China travel is on the rise, according to Avanti Destinations. The FIT tour operator, which sells exclusively through travel agents, reports that its year-to-date bookings to China are up nearly 40 percent compared to the same time last year. Japan and Thailand remain the best-selling Asian destinations for the company, with China in third place.
The tour operator also reports that it has introduced four-hour recommended dining experiences in China for culinary travel enthusiasts. The experiences include a private local guide knowledgeable about food, plus a specially selected menu. Similar recommended restaurant options are also available in other Asian countries, Avanti said.
All of Avanti’s China itineraries also include private local guides in all destinations.
“Food-focused activities are by far the most frequently-requested experiences we book in all regions, including Asia,” said Harry Dalgaard, Avanti’s founder and CEO, in a written statement.
All restaurant experiences in China include roundtrip private transfers with an English-speaking guide. Some sample dining experiences are:
- Beijing: Duck de Chine Sanlitun – Stylish, innovative duck restaurant with a French twist on the tradition. Includes two starters, two main dishes, side and dessert. $189 per person.
- Shanghai: Hakkasan – Housed in the famous Bund 18 building, this restaurant features striking design, exceptional sommelier and mixology and a menu created by Michelin-starred Tong Chee Hwee, using locally sourced ingredients and authentic but untraditional dishes. Three starters, four mains, two sides, three desserts. Note: smart casual dress encouraged. $345 per person.
- X’ian: Night Tour with Dumpling Dinner at De Fa Chang – Sample more than 20 types of dumpling, Xian’s signature dish. One alcoholic drink is included. After dinner clients will be taken to see the musical fountain with more than 1,000 nozzles that create more than 20 different shapes illuminated with colored lights – the largest musical fountain in Asia. spread over an area of more than 17,000 square yards. $139 per person; times of show vary depending on the month (note: no fountain show November-January.)
In addition to set-menu restaurant experiences in China, Avanti also offers cooking, dinner cruises and other special dining experiences in Asia such as:
- Singapore: Singapore Flyer Sky Dining with Butler – Four-course dinner served by a butler in a shared glass capsule in the world’s tallest giant observation wheel, the Singapore Flyer, which stands 540 feet high. Choice of three menus. Includes roundtrip transfers in a luxury vehicle and entry into Journey of Dreams multimedia show. $369 per person.
- Tokyo: Private Sushi Making in Local Home – Learn from a Toyko local how to prepare maki sushi (rolled), gunkan maki (rice wrapped with strip of seaweed and topped with fish eggs), and nigiri sushi (rice topped with raw fish). English-speaking guide is included. $215 per person.
- Bangkok: Manohra Dinner Cruise – Board a luxurious, renovated rice barge traveling on the Chao Phraya River and sample a menu of Thai specialties created by Chef Chumpoi Jangprai as the Temple of Dawn, Grand Palace and other landmarks glide by. $159 per person.