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The epicurean’s guide to Asia

From beautiful spas to grand heritage hotels to delicious brews, TV anchor Sanghvi will take you on a journey across South and Southeast Asia. HT Correspondent gives you the details...

tv Updated: Sep 11, 2009 21:51 IST

What are the best places in Asia for a really good massage? Or a truly divine biriyani? If you want an informed opinion on these matters, tune in to this show. Titled Vir Sanghvi’s Asian Diary, it’s a five-part series that premieres on the Discovery Travel & Living channel on September 20. The show, to be broadcast every Sunday at 10 pm, will talk about exotic Asian lifestyles. In it, columnist and TV anchor Sanghvi will take you on a journey across South and Southeast Asia.

From beautiful spas to grand heritage hotels to delicious brews, the series will showcase Asia’s best. Sanghvi will discuss the region’s epicurean delights with various people while travelling across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Thailand and India. Each episode will delve into spectacular lifestyle choices of a country and how distinct it is as a tourist destination.

In the first episode, titled ‘Asian Karma’, Sanghvi visits exotic spas across region. Two of his favourites places are the Mandarin Oriental where he gets a traditional Thai massage and then bathes at the Ananda Spa on the banks of Ganga. From techniques like Chinese reflexology to traditional Balinese treatment, to Ayurvedic massages, it’s all about the ultimate pampering experience.

‘Colonial Hangover’, the second episode, talks about the history of beer in Asia. The oldest brewery turns out to be from Shimla. And the oldest brew? Lion Beer. Sanghvi indulges in silly beer contests and collects a crateful of recipes.
In the third part of this series, called ‘A tale of three cities’, Sanghvi follows the biryani trail and tracks the origins of the greatest rice-and-meat combinations. He traces the root to this royal dish and travels to the cities that keep the traditions alive. Savour the flavours of ‘Katchi Gosht’ done in regal style in a Hyderabad palace, and move through the streets as Sanghvi discovers a local favourite. Drool at the ‘Awadhi yakhni pulao’ and meet Imitiaz Qureshi, one of India’s best biryani chefs.

In ‘The Grand Old Ladies of Asia, parts 1 and 2’, the narration begins with the story of the iconic Raffles Hotel in Singpore, where Sanghvi finds a colonial oasis. He travels to The Peninsula in Hong Kong and sees how they reflect style in artwork and crockery.

But here’s what’s really cool about the show: Sanghvi makes you feel as you if you’re really there and makes you experience an Asia that you would not forget. It’s his knack of engaging with the intoxicating colours, sights and smells of a place that makes you wish you followed him on the trail.