29 delicious New Zealand products that should be on every foodie’s radar
29 delicious New Zealand products that should be on every foodie’s radar
Win 29 delicious New Zealand products that should be on every foodie’s radar SPONSORED
NZ Life & Leisure is proud to celebrate the people who create beautiful food. Here’s a list of some fantastic New Zealand artisan food producers you should be adding to your shopping cart.
The Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards, now in their third year, are a highlight of the NZ Life & Leisure calendar. We proudly support the efforts of not only the producers themselves but also Kathie Bartley and Nicola McConnell of Marvellous Marketing, who manage the awards and bring support and recognition to the producers of the country’s most delicious food and drinks. We salute all the medalists. Support them — they deserve it. -Kate Coughlan, NZ Life & Leisure editor
READ MORE: Find the the full list of all gold and silver medalists here
CLEARWATER FARM ORGANIC HONEY YOGHURT We remain true to our brand promise, “Totally Natural”. This award-winning yoghurt consists of only organic milk, probiotic cultures and certified organic clover honey from our friends at Hutton’s Honey. Nothing is added or removed from the milk. We really can’t fault it. clearwaters.co.nz
PURE NZ ICE CREAM We believe in purity, sustainability and provenance — meaning all our flavours are intense and utterly natural . We use carefully selected ingredients — from New Zealand’s finest berries to local Mānuka honey — so you can be sure that only the best produce available is used to handcraft your serve of PURE indulgence. purenzicecream.com
WHITESTONE CHEESE, JOIN THE CLUB The Whitestone “Artisan Reserve” Cheese Club offers you the opportunity to enjoy seasonal selections of hand-cut cheese delivered to your door every month, or every two months. Whitestone offers subscription and gifting options to suit every household or business. thecheeseclub.nz
PROVENANCE MEAT Provenance lamb comes from two Otago farms operating under a regenerative or bio-farming system free from toxic fertilizers. The nutrient-rich pasture along with the breed (Texel-Romney cross), promotes a beautiful fine and tender texture in the meat and with a clean flavour that is pleasant and subtle to taste. provenancemeat.co.nz
A LADY BUTCHER A Lady Butcher is committed to making truly New Zealand charcuterie. We work directly with Kiwi farmers to source free-range meat that has been ethically and sustainably raised. Then, we cure it with local salt and spices to highlight its natural flavour and achieve optimum tenderness. Purposeful meats for purposeful people. facebook.com/aladybutcher
AGREEABLE NATURE EGGS Agreeable Nature eggs come from happy, healthy hens that roam freely on our family farm, living and eating as nature intended, and producing eggs rich in nutrients and full of flavour. We are passionate about our sustainable, ethical business and the wellbeing of our hens, our customers and our planet. agreeablenature.co.nz
ZAROA NZ Zaroa NZ artisanal products are made from natural, grass-fed beef, lamb and venison. They are made from all-natural ingredients and minimal processing, are clean label, focused on health, wellbeing and are uniquely New Zealand. Products include sausages, salamis, sous vide cooked roasts, bacon, ham and upmarket dried-cured, fermented, style of meats. zaroa.nz
THE DAMN GOOD FOOD COMPANY The Damn Good Food Company has launched a wholesome frozen-treat range that is raw, plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free and cane sugar-free. Available in four flavours — Citrus Zing, Double Berry, Chocolate Rough and Salted Caramel. So DAMN GOOD you can enjoy them guilt-free anytime, anywhere! thedamngoodfoodco.com
MANDYS HORSERADISH Artisan producers of horseradish condiments grown, harvested and made in Canterbury. Mandys Horseradish Sauce is a must-try accompaniment to many dishes. Made the old-fashioned way, it is a fabulous sauce that certainly packs a punch. Mandys Horseradish Pure is dairy- and sugar-free. All products GF. horseradish.co.nz
CARTEL FOOD CO Cartel Food Co produces hand-made frozen burritos that are ready in three minutes. Cartel recently released a dairy- and meat-free burrito. “We keep it simple. We make great tasting burritos. We use quality ingredients, we don’t cut corners. That’s how we roll.” Available at Farro Fresh and selected New Worlds. cartelfood.com
THOROUGHBREAD Thoroughbread is about quality eating and quality ingredients. They achieve this by freshly grinding seed, nut or rice flours and activating and sprouting organic seeds to maximize the available nutrition. Get your customers returning for that healthy, delicious, soft, gold-winning experience. thoroughbread.nz
FORAGE & FERMENT Forage & Ferment , the Clevedon fermentary handcrafting wild-fermented sauerkraut and kimchi, has added Mexi Kraut to their award-winning range. Serve with salad, meat or give your Mexican favourites a probiotic boost… from tacos, burritos and nachos to quesadillas and Mexi slaw. Good gut-health has never tasted so delicioso! forageandferment.co.nz
PURE DELISH For more than 20 years, pure delish have worked hard creating a range of delicious products all handmade in house by our team of passionate foodies. We pride ourselves on our integrity and truly believe that food simply tastes better when made by people not machines. puredelish.co.nz
GREYTOWN HONEY Greytown Honey is a family business producing the very highest quality Mānuka, Wildflower, Kamahi, Native and Clover honey straight from the land. You could say beekeeping is in our blood as we are fifth-generation beekeepers! We’re very humbled to have received seven medal awards this year — three gold, two silver and two bronze as well as the runner-up for the Outstanding Sustainability Award. greytownhoney.co.nz
KOHKOZ Kohkoz Real Lebanese Cuisine has always been passionate about sharing the authentic flavours and colourful heritage of Lebanese cuisine with Kiwis. The Kohkoz range includes Traditional Hummus, Smoky Baba Ghanoush, Golden Falafel, Lebanese Pita Bread and For the love of Garlic — a smooth, creamy traditional Lebanese garlic dip. For stockists see kohkoz.co.nz
GOURMET CHUTNEYS NoShortcuts award-winning gourmet chutneys are top of mind for anyone wanting a range of chutneys, pickles, relishes and jams that are wholesome real food. Using the best of New Zealand produce and traditional cooking methods with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives added. noshortcuts.co.nz
ROEBUCK FARM Roebuck Farm is an outstanding micro-green and salad producer in Taranaki, committed to small-scale sustainability and innovation. ONZPA judge Emily King said: “Roebuck Farm isn’t only producing high-quality food, they are producing knowledge and transferring it, which has far wider implications for the sustainability of our food system.” roebuckfarm.com
BARKER’S OF GERALDINE Barker’s of Geraldine’s delicious Fruit for Cheese range is the perfect way to up your platter game. There are four fresh flavours to choose from, including Feijoa & Pear and Blackberry & Brandy, which were awarded Gold and Silver in the 2019 Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards, Earth category. barkers.co.nz
HAKANOA HANDMADE Remember the ginger beer folks used to brew at home? Hakanoa uses their own hand-made wild culture to ferment their crisp not-too-sweet ginger beers. Dry Ginger Beer is the classic we know and love. Lime & Chilli Ginger Beer is wonderfully zingy and refreshing. Available on subscription at hakanoa-handmade.co.nz
MOLLY WOPPY Molly Woppy baked a plan to create New Zealand’s best-tasting gingerbread. Their recipe contains premium ingredients including free-range eggs and New Zealand butter. Not only have they perfected the recipe, they have sourced exclusive buttons which are 100 per cent natural. No artificial colours, flavours, palm oil or preservatives. Molly Woppy Handmade Gingerbread Kids are now available nationwide. mollywoppy.co.nz
SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT Something to Crow About make it easy to eat a healthy breakfast with their range of delicious mueslis. Made from 100 per cent natural and nourishing ingredients, every mouthful is a delight! Find Cashew Cherry Chia Muesli at selected New World Supermarkets, Pak’nSave and coming soon to Countdown. crowabout.co.nz
THE REMARKABLE CHOCOLATE CO The Remarkable Chocolate Co is on a mission to make “simply remarkable” chocolate. Seven national chocolate awards are testament to amazing quality and taste. Our gorgeous organic chocolate barks are made by hand in New Zealand with premium ingredients — no refined sugar, no palm, no nasties. Most of all our chocolate just tastes amazing — simply remarkable! remarkablechocolate.com
SWEETREE HONEY Sweetree’s multi award-winning honeys are a true reflection of the area and season in which their bees worked their magic. From the buttery and salted toffee-apple taste of Marokopa Spring to the gorgeous caramel and butterscotch flavour of the Hakarimata, each Sweetree honey has its own distinctive taste and texture. sweetreehoney.co.nz
CERES ORGANICS FRITTERS Just mix this mung bean-based flour blend with water to create the easiest herbalicious fritters of your life — all in a few minutes. Certified organic by BioGro, you’ll only find real, wholefood ingredients inside each pack. Plus, they’re gluten-free and vegan, all-round winning. ceres.co.nz
HARRAWAYS A new, unique snacking range from Harraways in Dunedin . Three international flavours: Thai, Mexican & Indian. These snacks are baked not fried, are vegan, contain no artificial colours or flavours and are made with New Zealand oats. On sale at New World and Pak’nSave nationwide. New range and recipes online at harraways.co.nz
DAILY ORGANICS Daily Organics has handcrafted this delicious pantry staple from 100 per cent certified organic New Zealand apples. Slowly aged for 12 months in French oak to develop its uniquely smooth and rounded taste, this ACV is unpasteurized, unfiltered, raw and nutrient-dense, with “the Mother” in every bottle. BioGro Certified Organic. dailyorganics.com
MANAAKI Using freshly harvested seasonal ingredients and inspiration from the matriarchs of the marae, our condiments are handmade at Omaka Marae in Marlborough. Our gold-winning Kamokamo Pickle is a sweet and sour combo made with kamokamo, along with a hint of turmeric and a touch of mustard. tastemanaaki.com
SWEETANGO APPLES Grown exclusively in New Zealand by The Yummy Fruit Company, SweeTango apples have the LOUDEST crunch on the market. Their huge angular cells explode when bitten, creating a CRUNCH like no other. They are in season approximately Jan-May, but Yummy has plenty of other exciting apple varieties available now. yummyfruit.co.nz
KIWI SAFFRON Award-winning saffron grown in Fiordland. Certified organic Biogro 5722, Kiwi Saffron is pure, potent and cherished by chefs and foodies alike. Colour, flavour and aroma are intensified by our far south climate. GF and vegan-friendly, our gorgeous saffron enhances and elevates any dish. Pure pleasure. kiwisaffron.com
Josh and Kally kick off World Food Week at The RDC
Josh and Kally kick off World Food Week at The RDC June 25, Capital FM CAPITAL FM BLOG POST | 25 June 2019
To celebrate National Food Week , the team at The Red Dragon Centre challenged Kally and me, to munch our way through three courses in three restaurants. Let me tell you, I’ve had worse days at work!
The beauty of The Red Dragon Centre, is that you have so many different options, all under one roof. You can eat your way around the world, from American burgers and fries at Five Guys to Asian cuisine at Oriental Garden , there is something to suit all taste buds and price ranges.
For starters, we opted for some delicious pub-grub, at The Cardiff Bay Tavern. A sharing starter-platter was piled high with nachos, onion rings, chicken strips and garlic mushrooms. I would say it was enough for four people but sadly, it was just Kally and me, so we just had to eat it all. What else could we do!?
For our main course we headed to Spice Route , where we experienced an immediate attack on our senses! It smells INCREDIBLE in there! The rich smells of Indian and Asian cuisine came wafting over to our table before our bums even hit the seat. This restaurant is all you can eat, (four of my fave words) and I was excited to sample the different styles of cooking. Kally and I had a hearty plate of Chicken Makhani, Biryani, Korma, pappadums and onion bhaji. We are both lovers of Indian food and the team at Spice Well did not disappoint. They introduced us to some lush vegetarian pancakes and a zingy mango yoghurt. I need to go back with an empty stomach. Fresh wok noodles and other world food options such as pizza and fries are also available. If you’ve got kids or relatives who don’t enjoy Indian food, they’ll be sure to find something delicious here.
And finally, DESSERT! We had a tiny bit of room left so it was off to Cadwaladers for one of their famous sundaes. Kally went for a refreshing Eton Mess and I couldn’t resist the Nutella cupcake sundae. WOW, it was so good. I’ll be thinking about it for the next few days at least. Full of rich, creamy Nutella and hunks of fluffy golden cupcake. These guys definitely know how to make dessert. Plus on Monday, it’s two-for-one on ice cream Sundaes. Monday’s just got great, right?
Check out The Red Dragon Centre on Facebook during National Food Week for your chance to win free dinner at any of their amazing restaurants.
I did this a couple of years ago going down the Trip Advisor list, mostly focusing on the cheap list with a few outliers.
Favourite cheap place: Prince Albert Diner. Get the Wally Burger. I don’t know why, but the peanut butter just makes it good, and it’s better than the other burger places. And get a milkshake, but stick to chocolate or strawberry. I seem to remember the cherry being a syrup. Still made with real ice cream though.
Favourite not as cheap place: The Early Bird. W y to rich to eat at regularly, and I don’t mean the prices. Though the prices seem a little higher than expected at first. But fucking amazing food, I don’t care what anyone else says. The chicken and waffles were so filling that I couldn’t finish it in one sitting, but I absolutely loved it. The Fat Elvis was really rich, but oddly got better as leftovers the next day.
Favourite atmosphere :Speghetti Eddy’s. Cramped danky little basement with tons of shit on the walls. Always busy because of how cheap it is. Not the best…the tomato sauce is a little acidic and they have questionable definitions about alfredo and carbonara. But it’s all made in house, servings are huge, it tastes good enough, and the prices do match what you get. It’s truly an experience just for the history.
Honourable mentions: Milo’s Craft Beer Emporium, for their massive wall of beer. Massey’s Fine Indian Cuisine, for the lunch buffet. Jake’s Pizza And Donair, because donairs and because Jake lived in Nova Scotia to learn how to make the best ones. Winks Eatery, for the patio. And Globally Local, because I’m not vegan but I can appreciate well made fast food that’s pretty much the same prices as actual fast food.
Top 10 Things to See and Do in Shillong, India
June 25, 2019 0
The city of Shillong , India is somewhat of a hidden gem among the hills, mountains, and valleys of the state of Meghalaya. There are plenty of things to see and do in Shillong, between its gorgeous natural geography, its bustling markets, and the unique culture and traditions of its people. It’s a relatively small town but exudes so much charm and warmth that it’s nearly impossible to not be taken by its wonders.
Shillong is a hill station, or a town located at a higher elevation than the nearby plain or valley. The city lies in the center of the Shillong Plateau and is surrounded by hills, three of which are revered by the indigenous Khasi tribe. It is the hilly, mountainous, and valley-ridden landscapes of the surrounding area that gave Meghalaya its name, which translates to “Abode of the Clouds.” It also inspired the state’s British nickname, “the Scotland of the East.”
In addition to its natural beauty, Shillong is a wondrous spot for some of the most delicious and most unique food I’ve ever eaten in my travels. It’s a true traveler’s paradise, except many travelers don’t even know about it. It’s very much an unspoiled gem that more people should learn about and visit. These are the top 10 things to see and do in Shillong, India. Visit Iewduh Market
Hands down, one of the best places in Shillong to grab a bite to eat while shopping in Iewduh Market . The market is also known as Bara Bazar, which translates to “big market,” and consists of several smaller markets including a fruit market, beef market, dry fish market, a poultry market, and more.
Vendors selling street food, household items like loofahs and baskets, and even bamboo fish traps and handmade arrows can be found inside Iewduh Market.
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The market is made up of a labyrinth of narrow lanes and tight staircases that are bustling with activity at every turn. It’s sensory overload in the best way. Keep your eyes peeled and try not to miss anything!
One of the most unique spectacles you’ll witness at Iewduh Market is seeing men carrying whole, bloody cow and pig carcasses on their shoulders down the tight lanes.
Once the carcasses are delivered to the proper stall in the meat market section, you can watch butchers hack and disassemble them into smaller pieces, which are then sold to customers.
It’s a very raw, real, and sometimes gory spectacle, so if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing, I suggest steering clear of the beef and pork markets. But if you can stomach it, visiting Iewduh Market is one of the best things to see and do in Shillong.
Note that cows are not considered sacred in this part of India, as the vast majority of Meghalaya’s residents don’t identify as Hindu. This means they are free to be eaten along with pork, another meat that is extremely popular in Meghalaya but rare in other parts of the country.
To keep up your energy as you explore Iewduh Market, grab some rice cakes from a street food vendor. Or, if you prefer a full meal, try some authentic Khasi food at the eatery in our next entry, Nat Khasi Restaurant! Eat at Nat Khasi Restaurant
Take a quick break from the flurry of activity of Iewduh Market and locate Nat Khasi Restaurant , right next door to the fruit market. As soon as you enter the open-air restaurant, you’ll notice that there are no tables. Just place your order, grab an empty seat, and eat.
Meghalaya is known for its spectacular pork dishes, so I suggest going all out with a pork feast there. Start with the jadoh, a flavorful rice and pork dish that reminded me of a non-veg biryani.
Another traditional Khasi dish I recommend is the dohkhleh, which is similar to Russian salad with pork. This is one of my favorite dishes from my time in Shillong. It was so good!
Nat Khasi Restaurant’s pork liver is both tasty and chewy, and you have to try their wonderful pork intestine sausage as well. Just a quick warning: some of the pork dishes contain small bones, so be careful while eating them.
If you’re brave enough, your meal will likely come with a hot chili and a unique, fermented soybean chutney that is packed with flavor!
The menu at Nat Khasi Restaurant will have you in pork heaven! There’s no doubt in my mind that eating there is one of the top things to see and do in Shillong.
Before you leave, pay a quick visit to the kitchen to see where your delightful feast was cooked. You’ll see lots of large pots simmering over potent fires. The aromas wafting from the pots are tantalizing enough to make you hungry all over again! Shop at Police Bazar
Hands down, one of the top things to see and do in Shillong is visit Police Bazar , the most commercial hub in the city. There, you will find vendors selling clothing, street food, accessories, shoes, fresh fruit and vegetables, household essentials, and much more. This bazaar is essential to life in Shillong; nearly everyone who lives in the city shops there.
Because Police Bazar is so popular among locals, it’s also a fantastic place to people watch and get a good look at what local life is like. In addition to stalls tended by local vendors, Police Bazar is also home to numerous hotels and restaurants.
It’s also one of the best places in Shillong to find locally-made handicrafts, which are some of my favorite things to buy as souvenirs.
My friend and guide in Shillong, Paul, took me to a shop selling beautiful and intricately made traditional Khasi shawls. After a fair bit of bargaining (I highly recommend brushing up on your haggling skills before you visit the bazaar so you can get the best and fairest prices), I got a deal on four incredible shawls for all of the women in my family.
There are tons of other souvenir options at Police Bazar, so browse carefully and don’t hesitate to ask for a better deal, especially if you plan on buying several items from one shop! Eat a Traditional Khasi Thali at Trattoria Restaurant
No trip to a new Indian city is complete without trying the local thali. One of the best places to have a traditional Khasi thali is Trattoria , a popular restaurant in Police Bazar.
The restaurant is pretty small and all the booths face the same direction, but don’t let its size fool you. Trattoria’s non-veg thali is superb and one of the most unique I’ve ever had in India!
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Start with your jadoh, which is a Khasi rice with pork that is somewhat similar to a risotto or paella. The pieces of pork in the jadoh are rich and fatty, as are all of the pork dishes.
Shillong is definitely not the place for you to visit if you’re on a diet! Try the jadoh with the fermented soybean sauce, which adds a new layer of richness and an earthiness that takes the jadoh to the next level.
The dohkhleh, or pork salad, is reminiscent of a Russian salad with potato, onion, and pork. It’s fatty and rich in a flavor that reminded me of ceviche. There’s also a light and mild dal mash, a very potent and spicy fish chutney, and a mint chutney with a powerful punch to it!
I also recommend the banana flower chutney, which was like a mashed plantain. There are also two different mashed potato dishes: a light one with onion and a creamy one with cauliflower. They’re both very tasty!
Don’t miss out on the dense pork ball and Trattoria’s magnificent chicken curry, which was like an explosion of flavors in my mouth. This curry alone makes eating at Trattoria one of the best things to see and do in Shillong!
It was the star of the meal for me. I also couldn’t get enough of the gelatinous pieces of pork fat on my plate. They were like flavor bombs and were extremely juicy!
If you’re more into the thali’s more refreshing elements, it comes with a wonderfully fresh tomato salad with green beans. I also loved the radish salad, which was crunchy and had a flavor and texture that reminded me of bamboo. Admire the View Atop Shillong Peak
When I travel, one of my favorite things to do is visit the local spot with the best vantage point so I can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the city. Usually that means going to an observation deck, but in Shillong, the best views are at nearby Shillong Peak .
If you’re on a tight schedule, give yourself some extra time because the 10-kilometer route from the city to the mountaintop can get congested with traffic. The views you’ll enjoy from the top are worth any traffic jams you might encounter!
I rode to Shillong Peak on the back of my friend and guide Paul’s scooter. The drive took about 15 minutes. Though India is mostly known as a steamy, tropical country, remember that Meghalaya is quite mountainous and is at a higher elevation, so make preparations in case it gets chilly up there. Pack a sweater or hoodie just in case!
On the way up to the peak, you might come across a colorful Catholic graveyard, which reminded me of a cemetery I’d visited in Guatemala because of the vibrant colors. But the main attraction is the peak itself.
From the lookout point atop Shillong Peak, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the city below and beyond. The never-ending mountainous landscape and lush greenery reminded me of places I’d visited in Europe.
Even if you visit on a gloomy day like I did, it’s still well worth the time it takes to get up there. Visiting Shillong Peak is undoubtedly one of the top things to see and do in Shillong! Eat Breakfast and Nighttime Street Food at Police Bazar
Police Bazar is well-known for its fantastic restaurants and great shopping. But what some tourists may not know is that it’s also one of the best spots in the city to find street food. The only thing is, you have to get there at certain times of the day to enjoy them. Breakfast
Early risers looking for breakfast should browse the stalls for some puri sabzi. This dish consists of a deflated puri (a crispy, puffed-up flatbread) and an amazing-looking squash sabzi with onion.
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While the puri is crispy on the outside, it’s soft and tender on the inside. It goes extremely well with the oily sabzi and the crunch of the onion and is a must-have!
Another tasty breakfast food item is the popular Khasi pork salad known as dohkhleh. Eat it alongside some gelatinous and flavorful pork fat, which tastes like bacon, and some tender and juicy meatballs with a flatbread called chapati. The meatballs are out of this world!
I also highly recommend trying the chicken thigh, which comes bathed in a mind-blowing curry, the jadoh, and the pickled bamboo shoots with chilies. There’s also a dried, smoked beef curry that tastes a lot like a mild beef jerky!
You can’t miss the pitha, which is a mouthwatering pounded rice patty with coconut and sugar. It’s sweet and filling and makes breakfast at Police Bazar one of the top things to see and do in Shillong. Don’t pass up the spicy egg toast with onions and chilies, either. It’s a near-perfect breakfast item and contains the right amount of spice!
Finish off your breakfast at Police Bazaar with a cup of hot, frothy chai! This creamy, spice-filled, tea-based drink is one of my favorites to have in India, but I didn’t see much of it during my time in Assam and Meghalaya. Definitely get some there while you’re in Shillong! Dinner
Street food isn’t as big in Meghalaya as it is in other parts of India, and can really only be found at night. So after having breakfast at Police Bazar, be sure to double back after nightfall to try the sensational dinner offerings there!
I recommend starting with the crispy and juicy barbecued chicken drumsticks. They won’t be hard to miss; you’ll find them sizzling on grills with impressive, orange flames dancing around them!
They come with onions and chutney on the side. Every bite of the tender meat is infused with smoky, barbecue flavor. The fattiness of the chicken makes it even better and the chutney takes it to a new level. You must try this chicken!
The grilled and skewered pork stomach is another fantastic street food you can find at Police Bazar. It’s extremely fatty and is served charred. Despite the char, it’s quite juicy! Try it with some chutney and lemon for an added flavor boost. It’s the best barbecued pork I’ve ever had!
I also recommend trying the chicken momos, which are basically chicken dumplings. The pulled chicken inside is moist and tender. The momos come with a nice, fairly mild red sauce, which amplifies the flavor and adds to the wonderful mix of contrasting textures.
Some of the food in this part of India is influenced by Chinese cuisine, including the next dish you have to try, chow. This dish consists of thin, dry noodles with chicken and onion. It’s quite tasty on its own, but if you need a spicy kick like I did, mix in some green chili sauce. This dish was pretty similar to Thai glass noodles!
The last dish you have to try on your nighttime food tour of Police Bazar is an Indian version of an Indonesian fried rice dish called nasi goreng. This variation of nasi goreng contains chicken instead of the more traditional seafood, though shrimp paste is still used.
It is served with crunchy prawn chips, mixed vegetables, and a fried egg, all of which create an unbelievable combination of flavors and textures that had my mouth watering from the very first bite. It’s one of my top fried rice dishes of all time and eating some is easily one of the top things to see and do in Shillong! Visit Elephant Falls
There is a very good reason why British imperial authorities nicknamed Meghalaya “the Scotland of the East” when they arrived in the area during the British Raj. The lush, green landscapes, erupting with jagged mountain peaks with deep valleys nestled between them, reminded them of Scotland.
Another hallmark of Scotland is its spectacular waterfalls. And like Scotland, Meghalaya boasts some gorgeous falls of its own, including Elephant Falls , located in Upper Shillong about 12 kilometers away from the main city.
Formerly known by their Khasi name, Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew (“Three Steps Waterfalls”), Elephant Falls were so renamed by the British because of a rock on the left side of the main falls that resembled an elephant. That rock was destroyed in an earthquake in 1897, but the name has stuck even without it.
Elephant Falls consists of three tiers that can be easily accessed via a steep staircase, followed by a gentle walking path. From the path, you can easily view each tier up close and watch the steam-like spray rise into the air as the water crashes onto the rocks below. The falls are stunning! Seeing them is definitely one of the top things to see and do in Shillong. Eat a Home-Cooked Meal at a Local’s House
I’m a big proponent of solo travel. It forces you to adapt and immerse yourself into the culture of the places you visit and helps you grow in ways you never thought possible.
When I travel solo, I like to make contacts with locals who can serve as my guide before I arrive in the country so I get the most “local” experience possible. And there is nothing more local or immersive than being invited into a new friend’s home and being served a traditional, home-cooked meal.
I had that experience in Meghalaya when Jordan, a good friend of my guide Paul, invited us and my driver, Dickie, into his home for a meal. It was a friendly and welcoming gesture I will never forget for as long as I live. Jordan’s mother whipped up an exceptional Khasi feast for us that included several dishes I hadn’t seen anywhere else.
From the perfectly fried mincemeat beef patty to the tender and fatty pork with sesame curry to the chewy, Angus-like dried beef, I was in Khasi food heaven that day. I enjoyed an amazing meal and even better conversation with my new friends from Meghalaya. That, to me, is what traveling is all about.
If you ever get invited into a local’s home for a meal while traveling, take them up on their offer. It’s a truly beautiful experience and is near the top of my list of things to see and do in Shillong. Stay at The Homestead B&B
Another thing I do when I travel is stay at places that give me a real feel for the local flavor. That usually means eschewing hotels in favor of Airbnbs, homestays, and other homey accommodations where I’d have total independence.
The best accommodation with a local, home-like feel in Shillong is The Homestead B&B , a three-story building just 10 minutes away from Police Bazaar.
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The homestead has five rooms and a cottage, as well as a rooftop hut where you can eat meals. Because of its location right across from St. Anthony’s College and just minutes away from Police Bazaar, it’s in a fine location for guests looking to explore various sites around the city.
The building features lots of potted plants and a beautiful terrace on level two. From the seating on the terrace, you can enjoy some fresh air while you work or look out at the street below.
The units are basically studio apartments. My unit on level two featured a bedroom with two comfortable twin beds and a flat screen TV. Elsewhere in the unit are closets with towels and ample hanging space for your clothes, clothing racks, a super clean marble bathroom, and photos of locations around Meghalaya on the walls. Each unit also has WiFi, which is extremely important to me because I need it for work!
The Assam-style cottage on the property features a large living room with 12-foot-high walls, a sleek bathroom, a large master bedroom with a king-sized bed, a massive kitchen, and a second, smaller bedroom and bathroom.
Best of all, the owner is super nice and friendly and made my stay there as comfortable and as memorable as possible. Stay at The Homestead B&B when you come to Shillong. Laying your head there is definitely one of the top things to see and do in Shillong! Eat Spicy Naga Food at Naga Mandarin Restaurant
As a foodie, there are few things I love more than getting a taste of authentic, regional cuisine when I travel. On my final night in Meghalaya, my friend Paul took me to Naga Mandarin Restaurant to get Naga food from the nearby state of Nagaland. It was quite the experience and is one of the top things to see and do in Shillong!
When you try Naga food, you’ll soon learn that it contains lots of bamboo shoots and ghost peppers, which are some of the hottest peppers in the world. When you arrive at Naga Mandarin Restaurant, check out the photos of tribespeople from Nagaland on the walls as well as the gift shop.
Then I suggest sitting down and ordering the Mini Naga meal, which consists of pork, red rice, dried bamboo shoots, mashed potatoes, pulled veg, soup, two chutneys, and smoked fish curry. A word of caution before you order: this meal is downright fiery, so if you’re not into intense heat, you might want to skip this one!
The heat from the pork and bamboo shoot curry is very potent. The pork is quite smoky and tender and contains a lot of fat. Try it with the red rice for a fantastic flavor combination. The king pepper chutney and fish chutney are both very hot, as are the potatoes, which also contain chilies, onions, and lots of herbs.
The soup is made with fermented soybeans that had a very Chinese flavor profile and reminded me of miso soup. It’s quite good! The smoked fish curry is good but contains lots of little bones, so it wasn’t my favorite.
A dish I can recommend—at least for spice diehards like me—is the smoked beef chutney, which is as flavorful as it is hot! It might have been a little too intense for me, as it had my lips and tongue burning for a long time afterward! Be sure to mix it with the rice and eat the provided cucumbers between bites to calm down the heat. If you need more relief after that, try the mouth fresheners!
If you can handle the heat, go have a meal at Naga Mandarin Restaurant. It’s one of the top things to see and do in Shillong for a reason! BONUS: Get a Haircut and Massage at King City Gents Saloon
I had my first Indian haircut and face massage in the city of Kolkata in November of 2018. It blew my mind. When I returned to India five months later to visit Assam and Meghalaya, I knew I had to repeat the experience.
Check out Top 10 Things to See and Do in Chennai, India
This time, I visited King City Gents Saloon in the Muda Shopping Complex in Police Bazaar. The pampering I experienced there was next level and is one of the best things to see and do in Shillong.
My barber was a total pro. I asked for a skin haircut and it’s exactly what I got. The best part about the entire haircut experience is that it’s extremely inexpensive for how thorough and all-encompassing it is. It only cost me $6 or $7 U.S., a far cry from the $25 I’d pay for the same haircut at home in Miami.
But the real pampering began with the facial massage, which cost me an extra 500 rupees, or a little over $7. I had a lot of tension in my face from all the recent traveling I’d done, so I needed it. The barber lathers your entire face with a generous amount of cream and then massages it into your skin vigorously. It’s so relaxing, I practically fell asleep.
After ten minutes of letting the cream sit, the barber then steams your face and removes the cream, along with any tension you had there. He finishes up by spraying your face with water and wiping it away with alcohol. It really opens your pores and makes you feel incredibly refreshed afterward.
You can leave it at that if you wish or you can continue with a body massage. With the body massage, the barber will start with an intense massage of your back, which I needed after carrying around heavy gear on my back for days on end.
The barber follows that up by massaging and twisting your arms, massaging your hands and fingers, and finally, finishing up by getting your shoulders. It’s very intense but you feel so good and refreshed after he’s finished!
The best thing about the haircut experience is that it only costs $6 or $7 U.S. total for the haircut, facial massage, and body massage. In my hometown of Miami, a haircut alone would cost me $25. For all of my male travelers out there, when you go to Shillong, stop by King City Gents Saloon for the best haircut experience on the planet. It’s one of the best things to see and do in Shillong and you will never forget it!
Whether you go to Shillong looking for beautiful natural wonders, excellent shopping, unique cultural experiences, delicious traditional food, or a little of everything, you’ll find it there. The people are kind and friendly and the gorgeous landscapes will blow you away. It’s among my favorite places I’ve ever visited and there is no doubt in my mind that it’ll be one of yours as well. Book a trip to Shillong today!
NOTE: Whenever you travel, I suggest you purchase travel insurance to protect yourself in case any emergency situations come up. In my opinion, AXA Travel Insurance is the very best because it covers a wide array of issues. Buy your AXA Travel Insurance protection plan here ! Related
Crispy Naan Tacos with Tomatoes and Basil
Crispy Naan Tacos with Tomatoes and Basil No more having to choose between Indian or Italian food!
I caught the cooking bug this past week (and believe me, the mood rarely strikes), so I’ve been tearing up my kitchen left and right. I even bought and prepared pan-seared salmon ; the flesh was so succulent and pink. On one of the nights, I stumbled upon an easy recipe that I adapted according to what my pantry had: naan tomato basil tacos!
They’re laughably good and seriously delicious, and they combine two of my favorite cuisines, Indian and Italian. The coolness of the tomatoes broke the Arizona heat and the pepper left a spicy aftertaste – needless to say, I will definitely be making these again. Crispy Naan Tomato Basil Tacos Prep Time: 15 mins Wash Roma tomatoes and chop finely, taking the seeds out as well. Kimberly Kao Allison Curley Step 3 Combine pepper, salt, Parmesan, olive oil, and tomatoes in a bowl. Set aside and chill in the fridge for five minutes. Mackenzie Patel Step 4 Lightly wet the mini original naans with water. I used the Stonefire brand that can be found at your local grocery store. #SpoonTip: Slightly wetting your naan will make it both softer and crispier after being in the toaster. That allows it to retain moisture better. Mackenzie Patel Put the naans in the toaster, and toast for 3-4 minutes. Mackenzie Patel Add tomato basil mixture to the inside of the crispy naans. Enjoy! Mackenzie Patel
As you can see, this recipe will make you feel like a classy taco hacker – the simplest ingredients yet the juiciest flavor. Instead of using an Italian filling, you could sub the tomatoes for grilled veggies and humus for a Mediterranean vibe. When the Arizona heat clocks in at 117 degrees and my brain is fried from work, these lil’ pockets are an absolute must. Let’s eat!
Chinese Indian Food Trail in Toronto. Hakka Garden Halal Restaurant in Thorncliffe East York
Wednesday, 26 In Toronto Canada, Hakka cuisine is synonymous with Chinese Indian food. Many Hakka restaurants in Toronto are owned by Hakka Chinese whose ancestors first migrated from China to India in the late 1700s. So, most Hakka restaurants in Toronto serve food imbued with Indian flavours. Today, we went to Hakka Garden Restaurant in Thorncliffe which is popular with locals. Family run and founded in 2007, fans of Hakka Garden consider it the best Hakka Indian restaurant in Toronto. Hakka Garden is an unassuming, no frills but well kept little diner. The staff are friendly, earnest and efficient. To make sure we hit the right dishes, we ordered dishes labelled “Manchurian”, a Manchurian beef and Manchurian paneer. The lunch sets come with a choice of soup or spring roll side. We like this sourish spicy Veg Hot & Sour Soup. We also enjoyed this Spring Roll which was crispy and the large bits of vegetables inside were crunchy and juicy. The spring roll relied mainly on the fresh carrot, cabbage’s natural flavour which was nice and sweet. The tasty starters whetted our appetites and raised our expectations. The Manchurian Beef comes with white rice which can be upgraded to fried rice for an additional CDN2. The generous amount of beef slices were served with a brownish starch thicken but watery sauce. The beef slices were tender and taste sweetish beefy which I like. The thick gooey sauce was savoury spicy but not very nuanced which I expect of Indian influenced food. I am glad that we topped up the CDN2 to get this fried rice. It was the best thing in the plate and the best fried rice I’ve had for quite a long time. Nicely separated, loose tender firm grains well coated with gentle savoury flavours which complemented the rice’s natural sweetness well. The subtly toasty fried rice was hardly greasy. Manchurian Paneer because we love Indian cheese. The paneer was fried to a slight stiff crisp outside and cooked with the same sauce that we had in the Manchurian beef. We like the savoury paneer which had a likeable subtle underly milky sourish taste. The same sauce which is mainly a soy sauce blend spiked with fresh chili padi, so the same rather flat savoury spicy hot. Hoping to score something memorable, we added an order of Chili Chicken. The lightly battered fried chicken were crisp outside and tender juicy sweet inside. The marinate though was somewhat flat savoury spicy without much layers or nuances. A popular nice simple, no frills diner for hotter Chinese dishes. We like their fried rice and would be back for more fried rice dishes. CDN35 tax and tip included.
Sonmarg: A loving place to visit for honeymoon
Sonmarg: A loving place to visit for honeymoon June 26, 2019
[Mehraj Mir [ CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons .]
Sonmarg an excellent location situated in Ganderbal district of Indian state Jammu and Kashmir. Sonmarg being an hill station, it is one of the best places to pick in the list of honeymoon and romantic packages in India . When its name absolutely translated into English then it will be ‘Meadow of Gold’. It gives scenic view to the people who visit, because it is located in a valley on the banks of Nallah Sindh. So, young couple visiting this place gets an opportunity to enjoy loving honeymoons.
What are the tourist attractions of Sonmarg that are included in cheap honeymoon and romantic packages in India ?
Sonmarg being one of the popular places, to visit in Jammu and Kashmir, it entertains the tourists to visit and enjoy the honeymoon tour packages in India. It has got several places to visit in honeymoon along with religious and adventurous places too. So, lets have a look at some of the popular places of Sonmarg.
Gangabal Lake Gangabal lake is one of the must visit places as it offers romantic atmosphere, so don’t miss to add this place in best honeymoon and romantic packages in India. This is a huge water body with amazing scenic beauty surrounding its serenity. This lake is located just at the foothills of Harmukh Mountain, which adds more beauty to this lake. This lake is filled up with the water from the surrounding glaciers whenever they melt, along with water from the rains as well as springs. So, don’t miss the opportunity of viewing Gangabal lake on your visit to Sonmarg and flood yourself in this lovely atmosphere surrounded by water an nature.
Baltal Valley Baltal valley is yet another wonderful place to visit at Sonmarg, without fail. This is one of the beautiful valleys that will allow the tourists of this place to relax themselves in the laps of nature, especially those who visit in their honeymoon. Baltal valley is located along the banks of the sindh river, which is near to the Sonmarg. To state exactly this valley will lie at the foot hills of Zoji La, which is one of the beautiful high mountain pass that is located in the Himalayas of the Kashmir state. This valley as gained so much of popularity because it is one of the popular camping ground located in the Kashmir.
Satsaran Pass Satsaran pass is well known as a Satsaran Gali Pass and is one of the wonderful places to adventure in the nature. This is a high mountainous route, and is surrounded entirely by mountains while passing through this way. It will be very beautiful to view this high range of mountains from the hill station of Sonamarg. Satsaran pass is one of the wonderful places for the trekkers to visit, because it is a popular trekking base among many famous treks in this place. If you love to trek then, never miss to visit this place.
Yusmarg Yusmarg is one of the amazing places to host a picnic with families and is at a shorter distance from the Sonamarg. Tourists can enjoy their picnic in this place by viewing the perfect picture of the mountain range that is surrounded. Also another most importance of this place is that it is the point of meeting for the mountain river and the Indus. The people of this place generally known as Baltics will be taking their bath in this confluence at special occasions and on some important days.
Thajiwas Glacier Thajiwas glacier is another natural scenic beauty and also a popular tourist attraction of the Sonmarg. This place offers picturesque views to its tourists, making their visit an unforgettable memory. It is so famous because this glacier forms an most important as well as integral part of the trekking circuit located in Sonamarg. One of the most attractive features of Thajiwas Glacier, is that this place is covered up with snow all around the year, making it beautiful to view. It is also one of the nature adventure places of Sonamarg.
Krishnasar Lake Krishnasar lake is another prominent place of Sonamarg, that is situated at an high-altitude. One of the most interesting features of this place is that it is completely an alpine water body with an altitude of 3,801 meters, making it awesome to view. Most of the tourists who visit this place, generally say that it is one of the breath taking landscape. Krishnasar lake as achieved this name only due to the occupation of snow-laden mountains along with alpine forests all around the lake. This lake offers one of the romantic atmospheres surrounded lovely green nature all around and young couples visiting sonamarg will do visit this place without missing in their tour.
The above mentioned are some of the must visit places in Sonamarg, apart from that there are many other places to visit. The most important religious place located in Sonamarg is Kheer Bhawani temple, Baltal, while Walnut orchards offer a great experience to look them.
Is shopping possible in Sonamarg?
Sonamarg, is also one of the best shopping places, that offers street markets, with various handicrafts of Kashmir, clothing, accessories and many more to buy. If you are visiting on a India honeymoon and romantic packages, then try buying some kashmiri accessories to your partner. What are the food options available in Sonamarg?
Tourists visiting sonamarg, need not worry about the food, because this place offers an excellent food to taste. There are many popular restaurants in this place, that offers Kashmiri cuisine, Chinese cuisines along with Multi-cuisines that will satisfy your tummies. They also offer an excellent mouth watering palate at affordable prices only with popular dishes of Kashmir in the menu.
The above reasons make Sonamarg a place to visit in Honeymoons, and enjoy them in the Mother Nature surrounded by lakes as well as mountain ranges. So, make it a point to visit this place located in the Kashmir. Filed Under: Travel Blog Tagged With: india , sonmarg
Mango Pickle explores the vast, diverse cuisine of India
Chicago chef Marisa Paolillo draws inspiration from home cooks and ashrams Bret Thorn | Jun 25, 2019
Sometimes guests at Mango Pickle say the food isn’t authentic Indian cuisine. Marisa Paolillo, chef and owner of the Chicago restaurant, isn’t exactly sure how anyone would know that.
India’s a country of more than a billion people, with thousands of years of history, hundreds of different languages spoken and countless home cooks, each with their own opinion about how any given dish should be made. Even if, through years of study and eating, you managed to become an expert on all the iterations of the cuisines of different families, castes and ethnic groups in the state of Karnataka (population 64 million), you still might have no clue about how people eat in West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan or any other of the 29 states and seven territories that make up the country. Related: Tristen Epps: Finding universal culinary themes in world adventure
She said she wanted to shine a spotlight on the diversity that is intrinsic not just to Indian cuisine, but India in general.
“There’s so much back-and-forth and nonconformity, whether you’re talking about food or other aspects of the culture,” she said.
Paolillo learned how to be a chef in India. She moved to Mumbai with her husband, Nakul Patel, in 2005. Before then she had been working in marketing natural products and organic food.
“I’d worked in restaurants when I was younger, but I thought I was supposed to be in the business world,” she said. The move to Mumbai with Patel, who is originally from there and returned there for work, gave her a chance to take stock in her career. She contacted Alex Sanchez, the chef at an American restaurant in Mumbai, and worked with him for 10 months. Then she worked for another expatriate chef in Mumbai, Greg Bazire, who would eventually become a business partner in Mango Pickle.
“ My whole intention of working under chefs was, who could I learn under?” she said. “Because what I recognized is you have to be trained to be a chef. I was less concerned about the cuisine; I was more interested in getting the proper restaurant training … learning the foundation, because once you have that you can apply that to any cuisine.”
So she cooked western food in Mumbai as her job, while exploring the food around her as an avocation, paying particular attention to what she was eating in people’s homes, and in smaller guest houses and ashrams, rather than the more standardized food she saw in restaurants.
“There was a personality given to the dishes in these smaller places,” she said.
After nine years in India, Paolillo and Patel returned to Chicago in 2013, and considered opening a restaurant of their own.
Paolillo actually didn’t realize that she wanted to open an Indian restaurant until she was back in Chicago. She tried to visualize what she wanted to open and decided she wanted to do something that represented the nine years she had spent in India.
“It was a life-changing time,” she said.
They opened Mango Pickle in 2016, named after a condiment that Paolillo says exemplifies one of India’s preservation processes: To make a mango pickle, unripe mango is cured and fermented with salt in the sun. Then spices are added and the mangoes are stored in oil.
“Where in the West you would use vinegars to preserve fruits and vegetables, in India, with the heat and humidity, they use oil, and less fermentation,” she said.
Paolillo also appreciates the use of spices as a foundation to most dishes she enjoyed in India. Usually whole spices are roasted or heated in oil to release their flavors, then they might be ground or otherwise processed, and then other ingredients are added — vegetables, meat etc. — and powdered spices might be added to that. What actual spices are used vary from dish to dish, of course, and from household to household. Spring paneer
Paolillo makes them her own with the use of seasonal vegetables.
For example, for saag paneer — greens such as spinach or mustard greens simmered with ginger, garlic and other spices and served with a fresh cheese called paneer — she uses kale in the winter and then switches to mustard greens once they’re available. And during asparagus season she adds whole spears of it to the simmered leafy greens.
“The green flavor that asparagus brings goes well with paneer,” she said.
She also brings seasonality to a root vegetable-based dish cooked low and slow in a sealed clay pot.
Normally made with spiced potatoes, sweet potatoes, plantains and shelling beans, in the spring Paolillo makes it with spring onions, spring garlic, potatoes and spring turnip. In the fall she uses butternut squash and pumpkin and a more chile-forward spice blend. Spring vegetable clay pot
“I’ll find a way to incorporate almost anything that we can get,” she said.
As a white woman running an Indian restaurant, Paolillo has occasionally heard rumblings about her engaging in cultural appropriation.
“I didn’t just visit there,” she said. “I lived there, and my husband was born there, and all his relative are there. It’s difficult for people of Indian descent to accuse me of cultural appropriation when I married into the culture. Just as my husband feels part of the culture I was born in, I feel part of his culture.”
Besides, India has always been a crossroads, and it has absorbed new customs, including cooking styles, for millennia.
“The thing with Indian food is there’s always so much personalization,” she said. “There are very traditional and newer ways of cooking, and both are accepted.”
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary
French restaurant run by Argentine chef crowned world’s best
French restaurant run by Argentine chef crowned world’s best AFP 20 hrs ago afp.com © VALERY HACHE French restaurant Mirazur run by Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco has been named the world’s best French restaurant Mirazur run by Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco was Tuesday crowned the world’s best restaurant at an awards ceremony put on by British trade magazine Restaurant.
In second spot in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants was Noma in Copenhagen, and in third was Asador Etxebarri in Spain.
An ecstatic Colagreco called his team to the stage and exclaimed “Wow, wow, wow” after his victory was announced.
“Thank you my team. You deserve it, all these years. Thank you friends for supporting us during these last 13 years,” he said at the awards ceremony in Singapore.
In fourth place was Bangkok’s Gaggan, whose owner-chef Gaggan Anand has won praise for his modern spin on his native Indian cuisine.
Restaurant magazine, owned by William Reed Media, launched the awards in 2002 and they are now as coveted by restaurants as Michelin stars, although the methodology used to select the best restaurants has faced criticism, especially from several French chefs who say it remains unclear.
There are no criteria for putting a restaurant on the list, which is based on an anonymous poll of more than 1,000 chefs, restaurant owners, food critics and other industry insiders from around the world.
Mandovi Indian Cuisine, S Sepulveda Blvd, El Segundo, CA, USA
Mandovi Indian Cuisine, S Sepulveda Blvd, El Segundo, CA, USA Temporary Closure – related to food safety 2 days ago South Sepulveda Boulevard, El Segundo, 90245 California, United States 1 0 “Date Closed: 2019-6-25
Reason for Closure: Vermin Infestation
Source: Los Angeles County Environmental Health Department.”