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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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Bangkok: Emirates and the Grand Palace

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