Monthly Archives: February 2014

Culture Crawling In Sydney, Australia

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Being the commercial centre and the largest city in Australia and Oceania, Sydney has become a magnet for culture.  With all the wealth enjoyed by the thriving middle and upper classes of this cosmopolitan and dynamic metropolis, there is no shortage of places to enjoy some poignant culture Down Under before heading out into the hinterland in search of Aussie’s most famous natural attractions.

In that spirit, here’s how to fill your days and nights in the Harbour City with enriching cultural experiences that will give you a sense of what makes the people down here tick…

Catch A Show At the Sydney Opera House

You may want to file this one under “duh”, as it seems like an obvious thing to do, but you’d be surprised at how many people just click a picture of this iconic building, and then just go on their merry way without stopping to consider that there just might be some worthwhile cultural exhibitions that go on here once the sun sinks below the horizon.  Indeed, this much celebrated hall of the performing arts carries out shows year round, with acts including theatre, concerts, symphony performances, and of course, productions of many famous and new operas!

Take In The Latest In Theatre And Performing Arts At Carriageworks

Formerly a series of railway workshops as recently as 1989, this site was refurbished starting in 2003, with Carriageworks opening to artists and admiring members of the general public in 2007. Here, patrons of the performing arts can enjoy puppetry, dance theatre, visual art displays and many other stimulating experiences.  Located next door is the Everleigh Market, where one can peruse many organic and artisanal foodstuffs and crafts grown and created by local farmers and artists.

Stroll Amongst Aussie Masterpieces At The Art Gallery Of New South Wales

Those that like admiring imitations of life via paint and canvas should make time to explore the Art Gallery of New South Wales.  This museum’s claim to fame is its collection of Aboriginal art, which is the largest in the world.  In addition to this, this gallery also has a healthy collection of contemporary Australian, Asian and European pieces, making it an excellent way to hide from the intense Sydney heat in mid-summer, as temperatures often approach 40c here at the hottest time of year.

Paint The Town Red: Sydney’s Lively Nightlife

After all the culture grazing that you’ll do during the day, it’s likely that you’ll be seeking a few drinks to digest what you’ve experienced with your travel partners.  Depending on your interests, there are several places to go within Greater Sydney.  Those seeking the club vibe should make for King’s Cross, while those seeking to rub shoulders with the after work crowd on a Friday should head to the Central Business District.  If you’re seeking some same sex attention, Oxford Street has this cities greatest concentration of LGBT themed drinking establishments, while those seeking to sip on Australia’s trendiest microbrews would do well to head to The Rocks.

Sydney Is A Happening Place

Being the biggest population centre of a country has undeniable advantages when it comes to culture, nightlife and other trendy attractions.  As such, make time to experience some of the best of Australia’s culture before setting out for the nation’s popular attractions further afield.      

3 Dishes To Eat In Their Culinary Hometowns

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Around the world, there are many cities that have given birth to sumptuous meals that have gained fans the world over.  While restaurants abroad dedicated to foreign cuisines often do an admirable job emulating these recipes, there is no replacement for the countless years of experience in preparing these dishes that chefs in their home cities possess.

In this light, the foodie traveler is well-served by seeking out the birthplaces of the favourite food that they love best, and consuming them in the kitchens where they were likely first conceived. So that we may introduce a new wrinkle into your dual love affair with food and travel, we have highlighted three specific dishes that one will enjoy best when they are eaten in their respective hometowns.

Let us start this gastronomic journey by talking about…

1) Khao Soi, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Composed of dry crunchy noodles sat atop a sweet coconut broth, accented with a touch of lime juice, Khao Soi is the pride of the Northern Thai city of Chiang Mai.  Soft yellow noodles lie within this addictive soup, which can come with chicken, pork, or in vegetarian concoctions that contain tofu.

Fancy five star hotel restaurants, hole-in-the-wall establishments, and street stalls alike all proudly serve this dish … just don’t blame us for becoming addicted to this amazing curry after you come home and have trouble finding it in Thai restaurants there (honestly, it’s saddening!)

2) Poutine, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

While it won’t win any awards as a miracle health food any time soon, there is no doubting poutine’s place as a comfort food, a 3 AM hunger killer, and as a meal that can stop a hangover dead in its tracks. This heart attack on a paper plate starts with a French fry base, which is then covered in cheese curd (NOT grated cheese, there is a difference!), and topped with a lava hot coating of gravy.

Primarily found in Quebec (though it is increasingly found in many other urban centres across Canada), the best place to have your first run in with poutine is after a long night living the high life on Saint Catherine’s Street in Montreal, a practice that will not only sop up all the craft beer, wine and Patron shots you been drinking, but will also put you in touch with the fun-loving Quebecois that make this city one of the primo party spots in all of North America!

3) Paella, Valencia, Spain

While this rice dish is primarily associated with the type that contains seafood such as mussels and shrimp, the original Valencian version of this dish was made with vole, a rodent during the early days when people in the area were quite poor.  As fortunes improved over the years, it was made with chicken, duck, and due to its position on the Mediterranean Sea, various types of seafood.  The aspect that gives this dish its Valencian appeal is the fact that it is cooked over a flame containing the boughs of orange and pine trees, whose smoke further infuses the paella with its distinctive flavour.

Elevate Your Foodie Travel Game

While it is awesome to experience the cuisine that a particular nation is famous for, niching down and trying dishes that specific cities have birthed will further your connection to the places that you visit.  Locals will impart their passion for said foods when you seek them out, leading to a much more authentic experience!