Asia Food Hotels Travel

Bangkok and Hong Kong – Siam Paragon and Din Tai Fung

Hello hello and I hope you all enjoy the last installment of my 2011/12 holiday Asia trip – read about Hong Kong, Bangkok (1), Bangkok (2), & Phuket here.

After leaving Phuket, Mr. Feather and I traveled back to Bangkok. This time we stayed at the Four Seasons, where I forgot to take pictures of our room. The most beautiful part of the hotel in my opinion is the lobby – you can see a little snapshot here of the colors from this picture of a floral arrangement I took:

Very pretty pastel colors and I would imagine a nice place to have afternoon tea. They also left this dessert in our room the first night. As you can see, roses were popular here. It looked good but we were both scared to try it for a while as we had never seen anything like it. Finally I bit down and while it was tasty, it was also almost like eating pure sugar. Mr. Feather also ate a bite and then gave up. The hotel left this in our room for our whole stay so it was basically taunting us with two uneaten bites looking a little forlorn.

Overall I enjoyed the Four Seasons and thought the service was fantastic. It might have just been the room we were in, but I felt the accommodations were a little underwhelming and lacking a little bit of that unique “Thai” inspiration. In the future I’d really like to try out Sukhothai.

The one activity I really wanted to do this return trip to Bangkok was try out the food court at Siam Paragon. Siam Paragon is one of the biggest shopping centers in Asia and when we were walking in, I saw Hermes, Chanel, Aston Martin, etc etc etc. I did walk around the retail area a bit doing some window shopping, but the prices were so much higher than in the US that I soon scurried away with my empty wallet to the food level.

The food court in Siam Paragon is amazing and I’d rank it as one of the “must do” activities in Bangkok. There’s a ton of options from Burger King, to fancier Thai restaurants, to Le Notre for some French macarons. What I enjoyed the most though was the actual “real” food court that served a variety of dishes you’d typically find being sold on the street. You basically load up a card at a station with money, and then go around to all the different little “stalls” buying up dishes to try. When you paid, you just swiped your little card. It was amazing and I wish we could have gone again.

image via Wikipedia

Note: Since I regularly eat at shady places of questionable cleanliness both in the US and abroad, my stomach was fine after eating a bunch of street food in Bangkok. I know some of you though have higher standards for your sustenance, and the Siam food court is a great way to try out some of that authentic “street food” but with assurances of cleanliness. The prices were about 20-30% higher but still very reasonable.

So after about 36 hours in Bangkok, we said goodbye and headed back to Hong Kong, again on Emirates. I already posted photos of the plane here, and here are some additional photos of their lounge offerings, which were pretty good. There was a mix of Asian and Middle Eastern food as well as the usual array of alcohol.

A few hours later, we landed in Hong Kong and headed over to our hotel for a final night in Asia. We checked into the Island Shangri-La which was really fantastic. It was my first time at this hotel and I’d definitely return – the room, service, food and overall experience was really great.  They were priced a little less than The Peninsula as well for comparable rooms.

Our room’s view, though you can see it was already quite late and getting foggy:

Shangri-La also provided a pretty little welcome amenity that was the usual fruit and tea (stored in a lined and padded basket that kept it warm), along with a chocolate heart…that inside contained more chocolate hearts. Cute huh? There was also this blue silk hat(?) box that contained more truffles. We definitely gobbled all of these up over the course of the day.

The night we arrived I really wanted to go visit one of my favorite restaurants in the world – Din Tai Fung. I had already gone when we were in Hong Kong earlier but I wanted to get my fix in one more time. I’m sure a lot of you have heard of the restaurant, but if you haven’t, I highly recommend you pay them a visit next time and order at the very least their famous soup dumplings! They have locations all over Asia and some of the US (though none in the Bay Area).

From top to bottom: the classic pork and crab soup dumplings, beef noodle soup, and taro dessert dumplings.

I love the classic pork dumplings the most but Mr. Feather enjoyed the crab ones more. As I stated earlier, one of my favorite dishes is beef noodle soup – however I’m not a huge meat eater, I just really enjoy the soup and flavor. So I took advantage of the option at Din Tai Fung to just get the noodles + delicious broth.

After our meal, we decided to walk around the mall that Din Tai Fung was in and I saw this giant spoon. Inspired after gorging myself, I decided that I wanted to recreate myself as a giant dumpling in this spoon. There was a sign exhorting customers “not to touch” but I have to admit that I gave into temptation. There was a security guard suspiciously eyeing me as I made my rounds around the spoon but when a group of rowdy teenagers came in he was momentarily distracted and I snatched my chance:

I really have to give public props to my husband for putting up with taking all my embarrassing photos in public!

After that we took the MTR back home and had a good night’s rest. The next morning we got up and headed into the elevator to go have breakfast, and I noticed that they changed the rug for each day (I also remember that the W Hong Kong does this). I think it’s a sweet detail:

Breakfast at the hotel was at Petrus, which was delicious. It’s Michelin starred and I wish we had been able to try out a dinner or lunch there. The view was gorgeous.

image via Shangri-La


Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of most of the food but they had a buffet and also allowed you to order a la carte. We ordered a bunch of things a la carte to share and the restaurant staff was kind enough to split everything onto two plates for us without asking:

I love mini food plates, I just can’t help it.

After breakfast we headed out to the airport in Island Shangri-La’s car which amazingly had wifi installed inside of it. I thought that was a cool touch!

I had my final meal in Hong Kong, at the United lounge, where I decided to order beef noodle soup again. I really liked this lounge because they had a lot of delicious items which you could order off the menu instead of just getting items from a big buffet. The noodle soup was actually really good, probably cause there was lots of garlic and fatty bits in the soup. Mr. Feather said it was the best noodle soup he’s ever had (and he’s not particularly a fan). There were pickled vegetables on the side.

I was so engrossed in this soup that we cut it a little close to take off and one of the lounge ladies had to run over to break me out of my eating reverie and remind us to haul butt over to the gate. I scarfed the rest down and then we got on our plane, and headed back home. Our seats were angled towards each other because we were seated in the nose area. And yes, my at home pedicure was still pretty intact after two weeks! Miracle. I watched a few bad movies and conked out.

Okay – that’s it! Thank you all very much for reading along with me while I went to Asia – I included links up top for my other posts for this trip. One of my favorite things in life is travelling and it’s been fantastic to read your feedback, emails and comments about your own experiences going around the globe. I’ve learned a ton, and I hope to have more travel posts soon to share with you all!

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  • caise
    February 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    gorgeous pictures!

  • Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    February 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Ahh…the food! The food! It's such a bad idea to read this on an empty stomach, particularly when there are no substitute dumplings to be found. I used to stay in hotels but lately, I opted for apartments especially when traveling with kids. After a while, it's so much easier to eat in than out.

    However, I caved in and stayed at the Pan Pacific in KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Aiport) for convenience because we had an early flight the next day. I was traveling on my own with Lil L who was much younger at the time. They were amazing to deal with considering that we were both beyond exhausted after the long haul flight.

  • Adele
    February 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Love that shot of you in the giant spoon!!!!
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  • rolala
    February 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    It's Monday morning and your amazing food pics are just giving me a killer craving for noodle soup! That pic of you in the gigantic soup spoon is too funny/cute! Happy Monday!

  • Jennipher
    February 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Wow,another amazing recap of your trip – thank you so much for this! I'm sure it's a lot of work to put together these detailed posts, but they are so great!

  • pjlatte
    February 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    You are making me hungry! Thanks for sharing beautiful photos of your amazing trip!

    Visit me & my bags, shoes, and all things dainty at:
    pjlattesbagbook.blogspot.com

    or on BLOGLOVIN' at pjlatte's bag book

  • homestilo
    February 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Yummy Yummy Yummy- everything looks amazing. But my fave of all the pics has got to be you in that giant spoon. Shows what great sense of humor you and your hubby have.

  • dietingfashions
    February 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    oh, all those delicious food. I haven't eaten breakfast yet, so I'm starving now! Great trip. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  • Anna
    February 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I loved all of your posts in this travel series!
    You took beautiful pictures, and you can really see that you had a great time!
    I would love to go on a trip to Asia, since I have never been there before. And your pictures make me crave it even more. Amazing, really.

  • LC
    February 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    omg the spoon pic! i die! that's DEFINITELY something i would do. my tummy is rumbling..i love dumplings, esp. from din tai fung! whenever i go back to hk and tw, all i do is eat..i never shop or go sight seeing haha. can't. stop. staring. at. the. food. ahh!

  • Beth Dunn
    February 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    That looks so amazing! So jealous. Thank you for sharing
    xoxo
    SC

  • Francesca Giusti
    February 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    love this pics and also your blog! It's so nice!!! I follow you!
    Pass to my blog and if it likes you follow me too, I will be so glad 😀
    kisses
    http://francescagiusti.blogspot.com/

  • LPFashionPhilosophy
    February 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    So pretty! Amazing pics!

    PS. We've a DORIS giveaway on our blog! Check it out!

    ox from NYC!
    -Davie+Erica

    LPFashionPhilosophy

  • Lisa
    February 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    *sigh* din tai fung is one of my absolute favorite restaurants too! the traditional xiao long bao's are my favorite too.. i'm just not use to the crab ones.. they taste too 'seafoody' to me haha and i so know what you mean.. i LOVEEE niu rou mian.. but i don't like the beef part! i just love how yummy and savory the soup is! the pic of you in the giant spoon is HILARIOUS! you are such a ham kat!! hahah

  • Katherine
    February 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I really want to try apartment stays! My friend just used AirBnB for Paris and he said it was awesome.

  • CLPig
    February 6, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    yummy!
    ———————-
    Pigalle Passions
    The biggest CL pigalle spotter site in the world!
    http://www.cl-pigalle.blogspot.com

  • makeupandpearls
    February 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    wow – was that united business or first? i'm hoping we have enough miles for a huge upgrade on our honeymoon!

    and now i want noodle soup.. bwaahha.

  • Ginger
    February 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Oh god !! I'm drooling right now !! Great pictures !!
    Lamia
    http://ginger-chocolateandhoney.blogspot.com/

  • MrsG
    February 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Yum! That food court in Siam Paragon is one of my favourite places to eat, it's clean and so cheap. I usually end up getting a few dishes!

    Love the photo of you in the giant spoon! hahahaha..

  • Latkes and Dim Sum
    February 7, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Ohhhhh Din Tai Fung! You kill me with your food pictures :). And all the times I fly United I've never been to the lounge in HK. Will have to try. The dim sum restaurant near check-in is also decent.

    Loved this post!

  • newpetite
    February 7, 2012 at 12:19 am

    I enjoyed reading about your trip Katherine! makes me wanna visit those places and try all that amazing food! I am a big fan of street food!

  • Sarah
    February 7, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Sounds like you had a really amazing trip. All the food looks delicious!

    keepcalmandcarrylipstick.blogspot.com

  • fabulouslyfrugirl
    February 7, 2012 at 1:10 am

    I love all the food pictures and I am seriously wiping the drool off my keyboard! 🙂 I love the vibrant city life of Hong Kong and the amazing food, everywhere. One of my favourite cities in the world!

    I wrote a post inspired by one of your previous posts when one of your readers wrote in asking for advice about buying Chanel vs Balenciaga bag.

  • fabulouslyfrugirl
    February 7, 2012 at 1:11 am

    Oops. Sorry, I just realized I didn't include the link to above mentioned post.
    http://fabulouslyfrugirl.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/inspired-by-should-i-buy-chanel/

    Thanks, again for the inspiration!

  • Girlie Blogger
    February 7, 2012 at 1:37 am

    What a fun time. Everything looks fantastic.

    http://www.thegirlieblog.com

  • kam wam
    February 7, 2012 at 1:47 am

    LOVE the spoon pic. something I would do.

  • keepsakes. etc
    February 7, 2012 at 3:02 am

    i love the spoon photo. next time when you go visit BKK try The HOme Kitchen restaurant..http://www.fodors.com/world/asia/thailand/bangkok/review-425970.html
    yumm =P

  • Diva In Me
    February 7, 2012 at 5:35 am

    I love Siam Paragon's food. So much varieties and you can find anything and everything there. It's also very clean..

  • Christine
    February 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Such a great post!! I'll be sure to try din tai fung next month when I'm next in HK! The spoon pic is hilarious!

  • cushy
    February 7, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    din tai fung is in my check list for my upcoming asia trip. btw, which airline did you fly with?

  • cindy
    February 8, 2012 at 4:38 am

    this is such a cute post! i loved reading all your asia travel posts, along with all your other posts, but this was my favorite one! you in the spoon picture was so cute! i do the same when i travel, i end up having no shame – probably because these people will never see me again, haha. i was in asia this past holiday season also (hk, seoul, taipei and back to hk again). i'm sure at some point we were in hk at the same time. i was at the new elements mall and they had this "carousel" area with rings in boxes as decorations and i climbed into one of those to take a photo. your spoon photo reminded me of that cause it said don't climb but i ignored it. there were also guards around gawking at people making sure they didn't do things like that, haha.

    as for din tai fung, i'm not a huge fan. this is probably because the first one i ever had was in LA and the xiao long baos were a bit disappointing. i was introduced to the spicy chili dumplings which were pretty good. in hk, i like going to a restaurant called crystal jade. it's also a chain but it's yummy. the location i like the most is the one in the times square mall (lower level) in causeway bay. although their xlbs are also not that great, their wontons and spicy chili dumpings are very good!! i went to the original dtf in taipei and i must say it is worth the visit and the wait. their regular dumplings are also just mediocre for my liking (i think it's because the soup is lacking in flavor and very little of the soup in the xlb!) but the crab meat one is by far one of the best tasting crab meat xlbs i've had. if you're ever in taipei, you should make a trip there – also try the truffle oil xlb! the beef noodles were also pretty good – the soup was yummy.

    also, if you're in hk – should definitely try tim ho wan for dim sum. it's a 3 hour wait because the shop is tiny but it is the world's cheapest one michelin star restaurant!! it's worth it to go and wait once. there are 2 locations, one in mongkok and one in sham shui po, i went to the one in mongkok. their dimsum is REALLY GOOD.

  • littlemissandrea
    February 8, 2012 at 5:27 am

    I love that picture with the spoon. You are the cutest soup dumpling I have ever seen 🙂

  • Tanya
    February 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Oooh I love Din Tai Fung. They actually opened on in the Seattle area, of all places. Always wonder how it compares to the 'real' thing.

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