Spotlight on Margate

Spotlight on Margate

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The Isle of Thanet is a special part of Kent, and Margate is a special part of Thanet. The rambling streets and quirky boutiques make it unique and the beach – the wide and sweeping inspiration for many artists including the incomparable Turner – is a gorgeous place to spend some time. Then you have its position – far enough away from the big city lights to be comfortable and its own place, but with great transport links to get you where you need to be quickly and easily. Margate really is establishing itself as the place to be for tourists, as well as for increasing amounts of visitors who swiftly decide to make their stay a more permanent one.
History in Brief
A ‘mar gate’ is a gap in a cliff where water pools, and although Margate itself is much more than this now, back in the day this was an apt description. Before the 1750s, Margate was a tiny fishing village and wasn’t really heard of outside of its immediate environs.
It was Dr. Richard Russell that changed that forever. He published a book that described how seawater could cure anything and everything, and he advocated that anyone who was feeling unwell – for whatever reason – should head to the coast and bathe there. This book was such a hit that usual coastal holiday spots were overrun and nearby villages started to cash in with hotels and shops opening up to cater for tourists in their masses. The tourist industry in Margate was born, and today it is still a favourite destination for many families who prefer to stay in the UK rather than venture abroad for their summer holidays.
Things to Do Turner Contemporary
A striking building in its own right, Turner Contemporary art gallery houses some of the most incredible works of art around. Millions of pounds have been put into this project and it’s easy to see that this is money well spent as Turner Contemporary has fast become a beacon for the rest of the town to follow both in terms of modernisation, as well as being a lesson on how to bring in visitors. With a great café and plenty to see once you have arrived, Turner Contemporary is an excellent day out.
Shell Grotto
The shell grotto is a weird and wonderful place. It’s a bit odd, but it’s also utterly compelling. This cave, the walls of which are covered in shells that make gorgeous and intricate patterns, has a gift shop and a café.
The Hornby Visitor Centre
Who doesn’t love a train set? Who doesn’t have fond memories of Scalextric? At the Hornby Visitor Centre you can enjoy both; it’s a feast of fun for young and old.
Margate Main Sands
Margate Main Sands is the kind of beach that everyone thinks of when they imagine a British seaside holiday, and it’s no wonder that it becomes packed every summer when the weather turns warm and sunny. In the winter, it’s just as fun too – grab your bucket and spade and enjoy traditional fish and chips on the Kings steps, or alternatively view the beach from the warmth of a cosy café. Don’t forget to stick around for sunset – it’s spectacular.
Dining Out Flavours by Kumar
Flavours by Kumar is an award-winning Indian restaurant in Margate that specialises in contemporary Indian cuisine. The menu offers a wide range of dishes that are far from ordinary and will give you a new view of what it means to experience Indian food.
Cinque Ports
This restaurant is all about simple, bold flavours and the menu includes plenty of well known dishes that are sure to not only make your mouth water, but also make choosing just one thing particularly difficult. The menu is always seasonal and includes plenty of local fish and shellfish. If you enjoy your draft beers there are 13 different varieties on tap to try, as well as some superb Anglo-Italian cocktails.
Buoy And Oyster
A seafood restaurant in a coastal town has a lot of expectations to live up to, which the Buoy and Oyster does perfectly. With fresh ingredients and a cosy cocktail lounge, this is an intimate spot that serves delicious food. Examples include Blackwater Wild oysters, whiskey and treacle cured trout, monkfish cheek roll and traditional fish and chips.
Ziggy’s Rooftop Bar
This rooftop terrace bar and barbecue restaurant calls on Caribbean influences to create its stunning menu. You can also enjoy reggae and hip hop tunes as you dine and drink.
Mullins Brasserie
Once upon a time, the building that houses Mullins Brasserie was a butcher’s shop. It was transformed into one of Margate’s best loved and most popular restaurants – a warm and inviting place to eat – and now serves a delicious fusion of European and Caribbean cuisine.
Annual Events GEEK // Feb
GEEK is a three-day festival of gaming at the home of entertainment, Dreamland Margate. Bringing people together to meet, make and play, the event focuses on multiplayer interactive games and encourages visitors to participate in all genres of gaming. Guests will discover all the creative magic that goes into the games and experience the festival throughout the quirky Dreamland site.
Margate Soul Festival // July
The summer time in Margate is always something special and the Margate Soul Festival pushes everything up a notch. Live acts, DJs and street parties form the South East’s biggest soul festival.
Margate Carnival // August
The Margate Carnival is one of the biggest and best attended events in the town’s social calendar. Marching bands, stunning floats, music, entertainment, street performers… It’s all free and is always sure to be an unforgettable event.
Top Spot
Dreamland is a fabulously fun place to spend a day. Open at weekends and during school holidays, this theme park has some spectacular thrill rides as well as some more gentle paced enjoyment for younger visitors. Plus of course there is the famous, Grade II listed Scenic Railway, a wooden roller coaster that is the star attraction at the park.
Did You Know?
The Times recently ranked Margate as the third trendiest place in the UK – it beat London in the list!

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5 Mallu Delicacies That Only Legit Foodies Would Have Sampled – iDiva.com

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As a Malayali who grew up in Delhi and then moved to Mumbai, I was always dismayed by the conspicuous absence of the food of my people on the maps of these metropolises. Though restaurants serving food influenced by the culinary traditions of my state have since popped up on the food scene, the layman is still missing out on the incredible gastronomical culture of Kerala.
The mention of South Indian food, still mostly conjures up images of masala dosas and idli, but the Deccan has very distinct food cultures–with a single state offering up multiple cuisines developed by its different communities. Kerala’s food history is a truly unique one, because the coastal state’s palate was influenced not just by the terroir and its produce but also the many foreign visitors who docked on its shores over many, many centuries.
While Malayali food may not be as ubiquitous as idli-sambar, its charms have attracted many a dedicated foodies . That god’s own country is also a tourist haven helps too. If I have convinced you to peek into Malayali food, let me also share with you five lesser-known delicacies which are authentic to the state. 1. Pazham pori with beef curry
This combination is native to the menus of Kochi and is a really unorthodox one too. Sweet banana fritters (pazham pori) are served with a spicy beef curry and the result is a unique dish. 2. Kappa biryani
Not many know this, but Mallus love their tapioca (kappa). Kappa is a hot favourite at breakfast, served with coconut chutney or a spicy fish curry. Kappa biryani combines soft-boiled tapioca with a spicy gravy loaded with beef chunks and the state’s homegrown spices. 3. Naadan mussels fry
As much as we Malayalis love our beef, we love seafood even more. Our seafood repertoire involves many mussel recipes. A really popular variant includes mussels cooked with dry spices like pepper, cumin, nutmeg, and a lot of coconut oil. 4. Kuzhimanthi biriyani
This is a Yemeni recipe (Mandi) which was brought home and nativised by Kerala’s Gulf NRIs. Lamb was replaced by chicken, which is slow cooked in a pit and served over spiced rice. This newfangled creation can now be found in restaurants all over the state. 5. Ela ada
The one thing missing from Malayali food is a wide variety of desserts . We have a couple of payasams but that is pretty much it. What a lot of Malayalis do love is an ada. It is eaten either as breakfast or a snack and is a rice ravioli of sorts with sweet fillings like jackfruit preserve, bananas, and sweetened coconut. A true delight!

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Aww, that’s too bad. One of my friends Mom’s always gave all of us kids samosas and I still love ’em to this day. She let us try anything, but samosas were a very typical snack to give us regularly.
I and another white friend were hanging around the kitchen one day when the Mom and Aunties were cooking for a big party the next day. We couldn’t have been more than 10 years old. They were giving us tastes and tidbits, as usual. ☺
It was a weekend, so the Dad was around, even though he was more often at work when we were there. At one point he came in as we were helping ourselves from a platter — I don’t rembember what dish it was — and he said, “Oh, be careful girls! That’s very spicy!” We stopped and looked at the Mom who had turned from the stove to check what we were going to eat (because sometimes some things were extra spicy and she would warn us). She started laughing and said, “They eat this all the time!”
I still love Indian food and, as you can tell, have very fond memories of my friend’s family and cuisine! It makes me sad when I hear stories like yours. I took it for granted as a kid, but I’m glad I got to grow up somewhere where everyone was eating pbj sandwiches AND samosas.

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The Royal Persian-French Bread That Made Its Way to India

More Styles The Royal Tale of Milky Bread
The tale of sheermal is really a tale of the Silk Road. In Persia, where this bread originated, it was often softened with milk ( shir means milk in Farsi, Urdu, and also Sanskrit). Sheermal made its way through the Silk Road to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Within the Indian subcontinent, it followed the Mughals, who carried it with them as a comforting carrier of food. Tender galouti kebabs, for instance, were stuffed inside the sheermal. Made for a toothless king—the Nawab of Lucknow—this kebab, made with minced lamb and a supposed 150 spices, melted in the mouth, as did the bread.
Today you can find sheermal in most Indian cities, typically in the older Muslim-inhabited areas. Each city has a different take on it: Indian sheermal is a round flatbread with strings of saffron on top. In Bhopal, however, it’s rectangular, more like the Goan pao bun.
For Indians raised on spicy stews and layered biriyanis, sheermal is refined and elegant like Persian calligraphy. “It has a subtle flavour of saffron, milk, and cloves,” says local historian Sikander Malik. “Other parts of North India bake sheermals, but only in Bhopal are they flavoured with cloves. The cloves are an addition created by the French Bourbons who came to Bhopal at the behest of the royal family.”
The Bourbons of Bhopal began with one man, Jean-Philippe de Bourbon , who sailed to India after having killed a high-ranking French relative. After a circuitous route through many Indian cities, the family ended up in Bhopal, where, over successive generations, they became second only to the ruling kings. They served as prime ministers, took on Muslim names, and amassed land, wealth, and power. Their influence over the culture and cuisine of Bhopal was subtle yet unmistakable. Currently, one family still lives in India and are called Bourbon-Bhopal.
The Bourbons flourished under the ruling queens of Bhopal. And here begins the strand that creates another twist in the history of this state: Bhopal, unlike many Indian states, was ruled by women. Muslim women to boot. Not for a year or two, but for over a century. The Sad, Sexist Past of Bengali Cuisine The Women Rulers of Bhopal
India is at an interesting stage in its evolution as a nation. The #MeToo movement has taken root here. Laws that once criminalized homosexuality have been done away with. Feminism is finding its voice in the subcontinent with more and more women questioning norms and seeking office.
Power, however, is still a male purview here. There are very few women leaders and those who exist are dynastic. In that sense, the story I am about to tell you is at once very Indian and very not.
The Begums of Bhopal , as they were called, were Muslim queens who ruled successively for 107 years, an improbable turn of history given that India was under Islamic rule and later, the British.
Jehan Numa Palace, where I am currently staying, belongs to descendents of the erstwhile royal family. Lining the walls of the lobby are photos of these ruling women in improbable situations. Here is Sultan Jahan Begum, the last queen of Bhopal, fully covered in a burqa, receiving an English viceroy. There is Sikander Begum, her grandmother, with a headdress and sword.
While the world knows Indian royalty as the Maharajahs, these were Maharanis (queens) who played polo, hunted for tigers, and governed with tough love. These were formidable, not only because they were a female dynasty, but because they wielded power successfully. Their rule ended when the newly created Indian government abolished the whole Maharajah system.
In 1819, the then Nawab of Bhopal—a man, naturally—was at a family picnic when a gunshot rang out, killing him instantly. In his lap sat his infant daughter, Sikander Begum. Standing nearby (clutching the proverbial smoking gun) was the Nawab’s wife’s brother, just 8 years old. A week later, as the power brokers and Imams of Bhopal held a prayer ceremony in memory of the late Nawab, his widow, Qudsia Begum, all of 19, took off her veil and announced that the throne’s rightful heir was the infant daughter of the Nawab: her baby girl, Sikander Begum.
Murmurs broke out in the crowd. Could a woman be the ruler? After all, the prophet’s wife, Ayesha, had gone to battle.
Young Qudsia spoke in chaste Urdu about how she would be the regent to her daughter. And so it came to be that four generations of women ruled over Bhopal: Qudsia, Sikander, Shahjehan, and Sultan Jehan. Sheharyar Dulhan Sahiba and General Obaidullah Khan, Niloufer’s grandparents. Photo by Jehan Numa Palace Hotel
Niloufer Rashid Khan’s great-grandmother was the last queen of Bhopal. I am in her dining room for tea. Her family owns the nearby Jehan Numa Palace and Retreat, which have been converted into—what else—a luxury hotel. Together with Sikander Malik, she is writing a memoir that weaves her life with the food of Bhopal.
Over cups of Suleimani chai, we talk about her love for fabrics, her education in Christian convents (an entire wall is adorned with baroque art including paintings of Christ on the cross), and her love for her city and state.
Cumin-scented biscuits line the table. Hot fried wafer-thin fritters arrive from the kitchen. The most interesting is carom leaves dipped in a light batter and fried. In Ayurveda, carom seeds, called ajwain ( Trachyspermum ammi ) in India, are viewed as a digestive.
“The cuisine of Bhopal is not as spicy as other Indian food because we had a variety of influences,” says Niloufer (as she preferred to be called). “You can really see the Ganga-Jamuna synergy here.”
Ganga and Yamuna are two fabled rivers in India. They serve as a metaphor for Hindu and Muslim. In Bhopal, the two rivers and two of India’s largest faiths: Islam and Hinduism, co-exist. Thanks to the French connection, Christianity took root and flowered here. The Little-Known Immigrant History of the California Roll On the streets with a historian
The best way to experience the melting-pot cuisine of this city is to go into the tiny lanes, or gallis , of old Bhopal. There are meaty biryanis slow-cooked for hours and layered with rice and whole spices. There are vegetarian foods of different kinds. But what I’m most interested in is that most humble of dishes: the breads and biscuits that form the mainstay of the young and hungry.
At Munna Bhai’s Biscuit Corner (the entire sign is written in Hindi), a man in a black cap serves a variety of “rusk” biscuits that women buy by the bagfuls. Costing a few pennies, these biscuits are part of India’s collective subconscious. I had rusk with milk when I returned from school. Bhopali schoolchildren, presumably, are buying the same thing: some plain and some speckled with white sesame seeds.
Munna, the shop owner, points to the other circular biscuits. There is one from Kashmir, made with pistachios and coconut. Others are like shortbread cookies with cashew nuts on top. There are some with almonds, scented with rose water. The sheermal is, of course, his bestselling item. I ask him about the bread. Why is it so popular in the Muslim world?
“Sheermal is like a mother,” he replies. “It holds everything together. You can dunk it in masala chai and have it for breakfast or you can dip it in mutton broth for dinner. A lot of Muslims like it because it is quick, flavorful, and light. You can have it after prayers.”
With that, he hurries away to the Jama Masjid mosque nearby, built by one of the queens, for his evening namaz, or group prayer. Munna Bhai, owner of the Munna Bhai Biscuit Corner in old Bhopal, overseeing his wares. Photo by Shoba Narayan Rusk, the ubiquitous biscuit scented with cumin and sesame seeds. Photo by Shoba Narayan
Sheermal goes with the whole array of stews to be eaten in the evening during the holy month of Ramadan. Called haleem , nihari , or paya , these are shanks of meat—lamb, chicken, or beef—slow-cooked for a whole day with bone broth to be opened for the evening meal. Fragrant and flavorful, they’re eaten by the devout and the hungry after communing with the divine inside a mosque built by female rulers.
To experience the full range of Bhopali cuisine, you have to dine at Under the Mango Tree at the Jehan Numa Palace. The chefs at the property are sent to the erstwhile royal family for training in select recipes that have been passed down through the generations.
One evening, I share a dinner with a woman from London—a solo traveler like me. We are seated beside each other at the same table. Being vegetarian, I can only smell the fragrant meats cooked with spices. The vegetables are deftly cooked and lightly spiced. Best of all, again, are the breads. This time they take a different avatar. For dessert, I opt for shahi tukda , a fried bread that is topped with a thick milk custard and layered with mixed nuts and saffron. Sheermal is like a mother. It holds everything together.
Later, I order a sheermal to be had with light Suleimani chai. I dip the soft bread into my tea, just like I did as a kid. I take a bite and smile in delight at my new British friend. As a carrier of scents, tastes, and stories, this humble bread would forever be linked to my memory of Bhopal.
I could have recreated it in my home kitchen in Bangalore. But I chose to carry back four loaves from Munna Bhai. They were light and spongy, so I could stuff them into my carry-on backpack with no ill-effect.
After all, they had traveled all the way from Persia. They would do well on a domestic airline flight. Have you ever had this bread? Tell us in the comments below.
See what other Food52 readers are saying. lalitha

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Modi has won power

Modi has won power Write for TOI Blogs
Interested in blogging for timesofindia.com? We will be happy to have you on board as a blogger, if you have the knack for writing. Just drop in a mail at with a brief bio and we will get in touch with you. Please note: TOI will have complete discretion to select bloggers TOI’s decision in this regard will be final There’s no remuneration for blogging TOI reserves the right to edit all blogs Blogs May 29, 2019, 10:04 pm IST Gopa Nayak in The right lens | India | TOI
I could not agree more with Amartya Sen when he wrote that Modi has won power but not the battle of ideas. But the question is – Do we need to win the battle of ideas? India as a nation has never been short of ideas. Both Gandhi and Tagore had lofty ideas which is still acclaimed in the international arena. However, did that help the nation in any way? Even after seventy years of independence this nation is still a developing nation. If the Nobel Laureate with all his prudence is right, Indians should congratulate themselves that they have finally chosen a leader whose actions are speaking louder than words.
The terms of ‘secularism’ and ‘socialism’ may appeal to the western educated academicians and English speaking journalists but India still lives in the villages where bijli and paani are burning issues. Prime Minister Modi has realized that if he has to remain a leader of the masses he has to cater to the basic needs of Indians. If anything, his project of ‘toilet for each household’ which was once pooh-poohed by so-called policy makers have yielded results. The gas cylinder to a housewife in a remote village has shown her a path to a better world and instilled in her a hope that she too can afford a luxury accessible only to a few. How could she not vote for him? Selfies are a growing pastime for Indians across age and class, with affordable mobile technology. This is not a mean achievement with a nation of billion plus. The common man wants a leader who thinks and dreams like him. And Modi certainly knows that and in that sense is truly a leader of the masses.
People in India have realized that their access to the better things in life is possible through Modi as their leader. These Indians are not concerned about ideas. They want to live better and dream lofty. Modi is feeding the dreams not only of the poor but the aspiring middle class as well. This class with their access to the happenings in the global world gets to consolidate their ideas of India through the projects of bullet trains that Modi plans. As the first generation of not so rich travelers revel in the air- conditioned coaches of the metro, the aspiring middle class flaunt their pictures in made-in-India fast trains. Access is no more enough for Indians. The best is aspired.
Indians in particular and Hindu Indians in general have always been guided by the ideas of tolerance and acceptance as within their own group they are forced to embrace different kinds of diversities including that of praying to different deities or even not praying at all. Most Indians are not reluctant to embrace modernity be it the western dresses or food. Both Chinese and Mexican have found a place in the cuisines of young Indians. However, this group is equally proud of their cultural heritage. The prevalent practice of yoga and sale of Patanjali products are a testimony to the adoption of swadeshi.
Modi perhaps won the majority vote because he connects with all these. He projects himself as one who not only embraces new technology but does not hesitate to take bold action. Projecting an image of India which is strong appeals to all Indians even those residing beyond her physical boundaries. India has been suffering the onslaughts of a not so prosperous neighbor who is responsible for many killings along the borders and even at times inside the borders. It is easy to talk about the hazards of war but it is difficult to accept deaths of family members and countrymen. And even worse to tolerate the lashes to one’s beliefs and practices which Hindu India has been undergoing for a long period now. In that sense Modi is a leader who resonates with many. Can those countless people who believe in chardham yatra and wish to do it once in their lifetime, forget the Prime Minister’s image in a colour coordinated grey and gerua attire with a Vivekananda style posture at Kedarnath?
Ideas dilute, but actions speak and images linger. DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own. Author Gopa Nayak Gopa is currently the director of English Language Centre at the OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat. As an educationist and a researcher, she earned her DPhil from the University of Oxford after her initial education in India and Hong Kong. With her formal education in Psychology, Sociology, and Education, she has been teaching in India, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom for over thirty years now. Creative writing has been her passion, both in English and Odia, her mother tongue. She has also been translating Odia literature into English. A major influence on her writing comes from a Sanskrit scholar from Harvard that her father was, the unique cultural mix of hierarchy and equality that Odisha represents, and the multicultural world that she was exposed to for a prolonged period in her adulthood. Gopa is currently the director of English Language Centre at the OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat. As an educationist and a researcher, she earned her D. . . more less

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Go with things that are already vegetarian in the omni food world.
Mexican, Indian, Italian are cuisines with lots of vegetarian options.
Burritos, tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, queso, tomato rice, guac
Curries, saag paneer, coconut rice.
White lasagne, veg risottos, seitan sausage and peppers.
Hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel, tzatziki.
Oven roasted veg are amazing, do a couple sheet pans once a week to use for breakfasts lunches and dinners. (roasted potatoes, onion, peppers, mushroom, eggplant, sweet potato, parsnips, squashes, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts, beets etc)
Breakfasts and brunch type foods are commonly or easily vegetarian.

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Award-Winning Indian Fast Casual, Curry Up Now, Announces 2nd Salt Lake City Location

Award-Winning Indian Fast Casual, Curry Up Now, Announces 2nd Salt Lake City Location Curry Up Now has announced it will open its second Salt Lake City location in the city’s downtown this winter. The location will also house the brand’s globally-inspired craft cocktail bar concept, Mortar & Pestle.
The Concept Anticipates Opening First Two of 20 Units Planned for Utah & Colorado in Fall & Winter 2019
Curry Up Now, the award-winning and rapidly expanding Indian fast casual which was recently ranked #20 on Fast Casual’s annual list of the Top 100 Movers & Shakers, has announced a second Salt Lake City location at 152 East 200 South in the center of the city’s downtown. The outpost, the second of twenty locations planned for Utah and Colorado, is set to open this winter and will also house Curry Up Now’s globally-inspired and eclectic craft cocktail bar concept, Mortar & Pestle.
The restaurant, which is best known for its iconic Tikka Masala Burritos, Indian-style quesadillas dubbed ‘Quesadillix,’ Deconstructed Samosas, Sexy Fries, and Naughty Naan, as well as a Street Snacks menu and traditional Indian Street Food menu, will be situated on the corner of East 200 South and Edison Street, which in recent years has been revitalized with new restaurants and businesses. This downtown hub is also home to the iconic and historical Guthrie Bicycle building, a bustling fragment of Salt Lake City’s bar scene, and will soon house various multi-unit residential developments.
“This particular area in Salt Lake City’s downtown is an ideal neighborhood for unique and innovative concepts like Curry Up Now and Mortar & Pestle Bar,” said John Netto, Curry Up Now’s Utah and Colorado franchisee. “We believe that the surrounding businesses, residents, nightlife goers will appreciate these new additions to the already amazingly diverse food scene the area is known for.”
“John and his family have done extensive research and scouting to find the perfect locations for expanding Curry Up Now across the UTCO region. We feel that this community, amid the lively bar scene of downtown, will be especially excited about the globally-inspired cocktails at Mortar & Pestle, along with the food we serve at Curry Up Now,” said Akash Kapoor, Founder & CEO of Curry Up Now. “With 20 locations planned in this region, we are eager to open and begin sharing our innovative Indian street food with the local community.”
Curry Up Now began as a food truck, founded in 2009 by husband and wife duo, Akash and Rana Kapoor, and ably supported by co-founder and Senior VP of Operations, Amir Hosseini. The innovative concept quickly gained steam, resulting in multiple, rapid restaurant openings around the San Francisco Bay Area in the years following the brand’s conception. Today, Curry Up Now operates six corporate brick-and-mortar locations, two of which also house the brand’s craft cocktail bar, Mortar & Pestle. The brand also operates three food truck, which remain the soul of the business. From the start, Curry Up Now has been known for taking traditional Indian flavors and presenting them in friendly, recognizable formats. Ingredients are clean and sourced from local vendors whenever possible, and the menu is designed to support alternative diets in an effort to accommodate all guests no matter their dietary preferences.
Experts in the hospitality industry project that Indian food will continue to be the fastest growing ethnic food segment in the U.S., making room for Curry Up Now to solidify its position as a front runner in the segment. Within the last year, Curry Up Now has been recognized by the restaurant industry’s top publications for its innovative approach to Indian cuisine and huge potential for growth. The concept has been featured in QSR’s 40 Under 40, Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2018 Breakout Brands, listed as #20 in Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers 2019, and named a Hot Food & Beverage Chain by the International Council of Shopping Centers.
In 2018 alone, Curry Up Now solidified multi-unit franchise deals in nearly every major region in the country, including the Mountain States, West Coast, Northeast, and the South. The brand currently has 41 franchised and corporate stores sold and in varying stages of development across the country, including locations in Atlanta, GA; San Ramon, CA; Sacramento, CA; Irvine, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; and New Jersey, which are expected to open throughout 2019. The brand has pending franchise deals in 13 additional states, and aims to have another 100 units sold by year’s end, with an additional 200 units sold in 2020. For more information on the growing Indian fast casual, follow @CurryUpNow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or visit www.curryupnow.com .
Curry Up Now is partnered with Fransmart, the industry-leading franchise development company behind the explosive growth of brands like Five Guys Burgers and Fries, The Halal Guys, and Qdoba Mexican Grill, as their exclusive franchise development partner to grow the brand. The concept is currently looking for experienced multi-unit foodservice operators to develop franchise territories in top 40 major media markets across the U.S. To learn more about franchising opportunities with Curry Up Now, visit http://go.fransmart.com/CurryUpNowApply .
Curry Up Now was established in 2009 by Akash Kapoor and his wife Rana, and ably supported by co-founder and now Senior VP of Operations, Amir Hosseini. The concept, which is known for its innovative spin on traditional Indian cuisine, has been recognized in publications such as Zagat: ‘5 Hottest Fast-Casual Chains,’ EATER SF: ‘SF’s Best Indian Restaurants,’ 7×7: ‘100 Things To Eat Before You Die,’ QSR: ‘40 Under 40,’ Fast Casual: ‘Top 100’ Movers & Shakers, Nation’s Restaurant News: ‘2018 Breakout Brand,’ and International Council of Shopping Centers: ‘Hot Food & Beverage Chain.’ Curry Up Now currently operates six brick-and-mortars and three food trucks in California’s Bay Area, and has both corporate and franchised units in development across California, New Jersey, Colorado, Utah, and Atlanta, GA. For more information about Curry Up Now, visit www.curryupnow.com .
As the leading franchise development firm in the country, Fransmart turns emerging restaurant concepts into successful national and global brands. Founded by Dan Rowe, the man who identified and grew brands such as Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Qdoba Mexican Grill from single unit businesses to the powerhouse chains they are today, Fransmart’s formula for success is finding emerging brands ripe for expansion and building successful multi-unit franchise businesses across the U.S. and globally. Fransmart’s current and past franchise development portfolio brands have opened more than 5,000 restaurants worldwide, and facilitated franchise investments that have cumulatively generated 1-billion in revenues to date. For more information, visit www.fransmart.com .

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Maldives….. blue-sque

Maldives….. Blue-sque Blue Idyllic settings
I drool as Becca Kufrin, the star of ‘ Bachelorette’ (14 th season finale) serenades the man of her dreams. But, wait my focus is not the humans but the different shades of blue waters, the arrogant banyan trees, lithe coconut palms amid unpretentious lagoons, quintessentially inviting hammocks and the romantic water bungalows…..Maldivian trademarks to lure paradise hunters. This idyllic Island resort is one of the numerous mesmeric emerald (vegetation) studs embellished with white (sands) in eclectic azure background (water) of Maldives. I Google and learn that along with its scenic properties Maldives is a haven of sea creatures including spinner dolphins, sea turtles, whale sharks and white terns, and of flora and fauna exclusive to tropical islands.
There are other pluses and by now my demeanour was akin to a Victorian damsel in distress in need of fresh sea breeze to cure land affliction’. I am not a water person and before husband could counter my request to celebrate our 40 th wedding anniversary on one of the islands I pushed the Maldives page under his nose. Aqua splendor Maldives is a giant jigsaw puzzle of 26 atolls spanning 1,190 different islands (of these, less than a third are inhabited). Nestled between Sri Lanka and India it is the world’s lowest lying nation with some islands maximum eight feet to minimum four feet above water, a magnet for tourists wanting to commune with the sparkling turquoise tides. There are nearly 100 private resorts and 20 public Islands, a gargantuan choice for landlubbers like us. The cursor stopped on the man-made local island of Hulhumale located south of North Male Atoll and North East to Hulhule, the airport island. Hulhumale is closest to Male (capital).
We board Go Air flight or I should say the ‘honeymoon express’ from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (Feb 20 2019) with about eight newly married Hindu Indian couples with girls clinking red give away bangles or churas a new bride wears. There are others… ‘fresh off the altar’ of different faiths, few long married with kids and solo travellers and handful of senior citizens like us out for fun times. I agreed with the young Indian lad from Abu Dhabi who was following his friend’s advice of ‘holiday blast’ in Maldives before joining his father’s business. He was in India to meet with family then return via Maldives.
A bride screams ‘its gorgeous’ and I look down at the tiny silvery dots in sparkling cerulean waters. The dots expand as we approach Velana International Airport and it is a smooth landing. Our hotel representative is there with a placard, infact it is a jungle of placards, and we are trotted to the waiting vehicle for a forty-minute comfortable ride on newly tarmacked road to our hotel on Nirodhu Magu to a welcome of cool fruit drinks.
Alcohol is prohibited in Maldives, it is Muslim country, and permitted only on private Island resorts. This probably explains the popularity of private resorts for Instagrammable shots of designer swimwear and exotic cocktails/mocktails. Another no-no on local islands and public beaches is swimwear and tourists are expected to be properly clothed. Some private resorts permit day visitors so if on budget one can divide time between local and private islands and atolls to take care of luxury cravings. Hulhumale is familiar and then I realize that it is a throwback of any developing Middle Eastern city with laidback desert vibes, coconut palms and clothing. Two wheelers dominate road traffic, with cars and buses adding to the vehicle milieu of this tiny, only 4 km, accessible on foot and public and private transport. Later we learn that only residents can drive. A local swiped his card for us for bus ride from Hulhumale to Male: Small courtesies that endear people and their nation to tourists.
Standing on our room balcony, breathing the salty crisp ocean air, looking across the waters lapping against the string of ferries and speedboats, I spontaneously quote Khalil Gibran ‘if there is a paradise on earth it is this, it is this.’
1800 years ago Maldives was the money island for Arab traders as the trade currency, the cowrie shells (boli), was found in abundance. I remember reading about their usage in India (ancient texts) and Oman in the 1700s. The swapped cowrie shells validated the islands as playgrounds for the rich and famous and the not so rich and famous like the Indian family sitting behind us on return flight to New Delhi. The entire journey they devoted to tutoring their five year old to remember the island they had visited (Diffushi), what all they saw and did so that she could tell her friends and teachers in school about her exotic holiday.
Maldives is a place where one cannot have a bad holiday even for someone like me who could not visualize being clamped in a container to gawp at exotic fishes and other sea creatures. It was land for me and I was spoilt for choice on this fully reconstructed reclaimed island. The adventures were there from private time on the beach, a laze out at in a water bungalow, guzzling and gorging on exotic multi-cuisine and thirst-quenchers available across hotels and resorts.
Construction is in full swing in this flood resistant island with government and private offices, commercial complexes, hospitals, new schools, gardens and playgrounds. The Beach road boasts of nearly 25 bungalows converted into hotels, making it easy for travelers on budget or with families to stay on the island on transit to private resorts. The outlaying Atolls and islands are connected by ferries and seaplanes making it easy to island hop.
Further down, past private residences, eateries and shops selling sea adventures from diving, snorkeling, visiting the sandbars and private islands (few allow day visitors) is/was a food-cart selling kebabs, corn on sticks, barbequed fish, chicken and beef. The tantalizing flavors made us purchase freshly grilled chicken lollipops. It is advisable to carry Maldivian Rupiah instead of US dollars as we felt that we were charged more. But money was forgotten as we strolled on the cool sand, savoring chicken roast in the orange glow of the setting sun.
Our first day in Hulhumale was turning into a dream vacation.
Water sports is not my forte so did not have jealous pangs watching tourists and locals revel in aqua fantasies, para sailing, kite surfing, reef dives and exploring the waters.
It was land for me and we walked most of Hulhumale covering local shops, the new malls, watch children cavort in the newly constructed housing playgrounds, admire a house owner proudly turn used plastic bottles into planters, cheered teenagers freaking out on the floating raft opposite our hotel. Hulhumale is a workingman’s new city with much to appreciate and share. The restaurants and eating-places cater to increasing tourist traffic and it is not surprising to find Chinese citizens running eateries and hotels. Till recently China was the country-in-favor and construction partner contributing to new projects including the Maldives-China Friendship Bridge or the Sinamale Bridge, roads and buildings.
A place to visit is the Hulhumale Central Park, a car free zone, with greenery and water bodies, open-air gym and play areas for children. Another stop is the local market under a tent stocked with exotic fruits and vegetables. The Maldivian banana is expensive than its Indian counterpoint and to my question on ‘difference’ the stall owner said that Maldivian variety is better. The pride was evident and we bought a dozen of the small variety and my favorite.
No matter how much one wants to look the other way water continues to dominate the vision. Surf and dive tourism is the lure and Hulhumale’ has a fully-fledged marina with boats of different hues and sizes permanently docked here. Nearby dive spots are accessible by local boats ‘dhoni’. Another advantage of Hulhumale is that it has easy access to safari boats enabling movement. Guesthouses and expatriate houses along the beach facing the sea are ideal for budget traveller. There is constant flow of one-nighters checking in with their dive gears, already booked on different sea adventures. Our hotel Manager, a Nepal resident, seeing my despondent visage cheered me by telling me that ‘we from the subcontinent are not so water crazy. All this is over-hyped.’ He gave the example of Japanese girls who had spent their stay sitting on the deck chairs on the beach or another Chinese couple who preferred land tours. Villimale Villimale or Villingili… For more native flavor we visited another local island in North Male Atoll and about two kilometers west of Malé. It is impressive with its own white sand beach and clear blue water and compared with Male is quieter and definitely a worthy day-trip destination.From Hulhumale to Male ferry station and from here a public ferry to Villingli….this is the cheapest form of travel and very convenient. In 10 minutes we were at ferry terminal of a purely residential island wrapped in tropical foliage with wide, open sandy streets and peaceful ambiance. Walking further inland, looking for a good restaurant for lunch, we came across a playground or open land around what looked like an office compound with swinging hammocks or ‘undolis’ that were tempting. Seeing no one around I spent a few minutes lulling myself into sleep, swaying with the breeze before husband woke me up. Undoli swing
There are two beaches: one, facing the reefs and the other the skyline of Male. Both are tempting except no sunbathing is permitted. On the one facing Male we watched locals from nearby housing come in for quick dips before, what I presume, siesta time. Another plus is that this is a vehicle free island, except for government vehicles and ambulances. Conversing with a resident, on the ferry, I learn that he escorts his five-year-old daughter everyday to school in Male. His reasoning that there are better English medium schools in the capital city but living is simpler on Villimale. He does not mind the daily commute. Another advantage of Villingili over Male’ is that being a satellite island housing is cheaper. Daily commuter
By now we were hungry and were guided to one of the restaurants along the ferry landing. It is a Chinese restaurant; one of the good ones, décor and layout is Chinese with wooden bridges and facing the beach and Male. The waiter told me that the owner is a Chinese gentleman, a resident of the island and married to a local girl. He travels between China and Maldives. During our stay in Hulhumale we would come across other establishments owned and run by Chinese and not missing out groups of Chinese tourists with their quintessential flag bearers. Male’s size, 5.8 sq. km, adds to its densely populated image. Mopeds, cars, vans along with walkers overcrowd streets dominated by high-rise office buildings, commercial and residential complexes and all this compounded by market bustle. The call for prayers from the Old Friday Mosque is the quietude amongst the hullabaloo. The Mosque constructed, in 1656, from coral stones, is a must visit monument. Across is the tomb of Abdul Barakat Yoosuf Al Barbary, who helped convert Maldives from Buddhism to Islam in the 12th century.
Male, traditionally the King’s Island called Mahal, was a walled city surrounded by fortifications and gates and ruled by ancient royal dynasties from the palace located within. The Royal Palace along with the picturesque forts ( koshi ) and bastions ( buruzu ) was destroyed when monarchy was abolished in 1968 and the city re-modeled under President Ibrahim Nasir.
Physical and political changes over the years contributed to the changing appearance of Malé. The island of Malé, with three other islands, forms the capital city inhabited by slightly one third of Maldive’s population. rest preferring to commute from neighboring areas such as Hulhumale and Villingli. A commercial harbor is located on the central island and serves as the heart of all commercial activities in the country.
Walking or rather nudging our way through the city we did the straight line from Villingili ferry point to Hulhumale ferry point past the fish market, the Mosque and complexes. Cinnamon Resort : Finally some water adventure as we board the ferry for the luxury resort on Dombvilli Island. Ferries to most resorts are available outside the airport and for those far away is the helicopter commute. Till 2009 government had imposed restrictions on visitors wanting to explore and stay on non-resort islands, but now inhabited islands are open for day trips or even overnight stays, making island culture far more accessible. On way to Cinnamon
The sea is rough, in patches, and I tightly hold onto husband. We were given safety instructions and life belts. Up and down, the ferry swaying with the waves and I look around at the expanse of sea green waters. There are resorts in the distance, the quintessential mesmeric water bungalows and after, to what appears to me a never-ending sail, we arrive at the resort to be welcomed by cool soothing drinks. Months later another Cinnamon is the target of terrorists in Sri Lanka and I was reminded of the ebullient staff of Cinnamon, Maldives.
Cinnamon is one of the handfuls island resorts open to public and it was crowded. There were residents and there were visitors like us, making the most of the day stay. We could use the pool, the beaches, and the coupons for dining. The bungalows were out of bounds and so were some other facilities. We spent majority time in the clear cool waters, with fish for company, followed by sumptuous sleep inducing international buffet lunch of ‘Rehendhi’ named after late Queen Rehendhi, the Sultana of the Maldives from 1347 to 1380 and one of its most popular historical figures. I noted it down to google this information once back in India. Surf boards in a row
As the Cinnamon brochure proclaims ‘the waves around Dhonveli are known to be a surfer’s best friend, pushing them just enough to live a little more’. But being no surfer I watched the lashing waves, the sea was rough, and the frisky crabs being washed ashore. I was getting worried about the return ride in the rough waters. Maldives tourist season is from September to March and we were missing the monsoon season by few days.
Some one rightly said that ‘Maldives is like an over used sponge the more you press the more water comes out’.
Back on Hulhumale and one more day to bid adieu. We still had to try out the local eateries serving snacks with tasty filling and curry or rice. Food is shades of Sri Lankan and South Indian with other flavors. We sampled Thai cuisine in one of the newly opened local eateries. There are fancy restaurants but we gave them the miss for beach eats.
5 days is insufficient to savor the touristy delights of bioluminescent beaches, sandbank dining along coastlines, Sunset sailing through the calm reef-sheltered bays or simply swaying in hammocks. We fly out one amongst nearly 600,000 tourists (annual) satisfied visitors from neighbouring countries, Europe and Americas for an adventure. It does not matter whether it is on land or in the mesmeric depths of the surrounding waters.

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How to Write About Africa: RIP Binyavanga Wainaina

Binyavanga Wainaina, the Kenyan writer, died last week, aged 48 . Here is his brilliant, witheringly satirical piece ‘How to Write About Africa’, first published in Granta magazine in 2005 .
Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title. Subtitles may include the words ‘Zanzibar’, ‘Masai’, ‘Zulu’, ‘Zambezi’, ‘Congo’, ‘Nile’, ‘Big’, ‘Sky’, ‘Shadow’, ‘Drum’, ‘Sun’ or ‘Bygone’. Also useful are words such as ‘Guerrillas’, ‘Timeless’, ‘Primordial’ and ‘Tribal’. Note that ‘People’ means Africans who are not black, while ‘The People’ means black Africans.
Never have a picture of a well-adjusted African on the cover of your book, or in it, unless that African has won the Nobel Prize. An AK-47, prominent ribs, naked breasts: use these. If you must include an African, make sure you get one in Masai or Zulu or Dogon dress.
In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don’t get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn’t care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular.
Make sure you show how Africans have music and rhythm deep in their souls, and eat things no other humans eat. Do not mention rice and beef and wheat; monkey-brain is an African’s cuisine of choice, along with goat, snake, worms and grubs and all manner of game meat. Make sure you show that you are able to eat such food without flinching, and describe how you learn to enjoy it—because you care.
Taboo subjects: ordinary domestic scenes, love between Africans (unless a death is involved), references to African writers or intellectuals, mention of school-going children who are not suffering from yaws or Ebola fever or female genital mutilation.
Throughout the book, adopt a sotto voice, in conspiracy with the reader, and a sad I-expected-so-much tone. Establish early on that your liberalism is impeccable, and mention near the beginning how much you love Africa, how you fell in love with the place and can’t live without her. Africa is the only continent you can love—take advantage of this. If you are a man, thrust yourself into her warm virgin forests. If you are a woman, treat Africa as a man who wears a bush jacket and disappears off into the sunset. Africa is to be pitied, worshipped or dominated. Whichever angle you take, be sure to leave the strong impression that without your intervention and your important book, Africa is doomed.
Your African characters may include naked warriors, loyal servants, diviners and seers, ancient wise men living in hermitic splendour. Or corrupt politicians, inept polygamous travel-guides, and prostitutes you have slept with. The Loyal Servant always behaves like a seven-year-old and needs a firm hand; he is scared of snakes, good with children, and always involving you in his complex domestic dramas. The Ancient Wise Man always comes from a noble tribe (not the money-grubbing tribes like the Gikuyu, the Igbo or the Shona). He has rheumy eyes and is close to the Earth. The Modern African is a fat man who steals and works in the visa office, refusing to give work permits to qualified Westerners who really care about Africa. He is an enemy of development, always using his government job to make it difficult for pragmatic and good-hearted expats to set up NGOs or Legal Conservation Areas. Or he is an Oxford-educated intellectual turned serial-killing politician in a Savile Row suit. He is a cannibal who likes Cristal champagne, and his mother is a rich witch-doctor who really runs the country.
Among your characters you must always include The Starving African, who wanders the refugee camp nearly naked, and waits for the benevolence of the West. Her children have flies on their eyelids and pot bellies, and her breasts are flat and empty. She must look utterly helpless. She can have no past, no history; such diversions ruin the dramatic moment. Moans are good. She must never say anything about herself in the dialogue except to speak of her (unspeakable) suffering. Also be sure to include a warm and motherly woman who has a rolling laugh and who is concerned for your well-being. Just call her Mama. Her children are all delinquent. These characters should buzz around your main hero, making him look good. Your hero can teach them, bathe them, feed them; he carries lots of babies and has seen Death. Your hero is you (if reportage), or a beautiful, tragic international celebrity/aristocrat who now cares for animals (if fiction).
Bad Western characters may include children of Tory cabinet ministers, Afrikaners, employees of the World Bank. When talking about exploitation by foreigners mention the Chinese and Indian traders. Blame the West for Africa’s situation. But do not be too specific.
Broad brushstrokes throughout are good. Avoid having the African characters laugh, or struggle to educate their kids, or just make do in mundane circumstances. Have them illuminate something about Europe or America in Africa. African characters should be colourful, exotic, larger than life—but empty inside, with no dialogue, no conflicts or resolutions in their stories, no depth or quirks to confuse the cause.
Describe, in detail, naked breasts (young, old, conservative, recently raped, big, small) or mutilated genitals, or enhanced genitals. Or any kind of genitals. And dead bodies. Or, better, naked dead bodies. And especially rotting naked dead bodies. Remember, any work you submit in which people look filthy and miserable will be referred to as the ‘real Africa’, and you want that on your dust jacket. Do not feel queasy about this: you are trying to help them to get aid from the West. The biggest taboo in writing about Africa is to describe or show dead or suffering white people.
Animals, on the other hand, must be treated as well rounded, complex characters. They speak (or grunt while tossing their manes proudly) and have names, ambitions and desires. They also have family values: see how lions teach their children? Elephants are caring, and are good feminists or dignified patriarchs. So are gorillas. Never, ever say anything negative about an elephant or a gorilla. Elephants may attack people’s property, destroy their crops, and even kill them. Always take the side of the elephant. Big cats have public-school accents. Hyenas are fair game and have vaguely Middle Eastern accents. Any short Africans who live in the jungle or desert may be portrayed with good humour (unless they are in conflict with an elephant or chimpanzee or gorilla, in which case they are pure evil).
After celebrity activists and aid workers, conservationists are Africa’s most important people. Do not offend them. You need them to invite you to their 30,000-acre game ranch or ‘conservation area’, and this is the only way you will get to interview the celebrity activist. Often a book cover with a heroic-looking conservationist on it works magic for sales. Anybody white, tanned and wearing khaki who once had a pet antelope or a farm is a conservationist, one who is preserving Africa’s rich heritage. When interviewing him or her, do not ask how much funding they have; do not ask how much money they make off their game. Never ask how much they pay their employees.
Readers will be put off if you don’t mention the light in Africa. And sunsets, the African sunset is a must. It is always big and red. There is always a big sky. Wide empty spaces and game are critical—Africa is the Land of Wide Empty Spaces. When writing about the plight of flora and fauna, make sure you mention that Africa is overpopulated. When your main character is in a desert or jungle living with indigenous peoples (anybody short) it is okay to mention that Africa has been severely depopulated by Aids and War (use caps).
You’ll also need a nightclub called Tropicana, where mercenaries, evil nouveau riche Africans and prostitutes and guerrillas and expats hang out.
Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care.
“How to Write about Africa” by Binyavanga Wainaina. Copyright © 2005 by Binyavanga Wainaina, used by permission of The Wylie Agency LLC.
Top featured image: Francis Cardinal, CC license. May 28, 2019

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DAY 990-999

Chan Weng Kit’s Blogspot Hello and welcome to my blog! This blog provides a glimpse into my life as a medical student at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, beginning with my A-Levels and continuing into my third year. Feel free to comment on anything, and don’t forget to share if you enjoyed it. Have a great day, cheers! Tuesday, 28 May 2019 DAY 990-999 May 19 – 28 1) With our exams finally over (for now) and the holidays starting, one of my main objectives was to spend as much quality time as I can with my family. Therefore, my mum came over right after exams for a short visit, and also to help me with carrying some stuff back home. We went food-hunting around Penang, and after three days, returned to Ipoh. It has been a good six months since I last saw home, so I was really glad to be back 🙂 2) After a couple of days resting at home and generally idling about doing nothing, my mum and I went on a road trip to Kuala Krau with my cousin, Joe, and her family. It was a really fun outing, as Kuala Krau is known for its seafood. Located right next to the Pahang River, it reminded me very much of a typical “fishing village”, with fishermen drying their fish in boats, and some of them preserved the fish with salt to make salted fish. We were very fortunate to take many photos, as on the way back it started pouring. Luckily the rain didn’t last long and we made it back home safely. 3) I’ve also made a trip to Beacon Point – a cafe which holds many sweet childhood memories of mine. I used to come here with my family over the weekends after (window-) shopping at Jusco at night, and we’d usually order their famous chocolate brownies with ice-cream. I was surprised to find out that the management has since changed, and while they still serve the same dessert, it no longer has that extra TLC that I was used to haha. Anyway, it was still a very nice experience reliving my childhood memories with my dear family 🙂 4) A relatively new tradition for us is to spend Sunday afternoon having toast and hot coffee/tea at Coco Cafe – a cafe with a branch in Aeon Klebang. We usually walk around Aeon, have lunch, dilly-dally a bit then sit down to have afternoon tea. So the past weekend, we made it a point to do just that, and ended up taking a nice family picture (the first picture below the text). It is really nice to put my work in Penang aside and focus on spending time with my family… 5) A brand new restaurant selling self-service “lok – lok ” has opened up recently. The concept is simple, you help yourself to as many skewers of meat or vegetables that you want, place them in a large hotpot to cook, then dip them into the many sauces and condiments that are available, and enjoy! The prices are based on number of sticks eaten – different coloured sticks have different prices. By providing an air-conditioned environment (as opposed to the usual open-air food truck style), it really makes the experience more comfortable and relaxing! 🙂 6) Our latest trip was to a small town called Lenggong – where they specialise in “fishballs”, which they make out of herring ( ikan parang ). These fishballs are known to have a bouncy but not overly firm texture, and are really small in size, compared to the regular type. In addition to trying out their fishballs, we ordered some fish, beancurd (tofu), and fried bitter gourd. Apparently, the owner of the restaurant is a rather frail old man, whose knife skills are remarkable! 7) The town itself is unique – with its many excavation sites providing traces of Malaysia’s prehistory, including the now-famous Perak Man – the oldest human skeleton found in Peninsular Malaysia, dating back at least 11, 000 years ago! 8) That has been a review of what I’ve been up to for the past week or so. I’m slowly recuperating at home and replenishing my feel-good meter, before returning to continue with my studies in about two weeks. Hopefully I’ll be able to start next semester afresh and eager, as we move from one rotation to the next. But for now, it’s happy holidays and here’s to cherishing the happy moments here. Thanks for visiting my blog, and have a great week ahead, cheers! 😀 Happily reunited with my parents and grandpa – at Coco Cafe @ Aeon Klebang 🙂 Enjoying a round of “masala dosa” at Pelita (my first day back home ^^) Chronology of events begins here: with a visit by my mum to Penang – here we are at Yoshinoya, Gurney Plaza – enjoying a nice bowl of udon 🙂 Curry beef udon <3 The night view of Gurney Paragon 🙂 Large chicken rice set Chocolate banana milkshake at Hoshino Coffee @ Gurney Plaza – what a way to top off the night ^^ The double soufflé pancake with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream was made-to-order and absolutely worth the 20-minute long wait :)) At the entrance of Hoshino Coffee 🙂 The following day, I took my mum for buffet lunch at Top View Restaurant & Lounge Featuring a nearly 360 degree panoramic view of the city skyline of Penang Island – absolutely breathtaking 🙂 With the Penang Bridge (and Jerejak Island) in the horizon ^ Buffet lunch with mum for Mother's Day <3 <3 <3 Top View Restaurant & Lounge More panoramic views coming your way hehe Tuna & egg mayo; sardine & curry chicken sandwiches, as prepared by the friendly staff The dessert spread 🙂 At night, we visited Queensbay Mall, which already had decorations for the holy month of Ramadhan It took us a lot of effort to secure a table at the Food Court, and when we did, I ordered this – tang yuan (a Chinese dessert made from glutinous rice balls served in sweet syrup) Home sweet home <3 Monitor lizard spotted at an undisclosed location haha Last week, my mom and myself went to Kuala Krau with my cousin and her family 🙂 Kuala Krau is a federal constituency located in Pahang, just an hour's drive South East of Perak (where I'm from) A beautiful temple in the middle of nowhere – @ Kuala Krau 🙂 Ornate paintings adorned the walls of the temple These people are drying fish in the Sun to make salted fish 🙂 Having lunch at one of the famous restaurants in Kuala Krau Very fresh prawns Freshwater crabs on a bed of steamed egg custard 🙂 Their signature drink is apparently a mix of Milo and Coffee powder 🙂 (A nice refreshing kick on a HOT afternoon) The sign reads "I Love Kuala Kurau" Picture by the pier 🙂 Drying shrimp (if I'm not mistaken haha) by the boat The sign reads "Kurau Homestay" – not that we'd be staying the night haha A simple life for simple and contented people My mum's special ABC soup – a welcome reprieve from the weekly Maggi noodle soup that I have in Penang XD This is my first jog back home in Ipoh, Perak (pardon the messy hair – I got a haircut the very next day) A new restaurant/cafe opened up – called North Star, it serves a fusion of Western and Asian cuisine – like this Hainanese style pork chop (which is out-of-this-world amazing!) Chicken pie at Beacon Point, Ipoh One of my fondest childhood memories is eating chocolate brownies with ice-cream with my family at Beacon Point! We've tried to relive those memories, with the only exception being the management has changed, resulting in a strangely similar but still unfamiliar experience 🙂 Case in point, those days … the chocolate brownies were squares served on a frosty cold saucer, with a generous helping of whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and condensed milk drizzled over it (this version has the same lovely cake and vanilla ice-cream, sans the toppings haha) On to breakfast at a restaurant we fondly call "Chubi" – which has some really nice fishball/ meatball soup. It goes really well with a hot plate of dry curry noodles 🙂 Buttered toast and hot coffee/tea with my family 🙂 Trying out a new place that serves "lok lok" – skewers of meat/vegetables that you cook for yourself in a large hotpot 🙂 Waiting for the skewers to cook in the rich chicken broth hotpot Just yesterday (Monday), my maternal grandmother, aunt, mum, and myself went to Lenggong – a small town with a rich history. Here we are enjoying a bowl of clear soup noodles for breakfast The entire menu for lunch is in Chinese – and I was really glad to be able to read most of them 🙂 (These are all the dishes on offer from this simple corner restaurant that caters mostly to the neighbourhood) One of the regional specialties in Lenggong is the saitou fishballs, made from a certain type of fish called "wolf herring" or "ikan parang" or " saitou " – hats off for being trilingual XD I hesitate to name the other dishes, but mainly the dish on the left is a type of fish belly if I'm not mistaken, and the dish on top is fried tofu in two ways – one with a mayo dip, and the other Thai-style (with chilli, onions, and cucumber) I cannot remember the name of the fish, but this was undeniably the star of the show – a whole fish cooked in a simple soy sauce – delicious till the last <3 Back to Gourmet Square (which I've waxed lyrical about since coming back to Ipoh the first time around) A new Indian curry stall has opened, replacing the Japanese food stall. They serve various curry sets, including this: rendang curry on a faux banana leaf plate. Served with a heapful of rice and gravy, cucumber raita, and a half-boiled egg, this was really wholesome and delicious 🙂 Posted by

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