Prague Could be the Best City in the World, If Everyone Didn’t Know It

I MET A POLISH COUPLE at The Beer Museum, a pub renowned for serving more than 30 specialty Czech draughts. The man, an architecture student with floppy blonde hair and a zip-up wool sweater that he wore as a turtleneck, was waiting for his girlfriend over a creamy stout; I ordered a five-beer sampler for myself, and had tipsily asked him his thoughts on Prague’s … Continue reading Prague Could be the Best City in the World, If Everyone Didn’t Know It

Jerusalem is a Dizzying Disneyland of Religion

IN A SINGLE AFTERNOON, it is possible to see what some claim to be the sites where Jesus was crucified, where the ancient Jewish First and Second temples once stood, where the Prophet Muhammad ascended into Heaven, and the tombs of half the characters from the New and Old Testaments. Perhaps anticipating the plausibility of a 21st-century tourist boom, very few Biblical folks did anything … Continue reading Jerusalem is a Dizzying Disneyland of Religion

Under the Silence of the Jordanian Stars

I HAVE NEVER KNOWN SUCH SILENCE as the Jordanian desert at night. There is literally nothing making those noises we take for granted when we think of quietness; no humming fridge, no faraway birds, no buzzing lights or purring motors. To sleep in the desert is to exist in absolute nothingness, to be absorbed by a black hole and stare in awe at the sudden … Continue reading Under the Silence of the Jordanian Stars

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 Pier, across the main river from the infamously filthy tourist … Continue reading The Best Bread in Bangkok, And, Perhaps, The World

“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 up to do explains the earnest hospitality at Ch’ngainh, which … Continue reading “Tourism is a Factory Without Smoke,” And Other Lessons Learned From Our Cambodian Cooking Class

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 they do, and so when V and I decided to … Continue reading Photo Food Essay: Robyn’s George Town

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 itself an unforgettable story I’m still trying to write in … Continue reading Stories Left Behind in Borneo

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 country’s many dishes (it’s worth giving a shout-out to the … Continue reading The Food of Kuching, Malaysia

Notes From a Giant Post Box: Looking For Bingsu; Finding a Monkey in a Diaper

BEFORE I INTRODUCE THE MONKEY LASER CAFE — which is, to clarify, a cafe along a rural patch of Korean coast with a pet monkey and a laser strobe light — it’s important to start with the fact that V and I were looking for a particular mythical patbingsu, a.k.a. the lovely East Asian dessert of shaved ice, condensed milk, sweetened red beans and any topping in … Continue reading Notes From a Giant Post Box: Looking For Bingsu; Finding a Monkey in a Diaper