PEr FYI

May 11, 2019

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai…a coffee-lover’s Disneyland

Once upon a time, Starbucks prompted millions of consumers to do away with cheaper instant coffee for a more expensive specialty product. With this Reserve Roastery, it is third-wave coffee.

Upscale, and they feature cocktail bars, bakeries, snake-like tubes that transport beans across the store and unique elements, this roastery is completely unlike a typical Starbucks. There are tons of food and coffee options, plus plenty of places to sit and stay for a while with staffers navigating selections the way a sommelier might do with a wine list.

Indeed the food and drinks are, well, a few stars better than your standard Starbucks offerings. My personal favorite is the dark chocolate mocha, which is just sweet enough with a good bitter bite from the espresso. Milanese bakery Princi provides the food, notable ones are cheesecake lampone, carrot loaf cake and torta princi.

Looking around, I see coffee fiends pilgrimage here from all over. You’ll hear different languages, see a spectrum of generations, and many different styles of clothing. If you’re a coffee lover, you won’t want to miss this stop.

This massive, gleaming roastery is the Starbucks Mecca. Translation: Be prepared to be awed and overwhelmed. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 28, 2019

Tai Hing, Hong Kong…the most unpleasant thing I could have ever put in my mouth

Let me be clear: what is supposed to be highly rated Cantonese roast meat in Hong Kong, turned out to the most unpleasant thing I could have ever put in my mouth.

To comprehend the complex awfulness of this Tai Hing meal, think of the actor Rowan Atkinson, in his famous “Steak tartare” skit, contorts his face a thousand different ways while choking down a grayish patty of raw meat. The initial flavor was bland. It was dry and hard. I felt my eyes water up as I chewed. I tried to swallow. I felt my entire GI tract prepare to purge. And then I regained my composure and pulled an Atkinson, which is to say: I spat the nasty bits into a tissue paper and almost stuffed it into my laptop backpack.

Decidedly way below average. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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April 13, 2019

Tsui Wah, Shenzhen…failed to impress me

Tsui Wah is the Shenzhen outpost of a revered restaurant of the same name in Hong Kong. Let’s cut to the chase: this is the place if you want to visit a giant, super-sized neon version of Hong Kong’s humble coffee shop cafes (called a cha chaan teng, literally a tea food hall).

The dishes are pure Hong Kong comfort food, an eclectic and inexpensive assortment of Cantonese, Asian, and Western fare prepared for the Chinese palate. Start your meal with a local favorite—milk tea—followed, perhaps Lamb Chop Curry, King Prawns in XO Sauce with Tossed Noodles and wonton with fish roe in fish soup. And you’ll be missing out if you don’t try the famous crispy bun topped with sweet condensed milk.

Although there wasn’t much wrong, it failed to impress me. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 15, 2018

Mr Rocky, Shenzhen…like having a cheesy version of Nashville in Shenzhen

Inspired by the wild wild west of the USA, this American bar in Shenzhen is your go-to spot only if you are desperately in need of some cheesy cowboy-style atmosphere and dying to tuck into burgers, steaks and pizzas and hit the dance floor for an evening featuring live bands and DJ sets.

Food is profoundly awful. The steak was tough as nails and disappointingly taste like the bovine equivalent of chicken breast, the pizza was chewy as bubble gum and the hot pumpkin soup was anything but.

An out-of-touch and bungled attempt to create a themed restaurant. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 9, 2018

Super super, Hong Kong…They won’t win any awards

There’s a reason wonton soup became one of the backbones of the Hong Kong menu. Beyond being simply delicious, it is a taste that crosses borders.

This trip to Super Super relegated my perspective of beef noodle soup to hard beef balls, tough-as-nails beef tripe and supposedly premium beef brisket dropped into a bowl of soup. However, I got to say that the soup is light and doesn’t just taste like something that came from a can, and the shrimp wontons are slippery and thin and filled with small chunks of shrimp folded into the filling.

The space is nothing too notable, but it’s a calm, not overly cramped room as you would expect in Hong Kong.

It’s not the best deal around. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 9, 2018

Shanghai Disneyland…..authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese

Unlike the mickey mouse Disneyland in Hong Kong, this Shanghai Disneyland features six themed areas.

With its giant Starbucks, Cheesecake Factory and Wolfgang Puck restaurant, you might for a minute mistake Shanghai Disney Resort for theme parks in Anaheim or Orlando. However, there’s more of a Chinese feel to it than to Hong Kong Disney, that’s for sure. Main Street has been replaced by Mickey Avenue and it’s easier to find Kung Pao chicken for lunch than, say, a hot dog.

Easily the best attraction, Tron ride, an exhilarating roller coaster in the park’s Tomorrowland area is the first of its kind in a Disney park. Riders race headlong into dark tunnels interspersed with shows of red, blue and yellow lights. The Pirates of the Caribbean is equally amazing and technically astonishing. Gone are the classic animatronic characters of other parks. In its place, high-definition, computer-animated trip across the ocean floor when the riders move between to real boats while an animated pirate ship battle takes place in front of them, sending animated (and real) water into the air.

This isn’t Disneyland in China; it’s China’s Disneyland. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 26, 2017

Hefu Noodles, Shanghai…you just have to turn up and slurp

There’s nothing finer for a light lunch than a bowl of noodles and delicious broth. Paired with a cold glass of flavored tea, you simply can’t go wrong.

If you’re looking for flavorful and tender beef noodles, look no further than Hefu noodles. Opt for the rich flavor and creamy textured Hefu noodles with crab oil & cattle rib. Wash it down with an incredible cup of delightful blend peach flower and fruit tea.

You just have to turn up and slurp. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 14, 2017

Gu Yi Wan, Shanghai…comforting, delicious and cheap

Shanghai’s Chinese food scene is a diverse beast. This tiny Gu Yi Wan does a lot of things well but I’m all over it just for its modest braise in soy sauce beef noodle. It is rich and restorative in texture and taste, a kind of mental health food. Apart of that, other worthy mentions are their wantons, shaomai and shaobing

The restaurant is both the simplest and most marvelous of discoveries in a city that is filled with gastronomic delights. Trust me: you need to try it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 24, 2017

Dao Spa, Shanghai…head back to your room and take a nap instead

Filed under: Activities, China, Massage, spa, Travel — Tags: , , , , — PEr @ 3:20 pm

We’ve all been there. Going into a spa with great anticipation, only to find that the massage room is falling apart or the masseur has brute strength but zero technique. Yes, a bad spa can ruin anyone’s mood, but when you are aching all over looking forward to a good rub-down, the stakes are even higher.

If your body is aching after a long day, and the nearest spa to you is Dao Spa, you might just want to head back to your room and take a nap instead.

Another option: Have a friend rub your shoulders. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 1, 2017

Bund’s secret, Shanghai…DO NOT GO IN THERE

Some restaurants get it wrong, others are for outrageous pricing, some have disastrous experiences and then there’s the ones that, well, just don’t serve very good food. This one is all of the above.

We ordered braised pork with sweet soy sauce, sautéed Australian scallop with wild mushroom and braised tofu with hairy crab meat. All impressive sounding names on the menu. I can’t report any of the flavours at all: there was nothing for me to swallow during this worst restaurant meal.

DO NOT GO IN THERE. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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