TAIWAN - TAIPEI - Bistronomic art at RAW

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First, there’s a striking beautiful interior, wooden, minimalist, all in curves. Then the lovely details like the cutlery hidden inside you’re table’s secret drawer.

This tastefully designed restaurant has the atmosphere of an art gallery while it’s all about gastronomy. Or “bistronomy” more precisely, meaning affordable gastronomic french style cuisine with a Taiwanese twist. No surprise as it’s been conceptualised by famous “born in Taiwan” and “made in France” Chef André Chiang.

Creative and spontaneous, that’s how he and his local team led by Chefs Zor Tang and Alain Huang wanted RAW’s menu to sound like. Highlighting seasonal produce, what comes on your plate carry exciting names like “Uni Hokkaido Peanut Butter Peas”, “Sakura Ebi Cappellini” or “Chocolate Burnt Butter Mochi”.

Their daring mantra “Never be afraid to make mistakes” has worked as they don’t seem to have made any.  Since they first opened a year ago, Raw has become one of the most sought-after restaurants in Taipei.  

Rare are the Chefs you’d follow anywhere they settle a business. André is one of them. Singapore, check, Taipei, check, Paris, next.

image Tiny iced Pineapple Cakes
 

ASK : your way to the restroom, a must-see… Kidding aside, make sure to make your reservation early in advance. If not, you might have a chance on waiting list. Until January 10th they’ll only be serving a “best of the year menu”.

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Malaysia - George Town - Hotel - Sinkeh - Call it home

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Sinkeh (“New comer”) is some kind of treasure you’d want to keep secret. But because owner and stage director Chee Sek Thim puts 20% of the benefits into programming, meaning each guest contributes to support the Penang art scene, a hidden gem has to be unveiled.

 Re-designed to present a contemporary vision to an heritage building, this 19th century straits chinese house, tastefully revamped with wood and concrete, has nine rooms on its 1st and 2nd floor and an art working space on the ground floor. A Library and 2 open patios to chill. It’s rare to love a place so much that you’d come back to a city just for it. Sinkeh is that kind of hotel you can call home.

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ASK: To meet Sek Thim, among other stories, he’ll tell you why there are silk worm cocoons in glass jars near the entrance.

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Sth Korea - Seoul - Café - D55 - Overlooling Bukchon

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Here’s a beautiful place to cool down after a visit to the stunning Gyeongbokgung palace nearby.“D’Industry 55” is a furniture cafe, meaning the interior (from all over the world) is for sale. The coffee shop owned by a group of designers offers a homely feeling, there’s a wide range of western food choices, but I’d recommend you stick to the coffee.

ASK: To be seated in the Veranda upstairs to overlook Bukchon’s beautiful traditional roofs.

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Singapore -Hipster Corner- Strangelets

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This is the story of 4 interior designers and architect friends who travelled the world in order to create a shop that would gather charming and clever items. The result is this little design shop, a response to hyper-mega mass production. High-End. Think tableware by Astier de Villatte, Jewellery by Kiel Mead, lighting by Mark Product…  Beautiful, quirky, and expensive.

ASK: For the singaporeans frozen treats “Popaganda”. And for the crafts from Heart works, part of a social project in Cape Town. They’re one of the few little affordable things to buy in Strangelets.

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Mumbai -Must shop- Bungalow8

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Since 2003, Mumbai’s beautifully styled first concept store spotlights the very best of Indian inspired design and fashion.  This is where Madonna and Sting shop when they are in town. From dining and living, bath, bed and fashion, everything is lifestyle connected. Walking thru the shop is like living in a dream house. Bungalow 8’s philosophy is to pair “Indian-ness with global-ness”. Charming.

ASK: For their house designed kimonos to bring some cosiness back home

At the time of writing, the Colaba store was about to move to Churchgate.

An organic pop up restaurant helmed by owner Maithili Ahluwalia’s mother is coming up in September.

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Mumbai -Hotel- Abode Bombay

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Literally “Bombay house”, the only so called “boutique hotel” in Mumbai and old restored guest house is tucked in the heart of Colaba historical heritage district. Tastefully designed and furnished with a vintage 20th colonial century and art decor, the cosy 20 rooms meet all budgets. Complimentary breakfast and Wifi. Very convenient for a first time in the city.

ASK: To meet Lizzie the owner. She has very good city and travel tips.

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Mumbai -Hipster Corner- Filter

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This little hipster corner store curated by advertising copywriter filters, as well as showcasing the works of illustrators, photographers, graphic designers and product innovators. The store offers a range of products that goes from limited edition prints and stationery, to T-shirts, mouse pads, diaries, sketchbooks… A good mix of local and international modern refined aesthetics.

ASK: For the latest works from Mumbai designers.

11am-7pm- Closed on Sundays

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Mumbai -Must see- Bombay Electric

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Welcome to the coolest shop in Mumbai. If you’re looking for what Indian emerging talents and indie labels have to offer, it’s right here. Set in a beautiful heritage building facing the Taj Mahal, top names as respected fashion designers Manish Arora, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Sonam Dubal are also represented. The store also serves space for art projects, book readings and exhibitions.

ASK: to try some clothes on to feel part of Mumbai elite, who knows you might have saved enough to afford it in the end.

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Mumbai -Shop local- Fabindia

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Fabindia was created in 1960 by American John Bissell to curate sustainable rural employments. Today, the brand works with over 15 000 artisans. Their stores (over a 100) offer everything in one go, all made from traditional and hand based processes: Textiles, fashion items, stationery, furniture, organic food… Their body care products are particularly worth the try. All at affordable price.

ASK: For their lemon and mint foot scrub. Such a relief after a walking day.

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