Grab the girls and take a city break this Galentine’s Day!

Grab the girls and take a city break this Galentine’s Day!

city breaks , city tours , Food & Drink , Restaurants & Bars , Staycation , Travel February 11, 2019 Grab the girls and take a city break this Galentine’s Day!
It seems that Galentine’s Day is most definitely a thing now and as a predominantly female team, at #TeamCoco, we are so on board! If there are national days celebrating ‘National Feet Day’, ‘If Pets had thumbs day’ or even ‘National Waffle Day’ (potato, sweet or endless chatter – who knows!) then an international day celebrating our wonderful friends is definitely worthy!
What better way to celebrate the big G than to get the girls together for a city break adventure? Here is our round up of three of the best UK city breaks to take this Galentine’s Day.
Leeds
Named as one of the Top 10 European Travel Destinations of 2017, Leeds continues to impress visitors with its thriving cultural scene, beautiful architecture and superb restaurants and bars. Hit up one of the 16 free museums or the Leeds Gallery for your dose of culture, or why not take a road trip out of the city and visit the amazing Yorkshire Sculpture Park?
If you love to shop until you drop, Leeds won’t disappoint. The prettiest place to shop has to be the Victoria Quarter with its high ceilings, marble floors and iron railings. Here you will find the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Ted Baker and more.
Foodies will rejoice in Leeds, there really is something for everyone. One of our favourites is Matt Healy X The Foundry. The former MasterChef: The Professionals finalist serves up a sensational seasonal menu utilising local produce. For fantastic Indian cuisine, Hansa‘s in the city centre is the place to be – locals rave over the superb vegetarian dishes too.
Edinburgh
Steeped in history and chock-full of charm, Edinburgh is not only a dream destination for foodies, but it’s also a festival powerhouse too. Go Scotland!
Packed with medieval buildings, the iconic castle, and of course an unrivalled selection of great bars and restaurants, Edinburgh is a fantastic destination for a fab city break and it’s just over an hour’s flight from London.
Edinburgh seamlessly blends old and new, which is evident as you wander from the Old Town to the New. If you love architecture, Edinburgh won’t disappoint. One fantastic example of this is at the foot of The Mound, where you will find the National Galleries of Scotland complex. This includes both the Royal Scottish Academy building and the National Gallery of Scotland which were designed by the acclaimed architect William Henry Playfair.
The restaurant scene in Edinburgh is pretty spectacular, Fhior on Broughton Street serves up a stunning menu full of locally-sourced produce. The Ox (also on Broughton Street) is a vibrant restaurant that offers local and seasonal produce that specialises in Ox-related items. If you are looking for a great Sunday Roast, head to Kyloe where you can enjoy an award-winning roast dinner (this eatery won the Best Roast Dinner in Scotland award in 2016) Bath
Bath History lovers will have a ball in beautiful Bath which is one of the UK’s most-visited cities thanks to its pretty Georgian architecture and its fantastic selection of bars and restaurants. A visit to the Roman Baths is an absolute must and why not check out the luxurious Thermae Spa where you can enjoy a treatment or two and take a soak in the rooftop pool.
You can’t visit Bath without trying an Afternoon Tea, there are plenty of restaurants and eateries that serve up this English classic. The only question is – will you have a cup of tea or a glass of champagne with it?
When it comes to lively entertainment and a buzzing nightlife, Bath has it all – from nightclubs and bars to comedy nights and live music. Why not take in some live jazz at the Green Park Brasserie, or watch a burlesque cabaret performance at Komedia with the girls? Share this:

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Try Little Lamb hotpot – directly across the road from the main entrance of LRM. Cheap, traditional, tasty and unique no-BS hotpot style cooking. No ‘fusion’ malarkey here! Geales is one of the best seafood spots in the Marina so do try it whilst at LRM. Pierchic isn’t exactly close to LRM but can’t be beaten, not least for ambience and environment. Buddha Bar at GH is worth a visit, and whilst the food is pretty good it’s a special place to spend a lovely few hours. As a ‘pan Asian’ concept, it’s worth getting across to Cluster A – JLT for Nara. As Spice & Ice, it was one of the best Indian concepts in Dubai and there’s often some amazing deals – brunches/ladies nights etc. Do yourself a favour and download the food on click app (or the similar Uber Eats, Deliveroo etc,) and try some of the restaurants delivering as takeaway. It’s not often takeaways cover the range of cuisines and quality that the Marina area does, so take advantage of it whilst in Dubai and get it delivered to your room 😉 Brick Lane at Al Barsha is one of the best ‘British’ Indian curry shops in Dubai IMO.

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Mukka Fitzroy

February 12, 2019 Chicken Tikka – $16.0
Mukka Fitzroy is a well-established Indian restaurant, definitely a popular spot that all Melbournians seem to love. With plenty of customers and deliveries even on a Wednesday evening, Mukka impressed us with its homely vibes, and authentic, tasty Indian food that I would highly recommend to any lovers of Indian cuisine! Vegetable Biryani – $17.0
The good fat: A definitely highlight in the entrees Mukka provided was the Gobi 65, in otherwise, quick-fried and peppery cauliflower – the outside coating gave the perfect golden crunch and biting through to reach the soft, light cauliflower underneath was an exciting texture contrast. The vegetable biryani was so flavoursome, and steaming in its pot – we just couldn’t wait to dig in and mix all the veggies and nuts together! Gobi 65 – $11.0
Call me basic but the butter chicken was TO DIE FOR – whenever I have Indian, the naan and butter chicken is what I live for (the only time I ever order chicken), and Mukka’s butter chicken now tops my list. It was such a light, sweet and creamy butter chicken that didn’t feel heavy at all to eat, and dipping my flaky piece of garlic naan into it was so satisfying, and it just got all the more satisfying when I finally got to eat it! The 4 -hour cooked goat curry in tomato and onion gravy also provided a delicious dip for our naan – the flesh was so tender and the flavours contrasted that of the relatively sweeter, butter chicken.
Spice lovers would also down the tandoori mushrooms and chicken tikka easily – with very unique and contrasting flavours rather than just all a mash of spice! Gulab Jamun – $9.0
In terms of drinks, the mango lassi was a definite hit! This authentic Indian based drink is something Mukka has perfected – a smooth and milky yoghurt blend that tastes a bit like a light smoothie, definitely needed for such a spicy and intense dinner!
The bad fat: I felt that the kulfi icecream with the tapioca-like “noodles” was a little strange the texture of the smooth jelly was really random – and the pistachio flavour of the kulfi wasn’t very prominent. The chicken tikka was also slightly on the drier side.
FAT-O-METER: 4.5/5

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Let the taste sensations astound you when these opposites attract

The first step to creating a memorable wine and food experience is to find a common denominator between food and drink — turkey and cranberry sauce, for instance, served with a Pinot Noir, known for berry flavors. But when more of the same doesn’t mean more enjoyment, proceed to step two and look for opposites that attract. Take gooey. Many of us crave the rich slather of melted cheese, soft eggs and creamy sauces. But a caress turns into a clog with the addition of a complex wine, often grown in warm climates, which weigh down the palate with alcohol, sugar or oak. Instead, pair food’s richness and a glass of wine with cleansing acidity, often grown in cold climates. Brie en croute, for instance, is an easy and elegant appetizer but quickly dulls the taste buds. To tickle the tummy and urge the palate to ask for more, add the snap of acidity from a white Burgundy. While this region’s top wines fetch $400 per bottle and up (way up), the Macon subregion provides excellent and affordable wines including: Macon-Charnay “Les Chenes,” Domaine Manciat-Poncet (Burgundy, France): Green apple refreshment with mineral complexity and vibrant finish makes a classic cocktail and pairing with cow’s milk cheese, seafood, poultry and dishes prepared with butter. One hundred percent chardonnay grown in the grape’s homeland. About $20 California Chardonnay is famed for buttery richness but is often laden with oak and absent acidity. To pair with richer butter or cheese dishes, turn to cool Russian River Valley and wines including: Chardonnay “Dutton Ranch,” Dutton-Goldfield (Russian River Valley, California): Sun-ripened orchard aromas, brimming with flavors of apples, pears, and oranges with a touch of ginger, focusing into a bright acid and mineral finish. Aged 10 months in French oak, 40 percent new. Patience to decant or leave a partial bottle overnight in the fridge will be rewarded with added complexity. Serve as a rich cocktail and complement to butternut squash ravioli, scallops in cream sauce and the extra-exotic and oh-so-easy truffle mashed potatoes (simply sprinkle in truffle salt). About $36 Spicy cuisine is a Chicagoland specialty but will ignite the palate with the added heat of high-alcohol wine. For make-me-sweat cuisines including Korean barbecue and Indian curry, protect your palate with a layer of sweet or fruity wine. In white, the Riesling and Chenin blanc grapes offer brisk acidity and sweetness ranging from nearly-dry to honey-sweet; ask your merchant to recommend a wine to your preference or look for: Riesling “Gobelsburger,” Schloss Gobelsburg (Kamptal, Austria): Chemically dry, but lush with nectarine flavor intertwined with mineral complexity and refreshing finish, this Austrian beauty satisfies a wide range of cuisine, including most appetizers, spicy cuisine, fried dishes, seafood (including sushi), veggies and poultry. About $17 Red wine lovers, look for rich fruit extract to add a protective layer between scratchy tannin and your palate. Anne Pichon, Syrah Grenache “Sauvage,” Anne Pichon (Ventoux, France): Lush aroma of ripe berries and brown spice, velvety texture and pleasing tannin, the result of hand-craft tradition, small production and organic winegrowing. About $15
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Name: Touraine Rose Producer: Charles Bove Region: Touraine, Loire Valley, France Vintage: Multi-vintage Availability: Wine & spirits shops and specialty grocers, $19 Distributed by: Bodin Street Wines & Spirits, Chicago Tasting Notes: This sparkling Rose tickles your palate with delicate, dry-ish raspberry and red fruit flavors, fine and abundant bubbles and mouthwatering finish. Serve chilled as a satisfying cocktail, to complement light, flavorful appetizers (sushi, barbecue wings, cured meats, and cheese), dinners of seafood, poultry and light meats and omelets, lox and bagels and all breakfasts in bed on the morning after the night before. Join Mary at the Chopping Block: On March 15, we’ll explore the taste sensations of ethnic cuisines paired with wine in “Food and Wine Around the World”: The traditional rule “serve red wine with red meat” may apply to a Chicago-style steak, but what about Indian Tandoori Lamb Chops? Does “white wine with fish” work with Japanese Spicy Tuna? Will any wine pair with Salsa Verde? In this mix-and-match of five courses and five wines, we’ll test the guidelines of pairing wine with international, so you can BYO, takeout or prepare your global culinary adventure at home with confidence. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Chopping Block , 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 107, Chicago. Discussion led by Advanced Sommelier Mary Ross. Seating is limited and registration required. For more information, call (312) 644- 6360 or visit www.thechoppingblock.com/classes. • Mary Ross is an Advanced Sommelier (Court of Master Sommeliers), a Certified Wine Educator (Society of Wine Educators) and recipient of the Wine Spectator’s “Grand Award of Excellence.” Write to her at food@daily herald.com.

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Black Mountain Ranch North Village Real Estate Spotlight

Black Mountain Ranch North Village Real Estate Spotlight
Our Black Mountain Ranch North Village real estate spotlight features an affluent San Diego northeast area suburban community.
Black Mountain Ranch covers over 5,000 acres near the Torrey Highlands and Rancho Peñasquitos communities.
Fred Maas developed the Black Mountain Ranch taking over 16 years for completion.
Two different residential developments consist of the Black Mountain Ranch. Del Sur developed the northern side while Santaluz developed the southern side.
The 1,550 foot Black Mountain summit provides a 360-degree view of downtown San Diego, rolling hills, and the Pacific Ocean.
Black Mountain Ranch North Village Homes
As of February 2019 the average sales price for a Black Mountain Ranch North Village home lists at $1.4 million. Completed sales show a 98.9% sales price compared to list price ratio ($1.38 million). The median square foot per sales price comes out to $411.
A 3-bedroom, 3.5 bath Spanish style home with 3,622 square feet lists around $1.4 million in early 2019.
Santaluz Community
Santaluz , a master planned community embellishing the California coastal natural resources near San Diego. Residents include senior executives, young entrepreneurs, empty-nesters, and young families.
This gated community provides 24-hour security along 1,000 acres of open space. Reclaimed water maintains its drought-resistant native plants. The gentle hillsides display colorful California lupine and poppies. California oak and sycamore trees shelter its deep ravines year round.
Groomed trails cover over 25 miles throughout the development inviting exercise enthusiasts and nature lovers who explore the type of California they would otherwise drive eastward for hours to enjoy.
Every house offers unique architectural styles for a first-class retreat. Its unique circular lots offer fantastic views from any angle. Sizes range from 2,100 to 15,100 square feet. Catering to individual preferences and lifestyles.
Its Village Green spanning 11 acres with a membership only Santaluz Clubhouse & Spa and Hacienda provides world-class resort amenities for the entire community.
The Santaluz world-class, 250-acre private golf course features 400 foot Bermuda grass fairways. This Rees Jones golf course complements the surrounding environment by delivering stunning panoramic Pacific Ocean views with unobstructed stunning sunsets.
Offering a “dark sky stargazing” with no competing lighting allows breathtaking views of stars and the celestial galaxy at night.
Del Sur Community
Since 2006, Del Sur developed into a 2,000 family community with award winning schools and a unified community spirit.
Del Sur boasts 11 pools and 14 parks scattered throughout its community. A unique outdoor lifestyle for all of its residents.
The Del Sur community consists of high-value large homes.
Have questions about Black Mountain Ranch North Village Homes?
Black Mountain Ranch Parks
Black Mountain Ranch Open Space Park sits off Carmel Valley Road. More than 1,280 acres of canyons, sage-covered ridges , and chaparral owned and managed by the City of San Diego. Visitors view the way Southern California’s coastline appeared over 100 years ago.
South Village Neighborhood Park , serviced by the city, located off of Camino del Sur. Built in 2005, this park provides a baseball field, basketball court, and a play area featuring two small slides for your children and a large slide for older kids. The slides designed for children 5 to 12 years old. A large sand area surrounds the play area. Ample parking, restrooms and water fountains available.
Black Mountain Ranch Shopping
Del Sur Town Center features the Target store which opened in 2015. Serving the affluent community of Black Mountain Ranch. Nestled in a 210,000 square foot complex with over 67,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. Additional tenants include: Burger Lounge , a hamburger franchise headquartered in San Diego since 2007. They specialize in grass-fed beef, shakes, and salads. Bike Shop rewarded a perfect 5 Stars by Yelp. Chick-fill-A , a franchise specializing in everything chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Choice Juicery specializing in cold-pressed juices, healthy eats, and fruit smoothies. Frost A Gelato Shoppe rated by Four Square as one of the 15 best gelato shops in San Diego. Gor Gai Thai Restaurant where Yelp rates them 4 Stars (out of 5) for their casual Thai foods. Orangetheory Fitness offering technology-tracked, science-backed, coach-inspired group workouts producing results from inside out. Ototo Sushi where Yelp gives them a 4 Star rating for their Sushi, Tempura, and Garlic Crunchy Roll. Piacere Mio Restaurant with authentic Italian foods. Sprouts Farmers Market earned 4 Stars from Yelp for their healthy foods; and Starbucks to relieve all coffee cravings.
Other nearby shopping areas include:
Carmel Mountain Ranch Town Center with over 40 shops featuring: Boto Sushi , a Japanese fusion cuisine dining experience rated 4 Stars by Yelp for their Sushi, Asian Fusion, and Japanese foods; Champagne French Bakery Cafe offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, baked French delights, and catering; Delhi Kitchen serving Indian cuisine; Dickey’s Barbecue Pit featuring hickory-smoked barbecue pulled pork, beef brisket, St. Louis style ribs, turkey, sausages, whole smoked chickens, along with side dishes, salads, and desserts; Greek Corner Cafe , a family-owned small Mediterranean café rated 4 Stars by Yelp for their Gyro Salads, Lamb Shank, and Chicken Kabob Plate; L&L Hawaiian Barbecue only serving original Hawaiian barbecue; and El Pollo Loco serving citrus-marinated flame-grilled chicken with fresh salsa and warm tortillas. Catering and free delivery available.
4S Ranch Village Center next to some of San Diego’s best running, hiking and biking trails featuring 29 shops, eateries, and services such as: Donut Touch serving unique exquisite donuts; Wholesome Choice Pet Market selling all type of healthy pet foods and toys; Yogurt Heaven as the name implies, heavenly yogurt treats; Yoga Six for traditional yoga classes; and Starbucks for your morning caffeine or afternoon treats.

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2019’s Top 12 Muslim-Friendly Destinations That Won’t Break Your Budget

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It’s only February, but we’re already clearing our schedules and dreaming of the next quick trip to take 😉 Whether you’re sneaking off to new locales during the long weekend, or blowing your entire annual leave on a big trip, it’s always exciting to think of where you’re going to go next. Credit: GIPHY
For those of us with tighter budgets, there’s always that little worry that we won’t get as immersive a journey as someone else. But that isn’t true! Tailoring your trip to your budget is easier than ever these days, and we’ve compiled a list of 12 affordable and Muslim-friendly destinations to help you get started. 😁 Hong Kong
Hong Kong is the destination that just keeps on delivering. From the Dragon’s Back to dim sum , it’s definitely a Muslim-friendly budget haven that’ll keep you on your toes. Make sure to brush up on your Cantonese before you get there – knowing how to bargain will definitely get you a long way 😉
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The nature and hiking trails in Hong Kong cater to every experience level – from bird-watching at the laidback Hong Kong Wetland Park and Tsim Bei Tsui to the more challenging route through the traditional Hakka village of Plover Cove Country Park, you’ll be kept busy trying to keep up with all of the sights and sounds outside of the city centre. For creatives who want to keep their Instagram feed busy with bright colours and outstanding architecture, why not craft your own photo walk through some of the most eye-catching and unique locations throughout the islands ?
#HHWT Tip: With so much to do in Hong Kong, it can be difficult to know where to start especially if you’re working with a tighter budget – check out our ultimate guide to affordable accommodations, transport, food, and everything in-between ! Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap is an old city that continues to grow amidst rapid change, and you’ll be able to see how history blends with the present and future amidst its streams and streets. A 4D3N trip may be enough to cover most of the major sights , but taking your time here will let you immerse yourself in centuries of history and tradition!
There’s no way we could write this without mentioning Angkor Wat. Though it’s only one of the structures within the larger Angkor Archaeological Park, the temple’s sheer size and scale make it an ancient marvel. You’ll need an Angkor pass to visit – prices range from 149,000 riels (USD37) for a 1-day pass to 290,000 riels (USD72) for a 7-day pass – but it’s worth it to get to really explore the entire complex, and you’ll get access to some other temples such as Phnom Krom and Wat Athvea too. The floating villages are another sight you can’t miss – just remember to do your research first, as each village is unique in its own way! After spending your days out under the sun, spend your evenings trawling the Old Markets to cool down with some refreshing fruit shakes, pancakes, or rolled ice cream.
#HHWT Tip: You might be tempted to purchase the pass online so that you can beat the queue – but online prices are higher than purchasing them over the counter! 😱 The pass purchase process is usually pretty fast, and once you have your pass in hand you’ll be able to visit the temples right away. There are day tours and guides you can hire for the day too if you’re a history buff who’s looking to learn more about the symbolism of the temples. Perth, Australia
Perth has a bit of a reputation for being one of the pricier Australian cities – but this isn’t true! Thanks to the favourable exchange rate, if you plan your accommodations and itinerary well you can easily cut down on transport costs by walking around most of the time or hopping onto a tour that will be well worth the cost. If you’re just planning to visit the beach you’ll definitely be able to cut down on your costs, but Perth has so much more that will linger in your memories forever!
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The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park is a surreal sight you can’t miss out on. The limestone pillars look like another world, and if you’re looking for a good photo op they’re a perfect background you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Just make sure to bring along your sunblock if you’re going there after mid-day, as it can get hot out in the sun! In the evening, cool down with some once-in-a-lifetime stargazing while you have the chance. Renting a car for the drive out to Lake Clifton will be well worth it to catch a glimpse of the Milky Way, and the rest of Western Australia has other sites where you can sit under the stars and get lost in your thoughts.
P.S. To get you started, check out our 5D4N Muslim-friendly itinerary full of fresh seafood and stunning IG-worthy spaces ! Hokkaido, Japan
Just like Perth, we usually don’t think of Japan when it comes to budget-friendly trips – but Hokkaido is the ideal Muslim-friendly location for nature-lovers who just want to enjoy the Japanese outdoors . If you’re staying in Sapporo, you can spend your days walking around to enjoy the sights – but if you’re visiting the smaller towns, check out our tip below for how to spend wisely on your transport! With some useful Hokkaido cost-saving tips on hand , you’ll completely change your mind about travelling on a budget in Japan!
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Flower fields might not sound so impressive – but the sprawling carpets of colours at Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park (adult entrance fee is only 500 yen) in Ozora town look completely out-of-this-world. Full bloom for the shibazakura tends to happen in the last two weeks of May, giving you a narrow period to witness this stunning and careful display. Farm Tomita is another must-see for nature-lovers – it has over a dozen fields of lavender, poppies, baby’s breath and much more that bloom throughout the year 😍 If you’re more interested in the classic wintertime holiday, check out these 10 ideas for the best winter activities in Hokkaido .
#HHWT Tip: If you’re visiting in the summer or autumn, grab some friends and split the cost of renting a car to get around – it’ll make things much easier especially in more rural areas. But if you’re going on a wintertime adventure – opt for an Inter City Bus Pass or Hokkaido Rail Pass instead so that you won’t have to drive through the blistering snow! Komodo, Indonesia
Just a short flight away if you’re based in Southeast Asia, Komodo’s the perfect destination for a quick nature trip that won’t stretch your wallet out too much 😄 You can get hostel accommodations here or on Labuan Bajo for less than 351,000rp (USD25) a night if you’re willing to rough it out, and nature-lovers will love exploring all of the different islands and seeing the unique beauty Indonesia’s wildlife has to offer. (P.S. Komodo’s just one of Indonesia’s amazing backpacking-friendly locations !)
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Skip the expensive tour groups, and head to Komodo National Park on your own. The entrance fee is only 155,000rp (USD11) on weekdays and 295,000rp (USD21) on Sundays and national holidays – definitely worth it for getting a peek at the endangered Komodo dragons (just don’t get too close to these dangerous beasts)! You can even hike and swim without worrying too much about your budget – additional fees for activities can cost as low as 28,100rp (USD2) per person. End your days on the beach, and watch the sunset stand out against the pink sand shores 😍
#HHWT Tip: Check Flores Komodo Expedition’s page to find out more about the different fees attached to the different activities. Though they may be affordable, make sure you have enough cash on you so that you’ll be able to do everything without worrying, as vendors may not accept other methods of payment 😊 And as the waves near the shore are known to be rough, make sure you pick an activity that’s appropriate and safe for you! Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the hidden gems of Eastern Europe. While it isn’t an Islamic country, it’s still a place rich in Islamic history, halal food, and religious diversity. Flights here can be a little pricier than the other locations in the list, but the affordability of accommodations, transport, and attractions on the ground make this an ideal spot to head to for a meaningful and unique European getaway .
Known as the “European Jerusalem”, Sarajevo is a can’t-miss stop that’s also regarded as one of the most affordable and Muslim-friendly European cities! The iconic Mostar bridge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will leave you in awe – if the view from Žuta Tabija (Yellow Fortress) hasn’t already taken your breath away 😮 Once you’ve seen the beauty and history Bosnia has to offer , remember to feast on some authentic Bosnian cuisine to round up your trip – you have to try the Ćevapi (Bosnian-style kebabs served in a pita-like sandwich) before you go 😋
P.S. As the public transport system in Bosnia isn’t super dependable, trips between locations may even stretch into hours depending on the location. Make sure to plan your itinerary in advance, and try to figure out a comfortable walking route to see the sights rather than depending solely on buses or taxis! If you want to conquer Bosnia and some of its neighbours during your trip, check out our 2-week itinerary that will show you the best of the Balkans (from personal experience!) 😁 Belitung, Indonesia
Belitung is another hidden gem of an island that promises beauty and wonder without putting a strain on your budget. This island is still a little underrated compared to its larger counterparts (for now 😉) but its calming blue waves, breath-taking scenery, and laid-back atmosphere will put all of your worries at ease.
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The Open Pit – a former tin mine – is a famous landmark of the island. Technically, it’s not ‘officially’ open as a tourist attraction, but that hasn’t stopped visitors from admiring the red cliffs, old caves, and awe-inspiring views 🤭 It’s quite a hike up to the top of the cliffs, but the view you’ll get will make it worth the sweat! If you’re looking for a view that doesn’t require as much walking, try visiting Pulau Pasir at low tide, when this little ‘pulau’ (island) emerges from the sea. Because it’s so small, you can see all of the surrounding islands while you’re there – so set your alarms and make sure not to miss out!
P.S. Taxis are a common way to get around the island, but Street Taxi Belitung is the only licensed operator so be careful of unlicensed vehicles and drivers! If you’re travelling with friends and want to cover as much of the island as possible, it may be worth it to split the cost of a rental car tour – a day tour covering the major sights starts and including both driver and fuel starts at 548,000rp (USD39). Krabi, Thailand
Krabi is a popular budget-friendly destination – and for good reason ! You can get lots of island-hopping done at your own relaxed pace, spend your evenings exploring the night markets, and still have plenty of time (and allowance!) left over to dig into halal authentic Thai food 😋
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There are fewer beaches in Krabi than the nearby Phuket, but you’ll still be spoilt for choice when you see the views at Railay or Ao Nang – the blue waters are tempting when it’s hot out, and in the blink of an eye you’ll find that you’ve spent a whole day just relaxing on the beach and soaking in the seaside atmosphere. There are even lesser known beaches such as Klong Muang and Tub Kaek nearby if you want some peace and tranquillity. Krabi is the perfect location for relaxation on a budget – just make sure to check what the weather will be like so you won’t get caught in monsoon season!
P.S. Not convinced Krabi should be your next Thailand trip? Check out our comparison between Phuket and Krabi to find out which one is more your speed! If we’ve managed to convince you, why not get your planning started by looking at out 4D3N Krabi getaway itinerary under 8,500 baht (USD270 )? Chiang Mai, Thailand
For those who are really on a shoestring budget, Chiang Mai is a backpacker’s heaven! With lots of affordable hostels or dormitories to choose from and affordable food and transport easily within reach, you won’t need to sacrifice cost for comfort in order to enjoy yourself in this exciting town.
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If you’re planning to shop till you drop, give the malls a pass and head right to the Walking Streets and Bazaars! The Saturday and Sunday Walking Streets are a weekend delight, full of accessories, art, handicrafts and buskers who line the streets. The Night Bazaars are also a visual feast, brimming with everything from handmade trinkets to cheap clothing that’ll be perfect for your summer wardrobe! Just remember to brush up on some handy bargaining phrases before you go 😉 If you really don’t plan to spend much, treat yourself to a tour around the Old Town which is full of temples and monuments within walking distance of each other! Wat Chedi Luang is one of the most famous ones, but there’s also the Three Kings Monument, Chiang Mai City Museum, and Wat Chiang Mai and many more that you could visit over a day or two.
#HHWT Tip: Make sure to get some halal authentic local food while you’re there, which reflect the diversity of cultures that have collided in the area – Thai beef biryani, anyone? Chennai, India
Chennai is one of those cities that doesn’t have anything particularly iconic or spectacular about it – so why’s it on this list? Because you’ll get to fall in love with its rich history and heritage and experience its melting pot of cultures without having to break the bank 😊 As it’s still a major city, transport infrastructure around the city is pretty good – if you’re using the metro rail a lot, make sure to get a reloadable metro card that comes with a 50 rupee refundable deposit!
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The old neighbourhood of Mylapore is one of the defining places in the city. Besides visiting the 17th-century Kapaleeswarar Temple or the Portuguese-built San Thome Cathedral, you can learn more about traditional Indian culture by catching a performance of Carnatic music, or catching a walking tour around the neighbourhood! Chennai is also known for being a great base location if you want to take some day trips to nearby cities – there’s Pondicherry’s French and Tamil quarters, Coorg’s lush green hiking trails, and the former princely state of Mysore’s palaces and paintings.
P.S. If you want to start exploring the vast Indian sub-continent, why not begin with some 10 amazing destinations that showcase the diversity of this country ? Sekinchan, Malaysia
For many of us, road trips or day trips over the weekend to somewhere nearby are a budget-friendly way to take a quick break from the stress and rush of work and city life. Sekinchan is famous for their rice production and fisheries, giving you a hint as to the laidback lifestyle here that’s in touch with nature and a more traditional way of life. Plus it’s only about an hour and a half’s drive from Kuala Lumpur !
Credit: @ fiz_zero on Instagram
If you time your visit to coincide with harvesting season (mid-May to early June, or in November), you’ll also get to see the normally green padi fields all decked out in gold! If you’re craving something a little sweeter, there are also plenty of fruit farms and orchards you can visit to buy fresh produce right off the branch. The kampung (village) life here is really something most of us don’t get to experience, and if you stay out till after sunset, you may even get to see the stars across the night sky as a perfect way to end your trip 😍
P.S. Sekinchan is known as the “land of rice and fish” so seafood is definitely something you’ll have to get before you leave! There are plenty of seafood eateries and vendors to choose from, and since the catch is so fresh you’ll be paying an affordable price for some premium taste 😋 Busan, South Korea
Busan is one of the most Muslim-friendly coastal cities in South Korea , with plenty of things to do that won’t cost a single cent 🤩 There’s the beaches, coastal walks, and Hwangryeongsan mountain right in the middle of the city – and we haven’t even begun talking about the cheap market neighbourhoods full of bargain buys and eats!
Credit: @ gyeongwww on Instagram
For a breathtaking view of the city to start off your trip, take a day to hike up Geumjongsan to see the sweeping views of the city from the top. There are different trails up to the peak, some lasting for as long as 6 to 8 hours depending on your starting point, but conquering this trail should definitely be on your Busan bucket list. As for Busan’s famous beaches, while Haeundae is the most famous one try skipping it in favour of the less popular Dadaepo or Songjeong beaches which the locals tend to favour. These two tend to be less crowded and busy – and Songjeong is as close to the city centre as Haeundae is!
P.S. Did you know it’s possible to book a round-trip ticket to Busan for less than USD300 if you’re flying in from Southeast Asia? 😮 Just make sure you book at least three months ahead and know what the weather will be like before you get there. The summer months are the best time for a beach vacation, but with temperatures reaching a scorching 40 degrees Celsius in early August you might want to time your trip a little earlier so that you won’t melt under the sun!
Travelling on a budget doesn’t have to be a bad thing – it can actually help you prioritize what you want to see and experience! Plus with some smart planning, you can still get the most out of your trip without feeling too guilty to check your bank account 😉

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“Fallen In Love” The Culinary Experience at Le Petit Restaurant

Home Taste of Tradition “Fallen In Love” The Culinary Experience at Le Petit Restaurant “Fallen In Love” The Culinary Experience at Le Petit Restaurant February 12, 2019 0 “Fallen in Love,” This is the simplest way to describe the experience at L e Petit Restaurant . Be it with the food or with the ambience of the restaurant, the restaurant offers what you crave for! Located in East Riffa next to the Enma Mall, Le Petit Restaurant had welcomed its first guest for a Takeaway in May 2017 and opened its doors for Dine-in onOctober 2017. Le Petit Restaurant was first established in Muharraq offering Takeaway services in April 2014. Be it a single person dining or a get together with family or friends, Le Petit is the right place. Welcomed and attended by professional and friendly staff, 1 of 13 Le Petit Restaurant redefines your outlook on fine dining in every possible manner by fulfilling your desires for heart contending delicacies, friendly and welcoming hospitality and state-of-art facilities. The Le Petit Restaurant at Riffa features a miniature replica of Cafe Le Petit Gateau, which brings in the delights from both Le Petit Gateau and Cafe Le Petit Gateau. There are two other branches of the group in the same neighbourhood. Le Petit Restaurant also undertakes buffets for any occasion on pre-order basis. Le Petit has a diversified variety of cuisines that are Arabic, Persian, Chinese, Italian, Indian and Continental. What if you wish to have a slice of Chocolate cake or a Fruitcake after having a hearty Traditional Chicken Biriyani? Or a cool smoothie that cools you both outside and inside from the scorching heat? Le Petit Restaurant has got you covered. The Le Gateau Chocolate, one of the signature confectionaries of Le Petit Gateau will surely claim a space in your hearts after your first bite. Owned and managed by Mr. Mohamed Al Shaikh , the Le Petit Restaurant and the group are influenced by its dynamic leadership which embraces new ideas and devise plans which are envisioned in providing their customers the best for the prices they offer. So, curious to know more about Le Petit Restaurant and experience its warm hospitality and treat your taste buds? Call on: 17100020 (Riffa) – (Dine-in & Takeaway) 17002525 (Muharraq) (Takeaway)

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35 Indian Street Food Dishes You Must Try in Delhi, India

February 12, 2019 0
Delhi , India is well-known as a popular tourist destination and a massive, bustling metropolis that is home to over 11 million people. But Delhi is also a Mecca for food enthusiasts and after spending four days eating my way through the city in February of 2018, I understand why it’s considered one of the best food cities in the world. These are the 35 Indian street food dishes you must try in Delhi, India! Aloo Tikki
Aloo Tikki is a tasty dish made from mashed potatoes that are stuffed with lentils, cottage cheese, and green beans before they are deep-fried in ghee (a clarified butter that is popular in Indian cuisine). The deep-frying process turns the mashed potatoes into a tasty, spice-filled fritter that is a must-have in Delhi! Matar Samosa
Matar samosa is a savory, deep-fried Indian pastry that contains mashed potatoes, green beans, and other vegetables, and is similar to a fried wonton. They’re absolutely delicious, but the filling is usually steaming hot, so don’t burn yourself! Jalebi
A popular sweet you can find on the streets of Delhi is jalebi, a deep-fried dough that’s formed in a circular pattern, topped with a sugary glaze, and served with a thick, milky sauce. It’s incredibly fatty and loaded with sugar, but that’s what makes it so good! Kababs
Kababs is the collective term for various cooked meat dishes from the Middle East that are now popular around the world. Some of Delhi’s best kababs can be found at Qureshi Kabab Corner, where they offer minced chicken, mutton, and buffalo varieties that are tender, rich in spices and full of incredible flavor.
Check out the Top 10 Things to See and Do in Delhi, India Daulat Ki Chaat
Dualat Ki Chaat is a localized and seasonal dish that can be found in Old Delhi during the winter months, though it has different names in other cities. It consists of whipping cream, powdered sugar, and pistachios, and is a rich, sweet, fluffy and nutty dessert that’s quite tasty! Khameeri Roti
Khameeri Roti is a soft, yeasted Mughlai flatbread that is eaten as a snack and served with other dishes. I highly recommend trying it at Al-Jawahar Restaurant along with their Chicken Haleem, Mutton Korma, and Matar Paneer. Chicken Haleem
Chicken Haleem is a fantastic, slow-cooked Mughlai dish made from minced chicken, which I had at Al-Jawahar Restaurant. The chicken is cooked with wheat, barley, lentils, garam masala, mint, cumin, ginger, and coriander. It’s a little spicy and the slow-cooking process gives the dish a pleasant, paste-like consistency that pairs extremely well with the Khameeri Roti. Mutton Korma
Mutton Korma is a fatty and intensely flavorful Mughlai goat curry that I ate as part of a larger meal at Al-Jawahar Restaurant that also consisted of Khameeri Roti, Chicken Haleem, and Matar Paneer. The sauce is rich and tasty and the goat meat is so tender that it falls right off the bone. Matar Paneer
Matar Paneer is a North Indian dish that consists of paneer (a non-melting cottage cheese) that is served in a delicious and fatty tomato-based sauce that also contains green peas and garam masala. I had it alongside Khameeri Roti, Chicken Haleem, and Mutton Korma at Al-Jawahar Restaurant. Fried Chicken
At Mohd Hussain, the oldest fried chicken shop in Delhi, you’ll find the city’s best fried chicken, which is fresh and lightly battered with chickpea flour, eggs, and spices. It’s served scorching hot and is some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. Butter Chicken
Butter chicken is a popular Indian dish that is usually made with a buttery, tomato-based sauce, but the butter chicken at Aslam Chicken Corner skips the tomatoes and serves their tasty, roasted chicken in a rich, flavorful butter. Your waistline may not thank you afterward, but your taste buds certainly will! Biryani
Biryani is a mixed rice dish that consists of a layer of rice on the bottom; a layer of meat (chicken, lamb, goat, fish, prawns, buffalo, or even beef), vegetables, egg, or paneer in the middle; and another layer of rice on top. The dish also contains a wonderful gravy that is packed with several signature Indian spices that will make your palette go wild!
Check out Things to See and Eat in Lucknow, India Kheer
Kheer is a rich and creamy rice pudding that is made with a milk and sugar base and includes either rice, tapioca, broken wheat, or vermicelli noodles. It can be flavored with cardamom, raisins, saffron, pistachios, and more. The pistachios in mine added a nice nuttiness that took this dish to the next level! Besani
Besani is a gluten-free Indian flatbread made of chickpea flour that you can find at Sakahari Restaurant. It’s thin and crispy, almost like a cracker, and is perfect with Malai Kofta. Malai Kofta
Malai Kofta is a creamy, vegetarian dish that consists of fried dumpling balls made of potatoes, vegetables, or paneer, in a creamy orange or white sauce. I tried this dish at Sakahari Restaurant along with some besani. Without question, it is one of the top 35 Indian street food dishes you must try in Delhi, India. Kulfi
Kulfi is a popular frozen dessert that is often referred to as “traditional Indian ice cream.” This cross between ice cream and sorbet comes in many flavors including saffron, cardamom, pistachio, lychee, mango, rose, and pomegranate at Kuremal Mahavir Prasad Kulfiwale, which has been open since 1906! Chai
No list of the 35 Indian street food dishes you must try in Delhi, India is complete without Chai, an Indian tea that is prepared by heating water, adding tea and ginger, and then turning up the heat to a rolling boil. The end result is a boiling hot but refreshing tea that is intensely flavorful and unique to India! Bedmi Poori
Bedmi Poori is a hollow and fried lentil-stuffed flatbread that is often eaten with Aloo Sabzi. This traditional breakfast bread is made from a dough of soaked lentils, masala, and flour. Bedmi Poori, Aloo Sabzi, and the sweet Nagori Halwa are often eaten together. Aloo Sabzi
Aloo Sabzi is a delicious, light curry made from potatoes, tomato paste, and a mixture of spices that pairs well with Indian flatbreads like pooris, parathas and rotis. It is packed with signature Indian flavors and is sensational when eaten with Bedmi Poori. Nagori Halwa
Nagori Halwa is a sweet Indian dish that consists of nagori (a small, crispy puri made from semolina and ghee) and suji halwa (a thick, dry porridge made from semolina, sugar, and almonds, and ghee). The two are eaten together and often paired with Aloo Sabzi and Bedmi Poori for an intense savory-and-sweet combination.
Check out 5 Things to See and Do in Agra, India Lotan Ji Chole Kulche
Another Delhi staple is Lotal Ji Chole Kulche, a dish consisting of chickpeas (chole), a soft and fluffy flatbread (kulche), onions, potatoes, tomatoes, aamchur-chutney , garam masala , and more. The ingredients create a spicy and buttery combination that is bursting with Indian flavors that can’t be beat! Mutton Paaya
Mutton Paaya is a meaty, goat leg curry that is often served with idiyappam (rice noodles), aappam (a fermented rice and coconut pancake), or a dosa (a thin, crispy pancake made with fermented rice and lentil batter). This tender, flavorful, and fatty delicacy is often eaten for breakfast and is without question one of the 35 Indian street food dishes you must try in Delhi, India. Mutton Nihari
Mutton Nihari is an Indian stew made of slow-cooked lamb or goat shanks and bone marrow that originated in either Old Delhi or Hyderabad in the late 18 th century. This tasty dish is thought of as a delicacy and is known for its spiciness and rich flavors and is popular among Muslims in Delhi. Goat Curry
Indian goat curry is a succulent dish that is cooked in a spicy gravy that has many regional variations and contains turmeric, green chilies, ginger, garlic, garam masala, and more. The cooking process tenderizes the meat so much that it melts in your mouth. It’s one of the best goat dishes I’ve ever had! Sheermal
India is well-known for its many varieties of flatbread, which include sheermal, a traditional, mildly sweet, saffron-flavored naan. This dish, originally from the city of Lucknow, also contains warm milk, sugar, and cardamom. Lachcha Paratha
Another Indian flatbread, Lachcha Paratha is a soft, flaky, and multi-layered flatbread that is made using a 1:1 ration of wheat and all-purpose flour. The paratha is then brushed with butter and can be eaten with a variety of dishes and curries. Its diversity alone makes it one of the 35 Indian street food dishes you must try in Delhi, India!
Check out Top 10 Things to Do in Mumbai, India Rabri
Rabri is a rich, dairy dessert that is made by thickening condensed milk until it turns pinkish in color. Sugar, spices, and nuts are then added to the milk mixture, which is then served chilled and makes for a refreshing treat under the hot Indian sun! Buffalo Biryani
One of the best culinary experiences you can have in Delhi is trying the buffalo biryani at Mohd Tofiq, a stall located in the city’s winding backstreets. The tender, juicy, and fatty buffalo meat, combined with the rice, spices, and gravy, creates a mouthwatering mix of flavors that will have you addicted from the very first bite. Chole Bhature
Chole Bhature is a chickpea-based Punjabi dish that is essentially a combination of chana masala (spicy white chickpeas) and bhatura (a bread made from maida, a soft wheat flour). It can also contain onions, green chutney, and pickled vegetables. I recommend having it with a large puri! Coconut Burfi
In addition to curries and flatbreads, India is also known for its sweets, which include Coconut Burfi, a treat that is typically made during the Holi, Diwali, and Navrati festivals. This burfi contains freshly grated coconut and traditionally is made with milk and sugar, though there are dairy-free varieties available.
Check out 5 Things to Do in Varanasi, India Sev Badam Burfi
Sev Badam Burfi is another traditional Indian sweet made from a mixture of water, milk, and sugar that is brought to a boil. This sweet, nutty treat also contains sev (crunchy chickpea noodles), a dairy product called mawa, nuts, and more. Once the mixture thickens and cools, it is cut into small bars and served. Karachi Halwa
Another popular Indian sweet that can be found on the streets of Delhi is Karachi Halwa, a chewy, saccharine treat made with corn flour, ghee, sugar, and chopped pistachios and cashews. Like burfi, the mixture is cooked, poured into a pan, and cut once it cools and thickens. This sweet is very popular during Diwali! Gujiya
Gujiya is a sweet, deep-fried pastry or dumpling that is made with maida or semolina and stuffed with a mixture of sweetened mawa and dried fruit. Lassi
Lassi is a traditional yogurt drink that comes in many flavors and varieties. It is essential while trying Indian street food, as many local dishes contain a fiery heat that slowly builds as you eat. The casein (milk protein) in the lassi counteracts the spice and helps cool your mouth down, so it’s both flavorful and functional! Fire Paan
Fire Paan is a much more extreme version of the street food dish called paan, which consists of an areca nut, spices, and more wrapped inside a betel leaf. While paan is used as a stimulant and palette cleanser, Fire Paan is a version that is lit on fire by the vendor and shoved into their customers’ open mouths. It’s bizarre and smoky and isn’t for the faint of heart, but it definitely makes for a fun memory!
And there you have it! Those are the 35 Indian street food dishes you must try in Delhi, India. They’re the foods I couldn’t stop thinking about and made my mouth water, the ones that made me want to dive even deeper into Indian cuisine. The next time you find yourself in the Indian capital, be sure to sample these exceptional dishes. Big thanks to Delhi Food Walks for taking me on these epic food tours! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! Let me know what you thought about them in the comments below! Related

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Capital – How carmakers brought new cuisine to Chennai

A decade before America discovered sushi, a restaurant in a small southern India coastal city, served sashimi from local whole tuna. This small Japanese oasis, called Akasaka, sat behind a non-descript building on the hot, honking mess of one of Chennai’s most crowded traffic junctions.
Its private rooms and home-made barley teawere diametrically opposed to Chennai’s loud, too-busy-for-chairs ‘standing’ restaurants and fiery breakfasts of savoury doughnuts dunked in spicy lentil soup. Yet back in 1996, when it was one of the only stand-alone restaurants in the city, it was a runaway success.
“Sometimes there would be a line of people snaking out of the building’s gates onto the main road,” says Ran Takayama, who worked for the restaurant in its heyday. “It was very popular because of the high quality of its produce.”
Hyundai particularly affected the Chennai’s landscape when 3,000 Korean employees arrived to work in the factory
Five years earlier, when Chennai was more of a town than a city, India had opened its market to allow foreign direct investment (FDI). Jayaram Jayalalithaa, then chief minister of the state of Tamil Nadu, came to power just as FDI was approved, and actively courted auto manufacturers.
Her efforts were rewarded. Mitsubishi, Nissan, Hyundai and Yamaha all set up factories outside Chennai. Hyundai particularly affected the city’s landscape, as 3,000 Korean employees arrived to work in the factory.
There are now approximately 10,000 expats in the city, most of them Asian . These days, the factories are all based within a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) not far from the city.
‘It was always full’
The Sriperumbudur SEZ is located 50 kilometres outside Chennai, along what is now known as the Automotive Corridor. Signs in Korean start to dot the dusty highway. There are Korean supermarkets, Japanese hotels and even one manga book store, all air-conditioned havens in the middle of south India’s extreme heat.
There’s also Arirang, the first Korean restaurant in the city, which opened 20 years ago. Jo Sanghyun, a Korean expat in his 50s, has found success in India. He moved to Chennai as an employee of a Korean company in the 1990s, and stayed to follow his passion for food. Since Arirang, he has also opened several restaurants including running the in-house Hyundai canteen.
View image of (Credit: Alamy)
Jo’s Korean food, including the pork bossam (aromatic boiled pork) and duck bulgogi (grilled sweet-and-spicy duck), are full of loud flavours and textures. They are somewhat reminiscent of the piquant rasams (aromatic tomato broths) and red fish curries favoured in this part of the south. As locals took to his food, Jo became a culinary pioneer in the city.
“InSeoul was one of my early restaurants that really introduced Korean food to Indians,” he remembers. “It was in the center of the city and always full. Lots of Indians came there.”
As Tamil Nadu has grown to become one of the top 10 automobile hubs in the world , the effect of the influx from Northeast Asia on the ‘ Detroit of India ’ has surged, too.
Soju, a Korean spirit, is available in the state-designated alcohol shops, and K-Pop contests are now increasingly popular with the young. Kuuraku, a Japanese restaurant chain that specialises in yakitori (grilled chicken), just opened its first branch in the city.
About 50 restaurants serve Japanese or Korean food in Chennai, employing at least 1,000 local people. The Japanese outposts tend to be more upmarket, but there’s a lot of overlap: some Koreans run Japanese restaurants, and several places serve both cuisines.
About 50 restaurants serve Japanese or Korean food in Chennai, employing at least 1,000 local people
There are still thousands of regional restaurants around the city serving local cuisine. (A spicy deep-fried chicken dish called Chicken 65 won Chennai a place on National Geograp hic’s list of top 10 food ie cities in 2015.) Yet Ameeta Agnihotri, a food critic for one of India’s leading newspapers and a local Chennaiite, thinks the new arrivals “have made a lasting impact on our culinary landscape”.
“Chennai is a small city in India, so people are always surprised to know how well informed we are about traditional Japanese and Korean food,” she says.
Fusion future?
Foreign chains like McDonalds have a hard time competitng with Chennai’s home-grown fast-food culture of steamed rice cakes and pancakes. But Korean and Japanese restaurants continue to flourish alongside native local cuisine, cementing the city’s foothold in India’s growing ‘foodie boom’.
“With the influx of returning expatriate Indians and visiting NRI [non-residents Indian] populations, Chennai’s food scene is growing very fast,” says Rati Shetty, a Chennai resident who is also the CPO of her own financial services company. “Now you can get tempura or sushi delivered to your desk in the office and bubble tea is available in most local teashops.”
“Most people have some miso paste, if not soya sauce, in their homes, available at the many Asian supermarkets in the city now. It is a sign of the market’s appetite, logistics and a more open and evolving society in terms of food and culinary expectations,” she says.
View image of (Credit: New Seoul Hotels)
There are even signs of a South Indian/East Asian fusion taste evolving: many of the Japanese restaurants that are owned and run by Indians tweak their food to make it more palatable for local people – a kind of spicy Japanese hybrid cusine.
There is less cross-over with Korean food. Jo says there are at least 20 Korean dining spots in Sriperumbudur known only to the Korean community. This is because many expats moved out of the city after the SEZ opened to take advantage of the apartment buildings and supermarkets that sprung up around it. Yet their staff are Indian – which means a growing body of local residents are well aware of Korean cuisine.
Girish and L.T. Lepsa met working at Jo’s Arirang in 1998. After decades in the business, the two friends started a Korean restaurant of their own, New Seoul Hotels, which is the city’s first owned solely by Indians. Girish started out as a waiter at Arirang, and Lepsa worked in the kitchen. But the businessmen who come to eat at New Seoul Hotels are from a very different socio-economic world.
After four years in business, the restaurant has a loyal Korean clientele and Indian customers are increasing. “They now make up at least 10% of all our customers and many of them are businessmen,” says Girish. “They are quite knowledgeable about Korean food and seem to have experience with the food from working with Koreans.”
In a nation where economic inequality is striking , that local residents from such different backgrounds come together over Korean food is a sign of the significant and evolving impact of Chennai’s car-making foreign residents.

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Time stands still at Tiong Bahru, a hip hotspot for cafes, heritage and old-school charm

PS.Cafe Petit Tiong Bahru Charming, isn’t it? Photography: Nicole Nithiyah
This cosy little tropical-themed bistro ranks high as one of our top spots for quiet afternoon chilling. Smaller than its other outlets and with limited seating, its menu is a takeaway one, but can also be enjoyed on site. Grab a seat near the leafy feature wall, order a glass of wine and watch the world go by. PS.Cafe Petit Tiong Bahru , Block 78 Guan Chuan Street, #01-41, Singapore 160078 Plain Vanilla Photo-worthy Plain Vanilla has some of Singapore’s best cupcakes. Photography: Plain Vanilla
The cupcake craze may be well over but big players like Plain Vanilla ain’t going anywhere. One of the OGs on the scene, the secret to its success is its emphasis on quality – only the finest of ingredients like French butter, pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla and bittersweet Belgian chocolate are used. No shortcuts, no preservatives. Pick from bestsellers like peanut butter fudge, chocolate and strawberry lychee. We not-so-secretly come here for the fantastic collection of homewares and kitchenalia too. Oh, and if you’re in the CBD don’t miss their quaint little shop at Telok Ayer . Plain Vanilla , 1D Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168641 Tiong Bahru Market Tiong Bahru Market. Photography: Selina Altomonte
Eggs benny, French pastries and speciality coffees not doing it for you? Keep it local with a hearty meal at Tiong Bahru Market instead. This hawker institution is home to some of Singapore’s best local food, including chwee kueh, prawn noodles, roast meat and even a Michelin Bib Gourmand chicken rice stall. Tiong Bahru Market, 30 Seng Poh Road, Singapore 168898 Merci Marcel The “al fresco” area of Merci Marcel. Photography: Selina Altomonte
You can’t miss this lovely little spot just next to Tiong Bahru Cafe. Hot new restaurant Merci Marcel is making waves, and we’re happy to ride the currents. Light and bright, there’s plenty of greenery here, with a trendy mix of rattan, gold and pastel interiors. Bring your gal pals and head here for photo-worthy brunch, or make it a date night for dinnertime – do yourself a favour and order the Australian grass-fed angus beef and ceviche of red snapper. Both promise an explosion of divine flavours. What’s truly addictive? The signature dish of Ravioles de Royans with Tête de Moine cheese. Trust us. And this could be just as dangerous: Merci Marcel sells artisanal French cheese and wine to take home, and has its own little lifestyle store. Check out the super chic collection of Parisian sunglasses, chocolates and enamelware. Merci Marcel , 56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-68, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 160056 The Butcher’s Wife Found: the fluffiest gluten-free focaccia. Photography: The Butcher’s Wife via Instagram
Love your pasta, bread and pizza but gluten isn’t vibing with your gut? Taking over Open Door Policy, The Butcher’s Wife’s got it out of the park with *applause* – an entire gluten-free menu of European comfort food. If your idea of gluten-free bread is less than stellar, the fluffy baked focaccia will change your mind. Other highlights include crispy pig ears and chestnuts pappardelle accompanied by huge chunks of braised osso buco ragu. The Butcher’s Wife , 19 Yong Siak Street, Yong Siak View, Singapore 168650 Bakalaki Authentic Greek food in the heart of Tiong Bahru. Photography: Bakalaki via Facebook
Craving for authentic Greek food? Say no more. Located right in the heart of Tiong Bahru along Seng Poh Road, Bakalaki is the Eastern Mediterranean fix you need. For starters, tuck into the tzatziki dip with pita bread and Horiatiki, a traditional greek salad. We hear that Htapodi (grilled octopus), kebab and Paidakia (lamb chops) are some stellar must-tries. There’s even a deli should you need to take home some delicacies like cheeses, olives, sauce, traditional sweets and Greek wines. Bakalaki , 3 Seng Poh Road, Singapore 168891 Ah Chiang’s Porridge
Admit it, there’s nothing like a bowl of comforting porridge to set your day right – Ah Chiang’s traditional charcoal porridge is that perfect hearty breakfast that does the job. It gets pretty crowded during peak hours but it’s worth the wait. Try the century egg, pork or fish porridge along with a side of fried pork liver. Ah Chiang’s Porridge , Blk 65 Tiong Poh Road #01-38, Singapore 160065 Flock Cafe
This Tiong Bahru old timer wins hearts with its classic all-day breakfasts, sandwiches, salads, and gourmet coffee and teas. If you’re looking for vegetarian options, they have just what you need too. Start your day right with a breakfast set, or stuff yourself silly with a hearty pasta – just don’t say we didn’t warn you about the post-lunch coma. Flock Cafe , 78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-25, Singapore 162078 Forty Hands Forty Hands in Tiong Bahru
Long before the onslaught of neighbourhood cafes, there was Forty Hands. These guys are one of the pioneers of the coffee movement in Singapore, so you know you’re getting quality brews here, made with freshly roasted beans. Brunch is the main food of the day, with smashed avo on toast, homemade granola, and toasties as the favourites of regulars. Forty Hands , 78 Yong Siak Street, #01-12, Singapore 163078 Drips Bakery
If you’re all about the sweet life, you need to check out Drips Bakery. The patisserie has everything from cakes and scrummy tarts to cookies and scones, served with homemade jam. Pair it with the cafe’s signature cold drip coffee to ease the sweetness. Drips Bakery , #01-05, 82 Tiong Poh Road, Singapore 160082 Bincho Bincho: Mee pok stall by day, cool Japanese restaurant by night. Photography: courtesy of Bincho
Blink and you’ll miss Bincho: a 70-year-old mee pok stall by day and trendy Japanese restaurant by night. Enter through the back door and you’ll find yourself in a chic, dimly lit brass-plated bar. Venture further in and the confusion begins; you’ll arrive at a kopitiam-style dining room. Three dinner set menus are available, with a focus on tori (chicken), as well as ala carte options. Bincho at Hua Bee , 78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-19, Singapore 162078 Coq & Balls Bring your mates here for beer and comfort food. Photography: Coq & Ball
You won’t find fancy brunch here but cheekily named Coq & Balls’ pub grub is actually good. Chow down on pizza, pasta, fried rice or light bites of popcorn chicken and crispy pork. Wash it all down with a beer – the selection includes wheat, draught, lager, stout – and sink into the infectious good vibes of this place. Coq & Balls , 6 Kim Tian Rd, Singapore 169246 Ikyu Ikyu’s daily 3-Course 7 Kinds Sushi Set Lunch. Photography: Ikyu
The sushi at this sleek Tiong Bahru establishment are things of beauty, and we like them slightly-charred, aburi-style. If you like a variety of modern Japanese plates to go along with your exquisite, bite-sized morsels, order creations like the wagyu tsukune and hotate truffle carpaccio, as well a platter of assorted premium sashimi. Ikyu , 5 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168643 Sin Hoi Sai Seafood Restaurant
Sin Hoi Sai recently got the thumbs up from the Michelin Guide Singapore 2016, and rightfully so too. This seafood resto serves up a plethora of delicious delicacies such as crabs and abalone, or go straight for their signature salted egg yolk and spicy crabs. But don’t forget to order other tasty bites such as the fried mantis prawns and chilli oil fish fillets. Sin Hoi Sai Seafood Restaurant , Block 55, Tiong Bahru Road #01-59, Singapore 160055 House of Peranakan Petit
Peranakan cuisine doesn’t get more authentic than this! Helmed by Chef Bob Seah who is a Baba himself, the restaurant serves up homely Nyonya dishes such as ayam buah keluak, itek sioh, and claypot crab soup. We’re also huge fans of the pulut hitam – the coconut milk tart on the black dessert looks too beautiful to be eaten! House of Peranakan Petit , 42 Eng Hoon St, Singapore 169785 The Tiong Bahru Club Singapura The Tiong Bahru Club in Eng Hoon Street. Photography: Nicole Nithiyah
We thought we didn’t need another retro-style eatery, but turns out we were wrong. Here, the nostalgic theme works like a charm, as it offers dishes spanning Singapore’s various cultures. There are Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Eurasian cuisines – which are getting increasingly hard to find all in one place – and they all pack a punch. If you haven’t already, be sure to get yourself acquainted with the Eurasian favourite: Devil’s Curry. The Tiong Bahru Club Singapura , #01-88, 57 Eng Hoon Street, Singapore 267208 Whisk Café Macarons from Whisk Cafe. Photography: courtesy of Whisk Cafe
Helmed by patissier, Tricia Lim, who interned at Dominque Ansel’s Bakery (the brains behind the Cronut) post-graduation, this clean, minimalist café rolls out a pretty selection of cakes, cookies, brownies, croissants, cinnamon rolls, macarons, and all sorts of other sweet (and some savoury) treats that make our knees go weak. Whisk Café , #01-15, 58 Seng Poh Road, Singapore 160058
Shop & Do Books Actually Shop local reads at Books Actually. Photography: Nicole Nithiyah
A mandatory part of visiting Tiong Bahru is a stop at one of our fave book stores in Singapore, super cool Books Actually. Its shelves stock a wide range of literature, including classics and ones by up-and-coming local authors. More than books, the store also has a quirky mix of souvenirs in the back, which includes antiques and random vintage odds and ends. Say hi to the furry friends in the store, and pick up a good read from the book vending machine at its doorstep. BooksActually , 9 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168645 Don’t forget to check out the odds and ends in Books Actually’s back room. Photography: Selina Altomonte Woods in the Books Woods in the Books is, in a word, whimsical.
Just next to Books Actually is Woods in the Books, an indie store specialising in picture books for all ages. Take a trip through memory lane, with books like Tintin, Meg & Mog and The Hungry Caterpillar, or shop cool knick-knacks and toys for your shelfie. Woods in the Books , No. 3 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 168642 OliveAnkara
We’ve raved about their qipaos that could be worn well beyond Chinese New Year. So if you’re thinking of adding some spunk and colour into your wardrobe, you’ve come to the right place. With vibrant wax-print fabrics from Africa and fun resort wear-esque silhouettes, it’s hard to leave empty-handed (trust us, we know ). If you’re planning to start things slow, start with a headband or a pair of Ankara sneakers. OliveAnkara , 57 Eng Hoon St, #03-82 Tiong Bahru, Singapore 160057 Ask a French Flowers Escape to Ask a French Flowers’ beautiful atelier. Photography: Aditi Gaitonde Fernandes
The flower arrangements by Aude from Ask a French Flowers are almost poetic, as though taken right out of a still-life painting. No bouquet is ever the same as it’s arranged according to her style with seasonal flowers, though you still have the option to pick your preferred hue and theme. If you’ve fallen hard for the flowers, wait till you visit the atelier. Aude conducts floral and lifestyle workshops at her beautiful studio so it’s the perfect spot to learn a new skill, make friends or just escape from your hectic life for a sec. Ask a French Flowers , Tiong Bahru, Singapore, by appointment only. Contact Aude for more details. Maissone Home Inside Maissone Home. Photography: Selina Altomonte.
You’ve probably nailed your Pinterest board with chic items like homeware, tableware, and even hand soaps and creams. Now, you can touch and feel these gems at their physical shop at Yong Siak Street. Maissone Home , 25 Yong Siak St, Singapore 168653 Nimble and Knead A spa that looks like an industrial-themed cafe.
At first sight, you’d hardly believe this is a spa as its industrial interiors places it right at home with the nearby cafes. It’s built from shipping containers and even features chairs made out of wooden crates (don’t worry – you’re not being massaged on them). Pop by for an hour’s worth of foot massage ($42) after brunch. Nimble/Knead , Tiong Bahru Estate, 66 Eng Watt Street, Singapore 160066 Nana & Bird Browse through Nana & Bird’s chic little boutique. Photography: Nana & Bird via Facebook
Set up by fashion-loving besties, this little local store on Tiong Bahru’s hippest streets offers some of the coolest labels around – both local and international. Browse through racks of dresses by fab Singapore label Aijek and Aussie brands C/MEO Collective and Malaysian designer Cassey Gan, or pick up quirky jewellery. Nana & Bird , 1M Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168641 Curated Records
If you’re on a hunt for indie music on vinyl, this little Tiong Bahru hangout is probably your best bet. There are over 1000 records to dig through – a treasure vault for hipsters to rummage through all day. Curated Records , #01-53, 55 Tiong Bahru Road, Singapore 160055 Degios Art
Former banker, Giuseppe de Giosa, is fascinated with Asian art and antiquities, and it’s evident in his calming, whitewashed art gallery that’s filled with an eclectic mix of furniture, carpets, objet d’art, sculptures, paintings, lighting and textiles. If you’re not sure how a particular piece would fit into your home, ask Mr. de Giosa himself – the avid collector has much experience helping friends and colleagues build their collections and decorate their homes. Degios Art , Blk 57 #01-82 Eng Hoon Road, Singapore 281285 Grey Projects
More than just an art gallery, this cool multi-concept space also houses a library, a studio and a live-in residency that provides creative folks from Singapore and aboard a platform to publish, exhibit, and curate experimental works. Stalk its Facebook page to know what’s coming up. Grey Projects , 6B Kim Tian Road, Singapore 169246 Yoga Movement
Finally, an om-chic yoga studio in a café-saturated Tiong Bahru, thanks to the arrival of Yoga Movement. Book a mat at just $35 per class (or $220 for a 10-class pack – super affordable!) and their yoga classes come with hot and non-hot options. Classes can get a bit crowded, but the clean, tranquil environment and focused lessons make up for that. We like to spend our weekends at their popular ‘Monster Hot’ classes! Yoga Movement , 11 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168646
Architecture An air raid shelter is found here.
Whether we intend to or not, we simply can’t stop ourselves from admiring Tiong Bahru’s stunning architecture. Above is the distinctive ‘horse-shoe’ shaped flat at Moh Guan Terrace and Guan Chuan Street. It’s also home to the first air raid shelter to be built in a public housing project. Keep your eyes peeled for the signature exterior spiral staircases. Photography: Nicole Nithiyah
All around Tiong Bahru you’ll see these pre-war apartments. These are designed in a late Art Deco movement called Streamline Moderne – it explains the clean curves, rounded shapes and simple, long lines. The famous curved staircase landings of Tiong Bahru.
Built after World War II, these four-storey flats (pictured above and below) steer clear of boxy designs, with the curved landing and rounded portholes. This spot here is an Instagrammer’s dream, with its wonderful symmetry and mix of curves and lines. What a sight. Photography: Nicole Nithiyah Old-school flats are prominent in this ‘hood
Murals
A district so colourful wouldn’t be without its murals. The ones you see below are painted by Yip Yew Chong : one of Singapore’s most popular street artists.
The “Pasar Tiong Bahru” features a stall named ‘Seng Kee’, poignantly named in memory of the artist’s father. The details you see are reminiscent of Singapore’s thriving past hawker culture as well as the artist’s own preferences: the zhui kueh and laksa on the table on the right are his and his wife’s favourites; the putu mayam sold by the Indian stall owner on the left is loved by the artist’s father and daughter.
“Home” is a reflection of the estate’s history and ambience. Painted on the TV screen is Wangsa Yefung, a famed comedic duo from the ‘70s while, if you look closer at the newspaper, you’ll see late former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew promoting the Speak Mandarin campaign in 1979. On the table and the wall you’ll spot objects familiar to local culture like Axe oil and a traditional calendar.
Parks Kim Pong Park Photography: Take a stroll ‘round this new park. Photography: Nicole Nithiyah
The relatively new (it opened in November) park may be small in size but you won’t help but stop to take in this beauty. Designed to reflect the art-deco style of the old Tiong Bahru estate, the park forms three circular motifs with wide pathways that are stroller and wheelchair-friendly. Hop on one of the garden swings or sit on a terrazzo bench and watch the world go by. We visited the spot during a weekday afternoon and it was already packed with families. Kim Pong Park , along Kim Pong Road and Kim Tian Road Tiong Bahru Park
This park may be a bit of a walk from Tiong Bahru’s hotspots but there are plenty of activities for both young and old. Put Netflix on hold and clock in a quick workout at various fitness corners. The recently renovated playground with the iconic tiling train will keep the kids occupied for hours. Tiong Bahru Park , along Tiong Bahru Road and Lower Delta Road
We’ve been hanging out here for a while! Check out this old fave…

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