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Where to Eat Now in Hong Kong

Where to Eat in Hong Kong: 22 Ships

Both foodies and real estate obsessives are eyeing the emerging PoHo area of Sheung Wan, where minimalist-chic bakery Po’s Atelier ($) showcases celeb chef Masami Asano’s loaves, made with such ingredients as oolong tea and Yunnanese ham and goat cheese.

Nearby, the team responsible for yakitori spot Yardbird have opened Ronin ($$$), a seafood-focused izakaya with more than 50 Japanese whiskies and just 14 first-come, first-serve seats.

The Salted Pig ($$$) celebrates all things porcine in a convivial space in Central filled with bloggers snapping pics of sous vide pork belly.

Singaporean hotelier Yenn Wong pairs up with London’s Jason Atherton at tapas joint 22 Ships (pictured; $$$), in Wan Chai. There’s always a wait—but that means more time to ogle the beautiful people nibbling on squid paella and truffled egg with celeriac.

Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150

Photo courtesy of 22 Ships

Chiang Mai's Wat Gate Quarter

Chiang Mai: Deck 1

History and hipsters coexist on the leafy, laid-back streets of Chiang Mai’s Wat Gate quarter.

A former home base of the 19th-century teak exporter East Borneo Company has been revived as 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai, a hotel whose 30 suites are decorated with four-poster beds, claw-foot tubs, and bright orchids. Book a room on the second floor for a well-shaded veranda. 2 Na Wat Gate Soi 1. $$$

The open-air Hinlay Curry House serves terrific (and super-affordable) Indian dishes such as aloo gobi, pumpkin curry, and flaky rotis. Save room for the house-made coconut ice cream—a perfect salve for the tropical climate. 8/1 Na Wat Gate; 66-53/324-621. $

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Made in China and Proud of It

Brand New China

Brand New China, a loft-like shop in Beijing's trendy Sanlitun neighborhood, takes aim at the Made in China stereotype by showcasing the country’s emerging fashion designers. Several other noteworthy boutiques are doing the same, such as Shanghai Trio and the enigmatically named Even Penniless. Beijing also saw the opening of Dover Street East, the six-story outpost of Rei Kawabuko’s cutting-edge emporium.

Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter @xiaochen6.

Photo courtesy of www.xintiandi.com

Four Seasons: Two Openings in China

Four Seasons Pudong

The Four Seasons Hotel Chain continued its China streak with the 2012 opening of a 187-room property in Shanghai’s Pudong district (above). Design firm Wilson Associates has created some seriously sexy interiors—ebony woods, stingray-colored smoked glass, and a red–black–grey palette—while SPIN and AB Concept will probably create some visual fireworks with the two restaurants, Camelia and Shang-Xi.

The chain’s real showstopper, Four Seasons Guangzhou, however, opened last July. It occupies the 70th to 98th floors of the 103-story IFC mall and has a 30-story atrium, swish red–white–gold interiors, and an extensive contemporary art collection.

Four Seasons Guangzhou Lounge

Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter  @xiaochen6.

Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels

Sailing Singapore

Singapore International Cruise Terminal

Singapore ramped up its appeal as a cruise destination with the opening of the $400 million International Cruise Terminal last May. It doesn’t have any height restrictions, which means the large ships, like the Oasis-class Royal Caribbean ships, can now dock in Singapore. Just when Singapore-bound boaters didn’t think it could get any better, the existing Singapore Cruise Centre completed an $11 million renovation earlier last year. All aboard! 

Jennifer Chen is Travel and Leisure's Asia correspondent. 

Photo by KC Hunter / Alamy

Hotels Prep for Increased Chinese Tourism

201206-hd-b-hotels-chinese-slippers-chinese-tourismjpg

Global hotel brands—from Starwood and Hilton to Four Seasons and Anantara—are scrambling to meet the needs of China’s increasingly peripatetic middle class. Last year alone, 78 million Chinese were expected to travel abroad, spending upwards of $80 billion. Here, a few of the perks and programs being rolled out to make them feel at home.

• Chinese chess and mah-jongg games
• Avoidance of the number 4 (considered unlucky) in room and floor assignments
• Slippers (wearing shoes indoors is seen as unsanitary)
• Packets of jasmine and oolong tea
• Red flowers in rooms instead of white (red = good fortune; white = funerals)
• Chinese-language newspapers and TV channels
• Dim sum and congee for breakfast

Photo by iStockphoto  

Beijing: Taxi Shortage, Peking Duck, and New York–Style China

dining in China

Compared to Shanghai—let along Hong Kong, Singapore, and that summit of culinary summits, TokyoBeijing’s fine dining scene still has a long way to go. There’s a lot of mediocrity swimming in a sea of pretense and new money. At the end of the day, Beijingers are a rough-and-ready lot who prefer Sichuan hotpot in a hole-in-the-wall. We recently ate at S.T.A.Y. (pictured), three Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alleno’s outpost at the Shangri-La Beijing. The service was good, the food above average, but the room was utterly dead—we were one of four tables.

But back to the Sichuan hotpot: Beijing has a pretty comprehensive array of restaurants serving regional cuisines. Ten years ago, most Chinese food fanatics would have told you Taipei and Hong Kong were the best places for Chinese food, Beijing being littered with restaurants that served greasy gristle. (Communism plus Cultural Revolution equals abysmal food.) Since we moved here, I’ve had some solid Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Cantonese, Nanjing, Xinjiang, and even Taiwanese meals here—in nice settings, surrounded mostly by Chinese people.

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Tech Thursday: The Peninsula Hong Kong's High-Tech Renovation

201210-b-radar-peninsula-hong-kongjpg

The 84-year-old grande dame just unveiled the next-generation rooms of its modern tower, part of a $58 million, 15-month renovation. (The original building will reopen in April 2013.) T+L got an advance look at the 21st-century makeover, complete with cutting-edge technology hatched in the hotel’s own R&D lab and a sleek new design that maximizes space and functionality. $$$$

• Guests can make free international calls on the wireless phones with VoIP (voice over Internet protocol).

• Ten multi-language touch-screen panels placed around the room control the lights, curtains, thermostat, television, and Internet radio (all 3,000 stations).

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New Hipster Haven in Singapore: W Singapore - Sentosa Cove

Hipster Haven: W Singapore

Sentosa Island’s transformation from tourist trap to hip getaway was completed this year with the recent opening of W Singapore – Sentosa Cove. The 240 rooms have a jungle theme, so don’t forget your safari gear. And of course, guests can expect the usual whimsical W touches like mood lighting and glow-in-the-dark bathtubs. The resort also has private berthing docks so guests can rock up in their yachts. With a water-centric design, this hotel is bound to please . . . even if you’re not that hip.

Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. 

Photo courtesy of W Singapore-Sentosa Cove

Street Scene: Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand’s large, bustling capital can be overwhelming—so who better than a few stylish locals to reveal where to go now?

Pim Sukhahuta, creative director of fashion label Sretsis: “I love going to Again & Again (Soi 4 Thonglor, Sukhumvit 55 Rd.) to look for fancy sequin tops, long prairie dresses, and 1950’s costume jewelry.”

Suraporn Lertwongpaitoon, curator and lecturer at Silpakorn University: “My favorite place to catch an art show and have a few drinks is WTF Café & Gallery. It’s very chic.”

Artaya Boonsoong, special effects supervisor at Renegade VFX: “At Roast Coffee & Eatery (Thonglor Soi 13, Sukhumvit 55 Rd.), I always order an iced latte and the Cuban sandwich.”

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