Planning a trip to China? Keep it old-school with these new guidebooks.
There are so many user-friendly, info-packed digital resources out there, books are just for your coffee table these days, right? Maybe, but when you're wandering the streets of China with no phone plan and no way to read the signs, an insider's guide that doesn't require Wi-Fi is invaluable. (Unless you already speak Chinese. Good for you.)
We recently came across a couple of guidebooks that reminded us why sometimes the old-fashioned way is the best way. Here are two — one for Shanghai, one for Hong Kong — that you're going to want to to keep within reach while traveling.
Shanghai in 12 Dishes, by Leanne Kitchen and Antony Suvalko
This one's so tiny you can slip it right in your pocket. It's a food-centric guide aimed at the hungry traveler looking for local favorites, and my, is it well-designed and bound to induce mouth-watering. A pleasure to flip through, this little book offers so much more than where to go and what to eat, down to the hand signals you'll need to master for ordering the right number of soup dumplings. Math may be the universal language, but gesturing certainly is not. ($13)
Hong Kong Precincts: A Curated Guide to the City's Best Shops, Eateries, Bars and Other Hangouts, by Penny Watson
This one might be a little bigger, but it extends well beyond just food to the coolest shops and world-class bars. It's best features are interviews with Hong Kong local creatives, from a winemaker to a diamond dealer, who offer their best tips for making your trip to Hong Kong as culturally rich as possible. Hong Kong is an eclectic city, and this book includes most, if not all, of its whimsies and delights, culinary or otherwise. ($20)