I'm Musician Dan Boeckner Of Operators And Wolf Parade, And This Is How I Eat | Lifehacker Australia

I’m Musician Dan Boeckner Of Operators And Wolf Parade, And This Is How I Eat | Lifehacker Australia

May 31, 2019, 5:00pm Photo: Emma McIntyre (Getty Images)
If you keep up with new music, you probably know Dan Boeckner from Operators , the dark and dance-y synth pop band that consists of him, electro-wiz Devojka, and drummer Sam Brown. (Check out their new album, Radiant Dawn , here and here , and their tour schedule here .) If that doesn’t ring any bells, you’re more likely familiar with Wolf Parade, an indie-rock outfit you just may have spent most of college listening to. But what you definitely don’t know about Boeckner is that he worked extensively in restaurants before this whole music thing took off, and that he has both an extensive knowledge of—and great enthusiasm for—a truly impressive array of cuisines, condiments, and really good potato chips. Location: Quebec
Current gig: Singer and guitarist for Operators and Wolf Parade So for this interview I’m going to shift away from music and focus on food. You mentioned on Twitter that you used to be a chef?
Yeah, I worked in food from the time I was 17 until the time I was in my eearly-to-mid 20s, in Victoria and Vancouver. What kind of cuisine did you work in?
I only ever worked in a couple of decent restaurants. I managed a kitchen in a regional chain restaurant for about a year—it was probably one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had in my life, and it turned me off cooking. But I worked at a really nice Italian place in Victoria for a long time, which is now out of business due to chronic mismanagement, like so many restaurants. And then I just worked at a bunch of different places managing kitchens and doing menu planning and all that. Do you cook a lot at home now?
I do. When I was working in food I fucking hated cooking at home. I ate really poorly when I was working in the food industry. I think that may be a common thing. Oh, it’s super common. Do you do most of the cooking in your household now?
I do. It’s shared between me and my partner, but I generally am the one cooking. Photo: Dan Boeckner This makes me sound like a stalker, but I saw you tweeted a picture of a bag of MSG—What do you like using MSG for?
I like using MSG for fried rice and noodle dishes —just a little bit. It’s basically the same thing as kombu, or shiitake mushroom powder, which I like to use if I’m making fried rice. I’ve got a really great recipe from Mission—actually it’s a Mission Chinese recipe, I love making it, but it’s a salt cod fried rice.
I live in Quebec and salt cod is super cheap up here because we’ve got the Atlantic fishing industry, and we’ve got a huge Portuguese population in Montreal. So there’s actually a demand for it—for bacalao , basically. I started making this salt cod fried rice thing and I’d use really finely ground shiitake mushroom powder as an MSG substitute. Take dried shiitake mushrooms and then buzz them in a food processor or coffee grinder with a couple pieces of kombu. You kind of get that sort of umami-MSG vibe , but it’s way easier to just throw some MSG in there. It’s way easier. I have that exact one-pound bag in my cabinet, so when I saw that photo I got really excited.
That’s the secret stash area in my kitchen. It’s basically divided into Szechuan stuff like peppercorns, dried peppers, and then a little bit of random Japanese cooking stuff like dried ume salty plum powder, but also a bunch of Burmese stuff that I found while I was on tour with Wolf Parade. We were playing in North Carolina, and right up the street there was a hole-in-the-wall Burmese grocery store.
I’m not going to name the store because I don’t want to publicly bust them for this, but it’s pretty rad: they sell all these great Burmese products, like the specific kind of chilli pepper that they use, ground chillis, but they also sell the fixings for betel nuts, this sort of stimulant that you chew. It’s a betel leaf, makrut lime leaf, and then the actual nut and quick lime powder. Oh my god.
Yeah! So I walked into the store and I was like holy shit, this is completely legit. They also sell a really good Burmese curry powder. So I bought a huge bag of stuff and took it in the van and the whole van just stunk like fermented chillis and betel leaves for the rest of the tour. Food is one of the few things you can control while you’re on tour, and it makes you feel good. I’ve always been curious about how people manage to keep themselves fed on tour in a way that’s reasonably healthy. Do you manage that?
You know, I try. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s almost impossible. You’re constantly moving, and most of your day is spent between major population centres, so if you stop and get food, it’s going to be at a gas station. And your time is really restricted—when you’re loading in, and you’ve got soundcheck. Honestly, usually the first thing I do is just figure out where the good food is around the venue, within walking distance, and then block off some time so I can go get a meal, because food is one of the few things you can control while you’re on tour. But it can also be incredibly frustrating.
If I’m at home and I go out and I have a bad meal I’m usually just like, “Oh shit, that was a terrible meal. Oh well, no big deal.” But if you’re on tour and you found a Vietnamese restaurant, you’re thinking all day “Vietnamese food. This is my reward. This is going to be the highlight of my day when I’m not on stage,” and it’s bad? It’s like this crushing blow. I feel the same way if I’m travelling and I “waste” a meal. I feel like if I pick the wrong place I’ve failed in some way. But I can imagine that’s compounded by the stresses of being on tour.
That’s exactly it. And it definitely depends on the region. If you’re playing in the coastal centres in North America, chances are you can throw a rock and you’ll find a type of food you want to eat, or that conforms to your diet, or whatever. But as soon as you start going more towards the center of the country, it’s really difficult to find food and the food just gets shittier and shittier. Honestly, if you’re touring the Midwest, Starbucks is kind of your best bet for breakfast almost every day. What do you get?
I usually get a breakfast sandwich and a double espresso. It’s sounds shitty but your other options are going to a Pilot gas station and eating a four-day-old egg salad sandwich or something like like that. When I was younger I would just eat absolute garbage—you know the hot dogs on the little roller rack? I do. Yes.
Or the Tornados—they’re basically chimichangas. I would eat that or I would eat whatever—a lot of those places have a fried food sort of cabinet—like a bag of chicken nuggets. I would eat that and I would feel terrible and regret it, but now my move is generally to get a small can of tuna and some crackers. That’s a safe bet. I will say that with the fried food cabinet, sometimes there are treasures.
Oh yeah. Europe is really great for eating on tour generally. Actually, I’m going to exempt the United Kingdom from this because their food is fucking garbage. You don’t like mushy peas?
It’s just post-war ration cuisine. It’s like they were on the ration system during The Blitz and everybody was just like “Well. Good enough for us. We like this.”
I mean, I know there’s a whole world of “elevated” food in the UK but it costs a million dollars a plate. They do have jerk chicken and really good Indian food. That’s good. But generally, Europe is pretty good for whatever the promoter provides. It’s exciting, if you’re in Italy, to go out and eat before a show.
But the Netherlands—in terms of fried food gas station treats—I mean I’m generalising, but the food there is maybe second to the UK in terms of awfulness. Because it’s a lot of boiled endive with flour sauce on it, and a slice of lukewarm ham. Like real Protestant suffering food—like suffering food. But because the Dutch colonised Indonesia and that entire area, they’ve sort of adopted that food into their eating culture to the point where, if you stop at a Dutch gas station, you might notice these deep-fried cubes of mie goreng , like noodles or fried rice in a perfect cube. It’s amazing. These are some real top-tier fried gas station treats. That sounds amazing. I did notice when I was in Copenhagen recently that their 7-Elevens were just leaps and bounds better than ours.
Oh totally. You can get spaghetti carbonara at a 7-Eleven. You mentioned on Twitter that you once rerouted a tour so you could cook in Sicily?
Yeah. I was with my whole band, Handsome Furs, and we ended this tour specifically in southern Europe so we could fly to Syracuse . There’s an open-air, mostly fish market there that’s been going, in one form or another, for probably over 800 years. There’s always been some kind of food trading going on there.
I think it’s the southernmost point of Sicily. It’s almost North Africa in its feeling. There’s a lot of Moorish influence. Apparently the Egyptians were there; there’s a square a town with a pond that has papyrus growing around it, and the legend is that it was it was planted by Egyptian explorers who came to Syracuse . So I went and rented an apartment there with just a basic gas stove. At night I’d go out and eat at these restaurants and try and figure out how to cook the stuff I was eating. Then I’d get up in the morning, go to the market, buy food, cook lunch, and try and replicate what I’d had the night before but for lunch. How successful were you?
At first not so much, but I did learn how to make pasta con sarde , which is one of my favourite dishes. It’s a non-sauced pasta that’s got bread crumbs, fennel, raisins, pine nuts and sardines. That sounds great. Worth the trip. When you’re not travelling, what do you usually eat for breakfast at home?
I’ve kind of changed my breakfast diet recently. I used to eat the sort of Scandinavian breakfast where you have maybe some sliced cucumbers, rye crackers, eggs, and pickled herring. I like that. I like that breakfast. But that’s not what you eat now?
Yeah, it’s not what I’m eating now. Because I’ve been so busy lately making this record ( Radiant Dawn ), I started making this one-pot Japanese breakfast. You get a can of mackerel, you get some rice—generally sushi-grade rice—and you make the whole thing in a rice cooker. So you put umeboshi , a pickled plum, into the rice cooker, with the rice, mirin, a little bit sake, a little bit of soy sauce, kind of half an inch of chopped up ginger, and the oil from the mackerel can, because mackerel is a super fatty fish. You want to get the mackerel packed in—soy oil works pretty good—and you dump the mackerel in, then you top the water up to the liquid level, and put the lid on. Cook it.
The oil keeps it from sticking at the bottom of the rice cooker, but as it cooks it forms almost a crust like if you were making really, really good fried rice. And when it’s done you fluff it up, put it in a bowl, then I put Japanese pickles on it, like Japanese pickled beef steak plant. I forget the Japanese name for it but they’re sort of like purple-y pickles, and then Japanese pickled cucumber. Put really finely sliced green onion on the top. And then you eat it, and it’s great. It’s a good breakfast because it’s protein, and there’s a lot of fat in mackerel, but it’s not overly heavy, you know? And it’s a single pot. Those are all really great things: one pot, you don’t have to watch it, you can do something else while it cooks.
That’s usually my morning routine: just throw together the mackerel rice, answer emails, drink a coffee, mackerel rice is ready, eat it, throw the rice cooker liner in the dishwasher, and go to the studio. What kind of coffee do you usually drink?
I’m generally an espresso guy. My partner and I got an espresso machine last year. I have to really monitor my coffee intake because if it’s around I will just drink it all day. That breakfast sounds pretty filling. Do you usually find you need to eat lunch or does that keep you full for a while?
It keeps me pretty full—I have a crazy high metabolism for some reason. I’ll usually have some kind of sandwich, or a light salad or something for lunch. Especially if I’m in the studio, just something I don’t have to think about too much. And is dinner usually a bigger production?
If I’m not doing studio recording or rehearsing, one of my favourite things to do is just take two or three hours to make dinner. I find it really meditative. I don’t get to do it very often, but I love doing it. Do you have dishes that you come back to over and over again or do you try and make things from different cookbooks?
Last year my partner and I went through the Mamushka cookbook by Olia Hercules. It’s contemporary and older Ukrainian cooking. I absol utely love it. She also wrote a book on cooking from the Caucuses. I think it’s just called “ Kaukasis ,” but there’s a lot of great stuff in there, and I kind of paired that cookbook with this—it’s funny to pair a cookbook—just to contextualize it.
There’s this cookbook that was published in pre-revolutionary Russia, during the Czarist era and it was a guide for housewives , essentially. I mean that’s basically the title. So it ran down everything from how to make butter, to basic food safety stuff that is incredibly outdated and scary today. How to kill a chicken, shit like that, but also you know…Czarist Russia. The cookbook itself is an interesting artifact in that it’s really aspirational. There are recipes in there for basic things like solyanka , this basic soup that’s got pickles and tomatoes and sausages in it, and it’s kind of a “toss everything in a pot” soup. But then there are these elaborate recipes for what you would associate with the Romanovs. Aspic dishes, like a whole perch in aspic, and deviled eggs inside of it. A Gift to Young Housewives
So that I have that, and I also have a cookbook that was published as an addendum to it during communism , that was sort of revolutionary. It had cribbed from that cookbook, but then put all of those recipes in kind of a socialist light, and was weirdly aspirational too, because a lot of the recipes in the Soviet era cookbook had ingredients that people would not be able to get in a lot of places. That’s extremely my shit.
It’s really rad. When I moved back to Montreal, I had to leave a bunch of stuff in California, and one of the things I left was this huge Time Life cookbook set that my mum left me after she passed away. And that set of cookbooks is the thing I always go back to if I’m making anything, really. I’ll just sit there and read through those books. I think it’s Time Life Cooking of the World ? It’s like a 26-volume set, and it was published in the late ‘60s and it’s incredible. You bought it on a subscription basis I think, and it was probably the way a lot of Americans interfaced with other cultures, especially in the Eastern Bloc.
The volumes they have on Yugoslavian cooking, Polish cooking, Russian cooking—they had unlimited access to these countries that were ostensively just closed off from the West. Some of these volumes are almost a Socialist International project. They debunk a lot of the myths about food scarcity and the sort of blanket idea that all of those countries lived in a grey, dismal food situation. I think Magnus Nilsson references those books in that Nordic cooking volume that he put out. Photo: Dan Boeckner I love that like kind of internationalist approach to it, because I do feel like particularly with Russian cooking you get this anti-communist rhetoric along with it.
Oh, for sure. Same with China. People’s cultural and racial prejudices are really weirdly baked into the way they talk about food. Maybe not so much anymore, but even with Chinese cooking, you know there’s that sort of misunderstanding. Do you watch Chef’s Table at all?
I do. I haven’t seen all of them but I do watch them. Did you see the Russian episode [with Vladimir Mukhin, who applies modern techniques to pre-Soviet cuisine at White Rabbit in Moscow ]?
Yeah, I did. I did. That was insane. What do you think about that one?
I have a lot of Russian friends, and I’ve been there many times to play shows. But I feel like that entire scene is representative of a very small class of Russians, and actual Russian cooking is light years away from what was being represented there. He was incorporating traditional Russian cooking, in a way that was, I guess “elevated” but inaccessible to, like, 99% of the population. I think that’s a really good way to put it! You take something and you “elevate” it, but you do so in such a way where the people who came up with it can’t access it.
Did you read any of those articles that came out last year about ajvar ? Ajvar is like a south Balkan sort of roasted pepper and garlic dip. I did not.
It’s one of the big national foods of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. I go there frequently—my partner, Devojka’s is Macedonian, and a lot of her family lives there. We eat a lot of ajvar, and I was shocked to see these articles about ajvar come out. I think it was Vice’s food blog — this British chef is just basically like, “I’m going to make ajvar essentially cool, but like very expensive and desirable,” and it’s fucking hilarious because ajvar has almost no nutritional value, and it is super labour-intensive to make. And it’s really just a delicious snack to have with rakia , the local hard booze. It’s funny to see what’s basically peasant food being repackaged and sold at like hundreds of times its actual value to Westerners. Yeah. And that happens within the West too. It was years ago, but I once saw SPAM on a $US200 ($289) tasting menu. [Editor’s note: It was $US135 ($195) .]
What the fuck? Really? Yeah. And in a way you’re trying to say that it’s a good ingredient, which it is . But to charge so much for it….
Was it presented in a Hawaiian—was it SPAM nigiri or something? You’re appropriating something that was made out of necessity for poor people and making it inaccessible to them. I think it may have been a fried rice. I wish I could remember more details but this was like, five years ago. It was a white guy doing it.
It always is. There’s an almost macho quality to that shit that I really don’t like. It’s hard to explain, but it’s sort of like “Yeah, we’re a fancy restaurant but you’re going to fucking eat SPAM! Can you believe it??” It’s like the cooking equivalent of being an edgelord. It’s like a weird class division thing. You’re appropriating something that was made out of necessity for poor people and making it inaccessible to them. It’s wild stuff. Kind of shifting gears here: Do you have any studio snacks or practice snacks?
That’s a good question. I’ve been eating a lot of these these very expensive and delicious potato chips. Speaking of elevated food. What brand?
Torres brand truffle potato chips. They also have Mediterranean herb flavored potato chips, and they are just fucking delicious. Are these made with truffle oil or are they truffle flecked? Describe the truffle chips to me.
They have truffle oil in them. I mean they’re not that spendy. They’re not an eight-dollar bag of health chips. But yeah, they taste very truffle-y. I think they cook them in olive oil, so they’re just really delicious. I’ll make an egg salad sandwich, then put a layer of these potato chips on it, and a pickle. That is a good sandwich. How do you make your egg salad?
Boil up the eggs, chop them, mayonnaise, pickles—very important—green onion, and dill. Do you have a particular brand of mayonnaise that you like?
Yes, I do. It’s Thomy mayonnaise . It comes in a tube and I think it’s a Balkan product, but it might be an Austrian product that’s super popular in the Balkans. But every time my partner and I go over there, we try and bring back Thomy mayonnaise because it’s just…there’s just something about it. It’s good. It’s kind of eggy in a way that I like. I’m not really sure if it’s technically “good” mayonnaise, you know? I mean, it tastes good. It does the job. I’ve never really looked at the ingredients, but I fucking love it. What other condiments do you have hanging around?
I have doenjang —fermented bean paste, which I like using a teaspoon or a tablespoon of with steamed vegetables, like Chinese broccoli or bok choy. You steam it really quickly, put it aside, and then put a little bit of oil in the wok, melt the doenjang into the oil, and then just lightly toss the vegetables, and that’s a good snack. Photo: Dan Boeckner Are you a hot sauce guy?
I’m not super crazy about hot—I mean, I love a good hot sauce, but I’m pretty good with the classics. I like Cholula a lot. It’s kind of tangy. But I really like the Szechuan hot sauces and chilli oil. I use a lot of chilli oil. The Szechuan sauces have that tingly feeling to them, right?
Yeah, they have the Szechuan peppercorn, which has a kind of numbing flavour. That’s my default. If I’m out in a city in North America and I have a day off, I’ll try to find either a Serbian restaurant or a Szechuan place. I imagine that would be harder to find once you get to like the middle of the country?
I think over the last half decade, the options for eating have gotten way better in the Midwest. Although the Midwest has some real old school classics. I’m a fan of Culver’s butter burger. It’s good shit. If I have to have fast food in the Midwest, that is good. But you can find weird Amish restaurants. I’ve been to a couple in Ohio and Wisconsin and Indiana. You know, some old school Amish cooking—it’s basically German home cooking, but buffet-style, and that’s always fun. When it comes to fast food, I’m in no place to judge. I eat McDonald’s because I’m garbage, but those butter burgers are really good.
They’re really good. And A&W in Canada is actually a constant tour meal if we’re touring Canada. The stretch of road between Montreal and Toronto is maybe one of the bleakest drives. It’s so boring. It’s like Hanna-Barbera sort of recycled background. You kind of go into a trance because it’s so monotonous and shitty. They have these en-route sort of travel plazas and they all generally have the same restaurants. They’ll be a Tim Horton’s a Starbucks, and an A&W. The A&W in Canada is great; the Buddy Burger is a great burger. It’s different than the A&W we have in the US?
Yeah, it is. I’m not exactly sure how, but it just tastes different. The vegetables are better. That sounds about right. Do you keep any frozen or convenience foods around for moments where you can’t cook?
Yeah, I do. I don’t have a microwave in my house so…but there’s a really great Polish restaurant in Montreal that’s close to my studio called Batory , and they have been making sort of grandma-style, in-house pierogis for as long as they’ve been open. You can eat them at the restaurant, or you can actually buy giant frozen bags of them. They’re incredible.
Spicy cod roe is another quick, easy thing. Asian supermarkets usually have it— mentaiko . You get these packages of cod roe and oil and some spaghetti. Put the cod roe in a pan with some butter and a little bit of cream. You can add garlic but you kind of don’t need to. Use a bit of the pasta water to thicken up the sauce at the end. Then toss the pasta in this cod roe cream concoction, put some green onion on top, and it’s delicious. Have you ever had bottarga before? It’s like a Japanese version of that really simple bottarga pasta. It’s in an un-refrigerated prepackaged little bag. I ate it last night. Can we see inside your fridge?
Fridge is pretty grim, Claire. Photo: Dan Boeckner Do you have any favourite hungover meals?
If I’m really hungover I’ll do my own version of budae-jigae , which is Korean army stew with hot dogs and SPAM. That meal is totally delicious. Or I’ll do like a Japanese curry, from the Gleico brand—just throw-everything-in-the-pot curry. But the —If I’m really hungover I’ll just use whatever’s in the fridge, and make a giant pot of budae-jigae , the homemade stuff. I always have chicken stock at home, so I start with the chicken stock and Korean chilli powder flakes, and just start adding stuff into it until I think I got something good going. Then I cook some ramen, and add poached eggs on top. That’s good. Eggs are a cure-all, I think. Are you a cocktail person or a beer person?
I like wine a lot. Yeah, I’m a wine guy. I kind of had to stop drinking beer after music and touring became my profession, and then also after I turned 30, because If I’m on tour for two months and I drink an average of four to six beers a night, I’m just going to get bloated. It’s not cool to talk about but after 30 I was just like “OK, I got to stop drinking beer now.” That happened to me too, not for the exact same reasons, but after I turned 30 and leading up to 30 I started sneezing whenever I drank beer.
Oh weird! What do you think it was? I don’t know. I even tried to keep track, because it wasn’t like every one that made me sneeze, but I couldn’t isolate what it was. So I just switched to gin.
I love gin. Gin is so good!
So I need to say that Devojka, from Operators, her other thing is she trained with all the guys from Attaboy in New York . It’s like a speakeasy. It’s probably my favourite bar in New York. She ended up training with them on and off for the last couple of years and has mastered making cocktails. They have a drink app and some of her drinks made it on the app. She’s been hosting these these “Pink Panther” speakeasy nights at the apartment. So I’m totally spoiled for cocktails, basically.
My favourite cocktail is the Gibson, which is basically a dry gin martini with a pickled onion in it. She’s totally mastered that, but also has mastered a bunch of other way more complex cocktails. It’s dangerous, because we were just getting shitfaced every night. That’s basically what happened during the writing period for Radiant Dawn— the new Operators record. We would work on stuff and then when we were back at the apartment, Dev would be like “OK, I’m working on a new menu for Pink Panther. Try this. Now try this. Try this.” And then, you know, I’d just be absolutely doomed. Photo: Dan Boeckner Do you have a particular brand of gin that you like?
I think The Botanist. is really good. I grew up in small rural town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, a big island off the coast of the mainland. Recently, that province sort of de-restricted distillation lines, so there are all these private distilleries starting up, and a lot of the Vancouver Island gin is weirdly really great. I would say it could compete with international gins. Ampersand is one of them.
Some of them are obviously, like, a little too “tis’d out,” like “artisanal.” Too much infusion. There’s one gin from Canada that I actually love—it’s a Defender Island . It comes in a dark, almost like a fifth bottle, like a mickey. I think it’s from British Columbia, and it’s made with juniper and rosemary, but burnt juniper and burnt rosemary. It’s like a smoky gin. If you could only choose one source of salt, one source of fat, and one source of acid which would you choose for each category?
Salt—I would go like like unrefined sea salt. Fat—I would have to go with lard, like pork fat, because it’s totally delicious. I’m a big fan of čvarci . It’s like little roasted pieces of lard that you eat as a snack. And for acid I’d just say lemon. I like a nice, medium-tart lemon juice.
This interview was edited for clarity and brevity.

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Disney World Dining: Sanaa At Animal Kingdom Lodge

by Paten Williams | Disney Dining , Walt Disney World , Walt Disney World Resorts
On my last Disney World adventure I had one of the most unique dining experiences that I have EVER chosen: Sanaa ! Why is it so unique you might ask? Many people are quick to say “No!� when they learn that Sanaa serves “ African or Indian cuisine. � I’m sure most people glance at the menu and think, “Oh this is going to be weird and spicy!� Luckily that is not the case at all. Yes, the food does have an authentic African/Indian flare to it, but most people find it delicious and unique. Join me as we talk about Disney World Dining: Sanaa, to find out why I love it! Disney World Dining: Sanaa
There are two main reasons I love Sanaa: Ambiance and Cuisine. Ambiance
Sanaa is a table-service restaurant located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in the Kidani Village. Quite frankly, its location is a hot minute from the rest of Disney World, so some people don’t give Sanaa a chance simply because of where it is. Fortunately, once you arrive and see the scenery and eat the food, it definitely makes the trip worth it! As you make your way downstairs where the restaurant is located you’ll see that the entrance features some beautiful, handcrafted African artwork. The beads that line the podium are simply gorgeous. You might even be able to spy a Hidden Mickey on the mats behind the counter where the “Sanaa� Sign is displayed. The waiting area outside of the restaurant features large windows that look out onto Sunset Savanna , the same view that you’ll enjoy once you’re seated inside. This plays into the ambiance that I mentioned earlier! Be sure to keep your eyes open to see some amazing hand-crafted decorations.
In the main dining room, the view above changes to resemble a tree canopy with rustic lanterns hanging from the branches overhead. One of the reasons I wanted to eat at this restaurant was the view! I requested a Savanna view before I was seated and it was so neat! Chances are great that you’ll have an opportunity to see a variety of animals as you dine. Walt Express Tip
If seeing animals is important to you, here’s a TIP : be sure to book your Advanced Dining Reservation for earlier in the day. Choose either lunch or an early dinner. Later reservations might fall after dark, and you won’t be able to see much except your reflection in the glass at that point. With all of that being said, now it’s time to take a look at the menu! Cuisine
I had no idea what to order but our waitress was amazing! She walked me through all of the drink options and the entire menu. She suggested the Bread Service for an appetizer, so that’s where the meal began. The Famous Bread Service
If you’re dining at Sanaa for the very first time, you should know that bread service here is not complimentary . However, it is very much worth the price of $17.00. It came with some incredible breads and accompanying nine sauces and spreads. My favorite sauces were Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Mango Chutney and Tamarind Chutney. The Bread Service was so unique and it was a great way to start the dinner. Main Course
When it came to the entree part of the meal I decided to choose the Potjie Inspired option. This is where I got to choose one meat and one vegetable dish from several options and it was also served with rice. Overall the Butter Chicken was my favorite! The Butter Chicken I ate was so tender and flavorful, my fork would glide right through it. I loved it so much I now have created my own recipe and make it at home pretty often. Dessert
Dessert was nothing short of amazing also. I had the Caramel N’dizi, which was Banana Financier with Caramelized Milk Chocolate Crémeux, Hazelnut Crunch, Banana-White Chocolate Chantilly, and Ginger Raspberries. Disney Dining Plan
Sanaa is one table service credit per person on the Disney Dining Plan . The Bread Service is not included and will need to be purchased separately. The price for the bread service is $17.00. Why I Love Sanaa
Sanaa remains one of my absolute top picks for dining at Disney World. Sure, it’s a little inconvenient, with its w y off the beaten path location in Kidani Village. It’s true: you will likely need to mark off a few hours if you dine here. But it’s so worth it! The food is phenomenal. In addition to that, the care that Imagineers took in creating this restaurant is apparent everywhere. The view of the Sunset Savanna — free with a meal!! — is unparalleled. Usually, you would pay big bucks to see animals like this.
And don’t forget, once you’re at Animal Kingdom Lodge , there’s plenty to look at and see there as well. Even if you aren’t staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, this restaurant is worth the trip.  It is definitely a hidden gem and reservations aren’t too hard to get here!
If you plan to head back to Animal Kingdom Park, be sure to check out these snacks that are available! ANIMAL KINGDOM SNACKS !
Looking for more Disney Dining reviews? We have lots of great information in our Join us today!

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5 Best Places to Visit in South India – India Travel

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South India is gifted with everything a tourist can ask for. It has got beautiful hill stations, ancient historical monuments, wild sanctuaries, waterfalls, backwaters, best accommodations for tourists and more. Need not mention, South Indian food is popular all over the world. Moreover, you can try the delicious South Indian cuisine yourself as you travel along with the various distinctions in South India. So, if you have been thinking of traveling to the South, below mentioned are the 5 best places to visit in South India:
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It is a coastal town in the state of Tamil Nadu onIndia southern trip. This town (among the famous south Indian cities ) was known as Cape Comorian during British rule and is popular for watching sunrise and sunset atop the Ocean.
It is like a mystical land with tourism dash to get a taste of romance and it’s also considered as a pilgrimage site because of Bagavathi Amman Temple (dedicated to a companion of Shiva and it’s our lady of Ramson Church).
Nature is so spectacular at Kanyakumari that several other Indian beaches pale by comparison. There is something rhythmic about being in a place that is the last point of the country.
Cape Comorian is best during the Chaitra Purnima when the sun and the moon are face to face at the same horizon, but other full moon days are also special when we can see the sun and the moon rise almost concurrently. Kochi
Kochi is also one of the best places in south India, a city in South West India’s coastal Kerala state which has been a port in 1341. It is a rushy commercial port city with a trading history that dates back only 600 years. It is also called Queen of the Arabian Sea; the city is the financial, commercial and industrial capital of Kerala.
A flock of islands interconnected by ferries, this Cosmopolitan town has upmarket stores and galleries in finest Heritage accommodation.
Very few people know that one of the largest shopping malls in India as well as in Asia, Lulu Shopping Mall , is also in India.
Kochi has a mix of both traditional and cosmopolitan culture, being the capital city of the state of Kerala. The city was a hub of Cultural intellectualist in past. It is the home to famous writers of Malayalam literature. It also has the largest Jewish community that is Malabar. Munnar
One of the best tourist places in south india, Munnar is the town in the Western Ghats mountain range in Kerala state, a hill station and a former resort for the British Raj elite that is surrounded by Rolling Hills overviewed with tea plantation. It is a beautiful tea town in Idukki district of Kerala.
The tea Museum at the Nallathanni estate represents the religious history of tea production. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is an eco-tourism site that protects numerous animal species.
It is a field of blue Neelakurinji flowers, which bloom there once every 12 years. It is known for its greenery. Munnar is a great holiday distinction in Kerala.
Its overall view including the tea plantations, beautifully designed towns, flora, and fauna make it perfect for the vacation. Munnar hill station has been selected as the best destination for romance. It is breathtakingly beautiful and cannot be portrayed in a single Canvas. Kumarakom
It is the village on Vembanad Lake, in the backwaters of Kerala Southern India. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is home to many animal species. Nearby, the bay Island driftwood Museum shows wooden sculptures. Ancient Thazhathangady mosque is at the east of Kumarakom.
It has a tropical climate with two monsoon seasons (June to August and October to November), a common time to visit during the driest months, a good time to visit the Bird Sanctuary is the mid-year. It is the best place for your holiday as it has a perfect blend of traditional and modern facilities.
Kumarakom is the essence of Kerala that is certainly one way to get immersed in Kerala’s rich heritage. It offers a wide range of flora and fauna and exotic sightseeing, boating and fishing experiences. The land is famous for its handcraft, each exquisite piece still made in a traditional way.
Houseboats are one of the unique and epic features of Kumarakam tourism. The atmosphere at Kumarakom will make you more romantic and will give you the most memorable moments in your lifetime. Madurai
Madurai is an energetic, ancient city on the Vaigai River, in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Its Skyline is dominated by the 14 colorful Gateway towers of Meenakshi Amman temple. It is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. One among the best places to visit in South India, it is covered with bright carvings of Hindu Gods. The Dravidian style temple is a major pilgrimage site.
Flower vendors near Meenakshi Amman sell fragrant flowers of Jasmine and Marigold which are used as devotional offerings. Afar the old city lays Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam, a vast Temple Tank filled by the river Vaigai River. It hosts a Madurai float festival which is held in January and February in which Hindu icons are placed into the tanks on ornamental rafts. Most visitors come in December to January and May.
Summers can be extremely hot and humid, while winter brings warm days and chilly nights. Madurai is Tamil- born and Tamil- rooted, one of the oldest cities in India and one of the best places in south India , a metropolis that traded with ancient Rome.
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Have you been planning to go for a vacation in South India? Which city out of the above “5 Best Places to Visit in South India” did you find interesting?

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I’m a North Indian and I like to eat south Indian foods. I am looking forward to more Indian recipe, and Indian cuisine is my favorite. I tried your recipe that taste was quite good. Touch with my website Get in touch with us via our websites pure veg restaurants in adyar | south indian foods menu

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Top 8 Cities of India and Their Famous Dish

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Indian food is generally famous for its spiciness, which makes it tasty and unique. Every single spice used in Indian food carries some or other nutritional properties, which makes it very healthy. Almost every state in India is famous for its own cuisine. From the famous Chole Bhature of the north to the famous Idli Sambhar of the south, from Tunde Ke Kebab of Lucknow and Prawn Gassi of Goa, here is the list of 8 cities where you will find the best Tags:

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Hidden gem – reviews, photos – island of thinnakara – tripadvisor electricity bill saudi electricity company

# Bangaram island # boat ride # company # electricity # electricity bill # gas prices # government accommodation # island # North Indian # thinnakara # tourists stay
This was the most 5 days relaxing holiday we had in India in past 18 months! It can be a bit of drag getting there, but it’s worth it! Foreigners need a special restricted area permit to enter the island, and special approval by local tourist electricity and circuits test office. Only certified travel agencies are allowed to book your accommodation and travel to the island. There are daily flights from Kochi to Aggati island (prohibited for tourists to stay), with a minivan transport to a local 12-15 persons local boat, and 1 -1:30 hour boat ride to Thinnakara (depending on how rough the sea is). It’s a bit bumby but still pleasant ride.
The Thinnakar is not inhabited (accept 2 coconut farmers families when the island is open in season) , so it’s you and few other tourists and few government accommodation employees (cook, 1-2 waiters, 2-3 multi purpose gas vs diesel rv employees including boat guides/operators. They all take care of you. The government accommodation consists of about 10 large tents with 2 or 3 beds inside, connected with private potter-potty, covered porch, lounge chairs. The price is on the high side $180 for 2 bedroom tent. All meals are inclusive. Typically, due to most North Indian tourists, they prepare heavy, North Indian cuisine instead of local light cuisine. They do appreciate and follow suggestions and will accommodate your wishes (requesting local coconut rice, chili fish, more vegetable dishes…).
The island is very quiet and peaceful…. This was the most 5 days relaxing holiday eon gas card top up we had in India in past 18 months! It can be a bit of drag getting there, but it’s worth it! Foreigners need a special restricted area permit to enter the island, and special approval by local tourist office. Only certified travel agencies are allowed to book your accommodation and travel to the island. There are daily flights from Kochi to Aggati island (prohibited for tourists to stay), with a minivan transport to a local 12-15 persons local boat, and 1 -1:30 hour boat ride to Thinnakara (depending on how rough the sea is). It’s a bit bumby but gas out still pleasant ride. The Thinnakar is not inhabited (accept 2 coconut farmers families when the island is open in season) , so it’s you and few other tourists and few government accommodation employees (cook, 1-2 waiters, 2-3 multi purpose employees including boat guides/operators. They all take care bp gas prices ny of you. The government accommodation consists of about 10 large tents with 2 or 3 beds inside, connected with private potter-potty, covered porch, lounge chairs. The price is on the high side $180 for 2 bedroom tent. All meals are inclusive. Typically, due to most North Indian tourists, they prepare heavy, North Indian cuisine instead of local light cuisine. They do appreciate and follow suggestions and will accommodate electricity 101 pdf your wishes (requesting local coconut rice, chili fish, more vegetable dishes…). The island is very quiet and peaceful. The coral white beach is perfect for walking and sunbathing. The emerald, crystal clean, green sea offers great snorkeling, scuba, kayaking…You can walk the island on the beach side in 1 hour. Or, you can chose to walk toward nearby smaller islands where coral riffs are (in a low tide). The middle part of the island has lush coconut palm vegetation. There are plenty of crabs, large and small all over the beach (they crawl electricity word search pdf out at night). The sunsets and sunrises are amazing! The night sky covered with stars doesn’t shy of beauty as well. Snorkeling of nearby ship wrack can be easily arrange at the island, as well Padi training or just scuba dives (Scuba office is located just 15 minutes boat ride on Bangaram island). Those are extra costs ($25 for ship wreak visit, and $40-$45 per scuba dive). They are very professional electricity facts for 4th graders and careful. We visited Bangaram island for just few hours, and confirm our choice of Thinnakara. There is electricity running on generator most of the time, except for few hours in the morning after breakfast and late afternoon. At night the generator is switched to silent mode. There is a Airtel cell phone service (occasionally) and e-mail only Internet. All employees have radios with them all the time. Most local tourists stay 1 night and continue to hop from island to island each day. The sea is unpredictable and they often get stuck on one island due to rough seas. Please note: sadly ONLY West side of beach is sparkling clean and pristine. The other half of the island beach is garbage dump, packed with plastic and glass. It’s shocking that the government is doing nothing to clean it up or prevent it! Highly recommended! More Show less
We reached Thinnakara from Kadmat by a speed boat. Around gas and water company two and half journey is really thrilling. Hundreds of flying fish jutting out from the sides of the boat and speedily vanishes in the distant blue ocean. Luckily we spotted a school of dolphin somersaulting at a distance nearly 250 meters. A rare sight. We were spellbound on reaching british gas jokes the tiny coral island, almost opposite to Bangaram island, by the serene peaceful beauty of this gem. On the north-south edge of the Thinnakara lagoon two tiny island named Parali (i); Parali (ii) are situated like conjoined twins connected by a sandbar visible in low tides. Snorkelling and scuba diving or kyaking are the popular beach-side sports. Accommodation in cosy thatched hut is great and the food is excellent. If you are interested you can hire a boat to sail to Parali islands and on the way you are surely to sight reef turtles swimming past the colourful fish around the coral beds. If you choose a full-moon time electricity history timeline, you will really enjoy the evening in the beach. A couple of night’s stay at Thinakkara island will surely be your life-time experience, I can bet.

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Everest Base Camp Trek via Gokyo Lakes

Breakfast in Kathmandu and all meals during the trek Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Kathmandu and teahouses during the trek Trip Introduction
Everest Base Camp Trek via Gokyo Lakes, recognized for the series of beautiful turquoise lakes in the Gokyo valley and the famous Cho La Pass, takes us through the landmarks of the Khumbu region in the company of majestically soaring mountains, friendly Sherpas, colorful monasteries, the Namche Bazaar, the Sagarmatha National Park, and, of course, to the base of the mighty Everest. The trek in advancing to the base of the world’s tallest mountain maps out spectacular vistas from such celebrated viewpoints like Gokyo Ri and Kala Patthar. The trek also awards us with great views of the Khumbu Icefall. Trekking to the Everest Base Camp through Gokyo Lakes, in a nutshell, will be a lifetime experience with the enthralling sights of Mt. Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Nuptse, Amadablam, Pumori, and Tengboche Monastery – the largest monastery in the Khumbu region of Nepal.
The Everest Base Camp Trek via Gokyo Lakes’ itinerary is ideal for hikers who wish to take up more challenge and “stay off the beaten path” while treading upon remote Nepalese trails. However if you are a novice trekker who is in good health and average physical fitness then Everest Base Camp Trek – 16 Days might be right for you. Additionally, if you are an experienced trekker who wants to trek to the Everest Base Camp but has limited amount of time in your hands then you can sign up for Everest Base Camp Short Trek – 14 Days instead. Included in the Cost Airport pickups and drops in a private vehicle 3-star hotel accommodation in Kathmandu with breakfast Teahouse accommodation during the trek All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the trek Welcome and farewell dinners All ground transportation on a comfortable private vehicle as per the itinerary Domestic flights (Kathmandu- Lukla -Kathmandu) Guided city tour in Kathmandu by private vehicle Entrance fees for sightseeing/monument visits as per the itinerary An experienced, English-speaking and government-licensed trek leader and assistant trek leader (4 trekkers: 1 assistant guide) Porter service (2 trekkers: 1 porter) Staff costs including their salary, insurance, equipment, domestic airfare, food and accommodation Down jacket and sleeping bag (to be returned after trip completion) Himalayan Glacier’s trekking bag/duffel bag, t-shirt and trekking map are yours to take All necessary paperwork and trekking permits (National Park Permit, TIMS) Medical kit (carried by your trek leader) All government and local taxes Outline Itinerary Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,350m/4,428ft) Day 02: Kathmandu: Sightseeing and trek Preparation Day 03: Fly to Lukla, trek to Phakding (2,651m/8,700ft): 8km, 3 – 4 hours trek Day 04: Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3,438m/11,280 ft): 11km, 5 – 6 hours Day 05: Acclimatization Day – Namche Bazaar: (3,440m/11,284ft) Day 06: Namche Bazaar to Phortse Thanga (3,680m/12,073ft): 6km, 5-6 hours Day 07: Phortse Thanga to Machhermo (4,470m/ 14,663ft): 10km, 4-5 hours Day 08: Machhermo to Gokyo (4,800 m/15,744 ft): 7km, 4-5 hours Day 09: Gokyo Valley: Acclimatization Day – Optional Hike to Gokyo Ri (5357 m/17,570 ft): 2km, 3 – 4 hours Day 10: Gokyo to Thagnak (4750 m/15,580 ft): 4km, 4 – 5 hours Day 11: Thagnak to Cho La pass (5,367m/17,604 ft) to Dzongla (15, 939 ft): 7km, 7 – 8 hours Day 12: Dzongla to Lobuche (4940 m/16,207 ft): 6km, 2 – 3 hours Day 13: Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5,170 m/16,961ft), visit Everest Base Camp (5,364 m/17,594 ft): 13km, 6-7 hours Day 14: Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar (5,545m/18,192ft) to Pherice (4,288m/14,070ft): 16km, 7-8 hours Day 15: Pheriche to Namche Bazaar: 20km, 6 – 7 hours Day 16: Namche Bazaar to Lukla (2,860m/9,186ft): 19km, 6 – 7 hours Day 17: Fly to Kathmandu Day 18: Final departure Trip Start Dates and Costs Check available trip start dates and costs for Everest Base Camp Trek via Gokyo Lakes and Cho La Pass. Please contact us for your customized departure date. Additional Information Our website contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you wish to discuss any aspect of this trip or your suitability for it please contact us by email . If you want to talk to us directly feel free to call us at: +1-540-498-8629 Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,350m/4,428ft) Upon our arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to our hotel. After checking in, we may take a rest or visit Himalayan Glacier’s office. In the evening there will be a welcome dinner in a traditional Nepali Restaurant where we will be able to enjoy authentic Nepali cuisine with a brief cultural program.Overnight in Kathmandu. Included meals: Dinner Day 02: Kathmandu: Sightseeing and trek Preparation Today after breakfast we start a guided tour to several of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu which are also listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. We visit the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the famous ‘Monkey Temple’ (Swayambhunath) and Buddhist shrine (Bouddhanath), which is also one of the largest stupas in the world. At noon, we get our equipment checked by our climbing leader, get introduced to fellow participants, and discuss our trip at Himalayan Glacier’s office. Overnight in Kathmandu. Included meals: Breakfast Day 03: Fly to Lukla, trek to Phakding (2,651m/8,700ft): 8km, 3 – 4 hours trek During the 40-minute flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (9,186ft), we enjoy one of the most beautiful air routes in the world culminating on a hillside surrounded by high mountainous peaks. At Lukla, a gateway destination from where our trek begins, we meet our other crew members and begin packing and arranging with them. From Lukla, we start trekking. At one hour’s gradual descent, we will be at a Cheplung village from where we have a glimpse of Mt. Khumbila (18900 ft), a sacred mountain which has never been climbed. From Cheplung, we then gradually descend until we reach Phakding and spend the night. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 04: Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3,438m/11,280 ft): 11km, 5 – 6 hours Walking through a beautiful pine forest, we follow the trail north up the valley of Benkar. We then cross Dudh Koshi River and go on passing Chumoa to Monjo, the entrance to Everest National Park. Then after crossing a suspension bridge, we pass Jorsale village and walk alongside of the Dudh Koshi and Bhote Koshi rivers. A steep ascent brings us to the prime heartland of Sherpa village – Namche Bazaar. At one hour’s distance to reaching Namche Bazaar, if the weather permits, we can view the sights of Mt. Everest and Mt. Lhotse. Overnight in Namche Bazaar. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 05: Acclimatization Day – Namche Bazaar: (3,440m/11,284ft) There are plenty of things to do around Namche Bazaar, and we can spend a day here acclimatizing. Namche Bazaar is the main centre of the Khumbu region and has government offices, ATMs, Internet cafes, shops, restaurants, and a colorful market. Our guides can take us to explore the real charm of Namche Bazaar. Hiking to Sagarmatha National Park rewards trekkers with a sunrise view and the views of Mount Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Kongde and so on. If we are interested in a day hike, we trek to Khumjung village (12401 ft)-a beautiful village with a Sherpa settlement. In exploring Namche Bazar, we observe traditional Sherpa life, Khumjung Hillary School, and enjoy flora and fauna found at such altitude. Overnight in Namche Bazaar. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 06: Namche Bazaar to Phortse Thanga (3,680m/12,073ft): 6km, 5-6 hours We climb the Khumjung hill and descend to the east of the village down the broad valley leading to the Dudh Koshi from where the route turns north. There are two trails and our guide will choose the best option for us to follow. There is a chorten on the ridge top at 3973 m which descends from Mt. Khumbila (5761 m). We visit Mohang, the birthplace of the re-incarnated Lama of Rongbuk Monastery of Tibet who is believed to have introduced Buddhism in the Khumbu region of Nepal. The trail descends in a series of steep switchbacks down a sandy slope to the Dush Koshi. We stay overnight in Phortse Tanga, near the river. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 07: Phortse Thanga to Machhermo (4,470m/ 14,663ft): 10km, 4-5 hours From Phortse Thanga it is an uphill climb to Machhermo. We walk on a trail alongside a rhododendron forest and pass through a waterfall before reaching Tongba Village. We continue our uphill trek and pass through Dole, Labarma and Luza villages before reaching Machhermo. There is a Chhorten right before the Luza village. Throughout today’s journey we will be walking alongside the Dudh Koshi River. Overnight in Machhermo. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 08: Machhermo to Gokyo (4,800 m/15,744 ft): 7km, 4-5 hours We begin today by climbing a ridge for an excellent view down the valley to Kangtaiga and also up towards Cho Oyu (8153 m). The valley now widens as the trail passes through Phangkha, where an avalanche in 1995 killed 40 people. We then descend to the riverbank before climbing onto the terminal moraine of the Ngazumpa Glacier on a steep trail. Upon crossing an iron bridge over a stream, the trail levels out as it follows the valley past the first lake, known as Longpongo, at 4690 m. At this juncture, we get a chance to observe lama footprints on a stone. At the sight of the second lake, Taboche Tsho, we become mesmerized by the shimmering turquoise blue sheet of water sparkling in the sun. Little ahead of the second lake, we reach the third lake, the two linked by a surging stream. Gokyo village stands by the third lake and Cho-Oyu Mountain as a backdrop sets an amazing spectacular sight here. After lunch, we explore around the third lake, Dudh Pokhari. Overnight in Gokyo. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 09: Gokyo Valley: Acclimatization Day – Optional Hike to Gokyo Ri (5357 m/17,570 ft): 2km, 3 – 4 hours
We will hike to Gokyo Ri, a small peak above Gokyo village, in the morning and savor the fantastic views of the entire Khumbu region. As we ascend, the views become even more fantastic and we can see four of the seven highest peaks of Nepal, Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. Reaching the fourth lake, Thonak Tsho we take pleasure in the lake’s serene beauty after which we trek back along the retracing trail to the third lake. We may take an additional hike up to the fifth lake, Ngozumba Tsho if time permits and depending on our physical conditions. From here, the view of Ngozumba glacier, the longest glacier of the Himalayas, is so fascinating. Overnight in Gokyo. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 10: Gokyo to Thagnak (4750 m/15,580 ft): 4km, 4 – 5 hours If we did not climb the Gokyo Ri the previous day, we can do that today. Climbing to the top of Gokyo Ri is demanding as it is steep and takes about 3 to 4 hours to reach the top. But the scenery of Gokyo village, on the edge of third lake overlooked by Cholatse and the broad Nogzumpa Glacier, is magnificent. We are surrounded by panoramic mountains like Kusum Kanguru, Thamserku, Kangtega, Taboche, Cholatse, Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Everest, Changtse, and Pumori. The sight of sunrays kissing Everest which towers over all the surrounding peaks is astounding. We trek through the Ngazumpa Glacier to the mountain on the other side. Next, traverse along the edge of that mountain and then meander into Thagnak. It will be a short hike today with an afternoon of rest which will prepare us for long hiking days and elevation gain to come. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 11: Thagnak to Cho La pass (5,367m/17,604 ft) to Dzongla (15, 939 ft): 7km, 7 – 8 hours Today is going to be one of the toughest days of the trip. The Cho La pass is not itself difficult, but it is steep and involves a glacier traverse on the eastern side. We need to be careful as the trail is vertical and the rocks glazed by ice may cause trouble by making the trail slippery. The trail from Phedi climbs through a ravine and a rocky trail. While trekking through the side of a frozen lake, we reach at the top of the pass decorated with prayer flags. The pyramidal Ama Dablam presides over a range of mountains on the south even as Cholatse soars to the west and Lobuche East and Baruntse rises sharply to our right. We need to pass through some crevasses before we reach Dzongla Village. The village provides great views of Cholatse, Ama Dablam, Lobuche mountains along with the Pheriche Village far below. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 12: Dzongla to Lobuche (4940 m/16,207 ft): 6km, 2 – 3 hours This will be a very short trek so we have a lot time to relax and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. We climb down from Dzongla and walk through a grassy trail while enjoying the view of Lobuche Peak. The trail curves through the wide river bed before reaching Lobuche. We can spend the rest of day taking a rest which will help us prepare for the next day’s long trek. Overnight in Lobuche. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 13: Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5,170 m/16,961ft), visit Everest Base Camp (5,364 m/17,594 ft): 13km, 6-7 hours
We take the trail to Everest Base Camp through the once vast Gorak Shep Lake. Continuing straight ahead, we come across the Indian army mountaineers’ memorials. The path from here can be misleading; hence, it is important that we follow our lead Sherpa diligently. The walk is strenuous due to thin air in the high altitude. We pass through rocky dunes, moraine and streams before reaching the Everest Base Camp. Upon reaching the Everest Base Camp, we see tents of mountaineers that stand out in bright colors against the monotony of gray surroundings (especially in the spring). Nuptse, Khumbuste and Pumori are the mountains we can view from the base camp. We get back to Gorak Shep for a good night’s rest. Overnight in Gorak Shep. However, the sunset view from Kala Patthar is more admirable than the sunrise view, so it is recommended that we visit Kala Patthar today during sunset. As the setting sun’s rays strike the snow-capped mountains, the resulting scenery is incredible. Therefore, for those trekkers who wish to continue to Kala Patthar today instead of the next day please inform your guide and he/she will coordinate accordingly. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 14: Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar (5,545m/18,192ft) to Pherice (4,288m/14,070ft): 16km, 7-8 hours
We prepare for an early morning departure, amid pre-dawn darkness and cold temperatures (-10 to -14 C). Plus, there is always the potential for chilly winds which are quite common. Familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse, and Changtse tower to the east even as Everest begins to reveal itself. But, it is upon reaching Kala Patthar that we get to see 360 degree up-close and formidable views of Mt. Everest. We take pictures, enjoy the magnificent mountain panorama, and then return back to Lobuche for a good night’s rest. Overnight in Lobuche. Those participants who will visit Everest Base Camp today will have an early breakfast to start early as Everest base camp hike takes longer than the hike at Kala Patthar. After returning to Gorak Shep, both the groups will have lunch together; the afternoon is taken to descend down to Pheriche for a good night’s rest. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 15: Pheriche to Namche Bazaar: 20km, 6 – 7 hours We trek down through the hillside blanketed by rhododendron and juniper trees. After crossing the prayer-flag festooned bridge over the Dudh Koshi River, our trail follows the Dudh Koshi gorge descending rapidly through pine forests. In the forest, we may come across colorful pheasants and mountain goats. The path eventually reaches Sansa from where we can enjoy views of Ama Dablam, Thamserku and Nuptse mountains. We also pass winding trails then through a forest before reaching Namche Bazaar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 16: Namche Bazaar to Lukla (2,860m/9,186ft): 19km, 6 – 7 hours The trail descends steeply downward so we need to walk cautiously as our shaky legs continuously battle the rocky terrain. After crossing the suspension bridges over the fast flowing Dudh Koshi and its tributaries, the trail becomes more level and natural. After our arrival in Lukla, we stretch those sore legs and recall the experiences of the last couple of days. Overnight in Lukla. Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner Day 17: Fly to Kathmandu We catch an early morning flight to Kathmandu after our long mountain journey. After reaching Kathmandu, we can take a rest or do some souvenir shopping. If we want to explore any other areas of Kathmandu, we may do that today. Our guides can help you with both souvenir shopping or sightseeing. There will be a farewell dinner in the evening to celebrate the successful completion of our journey. Overnight in Kathmandu. Included meals: Breakfast Dinner Day 18: Final departure Your adventure in Nepal comes to an end today! There is nothing to do but trade emails with your travel companions and organize your photos. A representative from Himalayan Glacier Trekking will take you to the airport, approximately 3 hours before your scheduled flight. On your way home you’ll have plenty of time to plan your next adventure in the wonderful country of Nepal. Included meals: Breakfast Important Note
Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Himalayan Glacier. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health condition of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc., can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.
Please note that often the Kathmandu-Lukla-Kathmandu flight gets delayed by a few hours or may even be canceled for one, two, or more days due to unfavorable weather conditions. Such conditions may arise even in the best seasons. Hence, in such cases, you must be prepared for long waits either at Kathmandu or Lukla airports, as this can happen either at the start or end of the trek or even both! We will do our best to avoid such delays, and arrange the next flight for you. We also organize Helicopter rescue in such conditions, if it is available and upon request by our clients. The helicopter charges around USD 3500 and it can lift 4-5 persons per flight. Still, we suggest you to be prepared for possible delays/cancellations, and if possible to come with some extra buffer days (1-2 days) at the end of the trip to accommodate such delays. If everything runs smoothly and you still have a few days of your buffer days left then you may even engage yourself in optional activities which can be arranged by Himalayan Glacier upon request. The optional activities may include visiting places/landmarks of your choice, adventure sports, shopping, etc. In case the flight delay/cancellation happens at the start of trip and it goes so long that it disturbs your onward travel schedule, you are free to choose an alternative trip such as a trek in the Annapurna, Langtang, or any other region. If you are not interested in the alternative trip and would rather wait for your original preferred trip, you are welcome to wait in Kathmandu for as many days as it takes to get a flight to Lukla. However, please note that there will be no refund, if you lose time waiting at the airport and do not take an alternative tour or you only do a short trek later due to time limitation. If the cancellation happens before the trip, we will provide you accommodation and lunch in a guesthouse in Kathmandu. In case of the flight delay/cancellation after finishing of the trek, you will be responsible for all your expenses. Please also note that you will not be entitled to any refund for the services (such as hotel, transport, flight, etc.) included in the package that you would not use later. Included in the Cost Airport pickups and drops in a private vehicle 3-star hotel accommodation in Kathmandu with breakfast Teahouse accommodation during the trek All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the trek Welcome and farewell dinners All ground transportation on a comfortable private vehicle as per the itinerary Domestic flights (Kathmandu- Lukla -Kathmandu) Guided city tour in Kathmandu by private vehicle Entrance fees for sightseeing/monument visits as per the itinerary An experienced, English-speaking and government-licensed trek leader and assistant trek leader (4 trekkers: 1 assistant guide) Porter service (2 trekkers: 1 porter) Staff costs including their salary, insurance, equipment, domestic airfare, food and accommodation Down jacket and sleeping bag (to be returned after trip completion) Himalayan Glacier’s trekking bag/duffel bag, t-shirt and trekking map are yours to take All necessary paperwork and trekking permits (National Park Permit, TIMS) Medical kit (carried by your trek leader) All government and local taxes Not Included in the Cost Nepalese visa fee Excess baggage charge(s) Extra night accommodation in Kathmandu because of early arrival, late departure, early return from mountain (due to any reason) than the scheduled itinerary Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu International flights Travel and rescue insurance Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, bar bills, battery recharge, extra porters, bottle or boiled water, shower, etc.) Tips for guide(s), porter(s) and driver(s) The Trekking Group For this trek there will be one leader, assistant leader (4 trekkers: 1 assistant guide) and Sherpa porters for carrying luggage (2 trekkers: 1 porter). This arrangement ensures that should anybody in the group get sick, the trip can still go ahead as planned. We can run the trek for groups of any size but we after years of experience we have found a maximum of twelve people to be the optimum size for a successful trip. However, if you’d like to book this trip for a larger group then that can be arranged too. Accommodations We will be accommodated in Yatri Suites & Spa or Hotel Moonlight or Similar in Kathmandu and teahouses during the trek. All accommodations are on twin-shared basis. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost an additional USD 515. Himalayan Glacier will arrange rooms with attached washrooms; however, teahouses in some places only have shared washing and toilet facilities. Also note that single rooms are readily available in Kathmandu and the trekking regions at lower elevation but it might be difficult to find them at higher elevations. Meals During our trek, we can enjoy authentic Nepalese food as well the more common international cuisine (Tibetan, Continental, Italian, Indian, etc.). Breakfast and dinner will be served from the teahouse or from a lodge menu where we spend the night whereas lunch will be served on the way to the next destination. All meals will be provided during trekking while only breakfast will be available in Kathmandu. There will also be welcome and farewell dinners for guests.

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Night market favourites draw diners – Eat & Drink

IF YOU enjoy visiting pasar malam to savour local delicacies, then Doubletree by Hilton may be a good pick this Ramadan.
The hotel’s Makan Kitchen hopes to bring the same atmosphere (minus the heat and humidity) to guests dining at its Ramadan buffet by recreating Malaysia’s favourite weekly market.
The market themed “Pasar Malam Istimewa” features action stations and more than 150 dishes culled from Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisines, similar to a regular night market.
Makan Kitchen Malay sous chef Mohd Zulkarnain Suhaili said the restaurant is highlighting six signature dishes for the Ramadan buffet menu this year: Tong Guai Roast Duck, Salmon Curry Fish Head, Durian Tempura, Roast Lamb, Sup Kawah Meletop and Salmon Umai.
“Some dishes are new while others are making a comeback as our customers have been asking for them even before Ramadan began,” said Zulkarnain.
One such dish is the famed Durian Tempura. Despite the dish being placed away from the rest of the desserts, customers were able to “sniff” their way to it.
At the buffet, diners did not want to miss out on the opportunity to snack on this dish, with some even choosing to enjoy it before starting on their main course.
Don’t miss the Durian Tempura hidden at the corner of the buffet line which is very popular and finishes fast.
“The dish looks simple but we put in a lot of effort looking for suitable durian flesh to go with it,” said Zulkarnain, adding that customers could taste the sweetness of the fruit once they bite into the crispy tempura skin.
Zulkarnain said the dish could be addictive and “filling” too but customers do not mind as they enjoy it very much.
“We don’t prepare a lot in a day; once we finish frying everything, we will stop,” he said.
The Sarawakian added that several customers chose to break fast at the hotel just because of the Durian Tempura.
Besides the dessert, Zulkarnain, who grew up in Kuching, did not forget to share his hometown favourites such as laksa Sarawak, Ayam Bansoh and Umai.
The Ayam Bansoh was special as it came served in a bamboo.
The 45-year-old said the dish was prepared with turmeric, paprika, shallots, ginger and black pepper after marinating the chicken with salt and pepper.
Salmon Umai is Zulkarnain’s creation, a twist on his hometown of Kuching’s popular salad dish.
The chicken was then wrapped and tucked neatly into a bamboo before being roasted over low heat.
“It is a ‘warm’ dish to enjoy on a cold day but I think we can also enjoy it anytime,” he said.
The Umai, which is usually prepared with Red Snapper, was replaced with salmon.
The fish is mashed up lightly before being mixed in a large bowl together with ginger, shallots, lemongrass, cili padi and lime.
If local food is not what you are looking for, then pay a visit to the Chinese section serving dishes like Fried Rice, Mixed Vegetables and Sea Coconut.
There is also a selection of Indian flavours featuring Fish Tikka, roti canai and Tandoori Chicken.
The Ramadan buffet is priced at RM148 nett for adults and RM74 per child. The buffet is on from 6.30pm to 10.30pm until June 4.
There will also be a Hari Raya Open House buffet on June 5 and 6 from 12.30pm to 4pm priced at RM110 nett (adult) and RM55 nett (child).
MAKAN KITCHEN, Doubletree, by Hilton, 348, The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03- 2172 7272). Business hours: 6am to 11pm, daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.
The market themed “Pasar Malam Istimewa” features action stations and more than 150 dishes culled from Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisines, similar to a regular night market.
Makan Kitchen Malay sous chef Mohd Zulkarnain Suhaili said the restaurant is highlighting six signature dishes for the Ramadan buffet menu this year: Tong Guai Roast Duck, Salmon Curry Fish Head, Durian Tempura, Roast Lamb, Sup Kawah Meletop and Salmon Umai.
“Some dishes are new while others are making a comeback as our customers have been asking for them even before Ramadan began,” said Zulkarnain.
One such dish is the famed Durian Tempura. Despite the dish being placed away from the rest of the desserts, customers were able to “sniff” their way to it.
At the buffet, diners did not want to miss out on the opportunity to snack on this dish, with some even choosing to enjoy it before starting on their main course.
Don’t miss the Durian Tempura hidden at the corner of the buffet line which is very popular and finishes fast. “The dish looks simple but we put in a lot of effort looking for suitable durian flesh to go with it,” said Zulkarnain, adding that customers could taste the sweetness of the fruit once they bite into the crispy tempura skin.
Zulkarnain said the dish could be addictive and “filling” too but customers do not mind as they enjoy it very much.
“We don’t prepare a lot in a day; once we finish frying everything, we will stop,” he said.
The Sarawakian added that several customers chose to break fast at the hotel just because of the Durian Tempura.
Besides the dessert, Zulkarnain, who grew up in Kuching, did not forget to share his hometown favourites such as laksa Sarawak, Ayam Bansoh and Umai.
The Ayam Bansoh was special as it came served in a bamboo.
The 45-year-old said the dish was prepared with turmeric, paprika, shallots, ginger and black pepper after marinating the chicken with salt and pepper.
Salmon Umai is Zulkarnain’s creation, a twist on his hometown of Kuching’s popular salad dish.
The chicken was then wrapped and tucked neatly into a bamboo before being roasted over low heat.
“It is a ‘warm’ dish to enjoy on a cold day but I think we can also enjoy it anytime,” he said.
The Umai, which is usually prepared with Red Snapper, was replaced with salmon.
The fish is mashed up lightly before being mixed in a large bowl together with ginger, shallots, lemongrass, cili padi and lime.
If local food is not what you are looking for, then pay a visit to the Chinese section serving dishes like Fried Rice, Mixed Vegetables and Sea Coconut.
There is also a selection of Indian flavours featuring Fish Tikka, roti canai and Tandoori Chicken.
The Ramadan buffet is priced at RM148 nett for adults and RM74 per child. The buffet is on from 6.30pm to 10.30pm until June 4.
There will also be a Hari Raya Open House buffet on June 5 and 6 from 12.30pm to 4pm priced at RM110 nett (adult) and RM55 nett (child).
MAKAN KITCHEN, Doubletree, by Hilton, 348, The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03- 2172 7272). Business hours: 6am to 11pm, daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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What Restaurant Reviews Really Mean When They Say “Authentic”

When I moved to the United States from Thailand, one of the first questions people always asked me was: “What’s the most authentic Thai restaurant you’ve found here?” To be fair, I had the same question myself. The first time I ordered a plate of pad thai, I was appalled.
As I traveled around the country, landing in New York and then San Francisco, I searched for restaurants that offered the food I grew up with in Northern Thailand—dishes beyond the usual stir-fries, noodles, and rainbow curries. Whenever I found a place that featured a bowl of khao soi—a rich curry noodle soup topped with preserved cabbage, red onions, and fried noodles—, sticky rice, or more than one type of papaya salad on the menu, I’d feel exhilarated. If the wait staff brought out a small rack of condiments with sugar, fish sauce, chili flakes, and vinegar—ingredients that you’d find on the tables of most restaurants in Thailand—I’d feel a surge of nostalgia. Those were the restaurants I’d recommend to friends. The food was delicious, but it was the details and preparation that reminded me of home.
Hear educator Sara Kay talk about the use of the word “authentic” in restaurant reviews on Bite :
Still, I’ve always wondered whether “authentic” was the right marker to focus on. The term felt loaded—a characteristic that many restaurants, especially so-called “ ethnic ” ones, had to proclaim in order to draw customers. Who is the word “authentic” being marketed to? And who gets to decide what “authentic” actually is? So I was struck when I read an article in Eate r by Sara Kay, a food and nutrition educator in New York, arguing that using the term “authentic” on review apps such as Yelp can support a white supremacist framework.
For her food studies master’s thesis at New York University, Kay analyzed 20,000 Yelp reviews of New York restaurants. For each review, she assigned a score guided by how often authenticity was mentioned. Based on average scores, reviewers talked about authenticity the most when referencing Mexican and Chinese food, Kay discovered, followed by Thai, Japanese, and Indian food. Overall, she noted, reviewers used authenticity more frequently to describe cuisines from recent and low-income immigrant groups.
And often when people reviewed non-European eateries, she found, they associated the term “authentic” with cheaper attributes, like dirt floors and plastic stools, and negative qualities. “Service was what you’d expect in Chinatown,” one review read. When describing cuisines from Europe, the United States, or Japan, authentic was often coupled with positive descriptions of ambiance or decor; for instance, “there are a lot of authentic and classic Japanese touches,” or “the waiters are so good looking and so cute with their French accents!” “Reviews tend to reflect the racism already existing in the world,” writes Kay.
Kay isn’t the first person to point out the double standard that Americans apply to restaurants they consider “ethnic.” Krishnendu Ray, a professor at New York University and author of the book The Ethnic Restaurateur , has argued that the term is often bound up with our own expectations. “If the food is expensive, then it can’t possibly be authentic,” Ray told the Washington Post . And those expectations and unwillingness to pay more for ethnic cuisine, says Ray, “communicates a form of racial or ethnic hierarchy”—one that immigrant chefs are increasingly trying to break away from.
I spoke to Kay over phone for an episode of the Bite podcast . Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Mother Jones: How did you start doing your research? Can you explain your methodology a little bit?
Sara Kay : I read 20,000, Yelp reviews. And I chose that number, because I wanted to look at restaurants in New York City, specifically, because that’s where I live. That’s what I’m familiar with and had the most access to. So I chose the top 10 most popular ethnic cuisines in New York City based on Zagat ratings, plus I added a few that I thought were most prescient to the time, like Middle Eastern food and soul food. I picked the top 20 restaurants in this category, and I read 100 reviews for each restaurant.
MJ : You found that “the average Yelp review connotes authentic with characteristics such as dirt floors, plastic stools and other patrons who are non-white when reviewing non-European restaurants. This happens approximately 85 percent of the time. But when talking about cuisines from Europe, the word authentic instead gets associated with more positive characteristics.” So basically, non-white, non-European cuisines are dirty and cheap. But European cuisines are often seen positively.
“Reviews tend to reflect the racism already existing in the world.” SK: Yeah, absolutely. It’s really, really wild. People use this authenticity language way more when they talk about restaurants with cuisines from countries with poor immigrants, places like Mexico and China, or immigrants that are poor when they come into the United States. But even within the use of that language, they use it in very different ways when they talk about cuisines with those poor immigrants associated. So they say things much more harshly. They use authenticity as a barometer for success in a way that they do not with French and Italian restaurants. And it was pretty startling to see, especially in those numbers.
MJ: What do you think is the larger impact of how people use the term? Why does it matter?
SK: I think it matters because when we talk about authenticity, we’re really basing our judgments off of our expectations and our experiences of certain cuisines. And my research shows pretty clearly that when we use this word, we’re using it to refer to migrant groups we’re less familiar with, and our expectations and experiences are potentially less founded in what we have actually done or our actual experiences, and more founded in stereotypes or false perceptions. The implications are that we unfairly judge these cuisines and cultures based on false perceptions when we use language like authenticity to describe these cuisines and these cultures and peoples.
KV: You also mentioned that “reviews tend to reflect the racism already existing in the world.”
SK: Absolutely. Yelp is a huge platform, I think they have over 165 million reviews now. And if we extrapolate outwards—and over 85 percent of reviews for Mexican and Chinese restaurants use this language—then it does really reflect the larger perceptions of these cultures in the United States and beyond.
KV: You also talked about how thinking of cuisines in terms of authenticity can make it harder for chefs and owners to break out of stereotypes or increase the price of certain cuisines. But don’t we see a lot of restaurants using that term themselves?
SK: I think it’s a two-way street. I think it’s really hard for chefs and restaurateurs to break out of authenticity molds. It’s really tough because I see this in the Yelp reviews all the time that chefs and cooks have to use words like “authenticity,” and “legitimate” and “traditional” in order to gain an audience and a following. And if they don’t, then people won’t take them seriously, or they won’t have an attachment point to come in eat at their restaurants. But French or Italian, or even sushi restaurants these days don’t have to use these words because we all have a shared perception of what those cuisines or those dishes, and specifically those people mean, in our culture and in our society. And so it’s a double-edged sword.
Restaurateurs are using these words as a marketing strategy. And eaters are using these words to justify eating there as a way to gain authority on a foreign subject or a topic that might be challenging for them.. or new, at the very least. ….We just don’t use those words to talk about French or Italian or American or even German food. We think of them very differently than we do “ethnic” cuisines.
MJ: Your article also got a fair amount of attention and criticism online, especially your assertion that using the term authentic supports a white supremacist framework. Some commenters have said, for instance, that you can’t make these claims without knowing the demographics of the people that you’re talking about. What’s your response to that?
SK: It sure did get some criticism. So my response to that is: Read the article again.. and that I am not specifically talking about the Yelp reviewers that wrote the comments that I looked at—I’m actually talking about their reviews. Even if the reviewers are not all white—which I assume they are not—even if that is the case, they can still be supporting a dominant social structure and milieu in the US that’s happening right now.
MJ: S o how can we be more conscious about food reviews and the language that we use as consumers and restaurant goers?
SK: Soleil Ho wrote a really excellent article about the words she won’t use in her new role as the restaurant critic in the San Francisco Chronicle . So I would certainly start there if your listeners are interested in learning more about language use and the choices behind word specific words and intentionality around that. But in terms of what we can do as eaters, I think just asking a lot of questions, asking about stories, reading a lot, reading articles from a wide variety of news sources, and even ones outside of your comfort zone. I would also just say, to be aware of the expectations, and the experiences that you bring into an experience.
I saw a lot Yelp reviews were reviewers had really, really high expectations about certain tacos, because they had traveled in Mexico for six months and really thought they knew what a perfect taco was. I think that’s great, and I don’t want to invalidate anybody’s travel experience, but I think it’s also important to understand that all of those experiences are valid. And the experiences of the cooks and the servers and the bussers and the waitstaff at the restaurant are valid and will also inform your dining experience, just as much as your travel experience might. Both of those things are legitimate and don’t make your travel experience and the taco you’re eating more or less authentic in comparison.

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East or west, ilish is the best

S Jaishankar appointed External Affairs minister Several of those who belong to the club of partition immigrants from East Bengal, consider the Hilsa much more than a fish that is to be consumed. It is a part of their cultural ethos
“Ghoti der ke toh amrai khaiye poriye manush korlam,” says my mother as she spreads across large luscious pieces of the mighty Hilsa for marination in turmeric and salt. In essence what she meant to say was that those who migrated from East Bengal after Bengal split into two in 1947, are the ones who educated the original residents of West Bengal (the Ghoti) to eat and drink right. As my mother’s face glows with pride over the supposed victory of teaching the Ghoti to eat like a true Bengali, she points to the Hilsa shining in all its glory and about to be submerged into a pan of mustard oil. For of course it is the Hilsa, the very pride of the Bengali culinary world, that the Bangal most fervently uphold as evidence of their contribution to the development of the Ghoti palette. Advertising
Much like my mother, several others who belong to the club of partition immigrants from East Bengal, consider the Hilsa much more than a fish that is to be consumed. It is a part of their cultural ethos that evokes nostalgia and pride over a home that was long lost by the stroke of a pencil that Sir Cyril Radcliffe drew to divide the once united Indian subcontinent into two nations based on religious demographics. This is not to say that the Ghoti, or their descendants, would under any circumstances agree with the Bangal assertion of superior food culture, particularly of their determined claim of consuming the best kind of Hilsa. The fish is an object of equal sentiment to them, who consume it with much relish and uphold it to the world as the finest among the finest of what the Bengali cuisine has to offer.
The majestic downpour of monsoons that take place in the middle of the year is a much welcome relief from the sultry, humid summers of Bengal. But for the Bengali epicurean, the monsoons are also a time to look forward to a large range of the best ilish maach (Hilsa) that come with the season. In the riverine landscape of Bengal, which includes both the East and the West, fish is of utmost importance. Not only is it the staple diet, a driver of the economy and that of pleasure, but the fish is also of customary significance with ceremonies related to marriage, birth, and death often having a ‘fishy’ touch to it. However, we can be certain that no other fish evokes the kind of emotion and pride that the Hilsa does.
“The mystique of the Hilsa can be understood only in the context of a larger Bengal that was split into two by the 1947 Partition of India-West Bengal (in India) and East Pakistan which later became the country of Bangladesh,” food historian Chitrita Banerjee writes about the Bengali obsession with the fish in her book. Advertising The Hilsa and its split personality
If one were to get a bird’s eye view of an undivided Bengal, one would see a delta with a large number of rivers flowing across its plains. These numerous rivers, including the Ganga, the Padma and the Brahmaputra that ultimately flow into the salty waters of the Bay of Bengal provide Bengal with a climate and topography perfectly suitable for the unbelievably large variety of fish that forms part of the Bengali diet. Ask any person what he or she best associates with the Bengali personality, and one can be fairly certain of the response: ‘they love fish’.
Bengali’s love for fish, connected as it is to its riverine landscape, has been a common factor that links the two sides regardless of religion, caste or creed. However, when Sir Radcliffe drew the line of partition between the two Bengals, he also divided the rivers between the two sides. The Ganges was now a part of West Bengal, while the Padma and Meghna flowed through East Pakistan. Essentially a saltwater fish, the Hilsa is found in the Bay of Bengal, but it travels upwards through the various rivers and its tributaries during the spawning season. The nature of the migration is such that larger concentrations of the fish is found in the rivers on the side of Bangladesh. This is not to say that the Hilsa is not available in the rivers flowing through West Bengal. However, they are much lesser in number in the waters of the state which is more favourable to the breeding of Crustaceans. The division of the Hilsa between the waters of East and West Bengal eventually went on to become an object of cultural rivalry between the two sides. Bengali’s love for fish, connected as it is to its riverine landscape, has been a common factor that links the two sides regardless of religion, caste or creed. (Illustration: Subrata Dhar)
It is to be noted, that though the geographical boundary that separates the two Bengals is fairly modern in origin, the languages and manners of the people on either side have been different for centuries. “The languages and the ways of the people of the eastern side- people usually called Bangals by their detractors on the west, were for long an object of amused contempt in the western side of Bengal,” writes historian Dipesh Chakrabarty in his article, ‘Remembered villages: Representation of Hindu-Bengali memoirs in the aftermath of the partition’. When the partition took place and a large number of Hindu Bengalis from the eastern side were forced to migrate to the west, the age-old differences between the two groups was suddenly heightened, with each making every effort to assert their superiority over the other. Food culture was one among many other aspects of rivalry between the two. Whose Hilsa is it anyway?
“Renowned Bengali writer, Sunil Gangopadhyay had once remarked that the Ilish from river Padma is far tastier than the one from the Ganges,” says Prabal Banerjee. A third-generation East Bengal immigrant, he says that all his life he has been told by his predecessors that the Hilsa found in the Ganges is not even worth carrying its name. His enthusiasm in asserting East Bengal’s superiority when it comes to the Hilsa is shared by 78-year-old Dilip Kumar Chatterjee who believes that before the migration of the Bangal into West Bengal, the Ghoti barely knew anything about the large variety of fish specimens that today Bengal is so proud of. “Ghoti ra ilish maach er mohotto kono din bujhbe na (The Ghoti will never understand the true worth of the Hilsa),” he says smugly. Best Of Express

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