The focus shifts to kuttu
The focus shifts to kuttu
If you are fasting this Navratra, then the restaurants all over Tricity have taken upon themselves to make you feast to your heart’s content.
During Navratra, the whole idea of fasting brings us back to food which we are trying to stay away from. Fighting the inner craving to eat ‘the forbidden’ is one thing, but the real test lies in making something sumptuous from the limited ingredients allowed during the Vrat, the ones which we rarely find on our cooking shelf. Don’t worry! Top restaurants of Chandigarh come to your rescue.
Chef speak Chef Ashish Kumar, Sous Chef in JW Marriott- Chandigarh, throws some light upon the confusion that revolves around the Navratra cuisine and about the ingredients not to be used in the same, namely onion, garlic, and in some cases turmeric as well, while cooking.
“While the Navratra thali includes the ingredients like buckwheat flour, barnyard millet, tapioca pearls and most importantly rock salt, on the other hand, a Satvik meal is meant for people who are not fasting but prohibiting onion, garlic, meat and liquor in honour of goddess Durga,” he says. Signature dishes
Kuttu aur shakkarkandi ke parathe : One of the major problems that we encounter while making something edible from buckwheat flour is that it comes out to be hard and dry. The answer to this is sweet potato, which when mashed and mixed with kuttu flour, will translate into healthier, softer and tastier paranthas.
Sabudana vada : If you love to indulge in South Indian delicacies, this might be the one for you while you fast throughout the nine days. It is no blood, sweat and tears, only tapioca pearls are used instead of black gram lentils to make vadas.
Aloo tikki chaat : Street food lovers would jump at it the moment they lay their eyes on lip-smacking snack which offers a dose of sweet and sour flavours of chutney made of healthy ingredients.
Samak ke rice : The most consumed meal during Navratra is barnyard millet cooked the same way as basmati rice.
Homemade banana ice-cream : This refreshment is intriguing even for those who are not fasting and have a sweet tooth. Available in Social, Sector 7, it is for those who can go without dessert.
Get it at
Hotel Mountview and Hotel ShivalikView present the special Navratra thali where you can enjoy a full three-course meal with a welcome drink. JW Marriott-Chandigarh is celebrating the nine days by not just offering Navratra thali but also providing an elaborate menu of Satvik food. Social’s Navratra menu is available during lunch and dinner hours.
Mom Bloggers Club posted blog posts
We’re all acquainted with the phrase ‘Spice it Up’ and how it can be used for multiple reasons and on occasions — here we shall only talk about one, Your Kitchen!
In most homes, kitchen is where the heart is at and spicing it up, quite literally, is always a good idea. Spices are, of course a great way to make scrumptious food, but at the same time can be extremely beneficial for your health. Research suggests that spices and herbs have been used to treat multiple ailments for hundreds of years in most parts of the world.
Here is our list of 8 spices and herbs that should definitely make way to your kitchen! Black Peppercorns
The good old salt and pepper combo is a must have for all of our meals. Well at least most of them. The slight pungency in taste and the raw aroma can make any recipe better, especially in case of an emergency. Let’s be honest all of us have last minute kitchen emergencies!
Much like most spices and herbs out there, black pepper too, has health benefits. Black Peppercorns help with digestion and also allow for better dental health. Go ahead and stock your kitchen up! Oregano
The herb of all dressings! Oregano is one herb that majority of people are familiar with but don’t necessarily have stocked at home. It is one of the most aromatic herbs out there and can make almost everything taste better — instantly!
Please notice how we said almost everything since it might not apply to the Italian takeout in your fridge from last week! Jokes apart, Oregano is an absolute essential with the flavour it provides and the antioxidants it has. Antioxidants work in multiple ways to improve our health and are known for being a counter treatment to cancer . Cinnamon
Cinnamon is one versatile spice! The taste and texture is as such that it allows to be used for sweet as well as savoury dishes. I mean imagine the variety that the spice offers you. It can come handy when you are trying to make this recipe by Nonna Box for dessert or when you have to spice up your regular grilled chicken. Ceylon cinnamon, also known as true cinnamon, is known for its medicinal properties .
Not only does the spice allow you variety, but it also helps keep your health in check. Scientists have deduced that the spice is good for heart health and helps keep the cardiovascular system healthy. Cilantro/Coriander
Known by two different names across the world, Cilantro/Coriander is a fantastic seasoning option to have in your kitchen cabinet. From meat to salsa and even to pasta this herb is a great choice for seasoning.
Even though the taste is not very significant the tantalizing savor and scent can change your dining experience. It looks pretty and tastes decent and more importantly — it turns your meal into a high-end experience within seconds.
You don’t want to miss out on something as multipurpose as Cilantro. Oh and it’s wondrous for your health too! Cayenne Pepper
This tiny bright red pepper can do wonders for your food as well as your health. Size, in this case definitely doesn’t matter, as it is the basic ingredient in a multitude of sauces and gravies. Cayenne pepper provides just that tinge and little bit of heat that can turn the dish around and make your taste buds happy!
Speaking of its health benefits, cayenne pepper has often been associated with a boost in immunity and isn’t that the core of everything health related? Cayenne pepper, powdered or otherwise, is a great addition to your kitchen directory owing to the amazing properties and its multiple health benefits. The pepper is also used as a treatment for headaches in some parts of the world. Peppermint
You can love it or you can hate it but you cannot deny the unique flavour that peppermint can add to your homemade meal!
It has one of the most distinct aroma out of all herbs and can be used for several kinds of foods and desserts. Toss that minty lemonade or go for a warm peppermint mocha right in the comfort of your kitchen by adding peppermint to your weekly grocery list.
Need we add that it has health benefits too? Well okay if you insist. Peppermint leaves, in the form of tea, have been linked to a decrease in congestion and headaches. We all need that after a hard day at work, don’t we? Garlic Powder
It can be a problem to chop garlic to perfection every time it is your turn to cook at home. For ease and convenience, you can always get yourself dehydrated garlic powder that works just as well as the actual thing.
For anyone who cooks, it should come as no surprise that garlic is the main ingredient for several major recipes belonging from various parts of the world! Be it something along the lines of an Indian Curry or the Italian Agliata, Garlic is king! Of course, we weren’t going to stop before highlighting the health benefits! Garlic is rather efficient with lowering Cholesterol levels. Get yours now! Basil
The Basic Basil! We saved the best herb for the last. It is one of the most common herbs used around the globe owing to its intense flavour and persistent taste. Basil can be used in dishes like lasagne, pies, curries and even salads. What more can you ask for? It is commonly available, fits in with almost every cuisine in the world and does wonders for your inner system! The herb is extremely rich in antioxidants which is known to fight cancer and inflammation .
These aren’t just spices and herbs, they are super spices and herbs that make your food and your health better with every passing day! So jot down these essential spices before you head out for your next grocery trip. They will surely up your cooking game and let you boast about your cooking skills among your friends. That’s all from us, share your kitchen essentials with us if we missed them! Views: 11
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The 50 best restaurants in Singapore you must try
December 2018: Up to number one on our list is Esora – a new Japanese restaurant at Mohamed Sultan Road serving Kappo-style cuisine with a twist. Other new entries include Preludio, a restaurant that turns fine dining on its head and Thevar, a contemporary Indian restaurant with delectably spicy plates. Welcome to the Time Out EAT List, our handpicked best of Singapore’s food scene. These are the tastiest places to eat in this city right now: the freshest, most inventive and most memorable, ranked by expert local editors. You don’t have to look very far to stumble upon an amazing nosh in Singapore. The city is packed with boundary-pushing restaurants run by star-studded chefs as well as humble hawker finds that’ll satiate your appetite for cheap. Narrowing down the best restaurants in town to a list of 50 is no easy feat – that’s why we have separate lists for the best Japanese, French and Spanish restaurants among others – but these are the places we think are worth a visit for unbeatable food, electrifying ambiance and genial service to boot. Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Know of a restaurant that should be on here instead? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList Find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews restaurants.
Easy Tomato Garlic Chutney For Idli Dosa – Thakkali Poondu Chutney
April 9, 2019T4/09/2019 03:36:00 PM Easy Tomato Garlic Chutney For Idli Dosa – Thakkali Poondu Chutney Usually I make tomato raw garlic chutney for roti and paratha. Recently my sister Radha was telling me about this tomato garlic chutney without onion (Thakkali poondu chutney in Tamil) for idli, dosa. I found it so easy and tried it for our breakfast yesterday. It came out really well and tasted great with dosa. I am sure it tastes the best with hot idli when drizzled with a tsp of gingely oil. Its a very simple chutney recipe with 3 basic ingredients tomato, garlic and red chilli powder. But one thing we should remember is to add the right quantity of tomato and garlic else chutney tastes bitter or smells pungent. So I always add a pinch of tamarind to balance it. Friends, do try this chutney and enjoy with idli, dosa. It stays good for a week when refrigerated. So you can make in bulk quantity. I hope it stays good for one day travel as this chutney is without onion. As summer vacation is started, you must be travelling to places with packed food. You can try this chutney, pack in an air tight box to avoid oil leakage, use a clean spoon and use it for a day or two. Ok lets see how to make this easy, yummy tomato garlic chutney for idli, dosa with step by step pictures. Also check out my 20 tomato chutney varieties, 65 chutney recipes too. Tomato garlic chutney recipe for idli, dosa Easy tomato garlic chutney for idli, dosa / Thakkali poondu chutney Cuisine: Indian Garlic cloves / Vellai poondu – 8 ( use 4 for malai Poondu/ big cloves/ Tamarind – a small piece Gingely oil / Nalla ennai – 2 tbsp Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder – 1 to 1.5 tsp (Adjust as per taste) HOW TO MAKE TOMATO GARLIC CHUTNEY In a mixie jar, take the washed and chopped tomato, peeled garlic cloves, tamarind and salt. Grind to a smooth paste adding enough water. In a kadai, heat oil. Temper mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves. Lower the flame and add red chilli powder. Mix quickly without burning it. Add the chutney immediately and mix well. Rinse the mixie jar with little water and add to chutney. Boil in low to medium flame till oil releases in sides. Switch off the flame. Cool down and enjoy ! TOMATO GARLIC CHUTNEY RECIPE – STEP BY STEP PICTURES Wash and chop the tomato. Peel the garlic cloves. In a mixie jar, take the tomato, garlic cloves, salt and grind without water. Add some water and grind to a smooth paste if there are tomato chunks. Set aside. In a wide kadai, heat gingely oil. Splutter mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves. Lower the flame completely and add red chilli powder. Mix quickly without burning it. Now add the ground tomato garlic paste. Rinse the mixie jar with 1/2 cup of water and add to chutney. Mix well. Let it boil in medium flame till oil releases in its sides. Color of the chutney also becomes dark Enjoy this yummy tomato garlic chutney with hot idli, dosa. It stays good for 3 to 4 days when refrigerated. Note Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder as per its spice level. If you are using big sized garlic cloves, you can reduce its quantity. Make sure you do not burn the red chilli powder while sauting in oil. So do it in low flame. Easy, yummy tomato garlic chutney ready. You can enjoy with idli or dosa !
Marico extends its food portfolio with the launch of ‘Coco Soul’ range
Marico extends its food portfolio with the launch of ‘Coco Soul’ range April 9, 2019 26 SHARE
Mumbai: Marico Limited, one of India’s leading FMCG majors has launched a range of Vegan Gourmet products under the brand name ‘Coco Soul’. The range includes 100% Organic virgin coconut oil, 100% Natural virgin coconut oil and 100% Natural Infused variants of cold pressed virgin coconut oil, and Coco Soul Foods which include Coconut Spreads, Coconut Chips and 100% Organic Coconut Sugar; all made using the Superfood coconut. The organic variants marks Marico’s first foray into the organic products space.
Coco Soul Infused Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil is expertly extracted with a ‘No-Heat Process’ or ‘Cold-pressing process’ which helps preserve vital nutrients, rich aroma and flavor of real coconuts. Being a rich source of medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s), the oils are easy to digest, thus providing an instant boost of energy, aiding digestion and helping weight management and supporting cognition.
Chef Kunal Kapur has expertly curated three infused variants that bring natural flavor and aroma to many cuisines. The Coco Soul Infused Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil – Chilli Oregano is naturally infused with the extract of hot chilli and delectable oregano, which acts as a perfect partner to salads and pastas. The Cinnamon variant is similarly infused with the extract of cinnamon and can be used in baking or as a top-up on shakes and smoothies. Infused with the natural extract of curry leaves and coriander, the Curry Coriander variant is best used to cook Indian dishes for an earthy aroma and palatable taste.
Coco Soul Foods offer a range of products made with simple formulation and without any preservatives or artificial flavors. This includes 100% Organic low Glycemic Index (GI) Coconut Sugar, Coconut Spreads made of 100% natural ingredients without added sugar, high-protein Peanut Coconut Butter and Almond Coconut Butter made in an unsweetened form with 100% natural ingredients and high-fibre Coco Soul Coconut Chips made by only roasting without any frying.
The foods offer a range of flavors or variants to choose from. Coconut Spreads offer Original, Sea Salt and Cacao flavours while Peanut Coconut and Almond Coconut Butters offer crunchy and creamy variants. These can be enjoyed with breads, paranthas, crackers or smoothies.
The Coco Soul Coconut chips are made using 100% natural coconuts sourced from Thailand and are offered in four flavours- Thai Chilli Lime, Caramel, Original and Chocolate. These can be consumed directly as a snack as well as sprinkled on meals.
Speaking on the new launch, Sanjay Mishra, Chief Operating Officer (COO), India Sales & Bangladesh Business, Marico Ltd. said, “With Coco Soul, we have leveraged our heritage and experience with coconut as an ingredient to craft these truly inspiring products. We see an undercurrent of heavy demand for natural products that offer a focus on health. Coco Soul harnesses the benefits inherent in a coconut and brings it to a range of products that aid wellbeing in more ways than one. Given our expertise in the health and wellness domain, we believe coconut as a superfood offers numerous health benefits and is a smart choice of vegan gourmet products for our consumers.”
The Coco Soul Virgin Coconut Oil range is available in 250ml, 500ml, 1 litre bottles along with a 500ml jar. The range starts at Rs.230 and goes up to Rs.749. The range of infused oils is available in a bottle of 250ml and is priced at Rs. 349. Coco Soul Coconut Sugar will be available in the packaging of a 200g Carton priced at Rs. 249 and a 200g Jar priced at Rs. 399. Coco Soul Coconut Spreads are available in 265g Jars priced at Rs. 349, Coco Soul Coconut Chips will be introduced in 4 variants (Swiss Chocolate, Thai Chilli Lime, Caramel and Classic Salted) in 33g pouches at a price of Rs. 99 and the Coco soul Peanut Coconut butter and Coco soul Almond coconut butter spreads are priced at Rs 149 and Rs 549, for the 250g pack of the respectively
While the Coco Soul Food range will be gradually available in stores over the coming months, the Coco Soul Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil and infused oils are available in modern trade stores such as D-Mart, Big Bazaar, Spencers, Godrej Nature’s Basket, Tesco and Foodhall across Mumbai, Pune, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai and on major ecommerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart and Big Basket. Consumers can also purchase the product on www.cocosoul.in
10 day’s Vipassana Meditation course taught by SN Goenka — What do you need to know about it as a…
10 days Vipassana Meditation course taught by SN Goenka — What do you need to know about it as a first timer?
(FYI, you can also follow this story directly on my travel website OCD traveler .)
I’ve just got back and have recovered from a common cold after my first 10-day ‘Vipassana’ course. While still trying to adjust myself to the real world, I thought of sharing my thoughts and experience of how I spent the last 10 days, the challenges I faced, things I learned or at least realized, and recommendations for my friends/relatives and others who have asked me this question: “Should I also go for a Vipassana meditation course?” or the most common one: “I feel I should also do it,” followed by some random excuses which I used to give as well, prior to attending this course.
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash Being a new student, I sought guidance from some of my friends who have already done this course multiple times, plus some additional knowledge gained through online blogs. As an Indian first-time Vipassana student with some experience of Hindu meditation, I also wanted to share my experience with others before they plan to take on their first course (in case it helps them). I understand it’s a very long post, but committing for 12 days is a big thing too and needs some understanding. Please take some time to read through this as it’s very important that you understand the whole process.
If you aren’t interested in reading the whole post (I get it, it’s very lengthy), jump to any of the given sections:
Part A — Introduction: What is Vipassana?
Part B — First exposure and work flow
Part C — Zero day
Part D — Guidelines to follow for 10 days
Part E — Glossary for first timers
Part F — Philosophy behind Vipassana
Part G — Disclaimers, my experiences and challenges (don’t skip this part!)
Part H — Some random experiences to share (fun part)
Before I continue, I want to open this write-up on a positive note. If you are reading this, I am sure you’ve already considered doing it or at least giving it a chance. Be positive about that feeling as you will only gain during these 10 days; the only thing you’ll lose is some extra pounds around your waist!
P art A — Introduction: What is Vipassana?
Vipassana is a type of Buddhist meditation which intends to help you explore the nature of reality and know more about yourself. There are different kinds of meditation and, as a born Hindu, I grew up practicing some of those forms which include visualization or chanting mantras, but didn’t focus enough on my own body, especially my mind. This specific Vipassana meditation taught by S.N. Goenka was envisioned by Gautama Buddha and is 2,500 years old.
It’s intended to be secular and not supposed to conflict with other religious beliefs. Photo by J A N U P R A S A D on Unsplash P art B — First exposure and work flow
From day 1 to day 3, my first impression of the Vipassana course was that you sit around all day long, from 4.30 am to 9 pm, and learn to polish your awareness of bodily sensations. So as you can easily guess, this type of meditation course involves lots of sitting without any movement.
Slowly I realized it’s more than just becoming aware of the sensations in your body (at least that’s what I understood). It’s more about how you react to different kinds of sensations and how you can put a brake on those extreme reactions. Those reactions are connected to your daily life too. For ex, in my case let’s say if I see a nice shiny camera with the latest technology available at a huge discount, I would be tempted to buy it at any cost! And if I cannot buy it due to financial reasons, that craving will turn into aversion! Vipassana is all about taking the driver seat to control your brain-car from running towards these cravings and aversions. You can also check out some of the details directly from Vipassana’s official website: https://www.dhamma.org/en/index
Part B.1. Common daily schedule (that changes on day 10 and 11):
4:00 AM: Wake-up Bell
4:30 AM — 6:30 AM: Meditation
6:30 AM — 8:00 AM: Breakfast
8:00 AM — 11:00 AM: Meditation
11:00 AM — 1:00 PM: Lunch and break
1:00 PM — 5:00 PM: Meditation
5:00 PM — 6:00 PM: Tea for all, and fruits only for new students
6:00 PM — 7:00 PM: Meditation
7:00 PM — 8:15 PM: Discourse/lecture by SN Goenka
8:30 PM — 9:00 PM: Meditation
9:00 PM — 9:30 PM: Optional Q & A session
10:00 PM: Lights Out
If you are good at arithmetic, it’s basically 10.5 hours daily meditation multiplied by 10 days = 105 hours of meditation in just 1.5 weeks!! During these 10.5 daily meditation hours, you can either meditate in the main Dhamma meditation hall, a big hall with a designated spot for you, or in your room. There are also three mandatory hour-long meditation periods throughout the day (8am — 9am, 2:30pm — 3:30pm, and 6pm — 7pm) when you have to be present in the main Dhamma hall to meditate the with rest of the attendees. On day 6, new students were assigned to an exclusive Pagoda meditation cell for deep intense meditation. I got to know that only a couple of Vipassana centers in USA have such Pagodas, and consider myself lucky to have received acceptance from the center in North Fork, CA, which has the first ever Pagoda in the United States. Another person/blogger explained these cells, “It reminds me of being in a sensory deprivation tank, or solitary confinement, which oddly becomes sort of comforting after a while.”
Photo by Kyaw KoKo on Unsplash My feedback : I think it’s difficult to concentrate inside the allotted rooms as there’ll always be unnecessary noises around you, be it snoring or random activities. I suggest taking these 10 days very seriously; try to meditate either in the dhamma meditation hall or Pagoda cell (unless you have nyctophobia [fear of darkness] or claustrophobia) as the cells are small, and will be pitch black when the lights are turned off). There is also a very interesting mandatory session every day from 7pm to 8.15pm when you hear an old recording of SN Goenka’s original course lectures. On day 1, I wasn’t very keen to hear him but from day 2 it became the most interesting session of my day. This 75-minute lecture portion often started with a good understanding of what we were doing, mixed with some great examples and stories, and also gave insight into the next day.
Part B.2. Day by day schedule
Day 1 to 3: For the first three days of the course, you’ll spend most of your time practicing the “Anapana” breathing technique, which is basically to pay attention to your natural breathing followed by the awareness of “sensations” generated around and inside your nostrils and upper lips. If you cannot focus on your breathing for more than a minute or so, don’t get discouraged as this is absolutely normal. Basically, don’t fight with your brain and accept the reality and present situation. Also, you DON’T have to worry about these “sensations” at all, you just need to observe them. It gets frustrating after some time as most of the new folks like me have this very same question, “What am I doing, and will I keep doing this for the next 10 days?” Well, the idea is to make your mind sharper in observing even very subtle sensations so that it can be ready for the next stage on day 4.
Day 4 : It was THE magic day for most people, and a lot of us, including me, admitted to crying (not because of pain or any negative feeling of course!) after the first Vipassana session on day 4.
So far, you’ve focused on your upper lips and nostril region, but all of a sudden you start becoming aware of sensations all over your body. I can visualize it now as a complete body scan using some sort of 2 x 2” scanner that passes over your head, face, trunk, limbs and other body parts. As Goenka Ji says, “Scan your body part by part, piece by piece”. You’ll be amazed how your mind becomes sharper and observes all sorts of “sensations” around your body after practicing “Anapana” meditation for the first 3 days.
Photo by Peter Hershey on Unsplash Day 5 : The day when the “Adhittana” (strong determination) meditation begins. You have to sit for these mandatory 1-hour sessions (3 every day) and practice Vipassana without changing positions/posture (if possible).
Day 6 －9: Practice Vipassana in different ways. I want this part to be a surprise for you. On day 9, it becomes intense when you start penetrating throughout your body and experience the sensations even inside your internal organs. I feel I wasn’t able to observe my inner sensations properly, but the whole focus is not to crave or search for any kind of sensations in your body. Your job is to just observe them.
Day 10 : For some people, it is also a happy day as that’s when the course allows you to speak again after the Metta Bhavna session. Metta Bhavna is a gratitude, loving, Peace and Kindness meditation as you generously spread positive feelings for the beings all around you (that means the whole universe) through your powerful Vipassana meditation. Again, lots of people cry during this Metta Bhavna session as the feelings are pure and come straight from the heart.
Day 11: Morning meditation session followed by last discourse/lecture, cleaning common and private spaces (volunteer-based work) and then leaving after breakfast.
SN Goenka Ji mentioned that days 2 and 6 are the hardest of the 10 days, but I found days 3 and 7 difficult for me. I had a very strong urge to run away on these 2 days but I kept myself strong somehow with a positive attitude. Please remember if you’re struggling on these days, it’s normal as your brain is going through some deeper changes and it’s okay for it to react with some temporary negative thoughts. Consider it as a form of physical surgery where a doctor needs to open a wound to fix it, and you react to this cut with the discharge of pus from the body. P art C — Zero day
I had applied for a 1.5 month sabbatical leave from March 2nd and decided to fly to India for my “vacation” to visit my family. Initially I had signed up for a 10-day Vipassana course in my home town, Jaipur, during this visit, but later I had to cancel the trip and then I planned to sign up for a course in California. I am very thankful to the CVC managers who accepted me as one of the first-time students for this course in North Fork, California, at the California Vipassana Center (CVC).
I coordinated a car ride-share with some of the fellow meditators to reach CVC, North Fork, which I thought was very interesting as I met some really good and experienced people. CVC has a pretty good online system to coordinate for ride-sharing, and people are mostly generous enough to help you with this.
Some of Gents from my 10 day’s Vipassana Course on departure day When we showed up at the registration room around 4pm, it was technically Day 0. You are allowed to introduce yourself to the other meditators on this day. I was very cocky, introducing myself to others (as this is what San Francisco corporate life is all about, right?) and luckily, I soon realized it myself when I started talking to some more sophisticated and polite regular meditators. I was astonished when I got to know that a majority of these people (I think they take 50 men and 50 women) had already done this course before. A few had done it more than 10 times, and at least one person had made up his mind to become a monk. After talking to them, I categorized myself as “a meditator as per convenience,” who portrays himself as a meditation practitioner in front of others, but practices it as per his convenience. I am really glad these 10 days helped me realize so many similar traits within me, which I’ll point out later.
P art D — Guidelines to follow for 10 days
1. Men and Women Isolation
The minute you enter the male registration room, your isolation from the outside world begins. And that includes a 10-day separation from the opposite sex too, be it your friends, relatives or even your significant other who may be sitting 25’ away from you in the meditation hall.
Sleeping accommodation is separate for men and women; dining and meditation areas (or sides in the main dhamma meditation hall) are separate, and there are even separate areas of the grounds you are allowed to walk in during breaks. In the main dhamma hall, you can still peek at the opposite gender section, as I didn’t find any physical separation between male and female areas. I can understand the reason behind this separation as the opposite sex is definitely a major diversion, at least for me, from an activity such as meditation. I admit that I always appreciate coming across good-looking people in my daily life, and it worked well for me to avoid any visual distraction by not having any interaction or communication with the women during these 10 days. Also, lots of people may think of it as a great opportunity to flirt with the opposite sex as they see 50 dating options sitting nearby, but that would not be helpful and would definitely hamper your meditation course. 😊
2. Noble Silence
On day 0, we had a light dinner around 6pm followed by a brief orientation on do’s and don’ts. Then everyone was asked to assemble in the main dhamma hall for day 0 meditation where we were all assigned designated spots based on age and Vipassana experience. The front folk will always be hard -core meditators and will act as peer pressure for you to meditate more. On my course, most of the front-line guys meditated even during the breaks without moving any of their body parts.
After your first Vipassana meditation on day 0, you take a vow to practice noble silence for the next 10 days.
Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash We as human beings love to chat a lot, especially when we are extrovert and encounter a bunch of new people. As SN Goenka Ji said, the human brain is a chattering box, and continuous chattering isn’t good for your meditating mind as well as for others’ concentration. It may seem strange to hear, but I feel keeping my mouth shut for 11 days was one of the best parts of this course. It really helped me a lot to concentrate on my mind and body, and definitely brought more sensible thoughts to my mind rather than just throwing stupid words all around. Even non-verbal gestures aren’t allowed as they are thought to disturb others too. Another reason, as SN Goenka Ji explained too during one of his lectures, is that if you are allowed to talk to other meditators during the course, you’ll be more curious about their experience rather your own. If someone tells you that, “Hey! I got some electric current sensations in my body during this session,” you’ll start craving such experience during the next sessions and that completely defeats the purpose.
3. Cellphone, books and journals
The second best thing for me was to put my cellphone in a CVC locker for the next 11 days. Those 11 days were so good without this tiny box of misery and a major reason for our sufferings in the current era. On day 10, when we were allowed to take back our cellphones, most of us weren’t ready to see hundreds of messages popping up. I, along with many others, decided to keep my cellphone at rest for another day in the locker. I seriously believe that this “black mirror” technology is one of the major reasons why our current generation (including me) is full of stress. Computers, smartphones and all these newer technologies plainly kill the awareness from our minds, and we stop noticing how powerful our brain is. Have you ever thought how super-comfortable folk were in finding the directions to their favorite pizza place 20 years ago when navigation systems didn’t even exist for common people?
Photo by Mikayla Mallek on Unsplash You’re not allowed to read or write too as it can also disrupt your awareness of your body. Remember, you hand over most of your daily routine things and live like a monk when attending this course.
4. No intoxicants, although you are allowed to take tea and coffee during breaks.
5. No lies, which is easy considering you are in silent mode.
6. You can’t kill, not even insects . If you find any insects or reptiles, CVC provides you with “insect re-locators” to move them away from your space to nature.
7. No stealing. Do you really want to steal if you are here to find your inner peace?
P art E — Glossary for first timers
SN Goenka Ji likes to use some words on a regular basis during the course, and you’ll be surprised how many times he used words like sensations, misery, craving, aversions etc. I won’t take too much of your time explaining all the chanting in Hindi, Sanskrit and the Pali language but some of the frequent English words have a very deep meaning in the context of this 10-day course:
Sensations: It can be a pain, throbbing, dryness, hotness, perspiration, itch or any sort of physical feeling on your body. As SN Goenka Ji explains, we as humans either like to crave pleasant sensations (subtle pleasant vibrations), or avert unpleasant (pain or itching) sensations that arise on our body.
Misery, craving and aversion — We create our own problems (or miseries in SN Goenka Ji’s words) either by craving worldly pleasures or averting unpleasant situations. Cravings and aversions are the two reasons for all the misery across the globe. Either someone hates something/someone a lot, or loves/craves something/someone a lot. And that comes with a lot of mental misery followed by physical misery.
Equanimity — I have never heard or used this word before the meditation course, so I was very confused about its meaning. SN Goenka Ji explains that you remain “equanimous” towards all the generating sensations, which means not reacting to either pleasant or unpleasant conditions. For example, if you observe a very pleasant sensation in your body, you don’t want to get excited about it as it will generate a craving in your brain to have a similar sensation again. Also, if you find yourself in deep pain during a meditation sitting, that can be unpleasant. Try not to react to it by adjusting your body. I can understand it can be difficult not to react at certain moments, but try to maintain “Adhittana” (strong determination).
Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash How is it connected to my real daily life? SN Goenka Ji explains that we have to understand that real happiness doesn’t lie in worldly pleasures as they come with either craving or aversion. For a happy life, we should be equanimous and try not to react when we go through certain extreme experiences on a daily basis, although I can tell it’s a bit hard for householders like me not to crave certain things.
Sankharas (Pali language) or Samskaras (Sanskrit) — These are complex concepts, with no single-word English translation, which fuses “object and subject” as interdependent parts of each human’s consciousness and epistemological process. It connotes “impression, disposition, conditioning, forming, perfecting in one’s mind, influencing one’s sensory and conceptual faculties” as well as any “preparation, sacrament” that “impresses, disposes, influences or conditions” how one thinks, conceives or feels. In simple English, when we repeat certain things over and over, physical or mental, it becomes a habit. These habit patterns can turn into certain kinds of cravings or aversions with time. Another example, if we start disliking a certain section of society, we eventually develop a feeling of hatred towards everyone who is connected to that section and our brain now stops caring about a particular individual from that society even if he/she is harmless. These Sankharas live either as feelings of craving or aversion in our body, and these cravings and aversions provide us with certain sensations all around the body. For example, in your teens how did you feel throughout your body when you saw an attractive person near you?
During meditation, our subconscious mind will keep bringing these Sankharas to the surface of our brain, and we observe them as certain sensations in our body. The whole concept is to remain equanimous to these sensations to helps us get rid of these Sankharas.
P art F — Philosophy behind Vipassana
As now you know you have to spend the first three days concentrating on your breathing, that will help your brain to become sharper and observe even the most subtle sensations which you generally don’t feel during your daily routine. These sensations arising in your body can either be pleasant or unpleasant, but the key is to remain equanimous without any reaction, and understand that this state of body/mind is impermanent and will eventually change with time. As I explained above with some examples, the brain has these Sankharas (or habits in simple words) to react to pleasant sensations with craving, and unpleasant sensations with aversion, followed by certain reactions (for example, making verbal fun of someone’s disability) that can cause certain misery. During these 10 days, you’ll learn to observe these sensations, and not react by remaining equanimous.
Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash During your meditation periods, you’ll start realizing lot of things about yourself and become cognizant of your own feelings. You’ll begin to notice that there is always a feeling or sensation that comes before a reaction, for example what happens to your respiration when you are angry. If you get angry, try to pay attention to what sensations you have in your body along with heavy respiration. Even if you cannot control your anger at that exact moment, you’ll eventually boil over very fast as you start observing the scenario in a much more sensible way this time.
P art G — Disclaimers, my experiences and challenges
This 10-day Vipassana Meditation course developed by Gautama Buddha and taught by SN Goenka Ji is very intense, exciting, hard and gets frustrating from time to time. Being a first timer, I’ve definitely had my days when I felt like running away but somehow, I managed to stay due to some very great positive days. There are some misconceptions about such meditation, and I want to point them out here:
Retreat or hard work? I won’t call it a retreat as this meditation is really very hard and needs lot of commitment. Of course, the harder you work, the better your results will be. Don’t go with an attitude of just giving 50% effort as you won’t even achieve that target. Plan to give 100% effort, and that’s when you’ll achieve somewhere between 80–90% of the target. I tried my best to give 100% but either my brain or body didn’t allow me to concentrate during a couple of sessions. Also, don’t consider these 10 days as relaxation time, trust me, you’ll be shocked. You have to keep working from 4am to 9.30pm and it really drains you by the end of the day.
Although at the end of the course, your level of happiness and positivity will definitely be touching the sky, and you’ll find yourself very relaxed and calm. This calmness and happiness have given me a great motivation to share my thoughts with you, and I consider it a very positive change in my life. And the MOST important thing one more time, stay for the whole course! Don’t give up after a couple of days, as you’ll carry a sense of regret plus you’ll end up wasting your time too. Don’t even keep an option of leaving at some point, as lots of people think: maybe I’ll try it for a couple of days and see if I can do it. Don’t go with such an attitude! Arrange a car-ride share so that you don’t even have the option to drive back by yourself.
Should I take my girlfriend with me? — Don’t go with your relatives, especially your significant other, reason being — if one member goes down, all go down together. Plus, you end up exchanging some kinds of verbal or non-verbal gestures during the course. We had a father-son duo and on day 2, I can tell the son is finding this course difficult, while the father is still alright. And on day 3, both of them were gone!
Nadal versus Federer Tennis match — I had different experiences during each and every meditation session. Most of the time, I ended my sessions with a positive happy feeling, but some of them were very distracting for me. I figured out that the part of my brain which helped me to focus (I will consider it “myself” just for the sake of conversation) started playing a tennis match with the notorious part of my brain (I will refer to this part just as “brain”) and it kept diverting my attention. Every meditation session was a points game, but you win eventually if you stay for 10 days. Most of the time, I won the game by a margin of 40–30 or 40–15, but I rarely defeated my brain 40–0 as there were always some kinds of thoughts in my mind. Sometimes I lost too but with a respectful score of 40–30, but on day 3 and day 6 during lunch sessions, not only was I defeated 40–0, I was also hammered by the tennis racket on my head and was knocked out on the court like a wrestling match. I needed to open my eyes multiple times and couldn’t concentrate. Do you want to know the reasons? You’ll find them down below.
Photo by Jeff cadestin on Unsplash Wear comfortable cotton clothes — The major reason why I couldn’t concentrate on day 6 was because of my polyester pants that I initially felt were comfortable before I left my house for this course. They turned out to be extremely horrible during the “strong determination” sessions as they didn’t allow my legs to breathe and because of discomfort I needed to adjust my position multiple times and ended up causing fabric noise from my pants which I feel must have been very annoying for the other meditators. Imagine the kind of silence during the session when you can hear the noise of your plastic fabric pants!
Yay, it’s lunch time! — You cannot meditate with your stomach full of food, period! On day 1, I decided to stuff myself at lunch as I knew I wouldn’t get dinner but it was a huge mistake I made. I needed to take a long nap during the break and I couldn’t concentrate during the afternoon sessions. You’ll be amazed when SN Goenka Ji explains the exact same thing in the lecture on day 1. Wise old man knew about it already but he wanted us to experience it first-hand and that’s why no instructions were provided on day 0 or during the sign-up to it.
Sensations and observations — You’ll be surprised how your mind starts observing even the subtle sensations in your body that human beings cannot distinguish in daily life. These observations become clearer with time, and you’ll start noticing more activities happening all over your body. Although very important, don’t crave or avert any particular sensations that make you react to them. Whole idea is to just observe these sensations with an equanimous state of mind.
Cushions and pain — The default set-up that is provided by CVC on day zero is a simple 24 x 24 x 2” cushion with a simple 12 x 12” bean bag on top of it. By day 3, you’ll see lots of love seats of “game of thrones” coming up instead of this simple default arrangement as people want to make sure their sitting position is comfortable based on their needs. Luckily, CVC provided an enormous collection of various cushions, beans bags and meditation stools that you could try and see if it was comfortable for you. I also tried at least 15 different set-ups and finally came back to the default option. Make sure you are comfortable with your sitting position and set-up as it will definitely make a huge difference to your meditation. You don’t want to have an uncomfortable continuous pain in your legs and back because of your cushion set-up. A sitting of 105 hours during 10 days stretch can be very uncomfortable and in case you have your own cushions, feel free to bring them with you. Most experienced meditators brought their own cushions with them. Although the whole idea is to observe discomfort and even pain, you also don’t want to torture yourself.
Photo by Gabriel Matula on Unsplash In case you don’t want to sit on the floor, make sure to request a chair with back support. To be honest, each and every set-up you try will be uncomfortable after 1–2 sittings, so, yeah, this is going to be an ongoing battle during these 10 days.
Sleep versus exercise? If you have the chance to take a 15-minute power nap during a break, utilize it; although a lot of people end up extending this nap to a sleep which isn’t good for your next round of meditation. On day 1, I “utilized” my break time to take a 75-minute sleep but that didn’t help me at all during my noon meditation sessions. I started utilizing my afternoon break time to clean the common spaces or take a warm shower which really helped me a lot during my follow-up meditation sessions.
Once the half-way point of the course has been reached, you’ll realize your body needs less food and sleep, which is completely normal and actually good for you. During the meditation process, you give your brain a good rest. So, during sleep time, only your physical body needs rest, not your brain. If you need a really good rest, try to observe the sensations when you are lying on your bed. It will definitely help you to have a very good sleep and next day you’ll wake up as fresh as river water.
You are not allowed to do any exercise during these 10 days and initially I thought that concept was very stupid. After day 1, I decided to fast-walk at least 3–4 miles a day just to keep my body busy and fit, but I realized after a couple of days that it’s not a good idea. I am here to work mostly on my brain, so I need a fresh body during meditation. A simple slow walk is fine, but try to give your body at least a 5–15-minute rest during the break. Or try it first-hand!
Full of pleasure and enjoyment — As SN Goenka Ji says, nothing is permanent and even these 10 days will fly by like everything else. During these 10 days, you’ll keep counting each and every session, and if you are as freaky as me, you’ll start calculating what percentage of the course is left. But on day 10, you’ll realize how precious these 10 days were, and how much benefit you got during them. Trust me on this, I am as skeptical as you on almost everything, but these 10 days were a blessing for me, and even after the course I can still feel the benefits. So, please be positive about everything and enjoy the process. On day 10, you’ll be a better, kinder and awesomely updated version of yourself.
Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash Will I recommend it to others? — On day 7, I made up my mind not to recommend this course to anyone as I found it super-difficult, painful and frustrating. But now, I want to recommend it to everyone, especially to those who are super-stressed about stupid things. So, the answer in just one word is YES! Definitely, it needs a big commitment, but what else doesn’t need a commitment that benefits our body and mind?
Will I do it again? I am already planning on it! I have seen a great reflection of my positive mind in my daily life. For ex, now my anger goes away within minutes, I am more focused and I am working aggressively to shatter my self-ego. Everyone carries a huge amount of self-ego, and even a realization about it through such meditation is a big achievement.
Am I am practicing it every day? I would say I am trying my best to give it 100%, but I am not able to. But still, something is better than nothing. Even if I get a chance to sit and meditate for 30 minutes, it helps somewhere.
P art H — Some random experiences to share
My best friend in my residential quarter — Maybe it’s just me, but I made a “spiritual” friend during the course in my residential quarter to share my thoughts with non-verbally, through “telepathy”. I had a huge spider hanging in its web from the top of my bed from day 1 to day 4, and on normal days I would’ve killed it but we became friends during this course. Something like “Wilson” from Tom Hanks’s Castaway movie. Fortunately, it never came closer to me when I slept, and I considered it as a meditating spider too. On day 4 it went to someone else’s room, and eventually it came back on day 7. I think my brain just wanted to have some kind of “spiritual” company during the course, but it seems funny and stupid now even to read, right?
Oh, my God, will I get good food? — The food was much better even than what my wife and I cook for ourselves. Every day, they had a different vegetarian cuisine menu — Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Italian and so on. Not only the food was delicious, they took care of all sorts of nutrition for our bodies during the course. So, don’t worry about it at all, you’ll definitely enjoy each and every meal of yours.
A sense of giving and serving others — I’m usually always open to help others, but I wasn’t sure of cleaning common restrooms for 10+ or maybe more people during the course on day 0, but that feeling changed completely for me. CVC ask you to volunteer to clean the common spaces, but I realized after a couple of days everyone was very kind and good about serving others in every sense without disturbing someone’s space, integrity and peace. You’ll find that feeling within you too after some time.
Smells bad, it’s not me — You’ll realize people get super-comfortable about farting even when others are around. In fact, some of the folk really enjoyed farting super-loud. I get that!
Peeking at the women’s meditation section — Maybe it’s just me, but as a man I definitely had a craving to peek at the women’s section to know who else had joined the course. You get familiar with every one of the same sex around you, but you never get acquainted with even half of the crowd of the opposite sex. That’s obvious, isn’t it?
Photo by Nourdine Diouane on Unsplash Should I be bit wicked now? — I definitely had some cravings to disturb my friend Jason (whom I met for the first time during the car-share ride on day 0), and he admitted to having the same too. I think it’s normal for your brain to be a bit mischievous, I guess.
Nature all around you — As all Vipassana centers across the globe are surrounded by nature you’ll realize how beautiful everything is when you don’t have any sort of technology around you. The sunset, sunrise, plants, birds, animals — everything looks a wonderful creation of nature. I, and everyone on the course, were mesmerized by these natural phenomena around us, and that feeling was wonderful.
Did I crack a new bone just now? — during breaks, everyone will try to stretch a lot. Some of the folk will be Yoga or gym folk, and they’ll also inspire you to stretch yourself in an innovative way. I think I ended up cracking or stretching some new bones and muscles in body. For example, one day I gave a jerk to my neck so hard that it made a cracking noise like a coconut. Fortunately, I didn’t break my neck doing this, but it was very scary.
Finally, I want to end this long post with a positive Metta Bhavna now. May all beings in the universe be happy! May all beings experience real peace and harmony! Bhavtu Sabab Mangalam!
Feel free to share your thoughts and feedback too, looking forward to hear of your experiences.
Photo by Sarah Ball on Unsplash
Understanding Penta Power and why a brand needs it | Gurgaon News – Times of India
By- Shivaji Dasgupta
In India and most parts of the world, marketers suffer from an obsession with youth. This leads them to ignore, unwisely, the high-potential customer segment between the ages of 50 and 80, a segment constantly bolstered by affluence and longevity. Every business, then, must consider creating brands for the ‘Penta Power’ demographics — those in their fifth decade and beyond.
But first, it is important to eliminate the term ‘senior citizen’, and the patronising associations that usually emanate from it. This segment starts not at 60 but at 50, an age when most urban consumers are on the verge of a key transition. Their children are typically in college, a permanent home has been purchased, and basic financial security achieved. It is thus an experiential switchover, unconnected to traditional concepts of professional retirement.
The economic potency of this customer gets strengthened remarkably at this point, as many reach the peak of their earnings. Even if conventional work-life ends soon, a second innings in entrepreneurship or consulting is quite common. Besides, as the next generation becomes entrenched in well-paying jobs, their parents enjoy the spin-off economic advantages (earlier a prerogative of the NRI ).
Average life expectancy is now 68 years, an improvement driven by the availability of reliable insurance cover and replacement surgeries (joints or valves). In every sense, the stage is set for enhanced consumption behaviour, buoyed by the general climate of socio-economic positivity.
And from an emotional perspective, the ‘Penta Power’ customer is far more reliable than the youngster, or even the early jobber. She tends to be less fickle and believes firmly in sustainable relationships — thus, brands can assess her lifetime value with greater certainty than, say, for the moody millennial, who is constantly demanding the next big thing. She comes with a consumption maturity that businesses so dearly seek, and, additionally, with a stable purchasing capacity. Moreover, with a stream of newbies turning 50 daily, a constant replenishment of numbers is ensured.
But in order to succeed, certain insight-driven ground rules must be observed. The approach in product design or marketing must never be condescending, which is currently the case with most campaigns where ‘senior citizens’ feature prominently. Instead, experiences must be positively personalised for their preferences, both when it comes to indulgences and safeguards. Stimuli need to be inspirational and empathetic, and endorsers, whether celebrity or professional, must be from the same age cohort.
Travel companies have enjoyed considerable success by following this approach, and, according to Thomas Cook , this category of customer is growing multifold. They enjoy customised experiences, make friends easily, and have the time and money for multiple annual holidays. The secret sauce here is intelligent personalisation — special dietary needs, on-trip medical assistance, handpicked elder-friendly hotels, experienced tour managers, pre-departure meetings, appropriate entertainment evenings, and easy-access vehicles.
Fashion brands, Indian or global, can design suitable leisure or formal wear endorsed by Anil Kapoor and Shabana Azmi. Skoda can create a ‘Penta Power’ version of the Kodiaq, packing punch in a cosy package (like the Mini Cooper or Suzuki Vitara). Restaurant chains can happily offer retro music with molecular cuisine, light on the palate and sensibilities. Movies and music can be specially curated, just as content on Netflix or Amazon is. Meanwhile, in foods, opportunities are limitless – from a ready-to-eat range for emerging dietary patterns to health energisers and, even, snack foods.
The truest essence will lie in building a community of dynamic peers, encouraging each other in this delightful journey. While aspiration will be derived from this empathy, credibility will come from proven performance. They will no longer be second-rung ‘senior citizens’ worthy of ‘special’ assistance, but confident souls demanding the best of living.
Instead of constantly trying to second-guess the fickle youngster, brands across categories must develop a ‘Penta Power’ strategy, to design exceptional experiences for this ‘secure’ resident, in order to secure their own business.
(Author is a founder of INEXGRO brand advisory)
Fun Facts About 8 Singapore Hawker Foods We Bet You Never Knew!
Home » Fun Facts About 8 Singapore Hawker Foods We Bet You Never Knew! Fun Facts About 8 Singapore Hawker Foods We Bet You Never Knew! A brief 101 on the history of some of SG’s most beloved dishes. 09 April 2019 (image:123RF.com) Get schooled about the Asian fare found at SG’s food centres. You may have seen or tried some of these items at coffeeshops, food courts and even restos, but what do you actually know about SG’s hawker fare? Sort yourself out with these fun The Finder factoids about roti prata , laksa and the like. Previous 1. Hainanese Chicken Rice (image: Dios Vincoy Jr for The Straits Times )
The juicy steamed chicken, accompanied by wonderfully fragrant rice and garlic chilli, is one of Singaporean’s favourite national dishes .
Brought to the island by Chinese immigrants from Hainan Island, China, the original version was made with bony Wenchang chicken from the Wenchang city area in Hainan; rice thickened with oil; chilli sauce; ground ginger; and a mix of oyster sauce and garlic. In Hainan, the dish is made with stock from both pork and chicken bones, but Hainanese chefs in Singapore make their stock only from chicken.
CNN listed chicken rice as one of the 50 best dishes in the world in 2011, and has been raved about by celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay and the late Anthony Bourdain on their visits here. Ramsay even took on the SG-famous Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice in his Hawker Heroes Challenge in 2013, but lost to the renowned stall. 2. Laksa (image: 123RF.com)
The Peranakan dish of rice vermicelli noodles in a rich, creamy and spicy coconut gravy combines the very best of Malay and Chinese cuisine, and according to The Oxford Companion To Food , its name was derived from the Persian word laksha (meaning “noodles”). Laksa is also said to have originated from the Straits of Malacca, which Persian traders would often visit.
In the 1950s, earthworms were added to laksa for saltiness, and maggots included to the dish to “eat away bacteria”. Today, the definitive Katong laksa contains prawns, cockles, fish cake, taupok (fried bean curd), beansprouts and hard-boiled eggs. 3. Kaya Toast
The perfect breakfast or tea time snack, the toasted sandwich with kaya jam (a jam made with coconut milk and eggs) and cold butter is often paired with two soft-boiled eggs. It was adapted by Hainanese immigrants who served as chefs in British households and made breakfasts with toast, butter and jams. When these immigrants opened kopitiam s (coffeeshops), they replaced fruit jams with kaya , and the rest is history.
The oldest Hainanese kopitiam in Singapore is Kheng Hoe Heng Coffeeshop, set up in 1919, and which was renamed Killiney Kopitiam in 1993. Ya Kun Kaya Toast , another heritage brand, started in 1926 and was known back then as Ya Kun Coffeestall. 4. Satay (image: SPHLib)
Derived from the Arab dish of kebabs on metal skewers, these succulent, spice-marinated meat skewers of chicken, beef and lamb are the ultimate suppertime food in Singapore. Here, satay is barbecued on wooden skewers or sometimes on dried, thin stems of coconut made into sticks, while the ground peanut sauce is made with spices like coriander and cumin seeds.
In ’60s and ’70s Singapore, satay was served by unlicensed hawkers at bus terminals, such as on Beach Road, at makeshift portable stalls. Hygiene standards were very different back then — customers would often dip (and double dip) their satay skewers in a communal pot of sauce! Until 1995, the Satay Club, a collection of night-time satay stalls at the Esplanade (the first Satay Club was near Beach Road), was also a famous place to get your fix of these meat sticks. Today, you can head to Lau Pa Sat or Telok Ayer Market to pick from about 10 satay stalls. 5. Roti Prata (image: 123RF.com)
An Indian Muslim dish, roti prata (meaning ‘“flat bread” in Hindi) is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and eaten with dhal (gravy made from lentils) or mutton curry. Brought here by Indian immigrants, it is said to have both Punjabi and Muslim origins, and is a popular breakfast or supper food.
In Malaysia, roti prata is known as roti canai , and it’s best enjoyed with your hands — so put away your utensils! Today, popular variations of this flat bread include cheese, mushrooms, ham and even hollandaise sauce. Like Hainanese chicken rice, it was also listed in CNN’s list of the world’s best foods . 6. Popiah (image: Dios Vincoy Jr for The Straits Times )
Meaning “thin pancake” in Teochew, this savoury local delight is composed of paper-thin popiah skin (a soft, thin paper-like crepe made from wheat flour) stuffed with a filling of cooked turnips, vegetables and meat. When it is deep-fried, popiah is then referred to as a spring roll. Spring rolls are eaten in south-eastern China, such as Fujian province, in springtime when there were plenty of vegetables.
While popiah can be served as a main, a snack or side dish in hawker centres, popiah parties, where guests “roll” or made their own popiah s, are also common. In 2002, a Guinness World Record was set for the world’s longest popiah , that measured at 108 metres, by Thomson Community Club. This impressive pancake wrap was made by over 500 grassroots leaders and residents. 7. Chilli Crab (image: 123RF.com)
This dish of mud crabs (stir-fried in a thick sauce that’s sweet, savoury and spicy all at once) is one dish Singaporeans are especially proud of. It was invented by accident by Madam Cher Yam Tian in the mid 1950s, when she used bottled chilli sauce instead of tomato sauce when frying crabs at her pushcart stall. The dish was a hit, and she went on to open the (still popular) Palm Beach Restaurant in 1962.
Chilli crab has such a cult following here that it’s even spawned the Tiger Beer Singapore Chilli Crab Festival, held in London and New York, a few years ago. In the 25th season of the reality travel TV contest The Amazing Race , contestants had to complete a challenge of cracking two pounds of chilli crabs at an outlet of the Red House Seafood restaurant , famed for its rendition of this dish, when they were in Singapore.
The Best Gin Cocktails And Bars In Hong Kong
The Best Gin Cocktails And Bars In Hong Kong Posted Today Eat & Drink The Best Gin Cocktails And Bars In Hong Kong Whether you’re partial to a creative gin cocktail, or a classic G&T, we’re rounding up the best gin bars in Hong Kong.
Everyone has their favourite spirit of choice, and for us, gin is usually our go-to . There’s often nothing better than a classic G&T and, with seemingly endless options to choose from, here’s where to get the very best in the city . From botanical and artisan gins, to inventive cocktails, straight-up spirits and more, here’s where to get your gin fix in Hong Kong .
Read more: The Best Mezcal And Tequila Bars In Hong Kong
A hidden gem within The Landmark, Dr.Fern’s is a must try for gin lovers . Using organic and locally sourced ingredients and botanicals , along with premium gin, the cocktails here are sure to cure any ailment. A true gin emporium , the bar menu features a range of suggested gin and tonic pairings ( priced between $110 to $220 ), but for connoisseurs, guests are also able to choice their own gin – either on the rocks, or served with a tonic of choice . The options here are endless, and the menu is broken down into four sections: juniper & citrus; fruity & floral; spicy & savoury; and sweet & confectionary, so you’re sure to find your perfect drink. Pair your G&T with a light bite from the “edible prescriptions menu”, featuring the likes of sourdough grilled cheese, daily cakes and cheese boards, or opt for Dr. Fern’s own afternoon tea.
Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour , Shop B31A, First Basement Floor, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, www.drfernshk.com
Opened by Maximal Concepts in 2018, John Anthony uniquely combines modern Cantonese cuisine with a selection of house-infused gins . The gins are uniquely created with handpicked botanicals, fruits and teas, and are all stored in four 12-litre tubes which serve as the centrepiece at the bar. The menu features four signature G&Ts , including Tanqueray Gin with Lavender and Fevertree Elderflower Tonic ( $85 ); and Plymouth Gin, with Rosemary, Bay Leaf, Sun-dried Tomato, Juniper and 1724 Tonic ( $115 ) – which has been known to convert even long-standing gin-phobes. As the restaurant’s key theme is sustainability , the mixology team has also creatively harnessed leftover ingredients like fruit rinds and excess liquids to create cordials and edible garnishes, which are featured in its signature cocktails.
Sassy Tip: Happy Hour runs from 5:30pm to 7:30pm, so head down to enjoy a G&T or two, along with complimentary bar snacks.
John Anthony , 1 Sunning Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, www.johnanthony.hk
Read more: John Anthony: The New Dim Sum And Chinese Restaurant By Maximal Concepts
For a quirky and Insta-worthy gin cocktail , Ori-Gin is the place to head to. Known for the popular KGB cocktail ( $128 ), which is served up in a mini bathtub ( rubber ducky on the side! ), Ori-Gin’s gin-focused menu is extensive, with everything from G&T’s, classic gin cocktails and some fun and original mixes. If you’re partial to sour tastes, opt for the Super Lemon ( $118 ), a blend of slow-cooked lemon Tanqueray gin and lemon sorbet topped soda. It even comes complete with a Super Lemon candy pegged to the side of the glass, just the thing for the big kids out there!
Ori-Gin , G/F, 48 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.originbar.hk
The red door outside is your only clue you’ve arrived at this speakeasy , but once you step inside, you’ll know you’ve come to the right place. For gin lovers, Ping Pong has a comprehensive list of gins from all over the world , with a focus on Spain. From the classic Martin Millers, to premium gins like Gin Self from Valencia, there is certainly no shortage in this selection . We’re fans of the Xoriguer gin ( $140 ), served with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic, and garnished with lemon zest and mint leaves.
Ping Pong 129 Gintoneria , 129 Second Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, www.pingpong129.com
Read more: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Sai Ying Pun
This Northern-Spanish inspired restaurant by Pirata Group also plays home to a chic and stylish bar on the ground floor. And if the luxe décor and lush greenery doesn’t draw you in, the array of gin drinks is sure to! Known for its goblets of signature Spanish-style G&Ts , the menu features a selection of gin-based cocktails , which all make use of a variety of gins from around the globe. If you’re heading to The Optimist for pre-dinner drinks, be sure to make the most of its happy hour, which runs daily from 3pm until 7:30pm, and features drinks starting at just $48 . Select from a range of gin and tonics, or go for our personal favourite, the Gin on Ginger, made with gin, fresh ginger, sugar, mint and ginger beer.
The Optimist , 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.theoptimist.hk
Awarded its first Michelin-star in the 2019 guide, this high-end Punjabi restaurant not only offers some of the best Indian eats in the city, but it also serves up a mean gin drink . Our top choice for a special occasion dinner, pair your feast at New Punjab Club with a drink from the restaurant’s antique gin trolley . Opting for a simple and classic approach to G&Ts, offerings here include Monkey 47, Tanqueray, G’vine Floraison and more, which serve as the perfect clean and fresh accompaniment to your meal , with just a touch of theatre on the side.
New Punjab Club , World Wide Commercial Building, 34 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.newpunjabclub.com
Voted number five in Asia’s 50 Best Bar Awards and number 10 in the World’s 50 Best Bar Awards, The Old Man guarantees a good time and a top-notch drink . The intimate Ernest Hemingway-inspired speakeasy bar serves up a range of innovative cocktails , but for gin lovers who are looking for something a little different, opt for the Winner Take Nothing, made with rotovap pink guava gin, baby carrot sous-vide suze, tarragon, blackened carrot bug, soda and dill.
The Old Man , Lower G/F, 37-39 Aberdeen Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong, www.theoldmanhk.com
Created by Victoria Chow , The Woods is a cocktail bar hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Central. The bar itself serves up a range of inventive cocktails, but for gin lovers, we recommend the curated spirits tasting workshops . Available by appointment only for four to eight people, the experience includes personalised spirit tastings, in-depth introductions to different spirits and access to The Woods’ own collection of over 400 bottles ! The best bit? If you really love any of the gins you try, those participating in the workshop will be able to claim a 10% discount on any bottle purchases on the day. Prices start at $480 per person, and you can find more info here .
The Woods , L/G, 17-19 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, www.thewoods.hk
Another bar that has featured in both the World’s 50 Best Bars and Asia’s 50 Best Bar Awards is QUINARY . Found on Hollywood Road, the menu features countless cocktails and spirits to try , but we’re fans of the On The Meadow ( $130 ), made with lemongrass-redistilled Tanqueray gin, elderflower syrup, lime juice, and a hint of mint syrup . Perfect for the Hong Kong heat, another gin favourite from the signature selection is the Crystal 10 ( $130 ), consisting of clarified grapefruit juice, Tanqueray 10 and grapefruit bitters.
QUINARY , 56-58 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, www.quinary.hk
Looking for an expertly made classic G&T? Head to Artesian in the Langham Hong Kong for some of the finest classic cocktails in the city, which have all been masterfully crafted with house-made infusions . Daily between 3:30pm and 8pm, guests can enjoy one of the bar’s gin and tonic specialities for $98 each during The Magic Hour session. A complimentary food platter featuring a Spanish omelette and parma ham with tomato coulis on toast is also available for every order of two drinks.
Artesian , The Langham, Hong Kong, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.langhamhotels.com/en/the-langham/hong-kong/dining/artesian
Editor’s Note : This article was originally published on 19 May, 2017 and was updated by Annie Simpson on 9 April, 2019.
Featured image courtesy of John Anthony via Instagram , image 1 courtesy of Dr Fern’s via Instagram , image 2 courtesy of John Anthony via Instagram , image 3 courtesy of ORI-GIN via Instagram , image 4 courtesy of Ping Pong 129 via Instagram , image 5 courtesy of The Optimist via Instagram , image 6 courtesy of New Punjab Club via Instagram , image 7 courtesy of The Old Man via Instagram , image 8 courtesy of Tori Chow via Instagram , image 9 courtesy of Quinary via Instagram , image 10 courtesy of Langham Hotels About the author Team Sassy Sassy Hong Kong is the go-to guide for girls in the city that truly never sleeps. From al fresco bars…
Sassy Hong Kong is the go-to guide for girls in the city that truly never sleeps. From al fresco bars and hole-in-the-wall restaurants, to secret shopping spots and special events, we pound the pavements in search of all the best Hong Kong has to offer. We support a strong community of Sassy Girls looking to make the most out of life in the buzzing metropolis we call home!
BOH Management Positions – Al Maryah Central – Abu Dhabi
Search for the best Hospitality Jobs BOH Management Positions – Al Maryah Central – Abu Dhabi
Work type: Permanent – Full Time Location: Abu Dhabi Categories: Various
Overview: We are pleased to announce that we are recruiting for a number of Alshaya’s well-loved casual dining outlets which are due to open in an exciting new location in Dubai. We are hiring for the following positions: •Restaurant Executive Chef •Kitchen Manager/Head Chef •Sous Chef •Chef De Partie In addition to your skills as an accomplished chef you will bring a commercial and management ability that makes you stand out as a leader in your field. This opportunity will see you lead multi-cultural teams in the delivery of a high quality dining experience. With our Food Division growing year-on-year a role with us offers career development on an international scale. Requirements: •At least 2 years experience in working in American/Asian/Chinese/Indian cuisine restaurants •At least 2-3 years of experience in managing/supervising a team Advertised: 08 Apr 2019 Arabian Standard Time Applications close: 06 May 2019 Arabian Standard Time You may return to your current search results by clicking here . Latest Jobs Latest Jobs Hostess at Crowne Plaza Dubai Hotels Food and Beverage Service Staff- Line level United Arab Emirates (UAE) Do you see yourself as a Hostess? What’s your passion? Whether you’re into scuba diving, golf or dancing the tango, at IHG we’re interested in you. We love people who apply t… Food and Beverage Service Associate Hotels Food and Beverage Service Staff- Line level Asia An iconic landmark, an enduring legacy. At Raffles Hotel Singapore, we help you do your best. In 2018, a careful and sensitive restoration will breathe new life into our beautiful h… Food and Beverage Service Executive Hotels Food and Beverage Service Management Asia An iconic landmark, an enduring legacy. At Raffles Hotel Singapore, we help you do your best. In 2018, a careful and sensitive restoration will breathe new life into our beautiful hotel… Laundry Manager/Assistant Manager Hotels Housekeeping Management Africa Raffles Hotels & Resort is a collection of award-winning luxury hotels located in vibrant destinations around the world. It is part of AccorHotels brands, which offers unique moments and… Housekeeping Attendant Hotels Housekeeping Staff- Line level Asia Room Attendant Providing our Colleagues with the skills they require to thrive in their careers at Raffles and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is a cornerstone of our culture. As a Room At… Senior Butler Hotels Food and Beverage Service Staff- Line level Asia Raffles Hotels & Resorts is a collection of award-winning luxury hotels located in vibrant destinations around the world. Unique with its own distinct personality, each Raffles hotel dis… Digital Marketing & Communication Coordinator Hotels Sales and Marketing/PR Staff- Line level Europe Raffles Hotels & Resorts is a collection of award-winning luxury hotels located in vibrant destinations around the world. Unique with its own distinct personality, each Raffles hotel disti… Butler Hotels Food and Beverage Service Staff- Line level Africa Raffles Hotels & Resort is a collection of award-winning luxury hotels located in vibrant destinations around the world. It is part of AccorHotels brands, which offers unique moments and d… Butler Hotels Food and Beverage Service Staff- Line level Asia Raffles Hotels & Resorts is a collection of award-winning luxury hotels located in vibrant destinations around the world. Unique with its own distinct personality, each Raffles hotel disti… Commis 1 – All Day Dining Hotels Chefs Staff- Line level Asia COMMIS 1 Job Purpose As a Commis, you will be an ambassador for the exceptional cuisine that are hallmarks of our dining experience. Your warm, personal attention and knowledge of our…