Archive for the ‘Gastronomy’ Category

  • Paella Valenciana: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

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    Nest Hostels recommend you this blog:  Nothemingwaysspain  by  an American expat and historian married to a Spaniard. It’s maybe one of the best blog about Valencia, and we took it this funny article about the tipical product of Valencia: “Paella Valenciana: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” 

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • II Feria de la Tapa en el Puerto de Valencia 2011

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    Following the big success of the previous edition, this week end  come back to Valencia la Feria de la Tapa II – from 15 to 18 th  September.

    Like last year, the event will take place in the tinglado No. 2 of the Marina Real Juan Carlos I ( near the harbor of the America ‘s Cup).

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  • Beer fiesta: Oktoberfest 2011 Valencia

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    This week Munich’s world famous Oktoberfest is making a brief detour to set up camp in Valencia’s Plaza de Toros from the 1st to 17th September.

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  • Conclusion of Vietnam

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    We entered the country thinking about a past war, rice fields and conical huts. We exit the country now thinking about many other things, much more interesting and appealing. Vietnam has so much to offer, and we have enjoyed it so much that we have promised ourselves to come back again sometime soon.

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    In short we could summarize:

    – People: big smiles and huge temperament -they always seemed to be arguying.
    – Landscapes: beutiful and colourful. It’s a shame that the sides of the road are built up to the extreme and towns and villages are spread in kilometres by the road.

    – Transport: easy and relatively good. The open bus ticket connects all the touristic places covering the whole length (more than 1700 km) of the country.
    – Food: amazing! One of the highlights for us. Everyone should try their “looks like meat/fish/seafood but it is not” Com Chai restaurants (pure vegetarian).
    – Culture: an interesting mix of religions, rituals, traditions and foreign influences resulting in a blend of colours, behaviours and human ideals.

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    It could have been the food what made us fall in love with the country, or maybe the smiles of the people, or maybe the nature. It could have been many things but it is for sure the great experiences we have had what has made us crazy about Vietnam.

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    We would recommend any traveller to start his trip from the south, where people are fun and friendly and not as much into taking your money as they are in the north. Mainly we would recommend the Mekhong Delta with its floating markets, cannals and fruit orchards, Mui Ne with its beautiful coastline and the sand dunes, the charming Hoi An with its peaceful atmosphere and great architecture and Halong Bay, one of the World’s wonder under our point of view. We are sure we have missed much of Vietnam but those have been the highlights of our one month trip there. Next time we will scape the tourist routes and avoid as much as possible the open bus tickets to come closer to the real life in Vietnam.

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    To end this post and as a way to make a little joke –with our full respect to the vietnamese culture and traditions- we would like to share our thoughts about the similarities between north vietnamese -concretely Hanoi- and valencian people. While we have “Las Fallas” festival in our city, which means fire and noise everywhere, the streets in Hanoi are extremely noisy and people burn paper made representations of material objects -cars, motorbikes, clothes, watches, jewlery and money, USD being the most popular- in the streets every evening. These are offerings for their ancestors to have in “the other life”and have become one of the most succesful business in the city, as it happens in Valencia… Who is copying who?

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  • Vietnam, such a nice surprise

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    Fearing things before they happen is not our way to proceed but, somehow, we had been warned so many times –by other fellow travellers and by different guide books- about the rude manners, the scams and the dangers of travelling in Vietnam, that we unconsciously were more mindful than we normally are. Such a false prejudice, we arrived in Chau Doc and were completely amazed with the people, the food, the city and everything around.

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    As we were walking around town with our backpacks looking for a convenient place to stay –prices for accommodation seemed to be way higher than we were used to pay- we met again Juan and Empar, two other valencian guys we had met in Bangkok around 3 weeks ago. From that moment onwards, we would travel together around South Vietnam and have loads of fun.

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    One of the highlights of our stay in Chau Doc was the food. Cheap fruit and sweets stalls were to find all around, and we discovered a place that offered high class vegetarian food at local prices and with a huge variety. It was a “Com Chai”, somehow a kind of pure vegetarian restaurant family run that can be found everywhere in Vietnam, although it is not a chain nor same in every place.

  • Thai gastronomy

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    Apart of their eternal smile, Thais have another quality. Like other Asian societies, the people of Siam have a natural ability to produce choice cuisine. There aren’t just temples, beautiful beaches, rice paddies and smiling people in Thailand, there’s also the gastronomy and the seasoned traveller will tell you that the fine Thai cuisine is well worth the detour.

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    The art of Thai cooking is based on simple principles but it is vast, sumptuous and can be elaborate – in any case, its possibilities are endless. The immense menus in the local restaurants bare witness to this. No matter where you go in Thailand, food is never far away. The variety of places to eat is simply astonishing. Street stalls, food courts and outdoor markets may be the cheapest and tastier option.

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    Showing its Burmese, Chinese and Shan influences, the north prefers curries that are more stewlike than the coconut-milk curries of southern or central Thailand. Sour notes are enhanced with the addition of pickled cabagge and lime. Of course many dishes are accompanied by the inevitable Thai rice, which can come in two forms – the classic long grain rice or as rice noodles (khoueitiao). With the latter, however, there are, like a lot of other foods, a lot of different ways to cook them. Asians have a reputation for cooking ‘light’ by boiling ingredients or by steaming food. They do use oil as in deep-fried dishes and to sauté food in their famous stir-fried wok dishes.

    One of the inconvenients that we have found related to food is that Thai people are usually not vegetarians. They love adding any kind of meat or fish to their dishes (beef, chicken, pork, duck, porcupine, turtles, frogs, snakes, lizards, crickets, silk worms and cockroaches among others). So one of the first sentences that we learnt quickly was Diichãn kin ahãan mangsàwirát (I am vegetarian).

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  • Thai cooking lesson in Chiang Mai

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    One of the reasons why we came to Thailand was for its culinary delights. It was not the beaches nor the big cities, although we would like visit them too, it was the food that called our attention more than anything else. So far in our trip in the country we have been meeting different ethnics and tasting many different regional specialities and we love the way Thais have to prepare their food and how good it taste always!

    So once in Chiang Mai, the culinary capital of the north of Thailand and a very famous city for its restaurant and cooking schools, we have decided to join a one day cooking lesson in “The Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School”. On this one day, starting at around 9 am we visited one local market where we were explained about the different types of rice and about the way to extract coconut cream and milk.

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    After buying all the necessary ingredients in the market we drove almost 20 km to the organic farm where the courses are held. The first thing was to cook sticky and steamed rice before going for a walk in the farm to see where all these delicious vegetables, herbs and spices come from. Then we cooked 4 different dishes each: one curry paste (yellow and green), the respective curry (yellow and green) with tofu and vegetables (although it could have been cooked with chicken or pork), one Tom Yam and one Thai Vegetable soups, tofu with basil leaves and tofu with cashew nuts stir-fries.

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    The time to taste and lunch arrived and we ate all these 4 dishes we had already cooked, or at least a part of them since it was too much food to eat at the same time. With the stomach completely full and wanting to have a nap we continued cooking 2 more thai specialities each: Pad Thai Fried Noodles and Spring Rolls and Bananas in Coconut Milk and Mango with Sticky Rice for dessert. We were not able even to try them because we where completely full but we packed every dish in a plastic bag and took them with us for that day’s dinner time.

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    Finally we were brought back to our hotel in Chiang Mai, where we finally could eat the rest of the things. We had a great time in the farm, learnt some good things that we are looking forward to show to our friends and family, and made some new friends who we hope to meet again somewhere else during our trip. See you guys!!

  • Trying out some tapas bars in Valencia

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    One of the things we have missed (don’t read missed, it was more like “i know it and I like it, so I would like to have it sometime soon…”) during our trip in India and Nepal was the spanish food, among everything “tapas”. Our fantasy flew many times without any control while sitting in Indian dhabas or restaurants before we could realise we were just dreaming about having “patatas bravas”, “escalibada” or any of these delicacies served in every “tapas” bar. So, back in Spain we did not wait much time to go to one of our preferred tapas bars in Valencia, El Pilar or La Casa de las Clochinas as it is known in El Carmen district of Valencia. Although our city is not the best place in Spain for having “tapas”, this is something one can never miss when coming for a visit in Valencia. Ask at the hostel or surf the internet to find the address of this bar, the food is really good there!!

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  • Munnar and the tea plantations

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    Munnar is another one of India’s long list of hill stations, this one lying in between square kilometres of emerald green tea plantations that satisfy the needs of many of the tea lovers/drinkers around the world. The town is also know for its spice plantations, and the aroma of all those spices spreads in the wind coming out from the high number of shops in every street.

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    Once again, bad timing to come to a hill station. We had not realise that it was Friday again, which means that many people escape from the hot city and move to any of the fresh hill stations, and there were two different bunk holidays happening at the beginning of the next week, so hotels were almost fully booked, streets pretty full and silence and tranquillity, what we were hunting, were totally absent.

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    In any case, we enjoyed every minute hiking through the tea bushes and met some of the always smile local people, among them some of the all female crew in one of the huge plantations.

  • Nepal’s daily diet

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    Food in Nepal is monotonous, insipid and boring. Despite of laying between India and China -with some of the richest cuisine in the world-, gastronomy in Nepal is not more than a simple combination of lentils (dhal), rice (bhat) and vegetables (tarkari). Some travellers get used to it and even love it (like Hector does), while the majority of them end up eating continental food in any of the touristy restaurants all around the country. If you are travelling on a budget, it will be better for your pocket to be one of those travellers who love to eat dhal bhat tarkari everyday for lunch and dinner. The reward is that you can get as many refills as you want.

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