What's Cooking in...

Chef Ning preparing for the cooking demonstration aboard the ship. Photos by Sandra Scott

I have found a great way to remember trips and also engage guests with my travel tales. I serve a dish using a recipe from one of the countries I have visited, and when friends or relatives ask, “What is this?” I have the perfect opportunity to tell them about the recipe and my visit. 

Such was the case when I recently served Tam Mak Hoong (or, more traditionally, Dtam Mak Huhng), also known as Green Papaya Salad, which my husband, John, and I learned how to make...


My husband, John, and I have been to Nicaragua several times since our first visit in the ’90s. We returned in December 2015 and stayed on the island of Ometepe, home to twin volcanoes connected by a narrow isthmus. 

The island is popular with nature lovers and can be accessed by ferry from the city of San Jorge. Many visitors like to climb the volcanoes, but we preferred walking on the beach, where there were more horses than people. 

We also enjoyed a visit...


One of the things that I love about Asian food is that the preparation is so easy. 

I once mentioned to a Myanmarese, “There are no fast-food restaurants in Myanmar.” The reply was, “All food in Myanmar is fast food.” 

Indeed, with many Myanmar recipes, once you have the ingredients, creating the dish is quick. In addition, simple alterations to many recipes can create equally delicious dishes. Such is the case with Myanmar Ginger Salad....


So many recipes can be found in cookbooks, which are some of the most popular-selling books, and we all have family recipes. However, when I’m looking for something different to make, I refer to recipes from the cooking classes that my husband, John, and I have taken in a variety of countries. 

I like the fact that we completed each recipe under supervision and have taste-tested the result. Also, we know the recipe is ethnically authentic because the class was taught by a...


In October 2015 I was able to check off one of the adventures on my bucket list: to travel through the waterways and canals of the northeastern US and southeastern Canada.

Used by Native Americans, explorers, settlers and armies, the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes were key to the development of the Canadian provinces of Québec and Ontario as well as New York state and the interior of the United States. 

I was excited when I learned about the “Locks, Legends...



While my husband, John, and I were on a tour in the Philippines in 2008, one of our stops was the island of Cebu, where we stayed overnight at Plantation Bay Resort & Spa (Marigondon Beach Road, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines 6015; phone +63 [32] 505 9800, www.plantationbay.com). 

I was impressed with their pools — eight of them, four of which are saltwater lagoons and four, freshwater pools — covering a total of six acres. I never forgot about the...


On a visit to Shanghai that my husband, John, and I made in January 2015, I checked one more thing off my bucket list when we had a drink at the Long Bar in the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund (No. 2 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road, Huang Pu District, Shanghai 200002, P.R. China; phone +86 [0] 21 6322 9988 or, in the US, 800/445-8667, www.waldorfastoriashanghai.com/english).

The Waldorf Astoria officially opened in 2011 in the restored, historic Baroque Revival building that once was...


Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City as it’s been called since 1975 (though both names are used throughout Vietnam), is a bustling city. 

During our January 2015 trip, my husband, John, and I visited the War Remnants Museum (28 Vo Van Tan, Ward 6, District 3, HCMC; http://warremnantsmuseum.com), which chronicles the Vietnamese people’s struggles against invading forces.

While a visit to this museum can be distressing for Americans, we remembered a comment made by our...