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Oct 19, 2011 10:39 AM

big asia!

hi everyone:

i'm heading alone to asia for a month: hong kong - shanghai - beijing - seoul - tokyo - kyoto - taiwan. would love some recommendations. not looking for anything fancy but just good down-home yummy eats that i shouldn't miss. i know this seems general but i've done some research for HK and have decided that i'm basically eating dimsum and noodles while i'm there. what are some of the "can't-miss" places? also would love french pastry recommendations.

thank you!

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  1. ' Can't miss places'??!! What are your budget and preferences? Since one can have great tasting food in either hole-in-the-wall places as well as high end haut-cuisine restaurants.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu

      i don't have a budget but prefer hole-in-the-wall places versus high-end. and since i'm traveling around, i would think that i wouldn't eat ramen in china since i'll be in japan...etc (have read some ramen recommendations for china).

      just to share some places i've looked up to checkout...

      hk: tim ho wan, fu ho, and tai po hui market cooked food center for dim sum; kai kai noodle shop; mongkok cafe; agnes b; tai cheong egg tart; mandarin bakery; five generation dessert; and roll bakery.

      shanghai: da dong for peking duck; shanxi noodles; de long guan for xiao long bao...

      con't to research...what's the street food situation like in hk and china?

      1. re: misc1774

        If you are into noodles and your time spend in one place is relatively short. For Hong Kong, I would definitely try out the Won Ton noodles as well as the Beef Brisket and Tendon noodles at Mak An Kee, Mak's, Mak Man Kee and Tasty.
        And don't forget Cantonese B-B-Q/Roast Meats at Joy Hing in Wan Chai or Yat Lok in Central.
        Agnes b for western??!! What prompted you to pick that? Instead, I would head out to any of the Michelin star restaurants for ' business lunch'. Great value! One can get a very enjoyable 4 course lunch for around US$ 30-40!!

        1. re: Charles Yu

          yes, got tasty's in hung hum down. agnes b not for food-food but pastries...i think there's a shop in IFC mall central?!

          1. re: misc1774

            Must try the cake shop at the Mandarin Hotel!! Awesome!!
            Pastries at HK's L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in the Landmark pretty fine too!

        2. re: misc1774

          just a note: da dong is in beijing and not shanghai. just in case it wasn't a slip-up on your part and you end up not being able to find the restaurant...

          (unless there is a branch now in SH!)

      2. Your info request is very broad - but with regards to "taiwan" & " french pastry recommendations", I'd like to recommend:
        - Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki at either the Formosa Regent or at Bellavita :

        - There is a patisserie by Joel Robuchon at Bella Vita mall, too, right next to L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon Taipei. Get the address from their website:

        1 Reply
        1. re: klyeoh

          sadaharu is also in tokyo (but of course. haha). easiest location is at midtown.

        2. hm i should probably provide more info to help you help me. born in taiwan, moved to the US when i was 9 to san francisco (still fluent and can read). spent the last few years in nyc working and eating through the city, since moved back to san francisco in 2011. an aspiring french pastry chef (hence the pastry recommendations). this is my first big trip to asia (only been to taiwan). when i think asia i think street food, hole-in-the-wall, mom&pops...and not necessarily fancy-micheline restaurants (feel like i've had my share in nyc, and con't to, in sf). to sum it up, looking for delicious local eats...and even better if you can recommend dishes with location (please keep in mind that i'll be eating alone...). helpful?

          2 Replies
          1. re: misc1774

            If you are an aspiring French Pastry chef, then I would wait till you get to Tokyo!! The Japanese makes incredible French pastries! Period!!!
            Almost every top end hotel has a great pastry shop inside! For example, Mid-town Tokyo where the Ritz-Carlton is! Pastry shop in plaza next to hotel is sooo good, there's always a line!! Robuchon has a patisserie at Ebisu garden. Pastry shop on second level of ANA Intercontinental Hotel in Akasaka is pretty good as well. Lastly, don't forget the basement food hall of major department stores!! You won't want to leave!!!!
            Back to Hong Kong. Two more must try! First, Snake soup and Fresh duck liver sausages plus b-b-q meat rice combo at She Wong Yee, Causeway Bay ( all that for less than US$12 ). Second, take the train to Tai Wai in the New Territories ( very convenient ) and have yourself a roasted pigeon and some fried live sea prawns with peppered salt at the Michelin 1* Fung Lum ( don't be intimidated by the Michelin star, but do check the daily market price of the prawns. Half a pound should be ample for one! )!! Just the thought of them makes me salivate!! Agree?! klyeoh??!!

            1. re: Charles Yu

              misc1774, agreed with Charles - you can save your French pastry stomach space for Tokyo so that you can eat 5x your normal capacity there.

              Besides the well-known French patissiers (many of whom have a location in either Shinjuku Takashimaya or Shinjuku Isetan depachika - one notable exception being Eric Kayser, who's at Tokyo Midtown), you can also try the cakes of well-known Japanese patissiers Toshi Yoroizuka (cafe at Tokyo Midtown, I think that's the one Charles is referring to) or Hidemi Sugino (store at Kyobashi near Ginza - he also has a book detailing some of his elaborate creations, though only in Japanese). The Japanese patissiers make perhaps the finest and lightest (if you can apply this term given the amount of cream used in such cakes) cakes in the world.

              At Takashimaya's food hall, they also have a little area where you can try an assortment of cakes from various popular patisseries in Tokyo. Look for the sleek stand displaying cakes in museum-like glass and steel cases. :)

          2. for shanghai: xlb at jia jia tang bao + sheng jian bao at xiao yang sheng jian. both on huanghe lu (circa 2010). definitely order the crab roe xlb from the former. do not go if you cannot stomach questionable hygiene practices.

            beijing: da dong (as mentioned by yourself).

            tokyo: too many things. tonkatsu at katsukura (shinjuku takashimaya) or butagumi (nishi-azabu area) makes for a not-too-bank-breaking but absolutely awesome meal. shinjuku isetan food hall for western (read: french) + japanese pastries (not even lafeyette gourmet is as well-represented). only queue for sushi dai + daiwa sushi at tsukiji if you don't mind being stuck in the queue for 1-2 hours, and being rushed at the table. personally i go to sushi-sei (the main branch, not the annex) when i am at tsukiji.

            (still on) tokyo: if you can manage to make the required bookings, aoyama esaki has a sub-6000yen set lunch that must be one of the cheapest meals for a michelin-starred restaurant. i believe sushi-saitou also has a very reasonable lunch set. love this italian place called pause (it's a bit of a schlep though, in asagaya). ramen: my current favourite is tetsu (next to shinagawa JR) - it's a tsuke-men.

            (and still on) tokyo: the queue for hidemi sugino is absolutely justified if you are a fan of mousse cakes. check their opening times, and be there 20 min earlier for a weekday / 40 min earlier for a weekend. don't go after meals, as some of the cakes have to be consumed in-store. get the ambrosia. absolute chocolate perfection.

            kyoto: there was a really good pastry shop called "ghost" when i was there. not sure if it still exists. excellent mousse cakes (mostly with liqueur if i remember correctly). in the maze of shops below the kyoto JR station, there is a szechuan restaurant that serves a wicked dan dan mian, which beats anything that i've had in hong kong / singapore (also anything in sichuan, but the former is not really an 'authentic" version of what a sichuan dan dan mian is). try to squeeze in a tofu meal. there's one which was recommended by diane durston; location's somewhere in ninen-zaka/sannenzaka.

            1. suggestion for best pineapple bun in hk? i know they are everywhere and i had read a post for "mongkok cafe" and can't seem to find it...