Culinary Treats Across Asia
Tokyo, Japan, Febrary 27, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / From Tokyo to Thailand, we’ve rounded up an array of novel dining experiences at hotels and resorts across Asia.
Essence of Japan Cocktails in Tokyo
Our senses transport us – whether it be a certain scent that ignites a memory or a flavor that delivers our minds to a different location. In the heart of Japan’s largest city, Palace Hotel Tokyo is tapping into that ability to transcend through taste with “Essence of Japan.” The cocktail collaboration includes a collection of eight drinks inspired by ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) spread across Japan. The eight inns chosen come from The Ryokan Collection and are some of the finest in the country. The cocktails have been created by Lounge Bar Privé’s bartender Akira Miyashita with ideas and carefully selected ingredients from each of the ryokans. One example is the drink “Snow Garden,” which is a nod to Zaborin in Hokkaido. A snowfall of powdered sugar adorns a fruity crimson cocktail of apple brandy and Zaborin original apple juice from a local producer. The “Tea Ceremony with Omotenashi” looks to Sumiya in Kyoto. The concoction is a sparkling cocktail with the aroma of Kyoto gin and matcha and is an expression of the tea ceremony culture and wabi aesthetics of the popular tourist destination. The drink selection is available till March 18th, 2022 and each drink is JPY 2,180.
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Alma Cam Ranh’s Singing Cooks and Waiters
It’s no secret that good music enhances the flavor or any dish, as readily as the right dash of this, the right teaspoon of that. In Vietnam, they’re doubling down on the enhancement factor by having kitchen staff repurpose ladles as microphones. Waiters and cooks at Alma on Cam Ranh peninsula are belting out medleys of classic hits at La Casa restaurant. With ladles, pans and tambourines in hand, and with a live piano as a foundation, the apron-and-toque donning Alma Choir break into song and dance as suddenly as a flash mob to perform international and Vietnamese tunes including Abba’s Mamma Mia, Boney M’s Rivers of Babylon and Nguyễn Hồng Thuận’s Xinh Tươi Viet Nam (Beautiful Vietnam). What began as a group of staff banding together to sing Christmas carols in the weeks leading up to Alma’s debut in late December 2019 has matured into a professional outfit under the stewardship of Alma’s resident pianist Ben Guillen, who has a background in musical arrangement. He says the response from the diners at La Casa, a sophisticated and capacious dining setting seating up to 164 guests has been so positive “some customers have danced on their seats”.
Meliá Chiang Mai’s ‘360° Cuisine’ Program
The first five-star hotel to debut in Chiang Mai in Thailand’s mountainous north since the onset of the global pandemic is embracing sustainability and promoting healthy eating with its ‘360° Cuisine’ concept. Suksant Chutinthratip (Billy), the executive chef at Meliá Chiang Mai, a 260-key urban hotel due to open April 8 on Charoen Prathet Road, has crafted dishes that include produce from the hotel’s organic farm and use every part of each ingredient possible before leftovers are returned to the farm as compost. Billy’s emphasis on “thoughtful cooking” is encapsulated in signature dishes such as ‘Khao Khaab Hor Goong’, a chilled prawn salad wrapped in sesame rice paper, with piquillo peppers, fried tofu, fermented rice noodles and fresh Vietnamese mint, and ‘Pla Muek Yang Som’, a grilled marinated octopus salad with caramelized Valencia orange, red radish and orange dressing. “For Khao Khaab Hor Goong we use the prawn shells, prawn heads and garden herb stems for our stock base to poach the prawns, and lemon zest as part of the sauce to give a disarming citrus smell and flavor, before the leftover cooking oil is sent to be recycled into biodiesel,” Billy says.
Vietnamese Feasts at Maia Resort Quy Nhon
Maia Resort Quy Nhon knows that the journey to any traveler’s heart often requires a detour through the stomach. The gastronomically-driven all-villa resort, along Vietnam’s southern coast, is offering several different culinary-themed packages that will leave no bellies growling. The “Xuan Maia” packages range from one to five nights. Each option immerses guests in the culinary offerings of this oceanfront property. The three night option includes the choice of one of the resort’s signature culinary experiences: Once Upon a Table at ad hoc restaurant, Barefoot Destination Dining, a Privately Curated Dining Experience, Afternoon High-Tea, or Gastronomy by Maia. Executive Chef Komang Widarta has created menus that are inspired by the local culture and the kind of cuisine you’d find at a Vietnamese family reunion. Other highlights of a three-night stay include a daily treatment at Vela Spa, the choice of a family style lunch or dinner at Vi Restaurant overlooking Quy Nhon Bay, and a one-time complimentary upgrade to daily half board.
Three Exclusive Culinary Offerings at Azerai Can Tho
In Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, Azerai Can Tho has introduced three exclusive new culinary offerings that take advantage of the resort’s unique setting on a lush private islet. These special meals include “Romance Under the Banyan Tree,” (VND 2,200,000 per person) a candlelit table-for-two surrounded by lanterns and set under one of the property’s mature banyan trees. The dinner includes a set Western menu plus a cocktail. The daytime “Picnic by the River” (VND 998,750++) features a cozy set-up on the lawn overlooking the Hau River and includes a choice of three set lunch menus. The “Secret Romantic Dinner by the River” (VND 2,588,000 per person) offers a choice of a multi-course Western or Vietnamese set menu, plus a glass of sparkling wine. Azerai Can Tho is home to 60 rooms and five private-pool villas and is a three-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City. Azerai’s lush grounds cover more than eight hectares and are accessible only by the resort’s private boat.
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Celebrates Women’s Day
The Grand Dame of Vietnamese hospitality rolls out the red carpet each year for International Women’s Day, which will be celebrated this year on March 8. Metropole Hanoi’s Wonderland by Le Beaulieu, which serves fine French cuisine, is offering a special four-course set menu (VND 2.1 million), with an optional wine pairing (VND 3.5 million). At angelina cocktail bar, whisky lounge and New World restaurant, the exclusive Women’s Day set menu features a three-course meal and a special welcome cocktail (VND 2 million). And Le Club Bar, which overlooks the hotel’s beautiful garden courtyard, is offering two exclusive buffets: a lunch buffet (VND 2 million) and a dinner buffet (VND 2.2 million). For more information on these culinary opportunities, or to make a reservation, contact Metropole Hanoi’s food and beverage department at Tel: 024 3826 6919 ext. 8200
Melia Phuket Mai Khao’s Asian Night
The new Meliá Phuket Mai Khao, situated on eight acres of Phuket’s north-western coastline on the Andaman Sea, has introduced a delectable set dinner menu that pays homage to “the deep south of Siam”. Held every Tuesday night between 5pm-9pm at elegant all-day dining restaurant SASA, the resort’s Asian Night menu is priced at THB 699++ (USD 22) and features nine dishes served in tasting size portions. The menu starts with ‘Yaam Pak Kut Thalee’ poached fern with catch of the day medley seafood and ‘Thord Mun Hua Plee Moo Bod’ banana blossom and Kurobuta minced pork with sweet chili dip, followed by ‘Kai Tom Kamin’ free range chicken and turmeric aromatic soup. Highlights include ‘Moo Hong’ traditional Phuketian slow cooked pork belly in light soya sauce, cinnamon and star anise, ‘Kung Pad Sator’ wok sauteed king prawns with shrimp paste and jungle broad beans, ‘Pad Pak Miang’ wok sauteed miang leaves, organic scrambled egg and crispy shrimps, and ‘Pad Pak Ruam’ pan-seared organic veggies with oyster sauce. Asian Night is rounded out with desserts ‘Kao Niew Turian’ sweet sticky rice with stewed durian fruit in coconut syrup and pandan, and ‘Pollamai Ruam’ tropical fruit.
Dine & Unwind at Banyan Tree Samui
Between 6pm and 10pm every evening on the private beach fronting Banyan Tree Samui, visitors and guests can dine al fresco with the white sand between their feet and spectacular sunset views over the sapphire sea. The sumptuous 4-course Western or Thai set dinner includes a welcome drink, a bottle of Champagne or wine, and either the choice of a mixed herb for two (hotel guests only) or a 45-minute spa treatment for two. This luxurious romantic interlude costs just 7,900 THB (with wine) per couple or 8,900 THB with a 200ml bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne.
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Tropical Forest Picnic in Krabi
Those who seek a little solace from nature would be hard beat to better the picnic offerings from Banyan Tree Krabi in southern Thailand. As part of a Forest Bathing activity, guests are invited to hike to Naga Crest Mountain in the national park directly behind the resort, where they can be at one with the tropical environment, including waterfalls, scenic vistas and wildlife spotting. The forest bathing picnic is free to all guests who book a minimum two-night stay (and includes a bottle of wine for those staying three nights or more). For reservations, call: 075-811-888