House of Nanjing, San Francisco 

I have been to this restaurant before but what is funny is that they like to recommend dishes for you. We read the Yelp reviews and one of them was especially funny re the recommendations. Each dish is very different in taste even though they are all honey garlic something. 

Quite honestly,  I go to Nanjing at least twice a year but have never had a chance to try local food. I know sesame chicken is a very famous dish  but have never tried it.

Here is HON’S version…

We wanted to order the sizzling rice soup which is highly recommended by all those who have made a comment but was vetoed by the waitress who recommended wonton rice noodle soup with prawns and tofu which was really good. Especially liked the chile oil and basil in the soup.

We ordered the famous garlic honey beef as well which was highly recommended. It was quite unique and special. I doubt that it is served the same way in Nanjing. The beef cubes are so tender because they used braised beef cubes lightly coated and fried, then placed on top of a crispy raw bok choi salad tossed with a soy and oil dressing then the beef is topped with carmelized red onions. Definitely worth trying.

Probably won’t be back to San Francisco for a while but I would come again if I do because I really want to try their noodle bowls.

Phil’s Market -Moss Landing 

I found this place via a top 10 cioppino recipe page. Been trying to make it since I tried it 2 years ago in San Francisco.  But guess what,  2 years later back at the same places and still haven’t made one.

This place is famous for cioppino and it was really amazing. So much fish , shrimp, bay scallops, cams and mussels. Couldn’t finish it at all. You can order for 2, in a bowl or in a bun.

The broth is do good, everything is piping hot and cooked just right.

We were so impressed that we went back twice. The crab cake burger, oysters and chips were great.  Fish is still the best and I am not a normal fish lover. I really dislike the fishy taste and this is great…fresh no fishy taste.

Definitely recommend this place if you are in the area. 

Lijiang, Yunnan – Food

How can vacation be without delicious food. There are quite a number of street food in the streets and also open food courts.

Fresh yogurt, spicy tofu, skewers of meat, insects, ginger candy, you see it, its available. They are famous glass noodles, everywhere there are blossom biscuits, beef jerky as well. Also famous in Yunnan is Yunnan cross bridge noodles. Noodles and all ingredients are served separately at the table with a big bowl of boiling hot soup. Also the chicken soup with noodles is also very good here. I went to this place which was recommended by the tea seller. Hot pots here are fantastic looking but unfortunate they are too big for one person.

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Lijiang, Yunnan 1

I don’t know how many times I have tried to write this post. Lijiang is more commercial than I have anticipated but it is quaint and pretty. Many interesting things to see, mostly old cravings, architecture, etc. It is a city with many different old ancient towns which are protect historical UNESCO sites. I stayed in a small little town Shuhe which is a lot smaller than the old town of Lijiang. Combined in the Lijiang area there must be over 2,000 inns, many hard to find if you have booked it online. Its an experience to be standing in the middle of the night trying to find your inn. Even locals are not certain sometimes where things are exactly. So try to get to these places when there is daylight.

I spend a few quiet days in this area at a lovely inn, with nice tea tasting at friendly tea houses. Exploring the maze of streets is interesting as every street and building is unique. End April is a little cool still and not many tourists which is really ideal for me. It’s warm in the day and very little people. There is a large amount of bars and restaurants as well catered to tourists at night and the streets are bustling.

The innkeepers advice that there are people who offer transportation and services that are not too legit. You might be forced to go somewhere that you don’t want to and spend some money.  So beware. Take a registered taxi that the inn arrange and always get one in a taxi line.

 

 

Genoa

My one day in Genoa was probably not enough to see everything this town has to offer. It was the mist of summer and just melting on the sidewalk. It’s a worthwhile town to visit if you have time in Northern Italy. About about an hour away train ride away from Milan, it is rather convenient. Trivial note is, Genoa is the birth place of Christopher Columbus and there is a statue of him just steps away from the train station on Via Balbi. Because I was leaving the next day, I stayed about 2 mins away.

On Via Balbi is the one of the Universita degli Studi di Genova and also the Palazzo Reale.

The Palazzo Reale is a museum now and it houses original furniture and decoration.

Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato

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Piazza de Ferrari

Walls of Genoa – the remaining wall of the city has 2 bell towers which you can pay to go up with a tour. It has a good view of the city.

House of Christopher Columbus

 

Europe is known for churches and almost every city you go to there are so many beautifully gilded churches that sometimes I can’t even remember which is which. I was really struck by the opulence and how well all of them are being up kept. There was also no charge in going into any of them in Genoa. It was really a great treat, of course, it was information overload.

Cattedrale di San Lorenzo – AKA Genoa Cathedral

Chiesa del Gesu e dei Santi Ambrogio e Andrea

Basilica di San Siro

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Port

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Hiroshima

It wasn’t a planned destination but I had wanted to go many times. It’s about 2 hours from Kyoto and can definitely be a day trip.

We went mainly for the Hiroshima Peace Park and memorial museum. A couple of years ago I was at Dachau camp close to Munich. This Hiroshima visit is quite different from Dachau. The dropping of the A-Bomb was felt nit only at the time but also after generations. Not to say that it was better at the work camps but just very different in terms of suffering. It really is an atrocity and I hope that human kind really learned something from history. Although there was no other A-bombs dropped since the end WWII, it is very uneasy to see the effects of radiation from the exhibit. It serves as a reminder for all of us. It’s difficult to describe the feeling when seeing the exhibit. Sad…feels petty towards the victims even though some say it is a cause and effect of the war against other countries….depressing.

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Photo of the devastation after the bombing
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Stains of the black rain after the bombing on stone.
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Remains of articles after bombing.

Milan Duomo

One of the places in Milan I most wanted to see and visit is the Duomo. It’s the largest marble structure in the world and took over 600 years to build. It is quite impressive and you can go inside and up as well either on foot or via elevator.

If you are going in the summer like I did , go up early in the morning otherwise it will be super hot. It was very hot already at 9am.

There is a museum of artifacts behind the Cathedral as well with beautiful stain glass and sculptures.

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Shirakawa-go

If you are in the Kanazawa area, Shirakawa-go is a must go. It’s a picturesque quaint village in the north east region of Japan in Ishikawa. It is a World Heritage site and it’s filled with old farm houses with straw roofs. Every photo you take is like a post card.

We took a bus from Toyama but there are direct buses from Kanazawa and also Takayama. Either way it’s about 1.5 hours.

There is not very much to do other then walk around all the farm houses so about 3 hours is enough. It’s a great day trip.

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There are a couple of houses that are open for tours. It’s interesting to go inside to see what the interiors look like and also they provide insight of how they replaces the roofs. It’s rather pretty there without question very lyrical.