Travel news: Asia is reopening, and so are its coolest neighborhoods

(CNN) — This week in travel: some of the destinations in Asia with the most strict Covid policies are finally reopening, an annual ranking of the world’s coolest neighborhoods provides inspiration for your upcoming vacation plans, and Fat Bear Week weathers a cheating scandal in order to crown a new winner.

Hippest hoods

Time Out has released its annual list of the world’s coolest neighborhoods.

Colonia Americana in Guadalajara, Mexico, is the world’s — and North America’s — epicenter of cool.

The neighborhood is “home to a boundary-pushing creative community, a growing number of amazing places to eat, and some of the best nightlife in the western hemisphere,” said Time Out’s James Manning.

The eclectic group also includes a classic foodie quarter in Montreal, an emerging neighborhood at the base of a temple in Siem Reap and a seaside arts hub in England.

Find out if your own city — or your future vacation destination — made the cut.
If you’d like to get even more micro, Time Out also shared a list of the world’s coolest streets earlier this year.
The new "world's coolest neighborhood" is located in Guadalajara, Mexico, capital of the state of Jalisco.

The new “world’s coolest neighborhood” is located in Guadalajara, Mexico, capital of the state of Jalisco.

Chema GoV/Adobe Stock

Opening bells

Although it may seem like the pandemic is so last year, there are still destinations — primarily in Asia — that have been slow about reopening to tourism.

These Covid-related restrictions are one of the reasons that Asia-Pacific is losing its title as the world’s biggest travel market.

Change is finally coming, though. Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan are finally welcoming visitors back after two-plus-year closures. However, there’s still one major player in the region that still has a Closed sign up in its metaphorical door: China.

And while we’re on the topic of China…

32 flavors and then some

When you say “I’m hungry for Chinese food tonight,” what does that mean?

China has 20-something provinces, not to mention regions and municipalities. So what does it all boil down to (pun intended)?

This guide to Chinese food includes 32 essential dishes, from Cantonese-style steamed fish to Chaozhou’s best cold crab and Nanjing’s famous duck blood soup. You could spend your whole life eating and never run out of new things to try.

The downside: China is still mostly closed to tourists. The upside: your nearest Chinese restaurant’s doors are open.

Stanley Tucci talks with Christiane Amanpour about his time in Calabria, his ancestral homeland, and his upcoming film. All-new episodes of “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.

Tasting the world

It’s impossible to watch CNN’s “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” (Sundays at 9 p.m. ET) and not want to plan a big Italian feast.

Among the mouth-watering destinations in the region of Calabria: La Collinetta, located in the mountain town of Martone, where lamb is cooked in wet clay; family-run Il Principe di Scilla, which specializes in Calabrian swordfish; and Qafiz, a Michelin-star winner with a signature dessert of meringue flavored with charcoal, sliced apple and white chocolate foam.

And the food is only part of the show’s appeal.

The actor visited his family’s ancestral homeland of Marzi, Calabria, where nearly half the residents share the last name Tucci. He tells CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the experience — which he shared with his aging parents — was “very emotional.”


Katmai National Park in Alaska is running its annual Fat Bear Week, a March Madness-style competition where you can vote for the bear you think best exemplifies fatness. Check out some of the top contenders.

The first few weeks of fall 2022 have been rocked by cheating scandals in places you might not expect — competitive fishing, Irish dancing and chess have all made headlines for allegations of unfair play.

And one of fall’s most adorable traditions — Alaska’s annual Fat Bear Week — wasn’t safe either.

The contest, which follows brown bears in Katmai National Park & Preserve as they pork up ahead of their winter hibernation, was hit with a suspicious flood of spam votes.

To mark his victory, let’s all celebrate with a salmon dinner and a nice long nap.

In case you missed it

Michelin has an updated guide to New York City.

Saying chiles are important in New Mexico is an undersell.

There’s a Ghostbusters firehouse for rent in Portland.

Food at altitude

But our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, can make sure you never eat a bland dinner at 35,000 feet.

With help from award-winning chef Nina Compton, they have put together a list of carryon-friendly items that will improve your eating experience in the air.

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