Vanessa Yeung Tsang – model, television personality and award-winning food author of the book For Two in 32 Minutes – has been splitting her time between Paris and Hong Kong since 2015.
For nearly 20 years, ever since I was recruited by French model/actress Laetitia Casta’s manager, I’ve spent time in Paris. Life was surreal and unforgettable during those years, hitting the runway and shooting magazines and commercials for brands like HermEs, Agnes b and Chanel.
I’ve gradually shifted my base back to Hong Kong, but every chance I get to travel to Europe, I stop over in the City of Light and fall a little deeper in love with it.
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I went back to Paris when the pandemic first broke out in Asia, and I ended up spending almost eight months there. Here are some of my latest favourite addresses in the French capital.
I like to cook at home and there are many outdoor farmers’ markets across the city. If you like exploring and getting everything in one go, I would go to Terroirs D’Avenir (rue du Nil, 75002) in the second arrondissement. They are one of the most influential wholesalers in Paris, work with the best producers, and supply over 300 restaurants – including many Michelin-starred ones.
A few years ago, they started their own retail shops. On that charismatic short street, rue du Nil, Terroirs D’avenir have five different outlets – Boulangerie-PAtisserie, Boucherie-Charcuterie, CrEmerie (which offers wonderful cheese and dairy products), Poissonnerie (for fresh seafood) and epicerie-Primeur (for seasonal vegetables and fruits).
As someone from Asia and as a big fan of mochi, it is a pleasant surprise to see how popular the sticky gluey pastry is in Paris. La Maison du Mochi (39 rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006, tel: +33 2 47 34 05 59) is a cute, cosy, vegan, no-gluten pastry shop opened by a French lady. They have over a dozen varieties, from the usual matcha and red bean or black sesame to French flavours like rhubarb and almond.
Paris is the capital of fine dining without a doubt, but the pricey three-Michelin-star restaurants are just once-in-a-while indulgences. I much prefer to discover smaller singular alternatives.
Among my usual hang-out places is Quinsou (33 rue de l’Abbe Gregoire, 75006, tel: +33 1 42 22 66 09), helmed by chef Antonin Bonnet. It is a Michelin-starred restaurant but is also an energetic and authentic French gourmet bistro with endless surprises. Having learned from chef Michel Bras, one of the very best in the business, Bonnet emphasises using top-notch seasonal ingredients and delivering them in the most organic way.
Last but definitely not least, if I have a friend coming to visit me in France for a weekend, I would take them to dine aboard the world’s first electrically powered vessel, Ducasse Sur Seine (embarking at 19 Port Debilly, 75116, tel: +33 1 58 00 22 08).
Cruising peacefully along the glorious historical River Seine and feasting in Alain Ducasse’s Michelin-standard dining salon with their flawless, detail-oriented service, the exquisite ambience perfectly captures and represents the dreamiest way to live out the French gastronomic spirit and experience Ernest Hemingway’s famous “movable feast”.
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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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