The world’s best Chinatowns that aren’t in China

Posted by - August 1, 2018

MOST METROPOLITAN destinations in the world host little cultural enclaves such as Little India, Koreatown, Vietnamese suburb, Japantown, and perhaps the most popular town of the kind, Chinatown.
Whether you’re in Cuba or San Francisco, the concept of a Chinatown is the same across the board: an ethnic enclave of Chinese people located outside of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan.
It’s often a unifying factor for the Chinese in the area, offering Chinese-themed shopping centers and markets, Cantonese restaurants and cafes, decorated in giddying lanterns and flashing lights, and is often the place to be to celebrate festivities such as Chinese New Year.
The heart of heritage: A glimpse of Bangkok’s Chinatown If you’re Chinese, no matter where you are, a Chinatown will make you feel right at home. And for travelers, a Chinatown is simply a taste of China.
Chinatowns are usually found in an urban setting, so don’t expect peace and quiet if you plan to take a stroll down the cramped streets. Do, however, enjoy being in between all the action in the old and the new, as tradition and modernity blend together to become one.
Here are some of the world’s best Chinatowns that aren’t in China:
Manila, The Philippines Located in the Binondo district of Manila, the Philippines’ Chinatown has influence that extends beyond Quiapo, Santa Cruz, San Nicolas.
Considered the world’s oldest Chinatown, it was established in 1594 by Spaniards as a settlement near Intramuros for the Catholic Chinese.
Source: Shutterstock.
Aside from its Filipino-Chinese businesses, Binondo is also famous for The Umbrella Alley where street food is aplenty and historical sites such as the Seng Guan Temple and the Kuang Kong Temple.
Niu Che Shui, Singapore Niu Che Shui, which means “ox”, “cart”, and “water”, Singapore’s Chinatown was once an enclave for the island city-state’s immigrant population.
Today, Niu Che Shui is a sharp but pleasing contrast to the high-rise buildings that surround the area and is heavily visited by both locals and tourists.
Source: Shutterstock.
From its historic ornate Chinese and Buddhist temples to the traditional medicinal halls to the bustling street market and food streets, as well as the hip new watering holes and lifestyle shops, there’s never a dull moment here.
Bangkok, Thailand The sights, sounds, and smells of Yaowarat area will be an assault on any visitor’s senses but in all the best ways.
Get ready for an adventure when you stroll down many of Thailand’s Chinatown in Bangkok and sample the treats from its street food vendors, while occasionally whipping out your camera to take shots for the ‘gram.
Source: Shutterstock.
Yaowarat’s fascinating mix of Chinese and Thai cultures sets it apart from other Chinatowns in the world and it’s not an experience that you should miss.
Kolkata, India Located in the eastern part of Kolkata, Tiretta Bazaar was established in the early 19th century and was once home to 20,000 ethnic Chinese Indian nationals.
Today, the area is still very much loved, dotted with Chinese restaurants that offer traditional Chinese cuisine and Indian-influenced Chinese food.
Source: Shutterstock.
During Chinese New Year, throngs of Chinese Indians flock to Tiretta Bazaar to celebrate and also to witness the lion dance performances that continue to be held every year.
Yokohama, Japan Located in Yokohama, just south of Tokyo, the Yokohama Chinatown has a history that spans about 150 years long and a population of about 3,000 to 4,000 Chinese people.
Established not long after Tokyo opened its port to foreign trade in 1859, it’s the largest Chinatown in Japan and also in Asia, and one of the largest in the world.
Source: Shutterstock.
Yokohama Chinatown is home to over 200 restaurants serving Japan-influence Chinese cuisine, an eight-story entertainment mall and theme park, Chinese grocery and medicine stores, and two elaborate Chinese temples.
Melbourne, Australia In Australia, the Chinese community is well-represented, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. In fact, Melbourne’s Chinatown is popularly known as the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world and the oldest Chinatown in the southern hemisphere.
It was established upon the arrival of Chinese immigrants during the Victorian gold rush of the early 1850s, a period of extreme prosperity for the Australian colony.
Source: Shutterstock.
Home to many Chinese restaurants, cultural venues, businesses, places of worship, architectural heritage and annual festivals, Melbourne’s Chinatown is a major tourist attraction.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia At the heart of Malaysia where the city never sleeps is a lively and colorful destination with sprawling flea markets, beautiful temples, and quirky art galleries. It has to be Chinatown.
The large covered market is known for its fashion shops selling both must-have items as well as designer rip-offs, handicraft and souvenir stalls, as well as stalls dishing up delectable Chinese food and refreshing beverages.
Source: Shutterstock.
Shopaholics will love haggling for and scoring dirt-cheap steals and deals whilst other travelers shouldn’t miss this mindboggling sightseeing activity.
The post The world’s best Chinatowns that aren’t in China appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

5 new restaurants in Singapore get Michelin-starred

Posted by - July 26, 2018

TRAVELERS who are led by their stomachs would be pleased to know that the Michelin Guide Singapore 2018 has put more Michelin-starred restaurants on the table.
This adds to the existing list of eateries that was announced last year.
Ready to chow down at Singapore’s Michelin Guide Street Food Festival? “Five restaurants received their very first Michelin star in the third edition of Michelin Guide Singapore, bringing the number of one-starred-restaurants in Singapore to 34,” the Michelin Guide wrote on its website.
“There are no restaurants celebrated with three stars this year, the restaurants with two stars last year kept their accolades.”
For the uninitiated, the prestigious annual guidebook sets a standard of excellence with its star rankings and Bib Gourmand selections.
It takes into consideration elements such as product quality, preparation and flavors, the chef’s personality as revealed through his or her cuisine, value for money, and consistency over time across the entire menu.
Source: Shutterstock.
The criteria for the star rankings, which was established in 1936, are as follows:
*: “Une très bonne table dans sa catégorie” (A very good restaurant in its category)
**: “Table excellente, mérite un détour” (Excellent cooking, worth a detour)
***: “Une des meilleures tables, vaut le voyage” (Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey)
This year, the Michelin Guide Singapore 2018 awarded a total of 39 restaurants on the island with Michelin stars.
Get to know the five which have been newly-minted with one star:
Burnt Ends “Modern Australian barbecue restaurant Burnt Ends, which opened in May 2013 in the Chinatown neighborhood, is famous for its open-concept kitchen with custom-made grills.”
“The four tonne, dual cavity ovens and the three elevation grills heat up to over 1,700 degrees and are fired by coal, apple or almond wood.”
“Grilled beef accompanied by marmalade and pickles, and the buns with beef marrow particularly appealed to the Michelin inspectors.”
A post shared by Burntends_SG (@burntends_sg) on Jul 19, 2017 at 8:21pm PDT
Address: 20 Teck Lim Road, Singapore 088391.
Nouri “At Nouri’s open kitchen, chef owner Ivan Brehm creates seasonal and internationally inspired cuisine. Brehm has worked in the finest kitchens in the world, including Per Se in New York, Hibiscus in London and Mugaritz in the Basque Country.”
“Brehm had also joined Heston Blumenthal to serve as the Development Chef at the Experimental Kitchen at The Fat Duck for 4 years.”
“He is best known for leading The Kitchen at Bacchanalia in Singapore to its first Michelin Star in 2016 when he was the restaurant’s executive chef.
“Inspectors noted the “Bread and Bouillon” dish, which combines a leavened rye bread, a silky cheese, and a vegetable broth, as an unforgettable specialty.”
A post shared by Restaurant Nouri (@restaurantnouri) on Jan 23, 2018 at 2:43am PST
Address: 72 Amoy Street, Singapore 069891.
Sushi Kimura “One star has also been awarded to Sushi Kimura at Orchard Road in Palais Renaissance.”
“Sushi Kimura is a 22-seater fine-dining sushi-ya, helmed by Tomoo Kimura, who has spent two decades crafting his fine art while serving an apprenticeship under his sushi master in Tokyo.”
“He rose to become the executive chef at several fine-dining and Michelin-starred sushi-yas before deciding to make his maiden foray as a Master Chef with the opening of Sushi Kimura.”
“Inspectors took note of an abalone dish, cooked for eight hours in sake, as one of the most remarkable creations of this establishment.”
A post shared by Sushi Kimura Singapore (@sushikimurasg) on May 23, 2018 at 3:51am PDT
Address: 390 Orchard Road, #01-07 Palais Renaissance Singapore 238871.
Ma Cuisine “Ma Cuisine, located in a spacious double shophouse along Craig Road was also awarded one Michelin star.”
“The young French owners have curated a collection of over 600 labels from diverse terroirs from wine-producing regions in France to more uncommon regions like Hungary and even Lebanon.”
“Chef Mathieu Escoffier who takes charge of the kitchen sends out rustic French fare that will transport you to the vineyards and rolling hills of Beaune in Burgundy.”
A post shared by Ma Cuisine (@macuisine1996) on Apr 20, 2018 at 12:51am PDT
Address: 38 Craig Rd, Singapore 089676.
Jiang-Nan Chun “Jiang-Nan Chun, led by chef Tim Lam, has been noted for ‘traditional Cantonese cuisine of great finesse’.”
“Inspectors highlighted fried chicken with lime sauce as one of the most emblematic dishes in the restaurant.”
“Chef Tim Lam used to work in Macau and led Ying, a Cantonese restaurant in Melco Resorts & Entertainment’s Altira Macau complex, to their one star in 2017. He joined Jiang-Nan Chun late last year.”
A post shared by Johnathan Giang (@free.the.umami) on Dec 2, 2017 at 6:34pm PST
Address: 190 Orchard Blvd, Singapore 248646.
The post 5 new restaurants in Singapore get Michelin-starred appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Malaysia vs. Singapore: Food fight

Posted by - June 25, 2018

IS MALAYSIAN FOOD the same as Singaporean food? Which country does it better? Who really owns chicken rice?
It’s an age-old food fight between the neighboring countries that will never truly end.
Food tourism: Where are the top food destinations in Asia? Malaysia and Singapore often get compared because of their proximity to each other and similar demographics. Much more so than Thailand and Malaysia.
Although the assumption is the two countries are quite literally joined at the hip, the differences between their cost of living, the standard of living, palates, and cultures are what sets them apart.
This includes food, of course.
Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur is famous for many food stalls and outdoor dining. Source: Shutterstock.
Often, Malaysians and Singaporeans debate over the quality of their food and for years, the nations have been staking claim over some identical dishes and what they think is rightfully theirs.
Case in point: The well-loved Hainanese chicken rice. Said to be one of the world’s 50 most delicious foods (according to CNN GO), the dish has been caught in this tug of war for decades, with Singapore calling it their national dish.
“(They say) chicken rice is theirs (and) if we’re not careful, ‘char koay teow‘ will become theirs (one day too),” Business Insider quoted Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng as saying.
‘Char koay teow’ is a popular noodle dish in Penang, Malaysia. It’s usually stir-fried over very high heat with light and dark soy sauce, chili, a small quantity of ‘belacan’ (shrimp paste), whole prawns, deshelled blood cockles, bean sprouts, chopped Chinese chives, and egg. Source: Shutterstock.
Those who don’t know any better may think that Malaysian food and Singaporean food are one and the same. As they always say, “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.”
But here are some popular Malaysian and Singaporean dishes that are actually different.
Wantan mee Wantan mee (wonton noodles) is a Cantonese noodle dish which is popular in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.
The Malaysian version of wantan mee. Source: Shutterstock.
Malaysia: The noodles are either served in a hot broth, garnished with leafy vegetables, and wonton dumpling, or relatively dry, dressed with oyster sauce, and garnished with chopped spring onions, with wontons and soup in a separate bowl.
Singapore: The dish includes noodles, leafy vegetables, barbecued pork, and bite-sized wonton. However, the Singapore version uses less soya cause and is often served with chili ketchup.
Bak kut teh Bak kut teh (Hokkien words which mean “meat bone tea”) is a pork rib dish cooked in broth popularly served in Malaysia and Singapore, and also in neighboring areas like Riau Islands and Southern Thailand.
Bak kut teh is done differently in Singapore. Source: Shutterstock.
Malaysia: Usually cooked in a claypot, bak kut teh contains a variety of herbs, pork meat and ribs, and soy sauce creating a more fragrant, textured and darker soup.
Singapore: Ordinarily, bak kut teh restaurants serve the Teochew style of clear soup bak kut teh, which is light in color but uses more pepper and garlic in the soup.
Hokkien mee Hokkien mee is a dish in Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine that has its origins in the cuisine of China’s Fujian province.
There are distinctive differences between Singapore and Malaysia’s versions of hokkien mee. Source: Shutterstock.
Malaysia: Cooked over a raging charcoal fire, it’s a dish of thick yellow noodles braised in thick dark soy sauce with pork, squid, fish cake and cabbage as the main ingredients and cubes of lard.
Singapore: It’s a stir-fried dish of egg noodles and rice noodles in fragrant stock (made from stewing prawn heads, meat, clams, and dried fish). It also has a lighter color than the Malaysian version and is usually served with lime and sambal (hot sauce) for that extra zing.
Laksa Laksa is a spicy dish popular in the Peranakan cuisine, consists of noodles chicken, prawn or fish, served in soup. It’s found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and southern Thailand.
Asam laksa is a sour, fish and tamarind-based soup with thick rice noodles. Source: Shutterstock.
Malaysia: There are various types of laksa across the country, even some state-specific recipes such as Asam laksa (Penang), Sarawak laksa (Sarawak), Laksa Kelantan (Kelantan), Laksa Johor (Johor), curry laksa, Nyonya laksa (Malacca), and laksam (Kelantan and Terengganu), just to name a few.
Singapore: The country’s variant of curry laksa is better known as its local “Katong” version. It’s a spicy soup stock the color of a flaming sunset, flavored with coconut milk and dried shrimp, and topped with ingredients like cockles, prawns, and fishcake.
Don’t make these cultural Pho-pas when eating in Asia The countries aren’t always at loggerheads though. As much as food is one of the reasons why Malaysians and Singaporeans can’t see eye-to-eye, food is also a big uniting factor.
For example, Singapore and Malaysia banded together with Indonesia in a furor over MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace’s crispy chicken rendang comment.
The post Malaysia vs. Singapore: Food fight appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

My Melody to captivate fans in Singapore with themed cafe

Posted by - May 28, 2018

SHE’S SUGAR, spice, and everything nice. And she’s ready to win the hearts of the people in Singapore.
My Melody (マイメロディ, Mai Merodī) is a white rabbit that first debuted portraying Little Red Riding Hood in her version of the classic fairy tale. She wears the trademark red (or sometimes pink) hood that covers her ears.
Hello Kitty fans, here’s your first look at the Hello Kitty Shinkansen She’s a good friend of Hello Kitty’s, having appeared alongside the world-famous cat in the television series The Adventures of Hello Kitty & Friends.
Her hobby is said to be baking while her favorite food is almond pound cake. Which is only apt since a cafe in her name is opening in Singapore soon.
A post shared by My Melody Cafe Singapore (@mymelodycafesg) on May 25, 2018 at 8:34pm PDT
Located at Suntec City, the cafe will boast a cute indoor al fresco garden setting, complete with a floral arch, a garden-themed mural wall, and a cottage.
If the My Melody Cafe in Shibuya, Tokyo is anything to go by, fans can expect a menu packed with adorable-styled but palate-pleasing pink dishes.
A post shared by takako (@takakotje) on Nov 17, 2016 at 10:56pm PST
This includes mains, desserts, and drinks which will likely be character-customized.
From the spicy red curry with rice to the pretty eggs benedict with dollops of pink sauce, as well as the dessert pizza with melted marshmallows and the yummy strawberry parfait, fans will find themselves spoilt for choice.
A post shared by @chakshokryo on Oct 12, 2017 at 4:16am PDT
Wash it all down with an iced fruit-flavored soda or sip on a hot latte to curb your food coma. And please don’t leave without taking lots of pictures.
For more information, visit My Melody Cafe on Facebook.
The post My Melody to captivate fans in Singapore with themed cafe appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Surviving Asia’s 5 most expensive destinations for business travel

Posted by - April 3, 2018

WITH bleisure (a business and leisure travel combo) becoming a phenomenon, more and more business travelers are extending work travel for leisure.
However, extending your stay can be quite costly, especially if additional expenses for the trip has to come out of your own personal budget. This equals accommodation, meals, transport, on top of currency exchange, for the entirety of the extension.
The best way to go about this is to know firsthand which cities are expensive for travel.
These Asian countries are most welcoming for expats If you’re coming to Asia, keep in mind that despite the US dollar being the most powerful currency in the world, the cost of living in the region greatly varies and not all Asian countries are affordable.
In a survey released last December, market research company ECA International said 26 of the world’s top 50 most expensive cities to live in are in Asia, with 14 cities in China alone.
“This compares with just four EU cities and three US making it into the top 50,” the firm wrote.
It’s helpful to have a picture of how much life will cost as an expatriate or a business traveler in some of these locations, so here are Asia’s five most expensive destinations for business travel and the average daily expense you’d likely be making.
Tokyo Cost of living in Japan is generally high, with expatriates pegging the average monthly cost at around JPY100,000 (US$945). But it really depends on which Japanese city you’re going to.
For example, Tokyo is cheaper than both London and New York, but really expensive compared to Thailand or the Philippines, and a large chunk of your daily expenses will go to paying for your accommodation. Eating out at a restaurant, drinking at a bar, and going to the theater is also costlier than most Asian countries as they’re seen as more upscale activities.
There’s nearly nothing that you can’t find in Japan’s combinis. Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$536 (JPY56,742).
Tip for surviving the trip: Take the Tokyo Metro (Japan subway) and stock up on simple, money-saving meals from Japan’s popular combinis (convenience stores).
Hong Kong Although Hong Kong is no longer the most expensive city for business travel, it’s still one of the most expensive in Asia, and it certainly has the potential to empty out your bank account.
Four-star hotel prices in the land-starved country cost about US$284 per day. And due to the high price of goods, meals and drinks can cost up to US$186 per day. If you’re going to eat Western meals every day and dine out at nice restaurants all the time, then be prepared to cough up quite a bit of dough.
It’s not impossible to find affordable eats in Hong Kong. Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$508 (HKD3,987).
Tip for surviving the trip: Take the MTR (Hong Kong subway) and make cheap food places (market food, neighborhood noodle joints) your daily destination.
Seoul In 2015, The Economist‘s Worldwide Cost of Living report classified Seoul as the most expensive city in the world for buying everyday food items. For example, an average price for a loaf of bread (one kilogram) in Singapore costs US$3.54 while in Seoul it costs US$13.91.
And like the above well developed East Asian countries, staying in this South Korean capital can be expensive and business travelers should expect to fork out US$252 per day on a four-star hotel. That being said, subways, buses, taxis, eating out, and buying basic clothing is cheaper in South Korea than Toronto.
Remember to clink your soju glass and say, “Geonbae!” Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$490 (KRW518,625).
Tip for surviving the trip: Take the Seoul Metropolitan Subway and seek out bars like Ssada! Maekju! or Makgeolli Salon in Hongdae where you can get free refills for draft beers (KRW7,295/person), soju (KRW4,863/person), and makgeolli (KRW5,269/person).
Singapore For the fifth year running, the Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked Singapore the world’s most expensive city to live. That goes hand-in-hand with it being one of the world’s most expensive cities for business travel as well.
Business travelers can expect to spend an average of US$251 on four-star hotels per day and about US$186 on food and drinks. You’ll never have a dull moment on the island because Singapore is home to various attractions such as Universal Studios Singapore, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo, Underwater World, Madame Tussauds, and more.
But they come with a price, of course.
The world’s most expensive city to live is also one of the world’s most expensive cities for business travel. Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$472 (SGD618).
Tip for surviving the trip: Take the MRT (Singapore subway) and check out all these free things that you can do.
Dhaka Are you surprised to find that Dhaka, the capital and largest city of Bangladesh, is on the list too? According to The Daily Star, the cost of living in Dhaka is as high as the Canadian city of Montreal although the living amenities and conditions in these two cities are worlds apart. In fact, it’s considered more expensive to live and work in Dhaka than nearby capitals like New Delhi and Islamabad, and cities like Kolkata.
The living cost rose by 8.44 percent in Dhaka in 2017 because of hikes in prices of rice, vegetables, house rents, electricity, gas as well as other services. Hence, you should expect to spend about US$155 on meals and drinks. And as a business traveler, most of your expenses will go to your accommodation as it costs about US$277 on average for a four-star hotel.
Built in 1872 and standing on the Buriganga River, Ahsan Manzil is one of the most attractive historical sites in Dhaka. Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$456 (BDT37,921).
Tip for surviving the trip: Public transportation is not an option there, and traffic and pollution are exceptionally bad so plan your travels well and mask up if need be.
The post Surviving Asia’s 5 most expensive destinations for business travel appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Are you ready for Singapore’s new burger and shake joint?

Posted by - March 22, 2018

WHAT is your burger of choice? Do you go for the classic juicy beef patty in a sesame bun with pickles and jack cheese?
Or does your culinary flare shine brightly when it comes to burger combos?
Maybe you’d go for something with a Parmesan-panko crust, topped with fresh lettuce and a helping of spicy kimchi, three-battered onion rings and a squirt of Sriracha mayo?
A post shared by Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer (@blacktapnyc) on Mar 20, 2018 at 2:12pm PDT
Well, whatever your burger choice may be, things are about to be cranked up a notch as Singapore welcomes New York’s gastronomic phenomenon that is Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer.
Towards the end of the year, between August and December, Black Tap are looking to set up shop in the East.
Steals, deals, chills for night owls at Bangkok’s best offbeat markets It will be the first branch the burger joint has in Southeast Asia and it can’t arrive soon enough.
So, what exactly is Black Tap?
The burger joint was started by a Michelin-starred chef, Joe Isidori, who creates the most devilishly divine dishes, while nightclub developer Chris Barish designs the epic old-school interior.
A post shared by Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer (@blacktapnyc) on Dec 6, 2017 at 9:09am PST
Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer is set to make waves in Marina Bay Sands and we don’t doubt the queues for this joint will stretch around the block.
Some super scrummy delights from the menu include The Old Fashioned, which is a prime burger topped with crimini mushrooms, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and horseradish sauce.
A post shared by Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer (@blacktapnyc) on Dec 21, 2017 at 2:16pm PST
Also very noteworthy is The Falafel Burger – a chickpea patty, tahini, pickled onion, Greek feta, and hummus.
You’ll probably want some sides to accompany your burger. Choose from fries and onion rings with a choice of nine sauces, including truffle mayo, buttermilk-dill, Korean BBQ and salsa verde, for all the sauce pots out there.
A post shared by Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer (@blacktapnyc) on Nov 14, 2017 at 2:04pm PST
Before you get carried away chowing down in burger town, pick a beer or shake to help wash down your dinner.
The beer list is extensive and of course, it includes New York City favorites like Brooklyn Lager and Blue Moon.
A post shared by Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer (@blacktapnyc) on Mar 2, 2018 at 2:20pm PST
If you’re looking to get a little waved, opt for a Gun Hill 177 at 10ABV, but drink responsibly.
If you’re keener on snapping that perfect Instagram picture and less worried about getting tiddly, then order a crazy shake to make all your followers envious and probably hungry.
A post shared by Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer (@blacktapnyc) on Jan 17, 2018 at 2:07pm PST
This new burger joint is certainly set to be as Instagrammable as it is delicious.
See you soon, Black Tap.
The post Are you ready for Singapore’s new burger and shake joint? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Drinks with a view: 5 best rooftop bars in Asia

Posted by - March 15, 2018

A THRIVING NIGHTLIFE keeps things interesting in cities.
And as the cocktail bar scene continues to grow in Asia, more and more bars are mushrooming in the region.
Cocktails afloat a bamboo raft: Could this be the world’s best bar? From hunting down speakeasy-styled bars or hitting up neighborhood watering holes to enjoying a romantic interlude at snazzier and classier joints, going for a drink or two in a foreign city tops some travelers’ to-do lists.
There’s nothing quite like enjoying a refreshing glass of Long Island Tea at one of these rooftop bars in Asia, overlooking the vibrant city lights, wind in the hair and all that jazz.
Singapore: 1-Altitude Located at One Raffles Place tower in the heart of Singapore, 1-Altitude features several dining and drinking venues stretching from the 61st to 63rd floors. Sporting a 360-degree view, the bar (said to be the world’s highest al fresco bar) boasts the highest views and arguably some of the best. But here’s the catch: there’s nothing but a thin, shoulder-height glass panel to impede the vista below. While you’re on top of the world, you’ll not only be able to spot Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer but also all the other surrounding neighborhoods. By evening, it’s a top stop for sunsets but as the sun goes down, the music level and the energy goes up with live music and DJs taking over the bar.
A post shared by Hwang Min-cheol (@sniper0724) on Feb 7, 2018 at 1:41am PST
Be sure to make reservations in advance as getting a table can be quite a challenge.
Thailand: Vertigo and Moon Bar Reach for the clouds at Bangkok’s rooftop bars Vertigo and Moon Bar, located on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree hotel. Arguably the best ones in the city, it’s so popular that post-work city slickers flock to the bars to destress and enjoy a drink or two. Both bars are distinctively different though – Moon Bar provides a glamorous alfresco lounge with soft blue lighting, panoramic views, live jazz and fresh cocktails while Vertigo offers a romantic “wine and dine” experience for those who love their Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Sauvignon.
A post shared by Robert Schenkenfelder (@endowzoner) on Feb 8, 2018 at 11:45am PST
Vertigo’s surf ‘n’ turf comes highly recommended to do chow down on some seafood or steak while you’re there.
Indonesia: Rock Bar Bali Perched atop rock formations along Jimbaran’s sunset coast, Rock Bar Bali at Ayana is breathtaking – and perhaps not for the weak-hearted. The bar is located on the edge of a cliff along Jimbaran Bay in Bali, offering a gravity-defying experience. Much more so if you’ve had a couple of drinks. To get to the bar, travelers will need to make their way over by cable car, with dramatic cliffs on either side. Once you’re there, enjoy the sound of the rolling waves of the Indian Ocean and soak in what’s remaining of the day as the sun sets, before fist-pumping to international DJs who perform from a booth that’s been carved directly into the cliff face.
A post shared by Rock Bar, BALI (@rockbarbali) on Dec 28, 2017 at 11:13pm PST
They don’t call it the premier sunset venue for nothing.
South Korea: Bar 81 The new 555-meter-tall Lotte World Tower opened in Seoul in April 2017 to much fanfare. Current the fifth tallest building in the world, the tower comprises of offices, galleries, residences, more offices, a skywalk, an observation tower, and the super luxurious Signiel Seoul hotel. On the 81st floor of Signiel Seoul is Bar 81, a bar so high up that it probably needs a postal code in the clouds. Guests can enjoy the contemporary Parisian menus of chef Yannick Alléno and even have a glass of champagne to go with it. The bar has the largest menu of champagne labels in South Korea, but also a wide range of other liquors.
A post shared by 2쥬 (@2__joo_) on Feb 11, 2018 at 8:08am PST
Don’t forget to look up and admire the glitzy glass art installation overhead.
China: Cloud 9 Shanghai is China’s bustling central business district (CBD) and thus, it should come as no surprise that the city is dotted with sophisticated drinking spots. One that’s definitely worth more than just one mention is Grand Hyatt Shanghai’s posh Cloud 9. Taking over the Jin Mao tower on the 87th floor of the hotel, the dark mahogany and chrome bar features a maze of terraced levels and diving columns, and a hide-away mezzanine bar. Cloud 9 overlooks the iconic Bund and also offers a spectacular 360-degree view of Shanghai, allowing you to admire neon-lit skyline while you sip on one of the bar’s classic cocktails.
A post shared by @charliegarcia73 on Dec 28, 2017 at 4:00pm PST
Best to get a table facing west for views of the Bund, Pearl Tower, and the lights of Puxi, and southeast for views of the Shanghai World Financial Center.
The post Drinks with a view: 5 best rooftop bars in Asia appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

What do Malaysians and Irish have in common?

Posted by - March 7, 2018

NO, this is not the start of a bad joke. It is, in fact, the start of realizing uncommon comparisons between two nations which are thousands of miles apart.
Why?Because it’s very nearly St Patrick Day, and both countries and plenty of other nations are gearing up to celebrate.
Win John Legend tickets for the perfect date night at Resorts World Genting Around the globe, it’s estimated that St Patrick’s day is celebrated in over 50 countries and Malaysia is no exception.
Whether you’re of Irish descent, enjoy drinking creamy Guinness or just love an excuse to party on down to St Patrick’s town, there’s no reason to stop you joining in the celebrations on March 17 this year.
Surprisingly enough, Malaysia has many similarities to the emerald Ireland. But what are they?
A post shared by Mindy Chai (@minnnnch) on Mar 2, 2018 at 7:16am PST
Myths, fables, and tales of mysterious creatures A post shared by That Goldendoodle Murphy (@thatgoldendoodle) on Mar 1, 2018 at 6:11pm PST
Asia is notorious for its belief in superstitions, black magic and mythical creatures that only come out under very specific circumstances.
While Ireland doesn’t take it quite this far, stories of the Irish orange-haired leprechaun are known across the world. Supposedly, the little fellow sits guarding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, bringing cheeky mischief to those he encounters.
Malaysia has its very own versions of mythical creatures, but one, in particular, isn’t as happy-go-lucky as the little Irish creature.
The legend of the pontianak strikes fear into children across Malaysia as their parents warn them not to go outside after dark as the “female vampire in the trees” will get them.
However, it’s more than likely an old wives’ tale to stop curious kids from getting lost in the night.
Cross-border banter A post shared by (@u2start) on Mar 5, 2018 at 11:44pm PST
Ireland and England certainly have rivalries when it comes to sports and music. Ireland brought the world U2, but England created the Yorkshire pudding and David Beckham.
Similarly, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia have a friendly rivalry when it comes to food. But for anyone who has visited all three countries, you’ll know first hand that each delivers exceptional taste fusions. Everyone’s a winner.
Friendliest folk A post shared by Holly Lin (@hollylzd) on Jan 30, 2018 at 7:21pm PST
Malaysia and Ireland play home to some of the most caring, inclusive, humble, generous and funny people on the planet.
Travelers to both nations are made to feel incredibly welcome. Often, locals will introduce tourists to local cultures, customs, and traditions, revealing an authentic and immersive experience, opposed to just another vacation.
Both nations pride themselves in having a laid-back attitude too. Sometimes, working on Malaysian time can be frustrating if you’re in a rush, but once you get used to the fact that nobody else is in a hurry, you can relax and take everything as it comes.
What do Malaysians and Irish have in common? Love for Guinness A post shared by Jean (@jeanyfc) on May 12, 2017 at 3:24am PDT
Does it need much more of an explanation? In almost every bar in big cities across Malaysia, Guinness or a similar silky stout will either be on draught or in a chilled bottle.
Simply ask for a pint of the “black stuff” and bar attendants in both nations will pull you a pint, albeit with a little wait, as the creamy beer-head settles.
Then simply sip, lick your top lip and enjoy.
What will you be doing to celebrate St Patrick’s day?
The post What do Malaysians and Irish have in common? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Asia’s 50 Best Bars is coming to Singapore

Posted by - February 23, 2018

ASIA’S most significant bar event is coming to Singapore and it is set to be a night of glamour, award-giving and of course, sipping some of the world’s most spectacular taste fusions.
Asia’s 50 Best Bars awards ceremony is now in its third year of dishing out accolades to Asia’s most brilliant bars.
This year the event will be hosted in Singapore’s Capitol Theatre on May 3, followed by what we imagine to be a raucous after party. However, the location of this has not yet been disclosed, but we’re hedging our bets that it will be held at the venue of last year’s winner – Manhattan.
Featuring at the very top of Asia’s 50 Best Bars list, Manhattan is, of course, famous for its New York-themed signature cocktail.
The spacious bar has a very chic and cool feel to it. The brown Chesterfield sofas and floor-length magenta drapes welcome you to get comfy while you sip on the genius creations from the head barman, Philip Bischoff.
Also, on last year’s list of exceptional bars in Asia are Speak Low in Shanghai, High Fix in Tokyo, Indulge Experimental Bistro in Taipei and The Bamboo Bar at Mo in Bangkok, to name a few.
Happy, bouncy giant playground of balloon art returns to Singapore Omakase and Appreciate in Kuala Lumpur also made the list at number 41. The bar is a teeny speakeasy place run by two leading figures of Malaysia’s burgeoning cocktail scene. This bar is a little hard to find, but when you eventually discover it, don’t be put off by the “no entry” sign hanging on the door.
Signature drinks include Whiskey Cobbler with a pineapple twist and a Tom Collins with sour plum soda.
So how does it work? The bars are voted on by a group of 200 leaders in the Asian bar scene. All of which have been chosen as judges because of their knowledge and insight of the industry.
These judges are a mixture of drink journalists, industry professionals, mixologists, bartenders, bar owners and people who just really love good cocktails.
Each of the judges is required to create a list of seven bars, in order of their favorites. However, they must explain why, based on experiences they’ve had in the bars in the last one and half years.
Nevermind Coachella, head to one of these music festivals in Asia instead Categories don’t really exist within this award scheme yet, but each of the judges must list at least three bars which are outside of their home country.
We can’t wait to see what this year’s event in Singapore is going to stir up.
The post Asia’s 50 Best Bars is coming to Singapore appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Ready to chow down at Singapore’s Michelin Guide Street Food Festival?

Posted by - February 8, 2018

THE MICHELIN GUIDE Street Food Festival is returning to Singapore this April and foodies from far and wide are already pulling out their adult bibs from the closet and shining up their dedicated tasting spoons.
To make saught after Michelin-starred dishes more accessible to those who might otherwise never get to sample such international tastes, the organizers have brought together 15 establishments that were recognized in the 2017 Michelin Guide.
A post shared by 伊能すみ子 (@sumikosg50) on Sep 27, 2016 at 11:13pm PDT
The Michelin Guide faced some hardship in 2017 as French Chef Jérôme Brochot from Le France, a hotel restaurant in the small town of Montceau-Les-Mines, gave back the world’s most coveted accolade, a Michelin Star, after he conceded that pressure to maintain the high standard was too costly.
Another French Chef, Sébastien Bras, recently gave back his three stars after admitting that the pressure of knowing a Michelin judge could come at any moment became too much for him.
Halal and Instagrammable: Kuala Lumpur’s best brunch spots Despite these setbacks, The Michelin Guide has expanded its presence across Asia. Last year, the guide platform released its eponymous restaurant guide for Bangkok. Thailand’s capital joined Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo on the list of Asian cities with Michelin stars.
Now with Singapore’s culinary event forthcoming across the city, The Michelin Guide hopes to expand its portfolio even further.
The event promises to be a multi-cultural showcase from Singapore’s best street food and Michelin-starred restaurants. New to the line-up this year from local hawker favorites is the renowned Man Man Unagi restaurant with their signature Una-Don.
Just some of the tasty dishes you can try from Ubin Seafood. Source: @newubinseafood / Instagram
Also on the line-up is Ubin Seafood with their scrumptious, but naughty Heart Attack Fried Rice. Hungry-pups can also feast on Joël Robuchon Restaurant dessert favorites and Song of India’s perfectly baked Naans and butter chicken. Each of the sumptuous dishes at the three-day event are on offer from just US$3 per plate.
“Food is the fabric of Singapore’s culture and a part of the country’s national identity. It is well-loved around the world for its rich multi-ethnic influences and The Michelin Guide Street Food Festival is the perfect way to celebrate that,” Michelin Guide Singapore wrote in a blog post.
When is it on? Three sessions will be held starting March 30, starting at 6pm. Tickets are already sold out for the Saturday sessions, but foodies can go along to the Sunday sessions, also being held at the same time, to sample the last supper of the Easter weekend.
The post Ready to chow down at Singapore’s Michelin Guide Street Food Festival? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.