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Best of Koh Samui – Where to eat – Our favourite food places

Posted by on Nov 13, 2014 in All posts, Thailand | 0 comments

Koh Samui is the perfect island to take a break, relax and forget your worries. But even paradise island has its limits and with an influx of tourists, service may vary. We have tested the island for food and restaurants, and have found some real gems on Koh Samui.  Here they are.   WHERE TO EAT ON KOH SAMUI? 1. There really is just one answer to that – Mama Ninja Restaurant. Located at the touristy end of Chaweng Road. Serves authentic Thai food. Soups, curries, noodles, shakes, fruit plates, even breakfasts. With no frills. Amidst a surprisingly basic interior which is different to the typical tourist restaurants. Mama Ninja pleasantly reminds of Thais roadside cuisine.  You sit in a spacious iron hut on white plastic chairs. Dishes come on baby blue plastic plates and the food…the food is...

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Tasty Tempura at Tenya – Tokyo’s cheap restaurant chain

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

Alongside sushi, tempura is Japan’s most known speciality dish. Softly battered and instantly deep fried veggies or seafood are served on rice in a rice bowl (tendon), with soba noodles, or simply as a side dish. Japan is known for keeping its food fresh despite the frying, tempura is truly Japanese when the taste of the vegetables is preserved and only lightly coated with a delicious layer of batter. Probably the best tempura deal in Tokyo can be devoured at Tempura Tendon Tenya 天丼てんや. Tenya is the Japanese specialist for tempura. A cheap restaurant chain with a very nice choice of tempura. Vegetarian friendly. And you will not spend more than 500 to 1000 yen for a good meal. We went to Tenya in Nippori. Location: 2-19-7 Nishinippori | Tochu Bldg, Arakawa, Tokyo. There is a list of all...

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Love-ly Rome, Roman sights and food at Carlo Menta

Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in All posts, Italy | 0 comments

It is true what they say. Rome has coined the word romance. Or something like it. I might have just made it up. Because right now it seems very fitting.  The warm weather and Italy’s mild climate by the end of  October, our authentic Italian flat, the ancient Roman sights and mesmerizing monuments, our delicious breakfasts in the morning and in a way, the shabbiness of the city… … the right place to fall in love. Today felt just like it. We were butterflies in the city. Our surroundings are pretty. Old and new melt together in Rome. Our neighbourhood in Trastevere.   That day, we just took tram 8 straight to Venezia Station (I am sure we chose it because the name is so romantic) and walked around. The tall trees with their flat crowns are so pretty...

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Japanese food models and kitchen supplies at Kappabashi

Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

Every district in Tokyo has its unique charm. Kappabashi is known to be the playground for chefs, restaurant owners and hobby cooks, delivering various kitchen utensils, masses of tableware and cooking apparatus one can only imagine.  Here, you can find many shops with sampuru, the Japanese term for replica display food, actually derived from the English word sample. Some shops feel like a huge supermarket full of fake food. I always thought they were made of plastic but many are actually made of wax!   So many dishes, from tiny soy sauce bowls to huge platters.  A great place for souvenirs, to have a peek at Japanese home cooking gadgets and professional restaurant equipment.   The main Kappabashi street is full of shops with crockery, pots, pans, beautiful tableware, lacquerware, bamboo cooking items, chopsticks, knifes, trays, bowls, bento box...

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Making Japanese food models in Tokyo

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

Japan is known for its amazingly real looking food models. Replicas of dishes and drinks are prominently displayed at Japanese restaurant windows. The mother of food models is Tokyo’s Kappabashi district. With endless kitchen utensils, professional restaurant gadgets and beautiful tableware, it brings about more than exquisite plastic formations. For us, the greatest Kappabashi kick was to make some of those fantastic food samples ourselves. To experience some food model magic, we booked a mini-workshop at Ganso, one of the model producers in Tokyo.   Making lettuce and tempura at Ganso Ganso is the shop in Kappabashi where food models are made by specially trained artisans and: – where you can create your personal piece of fake food and, – buy a DIY fake food model set to make at home or, – where you can simply look at...

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The Flat, Food, Fun, Festival – our Krakow!

Posted by on Oct 2, 2014 in All posts, Poland | 0 comments

We will miss Krakow despite its legendary air pollution (better come in warmer months before inhabitants start working their old chimneys). Life’s amenities have been fully met in this lively city. Wed had found a cosy place to sleep, some great places to dine and the best place to hang out and party. This post is about our apartment rental, our favourite restaurants and the hippest location for eating, shopping, dancing and relaxing. Fun comes first. Which all comes down to the Hotel Forum Despite its name, it is not a hotel anymore. If you haven’t heard of it, you will undoubtedly see it, when walking down the river boulevards. A monstrous, wide and forlorn structure, sitting on Krakow’s riverfront will appear. This massive building was the most modern hotel in Poland in 1989. Designed in the 80s, it...

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Norte – my favourite mall in Porto

Posted by on Jul 26, 2014 in All posts, Portugal | 0 comments

Shopping malls make for a great break inbetween sightseeing. Especially if it’s raining. Because the perfect solution to a rainy day – or any day – is a shopping mall. Preferably the biggest one with a decent food court. That lead us to Norte Shopping in Porto. Location: Rua Sara Afonso 105-117, 4460-841 Senhora da Hora, Porto.  Open from 10 a.m. to midnight. We got there using Porto’s public transport, that is, the new tram lines. You can take Line A (blue),  Line B (red), Line C (green) or Line E (purple) to Sete Bicas Station. It is still short 5 min walk from here. Norte Shopping is a fine and huge shopping mall in Porto which looks a bit out dated from the outside but is really pleasant inside. A wide variety of shops and entertainment is geared...

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Some magnificence of Porto

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in All posts, Portugal | 0 comments

The riches Portugal acquired during the age of discoveries is beyond decency. Noble, majestic and imposing. This would about summarise the sights we have seen in Porto this day. Impressions are similar to the magnificence Lisbon has offered. Splendid architecture and regal treasures. In today’s less flashy times Portugal lives off the past. Together with a stagnating economy,  many of the past riches could do with a financial boost. European Union aided projects are a blessing and the restoration of Porto’s stock exchange palace is one of those. Palacio da Bolsa The Portuguese stock exchange is a 19th century beauty. One room has huge oil paintings of the royal family. A testament to Portugal’s prosperous reign which came to an end when all royal descendants fled Portugal during the 1910 October revolution. The last king died in exile in...

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Popular restaurants in Porto

Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in All posts, Portugal | 0 comments

Tourists got to eat. Like everyone else, yes, except that we are more dependant on good food outside our temporary homes. Tourist menus are designed for tourists and hence not the muito excelente of Portuguese cuisine. Which is why we tried one overly recommended local restaurant and another one, frequented by locals a lot and just opposite our doorstep in Porto. These two places are loved by locals. Actually a good sign. But unfortunately no guarantee, that service or food will be as superfluous as expected. Just in case, you like to try your own luck with those, there we go.    At Restaurante Postigo do Carvao Location: Restaurante Postigo do Carvao, Rua da Fonde Taurina 24 a 34, Porto. For dinner we went to what must be the most popular restaurant in whole Porto. Once we arrived, it already...

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Nata Cafe with Mazagran and Fernando Pessoa

Posted by on Jun 30, 2014 in All posts, Portugal | 0 comments

Nata is a combination of a bar, café and pastry shop in Porto. This place gave us good quality food for very reasonable prices. We found it as we were looking for a café serving Portuguese Easter food but luck wasn’t on our side. Or was. While everything had closed during Easter, Nata served us a good lunch. Their flexible opening hours are another great feature. It is frequented by students and locals but tourists seem to pass it by.   Location: Rua Santa Catarina 499, Porto, Portugal.   While Nata didn’t have special Easter snacks, we were offered some simple, good quality Portuguese lunch snacks by extremely friendly staff.    You can get anything from a toasted sandwich to the popular egg tarts, which are served appealingly warm. The thing to try at Nata is their Mazagran, the...

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Portuguese Infernos

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in All posts, Portugal | 0 comments

Spoiler: Portuguese infernos are rather pleasant. Some are named inferno and dramatically describe incredible cliff formations on Portugal’s shores. The other infernos refer to the mental pain you are going through when 1) trying to limit yourself on Portuguese pastry and 2) choosing a decent restaurant serving seafood. We had all of that on our two day trip to Sintra. To get a break from Portuguese palacemania, we balanced out sightseeing with nature’s destructive forces and food. There were fantastic cliffs at Inferno da Roca and Cabo da Roca, followed by Sintra’s fantastic sweet creations and a decent dinner in fishing village Cascais. First things first. FAMOUS SWEETS OF SINTRA As you know by now, Portugal is fancy land for palaces and pastry. It just so happens that Sintra, World Heritage site for landscapes dotted with palaces and situated...

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Feasting on Lisbon’s history

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in All posts | 0 comments

One kind of a ride in hilly Lisbon is tram number 28. This tram is a tourists’ favourite and one of the most memorable mean of transportation in Lisbon. Number 28 has a pretty antiquated wooden look and is rattling up and down steep mini hills, edgy turns and narrow streets of the capital. It was going to take us up to Lisbon’s Castle, known as Castelo S Jorge, when the heavens above decided against a smooth ride and more for the one of a kind experience in Portugal. It just so happened that a car blocked the tram and we got an idea of Portuguese temperament. The car owner got out, wiggled his arms about angrily and started a heated argument with the tram driver. Then the tram driver got out and both tried to prove who’s in...

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Japanese tempura is Portuguese

Posted by on May 20, 2014 in All posts, Portugal | 0 comments

Tempura are delicately battered and deep-fried vegetables and seafood. All around the world, tempura is known to be a Japanese dish. How surprised I was to hear that Japanese tempura comes from Portugal!  What? Exactly. Whatever culinary crown Portugal was wearing once, it seems centuries ago, as apart from salt, sugar and cinnamon (the latter two, mainly in their pastry shops), I cannot see restaurants pushing culinary boundaries to catch up globally. Portugal once was a culinary forerunner. Maybe. It sure was the leader in the spice trade and had an empire of colonies in Africa, India and Asia, with a flourishing exchange of edible goods (and slaves and missionaries – but let’s focus on the food). There are African and Indian influences, like pepper, chilli and coriander and maybe they got soy from Macau… but Portuguese kitchens are...

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Lisbon’s treasures of the Portuguese empire

Posted by on May 18, 2014 in All posts, Portugal | 0 comments

Today we dived into the exorbitant wealth of Lisbon’s past. When you walk the streets of the capital, the prosperous past oozes through the streets. And through holes of neglected walls. On every shabby corner of Lisbon you can see that it was a powerful empire, playing a first class role in the orders of the world. During the Age of Discovery Lisbon flourished with riches pouring into Portugal, which saw the construction of great monuments like the Tower of Belém and the Jerónimos Monastery – the latter I show you in this post. Portugal derived massive earnings and gold from its spice and slave trade, starting in the 15th century. Decolonisation is a fairly new thing. Independence to Portugal’s African colonies was granted not before 1975. While on our trip to Macao, I learned that the country had...

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Portuguese Easter Eats

Posted by on May 17, 2014 in All posts, Portugal | 0 comments

Easter is a big thing in Catholic and miracle-abuzzed Portugal. If you come to Portugal during Easter, like we did and like to try out some edible Portuguese traditions,  like we would have liked to do… …but couldn’t because on Easter Sunday stores were closed, commemorating Jesus Christ’s resurrection from death, rather than filling the stomachs of those dying of hunger… …the traditional Portuguese Easter munchies are: pão de ló  and folar de pascoa. Pão de ló is airy textured sponge cake made with an awful lot of eggs. Folar de pascoa is Portuguese Easter bread, sometimes stuffed with ham and adorned with hard boiled eggs. Eggs feature heavily in Portugal’s pastry-bakeries. Not only on Easter. Folar de pascoa. Fresh and fluffy pão de ló cake. And smelling of raw eggs. Plain version. Chocolate version. Where to buy Easter...

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Try this food in Portugal

Posted by on May 16, 2014 in All posts, Portugal | 0 comments

Apart from fantastic pastelarias and (sometimes) fine tourist menus, here is my list of local delicacies, most of which we bought to cater for ourselves and most of which you can buy at a Portuguese supermarket. Gastronomic specialities of Portugal (a list of 12 foods to expand – feel free!) 1. CHEESE Portugal is batting high in the cheese department. The local cheese variety is delicious. The soft versions are to die for. My favourite cheese is the fresh soft cheese, packaged in small plastic containers swimming in water, which you can get at most supermarkets or well-stocked local grocery shops. Queijo Fresco is made from cow, sheep or goat’s milk and comes in whole or skimmed. The more fatty ones are clearly my taste bud winners. Queijo Fresco is good for breakfast, sliced on bread, or for dinner...

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For budget foodies in Lisbon

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in All posts, Portugal | 0 comments

From what we have seen and tasted so far, Lisbon’s highlights are not of culinary nature. Main tourist spots – in prime locations – may shock you with hamburgers, hot dogs and low key fast food dishes. They are by no means cheap and let’s not even get me started about quality or health benefits. But there are just as many cheap-good value options. Look for a high frequency of locals and you will find yourself in one of numerous Portuguese PASTELARIAS. Those traditional pastry-coffee shops are popular places for a sweet breakfast, quick lunch, light supper. At any time of the day, locals step by to savour on pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tarts). Accompanied by bica, a short and deliciously mild espresso – the Portuguese way to have coffee. My favourite choice though was fresh squeezed orange...

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Quirky sights of Lisbon

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in All posts, Portugal | 0 comments

We saw many what I would call ‘unconventional sights’ in Lisbon today. Don’t-miss-dos are riding Lisboa’s old trams, the Santa Justa elevator, as well as finding one of those Portuguese miradouros. As a must-try I would add shredded bacalhau, the mazagran and awesome pastelarias to the list. The Elevador da Glória, is actually not an elevator but a funicular (an old tiny tram going up steep slopes)  that has been taking passengers up and down the hill between Restauradores Square and Bairro Alto. Dating back to 1885 the old tram has an antique wooden interior. The ride is very, very short and you can walk up yourself along the tracks, but only Scrooge would miss out on the rattling Portuguese experience. Our tram was adorned with crappy graffiti smears but along the way you can see more elaborate street...

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