the vip lounge

Ken Oringer is hungry for street food, a good walk

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Ken Oringer’s restaurants are known for their delicious offerings, innovative and inviting ambience, and exemplary service. The award-winning chef is the owner of several establishments in Boston including Clio, Uni, Toro, and Coppa, as well as Earth at Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, Maine, and, since last year, a second Toro in New York. When he isn’t working at his flagship Clio or one of his other five eateries, Oringer enjoys his time at home in the South End with his wife, Celine, daughter, Verveine, and son, Luca. We caught up with Oringer, 49, a Paramus, N.J., native, to talk about all things travel.

Favorite vacation spot? Anywhere in Asia. I love to be transported to another world and taken out of my comfort zone. I’m really looking forward to taking my whole family there — my kids are 3 and 5 — for the first time in the not-too-distant future.


Favorite food or drink while vacationing? My favorite food of any kind is street food. I would travel to a dead end on a camel for something local and unique. Same goes for drinking. I love things that are local and specific to the place I’m traveling, like Thai whiskey, shochu in Japan — spirits that are funky and strong.

Where would you like to travel to

but haven’t? I’ve always been fascinated by India, but have never had the opportunity to visit given the challenges of traveling with kids. It’s so exotic and different. I’ll get there eventually.

One item you can’t leave home

without when traveling? I always bring Ambien and eye shades for long flights; I have a hard time sleeping on planes. Comfortable shoes are a must. I walk everywhere when traveling.

Aisle or window? Definitely aisle: It’s more comfortable and I like being able to get up, walk around, and stretch my legs.


Favorite childhood travel memory? Growing up, my family and I traveled a lot to Florida, usually by car. It was always a crazy adventure to pack my twin brother, two older sisters, and me into the station wagon and drive from New Jersey to Florida. We had a lot of laughs.

Guilty pleasure when traveling?
I like to read trashy magazines and tabloids on flights with my wife.

Best travel tip? Do your research before you arrive. Highlight unique places to eat, drink, shop, and explore, then wing it from there.

Juliet Pennington