Category South & SE Asia

The Best Bread in Bangkok, And, Perhaps, The World

THERE ARE TWO REASONS we decided to return to Bangkok. One is that flying out of Siem Reap is unavoidably expensive; the other was bread. But not just “bread” in the generic; rather, a very particular bread, a paragon role model—really, the Platonic form of bread—baked at a mystery bakery just off the Wang Lang […]

“Tourism is a Factory Without Smoke,” And Other Lessons Learned From Our Cambodian Cooking Class

FOR ANY NUMBER OF REASONS, Ch’ngainh! Ch’ngainh! is the least popular cooking class in Battambang, Cambodia. One probable reason is that the name is basically unpronounceable. Another might be that it’s only two-years-old, and competing with local restaurants Smoking Pot and Nari’s Kitchen, which have years’ more reputation behind them. That they have much catching […]

The Angkor Album

THE ANGKOR TEMPLE COMPLEX sees around 1,000 visitors in a day, many of whom swarm the western gate at 5:30 a.m. to wait for the 6 o’clock sunrise. I did not know this before we joined them. We rented bikes the night before and left our homestay pedaling at 5 o’clock, following the line of […]

Photo Essay: Diving Into The Killing Fields

I HAVE NO CLAIM, personal or professional, to Cambodian history, politics or culture. I’d been in the country for fewer than 24 hours when we visited the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Prison Museum; the extent of my knowledge re: Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot was having watched The Killing Fields in a journalism class […]

Cambodians Make Travel So Easy it’s Creepy

IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMON SENSE, and any money at all, Cambodia is a remarkably easy country to travel through. This is not because the roads are smooth (they’re not) or the touts polite (they’re obnoxious). It is, as it often is, the people who are making our lives easier, albeit for a price, further […]

Photo Food Essay: Robyn’s George Town

I AM NOT SPECIFICALLY a food blogger, but Robyn Eckhardt is. A friend I trust in all matters of Asian cuisine—we’ll call him Eldma—pointed me in the direction of Ms. Eckhardt’s blog, Eating Asia, which she has been running with her photographer-husband for enough years to make any journo jealous. They’re quite good at what […]

Stories Left Behind in Borneo

FROM BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN TO KUCHING, crossing all of Sarawak and most of Brunei, was more an experiment in bus patience than intense jungle adventure. V and I are not wild rainforest trekkers (can I use “jungle” and “rainforest” interchangeably like that?), though we did venture out into the bush once in Miri, which was […]

The Food of Kuching, Malaysia

TRAVELLING MALAYSIA is travelling to eat. Doesn’t matter if you’re into greasy Chinese, buttery Indian, carby Western or spicy indigenous stuff, one of the reasons to visit Malaysia is the beautiful flavourfulness of it all. George Town, Penang— which will perhaps always rank highly in my Top Cities Of The World list—was my first and best introduction to the […]

10 Fun Facts About the Sultan of Brunei

THE SULTAN OF BRUNEI is a mythical sort of guy, inescapable and aloof, both everywhere and nowhere in his country. His portrait hangs in every restaurant, his photo often in the newspaper, his face on at least one TV station at any given time. But public appearances are rare, and his notoriously expensive palace (pictured […]

Folks on the Water

“I KNOW, I TALK,” our boat driver tells us as we step aboard. “I don’t know, I don’t talk.” What he means, I think, is that he’ll tell us what he knows, but he doesn’t know everything. He knows, for instance, that his name is Lokman, that he is 46-years-old, that he became a boat […]