food

Las Vegas Food Scene by Midori Ng

While you may not be heading to Las Vegas for the food, there are plenty of good eats on and off the strip. I’ve narrowed down my top five places to eat anytime I go to Vegas ($-$$ range):

Best Kept Secret: Japanese Curry Zen

A short Uber ride off the strip and you get to Japanese Curry Zen! This is a typical Japanese Curry restaurant, but they have a wide variety of curry flavors and different meats you can choose. I opted for a standard Japanese curry - prices for all dishes are extremely reasonable and portions are huge.

Best Happy Hour: Sushi Roku

Every time I go to Vegas I have to stop at Sushi Roku in Ceaser’s Palace! They have a great drink and food happy hour including different sushi rolls and appetizers. Personal favorite is the A2 Fusion roll and it’s only $4.

Best in Old Las Vegas/Fremont: The Park on Fremont

Old Las Vegas has a great food scene for happy hour and late night drinks. One of my favorites was The Park on Fremont because of the experimental food style. The restaurant is literally in a parking lot and has lots of seating on the back patio and front outdoor space. Highly recommend the mac and cheese balls!

Best Off the Strip: Lotus of Siam

This place has been rated one of the best Thai restaurants in North America and I have to say it lived up to the hype. The food was fresh, tasty, spicy, and authentic. A good start is the Pork Khao Soi - people also recommend the Crispy Duck Curry. Definitely finish it off with some coconut ice cream over sticky rice. Mmmmm.

Best Dessert: Sprinkles Cupcakes

Sprinkles is my favorite cupcake shop and since we don’t have one in Washington, I had to go to this location. Their shop has cupcakes AND ice cream. The coffee is also great to pair with your cupcake of choice (can’t go wrong with Red Velvet!).

7 Memorable Meals in Tokyo by Midori Ng

Walking the streets of Tokyo, I realized you can go just about anywhere and the food would be delicious. This past summer was my first trip to Japan and I was extremely impressed by the cleanliness, efficiency, and most of all - the food. Alongside the variety of food in Japan, every meal seemed to be treated as a unique experience. Enjoy below my seven most memorable meals in Tokyo. (P.S. Kyoto post coming soon!!)

BAKE // PASTRIES

I can only count a handful of baked goods that I can classify as “life-changing” but BAKE was hands-down one of them. There are a variety of locations around Asia but I stumbled upon the small window stall in the Shinjuku station. They only serve one pastry - a warm, golden cheese tart. The cheese mousse is the filling for the mini pie crust and is AMAZING. My only regret from the trip was not buying an entire box of these to freeze.

KIYOMURA @ TSUKIJI FISH MARKET // SUSHI

The Tsukiji Fish Market is fun to sample different dried fish and seaweed, but it’s also worth trying some sashimi while you’re there! Tsukiji is said to have the freshest and best tuna in the world. I stopped by a restaurant outside of the fish market called Kiyomura which had Chirashi bowls for under $20. It was some of the best tuna, salmon, and sweet egg I’ve ever had. 

TONKI // TONKATSU

At Tonki they serve three variations of pork cutlet which is then deep-fried in panko breading. The seating overlooks the open kitchen where all your food is being prepared (see above!). It may take 30 minutes or so get your meal but it’s entertaining to watch the chefs prepare all the meals with such great attention to detail. The experience begins with hot towel before eating and served hot tea. With your meal, you're given unlimited cabbage, rice, miso soup, mustard, and tonkatsu sauce. This was for sure my favorite meal in Tokyo, and probably one of my favorite meals ever.

EKIBEN @ TRAIN STATIONS // BENTO

Surprisingly train stations in Tokyo have some of the yummiest foods in all of the city (i.e. the famous Jiro Ono’s sushi is located in a train station). If you want to opt for a different experience than a typical sit-down restaurant, grab an ekiben which is essentially a bento box filled with different Japanese food staples. The packaging on the boxes are beautiful and the intricacy of how the box is laid out is a piece of art.

STARBUCKS @ SHIBUYA CROSSING // COFFEE

This is less about the food because you can get Starbucks anywhere (although if you want a milk tea or green tea inspired drink/food try it out here!), but this is one of the most iconic Starbucks in the world. The view of Shibuya Crossing is pretty prime to watch over a cup of coffee.

TORIKI // YAKITORI

Toriki is located in an unsuspecting alley, but don’t be fooled. It’s a michelin-star restaurant and has been frequented by Anthony Bourdain! They serve yakitori which is all different parts of the chicken, all at a very reasonable price. I think our total for 2 people was $50. Also, a must-try menu item is the friend chicken skin! Yumm. 

HOKOKUJI TEMPLE // MATCHA TEA

A little more obscure, but I loved going to the Hokokuji temple and drinking fresh matcha tea. Before you walk into the bamboo garden, there is a sitting area where you are given a small wooden cup filled with matcha tea and two sweet dissolvable candies. Spin the cup of tea twice to shake up the matcha before you drink it, take a sip, then eat one candy. The bittersweet contrast is what makes the matcha super tasty!

BONUSES // 2 MORE!

I forgot to take photos at these two places near Shibuya station but Genki Sushi and Ichiran are unlike any restaurant I’ve been to in the United States. Genki looks like an ordinary conveyer belt sushi restaurant. The difference is your seat has a corresponding tablet where you order food and it comes wizzing down the conveyor belt without stopping in front of any other customers. At Ichiran, you order ramen from a vending machine. Food is considered "fast food", but the experience is worth it.

24 Hours in Portland by Midori Ng

Reason for my last-minute trip to Portland? The food! Since every Portland visit is constant Yelp check-ins, multiple happy hours, and food-truck galore, I’m sharing my favorite destinations for every meal if you only have one day to spend in the city.


Breakfast // The Waffle Window

Order the Triple B (Bacon, Brie, Basil) with an egg on top. It comes paired with homemade peach jam which is the perfect amount of sweetness to this eclectic combination.

Order the Triple B (Bacon, Brie, Basil) with an egg on top. It comes paired with homemade peach jam which is the perfect amount of sweetness to this eclectic combination.

Morning Coffee // Black Rock Coffee Bar

Last time I was here I got the Fuel Coffee. It has 6 shots of espresso which is probably too much for any one person...

Last time I was here I got the Fuel Coffee. It has 6 shots of espresso which is probably too much for any one person...

This exotic cuisine is Mauritian food, inspired by African, French, Indian, Chinese, and Creole cuisines. Regulars recommend the Shyamosas and I also highly suggest trying the Chicken Mine Frire.

This exotic cuisine is Mauritian food, inspired by African, French, Indian, Chinese, and Creole cuisines. Regulars recommend the Shyamosas and I also highly suggest trying the Chicken Mine Frire.

Afternoon Snack // Blue Star Donuts

I used to be a fan of Voodoo Doughnuts until I tried Blue Star’s Blueberry Basil donut. Another favorite of mine is the Lemon Poppyseed Buttermilk!

I used to be a fan of Voodoo Doughnuts until I tried Blue Star’s Blueberry Basil donut. Another favorite of mine is the Lemon Poppyseed Buttermilk!

Happy Hour // Bollywood Theater 

They don't have a designated happy hour, but all their food is a fresh take on Indian street food. Grab a few small plates (like the Kati Roll - yum!) to share before heading over to dinner.

They don't have a designated happy hour, but all their food is a fresh take on Indian street food. Grab a few small plates (like the Kati Roll - yum!) to share before heading over to dinner.

Dinner // Pok Pok

Hands down my favorite restaurant in Portland. If you can go in the summer, get an order of the coconut milk-infused corn with the famous fish sauce wings. Anything you order on the menu will taste super authentic to Chiang Mai, Thailand - including the water!

Hands down my favorite restaurant in Portland. If you can go in the summer, get an order of the coconut milk-infused corn with the famous fish sauce wings. Anything you order on the menu will taste super authentic to Chiang Mai, Thailand - including the water!

Dessert // Salt & Straw

A must-try in Portland because of their variety of weird flavors. Can’t go wrong with their waffle cones too.

A must-try in Portland because of their variety of weird flavors. Can’t go wrong with their waffle cones too.

This spot can have up to a two hour wait! Even if you’re not a big whiskey drinker (I’m certainly not!), the ambiance is unreal. The host/hostess will lead you upstairs to the “library” where hundreds of whiskey bottles line the walls.

This spot can have up to a two hour wait! Even if you’re not a big whiskey drinker (I’m certainly not!), the ambiance is unreal. The host/hostess will lead you upstairs to the “library” where hundreds of whiskey bottles line the walls.


I'm always eager to find more hidden gems of Portland. Please feel free to send me any recommendations!