When you're chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the world revolves around your next meal. His new Richard Meier-designed Chinese restaurant, 66 (241 Church St.; 212/925-0202; dinner for two $85), just opened in New York. T+L asked the globe-trotting chef to share his travel secrets and his favorite meals in Shanghai (where he's building a restaurant).
ON FOOD My vacations always involve food. It gives you insight into the people and their traditions.
ON LONG FLIGHTS I travel with the Asian version of Cup of Noodles soup, and Ambien—my best friend. A single pill lasts me 12 hours. I wake up, have some soup, and I'm there.
ON EXPLORING A CITY Skip the tour and go to the old part of town. Guides always show you the pretty things, the monuments. I'd rather go to stores, eat, and try the unexpected.
ON STREET FOOD The best food in Asia is made in the streets. I recently found a guy in Shanghai who balanced a ball of dough on his shoulder and cut it into paper-thin slices that would drop and cook in a broth. I attempted to persuade him to come back to New York with me.
ON SOUVENIRS I love flower-infused teas like jasmine, which you can buy on every corner in Asia.
ON SHANGHAI RESTAURANTS I prefer local places that have no tablecloths. At Bao Luo (271 Fu Min Rd.; 86-21/5403-7239), try the Sichuan sweet-and-sour fish with pine nuts. The ham sandwich at Jade Garden (388 Zhao Jia Bang Rd.; 86-21/6415-9918) reminded me of Alsace. After a cold morning at the central market, I crave the dim sum and tea from Lu Bo Lang (115 Yu Yuan Rd.; 86-21/6328-0602).