DC food critic dishes out recommendations on 2019’s best new restaurants – WTOP

DC food critic dishes out recommendations on 2019’s best new restaurants – WTOP

Home » Food & Restaurant News » DC food critic dishes… DC food critic dishes out recommendations on 2019’s best new restaurants By Zeke Hartner May 2, 2019 9:04 pm 05/02/2019 09:04pm Share Here’s a look at Indian food served at Punjab Grill. (Courtesy Punjab Grill/Jennifer Hughes) Spring is well upon Washington and the time has come to figure out the best new restaurants that D.C. foodies will be digging into this year.
Spring is well upon Washington and the time has come to figure out the best new restaurants that D.C. foodies will be digging into this year.
To help sift through the ever-growing list of new eat spots in the area, The Washington Post food critic and author of the 2019 Spring Dining Guide, Tom Sietsema, spoke with WTOP about his Best New Restaurants Guide.
The Top 10 restaurants on Sietsema’s list represent a wide swath of dining experiences. Haiti, Hawaii, Cuban, Indian and Japanese cuisines among others all make appearance’s, many of them dotting the Top 10 list.
Clinching the top spot this year is Mama Chang in Fairfax County , Virginia, the latest and largest creation of chef Peter Chang’s restaurant empire. Sietsema said that while Chang’s restaurants are usually crowd-pleasers, it is the inspiration behind his latest venture that makes it stand out.
“The focus is on Mama — the women in Peter Chang’s life. That would be his mother and his wife,” Sietsema said. “It turns out that his wife was at one time his superior in the kitchen on an ocean luxury liner when they were both cooking in China. So this is sort of a tribute to both the women in his life … and home cooking. And who doesn’t love home cooking.”
The runner-up is Penn Quarter’s Punjab Grill . Sietsema calls it a “game-changer.”
“The food is quite beautifully arranged and the room — most of it has been imported from abroad, hand-carved things” Siestema said. “It recreates this beautiful scene of India, modern India, I should say.”
Not one, but two Cuban restaurants landed in the Top 10 this year. El Sapo Cuban Social Club in Silver Spring, Maryland, is No. 5, and Little Havana in Northwest D.C. is No. 9.
According to Sietsema, El Sapo lives up to its name and has the feel of an ongoing cocktail party.
“They’ve got a bongo drum up front. There’s all this energy in the dining room, and this food just lives up to that beat,” Sietsema said. “You just feel like you’re at someone’s backyard party in Havana.”
Sietsema said Little Havana is “the cheapest way to visit Cuba.”
“For $12 you got this great chicken stew that’s worth writing home about,” he said. “Also a really lovely environment and lovely hospitality. I love the drinks there, too.”
For those looking for a seafood fix, two new spots that made this year’s Top 10 are hotel-based restaurants that specialize in seafood.
Estuary in The Conrad is a tribute to the mid-Atlantic. It serves its menu items with a wink and a nod.
“They take the cooking seriously, but not themselves,” Sietsema said “You also have great views of the city center in D.C. Who says all views require monuments or water? This is one that disputes that.”
The all-sushi menu at Sushi Nakazawa in Trump International Hotel drew high praise from Sietsema, who called it some of the finest in town.
Check out Sietsema’s full list of 2019 Spring Dining Guide .
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What to do in Chiang Mai in 3 days and my MEGA guide to visiting!

3 days in Chiang Mai itinerary How to get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok
The route between Bangkok and Chiang Mai is well established so you have a number of travel options to choose from. Depending on your budget and time scale you might prefer one over the others more but all the below ways are pretty easy to navigate. Catch the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Catching an overnight train in Southeast Asia is sort of a right of passage and I actually find them to be a fantastic way to travel long distances in Thailand. Trains depart Bangkok’s main train station Hua Lamphong to Chiang Mai multiple times a day meaning you could travel in the day time if you would prefer. The advantage of travelling overnight is that you have your transport and nights accommodation all rolled into one, therefore saving you money.
The overnight trains I’ve taken have always been clean and tidy, have a toilet on board and are well organised. The beds are bunk beds and a staff member comes around to set them up and provide blankets, making the whole thing super easy. The beds even have curtains for privacy.
I highly recommend you book your train tickets in advance as they often get booked up. I always use a website called 12Go.Asia which makes it so easy to choose the date, time and also your seat/bed. You simply pay through the website and print off the ticket. Travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by bus
As with the train, you can take a bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai either in the day or overnight. The option to book these tickets is also available on 12Go.Asia and what’s really useful is you can see reviews of the buses and different companies available. Travelling by bus is definitely the cheapest way to get to Chiang Mai but I really recommend taking note of the reviews as you don’t want to end up on a bus without air conditioning! The good thing about buses though is that they have so many departing a day, you won’t need to worry about booking days in advance. Fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Bangkok sees a number of flights depart daily to Chiang Mai so if you’re short on time or just don’t want to spend 11 hours travelling, you do have this option available. Flying is often the most expensive way to travel in Thailand but cheap flights can be snapped up! I always go to Skyscanner.com as they compare prices and flight times across heaps of airlines and I was actually able to grab a flight from Chiang Rai back to Bangkok for a tiny $11! Just remember that Bangkok actually has 2 airports so make sure you know which one you’re going to. What to pack for 3 days in Chiang Mai Clothes Foldable waterproof jacket : Ok, so this doesn’t sound cool, but trust me when I tell you, one of these babies will save your bacon! Slip one of these in your day bag and you won’t be finding yourself drenched. Comfy shoes : As Chiang Mai is a fantastic city to explore on foot, be sure to have something comfy on your feet. I brought a lightweight pair of Nike trainers with me as well as a comfy pair of Havaianas and a cute pair of sandals so I was covered for all occasions as well. Long skirt or trousers : It’s so important to dress respectfully in Thailand. You will see lots of tourists walking around in shorts and vests but in all honesty, the Thai people will have a lot more time for you if you cover up a bit. Additionally, in Chiang Mai with over 300 temples, you simply have to have some temple appropriate outfits to cover your knees and shoulders. I lived in my long skirts in Thailand and Tom made sure he had one lightweight longer trouser to wear when needed. Singlet/t-shirts x 6 : I like to have a few t-shirts in different colours that I can mix and match with both my shorts and skirts to maximise the number of outfits I can make. I also like them to be cotton so they are nice and breathable in the hot Thai weather. Boohoo.com has a huge selection of tees to choose from ranging from basic styles to quirky patterns. A more dressy dress : Chiang Mai has some great nightlife, and while dressing up really isn’t essential, it’s kinda nice, right? I always love the dresses in H&M as they are affordable, really pretty and they have a great sustainable policy. Toiletries Full-sized travel towel : These babies are super lightweight, fast drying and fold up nice and small, perfect if you’re packing light. This Rainleaf Microfibre towel is a great option and comes in a range of sizes and colours as well (because we all know the colour is the most important decision here really). Bug repellent : It’s so important to have a decent bug repellent throughout the whole of Southeast Asia. Tropical illnesses like yellow fever a more common so it’s important to protect yourself against nasties like this. I like to use a spray repellent without DEET as I find it pretty harsh on my skin, and generally like to go down the more natural root as I have to use so much. A spray like this Medella Naturals All Natura l spray is perfect Medicine supplies : There are plenty of pharmacies all over Chiang Mai but if you have any brands that you have a lot of trust in, I would advise bringing a supply out with you. I always carry plasters, Immodium for upset stomachs, ibuprofen, paracetamol, re-hydration salts , antihistamines and travel sickness tablets Hand sanitiser : Just for when soap isn’t available and general use Feminine supplies : Tampons are pretty expensive in Thailand so I would advise you to bring these items with you if you need them. High factor sunscreen : Chiang Mai isn’t as hot as places in Thailand like Bangkok and the Thai islands but the sun can still be pretty fierce. Be sure to use a broad spectrum sunscreen with a high factor to protect your skin and reapply regularly. I love Nivea sunscreens as they’re non-greasy and doesn’t sweat off really waterproof. Other essentials Reusable bag : With some of the best markets around, you’re bound to pick up some treats as you travel. Make sure you have one of these reusable and foldable shopping bags in your day bag rather than getting a plastic bag. Reusable cutlery set : One thing that you’ll sadly see all over Thailand is plastic straws and cutlery all over the place. An easy way to do your bit for the environment is to say no to straws and also to carry a small cutlery set that you can reuse during your trip. Travel adapter : Long gone are the days of needing loads of different adapters for different countries. This travel adapter is an all-in-one device so it’s the only plug you’ll need to carry. It also has USB ports to make charging really easy. Camera : Chiang Mai is unbelievably photogenic and after spending 8 months travelling with a pretty shoddy camera, I do recommend splashing out on something decent. I absolutely LOVE my Sony a6000 as it’s easy to use, small and lightweight making it great for carrying around. Power bank : There’s a lot to explore in Chiang Mai so if you want to keep your devices charged up throughout the day, make sure you have a power bank to hand. Best budget-friendly places to stay in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is a rather unusual city in terms of its layout so it can be tricky to decide where to stay. There’s the Old City which is everywhere inside of the old city walls, and there is the area outside this, with the most popular being near the famous Night Bazaar. As I was there for a good few days, I actually stayed in 2 basic but decent accommodations that I would recommend. You might also like 4 day itinerary for Bangkok: My EPIC guide for first timers Where to stay near the Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai
The Night Bazaar is definitely somewhere you have to visit when you’re in Chiang Mai but what you might not realise is that it’s a little out of town. To make it easier to experience this part of Chiang Mai, I recommend staying at The Grace House . It’s a small guesthouse with a great cafe attached to it offering decent sized private rooms for a great price. The owner is lovely and Tom and I were able to leave our backpacks with her after arriving early in the morning from our overnight train. Where to stay in Chiang Mai Old City
We stumbled across Tommy Huts when we were walking around the Old City and thought they looked great. They’re brand new, tucked down off the main street and literally around the corner from Chiang Mai’s other famous market, the Sunday Walking Street (more about that in a bit). This guesthouse is made up up about 6 individual huts with their own bathrooms and a small courtyard. It’s small but a great place to stay if you prefer a quieter spot. How to get around Chiang Mai Walk
For all you frugal travellers out there, you’ll be pleased to know that Chiang Mai Old City is incredibly walkable. Right from the entrance, you’ll find yourself easily wandering from temple to monument, cafe to bar and before you know it you’ve covered loads. It’s great and on foot is always the best way to explore. Red Songthaew
Alternatively, all over Chiang Mai, you will see hundreds of these quirky red buses driving around. These are called Songthaews and they can be a saviour when you’re tired of the heat. Using them can be a bit confusing at first but all you need to do is flag one down, tell the driver where you are looking to go and he will either say yes or no. I recommend having a map on your phone to show the driver if you’re looking to go somewhere specific like your accommodation just to help bridge the language barrier. A ride to anywhere within the city should be about 30 baht per person. If you want to go further than that you will need to negotiate. Grab taxi
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get from A to B then be sure to get the Grab app on your phone. It’s Asia’s answer to Uber and sometimes a nice air-conditioned taxi is what you need. Tom and I would usually order a Grab when we arrive somewhere after a long journey just to take the hassle out of finding our accommodation. Must-try street food in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is a haven for foodies! If it’s not the many restaurants it’s the night markets, if it’s not the night markets then it’s the weekend markets. And if it’s not the weekend markets then it’s a lone person selling something incredible from a tiny stove on wheels on the corner of the road. Food is everywhere here. Throughout much of Thailand, you’ll see the same delicious bites being served up such as mango sticky rice , Pad Thai and heaps of smoothies , but North Thailand also has some dishes of its own that you have to try.
Khao Soi is hands down my favourite dish from Thailand and I feel it really encapsulates everything about Thai flavours all in one dish. It’s a sort of noodle soup in a creamy, spicy curry sauce mixed in with meat or seafood, veggies and topped with some super crunchy noodles. You can sometimes add your own sugar, salt and chillies to taste.
One thing you might be surprised to learn is that Chiang Mai has it’s very own sausage. Sai Oua, or the Chiang Mai sausage gives what many of us know to be a good old fashioned staple, a real Thai twist. It’s made from pork but is also infused with kefir limes, lemongrass and chilli. It’s delicious and you’ll find it all over Chiang Mai.
If you like a sweet treat then you need to try Roti . You might be familiar with this flatbread from Indian cuisine but here in Thailand, you’ll find it being served up with things like Nutella, chocolate sauce and fruit. It’s delicious so be prepared to live in elasticated waistbands! Where to find the best food in Chiang Mai
Street food is king in Thailand and there is no end of it all over Chiang Mai. Here are a few of my favourite spots where you can snap up a delicious local meal for a bargain price. There are some incredible food tours you can go on (and to be honest, I wish I had) but if you simply want to taste it then you’ll find some fantastic spots all over the city. The Night Bazaar
This market is one of the biggest attractions in Chiang Mai and it’s a fabulous spot to pick up souvenirs as well as a bite to eat. Whether you want to grab something as you walk around or sit down and tuck into a meal, you have plenty of options here. Kalare Night Bazaar
Pretty close to the main Night Bazaar you’ll find the Kalare `night Bazaar. We actually stumbled into this thinking it was the main night bazaar but there are still plenty of food options here. This is where I first tried Khao Soi (it was amazing, by the way) but there are heaps of food to choose from. They have an awesome selection of seafood to choose from too. Ploen Ruedee Night Market
This gem of a place is opposite the Kalare Night Bazaar and although it serves up more western food, it’s a great place to go for entertainment. This market is uncovered and has more of an industrial vibe to it but on the night I visited, there were traditional dancers performing which was great to see, especially as it was free! Saturday and Sunday walking street market
The weekend markets in Chiang Mai are huge, insane and some of the best I have ever been to. Along with hundreds of stalls selling everything you could ever think of, there is a wealth of street food. The best thing about trying food this way is that you can watch it being cooked right in front of you and enjoy it straight from the pan. There isn’t really the best section to head to for food as you’ll find it down every part you walk through. Chang Puak Gate (North Gate) – cowboy lady
If you’re looking for the typical Asian street food experience of sitting on plastic chairs in a busy roadside tucking into some of the best food there is, then you’ll love this place. Just outside North Gate, you’ll find a cluster of street food stalls that churning out some incredible traditional food. I stuffed myself with mango sticky rice, curry and also pork and rice. If you’re a fan of Anthony Bourdain and have seen his Chiang Mai films, this spot is where you’ll find the famous cowboy lady. Restaurants around Wat Prasat
If you want to get away from the tourists and eat with local people then check out the restaurants next to Wat Prasat. I don’t know what they are called but the food here was delicious and leaned more towards Chinese cuisine. Be prepared for lots of shouting, swift service and no messing around – in a friendly but efficient way though! 3 days in Chiang Mai itinerary Day 1 in Chaing Mai Morning – Temple hopping
Make your way into the Old City through the famous Tha Phae Gate. The ancient wall here was once a fortress for the Old City and has been beautifully preserved to visit today. As soon as you walk through the gates you will find yourself surrounded by plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy. Make your way up Rachadamneon Street and grab some breakfast for a busy day of temple hopping.
With over 300 temples in Chiang Mai you really get the chance to experience and learn about Buddhism and the culture that is truly rooted in the city. No matter what direction you walk in, you will find the most incredible temples and the variety might surprise you. You’ll find the most opulent temples covered in gold leaf, intricately carved wooden temples and the most fascinating ruins providing an insight into bygone eras.
Pro Tip: It’s so important that you are dressed correctly when visiting temples in Thailand. This means that shoulders, chest and knees should be covered for women and shoulders and knees for men. My go-to outfits are a high neck t-shirt and knee-length skirt as it’s still nice and cool, and Tom wears a t-shirt and knee length shorts.
I don’t believe there’s a right way to go about visiting these temples- if you want to go in one then simply go in. However, there are some temples that I think you simply can’t miss out on. They hold a lot of cultural significance to Chiang Mai and, to put it simply, are stunning! Take your time as you explore the temples and soak it all in and be sure to grab a bite to eat along the way.
Here’s a map of some of the top temples to visit in Chiang Mai to help you navigate: Wat Phan On
This temple is located right on Rachadamneon Street so you really can’t miss it. It’s always quite a busy spot and on Sunday it becomes part of the Walking Street. It’s one of the smaller temples inside with Old City walls but the buildings are so intricately decorated with gold, white and red that you have to take a look around. Wat Phan Tao
Just a little further on from Wat Pahn on Prapokkloa Rd you’ll find the impressive wooden Wat Phan Tao. This temple is made from teak and I personally feel it has quite a cosy feel to it. Inside you’ll find the large the hall with mosaics, colourful hangings and impressive teak beams supporting the structure. Behind it you’ll also find a gold Chedi. It’s not the most popular temple to visit but I think it’s well worth a visit just to see its unique style. You might also like 6 Things to do in Kaikoura, NZ besides whale watching Wat Chedi Luang
This is one of the biggest and busiest temples in Chiang Mai Old City and one of the oldest. Wat Chedi Luang is a temple ruin but is seriously impressive. Its huge towering structure is beautiful in its own right and is one of the most important. It originally housed the Emerald Buddha, the most important Buddha image in Thailand but this is now found in Bangkok’s Grand Palace. Wat Pra Singh
The large golden Chedi’s guarded by golden elephants make this temple one of the most memorable. It houses Chiang Mai’s most important Buddha image, the Lion Buddha which makes it an incredibly popular temple to visit. The whole complex is beautiful and the assembly hall inside has a really life-like statue of elderly Monks. Afternoon – more temple hopping
Although these temples are close together, time flies and the Thai heat can be exhausting. make your way towards Wat Inthakin on Intrawarorot Road where you’ll find some local restaurants just on the corner. It will probably be super busy, loud and full of local people getting their lunch. The service may be slightly on the abrupt side but the food is delicious! Wat Inthakin
As I ended up eating at the little restaurants I mentioned above quite a bit (because the food really is that good ) I wanted to include Wat Inthakin in this list. This striking black temple is certainly different. Additionally, rather than a complex, this temple is literally on the side of the road so you can’t miss it. Wat Chiang Man
Wat Chiang Man is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai and is known as the ‘elephant temple’ due to the 15 elephants that surround its base. It was built by the city’s founder in 1297 and over time, more has been added to the complex. The assembly halls within the complex are beautifully decorated in red and gold and are incredibly ornate. Wat Lok Molee
Tom and I stumbled across this temple but it is actually one of my favourites. Located north of the city just outside the city walls across the moat, Wat Lok Molee is a bit of a hidden gem. In the courtyard out the front you’ll see 2 wishing trees full of hanging gold and silver leaves with writing on before you reach the wooden hall. Around the back there is a huge red brick chedi which has a pulley system allowing people to provide offerings to the Buddha at the top. Evening – Night Bazaar
After a long day of exploring the temples, a good meal will be much needed! Make your way over to the Night Bazaar, Kalare Night Bazaar and Ploen Ruedee Night Market. They are close together and you’ll find tonnes of food stalls and street food to tuck in to. This is where I tried my very first Khao Soi and I felt like my life changed for the better. You gotta try it guys!
The bazaars and markets here are a great place to get lost and pick up some souvenirs too. Don’t be shy to haggle if you want something and shop around for a good price. When you’ve finished with all of this, make your way over to Ploen Ruedee Night Market to have a couple of cold Changs and watch the entertainment. Day 2 in Chiang Mai Morning – Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Perched high on top of the mountain is a temple with the most incredible views. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is simply one of a kind. It’s one of Northern Thailand’s most sacred temples and something that cannot be missed when in Chiang Mai. Popular legend says that the shoulder bone of Buddha is said to be buried here after being carried up the mountain by an elephant and this spot is now where the temple stands.
When you first arrive at the base of the temple you’ll see lots of souvenir stalls which is the start of the 306 steps up to the temple entrance. The staircase is guarded by beautiful jewelled Naga and it’s a great spot to get some photos. When you reach the top you will need to buy a ticket to enter and then you can go through.
The complex is pretty big so you should allow for a good couple of hours exploring. You will be given a map when you arrive so it’s easy to visit all the different areas. The main temple is incredible and always busy with both visitors and people praying and the views over Chiang Mai from up here are fantastic.
If you’re feeling a little worn out then why not catch the cable car down and take in the last of the views along the way? How to get to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
For the cheapest and most fun way to get to this temple, I recommend taking a public Songthaew. Head to the bus stop just outside the North Gate and speak to the drivers there. It can be a bit of a waiting game as they only leave when there are 8-10 passengers ready to go but that’s all part of it. You can also try and negotiate a price with the number of people available as well. Afternoon – Saturday night market
Every Saturday, Chaing Mai’s walking street comes to life from about 4 pm and takes over Wualia road in the Old City. This market is smaller than the Sunday night market but still a fantastic thing to explore. A huge variety of stalls set up here so if you’re looking for something, you’re bound to find it. The easiest way to reach it is to walk 10-15 minutes from the Pae Gate or catch a tuk-tuk to the south side of Old City. Evening – North Gate
I would usually recommend eating at markets as the street food in Chiang Mai is out of this world, but tonight you should escape the hustle and bustle and make you’re way outside the North Gate. Just across the moat you’ll see a little cluster of food stalls and a whole load of people tucking in. This is where you need to go. The famous cowboy lady serving up the most tender pork and rice is here, as well as stalls making fragrant curries, delicious mango sticky rice, roti and deep fried everything. It’s all delicious, really cheap and where not only tourists but also locals go for food.
After you’ve made your way around all the street food, it’s time for something a bit different and perhaps unexpected for Thailand. Just back inside the North Gate, you’ll find the North Gate Jazz Co-Op. That’s right, a live jazz venue! This little gem of a spot will most likely be packed out but in a good way, full of people having a couple of drinks and really enjoying the music. Day 3 in Chiang Mai Morning – massage
It’s been a busy couple of days in Chaing Mai, so it’s about time to get a little R&R. Thailand is known for its massages but here in Chiang Mai, they have gone a step further. The city is the location of a female prison and one of the programmes they offer is for the women to train and practice massage as a way of helping them integrate into society. The Chiang Mai Women Correctional Institution Vocational Training Center is a great place to go to if you’ve been craving a massage and want a bit of a different experience. The treatment rooms look the same as normal treatment rooms but there will be a guard there just to keep a watch over things. It may seem a little daunting to be going into a prison but personally, I love the mission behind the programme and feel it’s a great way to help the inmates. Afternoon – Shopping
Chaing Mai is fast becoming a haven for independent boutiques so if you’re looking for something unique to take home then Chaing Mai is a great place to shop. You will find them as you meander down the many roads inside the Old City but one area that is attracting more independent stalls is Nimmanhaemin Road, to the west of the Old City. It has more of a hipster vibe and you’ll find some great items of clothes, shoes and trinkets to take away with you. Evening – Sunday Night Market
The Sunday night market is the big sister to the Saturday one. This one stretches across the centre of the Old City so it’s absolutely massive . You’ll find arts, crafts, handmade goods, souvenirs, musicians and plenty of food. The market does get busy but there is a steady flow that allows you to stop when you want and carry on again easily.
What I love most about the street food at markets is that you can try a little bit of a lot of things and really get a taste for all the dishes Thailand has to offer. Tuck into whatever takes your fancy and enjoy watching it be cooked right in front of you. No matter which branch of the market you turn down you’ll easily find something fantastic being cooked up.
Phew, well that’s what to do in Chiang Mai in 3 days all wrapped up! I hope Chiang Mai is a place you grow to love as much as I do!
If you’re planning a trip to here, which part are you most looking forward to? The culture? Temples? Eating your body weight in delicious Khao Soi? Don’t forget about the Nutella Roti though… those things are what dreams are made of!
By the way, if you’re planning on hopping around more of Thailand, take a look at my other guides that I think will be great for you. Happy Thai travels!

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ROSEATE HOTELS & RESORTS LAUNCHES SIXTH LUXURY RESORT AT ATM 2019 THE ROSEATE GANGES, RISHIKESH

0 Share Launch marks the sixth hotel for the Indian boutique luxury hotel brand, which continues to build portfolio of hotels targeted at affluent regional and international travellers Roseate Hotel and Resorts will use knowledge of Middle East travelers’ preferences to “fuel plans to enter the Middle East market imminently”
Roseate Hotels & Resorts, a global collection of boutique luxury hotels by Bird Hospitality, announces the launch of its sixth hotel: The Roseate Ganges, Rishikesh, at ATM Dubai 2019 from 28 April – 1 May 2019.
The Indian luxury hospitality brand which announced its plans to extend its footprint into the Middle East at last year’s event, continues to build its portfolio of hotels targeted at affluent regional and international travellers.
Dr. Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group said, “Our resorts are synonymous with luxury and The Roseate Ganges is a true embodiment of this. We welcome a large number of visitors from the Middle East at our properties in India and the UK, giving us insight into what travellers from the region are looking for when it comes to a seamless, luxurious stay experience. We are looking forward to using this knowledge to fuel our plans to enter the Middle East market imminently.”
The brand’s portfolio comprises six niche hotels across India and the UK with more currently being developed. Avant-garde, imaginative and contemporary in design, each Roseate hotel has a story to tell. A key focus is laid on service, aesthetics and detailing of hotels that pave the way to stylised accommodation, with both city hotels and resorts catering to business and leisure travellers alike.
Within India, the group has two properties situated in Delhi – The Roseate New Delhi and Roseate House New Delhi and a recently unveiled luxury retreat in Rishikesh – The Roseate Ganges. The group’s presence in the United Kingdom includes Roseate House London, The Roseate Reading and The Roseate Villa Bath.
Participating at ATM for the fifth consecutive year, Roseate Hotels & Resorts will showcase its offerings and services to industry professionals and discerning travellers from around the world.
The Roseate New Delhi: The Roseate New Delhi is a one of a kind urban resort with eight acres of verdant green and untouched water bodies which fuse seamlessly with award-winning architecture. It is the epitome of luxury and hospitality that offers an indefectible escape from tedious city life. Known as one of the peerless resorts in Delhi, The Roseate is only a few minutes’ drive from the international airport, shopping malls, embassies and offices in Delhi and Gurugram. The Roseate conserves its eternal tranquil environment for its guests. Inspired by the five elements of Hindu philosophy – air, water, fire, earth and sky, internationally acclaimed architect Khun Lek Bunnag designed The Roseate New Delhi. The Roseate New Delhi’s regally columned verandahs that are a mnemonic of the royal lineage of Delhi and the ornate greens enveloping more than 2000 matured trees and 3 acres of water bodies are not the only reason for it to be considered an architectural beauty. The resort possesses intricate bronze meshwork in the guest areas, over 20 ft high doors, high dome ceilings and Isfahan pillars fused with a five century old Moghul architecture personifying the monumental ambience that exuberates aristocracy. The Roseate New Delhi consists of 65 elegantly furnished and well-appointed rooms and suites. The Roseate New Delhi offers an exquisite spectrum of food and beverage selections such as: Kiyan, the resort’s world cuisine restaurant with a European edge, both in terms of cuisine and fine dining experience; inspired by the liberated art of cooking at Kai Mayfair, Chi Ni’s Specialty Chef Lau Ah Ban trained at Michelin restaurants, specializes in modern Chinese, szechuan, Hong Kong Cantonese, local Malaysian and Singapore Chinese cuisine. IAH BAR is an architectural marvel and a beverage connoisseur’s destination for fun filled and relaxed evenings. The resort also offers an array of wellness and meeting spaces.
Roseate House New Delhi is a contemporary upscale hotel stationed in the capital’s only hospitality district, Aerocity. Spread across 1.6 acres, Roseate House New Delhi combines lineage and novelty in its design and services to cater to the new generation of cosmopolitan guests. 30 minutes from the business hubs of Gurugram and Delhi, 20 minutes from the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi and 2 minutes walking distance to the Aerocity metro station, the hotel renders a contrasting respite from the city’s hustle-bustle. Roseate House New Delhi has 216 spacious and tastefully well-furnished rooms including 15 specially designed suites. It postures itself as a narrative of cosmopolitan hospitality that knits through every room and floor. Conceived as a book, each floor has been named a story and each room category a chapter, that embodies a perfect blend of contemporary design and functionality. Roseate House New Delhi is proud to be accredited with a Leed Gold certification. Roseate House New Delhi offers an array of dining experiences to its guests through its fine dining options: Chidiya Ghar, an old school bar; DEL an all-day bistro; Kheer offers Indian cuisine par excellence with a modern edge; Tara an open rooftop Japanese lounge; Roasted by Roseate, the hotel’s in-house patisserie and boulangerie. Equipped with the best amenities, the world-class Aheli spa offers exclusive treatments with pure natural products. The hotel also houses an avant-garde cinema hall, Upstage, with the latest facilities and theatre experience. Roseate House New Delhi also offers a host of meeting spaces.
The Roseate Ganges: An unparalleled, luxury retreat on the banks of the river Ganges in Rishikesh redefines luxury, boasting of impeccable design, architecture and services that ensure an unforgettable experience in the serene, sylvan setting of the Garhwal Himalaya foothills. Located in Shivpuri, the luxury retreat overlooking the Ganges glorifies the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh. The Roseate Ganges is a 45-minute drive from Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun which is well connected by multiple flights to and from various cities across India. The exquisite retreat propounds 16 well-appointed villas, each opening to a private balcony looking over the Ganga valley and the forest. The villas at the retreat have been designed with classic elegance in natural colour palettes complementing the natural surroundings. Each is a fine blend of minimalism and luxury with state-of-the-art technology, luxurious beds, perfectly appointed bathrooms and private balconies that offer a spectacular panorama of the Himalayan outdoors. Signature dining options based on the local cuisine and a comprehensive menu of spa and yoga services ensure a memorable stay experience for guests seeking physical, mental and spiritual wellness. Roasted by Roseate at the poolside serves the finest selection of TWG tea and delectable from the boulangerie and patisserie. A first of its kind old school bar and dining space, Chidya Ghar has a distinct old-world charm in a contemporary young chic setting. The Roseate Ganges also has a temperature-controlled infinity swimming pool overlooking the surrounding valley. For an unforgettably calming experience, guests can enjoy access to the private white sand beach next to the pristine waters of the Ganges, which gently flows by the retreat. We offer allurement for all our guests, from adrenaline pumping hiking, trekking, river rafting to a spiritual peregrination to pilgrimage spots, yoga, meditation, the renowned religious Arti by the river Ganges or an intimate afternoon with a book. The Roseate Ganges, Rishikesh was recently awarded the prestigious ‘Best New Resort, India’, at the PATWA (Pacific Asia Travel Writers Association) awards held on March 7 at ITB Berlin, Germany.
Roseate House London: A short walk from Hyde Park with stunning views over the leafy Westbourne Terrace lies Roseate Hotels & Resorts’ luxury boutique hotel, Roseate House London. The opulent auberge offers a stunning view of the street once described as the ‘finest in London’ facing St James Church, where Oscar Wilde espoused. Roseate House London features 48 luxurious rooms and suites spread across three mid-19th century, Grade-II townhouses built in 1842, restored to the original allure and charm of their rudimentary Victorian architecture. Inside, each dwelling possesses classic Victorian furniture and original oil paintings from the era, personally handpicked and curated by Jonty Hearnden, antiques expert, appraiser and presenter of BBC’s Antiques Roadshow and Cash in the Attic. Behind the innocuous wooden doors of the Victorian terrace townhouses of Roseate House London lies an oasis of quintessential British luxury and hospitality. This inner sanctum belongs to the eternal Hyde Bar. The hotel elevates the most characteristic of British dining traditions with the Afternoon Tea at the Hyde Bar. Apart from offering luxury cocktails and opulent wine-and-dines, The Hyde Bar is also a venue for hosting business meetings, conferences and private events which are managed with detail and precision.
The Roseate Reading: Described as ‘UK’s Sexiest Townhouse Hotel’ by the Evening Standard, The Roseate Reading is recognized for its artful conception and luxury. The hotel prides itself on its attention to detail, an attitude that is realized from the hotel personnel to the facilities available to make your stay cherished and memorable. Whether it is the 86,000 Italian glass beads in the chandelier that hangs from the top of the building or the plush fabrics and swanky wallpapers, our meticulous design sense is ubiquitous in maintaining an uplifted ambience. The Roseate Reading was originally Shire Hall for the Berkshire County Council. The building, along with its wide hallways, vaulted ceilings, cornice moldings and the original lift shaft have all been precisely restored to their original glory. To revive the old-world charm of the Shire Hall, its council chamber, Eden along with its imposing fireplace and elaborate wood carvings on the doors and mantelpiece have all been restored to their past beauty. The Roseate Reading houses 23 well-appointed luxury rooms in the main hotel and a fine collection of 32 newly built and furnished rooms & suites in the House. All rooms and suites in the ‘House’ have direct access to Aheli Spa, the gym and Roasted by Roseate, the in house patisserie & boulangerie. The Roseate Reading complements its early 20th century architecture with a wide variety of art, sourced from across the world, which are meant to inspire creativity and stimulate cognisance. The award-winning Cerise restaurant offers a relaxed and modern ambience to savour traditional English cooking. The Cerise restaurant also offers the traditional British Afternoon Tea experience. The hotel also has three private dining rooms that can accommodate up to 60 guests. The Roseate Reading houses one of the biggest private cinema halls in Berkshire, Upstage Mini. It can cater to 30 guests in its recliners, offering the ultimate luxury cinematic experience.
The Roseate Villa Bath: The Roseate Villa Bath occupies a quiet corner of the city, moments’ walk from the heart of the iconic Bath, a city favoured for its heritage and cultural tourism. The Villa oversees the Henrietta Park, a 7 acre park opened to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. The park land was donated by Captain Forrester of 3rd Kings Own Hussars, with the stipulation that it should always remain a green space and never be built on. Henrietta Park is situated within walking distance of the city centre and is an oasis of tranquility with places to sit quietly or take a relaxing stroll around the circular walk amongst many fine trees and flora that include the Purple Sycamore, Golden Elms, Caucasion Mapel and a line of Baumannii Horse Chestnuts. The Roseate Villa Bath encompasses 2 converted Victorian houses which have had a characterful legacy. The Villa offers undivided attention to its guests with everything that the city has to offer whether it is the tour of the Roman Baths and Regency Crescent or the views of Prior Park, Jane Austen Museum and the grandeur of Bath Abbey. A boutique hotel positioned just 5 minutes away from the heart of the city, The Roseate Villa Bath exudes a feeling of serenity in and around its estate and offers wholehearted assistance to its guests who are either seeking informative excursions around the city or are in the mood for a nonchalant weekend getaway. The Roseate Villa houses 21 rooms with exclusive features.
Over the years, the brand has been recognized by some of the most influential organizations in the travel and hospitality industry. Some of the key acknowledgements being: The Roseate New Delhi ranked 2nd Favourite Romantic Getaway, (International Hotels & Resorts), Conde Nast Traveller Awards (Middle East), Thames Valley Hospitality Awards 2018 – Hotel of the year, Star Awards 2018 – Best Engagement Venue (The Roseate Reading); Tripadvisor ‘Hall of Fame’ 2018 (The Roseate Villa Bath); ‘The Best New Boutique Hotel Chain’ at the Pacific Asia Travel Writer’s Association awards held at ITB Berlin, Germany in March 2018; Travel + Leisure – Best Hotel For Women Travellers – Domestic 2018 (Roseate House New Delhi), Conde Nast Traveller Middle East Reader’s Choice Award 2017 – Favourite Hotel Resort for Wellness; Outlook Traveller Boutique Awards 2017 – ‘Best City Hotel’; Make My Trip – Customer’s Choice Award 2017; Goibibo Certificate of Excellence 2016-17 (Roseate House); Bath Business Awards 2017 – Best Customer Service (The Roseate Villa); Favourite International Hotel or Resort by Condé Nast Traveller Middle East Readers’ Choice Awards 2015; Runner Up-Favorite Indian Boutique Hotel by Condé Nast Traveller Readers Travel Awards 2015; Luxury Design Hotel of the Year by Luxury Travel Guide Global Awards 2015; Best New Hotel by Travel + Leisure India and South Asia Awards 2014 (The Roseate). www.roseatehotels.com Share

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Dartmouth author airs PBS show on Portuguese cooking – Dartmouth

Dartmouth author airs PBS show on Portuguese cooking Kate Robinson Apr 21, 2019 Maria Lawton, cookbook author and host of a PBS series on Azorean cooking. Photo: Courtesy of Maria Lawton
When it comes to Portuguese cooking, Dartmouth resident Maria Lawton knows what she’s about.
Lawton was born on the Azorean island of São Miguel and is now working tirelessly to spread Portuguese cuisine here in the US.
With a successful cookbook, a podcast , and a recent PBS series under her belt, that message is resonating.
Her cookbook, called “Azorean Cooking: From my family table to yours” is now in its third edition — and some editions have been printed several times. “It has a life of its own,” said Lawton.
She originally wrote the book for her children and a few friends. “I was making copies and having a local printer pick it up for me,” she said. “And then it just grew.”
The more people requested the book, the more she printed — and she ended up working with a publishing house and distributor.
Her cookbook continues to sell throughout North America and all over the world.
“It’s just amazing just how far the little book has traveled,” she said. “I guess just like Portuguese discoverers, and fishermen — they’ve traveled all over the world. Well, my book does the same…it travels everywhere.”
In the cookbook, Lawton discusses her food memories with a personal story for each dish.
Most of these are associated with family — her parents and her grandmother.
“It is all about recreating food memories that we have,” she noted. “And it doesn’t matter what nationality you’re from…we all have food memories.”
While traveling the country on book tours, Lawton found pockets of Portuguese people everywhere — including out-of-the-way places like Idaho and Wisconsin.
“There are more [Portuguese] people that live outside of Portugal than actually live in Portugal,” she explained.
Portuguese is among the top ten most spoken languages in the world.
According to Lawton, Portuguese settlers had a massive influence on cuisine all over the world — particularly in the former colonies of Goa, Macau, and large parts of South America and Africa.
Vindaloo, for example — a classic of Indian cuisine — originally came from Portuguese sailors in Goa and their carne de vinha d’alhos , or pork marinated in wine and garlic.
“We’ve been influencing different culinary pockets here and there without people ever really noticing or speaking about it,” Lawton said.
So it was a mystery to her why no one had done a whole show dedicated to Portuguese cooking before.
“On American/US TV, there were no cooking shows that talked about Portuguese food,” she said. So she set about to change that.
Her eight-part series, called “Maria’s Portuguese Table”, aired in January on PBS Rhode Island.
But when she started the project she didn’t realize that she would have to raise all of the money for the show herself.
PBS agreed to air the show but didn’t provide any funding — so Lawton had to find sponsors and then produce it herself.
It took her two years to raise the money. “There was a lot of ‘No’,” she said.
She explained, “Whoever is facing that right now, in whatever they want to do in life, you’ve gotta get past those ‘No’s. Because if you listen to those ‘No’s, you’re never going to do what you are supposed to do.”
After Lawton managed to get enough funding, she hired Emmy award-winning producer Dean Camara in California.
It took them the better part of a year to film the series in locations all over the US, California, and in Maria’s birthplace, São Miguel in the Azores.
And it took even longer to put the whole thing together in post production.
“It was an education,” said Lawton laughingly. She had never tried to make a TV series before.
“It really is wild,” she said. “It’s funny, ‘cause when you’re in it, and doing it — you know, I was just having fun.”
Lawton noted that making the series was a lot of very hard work. But she’s happy with it.
“It looks beautiful, it absolutely did what I wanted it to do. And that is to introduce people to the Portuguese culture and traditions.
“I’m very proud of the work that was done,” she said.
As for next steps, Lawton has another cookbook in the works, and she’s still waiting for PBS to air the show on other stations across the country.
“I have to say this. For people who want to put things on PBS…you have to do it for the love of it. You will not be paid,” she laughs. “There is no money.”
But for Lawton, it was all worth it.
“Sometimes it isn’t about the money,” she said. “Sometimes it is about creating something that will be around and last longer than you will.” Most Popular

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Kampung classics and secret recipes – Eat & Drink

PAYA Serai Restaurant at Hilton Petaling Jaya has a stellar reputation for offering top-notch traditional homestyle Malay fare for its Ramadan buffet, and this year is no different.
The chefs have poured over their playbook to whip up old favourites while teasing jaded palates with new offerings when breaking fast.There’s an astounding 350-dish spread that has something for all tastes. With six rotating menus, I would wager that repeat visits are needed if you plan on sampling a little of everything.
This year’s theme, Sajian Warisan Paya Serai, promises to take diners down memory lane bringing them on a journey through 35 years of buka puasa at the popular coffee house.
Executive chef Ridzuan Malek said diners at Paya Serai can expect all-time favourites served through the years during Ramadan such as classic kampung dishes, Arabian delights, secret recipes from chefs and even dishes inspired by their mothers.
This year, the hotel has partnered with the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) for its “Eat More Local Fruits” campaign. This means diners at Paya Serai will have an array of the freshest fruits, including durian. Three varieties will be on offer: XO, D24 and Udang Merah.
Thanks to a tie-up with Fama, diners can enjoy fresh fruits like durian for buka puasa.
“The recipes for some of the traditional dishes are from our chefs, some of whom have worked here for 35 years. We are bringing back some dishes we used to serve in the past, while offering some new items.
“Besides traditional Malay cuisine, Paya Serai also offers a grill station, live cooking station, steamboat, Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Western cuisine, with a smattering of Arab dishes as well. There’s also a food truck and stalls to liven up the atmosphere,” said Ridzuan, who has been with the hotel for five years.
With such a huge spread, it is impossible to try everything, but Malay sous chef Badrol Mohd Noor recommended the lamb biryani, kerabu and lemang selection, satay, Sup Gearbox, nasi kandar, Gulai Ikan Sembilang, Ikan Bakar Sambal Petai, Itik Salai Masak Lemak, Patin Lemak Tempoyak and pulut durian.
Ridzuan (second from right) and his team who are responsible for the incredible spread at Paya Serai Restaurant.
I tried the lamb biryani and found the meat well-marinated, with bits of fat helping to keep it moist despite being under the glare of the heat lamp. But the best bit was the skin – a crispy, spicy bite of heaven that will have you wishing for more skin and less meat on your plate.
There was a selection of lemang and ketupat – both the normal and palas variety. You should try them with the three types of serunding (spicy meat floss) or the very lemak chicken rendang which had just the right balance of spices and consistency to mop up the sticky morsels.
It was my first time trying Sup Gearbox. Some people call this a glorified sup tulang, and they are not wrong, as the flavour profile is rather similar, with a broth made up of cattle bones, onions, garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon and other herbs cooked over a slow fire.
The lamb biryani is highly recommended for its flavours and crispy skin.
What makes it unique is the rich, creamy marrow from the knee joint that you suck out with a straw. Unfortunately, the bowl I was served was missing the knee joint in question. It was substituted with cubes of beef in a deliciously mouthwatering broth that made me want to go for seconds.
I also tried the Ikan Bakar Sambal Petai (the fish in question is one of three varieties – ikan merah, jenahak or siakap), the Gulai Ikan Sembilang (a species of catfish), and the Itik Kapitan (which was wrongly labelled as the much rarer angsa or goose).
The last dish was particularly gamey and the meat, impossibly tough.
I still believe with duck, roasting is the only way to go. According to Badrol, the angsa version will be offered on rotation, and is cooked Penang Nyonya style. Apparently, it is a popular Ramadan dish up north.
To end, there’s a good selection of desserts, running the gamut of Malay traditional kuih as well as hot steaming putu piring and icy cold cendol.
Paya Serai’s Buka Puasa Buffet Dinner from May 5 to 7 and June 2 to 4 is priced at RM169nett (adult) and RM89nett (child). From May 8 to June 1, the price is RM189nett (adult) and RM99nett (child).
PAYA SERAI RESTAURANT, Hilton Petaling Jaya, 2, Jalan Barat, PJS 52, Petaling Jaya, Selangor (Tel: 03-7955 9122). Business hours: 6am to 10.30pm
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro
This year’s theme, Sajian Warisan Paya Serai, promises to take diners down memory lane bringing them on a journey through 35 years of buka puasa at the popular coffee house.
Executive chef Ridzuan Malek said diners at Paya Serai can expect all-time favourites served through the years during Ramadan such as classic kampung dishes, Arabian delights, secret recipes from chefs and even dishes inspired by their mothers.
This year, the hotel has partnered with the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) for its “Eat More Local Fruits” campaign. This means diners at Paya Serai will have an array of the freshest fruits, including durian. Three varieties will be on offer: XO, D24 and Udang Merah.
Thanks to a tie-up with Fama, diners can enjoy fresh fruits like durian for buka puasa.
“The recipes for some of the traditional dishes are from our chefs, some of whom have worked here for 35 years. We are bringing back some dishes we used to serve in the past, while offering some new items.
“Besides traditional Malay cuisine, Paya Serai also offers a grill station, live cooking station, steamboat, Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Western cuisine, with a smattering of Arab dishes as well. There’s also a food truck and stalls to liven up the atmosphere,” said Ridzuan, who has been with the hotel for five years.
With such a huge spread, it is impossible to try everything, but Malay sous chef Badrol Mohd Noor recommended the lamb biryani, kerabu and lemang selection, satay, Sup Gearbox, nasi kandar, Gulai Ikan Sembilang, Ikan Bakar Sambal Petai, Itik Salai Masak Lemak, Patin Lemak Tempoyak and pulut durian.
Ridzuan (second from right) and his team who are responsible for the incredible spread at Paya Serai Restaurant.
I tried the lamb biryani and found the meat well-marinated, with bits of fat helping to keep it moist despite being under the glare of the heat lamp. But the best bit was the skin – a crispy, spicy bite of heaven that will have you wishing for more skin and less meat on your plate.
There was a selection of lemang and ketupat – both the normal and palas variety. You should try them with the three types of serunding (spicy meat floss) or the very lemak chicken rendang which had just the right balance of spices and consistency to mop up the sticky morsels.
It was my first time trying Sup Gearbox. Some people call this a glorified sup tulang, and they are not wrong, as the flavour profile is rather similar, with a broth made up of cattle bones, onions, garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon and other herbs cooked over a slow fire.
The lamb biryani is highly recommended for its flavours and crispy skin.
What makes it unique is the rich, creamy marrow from the knee joint that you suck out with a straw. Unfortunately, the bowl I was served was missing the knee joint in question. It was substituted with cubes of beef in a deliciously mouthwatering broth that made me want to go for seconds.
I also tried the Ikan Bakar Sambal Petai (the fish in question is one of three varieties – ikan merah, jenahak or siakap), the Gulai Ikan Sembilang (a species of catfish), and the Itik Kapitan (which was wrongly labelled as the much rarer angsa or goose).
The last dish was particularly gamey and the meat, impossibly tough.
I still believe with duck, roasting is the only way to go. According to Badrol, the angsa version will be offered on rotation, and is cooked Penang Nyonya style. Apparently, it is a popular Ramadan dish up north.
To end, there’s a good selection of desserts, running the gamut of Malay traditional kuih as well as hot steaming putu piring and icy cold cendol.
Paya Serai’s Buka Puasa Buffet Dinner from May 5 to 7 and June 2 to 4 is priced at RM169nett (adult) and RM89nett (child). From May 8 to June 1, the price is RM189nett (adult) and RM99nett (child).
PAYA SERAI RESTAURANT, Hilton Petaling Jaya, 2, Jalan Barat, PJS 52, Petaling Jaya, Selangor (Tel: 03-7955 9122). Business hours: 6am to 10.30pm
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro

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It definitely is owned by Nepalese people and all the cooks are from Nepal but the restaurant name is Himalayan Indian cuisine 🤷‍♀️ and it’s definitely not Chinese food

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Nero Durban Style Curry serves authentic Indian cuisine that will leave you begging for more! #DineJoziStyle

Food Nero Durban Style Curry serves authentic Indian cuisine that will leave you begging for more! #DineJoziStyle
Pop-up restaurants, food trucks, and street food vendors are the biggest rage at the moment – and appear to be an easy way to make a quick buck, but, like any restaurant, you need your wits about you when it comes to managing expenses and creating crowd-pleasing dishes that keep people coming back for more!
JoziStyle interviewed Nero and Joaquim Rodrigues, owners of the very popular Nero Durban Style Curry food market popup, about their secrets to creating a successful (and delicious!) food market pop-up!
Q. How would you describe your style of cooking? What inspires you? A: I am very passionate in the kitchen, my style of cooking is never to be disturbed I am focused and remain consistent, I received this inspiration from my mum and grandma at a tender age of 7 years old, when I first starting cooking a baked beans curry which by the way was a hit and a total wipeout!
Q: Describe a typical day cooking for markets? A: The alarm goes off, and you literally crawl out of bed @ 4am from the time you wake up until approximately two hours later, you’re busy going over everything, this involves downright draining and exhausting, a typical example, On a Sunday market I start prepping from Saturday afternoon from about 2pm and ends Sunday 7pm, indeed a lot of work and thought goes into this.
Q: What have been your proudest moments as a cook? A: Definitely seeing people actually buying my food from me and coming back with positive remarks such as: the best bunny chow, and the most delicious curry ever in South Africa! Having followers on my page brings so much joy to me, by the way, this was discovered by my dearest husband that I would do well in the food industry, never did I think it would do this well!
Q: What has been your biggest learning curve starting this business? A: Definitely not to overspend, not over cater, as a lot of food gets wasted, bearing in mind it’s important to also understand the feet that is attending the market, to monitor this on Social media, and this gives us an idea of how much food should be cooked.
Q. What are your favourite ingredients? And, 1 ingredient that we will never find in your kitchen? A: My homemade masala (Some secret spices in this!)
You’ll never find a boxed pre-mixed butter chicken – I don’t do pre-mixed! Everything is made fresh and homemade.
Q. What is your favourite dish that you enjoy cooking? A: I do not have a favourite, but if I had to choose it would definitely be my DELICIOUS Lamb curry of which I perfected
Q: Six people (dead or alive) who you would like to cook for? A: Ina Garten, Michael Symon, Ree Drummond, Sunny Anderson, Geoffrey Zakarian, and Alex Guarnaschelli – I watch them on the cooking channels every day! And they inspire me so much with their technique and presentation, and this is also where I get my ideas
Q. The #1 thing that annoys you in restaurants? A: Customer service, being rude, unfriendly, serving me cold food.
Q. Any final thoughts you’d like to share? A: It would be my greatest joy to open up a restaurant, serving ONLY the best, quality assured! But I guess we all start bottom up but ready to get this going.
If you’re craving an authentic Durban-style curry, visit Nero Durban Style Curry on any of these days:
3rd of May is Bedford Night Market from 5PM-11PM 5th of May is Sylvia’s Day Market from 10AM-4PM 12th of May is Sylvia’s Day Market from 10AM-4PM 19th of May is Sylvia’s Day Market from 10AM-4PM

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A foodie tour of Georgia

Food & Drink , Travel May 2, 2019 A foodie tour of Georgia
What is one of the best parts about exploring a new destination? The food of course! The USA has always been one of the most diverse places to enjoy some great dishes. Georgia is certainly one of those places, whilst it is known for its traditional southern cuisine there is myriad of different cuisines to try.
Georgia’s diverse terrain and long-standing culinary traditions makes it the ultimate foodie destination. With typically Southern dishes on offer like Biscuits & Gravy, Fried Okra, Grits and of course the ubiquitous peach pie (Georgia, of course is known as the Peach State) you really will be spoilt for choice!
So, what is so special about Georgia’s foodie scene? ‘Top Chef’ judge Hugh Acheson says: “Georgia is one of the quintessential places of amazing bounty. From coastal shrimp, clams, and fish, to apple orchards in north Georgia, to olive oil production in Lakeland, to peanuts and grits and every vegetable under the sun, we have an agrarian history that we are reclaiming.”
We started our foodie tour in Atlanta at the incredible TWO Urban Licks, a fabulous restaurant on Atlanta’s nationally-acclaimed BeltLine. If you are a fan of hip, industrial chic dining experiences, then the wood-fired cuisine of this critically-acclaimed restaurant is the perfect choice for you. Why not try the empanada, white shrimp or even the bronzed scallops with gouda grits (my favourite dish whilst in Atlanta)
Acclaimed restaurateur and chef, Ford Fry, has opened multiple award-winning establishments in Atlanta, including JCT. Kitchen & Bar. This warm and friendly restaurant on Atlanta’s Westside serves up sophisticated, Southern fare. JCT’s menu is refined comfort food but amplified by Executive Chef Brian Horn’s masterful technique fused with bold and balanced flavours. Dishes to try includes the ‘angry’ mussels (with bacon and serrano chile) shrimp and grits and the North Georgia trout with lacquered pork belly.
The Atlanta locals love to brunch and one our favourite places to brunch in the city has to be Sway at the Hyatt Regency. Executive Chef Thomas McKeown’s menus are a joy at anytime of the day, but their breakfast/brunch offering is something to be admired. Pancakes and waffles and pastries – oh my!
Barbeque food is huge in Atlanta and with fantastic joints like Heirloom Market and Smoke Ring which is in the city’s Castleberry Hill area. Smoke Ring offers a unique twist on typical barbecue fare such as fried green tomatoes, smoked meatloaf and smoked brisket melt.
Not sure what you want to eat? Take a visit to the Ponce City Market’s food hall in midtown Atlanta where you can choose from a bowl of Japanese ramen to Indian street food at the mind-blowing Bottiwalla eatery.
Known as the Classic City and less than 90 minutes from Atlanta is one of my favourite places – Athens. With its friendly small-town feel, historic architecture, eclectic music scene and great shops, Athens is a pretty college town that offers mouth-watering fare from both internationally acclaimed chefs and up-and-coming talents alike.
The Last Resort Grill serves southwestern-inspired southern cuisine in beautiful downtown Athens. They use traditional methods like open fire, grilling, brining, pickling and preserving to create amazing dishes such as six-hour pig, firecracker filet and picancillo & black pepper crusted hangar.
Another great place for foodies is The National which is run by local renowned chefs Peter Dale and Hugh Acheson. With dishes such as stuffed medjool dates, pizette and fish with green calasparra rice, sauté of squash blossoms, you will walk away with a full belly and a smile on your face!
One of my favourite dishes whilst travelling through the state of Georgia was grits – this is a typical Georgian dish that is synonymous with breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can have grits in Georgia prepared any way you’d like, with butter and salt, with melted cheese, or even a Georgia specialty—with shrimp. Some even have theirs with sugar but every person that I met from Georgian told me this was definitely not the right way and the best way had to be something savoury.
If you are planning a road trip throughout the beautiful state of Georgia (and why wouldn’t you?!) there are lots of amazing restaurants and eateries to try along the way. Lanier Islands is a 1,500-acre year-round vacation destination and is one of Georgia’s most popular lake destination thanks to its premier location on the shores of Lake Sidney Lanier – this is where people from the cities come for their holidays. The resort has an array of restaurants to choose from including Sidney’s which features elegant continental fare and Bullfrogs Bar & Grille which is a more casual affair. The resort is known for its fun water-focused activities which are ideal for visitors of all ages.
Approximately 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, is the adorable town of Gainesville – known as both the Queen City of the Mountains and the ‘Hospitality Capital of the World’. One of my favourite restaurants there was Avacado’s – a friendly and fun café and restaurant in the heart of the historic downtown Gainesville Square. Not only is the food terrific, but the restaurant has a cosy and eclectic atmosphere with local musicians playing on the bustling sidewalks. Yes, of course – avocados do feature on the menu!
If you are looking for traditional family-style cooking, then look no further than The Smith House in downtown Dahlonega. Bessie Smith and her family have been serving family-style country cooking since 1922. Think fried chicken, cornbread and lots of traditional iced tea!
The Forrest Hills Resort doesn’t just make a stunning place to stay and relax, thanks to its picturesque location in the foothills of the Georgia mountains. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a cocktail or two, paired with some traditional Southern cuisine in the most gorgeous surroundings.
Like a quirky a restaurant? Then the Hofer’s Bakery in Helen, Georgia should be on your list. As you enter the town of Helen, you almost feel like you could be in some alpine town in Germany or Austria. Located in the southern Appalachian Mountains, this town is adorably kitsch thanks to its Bavarian style buildings, quaint shops and riverside location. Bigg Daddy’s Restaurant & Tavern is also a great place to visit for a casual night out with lots of beer.
Georgia, you have been an absolute peach of a trip and the food has been an absolute treat – We can’t wait to say ‘Hey y’all’ once again soon!

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Meet the Colorado Chef Reviving Indigenous Culture

Andrea Murdoch’s chilled amaranth corn pudding. Photo by Andi Murphy Meet the Colorado Chef Reviving Indigenous Culture
Andrea Murdoch illuminates indigenous issues through her thoughtful Latin- and Native-American-inspired fare. Eat and Drink
Most culinary inspiration is sparked by intangibles—sights, smells, tastes. But for chef Andrea Murdoch , it’s numbers that tell a story and, in turn, inspire her to share her own. Her company, Four Directions Cuisine , is named for the four-sided Inca Cross, a symbol of her Andean Venezuelan culture that she wears around her neck. Murdoch also proudly curates dishes with components from her birth country for catering, cooking classes, and pop-up dinners around the Mile High City, marrying Latin American ingredients with those from local Native American tribal farmers and breeders to illuminate the stories of those too often ignored. “There’s a lot of symbolism and intention in indigenous cultures,” says Murdoch. “That’s really beautiful to me.”
The numbers that move Murdoch most are those linked to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) movement. According to a study by the Urban Indian Health Institute, almost 6,000 Native American women and girls were reported missing or found murdered in 2016 alone. Illuminating indigenous issues such as the MMIW is the driving force behind Murdoch’s cooking. Through signature dishes like her blue corn and amaranth flour “mountain biscuits,” Murdoch celebrates indigenous culture and draws attention to its most pressing problems. Take that blue corn, for instance: Murdoch sources it from the Ute tribe-run Bow & Arrow Foods in southwest Colorado. “When people take (a bite) and ask ‘what’s in this?’—that starts a crucial dialogue,” she says. Advertisement
For those interested in joining that dialogue (and sampling Murdoch’s soulful cooking), the Colorado chef is teaming up with Comal Heritage Food Incubator for a special Warrior Goddess Dinner on Sunday, May 5 , which is recognized as the National Day of Awareness for the MMIW movement. Attendees will savor a four-course dinner of wholesome dishes like Alamosa striped bass with quinoa pilaf. Murdoch will explain the indigenous origins of her dishes, but there will be one element of the evening she hopes speaks for itself: four seats will remain empty, with the exception of a red dress in each. “Those will be for our stolen sisters,” says Murdoch. “That’s who all this is for.”
If You Go : Proceeds from the Warrior Goddess Dinner will benefit the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center , a non-profit that provides education about and brings awareness to MMIW. You can buy tickets for the dinner, which begins at 6 p.m., here .

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Chinese AgriFood Startups Raise $5.8bn in 2018 as Digital Penetration & Consumer Fragmentation Drive Growth

Bitsx Bites Leave a comment With the largest population in the world and as one of the largest agricultural economies in the world, China represents a major opportunity for startups and investors alike. Chinese agrifood startups raised $5.8 billion of investment across 283 deals with 318 participating investors during 2018, according to the 2018 China AgriFood Startup Investing Report released by AgFunder in collaboration with Chinese food tech VC Bits x Bites. While Restaurant Marketplace Meituan-Dianping’s pre-IPO Series F round of $1.5 billion certainly contributed to the jump, a 60% year-over-year increase in the number of deals highlights that there was considerable growth in the industry besides. There was also a 60% increase in the number of investors participating in the space. The report includes technology startups operating across the agrifood value chain as well as other non-tech startups disrupting China’s agrifood industry with the addition of the Premium Branded Foods & Restaurants category from AgFunder’s typical reporting, which is focused on technology startups. All categories of agrifood innovation showed growth except In-Store Retail & Restaurant Tech where the hype around unmanned stores abated as many startups in this category failed. And while the majority of deals focused on downstream technologies closer to the consumer such as food delivery, investment in upstream technologies increased over 800% year-over-year, as innovators strive to boost one of the largest agricultural economies in the world. “In 2018 we’re seeing quite a fusion of innovations building on the digital ecosystem that has penetrated every aspect of Chinese lives,” said Matilda Ho, founder of Bits x Bites, the co-author of the report. “Some of these companies are creating new business models such as group buy eGrocery, others are advancing different B2B services for the expanding food delivery value chain. This shows China’s digital prowess and how quickly and nimbly Chinese entrepreneurs can adapt and compete.” Jumbo Deals While deal activity remains fairly muted compared to other markets such as the US or Europe, China’s agrifood startup scene can be characterized by the huge deals that close each year. 2018 was another record-breaker with Meituan-Dianping’s $1.5 billion Series F beating out ele.me’s $1 billion deal in 2017. M&A and IPO deals were also far larger than elsewhere. Alibaba finally completed its acquisition of food delivery platform ele.me at a valuation of $9.5 billion and Meituan-Dianping’s IPO valued it at a whopping $52.8 billion. Compare that to Europe where the five highest value food delivery platforms had a combined value of around $25 billion towards the end of last year and you get the picture. Demands of China’s Fragmented Consumer Base Drive AgriFood Innovation Overall, downstream technologies raised $4.7 billion in investment dollars representing 176% growth from 2017. The number of deals nearly doubled to 218. While entrepreneurs continue to answer the demands of the growing middle class for premium food products and experiences–a major driver for the overall Chinese economy– the fragmentation in the population became more obvious as entrepreneurs also started to innovate for lower-income consumers with services that appeal to their specific budget and convenience requirements. Restaurant Marketplaces — startups with tech platforms for delivering food from a wide range of vendors — was the best-funded category snagging $1.9 billion in funding comprising 33.8% of total funding dollars for the year. That cash was deployed across only nine deals as Meituan-Dianping’s $1.5bn mega-deal represented the majority. Excluding that deal, eGrocery was the best-funded category including its own large deals such as Dada-JD Daojia’s $500 million from Walmart and JD.com, China’s 4th largest internet company that relies on the subsidiary to help it compete with Tencent and Alibaba for data and traffic. eGrocery startups raised $1.7 billion across 54 deals. Premium Branded Food & Restaurant Deals, the category encompassing new, higher-end food brands and eating experiences, also saw some large rounds with Luckin Coffee raising a $200 million Series A followed closely with another $200 million in Series B funding later in the year. Competitor Hey Tea snagged $63 million. Other hot flavors in this category included Sichuan cuisines like Spice Temptation and chicken fast-food chain LXJChina. The only category that did not experience growth was In-Store Retail & Restaurant Tech. Investments in unmanned stores and vending machines cooled off in 2018 to $292 million from $430.57 million in 2017. Bingobox, Aibuy, Aibianli, Xiaofan Cabinet Technology, DeepBlue AI, Yee Coffee, and Bianli24 were among the 42 startups in that segment of retail tech that still raised funding despite the pullback in investor interest. Upstream Tech Started to Pick Up Despite the strong focus on consumer-facing technologies, investment and activity upstream increased significantly as startups aim to improve efficiencies for farmers and throughout the broken supply chain. China produces one-quarter of the world’s grain and feeds one-fifth of the world’s population with less than 10% of the world’s arable land, according to FAO data . Upstream technologies raised $960 million across 64 deals in 2018 up from $106 million across 28 deals in 2017. Funding activity to startups operating upstream in the supply chain and closer to the farmer increased 129% year-over-year accounting for 22.6% of the number of deals in 2018. The dollar value of upstream deals also increased to represent 16.6% of total funding from just 5.9% in 2017. The upstream growth can mostly be attributed to the rapid expansion of agribusiness marketplaces, which raised $813 million in funding. Entrepreneurs in this category are trying to connect farmers more directly to consumers and markets to fix inefficiencies in the supply chain and archaic cold chain systems. Meicai, the online platform that connects farmers to small and medium-sized restaurants, raised $450 million in Series E funding and was the biggest contributor to the Agribusiness Marketplace category. Cold chain supplier Jiuye also completed a $14 million Series C. Songxiaocai, a wholesale platform for agricultural product procurement, completed a Series B1 of $32.2m and a Series B2 of $25.2m. Founded by ex-employees of Alibaba, it provides databased demand predictions to help farmers maximize their profits through more informed management and input purchasing decisions. Haishangxian and Yijiupi are both specialized B2B procurement platforms. Haishangxian focuses on B2B seafood products and Yijiupi is an alcohol online merchant that received investment from food delivery giant Meituan-Dianping and online behemoth Tencent. “Trends in China can rise just as rapidly as they fall. Some of the models will be refined and improved, others will disappear within a year,” said Ho. “China has no shortage of companies that raise eyebrows with their lightning-fast expansion and massive funding rounds. In most cases, what ultimately will achieve sustainable impact are those companies that are addressing real pain points in the food supply chain and are taking a long-term view in creating value.” Growing Investor Base Some 318 investors participated in the agrifood startup investment market in 2018, up 60% in number from 2017 as the category becomes a mainstay for investing communities all over the world. The most active investor this year was Matrix Partners Chin a, the China subsidiary of the Silicon Valley investor. Matrix backed agribusiness B2B platform Songxiaocai and community- based group buy eGrocer Xiaoqule, among others. Alibaba and Tencent, the two online giants, continued to play a pivotal role in the industry, responsible for just under half the total funding during the year — $2.7 billion. Baidu was less relevant in 2018 than it was in 2017. The continued support of Alibaba and Tencent will be important for the Chinese agrifood startup ecosystem to establish itself, but it also comes with its pitfalls, as Bloomberg reported late last year. GaoRong VC was new to the list. With roughly $2.2bn under management, it is one of the investors behind the now publicly-listed group-buy companies Pinduoduo and Meituan-Dianping. A growing number of Chinese investors backed international agrifood tech startups across Israel, India, Singapore, the US, and UK. The largest international investment made by Chinese investors was Indian food delivery app Swiggy’s $1 billion late-stage round valuing it at $3.3 billion, involving Tencent, Hillhouse, and Wellington Management. The investment shows a desire to replicate the investment return of a business model proven successful in China. Other offshore investments by Chinese VCs include Sailing Capital’s investment in Impossible Foods, and Bits x Bites’ five investments in 2018, including gene editing, cellular agriculture, chickpea protein, and low GI rice.

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