Another essay by me, from Singapore Airline's magazine, Silverkris. The editors asked me, Pico Iyer and two other writers to talk about our favorite travel discovery of 2009. I didn't have to think about that for very long: I chose to write about the wonderous, mostly abandoned Chinese towers, or diaolou, that dot the rice fields and farms of Guangdong Province. The diaolou, recently added to the list of worldwide UNESCO heritage sites, knocked me for a loop when I went there with my friend Ping and his sisters last winter. So much so that I had to go back...

I've been writing essays lately for Silverkris, the magazine of Singapore Airlines. They don't have an online site, so the only way to read my magazine articles is to take a flight on Singapore (highly recommended!). But that's not always possible, so I'm going to share them with you here, after they've flown around the world in the seat pocket for a few months. This one is my meditation on comfort food in three of my favorite cities: New York, Hong Kong and Bangkok: I thought I knew everything about som tum--the yummy shredded papaya salad that's one of the...