Tag Archives: Asia

Going on a Hong Kong food safari: don’t miss these dishes

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photo by CC user Morsesp3  on wikimedia

Heading to Asia’s answer to New York City anytime soon? Those that adore the food of this region owe it to themselves to go on a Hong Kong food safari. If you decide to search for the best dishes that this place has to offer on its sidewalks and in its alleys, be sure to hunt the following treats down…

1) Stinky Tofu

Out of all the foods available on the streets of Hong Kong, this pungent staple gets the most attention due to its uncompromising name. While you might be tempted to skip this smelly treat, take one for the team and buy it just once. It tastes way better than it smells, and actually going through with seeking it out and consuming it will earn much respect from native Hong Kongers.

2) Cha Siu Bao

Those looking for something far more appealing will want to snack on Cha Siu Bao, which is a pastry that is the stuff of dreams for many locals and visitors alike.

A steamed bun filled with pork tenderloin that has been slow roasted in a sweet sauce, it is a universal favorite in dim sum restaurants on this island territory, so be sure to show up early before they run out!

3) Yuk Song Bao

Another savory pastry that you should have on your radar when wandering the streets of Hong Kong is Yuk Song Bao, or the pork floss bun. A roll that is coated with extremely fine shredded pork that has been soaked in a mayonnaise batter, it is an excellent protein-filled way to begin your morning before heading out to explore this massive metropolis.

4) Ngau Lam Tong

While Hong Kong tends to be a warm place, it can get a little bit chilly during the winter months. On days where the weather is less than inviting, or if you are looking for a meal that is lighter than other available options, Ngau Lam Tong is a lovely choice that will have you going back for seconds.

A beef brisket stew that is jam packed full of seasonings and spices, the flavor filled spoonfuls you’ll enjoy will bear witness to the many hours of painstaking preparation it takes to bring a pot of this hotly sought out soup to completion.

5) Gai Daan Jai

Looking for a dessert to finish off your day in Hong Kong? Gai Daan Jai, or the egg waffle will tantalize your taste buds with a sweetness that strikes the right balance between being too bland and overdoing it.

So named for the shape they take on after sizzling in one of many street side grills located citywide, you too will find yourself impatiently waiting in line with locals for a serving that will bring your day to a successful close.

Whistle stops on the Trans Siberian Railroad that you won’t forget

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photo by CC user InvictaHOG on wikimedia

While many romanticize the process of traveling on the Trans Siberian Railroad, many people don’t realize how tedious spending seven days and nights on a train can be. Break up your trip by visiting the following whistle stops along the way…

1) Suzdal

A short trip from Moscow (relatively speaking), Suzdal will make a great first stop along the Trans-Siberian Railway, as it is a small town that has the distinction of having the most churches per capita in the country.

Preserved by the government as is dating back from Soviet times, those looking for a peek into Russian country living will be in for a treat here, as elderly women washing clothes by hand down by the river, loose livestock wandering through the streets are common sights here. Try some medovukha (a cider made from honey) but watch out for fakes – ask a local where you can find the real stuff.

2) Perm

Getting deeper into the vast Russian interior, the Siberian city of Perm may not make a favorable first impression due to its industrial appearance, but its location in the foothills of the Ural Mountains make it a great hub to enjoy a variety of recreation options year round.

Skiing, hiking and whitewater rafting are just a few activities of which you can partake, while those that are less athletically inclined can indulge in the city’s rapidly growing arts scene, which includes frequent events and a number of excellent museums and galleries.

3) Tomsk

While Siberia is a wild and interesting place, it can be hard to find a person with which an intelligent exchange can be had. Tomsk is the exception that rule, as this university city of a half million people offers much in the way of cafes, culture and boisterous nightlife.

4) Lake Baikal

Being one of the most famous natural attractions on the Trans-Siberian Railway, Lake Baikal will nonetheless surprise you with its deep blue hue, which is a shade produced by being the deepest fresh water lake in the world.

This 1,637 metre deep, 636 kilometre long rift lake contains over a fifth of the world’s drinkable water (in most places, you can drink right out of it, as its purity approaches distilled water). Camping, diving, boat trips, fishing and other outdoor activities are possible here, so take your time in this natural paradise.

5) Ulan-Ude

When it comes to religion, most associate Russia with the Orthodox Church, as its onion-bulb cathedrals are practically one of its national icons. However, Buddhism has a strong presence in the city of Ulan-Ude, a city founded in Asiatic Russia due to its proximity to well-worn trade routes with Mongolia and China.

Get the lowdown on how this faith is practiced within Russia at Rimpoche Bagsha, a relatively new temple on a hill overlooking the city. Also, the world’s largest head statue of Lenin can be found here … so you could see that if Buddhism isn’t your thing.

Discovering the posh palaces of Seoul

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photo by CC user aperezdc on Flickr

With the young K-pop stars capturing the attention of the world of the past few years, people have started to shift their sights from other Asian destinations to this tiny but fascinating country. In addition to its musical talent, the cuisine of the nation has begun to win over many adherents for its diversity of taste and texture experiences, as well as its healthy nature compared to other diets in other parts of the world.

All of this has generated a great deal of interest in South Korea, and the tourist arrivals have reflected this trend over the past half decade. While this nation’s break-neck pace of progress, its modernity, and its food are driving visits, Korea also has its fair share of historical attractions that are well worth exploring.

Located within Seoul city limits are a number of palaces built within the past 1000 years that housed members of the Joseon dynasty, ruling over their subjects in the Hermit Kingdom. If you are pressed for time, the following palaces of Seoul will give you the optimal cultural experience that are you are seeking out of your trip here.

Gyeongbok-gung

Being the largest of the palaces built during the Joseon dynasty, Gyeongbok-gung served as the center of Korean government until the invading Japanese burned it in the late 16th century. Rebuilt after this attack and another raid in 1910, this palace is still being restored to its former glory, but large parts are back to the way they were during their heyday.

On the grounds of this former royal residence are two museums, the National Palace Museum and the Korean Folk Museum, both of which are essential for any visitor seeking to understand the cultural background of those that call this country home in the present day.

Changdeok-gung

Also serving as a seat of government after the destruction of the former palace, Changdeok-gung is another temple that you can’t afford to miss as a cultural aficionado. One of the greatest highlights of this historical attraction is the Huwon, or “secret garden”, which is a rare piece of greenery in the midst of uber-urban Seoul that sprawls over 78 acres behind the palace.

Changgyeong-gung

Serving formerly as the summer palace for the monarchs that ruled during the Koryo dynasty, this historical point of interest holds more than 900 years of heritage within its gates. While this palace has its fair share of gates, pagodas, and other aspects of structural interest, Changyeong-gung is best known for its close proximity to the Jongmyo shrine, when many royal family members during the Joseon dynasty conducted holy rites.

Mouthwatering Street Food in Istanbul You Must Try

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With the Bosphorous comprising the geographic border between Europe and the Middle East, the cultural traditions of the West have met those of the East over the eons, creating a cuisine in the Turkish megalopolis of Istanbul that has become world famous among foodies.  The variety of dishes has something for everyone including wonder meats, vegetarian dishes  and plentiful seafood from the stretching coastal regions of of Turkey.

Club Med Kemer

Turkish Coastal Views in Kemer – Image Credit

We’ve an image below from the client. It is a bit out of place if the whole article is FOOD FOOD FOOD focused. If you could expand your first paragraph just a little and talk more about coastal influences (the image below is the coast so would perfectly fit this) and other geographical influences to Turkish cuisine. Maybe they were invaded by X people at Y time and this influenced the cuisine? Bit of history would be good.

With simplicity being a trademark of meal preparation in Turkey, many worthwhile dishes can be sampled on the streets at a fraction of the price one would pay in a sit-down restaurant. All one has to do to have a heavenly street food experience in Istanbul is to follow the locals to the most popular stands throughout the city.

Which specific dishes are worth your time?  While we encourage you to experiment with anything that strikes your fancy, the following dishes represent the heart of street food in Istanbul, so if you’re looking for a gastronomic education in what a typical citizen of this international city eats, you can’t go wrong with the following foods…

1) Kebap

Let’s start with a dish that you might know already – while it almost seems to be like a cliché to have this, Kebap is such a national favorite that this list would be incomplete without mentioning it. The locals know how to spice this grilled beef, mutton or chicken patty so that you’ll crawling back to stands that sell them throughout your time in Istanbul.

2)  Simit

Do you have a love affair with bread and pastries? Keep an eye out for a stand hawking Simit. Known colloquially as a Turkish bagel, this irresistibly tasty bread is dipped in molasses and coated with sesame seeds, and is typically stacked high on many pushcarts that make the rounds throughout Istanbul’s neighborhoods during the morning hours.

3) Nohut Dürüm

If your tastes around breakfast time verge towards the savory rather than the sweet, finding a street food cart in Istanbul that serves Nohut Dürüm will satisfy your taste buds. Consisting of pide bread filled with chickpeas that have been stewed overnight, the flavors from this cooking technique will not disappoint.

4) Lahmacun

Described by travelers as a “Turkish pizza” of sorts, Lahmacun will make for a handsome lunch for those intrepid enough to seek it out.  A thin piece of pide bread is coated on its surface with ground meat, onions, tomatoes and various other spices, guaranteeing a lively and filling meal from the first bite to the reluctant last.

5)  Balık-ekmek

Those that would prefer a sandwich and/or want to sample the bounty of the sea done Turkish style will do well by ordering Bahk-ekmek. Fresh fish brought in from the Black Sea and/or the Sea of Marmara will be grilled before your eyes, and then stuffed inside a generous hunk of bread, making for a meal you won’t soon forget!