Asia


The 5 Best Night Markets in Taipei

Posted on February 26th, by Bill in eating out, StreetFood, Taiwan. 1 Comment

Taipei is inarguably one of the top street food cities in the world. Taiwan is known as the land of snacks: they have literally invented and re-invented genre after genre of snack food over the years. From pearl tea to fried chicken, the Taiwanese are all about inventing and perfecting the ultimate snack foods. Think Chinese-influenced foods created with the ingenuity and dedication to perfection that (you would think) only the Japanese would bring. While Taipei isn’t quite as famous with local Taiwanese as Tainan for their snack culture, they’ve got it covered and will most likely be your first stop in Taiwan. The sheer volume of street food options available alone are enough but, matched with the quality and price of the food available on the streets, it’s pretty much unbeatable. The catch with Taipei street food though, is … Read More »



8 of the Best Cafes in Hanoi

Posted on February 3rd, by Bill in Asia, Coffee, Vietnam. No Comments

The big cities in Vietnam have a cafe culture that is virtually unknown to the rest of the world. Don’t expect a Chemex of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe with hints of blueberry and strawberry or an Aeropressed Kenyan. You might be able to locate one eventually, but not before tripping over scores of cafes serving up tumblers of coffee so dark it looks like used motor oil and smells like the most intense mocha you’ve ever had. It’s no secret that we love Vietnamese coffee and as a follow up to our very popular Saigon cafes list, we offer a list of some of our favorites in the northern capital city. Also be sure to check out our handy guide to ordering coffee in Vietnam.

So, in the event that you can’t find this guy rolling around town, keep scrolling and we’ve got … Read More »



How to Order Coffee in Vietnam Like a Local

Posted on June 18th, by Bill in Asia, Vietnam. 6 comments

Vietnam is a country that runs on coffee. There is a cafe on just about every block in Saigon and Hanoi and they’re packed most of the day with a mix of locals leisurely sipping away enjoying the day and others grabbing a quick fix on their way to wherever they’re headed. The cafe culture in Saigon is why it’s one of our favorite cities in the world. To see the list of our favorite Saigon cafes, check out our post on it.

Coffee is brewed differently in Vietnam. It’s sort of a mix between the French press and pourover methods and despite producing great coffee, it’s surprisingly “low tech”. You won’t see any chem-lab looking siphons or giant blown-glass drip towers. Coffee is brewed in a little metal filter called a “phin”. Grounds go in, water goes in, and coffee … Read More »



SIEM REAP’S 10 BEST BARS: CLASSY, HIDDEN DIVES JUST OUTSIDE OF ANGKOR

Posted on May 6th, by Steven in Cambodia. 2 comments

Every year I find myself in Siem Reap, Cambodia for a week. It’s inevitable, and always enjoyable.

Angkor Wat is, along with Bagan in Myanmar, one of the two most spectacular temple sites in Asia, if not the world. I’ve come back again and again with friends, or by myself. Although lately I barely spend time in the temples of Angkor Wat, I love the cafe and bar scene of nearby Siem Reap, a charming little French colonial town adjacent to Angkor that now serves as the tourist-amenity center of the region. Though a tourist town, it’s far from a tourist trap. There is something about the clear blue sky, slow clouds and that long twilight that I love here. And, there’s the drinks.

Pub Street is famous here. It is the center of Siem Reap and the fulcrum of activity in … Read More »



SURVIVING BORACAY ALONE

Posted on April 24th, by Steven in The Philipines. 2 comments

In March of 2012, I was nearly finished with a 3-week journey moving west through the Visayas region of The Philippines. Visayas is famous for beach and diving destinations. I have never been very interested in beaches, so I was focused on the cities of Cebu, Dumaguete, Bacolod, Iloilo and Kalibo. I did, however, have a beach destination as my final stop before flying out of the country. That beach was the most famous beach in all of The Philippines- Boracay. I was all by my sad self during these weeks in the Philippines. I’d met people here and there along the way, but I didn’t join a backpacker caravan or fall in love. So, how is it traveling to Boracay alone, anyway?

Often beach destinations entice travelers of impossibly clear turquoise waters bookended by eternal sunrises and sunsets. So often, … Read More »



VISITING THE TSINGTAO BEER FACTORY, HOME OF CHINA’S ICONIC BREW

Posted on February 28th, by Steven in China. 1 Comment

Some travel destinations are tied to beer. Think: Munich, Milwaukee, Dublin, Sapporo. The seaside city of Qingdao, on China’s northeast Shandong coast is forever bound to it’s local brew, Tsingtao Beer, which is now one of the most-consumed beers in the world.

When traveling to new cities, visiting a beer brewery is consistently one of my favorite activities.

Bill and I, along with our friends Hye Mi and the Shameless Traveler, recently had the chance to visit the Tsingtao Brewery Museum in Qingdao, China. It was one of our “sober” activities during the week of the Qingdao Beer Festival. We get credit for a cultural destination, even if it’s filled with beer.

Qingdao is perhaps the most beer-soaked city I’ve ever been to. Throughout the year, and especially in summer, the old streets of colonial Qingdao are lined with informal sidewalk ‘cafes’ serving … Read More »



TEMPLES OF BAGAN: BURMA’S WAYWARD WONDER OF THE WORLD

Posted on February 23rd, by Steven in Burma. 2 comments

“They make one of the finest sights in the world, being exquisitely finished, splendid and costly. When illuminated by the sun they are especially brilliant and can be seen from the great distance’

-Marco Polo, upon visiting Bagan’s temples in the 13th Century

Cambodia’s more-iconic Angkor Wat complex may be the most famous of the Hindu / Buddhist temples, but many (including myself) would argue that the temples of Bagan, in central Myanmar, are the most spectacular to visit. While Angkor Wat has increasingly become a saturated tourist hotspot over the last 20 years, Bagan is still comparatively untouched.

With Myanmar finally opening up to tourism, this is going to soon change. Bagan will become the next Angkor Wat and you will not be able to experience it in solitude. Go now before the Chang Beer tanktops take over.

I’d heard great things about … Read More »



BOTTOMS UP AT ASIA’S BIGGEST BEER FESTIVAL

Posted on February 17th, by Steven in China, Uncategorized. No Comments

Beer festivals generally conjure up images of clangy, repetitive oompah bands, sausages, vaulted beer halls, and busty beer maids. In America we have our share of beer festivals, but they tend to be small caricatures of European festivals. I was surprised to find out that China actually does the beer festival pretty well, albeit with skewered, mysterious meats instead of sausages; and shirtless, busty men instead of busty waitresses.

The largest beer festival in the world is Octoberfest in Munich, Germany. The largest beer festival in Asia is The Qingdao International Beer Festival.

Qingdao is the home of the plentiful and cheap Tsingdao beer, which was founded by Germans when the city was under German control in the late 1800s. It’s an amazing seaside city, a great place to visit any time of year and an even better place to visit in … Read More »



15 CRAZY THINGS I’VE EATEN IN ASIA

Posted on February 8th, by Steven in Asia, Cambodia, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, The Philipines, Uncategorized, Vietnam. 5 comments

There is an old saying that:

“the Chinese eat everything that flies, except airplanes; everything with four legs, except tables; and everything that swims, except submarines”

Food is central to Asian culture, not just the Chinese, but throughout all of Asia. Asian food is generally delicious, and often very strange, to an American traveler. Asians tend to use the whole animal. Sometimes the results are great, sometimes not so.

Here are 15 of the strangest foods I’ve had:

15. CHICKEN NECK
Qingdao, China

It’s the neck of a chicken, skewered on a stick and served with cheap drafts of local Tsingtao Beer. It’s mostly skin and bone. I actually like spicy duck neck, as there is some meat to enjoy on there, but the chicken neck is just not much of anything.

IS IT GOOD?  2/10

14. GOAT BRAIN
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Goat brain came served in a hot … Read More »



WHY IS TOKYO’S SKYLINE SO BORING?

Posted on January 29th, by Steven in Japan, Uncategorized. 3 comments

Although Shanghai now has the largest population of any single urban jurisdiction, Tokyo is still by all means the largest urban area in the world, and has been for some time. The sum of Tokyo’s greater metropolitan population is over 36 million, which still dwarfs its competitors for now. Tokyo overtook New York as the world’s biggest city in the mid-1960s and since then, Tokyo has remained at the top.

In addition to size, Tokyo is rich. Tokyo has the largest total economic output (GDP) of any city in the world, even adjusting for income vs. the cost of living (PPP).

Despite Tokyo’s huge population and economic development, the city cuts a rather unknown visual image in most people’s minds. Images of blinking lights, crowded crosswalks and bustling noodle shops define Tokyo. The skyline is rather nondescript. Shanghai has its iconic, twisting futuristic … Read More »





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