13 Under-the-radar Places to Plan Your Next Family Vacation, According to Our Expert Travel Advisors

13 Under-the-radar Places to Plan Your Next Family Vacation, According to Our Expert Travel Advisors

13 Under-the-radar Places to Plan Your Next Family Vacation, According to Our Expert Travel Advisors More Family vacations are often a child’s first glimpse into the world of travel. This makes where you choose to jet off to not only important, but crucial for fostering a love of seeing the world. The A-List , Travel + Leisure ’s group of the world’s top travel advisors, understand that lifelong memories are a joy to be made, and have plenty of suggestions for unexpected destinations to explore. From marveling at the lunar-like landscapes of Chile’s Atacama desert to embarking on an Arctic cruise to Greenland, we sourced more than a dozen places to travel with the whole family in tow . Ahead, 13 A-List members share under-the-radar vacations you should plan this year. “While everyone is standing in line at Disney in the heat, why not be riding horses or rafting through trout-filled rivers in the great expanse of Montana? After spending just 24 hours there, I knew Montana was a special place and was already planning a return with my family. The kids can learn how to rope cattle, wrangle horses, ride ATVs, and zip line through the forest. The possibilities are endless. Your kids will put down their phones because they will be too busy having fun in the wilds of ‘Big Sky Country.’ The Resort at Paws Up has luxe log log cabins, plus the option for families to glamp in luxury tents. It’s a way for the whole family to get back to basics but not give up creature comforts.” — Jim Augerinos, Perfect Honeymoons “The colonial town of Barichara, on the edge of the Chicamocha canyon, is my favorite place in Colombia that most people have never heard of. It’s a good option for families looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure. Just outside of town you can hike, go whitewater rafting, paraglide over the canyon, and visit coffee plantations. In town, wander the cobblestone streets, visit the shops of local artisans, and recharge your batteries with the town’s slow pace.” — Joe Sandilo, Almaz Journeys “I’ve taken my kids on adventures around the world, starting when they were very young. One of our most surprising family highlights was an Arctic cruise in Greenland and Canada that I’ve since sent many of my family clients on. It’s an incredible place for families to experience a bit of everything — stunning scenery and wildlife, authentic culture, and room to run around! Many expedition shore excursions involve setting across the tundra in exploration mode, splashing in a mountain pool, or kayaking along a fjord — adventures my daughter still raves about.” — Mary Curry, Adventure Life “I love New Orleans , Louisiana, and it’s a great family destination. Fun family activities include visiting the zoo, stopping by the aquarium, touring French Quarter, taking a cooking class, listening to jazz on the street and in Preservation Hall, and venturing outside the city proper for swamp tours and plantation tours. Enjoy some of the best food in the world at hole-in-the-wall spots, buzzy new restaurants, or at fine dining spots” — David Rubin, David Travel Getty Images More “Kenya, hands down. An animal-viewing safari is probably the best family bonding experience in the world. Both children and their parents are equally excited about what they’ve seen and experienced, and as a result, conversation flows easily — not to mention the fact that they get to spend time together over meals with no electronic distractions. Fun things arranged for kids include camel trekking, fishing, hiking with local guides to collect wild honey, visiting a local village to milk goats, and interacting with other children.” — Julian Harrison, Premier Tours Story continues “When families come to India, my rule of thumb is the more hands-on, the better. Washing an elephant together (seriously) is one of the most joyous things you can imagine, and after that, you can delicately paint your new friend and stroll with him. My families love learning Indian dancing and sitar playing during private lessons. Indian bread-baking classes at the Oberoi in Mumbai have also been a huge hit. Our Micato India guides have really made astronomy come alive for kids during visits to the Jantar Mantar observatory. And saree shopping, well, that brings out some spirited mother-daughter bonding.” — Marion Miller, Micato Safaris “I recently spent an unforgettable week with my family in Chile’s Atacama Desert, a region of lunar-like landscapes that delighted all four of my children as much as it did my wife and I. Our vacation was filled with family-friendly adventures: we biked and rode horses across valleys and ran barefoot down giant sand dunes. It was educational, too — my children became fascinated by astronomy (the Atacama is the best place in the world to observe the stars, and has a host of amazing observatories) and learned valuable geology lessons by visiting geysers, salt flats, and ancient rock formations. Plus, the Atacama is home to beautiful luxury accommodations that serve up delicious meals, which my wife and I paired with fine Carmenère wine. It was perfect.” — Emmanuel Burgio, Blue Parallel “Undoubtedly a private cruise in the Brazilian Amazon. Most people don’t know that there are still undiscovered areas of the Amazon that are mosquito-free. There are waters that are safe to swim in and amazing river beaches perfect for barbecues. Combining the adventure of exploring the forest with a relaxing and fun learning opportunity makes this the ultimate family holiday in Brazil.” — Martin Frankenberg, Matueté “Go climb Kilimanjaro! Book a private climb so everyone can share this experience, bringing you closer as a family. The great thing about it is that you can start the bonding way before you get to Africa. You can train and prepare your gear together and really use this as an opportunity to bond around an activity. You can also use this as an opportunity to give back as a family by taking some time while you are in Africa to identify a need in advance, then volunteering during your trip. This can lead to lifelong friendships, and the strengthened relationships can make a trip like this truly life-changing. — Chris Liebenberg, Piper & Heath Travel “Safaris used to be considered the least family-friendly vacation, leaving many adventurous parents unsatisfied with their family beach trips. Today, that’s changed. Our Jungle Safaris are extremely family-focused and we encourage families traveling to India to explore some of the country’s incredible national parks. With our kid-friendly itineraries, you can choose to add a few days to your itinerary to spend two weeks exploring the jungles of India in search of the elusive Bengal tiger.” — Carole A Cambata, Greaves Tours Getty Images More “The Peloponnese may not yet be a well-known Greek destination, but for those in the know, it offers excellent options for family holidays. Nafplio will dazzle you with its spectacular waterfront, its charming old town lined with historic buildings, and its castles (which your kids will love). The beautiful coastal village of Pilos will keep you entertained with a state-of-the-art resort that’s just around the corner from downtown. It offers a vast variety of activities for the whole family. I take my kids there twice a year and we can’t get enough of it!” — Christos Stergiou, TrueTrips “Two New Zealand trips consistently receive stellar feedback from our clients. One involves a spirited and spiritual Maori welcome on a holy mountain. Some travelers have called this day ‘transformational.’ And it works with kids, too! It makes them contemplative for a little while. The other is helicoptering over the Southern Alps with a legendary pilot and stopping to gather seafood at a quiet, unknown spot. Then you barbecue, usually on a clifftop if the weather behaves. — Jean-Michel Jefferson, Ahipara “Dubai is an incredible city that has activities for all ages. It’s a hotspot for shopping, world-class hotels, adventure, beaches, and it’s rich in culture. Begin your journey with a flight aboard Emirates Airlines for the impeccable Al Majlis VIP meet-and-greet service. For lodging, One&Only The Palm has a great boutique hotel vibe, or check out Jumeirah Al Naseem, which is perfect for water park fun. During your trip, you might spend a day in the desert at Fossil Rock in a custom Bedouin desert camp, zip line through the Dubai Marina, or spend the day aboard a yacht. You can find all sorts of cuisine in this food-centric town guaranteed to have you eating like royalty.“ — Susan Sparks, Points of Interest Travel

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Enjoy dagga-infused cuisine at the Cannabis Expo

Enjoy dagga-infused cuisine at the Cannabis Expo Citizen reporter South Africa – Cape Town – 17 February 2019. Image: ANA Cannabis snacks such as lollipops, mints, chewing gum and chocolates can be found at the expo.
The Cannabis Expo is the largest cannabis event on the African continent, and there is no doubt that there is a buzz about this fascinating and vast industry.
Featuring a huge range of exhibitors showcasing a variety of cannabis-related products and services from all sectors in the industry, including healthcare, agricultural, finance and lifestyle and a convention stage with talks every half hour, the expo also includes the Cannabis Food Market.
Cannabis cuisine is massively growing; make sure to take a break at the food market during your visit to the expo. The Cannabis Food Market will provide visitors and diners to the expo a variety of lovely cannabis infused dishes and beverages.
Expect from the menu anything from pizza, nachos and tacos to charged Indian cuisine. Come experience a combination of cannabis, ginger and garlic and relax in the chilled vibes of canna creamery. To top it all off, enjoy a delightful canna cocktail or a soothing canna coffee.
Cannabis is definitely a friend of the food industry and for those with a slightly more sweet tooth, cannabis snacks in the form of sweet treats can also be found at the expo. Here you will find lollipops, mints, chewing gum, chocolates and more.
The Cannabis Expo Durban is brought to you by Go Life International. It runs from June 6 until 9 at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom.
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What it’s like to live in Finland, the happiest country in the world

Of the top five locations this year, four are Nordic countries . People in Finland enjoy universal healthcare and a successful school system , both of which contribute to a higher standard of living for all. I visited Finland and spoke with the people there to see what it’s like to live in the world’s happiest country. Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories . For the second year in a row, Finland topped the list of the World Happiness Report . If this is surprising to you — after all, Finland is known for its brutally cold winters and limited daylight — know that some of the people of Finland are just as amazed. “Finland is not an overtly happy-go-lucky or worry-free place,” Tom Lippo, founder of Fact Law , a law firm with offices in Finland and the US. “Finns are reserved. For example, the Finnish language has a common phrase that’s loosely translated as ‘one who smiles for no good reason,’ and that is not a compliment. So Finns have been shocked to learn that they are so happy!” The annual survey from Gallup looks at six key factors: GDP per capita, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and corruption levels. Finland scores well in all of these categories, although it does particularly well with the generosity factor. The study has a lot of people wondering what it is that gives Finns such a positive outlook and what life is really like in the Land of the Thousand Lakes. By exploring the lifestyle and culture of Finland, is it possible to harness a bit of that happiness for ourselves? I visited Finland and spoke with the people there to see what it’s like to live in the world’s happiest country. Parents love that their children can get an excellent education in Finland. Strollers. Courtesy Theresa Christine Just like with the World Happiness Report, the education system in Finland has repeated success in national rankings, according to Los Angeles Times . Additionally, people highly regard anyone working as a teacher — including the country itself, who ensures teachers get top-notch training and excellent pay, according to The Guardian . Jonathan, a taxi driver from the United Kingdom, relocated to Finland after he met his wife there. While he eventually plans to return to the UK, he told INSIDER the top reason for staying is because he wants his children to go to school in Finland and get the best education possible. Sami Hero, the Chief Operating Officer of HappyOrNot , a Finnish company that makes customer satisfaction measurement terminals, lives in Tampere, Finland, explained that the education is meritocracy-based, which encourages students at a young age to work hard. “When people graduate from a program like med school, they don’t have debilitating debts. At the same time, even high school is meritocracy based. After 9th grade you have apply to high school and the acceptance is based on your GPA and sometimes they have exams similar to universities. This early triage helps kids formulate their future path pretty early and they learn early on the hard work necessary to reach goals, and also how it feels to fail or miss your goals,” Hero told INSIDER. Finland was ranked the most literate nation in 2016, and the Finns love their libraries. Oodi Helsinki Central Library. Shutterstock One thing was for sure — it didn’t matter at all that I could speak zero words of the Finnish language. In Finland, everyone speaks English, as well as Swedish. In fact, both Finnish and Swedish are official languages taught in schools, as Finland is officially a bilingual country . “Quite a large percentage of Finns speak more than two foreign languages. They also travel quite a bit for vacations so they are exposed to other cultures,” Hero said. The Finnish people also grow up going to the library. “The library is a major part of life for the people here,” Hanna-Leena Halsas , a tour guide in Finland, told INSIDER. “They might do schoolwork there, or their hobbies. It’s a safe environment.” Perhaps the best example of this in practice is the recently opened Oodi Helsinki Central Library . The bright, open space is a mishmash of a lot of different areas, from books and desks to audio recording booths and sewing stations. It was built to be a work space, but also a living room for the people of Helsinki, and when I visited it was filled with people enjoying the space. Finland is also an incredibly safe country. Helsinki, Finland. njus05/Shutterstock “It’s a good place to raise a family,” the taxi driver Jonathan said, explaining that he never worries when his young kid cycles around the neighborhood alone. Of course, in any city there’s going to be some level of crime, but even in the capital city of Helsinki there are no major safety issues, according to TripSavvy . Once you get to the more rural areas of the country, crime is almost nonexistent: Finland was named the safest country in the world according to a 2017 World Economic Forum report. “According to the 2019 Travel Risk Map , which assesses the world across three categories — medical risks, security, and road safety — Finland has the lowest overall threat level,” according to The Telegraph . Universal healthcare is a given in Finland. A Finnish flag. Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva/Reuters “Universal healthcare is seen by Finns as ‘the right things to do’ as a moral issue, with the underlying economics as a secondary issue. Debate about it is ongoing, but the focus is mostly on how to achieve goals rather than how to eliminate it, or whether such benefits are deserved by those who use them,” Lippo said. Merja Herrala, who does marketing and communications for Visit Finland , grew up in Lahti and is now based in Helsinki. She said that not having to worry about potential medical bills relieves a lot of stress for the Finnish people. “It’s wonderful that when you get injured or sick, you go to the hospital and you know you will get good treatment, but it won’t cost you a fortune,” she explained. Finns are big on getting outside and exploring nature. The Northern Lights in Finland. Tsuguliev/ Shutterstock The people of Finland love exploring the outdoors, from their 40 national parks to the islands of the Baltic Sea to northernmost Lapland. It’s no wonder the population loves to go hiking or biking — the Finnish landscape is spectacular. “The country is sparsely populated on average, which means there is a lot of nature to enjoy and even private lands are accessible to everyone as long as you don’t go to someone’s backyard to pick up mushrooms and berries,” Hero said. Even in the cities, though, it’s possible to stay in touch with the outdoors. “I love the open spaces in the cities and the well-maintained walking, trekking, and biking paths that make exercise very accessible,” Hero added. Finland is a winter wonderland. Cross-country skiing in Finland. Tanhu / Shutterstock The cold-averse like myself may find it difficult to believe, but the Finns love their home in winter just as much — if not more — than during the summer. Hero explained that life in the chilly months doesn’t change too much from summertime; instead, Finns adjust to the cold and still get around on bicycles. To them, winter just means added activities, such as ice skating, cross-country skiing, and dog sledding. “You learn to live with the seasons,” Halsas said. Lapland remains a popular destination during the winter, and all the snow makes it a perfect destination for skiing or snowboarding. Plus the chances of seeing the Northern Lights are high — in Lapland they grace the sky at least 200 nights a year ! Finns love their saunas, which are proven to increase immunity and well-being. A dip after enjoying the Löyly sauna. Courtesy of Theresa Christine “Be careful,” Halsas warned me before I made my way to Löyly sauna in Helsinki. “It’s addictive.” I laughed this off, of course, but after one jump from the steamy sauna to freezing cold water outside, a Finnish tradition, I had to do it again and again. Finns love their saunas, and pretty much every home or apartment complex will have one. Finland has a population of about 5 million people, and it’s estimated that there are well over 2 million saunas in the country . “Pretty much every house has a sauna, and there are more saunas than cars here,” Päivyt Tallqvist, Director of Media Relations at Finnair said. “In the summertime, I go every day.” A study in The Journal of Human Kinetics shows that athletes who spent 15 minutes in a sauna had an increase in white blood cell count, thus strengthening their immunity. Another study in Psychosomatic Medicine revealed that a daily sauna session can improve the relaxation level in those with depression. But the best reason? It just feels good . You sit in a room sweating profusely as a plump Finnish man tosses water onto a pile of hot rocks, and just when you don’t think you can take it anymore, you dunk your body up to your neck in freezing cold water. While this might not sound appealing, it feels blissful. Finland’s New Nordic cuisine is impressive. New Nordic cuisine. Courtesy of Theresa Christina If you think that Finns rely on fish and potatoes alone, you’re in for a big surprise. “The restaurant scene has grown in the past 20 years,” Herrala said. “We’ve always had a lot of Chinese, Indian, and Nepalese food, and now you can also get Thai, Mexican and Japanese. But the most popular trend now is New Nordic.” New Nordic food uses local ingredients and relies heavily on seasonality, incorporating berries, herbs, and wild vegetables. Finns firmly believe in honesty. Finnish women. Brian Bahr/Getty Images “If you ask a Finn ‘How’s it going?’ be ready to receive an honest answer, and be prepared to listen. It took me a while to tone down the American pleasantries that don’t really mean anything. “People are really earnest,” Hero said. When I talked to people in Finland, they seemed completely engaged and present, and spoke in a friendly yet straightforward manner. There’s no “fluff” around what they say, and small talk is definitely not their forte. But what they do say, they mean — and for that, they earn their reputation for being genuine and authentic. Read more:

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Ready, Set, Summer! Agoda.com reveals top holiday destinations for North American travelers

SINGAPORE , June 6, With the summer holidays fast approaching, Agoda , one of the world’s fastest growing digital travel platforms, reveals Tokyo , London and Las Vegas continue to hold the top destination spots in 2019.
Japan dominates Asia Pacific travelers’ summer plans scooping six out of the top ten destinations this summer. Firm favorites Tokyo , Osaka , Okinawa Main Island, Kyoto , are joined this year by Sapporo and Fukuoka , knocking Singapore and Hong Kong out of the top 10 list.
Ready, Set, Summer! Agoda.com reveals top holiday destinations for North American travelers Tokyo’s appeal as a hot destination isn’t limited to travelers from Asia , it sits in the top ten for travelers across all regions, with Agoda’s booking data showing Tokyo jump to second spot for US travelers and fifth for Europeans this year.
While Asia-Pacific travelers are more likely to holiday ‘locally’, travelers from the Middle East , North America and Europe are crossing continents for their summer break. The fashion capitals of Europe , London and Paris are the top cities enticing Middle East travelers this year, while Rome , with its history and Italian chic, takes the third spot. Asian destinations are also inching up the list for Middle Eastern travelers, with Bali , and Tokyo joining Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur in this year’s top 10.
Las Vegas holds the top spot for North American travelers in 2019, with Tokyo pushing New York out of the number two spot to number three. The cosmopolitan cities of London , Paris and Rome with their historical and contemporary sights and sounds also make the top 10. Los Angeles , Orlando , Chicago and Seattle are the top domestic destinations within the top 10 this summer.
Meanwhile, in Europe , travelers are venturing further and taking more mid to long-haul trips this summer. Asian destinations have knocked traditional European cities down and out of the top ten list with Asian favorites such as Bali , Bangkok , Tokyo and Pattaya making the list. New York and Las Vegas also entered the list for European travelers this year, marking a change in their travel habits.
Top Summer Destinations by Origin
Asia Pacific
Middle East
North America
Europe
No
2018
2019
No
2018
2019
No
2018
2019
No
2018
2019
1.
Tokyo
Tokyo
1.
Dubai
London
1.
Las Vegas
Las Vegas
1.
London
London
2.
Bangkok
Okinawa Main Island
2.
Abu Dhabi
Paris
2.
New York
Tokyo
2.
Paris
Bali
3.
Osaka
Osaka
3.
Manama
Rome
3.
Los Angeles
New York
3.
Rome
Bangkok
4.
Okinawa Main Island
Bangkok
4.
Mecca
Bali
4.
San Francisco
Los Angeles
4.
Barcelona
Berlin
5.
Bali
Sapporo
5.
Riyadh
New York
5.
Oahu
London
5.
Amsterdam
Tokyo
6.
Seoul
Bali
6.
Bangkok
Dubai
6.
Orlando
Orlando
6.
Venice
New York
7.
Taipei
Kyoto
7.
Jeddah
Bangkok
7.
Chicago
Chicago
7.
Berlin
Las Vegas
8.
Kyoto
Fukuoka
8.
Istanbul
Kuala Lumpur
8.
Boston
Paris
8.
Milan
Paris
9.
Singapore
Seoul
9.
Kuala Lumpur
Amsterdam
9.
Seattle
Seattle
9.
Moscow
Pattaya
10.
Hong Kong
Taipei
10.
London
Tokyo
10.
Toronto
Rome
10.
Munich
Rome
Where are North American holidaymakers heading in the Summer of 2019?
Six of this year’s summer destinations for North American travelers is within the US according to Agoda.com’s data — these include Las Vegas (1), New York (3), Los Angeles (4), Orlando (6), Chicago (7) and Seattle (9) Outside of the US, Tokyo is the top city to visit for North Americans, while London , Paris and Rome come in at fifth, eighth and 10 th place, respectively The US is also a hot destination for many international travelers this summer. It is featured in the top ten countries to visit for the following countries: first place for Israel ; second place for UAE and UK; third place for France and Germany ; fourth place for Japan ; sixth place for mainland China and Taiwan ; ninth place for Indonesia , Korea and Saudi Arabia ; and 10 th place for Thailand and Vietnam according to Agoda The Vietnamese are particularly keen on heading to Canada for their holidays this year, with the country making it to eighth place on Vietnam’s list of top ten Travel inspiration
From exploring the great outdoors to discovering historical gems, Agoda shares some travel inspiration this summer for a range of travelers:
1. For those traveling with young ones — Osaka, Japan
Osaka is an ideal destination for those traveling with their little ones. Spend a relaxed afternoon at the Nishikinohama Beach Park, known for its pristine white beach and breezy pine groves. Designated as one of top 100 most scenic spots in Osaka , the park is a 10-minute walk from the Nishikinohama Station, making it easily accessible. Children can enjoy digging for clams on the beach, while the adults barbecue and cool off in the water.
You can also head down to the Osaka Aquarium for a fun day for both parents and children alike. The colorful fish are sure to captivate the kids while a unique interactive exhibit allows the grown-ups to learn something new too!
To build your perfect, customized itinerary for Osaka , check out Agoda’s Osaka Travel Guide .
2. For those traveling with their restless teenager — Los Angeles , USA
The City of Angels offers visitors a plethora of activities — from museums and concerts to hiking and horseback riding — making keeping your teenager occupied a breeze. If your teen is a TV fan, treat them to the experience of attending a live taping of a favorite sitcom or talk show. It’s bound to be a fun and eye-opening experience showing them the work put in behind-the-scenes.
If your teen is a nature lover, head out on a whale-watching tour via Thingstodo.agoda.com that allows you to get up close with these fascinating animals. You can also consider signing your teenager up for a few surf lessons at the beach while you relax and work on your tan!
3. A perfect spot to bring the whole family — Bali, Indonesia For families looking for an adventure Bali has it covered — from mountains, beaches, shopping and spas to first class cuisine. In fact, there is no better way to discover Bali than through its rich street food culture. Influenced by Indonesian, Chinese and Indian culinary traditions, Balinese food features a range of spices, seafood and fresh produce. Stroll down Batu Bolong Street in Canggu, a two kilometer stretch packed with eateries, cafes and shops where you can find something to satisfy every craving. Alternatively, head to Sindhu Night Market, a fantastic option for families who want to try a wide range of local food at local prices.
For families planning a special summer stay, check out the Agoda Homes available on Agoda . These properties allow families to have a whole villa or apartment to themselves with added facilities and amenities not usually found in hotels.
4. For the cosmopolitan adventurer — London, United Kingdom
Whether you are traveling solo or part of a group, London in the summer is hard to beat. Packed with activities for every type of traveler, London is an eclectic mix of culture, shopping, and history. Head out for a taste of London’s nightlife, catch a show on West End or simply explore the city’s markets, parks and historical landmarks. The warm days in June mark the start of the city’s music festival season too — a perfect place to meet like-minded friends. London also makes an excellent base for day trips to the English countryside. For more travel inspiration and hand-picked recommendations for activities, tours and things to do in and around London , check out Things to Do on the Agoda App.
Notes to Editors: About the travel data Agoda collated data from bookings made globally for June through August 2019. Additional country breakdown can be found in the Agoda Press Room .
About Agoda
Agoda is one of the world’s fastest growing online travel booking platforms. From its beginnings as an e-commerce start-up based in Singapore in 2005, Agoda has grown to offer a global network of 2 million properties in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, offering travelers easy access to a wide choice of luxury and budget hotels, apartments, homes and villas to suit all budgets and travel occasions.
Headquartered in Singapore , Agoda is part of Booking Holdings (Nasdaq: BKNG ) and employs more than 4,000 staff across 53 cities in more than 30 countries. Agoda.com and the Agoda mobile app are available in 38 languages.
SOURCE Agoda

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Special Sauce: Priya Krishna on Cooking and Being “Indian-ish”

Part 2 of Ed Levine’s conversation with Priya Krishna, author of Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family . Published: June 7, 2019 [Priya Krishna photograph: Edlyn D’Souza. Saag photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]
In part two of my delightful conversation with Priya Krishna, she delves into her book Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family in so many unexpected and revealing ways.
“Indian-ish” is not just the name of the book; it also describes her mindset and worldview. “For my whole life I always felt Indian and American but not quite fitting into either of those molds,” Krishna says. “It was like I was too American to be Indian and too Indian to be American. But I think that as time has gone by I have found ways to really feel proud of that tension. You know, in my book I talk about how we wear our kurtas with jeans and we listen to Bollywood music alongside our top 40 hits and…these are all equally important parts of what we do. I love Indian food, but I also love Italian food and I don’t think that those things need to feel mutually exclusive.”
Krishna admits that she is no expert on Indian food. “I don’t want to pretend to be an authority on Indian food because I’m not,” she says. “I didn’t want this book to be like, ‘This is your guide to Indian food.’ This is a guide to the food that I grew up eating.”
Krishna is very comfortable being a missionary for Indian food we can make every day: “I feel like food media just, there is still this mentality that American cooking encompasses Western cuisines and everything else is the other. I still think Indian food is treated as this sort of strange esoteric thing and I really want to change that. I admire people who are doing that for other cuisines. I absolutely adore Andrea Nguyen, who just authored Vietnamese Food Any Day . I hope to do what she’s doing for Vietnamese food for Indian food.”
As an example, one of the things Krishna hopes to educate people about is the importance of chhonk , which Priya rhapsodizes about in the book. As she describes it, chhonk is “this this really fundamental technique in South Asian cooking and basically the idea is that you’re heating up some kind of fat, whether that’s tahini or oil, tossing in spices and/or herbs and basically crisping them in the oil. You pour it on top of a dish and it adds this unbelievable texture and extra layer of richness and complexity.”
Of course, I asked Krishna what she plans on doing next. “There will always be some kind of collaboration with my mom and me,” she says. “I think that the best recipe developers are people who kind of just have this intuition about cooking and I don’t think I have that intuition. I think my strengths lie elsewhere. I’d love to develop more recipes, with my mom. My mom the other day told me, ‘I think I have enough recipes for three cookbooks.’ And I was like, ‘Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Mom.'”
There’s so much more in my conversation with Krishna that will resonate with Serious Eaters everywhere. But don’t take my word for it, listen to the whole episode. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed—not even a little bit disappointed-ish.
Special Sauce is available on iTunes , Google Play Music , Soundcloud , Player FM , and Stitcher . You can also find the archive of all our episodes here on Serious Eats and on this RSS feed . You Could Be on Special Sauce
Want to chat with me and our unbelievably talented recipe developers? We’re accepting questions for Special Sauce call-in episodes now. Do you have a recurring argument with your spouse over the best way to maintain a cast iron skillet? Have you been working on your mac and cheese recipe for the past five years, but can’t quite get it right? Does your brother-in-law make the worst lasagna, and you want to figure out how to give him tips? We want to get to know you and solve all your food-related problems. Send us the whole story at [email protected] . Transcript
Ed Levine : Welcome to Special Sauce, a Serious Eats’ podcast about food and life. Every week on Special Sauce we talk to some of the leading lights of American culture, food folks and non-food folks alike.
Priya Krishna : Yeah, I’d love to develop more recipes with my mom. My mom the other day told me that she has, she was like, “I think I have enough recipes for three cookbooks!” And I was like, “well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, mom.”
EL : That’s awesome.
EL : Priya Krishna, author of the lovely Indian-ish is still with us. So you’re writing for various pubs. By the way, some serious, like high-quality pubs. We’re not talking about Weekly Reader r or the Chelsea News . You know, the New Yorker , The New York Times . It’s pretty impressive. I bet even your mom was impressed.
PK : Yeah. I think they were both really … I think they didn’t know what was going to happen when I went freelance, and they were a little bit worried, and then-
EL : Once they could tell their friends that Priya had written a piece for The New York Times .
PK : Yeah exactly.
EL : I know I had the same thing with my mother-in-law. Finally, my mother-in-law has something to tell her friends about what her son-in-law does.
PK : Totally. Because otherwise, it was very hard for them to understand what I did for a living.
EL : Yeah, for sure. But how did the book come about?
PK : The seeds of it where kind of planted while I was working it. Lucky Peach , we worked with an amazing editor, this woman named Rika Alanik at Clarkson Potter.
EL : Who was the assistant for my very first book.
EL : Wow, When she was an undergraduate at Yale and a friend of my nieces.
PK : That’s amazing! Wow! I absolutely love her and she edited all of our books and we had a book come out called Power Vegetables and my mom contributed more recipes than anyone to that cookbook because I’d asked her for recipes and Rika in particular had just kind of fallen in love with the recipes my mom contributed. Also loved my mom’s story and she felt like that story felt like one that was really relevant and that there also wasn’t a cookbook that made Indian food feel like simple and doable on a weeknight.
EL : Got it.
PK : And so she was like, “I want a book that kind of marries those two ideas.” That first gen, second gen narrative and the idea of a really straight forward and accessible Indian cookbook that doesn’t feel the need to adhere to traditions or explain to you all the different regional cuisines of India but also does move past the food that you see in restaurants. And she sort of painted this picture for me and then I wrote a proposal and as I was writing the proposal it was one of those things where it just all clicked. I was like, “oh, yeah obviously this is a book.”
EL : That’s fascinating. So it was her idea. We should explain that Rika, after being my assistant, which didn’t last very long because she was still in college, became an editor at a publishing house. So she really knew her way around every aspect of publishing when she became an agent.
PK : Yeah.
EL : You say the book is maybe first and foremost about identity.
PK : Mm-hmm,
EL : And that couldn’t have come from Rika. We know that comes from you.
PK : Yeah, I mean it all kind of comes back to the title, Indian-ish . It’s very apt descriptor for the food in the book, but it’s also an apt descriptor for how I feel. You know? For my whole life I always felt Indian and American but not quite fitting into either of those molds. It was like I was too American to be Indian and too Indian to be American. But I think that as time as gone by I have found ways to really feel proud of that tension. You know, in my book I talk about how we wear our kurtas with jeans and we listen to Bollywood music alongside our top 40 hits and this is just, these are all equally important parts of what we do. I love Indian food, but I also love Italian food and I don’t think that those things need to feel mutually exclusive. Even though growing up I thought that was the case.
EL : It’s fascinating. So it’s like you’re wrestling with issues of assimilation and identity.
PK : Mm-hmm.
EL : The way a lot of people do.
PK : Yeah, and it almost felt like even more unfair because I was like, I was born and raised here. I am American just like everyone else so why am I made to feel like I don’t fit in here?
EL : You probably wrestled with that well before you wrote the book.
PK : Yeah, that was like my entire elementary, middle school, and high school experience.
EL : On of the things that I loved about the book is that you wrote in the book, “Hello”. It’s like welcome to Indian-ish .
PK : Yeah.
EL : I was struck by that because for a long time on Serious Eats the home page had, “Welcome Serious Eater” and now I’m actually quite annoyed that I allowed some designer to have me take it off because I think the book is very welcoming and I think a welcome is really important. Especially when you’re trying to communicate ideas that haven’t been put forward before.
PK : Mm-hmm.
EL : You know, this whole idea of you’re welcoming people to the world that you inherited and that you’re trying to make sense of as you move along in your life.
PK : Yeah, and I also wanted the book to sort of sound like a conversation. Like I was just a friend, standing next to you in the kitchen, just chatting with you.
EL : Yeah, yeah.
PK : So I wanted to keep the conversation really chatty. I want people to feel unintimidated. I wanted them to feel welcomed. Exactly, yeah.
EL : Let’s define the “ish” and I know you say that it was just a place holder
PK : Mm-hmm, yeah.
EL : and then it became the title. What does the “ish” mean to you?
PK : It’s just like a representative of all of the things that have influenced my family’s identity and our food. You know, it’s the travels around the world that we took. The fact that I grew up in Dallas, TX and the influences from that. The television shows I watched and the movies I was obsessed with. All of that is in this book and all of that encompasses the “ish”
EL : So you wrote about what you know.
PK : Yeah, and I think that like for me that was the only cookbook that I could write. I don’t want to pretend to be an authority on Indian food because I’m not. I didn’t want this book to be like, this is your guide to Indian food, and more just like this is a guide to the food that I grew up eating.
EL : It’s funny that you mention that because neither you nor your mother had any formal training, cooking either at a restaurant or going to cooking school but you felt like you had something to say and you could communicate it best through food.
PK : Mm-hmm.
EL : And that was your jumping off point for the book.
PK : Yeah.
EL : So did it ever give you pause that you hadn’t devoted years to perfecting your cooking craft?
PK : You know, I felt really self conscious about it at first but I think this book is kind of- it’s a reflection of exactly who I am, which is that I’m not a super skilled cook who spends hours in the kitchen. I am a pretty lazy cook and you know, my knife skills are fine, not great and this book is reflective of that. There are a lot of recipes that are very forgiving if you don’t have good knife skills. These are recipes that I make on a weeknight because if something had like five sub-recipes there’s just no way that you would find me making that on a Tuesday night. So I learned to sort of lean into those things that I felt really self conscious about and make that into a cookbook that felt very real to where I am in my life now.
EL : You sort of answer this in the book and I’d love for you to answer it now. In the frequently asked questions about why should I trust you. So why should we trust you?
PK : Well, I think first and foremost, I think you should trust me because you should trust my mom because she’s an incredible cook. Where I am a super lazy, not as skilled in the kitchen cook, like my mom has been doing this for a really, really long time. She has learned on the job and she is super skilled, super intuitive. These recipes are all written by her. I just edited them, had them tested and went through that whole process. So I think one, because of my mom. I think the second is like, I think that as a food writer, I kind of like understood, as someone who has worked on many, many cookbooks and read many, many cookbooks, I kind of understood, okay what does it take to write a cookbook that people will actually use. That will make an impact. That was something I thought about a lot. I also put a ton of effort into making sure that these recipes worked.
EL : Trustworthy.
PK : Yeah, I spent a month doing testing and then I had each of them tested by three amateur cooks. I removed the recipes that got mixed feedback and only kept in the greatest hits. This is a book that- the most frustrating thing is when you buy all these ingredients and you put effort into a recipe and it doesn’t work. I didn’t want that to be the case.
EL : Got it. No, no. That’s the death of all of us.
PK : Yeah.
EL : You write that Indian food is everyday food.
PK : Mm-hmm.
EL : It seems like that’s an important thing that you wanted to communicate.
PK : Yeah, I mean I think there’s this perception that, many of the publications that I write for, that they treat foods that are not western foods almost as though they’re like projects. Like, there’s no way you can make Indian food, or Middle Eastern food, or Korean food your average weeknight. That’s something you have to devote special time to. And I just wanted to rid people of that notion. This is the food that I grew up eating. This is the food that millions and millions of people eat every single day on Monday through Friday.
EL : So you talk about spices a lot in the book.
PK : Mm-hmm.
EL : Give us a one minute primer on Indian spices.
PK : Sure. The spices are what add the depth and complexity to a lot of Indian dishes. Not every Indian dish has spices though, and that’s evident in the book, and not every Indian dish requires you to make a customized spice blend. I feel like that’s something that really intimidates people about Indian food. They’re like, “well I have to buy a spice grinder and blend up spices.” A lot of the dishes, the spices are left whole because they add- cumin seeds taste really different when you eat them whole versus ground. They add a really interesting texture. They taste a little bit different. They’re a little bit more intense. So I wanted this book to sort of teach you how to cook with spices in an every day, accessible way, because that’s how my mom cooked with them. I also wanted to teach the basics about spices. Like the idea that you have to toast them, either dry or in some kind of fat to really activate their aromatics. The concept of a chhonk, which is when you-
EL : Yes! We have to talk about the chhonk because first of all I never seen the word and we should have a spelling test for everyone who’s listening. How do you spell chhonk? C-H-H-O-N-K.
PK : So the chhonk, I get a lot of people emailing me saying, “that’s not how you spell chhonk” but chhonk, the way that I spell it in the book is it’s sort of a phonetic spelling. It’s a Hindi word. And in Hindi there’s a “juh” and then there’s a “chu” which is a more breathy and this is the “chu”.
EL : This is the chhonk.
PK : Yeah, well it’s like a little more. It’s like chhonk.
EL : Okay. I’m never gonna get it. I can tell.
PK : Give it a little more H.
EL : Okay.
EL : Yeah, so what about the magic of chhonk?
PK : So it’s this really fundamental technique in South Asian cooking and basically the idea is that you’re heating up some kind of fat, whether that’s tahini or oil, tossing in spices and/or herbs and basically crisping them in the oil. You pour it on top of a dish and it adds this unbelievable texture and extra layer of richness, and complexity.
EL : And you say in the book, you can put it on anything, salads, vegetables, meat. It just-
PK : Nachos.
PK : Chhonk nachos are unbelievable.
EL : I love that. That’s so great.
EL : So in the book you write about- is that how you pronounce your mother’s name?
PK : Ritu.
EL : Ritu’s tips. And I feel the need to recite Ritu’s tips because I do not live up to many of them. And I want to know if you live up to many of them. So I’m gonna quickly go through them. Taste every dish for lime and salt. Never underestimate the power of a statement necklace. I wouldn’t know about that. And statement earrings to go with the statement necklace. Change out of your work clothes as soon as you get home. You’ll immediately feel more relaxed. Always take the stairs if you can. Appetizers are overrated and distract from all the hard work you put into a meal. Two and a half inches are as high of a heel as you’ll ever need. Anything taller is a recipe for bunions. Use cloth napkins even if you’re using paper plates. They make everything look better. Better to be overdressed than to be underdressed. Invest in nice pottery you will make your food look ten times more impressive. For dinner parties try to be done cooking food at least two hours before guests come over so you can have a pre-party glass of wine. I have never mastered that. So how many of those have you mastered?
PK : I’m still working on a lot of them, I would say.
EL : That’s like an advanced course in gracious living.
PK : Yeah. It’s really funny, the one that she cut out that I’m really bummed- I kinda wish I could put it back in, is this is more my dad’s rule for living graciously which is, poop in your house in the comfort of your own toilet.
EL : That’s for the blooper reel.
PK : But okay, I do, I try and take the stairs. That’s one that I do. I feel like I’m always like a statement necklace or statement earrings person, never both and I need to get better at doing both. My pottery collection is very very limited. I just have a tiny apartment and that’s stuff chips really easily. I do love the tip about when you come home, changing out of your work clothes. That I found, that’s an easy one and I do always feel more relaxed.
EL : Did you initially fight all of your mother’s tips?
PK : No, these weren’t the things that we fought about.
EL : Got it.
PK : Those were things were I was like, “okay she’s got this figured out.”
EL : Do you feel that she’s right about the heels?
PK : Yeah, I think she’s 100% right about the heels. Like, you know-
EL : I feel that way about my heels.
PK : I have since changed my philosophy on shoes. When I was younger I was like always really into the high heels and now I completely agree.
EL : The book has really catapulted you in really interesting ways, right. How has the book changed your work life and how you do your work?
PK : I feel like I never set out to be an ambassador for Indian cooking but I guess I have been. I mean, there are obviously some really amazing and talented people out there who are also blazing a trail. People like, Tejal Rao and Khushbu Shah and Sonia Chopra who are doing unbelievable work to sort of get stories about Indian cooking out there. I just sort of, as I’m on my book tour now and it’s the most exciting to meet other South Asians who are like, “I feel seen in this cookbook. I had never opened the Bon Appetit YouTube channel and seen someone cooking with curry leaves.” That’s cool and exciting to me. I’ve been lucky enough to be given these platforms and I wanna use them to try to change things.
EL : You do have in your own way a missionary zeal.
PK : Yeah, I mean-
EL : In a quiet way.
PK : It’s getting- I’m getting less and less quiet about it. I feel like food media just, there is still this mentality that American cooking encompasses western cuisines and everything else is the other. I still think Indian food is treated as this sort of strange esoteric thing and I really want to change that. I admire people who are doing that for other cuisines. I absolutely adore Andrea Nguyen who just authored Vietnamese Food Everyday . I hope to do what she’s doing for Vietnamese food for Indian food.
EL : And you’re doing lot of video.
PK : Mm-hmm .
EL : For Bon Ap , and for yourself, and maybe you’ll come do stuff for Serious Eats. Will you come do some videos for Serious Eats?
PK : Yeah, of course!
EL : What are the things that you found hardest to master in doing videos?
PK : What’s funny is people always ask like, “what kind of training did you receive before you did video?” And the answer is none. At Bon Appetit they just throw you in front of the camera. There’s no script. There’s no nothing. They’re just like, “just, go. Just do it.” And they need you to just immediately be able to while the onions are sauteing just talk to the camera and say things. Just to be likable but there’s no way to-, you can’t- there’s no formula for being likable. And it’s-
EL : I always used to say to people, that used to do a lot of media consulting and I once told Jeffrey Steingarten d this, he and I did a show together and I said “don’t worry Jeffrey, if you just come across as likable and believable on TV, everything else falls into place.” And I think that’s true but Jeffrey said to me in response, “you’ll take care of the likable and I’ll take care of the believable.”
PK : And it’s also terrifying to cook on camera. Like I said, my knife skills aren’t great and it was really tough having a camera zooming in while I was doing a not great job of chopping onions. I’m getting slowly, but surely better but I’m just like, “I wish they would not take video of me cutting onions.” Or you know turning the heat on medium high and being like okay now medium high heat and the recipe person in the back being like, “well your recipe says medium heat.” All right, medium heat it is. Being terrified that you’re gonna mess something up on camera. But I think the beauty, at least of Bon Appetit videos, is they kind of, they love leaning into the mistakes and making it seem as real as possible.
EL : Yeah, ’cause I’ve always wondered whether that gestalt is real spontaneous, or faux spontaneous.
PK : No, it’s all very real. You’re just in the- you’re filming for such a long time that things just happen and their editors are very good at just piecing it together into a really fun ten minute segment.
EL : You didn’t set out to become a star. You’re not trying to become the Madonna of Indian cooking, who had this insane focus and ambition. I know people who knew her when she was coming up. But in your own quiet way you actually do have this laser like focus. Do you think that in part comes from your mom?
PK : My mom just has always known how to hustle and she just instilled that hustle in me.
EL : Amazing. That’s what I took away. Your mom is a phenomenal hustler in the best sense of the word.
PK : Yeah.
EL : So what’s next? Like are you developing- do you feel confident enough to develop your own recipes?
PK : There were always be some kind of collaboration with my mom and me. I think that the best recipe developers are people who kind of just have this intuition about cooking and I don’t think I have that intuition. I think my strengths lie elsewhere. So yeah, I’d love to develop more recipes, with my mom. My mom the other day told me that she has, she was like “I think I have enough recipes for three cookbooks.” And I was like, “let’s not get ahead of ourselves mom.”
EL : That’s awesome!
PK : But she’s set to retire this year so you know, so who knows?
EL : Exactly. Give us three recipes that if someone had just bought the book that they should try.
PK : The first one I think is one that I think has taken off most out of all the recipes in the book and it’s the spinach and feta cooked like Saag Paneer or Saag Feta and it’s basically like a super, super delicious coriander and cardamom spinach gravy that my mom discovered you can sub out the paneer for cubes of briny salty feta and it is just this wonderful marriage. You top it with a chhonk made of cumin seeds and red chili powder. And it’s-
EL : There’s that chhonk again.
PK : It’s perfect over rice with roti. That’s a fantastic starter recipe.
EL : All right.
PK : I also love the roti pizza. It’s on the cover, it’s probably made more than anything else in our house. The blend of red onions and cheddar cheese and cilantro chutney over roti is just this beautiful marriage. It almost tastes like Indian nachos is kind of how I think about it.
EL : I like that. I like that.
PK : And then the third one I think that everyone should make is the dahi toast, which is like my mom’s take on a, almost like an Indian grilled cheese sandwich. You mix yogurt with cilantro and onions and chilis and then you spread it on sourdough bread, you griddle it and then top it with a mustard seed and curry leaf chhonk. You never would think yogurt inside a sandwich, how can that possibly work? But it just works in the most amazing way. It’s this tangy, crunchy, bright, spicy sandwich and you know.
EL : It’s the essence of Indian-ish.
PK : Yeah, it is. And on the sourdough bread. The sourdough bread is key. And it is just-
EL : Nothing Indian about sourdough bread.
PK : Yeah, my mom just went to California in the 80’s, discovered sourdough bread, thought it was awesome-
EL : Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
PK : And thought it was amazing. But it’s things like that, that my mom tried sourdough bread and was like yeah know, in thahi toast the richness of the spices would pair really well with the tang of sourdough bread. That, those are just connections she was able to put together.
EL : Got it. So now it’s time for the all you can answer special sauce buffet.
EL : Who’s at your last supper, no family allowed. Can be anybody, but no family allowed because everyone always says their family.
PK : Yeah, I know. I wish it could just be like my entire extended family.
EL : See? Can’t do it.
PK : That would be great. I feel like I would love to have Mindy Kaling there because she’s like, I just look up to everything she has done and I feel like she would be really funny, entertaining, because it’s a dinner. And I then I would love to have the Obamas. Imagine like the Obamas, me, and Mindy Kaling.
EL : I like this.
PK : That seems like a great-
EL : Yeah that’s a great four-some.
PK : A great meal, yeah.
EL : One more person and then we’re done.
PK : Uh, ooh one more person. How about Richard Gere? I feel like he’d be a great conversationalist. That’s like a little homage, if my mom can’t be there she’d send Richard Gere.
EL : But would you demand that he ballroom dance with you?
PK : I would definitely demand that he like perform monologues from some of his movies.
EL : Got it.
PK : Definitely. Maybe the one from Shall We Dance .
EL : So what are you eating?
PK : So I’ve always thought that my last meal would be like the first course would be like a traditional Indian meals with all of my favorite things. Like the roti pizza, some [00:23:56] but then after that I think there would just be an assortment of noodles around the world. So there would be like khao soi-
EL : From Thailand.
PK : There would be like maybe some kind of pesto pasta situation, maybe a Bolognese, maybe a pho, a ramen.
EL : A ramen. I like it.
PK : Just like a long buffet of-
EL : Noodles from around the world. I like this. That’s- can I come?
PK : Yeah, of course. Yeah, all are invited. I hear the Obamas are gonna be there.
EL : So what do you cook when there’s nothing in the house to eat?
PK : I make this tomato- it’s like this tomato cheese toast. I toast a piece of bread, I melt, I put tomatoes, cheddar cheese on top and melt it in the toaster oven. And top it with chop masala and have it with a glass of milk. That is what I eat.
EL : The glass of milk is interesting.
PK : The milk is critical. It cuts through the cheese and the intensity of the spices. It’s really important. And I feel like people are skeptical, but you just have to try it.
EL : All right. I’ll try it.
EL : So what’s in your fridge most of the time?
PK : Usually like three or four kinds of cheese. I love cheese. And then like a lot of different kinds of specialty butters.
EL : Interesting.
PK : Because I just love like toast with butter. It’s very-
EL : So specialty as in French butter, high butter, fat butters, goat-
PK : Your Kerigolds, yeah.
EL : I assume there’s ghee, clarified butter.
PK : There is but there’s not always ghee. Ghee is not something I always have around. Usually, it’s really funny whenever my mom comes to visit, she’ll just like throw a few sticks of butter in a pot and like skim of the top and just make ghee and pour it in a jar and she’ll have ghee for me. But one of the reasons why in the book it’s ghee or olive oils because my mom kind of like trained me that you can cook Indian food with olive oil. She loves the fruity taste and the way that it compliments Indian flavor.
EL : I love that. That’s the essence of Indian-ish .
PK : It’s not a given the ghee is in my fridge and then a lot of yogurt. I would say yogurt is probably the food that I eat more than anything else.
EL : Is it your father’s yogurt?
PK : I wish it were my father’s yogurt but I just don’t always have time to make homemade yogurt. So it’s often just the convenient store brand but it’s always full fat yogurt. I feel very strongly about this.
EL : Have you had White Mustache?
PK : Yeah I’ve had White Mustache. It’s good. I’m not as into like the really fancy yogurts. I like just getting a tub of the really basic stuff.
EL : But full fat.
EL : Got it.
EL : what’s on your nightstand right now, book wise?
PK : I am reading Balli Kaur Jaswal, she wrote this story called Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and she recently wrote a follow up to that called The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters and it’s about-
EL : You know I actually wrote those books under a pen name.
PK : And I love reading Indian American or just Indian authors generally. And so this is a book about these sisters who go back to India after their mother dies. And I grew up reading books where the characters didn’t look or sound like me so I feel like I’m retroactively reading all of these books. And I can relate to the characters.
EL : Got it. That’s great.
EL : And then of course, I think Serious Eater is on your night stand.
PK : Yeah, well as soon as I can get a copy of it. I’m planning on bringing it on book tour with me. So that I can read it.
EL : So who’s had the greatest influence on you in your career? Is there one person that’s been really helpful and meaningful?
PK : Yeah, I think that person would be Tejal Rao, who writes for the New York Times . She and I met when I was at Lucky Peach really early on because our mothers, well my mother and her cousin introduced us in one of those, they way that like moms are like “You should meet this girl.”
EL : And she’s from Goa, is she not?
PK : No, Tejal kind of grew up all across the world.
EL : Got it.
PK : She has this really amazing, sort of worldly upbringing. And we met and just immediately clicked. And she is someone who has just been like the most relentless advocate for me, has made introductions, has pushed me to believe in myself when I was feeling doubtful. And she’s someone who as she’s risen up in the ranks and been in positions of power, she’s not one of those people who’s like, “well, I want to be the only Indian person or the only woman of color” she has brought up other people of color with her and I just really really admire that. And yeah, I don’t know what I would do without her.
EL : So who would you love to have a one on one lunch with just to see how he or she thinks?
PK : One person who’s mind I’m fascinated by is Brooks Headley, who owns Superiority Burger. I feel like if there’s someone-
EL : He’s been in that chair and he is, he has the quirkiest, most interesting mind you can imagine.
PK : I would love to just- I’ve interviewed him for stories before but sometimes I wish I could just peek inside his brain and understand how it works.
EL : I totally understand that. I like that.
EL : It’s just been declared Priya Krishna day all over the world. What’s happening on that day?
PK : We’re eating a lot of noodles and listening to a lot of Bollywood music. I would say. There’s just Bollywood music just booming from every speaker everywhere. And we’re also eating a lot of pastries, like pies specifically.
EL : Pies.
PK : Tons of pie. I’m very much like a pie over cake person.
EL : So this is like a carb festival with the noodles and the pie.
PK : It’s raining pies, we’re all eating noodles.
EL : I love this. I want it to be Priya Krishna day!
EL : Well thank you so much for sharing your special sauce with us, Priya Krishna. Pick up a copy of Indian-ish, Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family . And you can find Priya’s writing in the New York Times , and Bon Appetit and hopefully Serious Eats again soon. And you can also see Priya’s videos all over YouTube. Anyways, she’s everywhere. Thank you so much.
PK : Thank you for having me.
EL : And so long Serious Eaters, we’ll see you next time. This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Serious Eats. Read more about our affiliate linking policy . Ed Levine Founder of Serious Eats and Missionary of the Delicious

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To Have and to Throw: Tackling Indian Wedding Food Waste

0 74 views India’s estimated 10 million weddings a year contribute significantly to its annual food waste , worth about US$14 billion in losses. According to the NGO Feeding India, 10 to 20 percent of the food served at weddings goes to waste. NGOs, catering companies, and governments across India are stepping in to tackle food losses through technology, laws, and challenging traditions. Lavish banquets, stuffed bins In Bangalore, 85,000 weddings per year throw away about 943 metric tons of food, according to a 2012 study from the University of Agricultural Science (UAS), Bangalore. That is enough to give 26 million people a decent meal, the researchers say. “Weddings are one of the biggest events in this culture and they happen at a very large scale,” says Vaibhav Jani to Food Tank. Jani is a partner at Gyanjee Sweet and Caterers, an Indian company working in the food service industry for over 30 years. “People want big menus with plenty of options. If they’ve seen a food setup in another wedding, they will want a more lavish one for themselves.” Globalization has shifted preferences and tastes among Indians. Wedding buffets can now serve 250 to 300 different dishes, a 2017 study from the Department of Consumer Affairs in the Delhi Region shows. Growing incomes allow the rising middle class to follow the elites in splurging on their special day, according to the research. The same study shows that in the last 10 to 15 years the way Indians celebrate has changed, and survey takers agree that this has driven up spending on food. Big day splurge In just a few generations, prices per plate have increased by 100 times, Jani confirms to Food Tank. “And having a lavish wedding is traditional, not limited to the very rich,” he adds. In fact, the Delhi research observes that people from poorer backgrounds are also willing to spend their savings. People in India spend about one-fifth of the wealth they accumulate in their lifetime on a wedding ceremony, highlights IndianRetailer.com , with food accounting for the biggest proportion, at about 24 percent . The menu Gyanjee Catering shared with Food Tank contains at least 28 different types of food—the basic menu—and over 60 for the most expensive package. They all contain an international cuisine counter; “people are traveling more, hence they are exposed to more food experiences,” Jani says.
To tackle the surplus, Gyanjee are converting leftovers into biogas, while their staff also eats most of what’s left behind. When it’s too much, several NGOs pick up the food and redistribute it. Tempered feasts Authorities are taking a stand, too. In late 2018, the Delhi government announced that it is considering limiting the numbers of guests and regulating catering arrangements to counter the massive waste of food at extravagant weddings. With 30,000 to 50,000 weddings every day during the high season (roughly from October to March), officials say the events deprive the population of basic resources, including water. The government is also acting in light of health and safety concerns, after cases when companies recycled leftover food to serve in other weddings. It’s not the first attempt at legally rationalizing wedding buffets. From the 1960s to 1980s a series of laws aimed to cut waste from weddings by capping the number of guests. But the nationally imposed Guest Control Order of 1960 and similar projects in Rajasthan, Assam, and Mizoram failed, the UAS study observes. The researchers warn against using the law for social events, as they are concerned “it will lead to unnecessary litigation and harassment.” Fighting for happy endings Still, across India a movement away from ostentatious feasts is underway. Media coverage on how to have a no waste wedding has increased in the last few years, with couples who achieved that widely celebrated in the press. But NGOs remain critical in preserving the leftovers and passing them quickly to those in need. Initiatives such as Feeding India , which distributes unused food in 45 cities and runs a Meals with Love campaign, the Robin Hood Army , and No Food Waste (the latter, with its own app ) work with the couples and catering companies to manage waste, but also strive to educate Indians to cut consumption. While it’s true that India wastes 40 percent of its food, the fix is not only technological, but will also require cultural changes. “People need to be educated about the power of reusing, reducing, and recycling,” says Jani to Food Tank. print

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World Environment Day Special, 05th June 2019…

World Environment Day Special, 05th June 2019… 07/06/2019
By Ashesh Pradhan
Each and every year we usually celebrate World Environment Day on 05 th June. In this, we are highlighting the Ramsar Convention for Wetlands of India.
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an international treaty for the conservation of wetlands and sustainable use of wetlands. The Ramsar Convention on wetlands is a very important ecological declaration which works towards the conservation and proper use of wetlands. On this world environment day, we are looking at the different-different wetlands present in India, which always attracts the tourists in very large numbers.
Wetlands are basically a particular part of the land which is saturated with water and are often found supporting terrestrial animals as well as aquatic animals. But why the wetlands are important?
Wetland helps to reduce food impacts, improves the quality of the air and protects the shores from the action of waves. The kind of animals and plants lives found in or near wetlands are very unique, interesting and are not found usually everywhere. There are so many wetlands in India, and it is very important to recognize such spots so as to be aware of the environment.
Let us take a look of four such wetlands of India, under the Ramsar Convention –
CHANDRATAL LAKE
Chandratal Lake is a very famous lake due to its crescent shape in the Spiti part of Lahul and Spiti district of the Indian state Himachal Pradesh. The Chandratal Lake is also known as “Chandra Taal” which means lake of the moon. The exact location of this lake is in middle Himalaya, Spiti valley, Himachal Pradesh. The surface elevation of Chandratal Lake is 4250 meters above the sea level and it is located 6 kilometers from the Kunzun Pass. This is a fresh sweet water lake which is spread in an area of 2.5 kilometers. Chandratal Lake is discovered by the traders who used to use this particular route, coming from Tibet region or Ladakh. The actual beauty of Chandratal Lake of Himachal can be seen in a full moon night when the crystal clear water of this lake reflects the moonlight very amazingly but the access to Chandratal Lake is quite difficult in the night due to atmospheric conditions and high altitude.
LAKE TSO MORIRI
Lake Tso Moriri is located in the Ladakhi part of the Changthang Plateau in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. It is high altitude Mountain Lake and is protected as the Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve. This lake is situated at the height of 4595 meters above the sea level and covers an area of 12000 ha. Lake Tso Moriri is a breeding ground and falls in migratory route for over 40 species. This lake is very famous for its scenic beauty and also includes a monastery, which is 300 years old at Korzok.
CHILIKA LAKE
Chilika Lake is a pure salt water lagoon which is spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of the Indian state of Odisha. It is a particular place which we love to visit to witness the migratory birds. Chilika Lake also comes under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. This lake is one of the most important spots for biodiversity in India. The Chilika Lake is fed by 25 rivers and rivulets and it is also a highly sensitive region.
PONG DAM LAKE
Pong Dam Lake which is world widely also known as Maharana Pratap Sagar and Pong Reservoir is the highest earth-fill dam in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and were created in the year of 1975. This lake is on the Beas River in the wetland zone of the Siwalik Hills of the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. It is basically a water shortage reservoir. The Pong Dam Wildlife Sanctuary is a very good spot for the proper conservation of the flora and fauna and this will definitely provide you the best natural and Himalayan view and ambience, when you visit here. Related Posts Ministry of Tourism, Oman Conducts Three-City Road show in India…. Gin is simply the tonic for Drink Retailers. Czar of Indian Cuisine, Jiggs Kalra Passes Away…

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Things to Do, See, and Eat in Arizona – GIFTED Healthcare

Things to Do, See, and Eat in Arizona – GIFTED Healthcare June 7, 2019 News Share
Arizona is truly a one-of-a-kind state.
Known primarily for its weather and landscape, its diverse geography features deserts, mountain ranges, forests, and canyons. In addition to the scenery, Arizona is full of unique historical landmarks, artwork, and food.
Read on for a list of things Travel Nurses must do, see, and eat whenever they visit the Grand Canyon State! Do: Outdoor Activities
Arizona is a paradise of outdoor activities. Here are a few places to explore to your heart’s content. The Grand Canyon
It’s no secret why Arizona is known as the “Grand Canyon State.”
Visiting the Grand Canyon is an absolute must when you visit Arizona. The Grand Canyon National Park is home to most of this amazing landform, which stretches 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and 1 mile deep.
Visit the Grand Canyon National Park’s official website for everything you need to know about planning a trip there. The Painted Desert
The Painted Desert is a 10,000 acre stretch of Arizona known as one of the nation’s most beautiful natural landscapes.
The Desert is located within the Petrified Forest National Park and features vibrantly colored rock formations. This effect is created by layers of sediment containing high levels of iron, manganese, and other colorful compounds.
The stunning geography of the Painted Desert is sure to take your breath away. Sedona
Sedona’s awe-inspiring landscape features red rock formations dotted with the deep green of pine forests. The area is also said to contain some of the planet’s most potent “vortexes,” where many New Age visitors go to find balance, creative energy, and well-being.
Learn more about Arizona’s Red Rock Country at Sedona’s official website . Route 66
A drive on iconic Route 66 , also known as the Main Street of America, is a uniquely charming and American experience. It is one of the nation’s first highways and winds through most of northern Arizona.
Start in Kingman, AZ, known as the heart of Route 66, and soak in the breathtaking scenery as you visit more quirky towns along the way.
Classic American diners, Wigwam Motels, and many other treasures await you along this historic highway. See: Art & Culture
Arizona is full of fascinating art and culture. It is the home of Spanish, Mexican, and Native American cultural landmarks and museums. The Heard Museum
Founded in 1929, the Heard Museum is internationally recognized for its extensive and elaborate collection of American Indian art. The museum collects, preserves, and presents items ranging from historic artifacts, fine art, sculpture, and jewelry.
The Heard Museum is located in Phoenix, Arizona. Experience the Old West
If you’re a fan of Western films, Arizona is your happy place. Southern Arizona is full of places that retain an authentic Old West atmosphere.
Tombstone is a historic mining town that is home to the Boothill Graveyard, Birdcage Theater, and the O.K. Corral. Go there to see live reenactments of famous Old West shootouts.
Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is the perfect place to learn about our nation’s Western heritage, featuring rotating exhibits showcasing the legacy of the West. Explore Navajo Interactive Museum
With the help of Navajo scholars and the Navajo arts community, the Explore Navajo Interactive Museum was created to provide a vivid and interactive experience for its visitors.
The museum shows a typical Navajo journey through life, featuring a Navajo escort that teaches visitors cultural traditions, family systems, and beliefs. Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block
Located in downtown Tucson, the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block encompasses an entire city block. It features exhibitions of Latin American and American West art.
The museum also features educational classes, tours, and a gift store. Eat: Local Cuisine
Arizona’s diverse cultural history has created a delicious culinary scene. You’ll find everything from modern Southwestern fare to traditional Native American dishes created thousands of years ago. Chimichangas
The Chimichanga is a delectable Arizona creation. Created at the El Charro Café in Tucson, AZ, a chimichanga is essentially a deep-fried burrito.
The El Charro Café is known as the nation’s oldest family-owned Mexican restaurant and serves delicious chimichangas in both of its Tucson and Oro Valley locations. Don’t miss out on this Arizona treat. Steak
Live out your Old West fantasies at one of Arizona’s many incredible steakhouses.
“Cowboy Steaks” are quite common in Arizona’s major cities. Try Mastro’s City Hall in Scottsdale, Durant’s in Phoenix, Pinnacle Peak in Tucson, or check out this list of Arizona’s best steakhouses here . Fry Bread Tacos
“Fry bread” is a traditional Native American food, made simply by deep-frying dough.
The Fry Bread House in Phoenix serves delicious fry bread tacos with refried beans, chile beef, salsa, tomatoes, and lettuce. Or, for more authentic fry bread, visit Manna from Heaven in Tucson. Menudo
Menudo is a classic Mexican soup made from tripe (cow stomach) and hominy (ground corn).
Because tripe takes so long to prepare, Menudo requires several hours to cook. It is commonly served with onions, serrano chilies, lemon, lime, and oregano.
Find Menudo at most Mexican restaurants in Arizona, but Teresa’s Mosaic Café in Tucson is a great choice. Visit Arizona as a Travel Nurse with GIFTED Healthcare
From its jaw-dropping scenery to its unique Southwestern cuisine, Arizona is a fantastic place to explore as a Travel Nurse.

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Out Standing.

Hotel renders a new meaning to the word OUTSTANDING. nnThe property dispite it’s disadvantage of being away from the city heart has a loyal clientele by the sheer virtue of the way it is run…ruthlessly efficient and immensely warm.. a German luxury automobile comes to mind…nnThe experience begins the minute one enters the driveway on being greeted with trademark Tajness hospitality that shows that they are really happy to see you have arrived. nThe hotel is immaculate and the maintainence scores a perfect 10. nThe Front office manned Mr Sankdip, Mr Soumyadip Mr Abhishek assisted by their junior Pankaj would ensure a check in that is not just expeditious but fuss free. nThe rooms are very nicely sized superbly clean well appointed and with high housekeeping standards. nIf one were to order room service Ms Maitryee would remember how you like your chicken and whether the soup needs to be bland or spicy. nMr Manzoor at Laundry is not just polite but more importantly knows how you like the crease on your trousers. nChef Selvaraju ever since his joining has had his magic at display and the food is now a gastronome’s delight especially the south Indian cuisine. One needs to sample the likes of Nalli Roganjosh to experience heaven. nGo down for a sundowner and you will be greeted by the smiling countenance of Prassana who will give you a cold beer just the way you like it. nThe coffee shop has Ms Sabnam who will seat you without delay and Mr Guru Patkar will ensure that whatever meal of the day you have it is done just right. nWhere these people stand out the rest also quietly and efficiently go on about their work unobtrusively to make the stay an extremely good one. nThe Taj Yeahwantpur even when it was a Vivanta used to outdo itself in all respects and after elevation to the The Taj it has managed to surpass all standards no end. nBook without a second thought and you will keep returning.

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Fresh Flavors Have Arrived Just in Time for Summer in Southlake

Fresh Flavors Have Arrived Just in Time for Summer in Southlake Friday, June 07, 2019 Fresh Flavors Have Arrived Just in Time for Summer in Southlake The summer sizzle has started and Southlake is the spot to fuel up on fresh and exciting flavors. Already home to several uniquely delicious restaurants, Southlake recently added a few more tasty options to satisfy appetites for healthy or exotic dishes.
If the hot weather has you hungry for cool options, check out Coolgreens . The fast-casual restaurant chain offers a chef-inspired menu of signature salads, wraps, bowls, flatbreads and more. Southlake is currently the only location open in Texas. From California Cobb (romaine, egg, avocado, bacon, chicken, blue cheese, grape tomatoes and ranch dressing) and Caprese (spring mix, grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, red onion, croutons and balsamic vinaigrette) to Asian Crisp (spring mix, Mandarin oranges, crunchy noodles, sliced almonds, edamame, shredded carrots and soy ginger vinaigrette) and more, each signature dish is available as a salad or wrap. With multiple sandwich varieties, quinoa bowls, flatbreads and options for kids, guests will find one element across the menu—healthy, natural and flavorful food that fuels your life. For added convenience, order online and pick up in store. Coolgreens is located at 2211 E. Southlake Boulevard, Suite 500. Cool Greens Salmon Club
Craving exotic? Fusion Flavors brings a taste of India to Southlake with fresh ingredients, imported spices and an abundance of menu options, including an expansive offering of vegetarian appetizers and vegetarian main courses. Fusion Flavors serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers catering. Find traditional entrée favorites including Chicken Tikka Masal a (grilled boneless chicken cooked in special herbs and spices), Palak Panee r (fresh spinach cooked with cheese cubes in special sauce) and Lamb Curry (lamb cooked in Indian special sauce), among others, as well as several biryani and rice dishes. Save room for Pineapple Pudding or a sweet drink like Mango Milkshake . Fushion Flavors is located at 2001 W. Southlake Boulevard, Suite 119.
F2 – Fusion Flavors Plate Samples
Satisfy your appetite for flavors from the far east at Dragon House . Specializing in Shanghai-style cuisine, Dragon House is open for lunch and dinner, and is available for private events and catering. The restaurant’s chef has 20 years of experience cooking in fine restaurants and has built a vast menu of appetizers, soups, various dim sum, hand-pulled noodle bowls, chef specials ( Beijing Style Pork , Honey Walnut Beef , Shrimp and Chicken with Cashew Nuts and more), traditional Chinese dishes ( Boiled Fish Fillet with Picked Cabbage , Braised Meat Balls with Boy Choy , Chicken Strips with Mango and more), and traditional Chinese desserts like Steamed Pumpkin with Red Bean Paste and Kung-fu Sesame Ball . A feast for the eyes first, each dish is beautifully presented and can be enjoyed with traditional hot teas, as well as imported beers and more from the bar. Dragon House is located at 2640 E. Southlake Boulevard.

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