Sunday, April 05, 2015


Xiaolongbao is the signature dish of Shanghai - a plump dumpling crammed with juicy pork mince and a shot of meaty broth.


The name xiaolongbao comes from the bamboo steaming baskets, xiaolong, the buns (bao) are prepared in.

Xiaolongbao in Shanghai, China.

Originally from the suburb of Nanxiang in Shanghai, xiaolongbao can be found all over the city. One recommended restaurant to try them is the Taiwanese restaurant chain Din Tai Fung, which has a reputation for serving up some of the most superior buns in town.

Shanghai Xiaolongbao.

The buns are usually filled with minced pork though a variety of fillings can now be founded including vegetarian varieties.

Making Xiaolongbao.

The buns are tweaked and pinched at the top to give them their distinctive shape.


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Oriental Pearl TV Tower Shanghai


The Oriental Pearl TV Tower in the Pudong financial district of Shanghai is one of this port city's most famous architectural icons.

Though now dwarfed by such monsters as the Shanghai Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower was the tallest building in China from 1994-2007.

Oriental Pearl TV Tower Shanghai, China

Located opposite the historic Bund, the 468m-tall Oriental Pearl TV Tower signaled the reawakening of Shanghai's power as a center of global commerce, finance and trade. The building has a number of observation points with the highest at 350m - the Space Module.

The Oriental Pearl TV Tower is also host to a number of restaurants, including a revolving restaurant at 267m, exhibition space and shops. The structure is illuminated at night by LED.

Oriental Pearl TV Tower Shanghai, China

1 Century Avenue, Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai, China, 200120

Friday, January 17, 2014

Portovelo - Good in Every Purchase

By Christopher KL Lau

Many well-meaning social and business entrepreneurs are now finding ways in their business models to both run a sustainable business and to give back to society, in their own little way. This is a current trend which is sweeping the world of business; to not only make a profit but to help lift others out of poverty at the sametime.

One of these successful social ventures is the Hong Kong based, "Portovelo". The idea is the brainchild of founder Lavina Tien, who was inspired by her love of both travel and charity.

Via her journeys throughout the world, she saw much beauty in the different peoples and cultures she encountered yet she also saw much suffering and poverty. This was especially true in off-the-beaten-track developing nations such as Nepal, Cambodia and Tanzania where she witness extreme poverty which hindered the social and economic development of those respective nations. Being empathetic and compassionate, she decided to make a stance and help those in need in her own little way.

Tien was also alarmed by the stark and staggering statistics about child poverty, about 600 million children in the world today live on less than a dollar a day and often have to drop out of education to work and support their families.

More than 1 billion children are severely deprived of essential needs required to survive, grow and develop. These include needs like basic food and nutrition, access to clean water, healthcare, shelter and education. Touched by what she saw and armed with a Harvard Business Degree, she set up Portovelo which makes simple yet attractive slip on sneakers for sale around the world. Each sale of a shoe will go towards purchasing 15 meals for deprived children. Purchasing one of these shoes is not only a fashion statement, it also will help feed a child and maybe change their circumstances forever.

Portovelo also work closely with specific NGOs to help their dream become a reality; hence their partnership with the well known Flourishing Futures NGO in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Everytime a pair of shoes is purchased, the profits will provide 15 meals to a hungry child in their care. This will be of great relief to Flourishing Futures as it provides food assistance to families living below the poverty line. Poverty and hunger are a marked part of everyday life in Mongolia and these children often do not know when their next meal will be. Having regular meals will allow them to have the energy and strength to fully participate in either work and education to the best of their ability.

Portovelo - Good in Every Purchase
Portovelo also keep their eye on current news affairs and with the recent disasters in the Philippines, Portovelo donated a portion of all their sales proceeds to the World Visions' emergency food relief program in the Philippines, for all purchases at the end of 2013. With Portoveolo, Lavina Tien is making a huge difference, one slip on sneaker at a time!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival 2014


To celebrate the 30th Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival the event is bigger than ever this year.

Harbin Ice Festival

Over 7,000 laborers worked around the clock helping the artists produce the hundreds of ice sculptures at Sun Island, Zhaolin Park and "Ice and Snow World".

The huge ice sculptures in the "Ice City" were produced using 180,000 cubic meters of ice from the Songhua River and 150,000 cubic meters of snow.

Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival 2013

The Harbin Ice Festival opened on January 5th and runs for several weeks.

Harbin Ice Festival 2010

Other big snow festivals around the world include the Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido, Japan and Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival. The Shangri-La Hotel in Harbin is the city's most luxurious hotel to stay during the Ice Festival.

Zhaolin Park, Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

images © Daniel Allen

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mesh Beijing

Mesh, one of Beijing's top night spots, is located inside Opposite House, a 99 room hotel which is part of a large high-end shopping development in Sanlitun called The Village.

Mesh Beijing, China

Mesh has a reputation as one of Beijing's most gay-friendly bars.

The Opposite House is easy to locate right next to 3.3 shopping centre in Sanlitun.

First Floor
The Opposite House
11 Sanlitun Lu
Building 1
Sanlitun Village
Chaoyang district
Tel: 6410 5220

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bomb Shelter Bar

The Bomb Shelter Bar in the basement of the Red Capital Residence is a bar with a difference.

Bomb Shelter Bar, Beijing, China

Waitresses in People's Liberation Army uniform serve up delicious cocktails and audio visuals consist of Mao era propagandist opera.

This literally hole in the ground bar is a little hard to enter (see image below) but once down the steep stairs you have transcended into another, earlier world.

Bomb Shelter Bar, Beijing

Red Capital Residence
9 Dongsi Liutiao
Dongcheng District
Telephone: 8403 5308

Bomb Shelter Bar, Red Capital Residence


Friday, May 31, 2013

Dragon Boat Race Season 2013


It's Dragon Boat Festival (Duānwǔ Jié) season soon (the fifth day of the fifth lunar month).

Dragon Boat Race Season China

Dragon Boat races will be occurring all over China including a Dragon Boat festival in Shanghai and similar events in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Some of Hong Kong's popular Dragon boat races are held in Stanley, though the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival takes place off the East Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade in Victoria Harbour from 21st to 23rd June this year.

The 2012 event drew over 400,000 spectators who watched 5,000 athletes compete in teams from 21 countries.

The big event is the Lee Kum Kee IDBF Club Crew World Championships for men and women's teams including juniors, seniors and even cancer survivors' teams.

Dragon Boat races are popular in Hong Kong where there are estimated to be around 50,000 active paddlers.

Prior to this, the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival (Tuen Ng Festival) will take place on 12th June at various locations including Aberdeen, Discovery Bay, Stanley, Sha Tin, Tai O on Lantau, Cheung Chau and Tai Po.

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