I split my year between Hong Kong and New York, and just got back to my Brooklyn apartment a couple of weeks ago. Of course I'm feeling discombobulated--brutal jet lag and all--but I think that's a good thing. One of the advantages of never completely settling into a place is that you never get a chance to stop seeing it with fresh eyes. That's the great gift that traveling gives all of us. Even (especially) when we're in the most familiar surroundings, we can still feel the thrill of discovery. At home, we're tourists. (Apologies to new wave rockers, the Gang...

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...