Following a visit in the 1990’s, I’ve always told whoever would listen that I would endure a 30 hour flight to Thailand just to eat. On my first day in Bangkok, the folks from the Tourist Office took me to the Dusit Thani for what they called a typical Thai lunch. There were five large rooms overflowing with food, so much so that you couldn’t even imagine them selling it all in a typical day.
But the place was packed and the food was amazing. We spent nearly six hours there while the tourism people introduced us to delicacies in every room. We were there just four days, but that experience is etched in my brain forever.
Now I’ve added a new ‘must visit to eat’ locale – A single dining room onboard the Carnival Sunshine – Ji Ji’s Asian Kitchen. Thankfully, it’s much easier to get to than Thailand!
I try most of the specialty restaurants when I’m onboard any ship because I like the variety they offer. I missed Ji Ji’s the first time around because it seemed silly to pay extra what I deemed to be Chinese food found on any street corner back home. Even though I sampled their free lunch, the other restaurants seemed more enticing.
So this time, I gave Ji Ji’s a shot and boy was I wrong! Selections range from the familiar to the exotic. You order one or two items from each section of the menu. It’s served family style so everyone in your party can sample whatever they like. If you like spicy food, you can get it. If not, you can order something mild.
We started with Jiaozi, a type of potsticker that the Chinese say brings luck and prosperity.
That was followed by flavorful Chicken and Cilantro soup. For our main courses, we had Bo Kho, a slow braised beef short rib and tangy Singapore Chili Shrimp. Everything we tried was a treat for the taste buds. It was like having a flavor explosion in your mouth. I wanted those flavors – and the authentic dining experience – to last forever.
My happy ending was Rose Crème Brulee with ginger cream and two little rosebuds perched on top and Caramelized Crepes which promises to be like no other crepe you’ve ever tried. To say the entire meal was to die for is an understatement.
The Carnival Sunshine is the only ship in the fleet to have Ji Ji’s onboard at this writing and lucky for me, it’s based at Port Canaveral, just a few miles from home. At $12
for adults, it represents the best value at sea and a wonderful opportunity to sample authentic Asian cuisine for virtually pennies.