sweet and juicy, and perfectly complemented by the rest of the light foods – recommended for anyone with a sweet tooth in the mornings!

<Kyobashi Senbikiya Tokyo Station  First Avenue Store>

■Breakfast time 8:30~11:00(Open until 20:30)
■Address Tokyo Station First Avenue B1F North Street
■TEL 03-3212-2517
■Holidays None
■Breakfast also available on weekends

 

  • Hearty noodles at Japan’s leading tsukemen restaurant

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Rokurinsha is one of Japan’s most famous tsukemen (noodles with separate dipping sauce) restaurants. Since opening on Tokyo Station’s Ramen Street in 2009, it has become one of the most popular stores and is always overflowing with people.

The best time to get into Rokurinsha is during the breakfast period between 7:30 and 10:00 a.m. (last orders at 9:45). You usually need to be prepared to wait for around an hour before getting a seat, but in the mornings you can enter in less than 30 minutes, or straight away if you’re really lucky.

There are two choices of ramen for breakfast: Morning Tsukemen (630 yen) and Deluxe Morning Tsukemen. The shop’s speciality is its noodle soup, a rich, thick concoction made from boiling tonkatsu (pork cutlet), katsuobushi (dried tuna flakes), and other ingredients together for 13 hours. The Morning Tsukemen soup is lighter and easy on the stomach, while still retaining its rich flavor, making it perfect for breakfast. Recommended for those needing a stamina boost before setting out on a grand adventure.

<Rokurinsha TOKYO>

■Breakfast time 7:30~10:00 (Last orders 9:45) ※Opening hours 11:00~22:30(Last orders 22:00)
■Address Tokyo Station First Avenue B1 Tokyo Ramen Street 1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
■TEL 03-3286-0166
■Holidays None
■Breakfast also available on weekends

 

  • Traditional Japanese breakfast at Yaesu Hatsufuji

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Opening at 7am, Yaesu Hatsufuji is an izakaya (Japanese pub) that serves traditional Japanese breakfast sets.

They offer seven different kinds including fried salmon (550 yen), pork miso soup (500 yen), omelette (500 yen), and meat & tofu (530 yen). With so much choice it can be difficult to make up your mind, but the meat & tofu and fried ginger sets are popular with particularly hungry folks, while the fried salmon and omelette options are more popular with girls with smaller appetites.

Yaesu Hatsufuji uses the best ingredients, and uses them in abundance. Of course it’s also delicious, and the chef who skillfully prepares it will bring it to you himself, so you can enjoy it freshly made and piping hot.

It may be an izakaya, but the interior is bright and clean rather than dark and smoky, and girls don’t need to worry about going there on their own. Recommended for anyone wanting a traditional Japanese-style breakfast.

<Yaesu Hatsufuji Yaesu chikagai Store>

■Breakfast time 7:00~10:00 ※Opening hours 7:00~22:00(Last orders 21:30)
■Address Yaesu chikagai, 1-9-1 Yaesu, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
■TEL 03-3275-1676
■Holidays None
■Breakfast is also available on weekends

 

  • Hotdogs for breakfast?!

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Right next to the ticket gates for the Tohoku Joetsu Shinkansen, you’ll find a bunch of restaurants and bars. The Gransta North Court zone hosts 16 stores mostly sellingobento (Japanese lunch boxes) and sweets to take with you on the train. Standing out in the midst of them is Tokyo DOG, proudly displaying its range of hotdogs.

The hotdog you see in the photo above is the “Iwate Prefecture fried chicken cross hotdog”, released in commemoration of the renovation of Tokyo Station’s red brick station building in October 2012. Stamped into the bun are the Japanese characters for “Tokyo Station”. The meaty filling is drizzled with ponzu sauce (citrus-based soy sauce) and topped with grated daikon radish – sounds like an incredibly delicious creation! A hotdog may not sound like much, but they don’t skimp on the fillings here!

After purchase you can enjoy your hotdog in the communal North Court eat-in space.

Products except for the hotdogs are served cold for take-out, so for those who want something warm for breakfast we recommend the “Tokyo Grill Hotdog” with a hot grilled wiener sandwiched between the bread (420 yen).

<Tokyo DOG>

■Opening hours 6:30~22:30
■Address North Court, Tokyo Station Gransta Dining, 1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
■TEL 03-3217-4144
■Holidays None
■Breakfast also available on weekends

 

  • Specialist soups at Misogen

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The above photo might look like cloudy coffee, but it’s actually shijimi clam soup!

This is the shijimi espresso (250 yen), served at Misogen, a specialist miso soup store found in KITTE which opened in Tokyo Station in March 2013.

If you want the clam espresso then you’d better get their early, because this delicacy is limited to only 30 cups per day. It’s very popular and sells out early, so arriving at opening time (10 am) is probably your best bet. According to the store, it’s the dark-brown miso paste that really draws out the flavour of the shijimi clams which come from Lake Shinji in Shimane Prefecture. The deliciousness of the shijimi is concentrated into a 70ml espresso cup, so take your time savouring it.

Anyone who loves miso soup has to visit Misogen, and try and get their hands on theshijimi espresso!

<Misogen KITTE GRANCHE Store>

■Opening times (eat-in) 10:00~20:30(Monday – Saturday)、10:00~19:30(Sundays & holidays)
■Address KITTE B1F, 2-7-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
■TEL 03-6256-0831
■Holidays January 1st only
■Breakfast also available on weekends

All the above shops are open on weekends as well as weekdays, so whatever day you’re travelling you can be sure of somewhere to full up in the morning. No need to wander aimlessly around the station in search of something more palatable than cold combini food – any of these five restaurants will set you up with a delicious start to your trip.

 

Check out this link:

Tokyo Station’s top 5 breakfast spots

Link

Travelers on Trip Advisor pick Japan’s 30 best restaurants

 

JR 5

RocketNews 24:

 

Travel website Trip Advisor recently released its annual list of the 30 best sightseeing spots in Japan. Featuring centuries-old shrines, futuristic cityscapes, and no fewer than four whale sharks, it’s an impressive collection of much of what makes Japan such a unique and awesome country.

Honestly, if you had the time, we wouldn’t try to talk you out of an itinerary that hits all 30 places. Of course, with that much sightseeing, you’re bound to work up an appetite. Thankfully, Trip Advisor is back again with its top 30 restaurants in Japan.

As with the sightseeing list, the rankings are based on reviews from Trip Advisor users who dined at the restaurants. While there’s no shortage of high-priced Japanese fare, there are a few budget-friendly eateries that made the cut too, along with some foreign cuisine as well. Let’s dig in and get this multi-course meal started with number 30.

 

30. Abucha Nigoten
Hokkaido,  Abuta-gun, Kucchan-cho, Yamada 191-29

JR 13

Visitors to the Niseko ski resort on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido rave about this Japanese eatery’s sushi and hot pots.

29. The Niseko Supply Company
Hokkaido, Abuta-gun, Kucchan-cho, Azayamada 190-13

If you’re looking for western food in Niseko, the Supply Company is known for its crepes, pastries, and fondue, plus its invigorating coffee and relaxing beer.

28. Niseko Pizza
Hokkaido, Abuta-gun, Kucchan-cho, Yamada 167 3J, Sekka Building basement level 1

Not far from the above entry you’ll find this Italian restaurant that’s popular with the foreign community.

27. Jomon
Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 5-9-17, Fujimori Building 1st floor

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Not only does Jomon serve up outstanding yakitori chicken skewers, its location on one of the secluded backstreets of Tokyo’s rowdiest nightlife district means you won’t have to worry about barkers trying to drag you off to their hostess bar on the way there.

26. Tsunahachi
Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-31-8

Just a few minutes’ walk from the always bustling Shinjuku Station, Tsunahachi’s mix of great tempura and moderate prices has had diners lining up out front for years.

25. Kani Doraku
Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Dotombori 1-6-18

JR 3

Japan has a number of restaurants that advertise their specialty with a giant animatronic crab, but none is more famous than the Kani Doraku branch in Osaka’s Dotombori entertainment district.

24. Sukibayashi Jiro
Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-12-2 Roppongi Hills Keyakizakadori 3rd floor

Ever wanted to dine at the same sushi restaurant as sake-sampling heads of state and demanding Chinese exchange students? Here’s your chance.

23. Katsukura
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Shimogyo-ku, Higashi Shiokojicho, Kyoto Station Building Senmontengai The Cube 11th floor

If you’re not interested in sushi, because of an aversion to raw food, this Kyoto Station restaurant specializes in deep-fried tonkatsu pork cutlets.

22. Yamato Sushi
Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1, Tsukiji Fish Market, Building 6

Back to Tokyo, back to sushi with this restaurant located inside Japan’s largest seafood market.

21. New York Grill and Bar
Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku 3-7-1-2 Park Hyatt Tokyo 52nd floor

JR 4

Yes, you can drink and dine just where Bill Murray’s character did in Lost in Translation. Sip your Suntory whiskey, marvel at the fantastic view of Tokyo, and wonder just how Bob and Charlotte managed to get bored in such a massive city with so many places to explore.

20. Kyoto Gogyo
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Yanagibabadori, Takoyakushi Kudaru, Jumonji-cho

Japan’s ancient capital isn’t all rarified restaurants and delicate delicacies, as proven by the many fans of Kyoto Gogyo’s ramen.

19. Maiizumi
Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 4-8-5

Once again, deep-fried pork proves to be a hit with a wide cross-section of travelers, as yet another tonkatsu restaurant, the Aoyama branch of Maiizumi, makes the list.

18. Kamimura
Hokkaido, Abuta-gun, Kucchan-cho, Yamada 190-4, Shiki Niseko 1st floor

The Niseko ski resort shows up again, this time with the Michelin-ranked French/Japanese fusion Kamimura.

17. Midorizushi
Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Dogenzaka 1-12, Shibuya Mark City East 4th floor

JR 5

Located beneath several floors of offices, you’ll want to get here before the lunch rush for some of Tokyo’s best reasonably-priced sushi.

16. Ro
Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae, 6-2-4

If you’re not looking for the latest fashions, you might be tempted to pass on visiting Tokyo’s shopping mecca of Harajuku. If you’re into deep-fried gyoza pot stickers, though, you owe it to yourself to wade through the fashionistas and try the ones at Ro.

15. Chojiro
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Shimogyo-ku, Hashimoto-cho, 103-2

You’ll see a few revolving sushi restaurants in any large Japanese city, but Trip Advisor’s didn’t find any they liked more than Chojiro.

14. Ninja Akasaka
Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Nagata-cho 2-14-3, Akasaka Tokyo Plaza 1st floor

JR 6

Even if it wasn’t designed to look like a secret ninja castle, and even if the wait staff didn’t perform incredible magic tricks at your table, Akasaka’s ninja-themed restaurant would still be worth a visit for its beautifully inventive and delicious food. Make sure you reserve a table ahead of time, though, as a two-hour wait isn’t unheard of.

13. Ukai
Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Shiba Koen 4-4-13

This branch of the Ukai chain, located near Tokyo Tower, specializes in tofu, which is served in private dining rooms surrounded by beautiful gardens.

12. Tapas Molecular Bar
Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Muromachi 2-1-1 Mandarin Oriental Tokyo 38th floor

With space for only eight diners and just two seating per night, reservations are essential for this molecular cuisine restaurant in the luxury Mandarin Oriental Tokyo hotel.

11. Kaiseki 511
Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka 4-3-28 Dia Plaza Akasaka basement level 1

Although it’s located in the upscale Akasaka neighborhood of Tokyo, Kaiseki 511’s specialty is kobe beef.

10. Ichiran
Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Jinnan 1-22-7 Iwamoto Building basement level 1

JR 1

While travelers gave the no to the Shibuya branch in Tokyo, there’s a whole chain of Ichiran ramen joints. The first time I ate in one on the outskirts of a red light district in Yokohama, I thought its unique setup, with privacy-insuring walls and a screen that ensures even the waiter doesn’t see your face, was to protect the privacy of diners who stopped in for a bite after spending time at one of the local hostess bars. The reality isn’t anything so untoward, as Ichiran’s owners simply want to make sure nothing distracts you from the delicious noodles they serve.

9. Ippudo
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Higashi Toin, Nishikikoji Higashiiru 653-1 Nishiki Building 1st floor

Edging Ichiran for the top ramen restaurant on the list was Ippudo. The original location of this pork-broth specialist is in Fukuoka, but you can find branches of the chain in Tokyo and Yokohama as well.

8. Yamazaki
Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1, Tsukiji Fish Market Building 6

Tsukiji gets still more help in building its reputation as the best place in Japan for sushi with this restaurant located inside the market.

7. Narisawa
Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Aoyama 2-6-15

Trip Advisor’s number-seven restaurant actually did better in Hospitality Magazine’s rankings, where it was picked as the best in Japan for its innovative French-inspired menu that includes such unique offerings as dirt soup.

6. Hofu
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Fuyachodori, Ebisugawa Noboru, Sasayacho 471-1

JR 7

This restaurant, which specializes in steak and beef cutlet, was Kyoto’s highest-ranked restaurant on the list.

5. Wakkoqu
Hyogo-ken, Kobe-shi, Chuo-ku, Kitanocho 1-1, Shin Kobe Oriental Avenue 3rd floor

It’s no surprise that Kobe’s top restaurant serves Kobe beef.

4. Kyube
Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 8-7-6

This sushi restaurant, located in Tokyo’s Ginza, came so close to taking the sushi crown away from Tsukiji.

3. Dai
Toyko-to, Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1, Tsukiji Fish Market Building 6

JR 8

No, that’s not a photo of the entrance to Tokyo Station during rush hour. It’s just the line for lunch at Dai, Japan’s highest-ranked sushi restaurant.

JR 9

2. Center4 Hamburgers
Gifu-ken, Takayama-shi, Kamiichino-cho 94

JR 10

What’s more surprising, that Japan’s number-two restaurant is located in rural Takayama, or that it uses the region’s prized Hida beef to make mouth-watering hamburgers?

JR 11

1. M
Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku Namba 1-1-19

JR 12

Surprisingly, Trip Advisor’s top-ranked restaurant isn’t in Tokyo or Kyoto, and it doesn’t serve sushi or tempura. Instead, the Hozenji Yokocho branch of M in Osaka is ready to satisfy your carnivorous cravings with marbled Matsuzaka beef. Oddly enough, Matsuzaka beef isn’t raised in Osaka, but in Mie, two prefectures to the east.

Apparently the logistics aren’t a problem though, as travelers chose M as their favorite restaurant in the country.

 

Check out this link:

Travelers on Trip Advisor pick Japan’s 30 best restaurants

Link

Ten great ramen dishes from NY restaurants to check out

 

Tasting Table: (Noodling Around- Ten great bowls of ramen we’re craving right now)

Best ramen in New York City

Slurp’s up! We roamed the city’s ramen-yas and tasted our way through dozens and dozens of bowls of toothsome noodles and tender pork bellies in slick, savory broths to narrow it down to ten favorites. And yes, it was really tough. In no particular order, here they are:

① Stamina ramen, Ganso ($14) 
Harris Salat’s downtown Brooklyn ramen-ya makes a lovely broth with chicken bones, then makes it even lovelier with a float of house-made chile oil. It comes with wood ear mushrooms, seasonal greens, garlic chives and scallions.

② Roasted garlic mazemen, Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop ($13)
The intensity of Ivan Orkin’s Gotham West Market mazemen–the thin, frizzy noodles are dressed in a little broth plus mashed roasted garlic, chicken and pork fat–is almost (almost!) too much to bear.

③ Spicy tonkotsu ramen, Jin Ramen ($13)  
Shuichi Kotani’s springy noodles might steal the show if it weren’t for the wonderfully creamy pork-bone broth, spiked with an umami-rich chile-garlic paste, and wobbly chashu.

④ Spicy basic ramen, Minca ($12)
Sure, a lot of great ramen shops have opened since we first fell for Minca, but this tiny LES spot still has its charms, among them the deeply garlicky broth, excellent pork belly with tender fat and totally unfussy counter service.

⑤ Korean ramyunHanjan ($16)
Inspired by instant, but infinitely better, Hooni Kim’s late-night special involves a rich broth made with fish, chicken and pork bones and stained with chiles, plus excellent noodles coming in from New Jersey.

⑥ Akamaru Modern ramen, Ippudo ($15)
Count on this Japanese chain for some of the most reliably delicious bowls (and longest lines) in the city. The Akamaru’s incredibly creamy, fatty tonkotsu broth has a secret: a scoop of deep red miso that slowly melts away.

⑦ Original ramen, Takashi ($16)
Takashi Inoue is a serious beef-offal enthusiast, so it’s no surprise that his excellent broth is made from beef bones–simmered for 24 hours with aromatics, sticky with collagen–and topped with fried small intestines and beef belly.

⑧ Tondaku green curry ramen, Bassanova Ramen ($15)
In ramen, as in love and war, everything is fair game. Even this sweet-savory, deeply satisfying bowl featuring halved okra and fried garlic, a pork broth thickened with coconut milk and bright with green curry paste.

⑨ Chicken paitan ramen, Totto Ramen ($9.75)
This little counter in Hell’s Kitchen still makes one of the best (and cheapest!) bowls in town: a rich chicken broth, excellent house-made noodles and great toppings including chashu that’s torched before your eyes.

⑩ Vegetarian ramen, Chuko ($13)  
Seasonal vegetables in a deep bowl of kombu-dashi broth seasoned with miso and garlic-scallion oil, plus a pile of lovely noodles, make this veggie ramen nearly as rich and just as satisfying as its meaty brethren.

Check out this link:

Ten great ramen dishes from NY restaurants to check out

 

Link

10 new Hong Kong restaurants to book now

It’s no wonder why everyone in Hong Kong are such avid foodies. With restaurants opening and closing every week, the problem is finding the time to try them all. To make your food adventures a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the newest Hong Kong restaurants for you to keep handy next time you eat out.

1. Fish & Meat

10 new mouthwatering Hong Kong restaurants - Fish & Meat

Cutting back to the basics, Fish & Meat delivers simple and rustic dishes with a heavy focus on cocktails and fine wine. Brought to us by the same guys behind Blue Butcher and Brickhouse, Fish & Meat aims to use the freshest farm-to-table ingredients for their seasonal menus.

Dishes include pan fried sea bream with cherry tomatoes, squid, black olives and green pea puree and Spanish Teruel pork belly porchetta with Italian fennel sausage, salsa verde and pork jus.

Fish & Meat, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2565 6788, www.fishandmeat.hk

2. La Vache!

10 new mouthwatering Hong Kong restaurants - La Vache

French cuisine has been hot on the dining scene lately and La Vache! (a.k.a Holy Cow!) is the newest Parisian-inspired eatery to open in Hong Kong. The menu is simple — house-baked baguettes with a classic salad, steak frites and a dessert cart full of traditional French pastries including meringues with crème anglaise and Mille Feuille.

La Vache, 48 Peel Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2880 0248, www.lavache.com.hk

Check out Upper Modern Bistro’s French fusion dishes in Sheung Wan

3. Gonpachi

10 new mouthwatering Hong Kong restaurants - Gonpachi

1957 & Co. has brought famous Tokyo restaurant Gonpachi to Hong Kong. Serving up the best kushi, freshly-made soba and sushi, the restaurant also houses up to 88 varieties of Japan’s best sake and eight hard-to-find Japanese whiskeys and beers.

Gonpachi, 4/F, Lee Gardens One, 33 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2787 3688

4. 121 BC

10 new mouthwatering Hong Kong restaurants - 121 BC

Serving up traditional Italian food with a unique selection of artisan wines, 121 BC looks to bring back the family-style dining experience with large platters and dishes designed to be shared. The menu changes according to what ingredients are freshest each day. Signatures include homemade ricotta with smoked eggplant and clams with tomato, chili, salted pork and breadcrumbs.

121 BC, 42-44 Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2395 0200, www.121bc.com.hk 

5. BellBrook bistro oz by Laris

10 new mouthwatering Hong Kong restaurants - BellBrook

Decked out in vintage Aussie memorabilia, BellBrook bistro oz is Australian chef David Laris’ latest venture. Inspired by homemade childhood favourites, BellBrook features a wide variety of Australian beers, ciders and cocktails as well as bush-style Barramundi cooked in paperbark, scotch eggs and Aussie steak tartare.

BellBrook bistro oz by Laris, 2/F, 77 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2530 1600, www.diningconcepts.com

 

6. Bao Wow

10 new Hong Kong restaurants to book now

Other highlights include their Kimchili cheese taro fries, shrimp wontons and fried ice cream Baowiches.

Bao Wow, Shop No.2, 28 Tai Wong Street East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.baowowhk.com 

7. Brick Lane

10 new mouthwatering Hong Kong restaurants - Brick Lane

Rather than trekking all the way to Tsim Sha Tsui, now we can enjoy Brick Lane’s popular eggs benedict in the comfort of their new branch in Admiralty.  Hang out on their relaxing alfresco terrace for an authentic full English breakfast, pub grub or a spot of tea with cakes.

Brick Lane, 4/F, Citic Tower, 1 Tim Mei Avenue, Admiralty, Hong Kong, +852 2363 2500, www.bricklane.com.hk

 

8. The Teppanroom

10 new mouthwatering Hong Kong restaurants - The Teppanroom

The Grand Hyatt Hong Kong has recently opened an exclusive and super chic Teppanyaki grill located within their Kaetsu Japanese restaurant. Intimate and lively, The Teppanroom has counter-style seating for up to 16 guests. Highlights include their Iberico pork loin with grilled Fuji apple, wasabi and apple purée and Japanese A4 Wagyu sirloin served with four sauces –  Mexican chili, soy sauce with fresh wasabi, sea salt and homemade sesame sauce.

The Teppanroom, Kaetsu, M/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Hong Kong, +852 2584 7722,http://hongkong.grand.hyatt.com

9. An Nam

10 new mouthwatering Hong Kong restaurants - An Nam

Head to newly-opened An Nam for an authentic Vietnamese fine dining experience and take a trip back to Vietnam’s colonial era with a steamy bowl of beef pho, barbecued meats and a cup of Vietnamese drip coffee. Don’t miss out on their traditional Hué-style dishes and steamed rice flan.

An Nam, 4/F, Lee Gardens One, 33 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2787 3922

10. Comfort by Harlan Goldstein

10 new mouthwatering Hong Kong restaurants - Comfort by Harlan Goldstein

Nothing’s quite as fulfilling as some good ol’ comfort food and Harlan Goldstein’s new restaurant Comfort (open in December) looks to satisfy those cravings. Taking over Strip House’s current spot, Comfort will feature dishes that Goldstein enjoys cooking for his own friends and family with everything from his take on bangers and mash to steamed pork belly buns glazed with hoi sin sauce.

Comfort by Harlan Goldstein, 5/F, Grand Progress Building, 15-16 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong

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10 new Hong Kong restaurants to book now

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Beijing’s 10 weirdest restaurants

In a city with 40,000 restaurants fighting for customers, it’s no wonder these Beijing eateries are acting a little odd.

1. House of Poo Poo

House of Poo

“Poo funny mud” is really just mash potato, silly. A kindergarten “poo-scape” of smiley-faced turds, this bathroom-tiled restaurant is a daft tribute to the sit-down legacy of Thomas Crapper. Guests perch on toilets topped with Winnie the Pooh warmers (coincidence?), tucking into squidgy dishes like “poo funny mud” (mashed potato, pictured) and beef curries that float in table-top commodes. If it all gets too much, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom — it’s quite ordinary.

House of Poo Poo (便便满屋饭堂)
Average price: RMB 25-50
Opening hours: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Address: 91 Dianmen Outer Street, Xicheng District (西城区地安门外大街91号), Tel. +86 (010) 8403 5296

2. Friends Cafe

Friends Cafe

Owner Du Xin has the Gunther look down. Always stuck in second gear? Seek out this eerily precise replica of TV show “Friends’” Central Perk for big cups of Joe, chocolate muffins, hot dogs and endless re-runs. A giddy student crowd fights over the famous couch, and takes turns strumming “Smelly Cat” on guitar. Fanatical owner Du Xin confesses to studying “millions of pictures online to get it right.” Yes, he dresses like Gunther.

Friends Café (老友记主题店)
Average Price: RMB 20 – 50
Opening hours: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Address: Suite 0616, Building A, Chaowai SOHO, 6 Chaoyangmen Outer Street, Chaoyang District (朝外大街乙6号朝外SOHOA座0616室), Tel. +86 186 0119 1315

3. Grandma’s Rabbit Head Restaurant

Grandma’s Rabbit Head Restaurant

If Frank Miller did Watership Down. This packed Sichuan restaurant is really turning heads with its Chengdu signature. Skinned, braised rabbit heads, to be precise. Select a sauce (Sichuan peppercorn or five-spice), and don the gloves and apron provided for a lagomorph lobotomy. After you’ve prized open the jaw to get at the surprisingly long, chewy tongue, you’ll need more muscle to crack the skull and pull out the little brain. Looks ghastly, tastes good. Honest.

Grandma’s Rabbit Head Restaurant (双流老妈兔头)
Average price: 50-80 RMB (rabbit heads 8 RMB each)
Opening hours: 10 a.m. – midnight
Address: 48 East Third Ring Road (south of Shuangjing Subway Exit C), Chaoyang District, (朝阳区东三环南路48号(地铁双井站C口南), Tel. +86 (010) 6540 5858

4. Red Classics Restaurant

Red Classics Restraurant

He’s behind you! Revel in a bygone slice of PRC history at this theater restaurant decked out with Mao portraits, revolutionary slogans and a life-sized red tractor smashing through the wall. Waitresses in green overalls and pig-tails dish up the Helmsman’s beloved pork belly in portions that would make a Red Guard blush, as actors belt out “The East is Red” to drunken groups of flag-waving petty bourgeoisie.

Red Classics Restaurant (红色经典主题餐厅)
Average price: 40-70 RMB
Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 9.30 p.m. (show begins at 7:20pm nightly)
Address: 66 Beishang Po, Qinglong Bridge, Xiangshan Road, Haidian District (海淀区香山路青龙桥北上坡66号), Tel. +86 (010) 6287 2185

5. Trojan Fairy

For adulterers and paparazzi-shy celebs, this pitch-black restaurant is the place not to be seen (though before diners plan anything too naughty, be warned: the waiters wear night-vision goggles). Dark restaurants are nothing new, but online gamers have adopted Trojan Fairy for live-action “Farmville” antics, where diners compete by swiping food from each other’s plates. Choose from three peculiar part-Japanese, part-Western set menus to join the fun.

Trojan Fairy (木马童话黑暗餐厅)
Average price: RMB 200
Opening hours: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Address: 8th Floor, Hunsha Dalou, 109 Xidan North Street, Xicheng District (西城区西单北大街109婚庆大楼8楼), Tel. +86 (010) 6616 0336

6. Guolizhuang

A strict, members-only policy operates here, but that’s just the food. Guolizhuang’s penis hot pot contains 10 appendages from dog to sheep, with exotic organs like seal available at extra cost. Potency is the promise that has middle-aged businessmen booking in their droves, though women are welcome too; it’s good for the skin, apparently. Don’t be hoodwinked by the grandiloquent menu: “Jasmine Flowers” is in fact sliced donkey penis.

Guolizhuang (锅里壮) http://www.glz.com.cn
Average price: RMB 200-400
Opening hours: 10.30 a.m. – 9.30 p.m.
Address: 34-3 Dongsi Shitiao, Dongcheng District ( 东城区东四十条乙34-3号), Tel. +86 (010) 8411 6666

7. Haloing The Past

Haloing The Past

Take a trip down memory lane at this retro emporia. Discover your inner Chinese schoolchild at this 1980s time warp. Vintage-clothed hipsters giggle over canteen favorites like savory baked eggs and comfortingly malty hot chocolate, as a ghetto blaster pumps out (well not exactly) old sing-along tunes. Retro toys, tatty school desks and other period kitsch abounds, including a replica frontage of a Beijing trolley bus that serves as the bar, with working headlights.

Haloing the Past (昔巷)
Average price: 40-60 RMB
Opening hours: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Address: 3 Dajingguang West Alley, Gulou East Street, Dongcheng District (东城区鼓楼东大街大经厂西巷3号), Tel. +86 (010) 6406 5852

8. Heroic Mountain

Heroic Mountain

Taste dishes lifted from martial arts fiction. This eatery, themed on “wuxia,” or martial arts fiction, stands out from the hot pot joints that line Ghost Street. Bamboo walls hung with swords and bows provide the ambiance as waiters in black robes serve fanciful fare to the assembled acolytes of Jin Yong, the novelist who popularized the genre. White belts needn’t tap out: the delicious “Beggar’s Duck” and steamed “Hero Fish” require no prior training.

Heroic Mountain (英雄山庄)
Average price: RMB 30-50
Opening hours: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Address: 181-1 Dongzhimenwai Avenue, Dongcheng District ( 东城区 东直门内大街181-1号), Tel. +86 (010) 8403 5851

9. Ordos Hotel Restaurant

Ordos Hotel Restaurant

Grassland hospitality in the heart of Beijing. Run by the Inner-Mongolian provincial government, this restaurant comprises eight dusty yurts, squeezed, incongruously, into the courtyard of a forlorn apartment and hotel complex in central Beijing. Diners are unlikely to hear the cry of an eagle, but can expect tender boiled mutton that falls off the bone as it should, plus authentically salty “milk tea.” Hungry raiding parties can order the whole sheep banquet.


Ordos Hotel Restaurant (鄂尔多斯宾馆内)

Average price: RMB 40
Opening hours: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Address: 3 Shanglong Beixiang, Andignmen Outer Street, Dongcheng District (安定门外大街上龙北巷3号), Tel. +86 (010) 8412 4216

10. Kiev Restaurant

Kiev Restaurant

Ukrainian soldiers sing for your supper. The mustachioed stars of Ukrainian opera sing out their careers at this grand eating hall much loved by moneyed Chinese. If you manage to get a table, Georgian wine, smoked trout and questionable baked lobster should get you in the mood for music; diners can pick from a songbook (Russian and Chinese only) and pay 80 RMB to have the full troupe come to the table for an ear-splitting aria.

Kiev Restaurant (基辅餐厅)
Average price: RMB 70-100
Opening hours: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. (performances from 12.30-1 p.m. and from 7 p.m.)
Address: 13 Puhui Nanli, Yuyuantan South Street (west of the Millennium Monument), Haidian District (海淀区玉渊潭南路普惠南里13号), Tel. +86 (010) 6828 3482

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Beijing’s 10 weirdest restaurants

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28 Reasons to love Taipei

 

(Not in any specific order or hierchy)

1. Family Mart, 7-Eleven, and other convenience stores have everything.

One of the highest per capita concentrations of convenience stores on earth. Where else can you pay your college tuition, eat dinner, print Mayday concert tickets, send express mail, and buy a handle of Johnny Walker at 4:30 a.m.?

Family Mart, 7-Eleven, and other convenience stores have everything.

2. Before every election, the streets look like this:

The perils of democracy and advertising.

Before every election, the streets look like this:

3. Taipei has the coolest cafés.

Eat it, Seattle. Boomers worry that today’s Taipei kids don’t want to conquer the world — they just want to open cafés with their friends. Coffee shops are basically bars in Taipei.

Taipei has the coolest cafés.

4. Eslite Dunnan is the world’s only 24-hour bookstore.

Saturday night people-watching at Eslite Bookstore Dunnan is never a bad way to sober up. Time magazine named it Asia’s best bookstore in 2004.

Eslite Dunnan is the world's only 24-hour bookstore.

5. Karaoke is a 24/7 sport too.

A 12-floor palace devoted to karaoke? Sure. Cashbox Partyworld does brisk business on typhoon holidays.

Karaoke is a 24/7 sport too.

6. Shrimping’s also 24/7.

Possibly the weirdest gastro-sport ever. Time to bust out your jorts and six-pack (of delicious Taiwan Beer).

Shrimping's also 24/7.

7. You won’t recognize 50% of the things sold at your local market.

Is that a crab or a cursed alien slipper? Why is that chicken blue?

You won't recognize 50% of the things sold at your local market.

8. Beef noodle soup is Taipei’s official religion.

Taipei hosts a Beef Noodle Soup Festival every year. Everyone swears a blood oath to their favorite shops. If you don’t like beef noodle soup, you are a disgusting pervert and I don’t want to know you.

Beef noodle soup is Taipei's official religion.

9. Yonghe has the best breakfast.

Sweet soy milk and fried Chinese doughnuts forever.

Yonghe has the best breakfast.

10. There’s a great bar called That Fucking Place.

“You have checked in to That Fucking Place on Foursquare.”

There's a great bar called That Fucking Place.

11. There’s a toilet-themed restaurant.

Please kindly invite your friends to eat shit. Modern Toilet offers enticing fare like “baby’s explosive diarrhea” (actually just green curry) served in mini toilet bowls.

There's a toilet-themed restaurant.

12. You can also dine at prison-Barbie-, and hospital-themed restaurants.

Keep Taipei weird, yall.

13. Yongkang Street is a great place to get your Asian retro-chic on.

Antiquing central. And James’ Kitchen is arguably the best Taiwanese restaurant in town.

Yongkang Street is a great place to get your Asian retro-chic on.

14. Zhongxiao has all the modernity you can want.

Zhongxiao has all the modernity you can want.

15. Taipei is the Chinese pop/indie music capital.

From C-pop megastars to symphonic metal, hip-hop, post-rock, and folk singer-songwriters, Taipei exports the best Mandarin pop music in the world. You’ll also catch bands like Neutral Milk Hotel at surprisingly small venues (The Wall and Legacy). For schedules, check GigGuide Taiwan.

Taipei is the Chinese pop/indie music capital.

16. There’s always some design or music festival.

Formoz, Simple Life, Huashan, Hohaiyan beach festival. Tizzy Bac speaking their minds.

There's always some design or music festival.

17. The clubbing scene’s no slouch either.

Decidedly less douchey than clubbing in many other big cities. Every year there’s a new club du jour, but Luxy was your first fake-ID love.

The clubbing scene's no slouch either.

18. There’s a whole street devoted to wedding photographers.

Chungshan North Road Section 2. I have never seen this in any other city. Keep. Taipei. Weird.

There's a whole street devoted to wedding photographers.

19. Yangmingshan National Park is a bus ride away.

On the rare occasion the sun’s out, you can take day hikes on a whim.

Yangmingshan National Park is a bus ride away.

20. Ximending is cosplayers and otakus galore.

Get your gothic loli on.

Ximending is cosplayers and otakus galore.

21. The garbage trucks sing to you.

22. If you piss off the students, you WILL hear from them.

Flawed democracy is still democracy. Read.

If you piss off the students, you WILL hear from them.

23. GuangHua is basically a Tatooine junkyard of electronic bargains.

Brave the clouds of nerd-sweat at GuangHua for a steal on a new computer. Bring your haggling A-game. (Also, RIP old GuangHua.)

GuangHua is basically a Tatooine junkyard of electronic bargains.

24. Night markets. All of them.

Imagine hundreds of street-food carts and pop-up stores crammed in 10 city blocks. Everyone goes to Shilin, but Shida has the coolest stuff. Too bad the government’s scaling it down.

Night markets. All of them.

25. Beitou has great hot-spring spas.

The northern suburbs appeal to the geriatric in us all.

Beitou has great hot-spring spas.

26. Sick of the rainy north? You can get to Kenting Beach in four hours…

Sick of the rainy north? You can get to Kenting Beach in four hours...

…on a Cartoon Network-themed bullet train.

27. Taipei 101 has the best New Year’s fireworks.

Camping out at a park near Taipei 101 with your friends, drinking 7-Eleven whiskey, watching fireworks, then seeing the flag-raising ceremony at sunrise at the Presidential Palace = best way to start a year.

28 Reasons To Love Taipei

28. F O O D

Food is good. I like food. Everyone and their mothers’ dogs have a food blog in Taipei. A Hungry Girl’s Guide to Taipei is a good place to start. Anthony Bourdain agrees.

F O O D

 

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28 Reasons to love Taipei