Browsing Tag

food tour

Asia/Pacific Eating Abroad Featured Laos

Luang Prabang – Best Contemporary Laotian Restaurants

May 11, 2018

I can assure you that you will not go hungry in Luang Prabang. This pretty little Unesco town may be small, but its steady tourist trade means it is mighty when it comes to culinary offerings. During the day, the cafes and casual eateries dotted in amongst the souvenir shops and tour agencies in the main strip are awash with tourists seeking a bite to eat and refuge from the hot afternoon sun. When darkness falls, the streets come alive with the night market providing a one-stop-shop for eating, drinking, shopping, and people-watching! For a cheap and cheerful dinner, we couldn’t go wrong with a steaming bowl of Lao khao soi noodles which are like an ingenious cross of soup noodles and bolognese complete with herbs and condiments, while others went mad for the barbecue stalls or vegetarian buffets.

If you are in the mood for something with less curbside decor, there are restaurants aplenty serving anything from traditional Laotian cuisine to classic French fare, a legacy of their colonial past. However not all restaurants are created equal, and as is common in many tourist-centric towns, some are guilty of resting on their reputations and ultimately proving to be overhyped and overpriced. We experienced this at a much lauded French establishment serving food from a bygone era with little flavour or finesse, while others have also talked of standards slipping at other well known Laotian restaurants. After this, we stayed away from the main tourist hub and found our two favourite Laotian dining experiences located just a short tuk tuk ride away on the outskirts…

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Asia/Pacific Eating Abroad Featured Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu – Ten Things to Do For First-Time Visitors

March 12, 2018
Kota Kinabalu Sabah Guide

When I told my Malaysian aunties that we were going to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, they were equal parts curious and perplexed. “But why…”, they trilled. “You’ll be bored…”, they mused. “I don’t think they have any decent malls there…”, they fretted. And then they just laughed and put it down to us being so intrepid and crazy. Well, dear aunties who have never ventured to Sabah, I’m pleased to tell you (and anyone else who cares to listen) that though we didn’t come across many malls, we certainly weren’t bored! Quite the opposite actually… we spent five action-packed days in Kota Kinabalu doing such a mix of activities and experiencing different aspects of the culture, and still… I don’t think we even scratched the surface of what Sabah has to offer!

Sabah felt different to the other parts of Malaysia I have visited; it’s much quieter, greener, and has more of a focus on nature and adventure. If hiking mountains, traipsing through jungles, and diving in the oceans in your thing then Sabah definitely has to be on your bucket list. That said, even city slickers like us fell in love with the culture of the Bornean tribes and the lush surroundings! Here are my top ten things to do for first time visitors to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah; they might just convince you to book that trip now…

Kota Kinabalu Sabah Guide

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Asia/Pacific Australia Eating Abroad

Melbourne – A Food-Lovers City Break

March 5, 2018
Melbourne Food Lovers City Break Guide Kappo

We may have arrived in Melbourne late into the night, but from the very first moment I saw its dazzling city lights, I was smitten. Often described as a grown up version of our hometown Wellington, and being just as varied but more laid back than London, it was no surprise that I felt completely at home in Australia’s second largest city. It is stylish, filled with culture, and has everything a food-obsessed traveller such as myself could want! I used to dismiss all those reports calling it one of the most liveable cities in the world as skewed promotion, but frankly I’m now a convert and it’s on the list as a possible future home for a certain someone and I.

With only a couple of days in the city, we decided to leave the suburbs for our next visit and mostly stick within the grid of the CBD. Not that this was in any way limiting. Visits to the National Gallery of Victoria, Botanic Gardens and the Shrine of Remembrance, walks along the Yarra River and a spot of shopping was more than enough to hold our interests. There was also plenty to sate our appetites; we only tried but a slither of Melbourne’s eateries but from what I tasted, I was impressed. It reminded me a lot of London’s food scene where the whole world is at your fingertips, there’s something to cater for every budget, and great places spread all over the city. We pretended to be Melbournians and brunched with the best of them, wandered around the city, then checked out some of the wide range of cuisines on offer…

Melbourne Food Lovers City Break Guide

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Asia/Pacific Eating Abroad Featured New Zealand

‘Trust the Chef’ Lunch at Wharekauhau Country Estate

February 15, 2018

What do you get a birthday girl who has just packed up her life, put about 90% of it into storage and is lugging around the rest in a suitcase so she can gallivant across Asia for a few months? If it were up to me, I would settle for warm birthday wishes transmitted over the interwebs and a drinks IOU for when we’re next in the same country, but it seems I have better friends. They, very wisely, went for the gift of food; these friends are keepers. I was lucky enough to get those birthday wishes, but with a side of lunch at Wharekauhau, one of New Zealand’s most luxurious countryside estates located in a remote part of the lower North Island.

Wharekauhau is only a 90 minute drive from Wellington city, but after you’ve wound your way up, around, and down the Rimutaka Ranges, you will feel like you’re a world away. The drive is very scenic, however if you’re pushed for time, have deeper pockets, or are royalty, you might want to take the 11 minute helicopter ride instead. Either way, the end result is the same… you will arrive at a small slice of New Zealand paradise where the views are breathtaking and the atmosphere is supremely serene! We were met at the door and taken on a short tour of the main lodge before settling into our table where the outlook was idyllic and the only soundtrack was from the birds outside.

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Asia/Pacific Eating Abroad Featured Sri Lanka

Spice Spoons Experience at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle, Sri Lanka

January 25, 2018

When a certain someone and I decided years ago to put Sri Lanka on our travel bucket list, it was because of the beaches. We read somewhere that this teardrop island was blessed with beautiful shores, and that just stuck in our minds. For two people who aren’t particularly skilled at swimming, we have a bizarre soft spot for beach holidays. But what really pushed us into finally booking this trip was years of living in Tooting and eating our way round the myriad of Sri Lankan curry houses in our neighbourhood. Slowly but surely, the flavours of this cuisine began to win us over… the more we became enamoured with the dals, dosas, and mutton rolls, the more we wanted to taste it all in Sri Lanka.

And then we arrived in the country and got a giant dose of reality. Our daydreams of streets lined with food carts selling delectable snacks, and days spent gorging on aromatic curries with piping hot roti breads, did not exactly come true. We did have some excellent meals, but that was more the exception than the norm and we had to dig a little deeper, and at times venture off track to find some of these gems. I came to the conclusion that perhaps the best Sri Lankan food is still found in Sri Lankan homes, and since I didn’t know any locals to impose myself on, the next best thing was to learn to cook like a local.

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Asia/Pacific Eating Abroad Sri Lanka

Eat, Eat, Repeat Colombo Food Tour with Urban Adventures

January 18, 2018

Colombo is not a city which is often described in a favourable light. Before we arrived, I had read that it was far from being a traveller’s haven, was told that it was a tad boring, and generally not the kind of place you find yourself lingering in. Ever the optimist, I bowled on into town with an eagerness to see the best of this city and perhaps prove its critics wrong, but after arriving in the middle of a storm verging on cyclone territory, stepping into far too many puddles in the broken pavements, and seeing nothing but grey skies, I was defeated. At the end of day one, all I wanted was to curl up in the hotel and order room service, but by the end of day two I was starting to see the city in a whole new light thanks to Urban Adventures!

An afternoon spent talking about food and eating it often puts me in a good mood, but our Eat, Eat, Repeat food tour also gave me an insight into life in this frenzied urban sprawl. The city is vast, needs a lot of TLC in some parts, but does have its charms. We do agree with those who have come before us – this is not the most tourist-friendly city, but if you’re visiting Sri Lanka, it is highly likely this will be your first stop so I would suggest you do as we did and explore it through food. It’s definitely more interesting and provides a great introduction to Sri Lankan food which will stand you in good stead for the rest of your trip. Here’s a taste of what you can expect if you too decide to Eat, Eat, Repeat with Urban Adventures in Colombo…

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Eating Abroad Eating Out Featured Food Talk

Where I Feasted at Thirty – A 2017 Food Tour

December 29, 2017

This time last year I defied convention and proudly proclaimed that I had no fears about turning thirty. I was excited to start a new decade and experience all the thrills and inevitable spills that come with it, particularly as we had an inkling that it would most likely be our last year in London and I wanted to make the most of it. A year ago, I believed that I was entering my thirties content, happy, and hungry… and now that I have merrily made my way through the ups and downs, that statement still stands. Content with what I have in my life, happy with what I have achieved both online and offline, and hungry to eat, explore and create more. To me, this is what it means to grow up, not grow old.

For the last five years we have celebrated my birthday abroad either jetsetting to Hong Kong enroute to the Philippines, catching sunsets from the Malecon in Havana, or wining and dining in two of my favourite countries in Europe – Spain and Portugal. Last year’s celebrations were particularly special as they involved not only a certain someone but some of my closest friends in what has now become one of my favourite cities, Seville. This year we are back in the Southern hemisphere after packing up our London life and I was preparing myself for a low-key celebration back in New Zealand but true to tradition, we made the last minute decision to head abroad and we are currently in Melbourne!

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