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Antwerp, I’ll Be Back!

 

This gate to Chinatown could have been photographed anywhere in the world so why not in Antwerp? I don’t eat that much Chinese food when I’m in LA, but on the road, some good har kow (shrimp dumpling) always settles my stomach for some reason.

 

So after Breendonk I catch dim sum rather late in the day with a friend in Antwerp to celebrate the new year. I know Chinese food is about as universal as it gets, but a true measure of how good (translation: authentic) the food is at the particular restaurant is the quality of the har kow–whether the shrimp filling is tender with just enough crunch or whether the skin has just the right consistency. I’m no foodie, but I’m quite particular about this dish so I’m happy to report this particular joint passes with high marks:

 

As soon as I leave the couple of blocks that make up Chinatown, however, there’s no doubt that I’m in the Dutch region of Belgium:

 

With a bit of free time left on my hand, I try to get myself into Rubenshuis (the former residence and now a museum of Rubens) but I’ve just missed the closing time. You can get in for free on the last Wednesday of each month but no amount of money can get me in today:

 

So I try my luck at the ModeNatie building, which is a concept structure that houses the MoMu (ModeMuseum or Museum of Fashion), the Flanders Fashion Institute, a magazine, among other things.

 

but I also get there too late because I’ve been loitering around the main squares getting lost in all this gorgeous architecture:

 

Here’s some of what I saw at the Papenstraatje, just one of many beautiful corners:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKkw8DeY3nQ

 

Where else but here can you find a Hilton hotel and McDo in such exquisite buildings?

 

Anyway, I have missed visiting this literal fashion powerhouse on two separate trips to Antwerp now so I will have to book it into my schedule before I leave Europe this time. The Yohji Yamamoto store is also closing its doors so I don’t get to see the gorgeous clothes up close. I will definitely go back…sales are still raging here but I haven’t had much time to do any real shopping.

 

Between the great fashion and diamond shopping amidst ornate architecture, I haven’t even remembered to take pictures of the millions of restaurants all over Antwerp. These restaurants are so beautifully done they would give Hollywood a run for its money in hip factor. It would be so great to live here. Antwerp, I’ll be back!

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