Eat and drink

Restaurant reviews, travel pieces with a foodie twist, musings on memorable meals. And drinks, too.
  • August 8, 2016
    How to eat in a real Chinese Restaurant (in 15 steps)

    An unabridged version of this piece I recently wrote for Rough Guides.  You’ve heard the one about not sticking your chopsticks straight up in rice, right? (It resembles funerary incense sticks). Honestly? Don’t fret. Because let’s face it; you’ve got bigger problems than antiquated cultural faux-pas. Like how to actually order and eat a table-full of awesome … (read more)

  • September 5, 2015
    Culinary Capitals – Beijing Food and Drink Guide

    My Beijing food and drink guide for Le Pan: The Art of Fine Wine Living. Click the link above to go Le Pan’s website for my venue recommendations, or read on for a general overview.  The capital city of the most food-obsessed nation on earth, Beijing is an aromatic melting pot of Chinese and international cuisine, where “have you … (read more)

  • June 13, 2015
    Beijing’s Best New Chinese Restaurants

    Eaters! The 5th edition of the Fodor’s Guide To Beijing has now hit the shelves. I donned bib and chopsticks to update the Restaurants and Hotels sections, culling the old or unworthy and adding a slew of the new and overlooked. Here’s a selection of Beijing’s best new (or newly included) Chinese restaurants lifted directly from the book, … (read more)

  • October 13, 2014
    Beijing City Guide, Singapore Airlines

    For Singapore Airlines, a concise Beijing City Guide with with hotel, restaurant and itinerary recommendations. Despite its breathless march to superpower status, Beijing, bordered by Great Wall and with the Forbidden City at its heart, is a capital bound to its past. Like all great cities it’s a place of contradictions; where three million taxi drivers tune … (read more)

  • craft beer in china
    September 12, 2014
    Craft beer in China – where’s it headed?

    This article about the state and fate of craft beer in China was first published in Higher View Magazine.  China has two extremes of alcohol consumption: baijiu and beer. The first: a clear, grain-distilled spirit older than Buddhism with a kick like a Bactrian camel. The second: industrially produced lager. Beer in China traces its … (read more)

    Going places

    China, East Asia and beyond. Travel features, behind-the-scenes on assignment, musings, occasional photo work.
    • May 29, 2017
      Datong: Chinese City with an Identity Crisis

      Once a gateway connecting China to the nomadic lands beyond, the old walled city of Datong was a hub for travelling pilgrims and merchants from Tibet and Mongolia, trading within the old city walls and paying tribute at the ancient Buddhist caves in the mountains nearby. Then modernity happened. Like many old Chinese cities, Datong’s ancient heritage (including its walls) … (read more)

    • August 12, 2016
      Hotel feature: China World Beijing

      My latest sponsored destination piece for Shangri-La Hotels Inner Circle site, this time staying at the China World Beijing. City of Imperial Treasures Amid the highways and high-rises of a rapidly developing metropolis, Beijing still offers visitors China’s finest collection of imperial art and architectural treasures. Few cities on earth offer the epochal contrasts of Beijing, a city … (read more)

    • August 9, 2016
      Nightime fun in Tokyo

      This listicle + photos was created recently for Silverkris, the in-flight mag of Singapore Airlines. One of the world’s biggest and busiest urban playgrounds, Japan’s capital is a city that really comes alive when the sun goes down. Here are eight ways to make the most of Tokyo after dark. Real life Mariokart Fans of Nintendo’s retro … (read more)

    • February 7, 2016
      My Big Fat Chiang Mai Map

      I initially put together this Chiang Mai map for a friend visiting the city, but since it represents the sum of six weeks worth of culinary, caffeinated and alcohol-fuelled trial and error (while working in Chiang Mai in Nov/Dec 2015), I figured I’d gift it to the world. Granted it’s an unfailingly biased and flawed selection, but every venue is tried and … (read more)

    • February 5, 2016
      Rails Through the Snow

      — Saturday — On the hour, every hour, the clock above Beijing Railway Station chimes ‘The East is Red’, the de-facto theme song of the Cultural Revolution. “The East is red, the sun is rising, here comes Mao Zedong!” At 10pm on a sub-zero January night, this jingle draws no tremor of recognition from the … (read more)

      Miscellany

      All the bits and pieces that don't quite have a place elsewhere.
      • April 26, 2016
        Where I’ve been (as visualised by Lonely Planet)

        Had a bit of fun clicking on countries using Lonely Planet’s map tool thing. I honestly thought I’d been to more countries, actually. Useful visualisation of how Africa, South America, Central Asia and Eastern Europe are mostly unexplored. Right, I better book some tickets… In unrelated Lonely Planet news, here is a piece I’ve just written for them … (read more)

      • February 11, 2016
        Making memes – hits and misses

        Here’s a selection of meme-type things I made and posted to the Facebook page of Bespoke Beijing during two years working as Propaganda Secretary. (Which essentially meant content and social media marketing, blogging, email marketing and other travel company type stuff). For the Year of the Horse, of course. A quick Adobe Illustrator job, turned … (read more)

      • February 21, 2015
        Happy Ewe Year!

        Here’s a variant of something I knocked up for the Bespoke Beijing February Newsletter. Happy Ewe Year all, have a prosperous year of the Sheep!

        Luxury, baby

        The sort of travel content beloved of marketeers and PR (and that they pay you to write, which is nice.)
        • January 19, 2014
          China’s Best Boutique Hotels

          I wrote this piece for the launch issue (December 2012) of Higher View Magazine, for China Eastern Airlines. A year (and a bit) is too long to expect a round-up of China’s best boutique hotels to remain the same. For starters, here are two boutique hotels I’ve discovered since that would certainly have made the … (read more)

        • March 28, 2013
          What are the best hotels in Beijing?

          UPDATE: I compiled this round-up of the best hotels in Beijing for CNN Travel in 2012 – since then one (Hotel G) has closed, and a few new spots would just about claw their way on to the list: The Temple Hotel (a boutique hotel in a renovated historic temple complex), the updated Kerry Hotel (formerly … (read more)

        • July 4, 2012
          A little Time Out in Shandong province…

          Tour with Shandong Tourism Bureau, a set on Flickr. These are seven days I’ll never forget. A research trip for a 30-page travel guide to Shandong Province on behalf of Time Out. The Shandong Tourism Bureau were footing the bill (and dictating the content), which meant seven days of government banquets, swilling glasses of baijiu with … (read more)

          Design

          Bits of design work (Adobe InDesign / Illustrator), or design-inspired posts.
          • October 26, 2015
            Crafting a luxury travel product

            The challenge – to update the printed materials of WildChina, a Beijing-based luxury travel operator. I was onboard as writer and creative consultant, together with their in-house designers. The elegant package unwraps to reveal individual trip cards together with a flagship corporate brochure and other materials covering the education and corporate travel arms of the business. The … (read more)

          • September 3, 2015
            Creative Marketing: The Nightwatch

            Here’s a selection of my work on The Nightwatch, an after-dark guided tour of Beijing’s old alleyways that traces the footsteps of a Qing Dynasty nightwatchman. (Still available for private tours, folks.) Guided walks are a fabulous way to get to know a city, particularly when created by someone with the historic smarts and charisma of Lars from Beijing Postcards. … (read more)

          • October 10, 2014
            Where’s Wally in China?

            He’s in the Forbidden City! I created this little booklet as part of a publicity stunt I devised for Bespoke Beijing during China’s famously congested Golden Week national holiday. With Beijing’s tourist sites overrun with visitors, the temptation is to avoid sightseeing altogether. Or… seize the opportunity and play a life-sized game of Where’s Wally? instead. Next year: Badaling … (read more)

            • April 28, 2008
              A night on Karakul Lake

              200km west of Kashgar on the Karakoram Highway is Lake Karakul, at almost 4000m elevation. I drove here with a bus-load of Chinese soldiers on their way to the border. Check out the sand dunes dusted with snow in the picture – very peculiar. Karakul means ‘Black Lake’ in Kirgiz. Although obscured by cloud here, … (read more)

            • April 22, 2008
              Yarkand Livestock Market

              Today is market day. Like everyone else in this town, we’re on our way to check out the wares. Commercially and socially, it’s a big deal for the community here. After valeting our ride in the cart-park, it’s time to trade. [Insert own joke about ‘Bull’ markets and (live) stock markets] I look forward to … (read more)

            • April 18, 2008
              Drive one home today!

              Donkeys, camels, cows and horses getting sold, swapped and road-tested at the Yarkand Saturday Market, Xinjiang.