MADE BY MEMBERS • January 2023
Shu Shi Lin, a British-born Chinese vlogger and BBC Creator in Residence – who featured in BBC Four’s A Very British History – is famous for her scrumptious streams of foodie content in London and beyond. So, with Lunar New Year around the corner, we could think of no better adventurer to ask about the best places to celebrate and the dishiest spots overseas
What does a day in the life of a BBC Creator in Residence look like?
It starts with a warm welcome – everybody I’ve met at BBC Studios has been great. After a black coffee, the day could take me anywhere: brainstorming TV ideas, recording a podcast episode at the in-house studios, taking part in a presenter training day or designing artwork for a deck. Everything happens so quickly in TV and it changes week by week. I love it.
That’s so hard to pick! Definitely Tokyo. One of my best friends and I spent two and a half weeks in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka – it was her first time in Asia, so it was extra special. And there’s also New York, where my family and I spent our first Lunar New Year abroad together. I distinctly remember the excitement in Chinatown that day and the flurries of thick snow the next. I also can’t forget Antigua for a best friend’s wedding. It was a real-life fairy tale.
Eating in and exploring Tokyo: Shinjuku and Akihabara
Why did you join the Executive Club?
As a travel creative with frequent flights for both personal holidays and work trips, it’s a no-brainer. It’s free to join and you can start collecting straightaway (rather than wait around for it to be activated).
How do you collect Avios?
I collect them through booking flights, hotels and even through shopping at Sainsbury’s. I recently found out you can collect Avios through The Bicester Collection, too, which is a great incentive to book a day trip out in the New Year.
What’s a place where east meets west that jetsetters might be less familiar with?
Not in the sense that it’s unfamiliar, but I believe Taipei to be so underrated as a destination – especially for foodies. I dream about the night markets, soup dumplings, bubble tea and pepper buns all the time.
Any travel vlogging tips?
While speaking to the camera in public may seem daunting and will attract a lot of attention, always remember that you’ll never see those people again (but have the memories captured forever). More often than that, people who are genuinely curious often stare, and it’s a great opportunity to strike up a conversation and even make a new friend.
Finest food memory from your travels?
Too many to list. Indulging in delectable, freshly cooked seafood from the wet markets in Hong Kong. Enjoying jerk chicken against the sunset of Shirley Heights in Antigua. Attempting to hold up a giant slice of pizza in the middle of Manhattan. Fine dining to me is not always about the price, but about the memories you can immediately draw up from the dish.
Shu tucks into a giant slice of pizza in NYC
How do you scope out the best places to eat abroad?
I always check the social media pages of the restaurants I’m intrigued by beforehand. I also look at the tagged pictures from customers, the GPS location tag, read the reviews and I always ask the locals.
What’s your go-to Chinese restaurant in London?
Such a tough choice. This will come as no surprise to anybody who knows me – Dim Sum and Duck in King’s Cross does the best dim sum and soup dumplings. Royal China Club in Baker Street is a must for day-to-night eating, plus I love its Lunar New Year specials.
What are some dishes that people often mistake as Chinese?
Fortune cookies aren’t Chinese in origin but came from a small town outside of Kyoto. The cookie was then introduced – and outsourced – to a Japanese bakery in San Francisco, but it became associated with Chinese American cuisine in the 1940s.
Clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl at Bistro Boudin’s Bakers Hall in San Francisco
Best places in London and beyond to celebrate Lunar New Year?
Chinatown London never gets old (I also adore Chinatown Manchester). As it’s an event celebrated by lots of East and Southeast Asian cultures, there is a diverse range of cuisines. Make sure to ask for Lunar New Year exclusive dishes. They’re usually on a separate menu with auspicious sounding names such as New Year Cake, Eight Treasure Rice and Dumplings. I spent Lunar New Year in Hong Kong and Singapore once – the atmosphere is unmatched.
You have great taste in food, but also fashion. What makes the perfect travel outfit?
Comfort is key. I love a matching coordinated set or jumpsuit. It’s effortless, easy to slip on and can be dressed up and down from airport to event.
Shu loves to wear jumpsuits for her travels
Aisle or window seat?
Window seat all the way. After a decade of travel, a good sunrise or sunset still gets me.
What are your three in-flight essentials?
A ginger shot, a laptop and nourishing lip balm. I recommend the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask.
How do you spend your time on a long-haul journey?
Catching up on editing, but also blockbusters and TV series. British Airways always has an up-to-date selection, so I never feel like I’ve missed out.
Any hacks to beat jet lag?
I always like to have a full meal before I board, then avoid eating too much on the flight – and prioritise hydration instead. It gives my body enough time to adjust to a new routine and rest.
Where’s next on your bucket list?
Hong Kong. It’s been three years since I’ve been back, and I’m desperate to be reunited with family and all my favourite eats. There’s a specific smell at the airport that always brings me to tears. I miss it so much.