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Amsterdam is a lively city with a central downtown district that does not find time to rest. Here, remnants of the city’s maritime past are interwoven with elements of contemporary life that include bars, shops, cafés and vices with a broad spectrum of appeal. The liberal Dutch society tolerates cannabis usage and prostitution, much to the delight of those from neighbouring countries who travel here to celebrate buck’s parties or inquisitive tourists hailing from countries that are more conservative. While the legality of cannabis is hazy, this raunchy side of Amsterdam appeals to some while most are simply inquisitive and curious onlookers. When most travellers think of Holland and its largest city Amsterdam (The Hague is the capital), images of windmills, wooden shoes called clogs, wheels of Gouda cheese and fields of multicoloured tulips spring to mind. However, the reality is that the closest encounter most visitors will have with these Dutch icons is the endless rows of souvenirs displayed in tourist precincts like Bloemenmarkt, a floating flower market. However, visitors will definitely encounter bikes, dykes and lights while exploring the sights of this lively, multicultural and cosmopolitan city of just 800,000 residents. CENTRAL AMSTERDAM Holland has always intrigued me and even more so, when I realised that a quarter of the country is below sea level with its gateway Schiphol Airport situated on a former lake, several metres below sea level. As my KLM plane approached Schiphol, I checked beneath the seat for the lifejacket, just in case. Of course, planes do not land on water thanks to Holland’s ingenious network of ancient dykes and polders that keep the seawater at bay. I checked a map of Amsterdam to appreciate that the city and surrounding areas are indeed a network of canals, lakes, rivers and dykes holding back the waters of the North Sea. Amsterdam’s famous dykes are not so obvious but without retaining walls and floodgates to keep out the seawater, there would not be much to see of Amsterdam as basically it, and much of Holland, has been reclaimed from the sea. This reclamation has been ongoing for centuries and explains why the Dutch are such great hydrological engineers. I also discovered that one of the functions of windmills in days gone by was to pump water from the land out to sea to keep the seawater in check. Canals are one of the main attractions and a canal cruise is the best way to admire just how important these were for Amsterdam’s original settlers. While the River IJ divides Amsterdam, most visitors do not appreciate it as the main tourist attractions are in central Amsterdam just to the south of the river. From an elevated vantage point at the rear of the main railway station, I appreciated that the River IJ waterfront divides central Amsterdam and Amsterdam Noord. Both parts of the city are visible from the Centraal Station located in a lively port precinct where large ocean-going cruise ships moor at the nearby docks. Visitors emerge from the city side of Centraal Station on

FOR SOME PEOPLE, MYANMAR IS A SECRET COUNTRY THAT CUTS THEM OFF FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD. IN FACT, THERE ARE LOTS OF BEAUTIFUL TREASURES FOR ALL TRAVELLERS TO EXPLORE. AFTER YOUR FIRST TIME TRAVELLING IN THIS GOLDEN LAND, YOU WOULD PLAN FOR MORE, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS NOW EASIER TO ACCESS AND MORE CONVENIENT FOR ANY STYLES OF JOURNEY. I took the morning boutique flight of Bangkok Airways from Bangkok to Yangon. After one hour and 20 minutes, I landed at Yangon International Airport where I could see the construction of the new terminal to welcome more visitors in the future. Later on, I was greeted by the limo chauffeur who passed me the Wi-Fi password on board and showed me around with his fluent English. From the airport to downtown, I think Yangon has changed a lot in terms of development, such as public bus service instead of the local mini-trucks, the young generations wearing more pants not just Sarong and Longyi. By the way, the buildings from the British colonial period and the faces of people are still beautiful to me as always. Only 45 minutes from the airport, I saw Sule Pagoda majestically standing in a distance. It meant that we were now arriving at the heart of Yangon. A few minutes later, our limo arrived at Pullman Yangon Centrepoint, the brand new hotel located nearby Sule Pagoda and more attractions in Yangon. In my opinion, this hotel is situated in a perfect location for all travellers who love to walk around the neighbourhood area like me. I could see the Maha Bandula Public Park and the City Hall on the opposite site, surrounded by the wonderful colonial style buildings, while my heart was beating faster when I entered my room and saw the perfect scenery of Yangon river through the window. But it is not enough, the hotel staff told me that the Bogyoke Market and the railway station is located a few blocks from here. That would be my itinerary for tomorrow because this afternoon we had to start our journey off with a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar. This Buddhist sanctuary is where the local people and overseas visitors come here to pray and make an offering. From Pullman Yangon Centrepoint, we can see apparently it was built with tons of gold and it is true! Religion is important to the people in Myanmar. Although, the technology tries to conquer the world but people still come here to pay homage to the Buddha, mediate and donate; that’s why Shwedagon Pagoda is the tallest pagoda in this country. After spending a couple hours for worship, we returned to the hotel for dinner at E’cucina Italian Restaurant. It is highly recommended for anyone who wants to enjoy the original Italian taste in Yangon. As I mentioned before, I wanted to visit the neighbourhood area so I went to bed early and fall asleep so quickly in the softened bed of Pullman standard. The next day, I woke

The spirit of old Hanoi will sweep through the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi this month, as the hotel celebrates Tet with a traditional Old Quarter-style market from Jan. 17-19. The festivities continue with special culinary offerings beginning Jan. 24. At the Tet market, food vendors on the hotel’s patio will sell authentic Vietnamese favourites, while children will be given traditional toys known as to he, edible figurines made from glutinous rice powder shaped to look like flowers and animals. Market-goers can also learn the art of classic Vietnamese calligraphy. Wine, craft beer and other refreshments will also be on offer, as will souvenirs that visitors can take home as memories of the Vietnamese lunar new year. Traditional-style Vietnamese houses will also be erected in the hotel’s walkway outside La Boutique du Metropole, adding to the “Old Quarter” ambiance. The Tet market at Metropole Hanoi is open to the public daily, and kicks off Friday, Jan. 17 at 4pm with an opening ceremony featuring a traditional dragon dance. The market continues on Jan. 18 and 19 from 11am to 8pm. More than 15 vendors will take part in this year’s bazaar. Special Metropole Tet hampers with luxury and gourmet items will be available for sale at the market and at L’Epicerie du Metropole from Jan. 6 onwards. The hotel will host a cooking competition at the market at 5pm each day. On Jan. 17, contestants will vie to see who can create the most delicious “Chung cake” (a traditional Vietnamese rice cake) while Jan. 18 will witness a battle of banh cuon, and Jan. 19 will determine who is able to produce the tastiest spring rolls. Winners will receive a voucher for a complimentary homemade cake from L’Epicerie du Metropole. A Vietnamese floral specialist from local boutique Liti Florist will host a flower workshop from 2pm to 4pm on Jan. 18. An exclusive six-course Tet 2020 Gala Dinner at Spices Garden will be served on Jan. 24 featuring grilled oysters with shallots and roasted peanuts; blue prawn in a mild coconut soup; fresh yellow bamboo and beef salad; braised chinh fish with green banana; grilled pigeon and foie gras; and banana fritter, traditional Tet candied fruits and vanilla ice cream. The gala dinner is priced at 2.5 million VND.

The recently refurbished Grand Shanghai is proud to announce their exclusive collaboration with two-Michelin-starred restaurant Canton 8 from Shanghai. Diners can experience three extravagant nights of gastronomical heaven from 24 – 26 December with an eight- course menu comprising of Shanghainese and Cantonese inspired culinary delights priced at $148++ per person. Masterchef Kan Chit Ming of Canton 8 will helm the kitchen of Grand Shanghai as a part of this exclusive collaboration. The unique dinner menu will be a combined reflection of both the restaurant’s signature cooking style and star creations. While the Grand Shanghai team are celebrated for their distinct talent of using innovative new techniques to tease out authentic Shanghainese flavours, Canton 8 offers one of the best Cantonese cuisines in Shanghai with a focus on the original mix of flavours. The three-night special menu curated by the two restaurants, promises an unforgettable gastronomical Michelin-star dining experience to the diners. A definite feast for senses, the sumptuous eight-course menu features a bevy of premium ingredients from around the world. The highlights from the extensive multi-course menu include Chef Kan’s Signature Fried Rice, Boston lobster claw dipped in Chinese wine and served with steamed egg white, and slow-cooked wagyu beef rib in black pepper. For a full list of set menu available, refer to the appendix. For reservations, please visit www.grandshanghai.com.sg or call 6836 6866 .Reservations made before 19 December can avail the early bird discount of 15%. Grand Shanghai 390 Havelock Rd, Level 1 King's Centre, Singapore Tuesday to Friday 11:30am - 2:30pm for lunch 6:00pm - 10:00pm for dinner Saturday & Sunday 11:00am - 2:30pm for lunch 6:00pm - 10.00pm for dinner

As a fast-growing city, the number of multinational enterprises escalates, so does the number of expatriates from around the world. The more the city flourishes, the more it attracts tourists. Apparently, Phnom Penh is now a multicultural modern town where people can have fine, edible comforts as in other major cities around the world, plus one-of-a-kind charms of authentic Cambodian cuisine. THE FRENCH INFLUENCE One of the most recognisable features of Phnom Penh city is the trace of Colonial influences intermingling with Cambodian ambience and young skyscrapers. The French influence that lives on from Cambodia’s so-far-gone history is so palpable in Phnom Penh, especially in its dining scene. In Phnom Penh, a multitude of French diners are at hand if you want to try some, and many of them serves authentic French taste. On the Okha Ket Street, Bouchon Wine Bar is a colonial house with homemade French cuisine in the cosiest setting, serving different dishes from day to night. Apart from choices of wines, its home-made Rose Sangria is a must-try. There are a lot more places to have it the French way, but Bouchon Wine Bar is one of the best ones downtown. Another unmissable stop is Brasserie Louis at Rosewood Phnom Penh, where top-notch French tastes and authentic Cambodian dishes are feasted in the midst of marvellous panoramas of Phnom Penh city. Also at Rosewood Phnom Penh, Patisserie is the place to delight in fine pastries and desserts crafted with real French technique. HAVE IT HEALTHY Vegans and health aficionados are going to love it in Phnom Penh, as the city is bustling with scrumptious vegan-friendly dishes and healthy bowls. To grab some, Eleven One BKK1 is a house in a verdant garden with a myriad of health- and environmentally-friendly choices made from local produces and with zero MSG. Popular is the one-off Amok Burger and Khmer Beef Steak. There is an out-of-the-ordinary alley hidden in the city, and it is the Street 240 ½. The alley is home to artsy venues and fascinating street art, as well as the fantastic ARTillery Café. On the menu for this easy-going café are creative healthy choices, which can be the ideal breakfast to have on a regular basis. Its Poke Bowl fills up the stomach so well and tastes great. Its smoothies and superfood dishes are also worth loving. Aside from the aforementioned spots, vegan and healthy options are available at many restaurants and cafés, so don’t worry about your health plan once you are in Phnom Penh. DRINK THE DRINKS As previously stated, with the Western influences, wines and cocktails can be commonly found at most restaurants. For the ultimate drinkable experience, recommended is Sora Sky Bar at Rosewood Phnom Penh. Even though it is famous for its unbeatable views from the 37th floor, especially during sunset, its drinks are indeed second to none. With highly-skilled bartenders, whether you want to sip classics, signatures, or tailor-made glasses, you are sure to be elated. Rare whiskies are also its strong suit. In Phnom Penh, with big and microbreweries on site, the

Le Bristol Paris, pearl of Oetker Collection, invites all bon vivants to discover superb wines presented by their passionate wine masters, over a four-course dinner from Eric Frechon’s Michelin starred kitchens. The 2019 series of Wine Mondays begins on October 7th. France has long been known as the country of good taste, fine fare and gastronomy. At the heart of this prestigious heritage, there is the noble grape which transforms into a treasure of infinite colours and flavours. At Le Bristol Paris, there are no less than twelve sommeliers each equally determined to seek out the finest wines for the pleasure of the Palace guests. Twelve Wine Masters Under the guidance of Bernard Neveu, Sommelier Director, twelve sommeliers assiduously explore great vintages and seek out the finest newcomers. This elite team of sommeliers discover new wines that will eventually become part of the French gastronomic experience, earning the privilege to be paired with the Michelin starred cuisine of this Parisian Palace. They are masters in creating sublime food and wine pairings, committed connoisseurs, they elevate the profession to an art. A century and half of oenology Le Bristol’s cellars are a hallowed place where some of the rarest wines age with around 100,000 bottles, 60,000 are literally beneath the Palace. There are some legendary vintages such as a Riversaltes 1875, or a Petrus 1961, both on Epicure’s wine list, an historic tome with 2,500 references, cataloguing a century and a half of oenology.  “One of the greatest in the world” proclaims the American magazine Wine Spectator, who gave Epicure’s list their highest accolade, the Wine Spectator Grand Award, for the 4th year in a row. The treasure hunt At Le Bristol Paris wine and the wine makers are held in utmost reverence, and Wine Mondays are dedicated to them. These shared evenings of discovery begin months earlier when you find Bernard Neveu and his team striding along the most beautiful domains across the countryside, from the Côte d’Or to Bordeaux, Alsace’s plains to the Loire valley’s hillsides, seeking the most precious bottles. Their treasure hunt culminates at brasserie de luxe 114 Faubourg where they share their greatest finds and best encounters in their Wine Mondays. Wines are paired with a four course dinner created for the evening by three Michelin starred Chef Eric Frechon. Wine Mondays At these evenings the sommeliers reveal remarkable wines, private domains and passionate wine-growers but above all, give meaning to the word pleasure. The evening takes place in the stylish floral surrounds of 114 Faubourg, over a four-course gastronomic dinner. Price €140 per guest. Continuing the degustation, the wine which is given pride of place will be included in the 114 Faubourg wine list for the upcoming month. Price: €140 per guest Programme 2019-2020 7th October 2019 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret / Bourgogne Côte de Nuits Family-owned since 1620 in the heart of the prestigious village of Vosne Romanée, the Mongeard-Mugneret estate has some 30 hectares of vineyards divided into 35 appellations, including the magnificent grands crus such as Echezeaux, Grands-Echezeaux, Clos de Vougeot and Richebourg. Wines offer the velvety texture and delicacy typical of great Burgundy wines,

Leading culinary stars from around the world, boasting a total of 8 Michelin stars among them, will join the second edition of “Metropole Culinary Stars” from Oct. 6-13 at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. The eight-day culinary extravaganza, which follows last year’s highly successful inaugural event, will feature 18 internationally renowned chefs who will collaborate on a series of extraordinary and memorable meals at the Metropole Hanoi. Michelin-starred chefs participating in this year’s event include: Jacques Pourcel (3-Michelin-star chef at Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier, France), David Rathgeber (the chef-owner of Michelin-starred L’Assiette, one of Paris’ most sought-after bistros), Hervé Rodriguez (chef-owner of Michelin-starred MaSa restaurant in Paris), Jean-Baptiste Natali (youngest chef in France to earn a Michelin star when he was awarded one in 2002 at age 27), Raoul Meuwese (Chef de Cuisine of Michelin-starred Bridges at Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam) and Michael Dyllong (head chef of Michelin-starred Palmgarden in Dortmund, Germany). The event will also spotlight other global culinary luminaries, including Dutch celebrities’ private chef (René van Empelen), a former winner of MasterChef of France (Didier Corlou), a scion of a cheese-making family that’s been in the business since 1880 (Patrice Marchand), the maître-chocolatier of the world’s longest-established chocolatier (Stéphane Bonnat), an author of 14 renowned cookbooks (Alain Caron), one of Asia’s top female chefs, according to the Michelin Guide (Vanessa Huang), the Master Baker of France (Bruno Dinel), and pastry master (Fabrice Danniel). Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi’s Executive Chef Paul Smart and his culinary team Aurélien Houguet, Nguyen Thanh Van and Raphael Kinimo will also bring their expertise to this much-anticipated event. “Metropole Culinary Stars 2019 promises to be a truly remarkable event, as we bring together some of the world’s most celebrated chefs in a city whose culinary tradition is undisputed,” said William Haandrikman, the Metropole Hanoi’s General Manager. Over eight days, starting on October 6, the event will include the following unique dining experiences: Oct. 6: An all-you-can eat “angelina Sunday Brunch with the Stars” featuring delicious culinary creations, live chef stations, free-flow drinks and lively music provided by a DJ. Oct. 7: A six-course “Exotic World of Spice” dinner in which each course is elevated by a different spice and paired with spice wines. Oct. 8: A seven-course “Dinner to Remember from the Farm & the Sea” sourced with the freshest and finest ingredients from the fields and oceans. Oct. 9: A six-course “Most Exclusive Wine Dinner” featuring luxurious ingredients and world-class Champagne and Grand Crus from five different wineries. Oct. 10: There will be two main events this evening. First, is the “Trump-Kim Summit Four-Hands Dinner,” a special gastronomical journey with the two Metropole chefs who prepared the historic four-course menu. The second is an “Extravagant Cheese & Wine Evening with Artisanal Bread” featuring more than 30 selections of Les Frères Marchand cheese served with artisanal bread. Oct. 11: A “Metropole Culinary Showdown Dinner” in which 14 chefs go head-to-head in a 60-minute live cook-off, while guests savor a special four-course dinner menu. Oct. 12: An “All Star Dinner” including an exquisite 9-course dinner menu from 10 of the top participating chefs. Oct. 13: A “Magnifique Sunday Brunch” featuring nine live stations, as well as an opportunity to interact directly with the chefs. All of

Eating is a significant part of any travel experience, and whether it’s enjoying a lamb and pear tajine in Morocco, some spicy jerk chicken in Jamaica or a selection of tapas in Spain, there’s nothing better than savouring a dish in its country of origin, plus it’s a great way to meet the locals. MOROCCAN It is said that in order for a nation to develop a great cuisine, it must have four prerequisites. A rich land from which to draw upon an abundant range of ingredients, a variety of foreign cultural influences, a great civilisation and lastly, a refined palace with royal kitchens to inspire the nation’s cooks. Morocco has it all, and is home to some of the most delicious food imaginable. From robust roasts to rich aromatic stews, spiced or sweetened salads to savoury pastries, fragrant mounds of couscous to bastilla, an exquisite blend of shredded pigeon, a spiced onion sauce with saffron and herbs encased in a flaky, filo-like pastry topped with cinnamon and sugar – an intricate dish that epitomises everything that is grand and extravagant in Moroccan cooking. One of the most interesting ways to absorb the delights of Moroccan cuisine is to wander through the souks (markets) of the towns and cities, sampling the food on offer. It’s early morning in old Fés and sunlight streams in slanted rays through the woven bamboo shades covering the narrow alleyways, catching the steam rising from the many cookers. Close to the city gate of Bab Bou Jaloud, one stallholder is busy cooking and serving a typical Moroccan breakfast, miklee – flaky pancakes with butter and honey. In a nearby fruit and vegetable souk, produce of every kind lines the street – juicy oranges from the sun-drenched groves of Agadir, vine-ripened tomatoes, plump mounds of grapes and preserved fruits and nuts. Entire shops are jam-packed with olives of all types; others display hanging baskets bulging with fresh mint, used to make mint tea that is traditionally served before and after a meal. At a spice souk, bright red paprika, rich yellow turmeric, dusty sticks of cinnamon, seeds of cumin, aniseed and caraway are heaped in tubs waiting to be measured into twisted envelopes of paper. These are some of the spices that form the soul of Moroccan cooking, transforming simple dishes to exotic heights. One of Morocco’s most famous dishes is the tajine or tagine. The name refers to the conical-lidded pot in which it is prepared, as well as the intricately spiced stew of meat and vegetables, sometimes with dried fruits and nuts, cooked very slowly over a charcoal fire. Typical tajine combinations include: lamb with pears and chicken with green olives and preserved lemons – simple yet delicious dishes that are often accompanied by thick wedges of crusty Moroccan flat bread, perfect for soaking up the sauce. JAMAICAN From fiery seasoned meat and inventive seafood dishes to oak-aged rums and hearty stouts, Jamaican cuisine is an eclectic mix of African, European and Indian influences – and is surprisingly healthy and varied. Although many

Inspired by beautiful ingredients from the eight regencies of Bali, The Warung at Alila Villas Uluwatu presents “8 Regencies Journey”, featuring four epic nights of gastronomy crafted by four esteemed guest chefs.  Consistently delighting diners with its wholesome authentic Indonesian cuisine, The Warung is a must-visit destination for local and international foodies and tourists, as well as acclaimed chefs who share a passion for Indonesia’s culinary heritage. In its latest culinary extravaganza, each chef will transform ingredients from two regencies into sensational dining experiences that celebrate the best of Bali. Embark on a culinary journey from coast to coast, including Tabanan, the ‘rice bowl’ of Bali; Badung, home to the tourist hot spots of Uluwatu and Seminyak; and less visited regions such as Buleleng in the north and Negara in the far west.     14 June 2019 Buleleng and Karangasem by Chef Kieran Morland Chef Kieran has worked alongside some of the biggest names in the restaurant industry and at some of the world’s most renowned venues, including Momofuku in NYC, Wapping Project in London, Syracuse in Melbourne, and Ku De Ta in Bali. Currently Executive Chef of Merah Putih and Sangsaka Indonesian restaurants in Seminyak, Kieran is a chef who not only understands the basic elements of a great dish, but also the finer details that make an exceptional meal. Representing Buleleng and Karangasem regencies, Kieran will present some dishes that are based from Boni (Balinese berries), cassava, kluwek, andaliman and many more. 9 August 2019 Badung and Bangli by Chef Nic Philip Chef Nic is Executive Chef of Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach, whose signature restaurant, Salon Bali, combines authentic Indonesian flavours and spices with contemporary techniques and presentation. Stints in Michelin-starred establishments in Europe coupled with his love of travel and passion for Asian flavours imbue Nic’s culinary style with plenty of inventiveness and enticement for the senses. Nic will transform Bali’s most favourite fruits Salak (snake fruits) and Plaga Pinneaples into some sensational dishes. 25 September 2019 Negara and Klungkung by Chef Wayan Kresnayasa Hailing from Nusa Penida in the Kelungkung regency, Wayan Kresnayasa is Executive Chef of Potato Head Beach Club and Kaum Global, where he plays an instrumental role in putting Indonesian cuisine on the map. With a Culinary Arts degree from Chicago’s Washburne Culinary Institute, Chef Wayan honed his skills in the acclaimed kitchens of two-Michelin-starred Acadia and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, New York. He was named Chef of the Year at Bali’s Best Eats 2018. On this event, Chef Wayan will recreate some local delights into world-class dishes that are based on Kaffir lime, Corriander, and Turmeric as they are known as the local products from Negara and Klungkung regencies. 10 October 2019 Tabanan and Gianyar by Chef Putu Dodik The final stop on the journey will be created by Putu Dodik, Chef de Cuisine of Nusantara by Locavore, and part of the original Locavore team. As an Indonesian, Chef Putu is proud to show what can be achieved with local ingredients and regularly invents new dishes that challenge traditional cuisine without losing the original ingredients and flavours. Chef Dodik will show his