Monday, 11 July 2011

Milan, Italy

Milan. The centre of Italian fashion and design and the next stop on my world tour. The timing of my visit could not have been more perfect; I arrived the day the half-yearly sales commenced and I was in the mood to shop!

I spent the first day sightseeing, stopping at the Duomo (and having to do some quick wardrobe improvisation to drop my hemline a couple of inches to meet the dress code) and walking around the old town.

The second day was dedicated to shopping……I had huge success at the very first shop I visited which I thought was a sign of good things to come, but didn’t see another item of clothing or shoes that I liked for the remainder of the day.

I stopped at Peck Italian Bar for lunch which seemed to be popular with the local businessmen and served Milanese specialties such as cotoletta and risotto. I had both, or actually half of both as the portions were very generous before continuing on my shopping.


In the evening, I cracked. I couldn’t face the thought of another Italian meal and my longing for Asian food was becoming overwhelming. I had lasted nearly eight weeks (since some dumplings in Harrods) without Asian food (my staple diet back home) and I couldn’t take it any longer.

Previously, even if I had been tempted to eat Asian, I had refused as I hadn't seen a restaurant that passed my core rule: I will not eat at any restaurant that presents itself as one cuisine (e.g. Chinese or Thai) but has items on the menu from other countries. If the chef/owner can’t tell the difference between Japanese, Vietnamese or Chinese, the food can’t be good.

Fortunately for me, there was a Thai Restaurant a block away from my hotel. The first test was passed so things were looking up. It had the obligatory elephant sculpture in the room, Thai d├ęcor and a solely Thai menu so that was enough for me. I was so excited I overlooked my other rule (that applies to all restaurants): be very wary if you are the only patron in the restaurant. But I didn’t care. I ordered Tom Kai Gai and Satay. It was like being reunited with old friends… coriander, ginger, coconut milk: how I’ve missed you!! The food was surprisingly tasty and although not entirely authentic, it was a welcome change in the diet.

It was my last night in Italy and looking back I had had a wonderful time. One could easily spend months in Italy and only scratch the surface but I only had three weeks. I will return one day, but it will be with a hire car to visit all the small towns for some more regional culinary experiences.

Next stop, Switzerland.

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