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24 Hours of Food in Orillia, Ontario

We love it when we stumble across a town or city that has an unexpected culinary scene. That’s exactly what happened when we recently visited Orillia, Ontario and found an abundance of incredible food at every turn. Though we could put together an extensive list of restaurants, we’re going to highlight a few restaurants that will get you through a day (or weekend) trip to Orillia and have you licking your chops long after you’ve left!

Breakfast: Shaws Maple Syrup Bush Pancake House

shaws maple syrup bush pancake house

If you’re in Orillia from February to April, you’ll probably not want to miss the chance to try some freshly made maple syrup from Shaws Maple Syrup Bush. Their pancake house is pretty much a perfect breakfast place in Orillia where you’ll find fluffy pancakes, delicious french toast, fresh pork sausages and maple syrup galore! We also tried some of the maple baked beans which we were told was a must – and we agreed!

Lunch: The Grape & Olive

The Grape & Olive Dinner

Though The Grape & Olive is a great restaurant any time of the day, it makes for a great lunch spot if you’re out and about in Orillia. They have a variety of menu options, great service and some dishes that will leave you satisfied and full, ready for whatever the rest of the afternoon holds for you. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal there and, as a tip, if you like bread, you may want to ask for an extra order of theirs before you even start!

Dinner: Rustica Pizza & Vino

Rustica Pizza & Vino Dessert

Rustica Pizza & Vino has become one of our favourite restaurants, especially for pizza. The flavour profiles are phenomenal, the wood oven pizza is created to perfection and it has a great atmosphere. We’d pretty much recommend any of the pizzas on their menu and if you can, take a peek at how they make them – the extensive training to master the art and technique of creating such a delicious pizza is visible as they work. What’s great is that the rest of their menu is just as fantastic, whether you are ordering a salad, some arancini or dessert. While the photo above doesn’t show one of their pizzas, it does show their incredible culinary talent with these pieces of fried pizza dough, nutella and strawberries!

All of the above & late night: Casino Rama Resort

St Germain's Casino Rama Meal

Since Casino Rama Resort is an entertainment destination, you’ll find more than just one restaurant here and even if you’re not staying at the resort itself (Casino Rama has some incredible hotel rooms!) you can still stop by for some food at one of their eight dining options.

Whether you go for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a late-night meal, there’s pretty much something for everyone from their steakhouse to their pub. You’ll find a buffet with a huge assortment of food, a Chinese restaurant, a noodle house and more. We always find ourselves trying new dishes whenever we go and we’ve enjoyed every meal, no matter the time of day!

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How To Eat Your Way Through The South

By Taylor Schear of  SOFLOFOODFINDS

If you’re anything like me, then you revolve your trips around food! With so little time and so many great choices, there is so much pressure to choose the absolute best restaurant. Well, I have got you covered.

Best Restaurants In The South

Below you will find a list of the top restaurants throughout America’s southern states.

Miami, FloridaThe Salty Donut Miami FloridaThe Salty Donut

The Salty Donut is in the Wynwood area of Miami. Wynwood is known not only for the famous street art, but also the food. Salty Donut opened their permanent storefront this past month. Before this, they were primarily doing pop up locations on the weekend. But after great success the demand became so heavy that they established regular hours Tuesday-Sunday. This is for good reason; the donuts are fantastic. They carry the “usual suspects” along with some interesting combinations. My personal favorite is their apple cider bourbon spiked donut hole. What is even better, is the cold brew cider that pairs perfectly with the donuts!

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink miami floridaMichael’s Genuine Food & Drink

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is one of the most buzz-worthy restaurants in Miami right now! It is centrally located in the Design District. The restaurants popularity is due to the amazing menu developed by head chef and owner, Michael Schwartz. The food is all based on seasonal fresh ingredients. Pictured above is the figs with burrata. It is very simple, but I think that is what makes it great. Every single ingredient is the star of the show without overpowering one another. Make sure to save room for dessert. All the pastries, ice cream, and chocolates are made fresh from scratch, in house every day.

Athens, GeorgiaLast Resort Grill Athens GeorgiaLast Resort Grill

Last Resort Grill serves contemporary Southwestern style food in a very modern environment. The restaurant started as a music club in the 60’s, but now serves as a great gathering to eat with the community. The restaurant believes in supporting local farmers and companies by primarily using ingredients sourced in Athens. The dish above is the Pilancillo & Black Pepper Crusted Hanger. It is a tender local sourced hanger steak served with salsa verde, chili parmesan dusted corn, and charred tomato butter potatoes.

Big City Bread

If you are looking for a more traditional southern meal, then Big City Bread is the place for you. All the food (including the breads and pastries) are made fresh every day. It is the perfect place to grab a scone and coffee during the morning rush or sit down and enjoy some grits on a Sunday morning. The chef and owner is a graduate of the prestigious Johnson & Wales and has worked at restaurants all through the South.

Nashville, TennesseeEdleys BBQ Nashville TennesseeEdley’s BBQ

Edley’s BBQ must be one of my top three favorite restaurants of all time. It is a very casual vibe; everyone orders at the counter and sits down at one of the wooden tables to wait for their food. Don’t let the adequate furnishings fool you! The food is so flavorful and packed with smokiness. Make sure to come hungry, the portions are huge. There are multiple locations throughout Nashville, so you are never too far from an Edley’s!

Biscuit Love

Biscuit Love has my love! Again, this is the type of restaurant where you walk up to order your food and then go sit down. They do this to prevent the wait for food from getting too long since it can get quite packed on the weekends! You can probably tell from the name that they are famous for their biscuits. The restaurant is new (opened in 2015), but originally started as a food truck. The owners are graduates from Johnson & Wales, but have always had a love for brunch. You can immediately tell this when you walk in the restaurant.

Sprinkles Cupcakes Nashville TennesseeSprinkles Cupcakes

So as many of you know, Sprinkles Cupcakes is a national chain. However, it was my first time trying it when I visited Nashville. The coolest part is that they have a cupcake ATM. Yes, you heard me right… A CUPCAKE ATM. In goes your money, out comes any cupcake your heart may desire. The cupcakes are delicious, but so are their cookies. My favorite was the traditional chocolate chip. It was soft with just the right amount of chocolate folded throughout.

 


Taylor Shear ProfileABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hey guys… it’s Taylor Schear! Thanks for reading! I always love being able to share my passion for food and adventure with others! If you have enjoyed joining me on my food quest throughout the South, then make sure to continue to follow me! I am @soflofoodfinds on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. For more food travel guides then check out soflofoodfinds.com!


 

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Where To Find The Best Burgers in Las Vegas

Naturally our quest for the best burgers continues in every destination we reach and Vegas, Nevada, home to a whole slew of restaurants, including burger joints, was no exception. With its vast array of celebrity chefs opening house along the strip and an ever-increasing focus on providing incredible culinary experiences, you’re bound to find a good burger around every corner. That makes the challenge even harder.

Best Burger Joints in Las Vegas

Where then do you go in Las Vegas to find that memorable burger? That sensational patty and bun experience that transcends the rest?

We’ve narrowed down the choices to three spectacular options both on and off the strip. Each offers a different style of burger and dining experience but each one will have you walking away thinking “wow”!

Hexx Kitchen + Bar

Burger at Hexx Kitchen + Bar Nevada

Located right on the strip at Paris Hotel, Hexx Kitchen + Bar is an adventure for the taste buds and though they have an entire menu of incredibly composed dishes, their Hexx Burger stands out not only for execution but also for their unique approach to the flavour profile of the burger itself.

As Hexx is also home to Hexx Chocolate + Confexxions, a chocolate factory and shop that produces some of the tastiest chocolates we’ve ever had (and their dark chocolate is a healthy option for chocolate lovers too!), it only makes sense that they extend that chocolate goodness over to their restaurant and they do this brilliantly with their Hexx Burger.

Though you’ll find some expected condiments on the beef patty – cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato – Hexx also adds fried onions and their own thousand island dressing and though the combination of these flavours and the perfect ratio of burger to bun and condiments makes it one tasty meal, what enhances this burger to extreme levels is the incorporation of white chocolate in the bun. The sweeter taste of the bun combined with the savoury of the rest of it creates a contrast to remember. Sweet and savoury, soft and crunchy, altogether delicious, the Hexx Burger is one of our favourite burgers and a must try if you’re on the strip in Vegas – especially as the restaurant is open 24 hours!

Bachi Burger

Shogun Burger at Bachi Burger Las Vegas

Though the current Bachi Burger locations are neither on the strip nor in downtown Las Vegas, the effort to get there from wherever you are is worth it… several times over. If Hexx is an adventure for the taste buds, Bachi Burger takes your taste buds on a fast ride through Asian flavours and sets you down gently in traditional American cuisine. The ultimate in culinary fusion, they’ve managed to create a whole list of burgers that are elevated from the classic to the brilliant with their combinations of toppings and ingredients.

Take their Shogun burger as an example. A thick Wagyu beef patty starts the collection of Japanese flavours and Asian ingredients as it is topped with grilled unagi, pan seared foie gras and miso butter. A beautifully poached Asian pear is also included which adds a layer of sweetness. The combination of it all, served between a thick and fresh bun will leave you savouring each vibrant bite.

Then there is their Bahn-Mi Burger. This time its a combination of angus beef, pork and shrimp formed into a patty that hosts a handful of Vietnamese-inspired toppings like pork pate, fresh herbs, and curry aioli with a side of pickled vegetables and nuoc mam sauce.

Though your mouth is probably watering just from the descriptions, nothing can quite do it justice until you experience the real thing and with several locations to choose from, there really is no excuse not to!

I Love Burgers

I Love Burgers The Patriot Burger Las Vegas

Sometimes classic is best and I Love Burgers is a prime example of taking a great thing and keeping it great. With two locations on either end of the strip, you’ll have the option of either one depending where you are when that burger craving hits!

Though they do have a variety of themed burgers and condiment combinations, what showcases their true talent for burger creation is their ability to make a good ol’ classic burger! The Patriot, advertised as the “All-American Burger”, is what you want to have at any BBQ or burger joint. Take that fresh bun and fill it with certified Angus beef then top that bad boy with shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, cheese, ketchup, and mustard and you got what every burger restaurant should be able to create.

Of course, they make some delicious alternatives to the standard if you’re looking to be a bit more daring. Something like their Steak Burger is bound to satisfy both a burger craving as well as any steak dinner urges you may be having with their certified Angus beef patty covered in caramelized onions, bacon, white cheddar cheese and Worcester aioli. It’s a steak dinner on a bun and it’s pretty darn good!

You Probably Won’t Want To Stop At One!

With these three options, you really will have all your burger cravings satisfied while in Las Vegas. Not only that, you’ll experience some of the best dining the city has to offer while tasting a range of culinary styles. From gourmet to fusion to “all-American”, a burger can be made a variety of ways with a selection of different toppings but there’s one thing that must ring true no matter what that patty-condiment combination is comprised of – it must have you thinking about it well after you’ve left the restaurant! Try one, or all three, of these restaurants and you definitely won’t be forgetting the burger experience any time soon!

 

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5 Best Filipino Restaurants in Metro Manila

By Angela Sibal of Foodicles

What is Filipino Cuisine?

Filipino cuisine is as diverse as its thousands of islands. Dishes vary from region to region with influences from almost everywhere in the world as a result of the country’s deep history of colonization. You can taste Spanish, Chinese, Indian, British, American, Malay, Portuguese, African, and on and on.

The country as a whole has signature dishes, such as adobo (chicken or pork marinated in a vinegar-soy base and then browned to finish) and lechon (roasted pig with cracker-like skin).

But, what else can you order if you aren’t hungry enough to eat a whole roasted pig?

Filipino food goes well beyond the meat. Local seafood is the star of many dishes, as well as vegetables rich in nutrients and antioxidants lesser known in western cuisine.

Basically summed up: Filipino cuisine is comfort food served family style, and over rice, of course.

If you plan on visiting Manila, here are five favourite and reliable restaurants that will help you taste the best of the country’s cuisine in a comfortable environment for locals and tourists alike and can safely be considered some of the best filipino restaurants in Metro Manila.




Best Filipino Restaurants in Metro Manila

Abe Restaurant

Abe Restaurant serves traditional Filipino cuisine with inspiration from Pampanga, a province north of the capital known for its love of food.

The owner, Larry J. Cruz, named the restaurant after his father, Abe Cruz. Abe was a respected writer, artist, and ambassador for UNESCO in the 1970s. The menu reflects his favourite dishes as well as old family recipes.

In Pampanga, “Abe” also means “friend”, “companion”, and “getting together” which perfectly emulates the restaurant’s slogan, “Where good friends dine.”

For a traditional Filipino meal experience, Abe Restaurant is the place to visit.

Highlights include a refreshing Kinilaw na Tanique, the Filipino version of ceviche, and Knockout Knuckles, also known as crispy pata – fried pork knuckles with tender meat under cracker-like skin.

Kinilaw na Tanigue. Ceviche

Kinilaw na Tanigue. Ceviche of tanigue belly (local white fish) washed in palm vinegar, coconut milk, and spice

 

Sinuteng Baby Squid

Sinuteng Baby Squid. Small squid sautéed in olive oil and seasonings

 

Chicharon Bulaklak

Chicharon Bulaklak. Homemade crisp fried pork intestines

 

Knockout Knuckles

Knockout Knuckles. Traditional fried crispy pata (pork knuckles) with blistered skin adding to the crunch of every bite

Where You’ll Find Abe Restaurant & Hours of Operation:

G/F Serendra
26th St
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
+63-2-856-0526
11am to 3pm, 5pm to 11pm

2/F Entertainment Section
SM Mall of Asia
Business Park I
Bay City
Manila Bay Reclamation Area
Pasay
+63-2-556-0608
10am to 12am

3/F Mega Fashion Hall
SM Megamall
Mandaluyong
+63-2-631-4719
10am to 10pm

3/F Trinoma Mall
EDSA cor North Avenue
Quezon City
+63-2-901-5692
11am to 12am

Alabang Town Center
Lifestyle Strip
Commerce Ave
Alabang, Muntinlupa
+63-2-623-0899
Sunday to Thursday, 11am to 10pm
Friday to Saturday, 11am to 11pm

 

Manam Comfort Food

Manam Comfort Food offers the best of both worlds – classics and twists. Classics are the traditional Filipino dishes, while twists are the playful, modern interpretations of those classics.

Dishes come with a choice of portion sizes – small, medium, or large. This is perfect for everyone from solo diners to couples to large groups.

Manam is the place to visit that offers something for everyone.

Highlights include the Seafood Bounty Kare Kare, the local peanut stew beautifully presented with fresh seafood, and contrasting versions of the classic and modern twist of Pancit Palabok.

Fresh Lumpiang Ubod

Fresh Lumpiang Ubod. Fresh spring roll filled with ubod (hearts of palm)

 

Seafood Bounty Kare-Kare

Seafood Bounty Kare-Kare. Crab, prawns, tanigue, squid, and mussels with house-made vegetable ukoy fritters

 

Pancit Palabok

Pancit Palabok. Thick and savory house-made sauce made from rich shrimp stock, tofu, tinapa, and annatto poured over noodles and topped with house-made chicharon, crispy garlic, spring onions, fresh shrimp, and seared squid

 

Crispy Pancit Palabok

Crispy Pancit Palabok. Towering glass noodles topped with house-made chicharon, crispy garlic, spring onions, fresh shrimp, baby squid, and crab floss, all covered with thick and savory house-made sauce

Where You’ll Find Manam Comfort Food & Hours of Operation:

G/F Net Park Bldg
4th Avenue, between 26th & 28th St.
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
+63-2-332-9390
Monday to Friday, 10am to 10pm
Saturday to Sunday, 11am to 10pm

G/F Greenbelt 2
Esperanza St
Ayala Center
Makati
+63-2-625-0515
11am to 11pm

SM Mall of Asia
Seaside Blvd
Pasay
+63-2-511-8401
10am to 10pm

1/F Ayala Fairview Terraces
Fairview
Quezon City
+63-2-625-4719
9am to 10pm

 

Milky Way Café

Milky Way Café opened in 2002 with its roots as a classic old school destination. It started in the 1950s as a dairy bar and soda fountain. It was then taken over by a local family who included native Filipino dishes and desserts to the menu.

The café serves traditional Filipino dishes that can be eaten at any time of the day – lunch, merienda, or dinner. In fact, merienda is a popular meal time in the Philippines to stop and have a mid-day snack, which usually ends up as a meal complete with dessert.

Highlights include Pork BBQ for sweet, savory bits of pork on a stick and Milky Way Halo Halo, the country’s signature dessert and frequently voted the best in town.

Pork BBQ

Pork BBQ. Skewered marinated pork, java rice (fried rice colored with annatto), and atchara (sweet pickled green papaya)

 

Crispy Daing na Bangus

Crispy Daing na Bangus. Marinated milkfish in vinegar and garlic, and then fried. The best part is the belly in the middle

 

Crispy Catfish

Crispy Catfish. Deep fried local catfish served with salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, and mustard leaves

 

Milky Way Halo Halo

Milky Way Halo Halo. The best since 1962. Leche flan, preserved fruits, ube, pinipig, and milk topped with shaved ice and ube ice cream

 

Where You’ll Find Milkyway Cafe & Hours of Operation:

Milkyway Building
2nd Floor
900 Arnaiz Avenue (formerly Pasay Road), corner Paseo de Roxas
Makati
+63-2-843-4124
Monday to Saturday, 11am to 10pm
Closed Sundays

 

Romulo Café

Romulo Café is named after Carlos P. Romulo, a journalist and diplomat who was the first Asian to serve as president of the UN General Assembly. He was a notable historical public figure during the American occupation.

The restaurant serves traditional quality comfort food. It is ideal for large groups and families.

Romulo Café has even expanded internationally with a location in London presenting Filipino cuisine to locals in smart, elegant setting to elevate comfort food.

Highlights include the appetizers such as Chicharon, freshly popped pig’s skin, and Crispy Crablets, tiny crabs fried and eaten whole.

Chicharon

Chicharon. Freshly popped chicharon (pig’s skin) with pinakurat vinegar (spicy vinegar)

 

Crispy Crablets

Crispy Crablets. Tiny crablets fried until golden brown and served with pinakurat vinegar

 

Paco Salad

Paco Salad. Fresh fiddleheads, cherry tomatoes, and onions tossed in a spicy vinaigrette

 

Eskabetcheng Lapu-Lapu

Eskabetcheng Lapu-Lapu. Deep fried lapu lapu (local snapper) with sweet-and-sour sauce

 

Where You’ll Find Romulo Cafe & Hours of Operation:

148 Jupiter St, corner Comet St
Bel Air
Makati
11am to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm

32 Scout Tuazon St., corner Scout Lazcano, near Tomas Morato
Laging Handa
Diliman, Quezon City
11am to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm

Azumi Boutique Hotel
2205 Market St
Alabang, Muntinlupa
6am to 10pm

 

Sarsa Kitchen + Bar

Sarsa Kitchen + Bar presents traditional Filipino and Negrense (from the Negros Island Region) dishes with a contemporary touch.

“Sarsa” means sauces and condiments, a staple for Filipino eating. All dishes include pairings with sauces to enhance the flavors of the dining experience.

For a casual atmosphere with quality Filipino food, Sarsa Kitchen + Bar is the perfect destination.

Highlights include Inasal, grilled chicken parts of your choice, and Pinakbet, local vegetables perfectly cooked in crab fat and homemade XO sauce.

PakPak Inasal

PakPak Inasal. Grilled chicken wings with a charred finish

 

Tokwa’t Baboy

Tokwa’t Baboy. Fried Tofu on top of braised pork belly

 

Pinakbet

Pinakbet. Local vegetables with taba ng talangka, crispy tofu, and XO sauce

 

Twice-Cooked Pork Belly

Twice-Cooked Pork Belly. With peanut sauce on the side and ginamos gata (local shrimp paste sauce) and chili garlic sauce

 

Where You’ll Find Sarsa Kitchen + Bar & Hours of Operation:

Forum South Global
Federacion Drive, corner 7th Avenue
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
+63-2-866-0912
+63-927-706-0773
11am to 11pm

109 Rada Street
Legaspi Village
Makati
+63-2-754-9943
+63-917-528-0115
10am to 11pm

2/F SM Mall of Asia Bay Side
Veranda
Pasay
+63-2-832-1362
+63-915-307-1426
10am to 10pm

3/F SM Megamall
Bldg A
Ortigas, Mandaluyong

UP Town Center
Katipunan Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City


All Of Our Articles From The Philippines

best couples spa and resort in the Philippines - mandala Spa and Resort Villas

 


Foodicles profile imageABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angela Sibal, of Foodicles, is a Food & Luxury Travel Blogger who splits her time between Manila and San Francisco. She started traveling the world as a baby. Her first memories of travel were of luxury hotels and the high-end restaurants. Today, Angela continues to explore the world to eat and drink while enjoying the finer hotels and resorts in life. You can also follow her travels on Instagram and Snapchat.


 

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Moving To Canada After the US Election? Where To Eat Once You’re There!

With the impending US election, tensions are high and speculation is rampant, around the world, as to which of the (likely) candidates will be the next POTUS. For us neighbours to the north, the outcome in November may hold even more implications for the future. No, we’re not talking about the state of international relations or the suggested wall to be built between Canada and the USA. We’re talking about the many Americans who will apparently be fleeing, in droves, across the border. Since the most common phrase we as Canadians have heard from Americans is, “If so-and-so wins, we’ll be moving to Canada”, we’re anticipating the results this fall just as much as our US cousins. In fact, in one poll, 28% of respondents said they’d head to Canada if the candidate they vote for does not win. If you’re one of the many folks who are likely to do so, we’d like to pass on some important advice for when you’re here.

Sure we’ve got some decent healthcare, though you’ll be waiting longer than you’re used to, and yes we’re apparently incredibly polite so you’ll be hearing “sorry” a whole heck of a lot more. You’ll also have to get used to some of our lingo like, “eh”, which we use a lot less than most people think, and “pop”, instead of soda. There’s also “double-double”, a term used when ordering coffee with two creams and two sugars at our favourite coffee and donut shop, Tim Hortons. Don’t worry though, we’ve still got Starbucks aplenty!

But all this is eclipsed by a much more important fact. Canada has some of the most diverse and delicious restaurants you’ll ever find and with almost 6,000 miles from east coast to west coast, there’s a lot of places to go through to find the best. Rather than arrive and have to search for your next meal with belongings in hand, residency paperwork to fill out and an empty stomach, we’ve put together a list of some of the best restaurants in Canada that will satisfy any craving you have!

Check Out These Best Places to Eat in Canada & Come Hungry!

Fortunately for those moving to Canada from the US, we have three of the most livable cities in the world, according to 2015 rankings by The Economist. That means a great city to live in and some incredible food on a regular basis. So to make things easier for you we’ve partnered with Zipkick – an app dedicated to giving you authentic reviews from trusted sources like expert travellers, chefs and sommeliers – to give you a ‘taste’ of what you’ll find on the app and to offer you some of our top picks for restaurants in Canada, coast to coast.

If you’re looking for more great restaurant, bar and cafe recommendations from seasoned travellers and culinary experts, head over to Zipkick to learn more and download the app to see recommendations for great cities around the world!




Spring Sushi – Toronto, Ontario

shushi and sashimi

Situated in the centre of one of Toronto’s busy districts, Yonge-Dundas Square, Spring Sushi is a great All-You-Can-Eat restaurants in the city. With views overlooking the square, and patio seating during the warmer months, you can enjoy an unlimited amount of Japanese or Thai cuisine simply by ordering on a touch-screen device. A modern, trendy atmosphere and great location makes this a good spot to catch a bit of sushi, though we recommend leaving visits to the weekdays where prices are more reasonable.

Boustan – Montreal, Quebec

Boustan is our choice for Lebanese food in all of Canada. Whether you’re craving a shawarma, falafel or kebab, Boustan’s got you covered with mouth-watering options. Keep in mind, their main plates are bursting with food so come hungry or opt for a smaller portion like a pita. We also loved their grape leaves which sit inconspicuously among the rest of the sides and dishes and with four locations around Quebec, you won’t have to settle in Montreal for a taste!

Minas Brazilian Steakhouse – Calgary, Alberta

In the province of Alberta, a place almost synonymous with beef for those of us in Canada, you’ll find one unique and meat-filled restaurant – Minas Brazilian Steakhouse. Think tender, seasoned cuts of BBQ meat, perfectly suited sides including a salad bar and then, best of all, think all-you-can-eat!! You’ll find some authentic Brazilian dishes and delicious BBQ meat galore in a city that already does meat right. Minas is great for groups or just a romantic night for a couple looking to try something different.

309 Dhaba Indian Restaurant of Excellence – Toronto, Ontario

309 dhaba INdian restaurant of excellence Toronto

Fine dining serving authentic Indian cuisine is something you’ll find almost at the heart of the city at 309 Dhaba. With an incredibly talented chef, you really can’t go wrong with any choice as the menus are an array of delicious dishes from all over India. Dietary restrictions or preferences are covered if you tell your waiter as the chef will prepare the food to your liking. The atmosphere is intimate, the food on point and the experience wonderful from start to finish. As the restaurant has very limited seating (we did say the atmosphere was intimate!) be sure to book ahead or take that into account.

Guu Izakaya – Vancouver, BC

Perhaps one of our favourite restaurants, Guu (or Kitanoya Guu) has several locations and offers a unique Japanese dining experience. From the moment you walk in you’ll be happily, and loudly, greeted by the staff. Yelling orders to each other and shouting random phrases we haven’t yet deciphered, the experience is unlike anything else you’ll find. Add to that small dishes of deliciousness cooked to perfection and you’ve got quite the restaurant to go for drinks and some food or a full on meal. Our favourite dishes are definitely the beef tongue, the takoyaki and the steak with garlic sauce, though you really can’t go wrong with any of their dishes!

Seaside Grill – Rexton, New Brunswick

Chances are, if you’re from big city USA you probably won’t be making your way to a place like Rexton, New Brunswick, but if you’re looking to settle in a small town with beautiful scenery or are making a scenic drive through the province, Seaside Grill is a place you have to try. We stopped here randomly while on a road trip through New Brunswick and found some of the best seafood we’ve ever had. Being on the east coast, seafood is a given but this small nondescript restaurant will have your eyes rolling back in appreciation. The small town vibe, fresh food and desserts and friendly service will have you considering a move nearby!

Milestones – Nationwide

milestones

Though a chain restaurant Milestones is, for us, a constant you’ll find when heading to many a province. A pretty consistent menu, great quality and service and an atmosphere that makes it perfect for anything from a romantic dinner to drinks and apps with friends, it is one of our go-to restaurants when we just don’t know where else to go! For us, their burger is a highlight and the food is so good all around that we can never decide whether we like the vegetarian or beef  version better!

Fable Restaurant – Vancouver, BC

Exactly the type of restaurant you’d expect to see in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver, Fable Restaurant is a surprisingly affordable restaurant for the fresh, farm to table ingredients and wonderfully created menu items by chef Trevor Bird, a former contestant on Top Chef Canada. Though the atmosphere is laidback and casual, the food is anything but and you’ll find yourself on a pretty exquisite culinary journey whether you go for brunch, lunch or dinner. The food is made from scratch, sourced locally and cooked with care. Be sure to note that this restaurant is a popular spot so reservations may be wise on weekends!

The Holy Grill – Calgary, Alberta

Though only open for breakfast and lunch, and only on weekdays, The Holy Grill is a recommended stop at least once while scouring the country for a place to call home. With two locations in Calgary, and a pretty impressive looking menu, you’ll have ample chance to test out a few for breakfast, brunch or lunch. We’d recommend trying a panini or a burger if you’re not looking for a breakfast dish!

Schwartz’s – Montreal, Quebec

schwartz deli montreal

There’s an age old question you’ll discover if you relocate to Montreal: Which restaurant offers the best Montreal smoked meat in the city. There are arguments online and in person, rants about different restaurants and dissections of different menus. One restaurant however, tends to always be in the mix and is, in our opinion, the place to get Montreal smoked meat. That place is Schwartz’s Deli. Since 1928, it has been serving up some ridiculously good smoked meat sandwiches with a side of dill pickle. Everytime we go to the city we have to eat here. If time is of the essence, we pop over to their takeout section next door and bring some with us for the road. The only caveat about eating here? The line can get long quick so get there early, especially on weekends!

Ramen Gojiro – Vancouver, BC

If you’re looking for a taste of Japan’s Ramen shops after moving north, Ramen Gojiro is the place to go. Here you’ll find the ramen reminiscent of the real thing – fresh noodles in a tasty broth, tender chashu pork and even karaage (deep fried shrimp, chicken or fish) cooked crisp! You may even hear the slurping that is customary at any ramen shop in Japan. Our tips? If you’re not a fan of bean sprouts, ask them to go easy, and if you are a fan of gyoza, this is a great place to get some!

Icehouse – Montreal, Quebec

One of the more unique restaurants we’ve dined at, Icehouse is a trendy, hipster-esque restaurant and experience. Southern style food predominates their menu with fried chicken, po-boys, lobster burritos and the like. Interestingly, the food is served, well, haphazardly and almost rudely as paper is placed over your table and the food is thrown across it. This is particularly the case for the bucket of chicken. You’ll find the pieces strewn over the covered table in an almost medieval display of dining. We love it. Add some of their homemade Bourbon lemonade and the meal is complete. With dining inside or outside, depending on the weather, and delicious food to enjoy, this is one of our favourite restaurants to go to in Montreal and if you find yourself moving to the city, you’ll probably want to make your way there sooner rather than later!

Noble Seafood Restaurant – Toronto, Ontario

dim sum

We absolutely love dim sum. We eat it about as regularly as we do sushi… which means there usually isn’t a week that goes by that we aren’t chowing down on some kind of dumpling or bun, or a fried shrimp triangle. If you’ve ever been to Toronto’s Chinatown district, you’ll know there are tons of restaurants and many serve dim sum. How then do you choose between them to find the one offering the tastiest dim sum options? You let us tell you. Noble Seafood Restaurant may not have dim sum in the name, but they certainly know how to make it! If you’re moving to Toronto, or just visiting to scope it out, Noble is a must for any dim sum lover! A tip from us: though not a steamed or fried dim sum option, their General Tso chicken is out of this world.

Homestead Restaurant – Moncton, New Brunswick

This was our favourite breakfast spot in New Brunswick. The quaint, charming east-coast diner offers friendly service, a hearty breakfast (amongst other menu items) and homemade cakes and baked goods for dessert! If you’re headed for Moncton, or on your out way to explore more of the country, Homestead Restaurant is a great place to charge those batteries before you go! If you’re looking for an equally satisfying lunch or dinner, they also offer a great menu including some tasty fish cakes and some traditionally “east coast” dishes.

Ask For Luigi – Vancouver, BC

Italian food can be hit or miss, but in Ask For Luigi, a cozy restaurant in Vancouver serving fresh, handmade pasta you’ll find a list of standout dishes. Served family-style, the flavour profiles and combination of ingredients of the dishes offer a taste of Italy that will have you coming back for more. A go at their homemade ravioli wouldn’t be remiss and they even have gluten-free pasta, made in-house, upon request. As it is at a higher price point, dining as a group is the suggested way to go to share the dishes and the cost.

Salad King – Toronto, Ontario

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We had trouble finding great Thai food outside of Thailand until we found Salad King! A great variety of authentic dishes with fresh ingredients had us temporarily transported back to the country. This is definitely our go-to Thai restaurant in Toronto and with vegetarian and vegan options, it’s a great choice for all dietary considerations. Our favourite dishes would definitely be the cashew nut chicken and the pineapple chicken! Since the space is usually pretty crowded, you can opt for delivery or take out if you’re looking for a quick meal.

The Lakeview – Toronto, Ontario

A remnant of traditional diners of the past, The Lakeview has been a part of Toronto’s culinary scene since 1932 and is now one of the few 24 hour diners you’ll find in the chaos of the city. If you’re just getting to the city, this may be a great stop to take a break from unpacking, or you may find yourself visiting in the early hours after delving into the city’s night scene. Whether you choose a classic diner meal, like breakfast or a club sandwich, or adventure to one of their unique menu items like cornflake chicken or the B.E.S.T (Bacon, mElted havarti, Spinach & Tomato) sandwich, you’re guaranteed to find something to satisfy your hunger.

Cacao 70 – Various Locations Ontario & Quebec

Think chocolate. Chocolate fondue, chocolate drinks, chocolate covered crepes. Cacao 70 is the place to go to get your choco-fix. With locations in Ontario and Quebec, you won’t have to worry about this restaurant being the deciding factor between the two when you decide to move to Canada. The tricky part will be deciding what to order with a variety of chocolate percentages (from 31% to 76%) and a ton of dish options using those chocolates. When we last went, there was a churro special that we just couldn’t pass up though the chocolate fondue and chocolate pizza are always tempting items!

L’Avenue – Montreal, Quebec

Lavenue-Peach-and-Granola-French-Toast-1024x768-03 (002)

A thin narrow dining area, graffiti on the wall, and some of the most unique breakfast and lunch dishes. This is what you’ll find at L’Avenue in Montreal. French toast with peaches, granola and a peach reduction sauce and pancakes with cheddar cheese and bacon and an apple syrup are just some of the interesting meals you’ll be able to savour. Surprisingly, the flavour profiles of these ingredient combinations work beautifully. The only downside? Lineups form FAST and with limited seating, you’ll either want to get there before it opens or settle in for a wait.

Poutini’s House of Poutine – Toronto, Ontario

Of course, no list of Canadian restaurants would be complete without at least one reference to a great place to find poutine! Poutine is, essentially, the one dish everyone recognizes as Canadian. If you’ve yet to experience the sloppy, cheesy goodness, you’ll definitely have the opportunity when you move to Canada. Poutine, essentially french fries covered with cheese curds and then hot gravy (which effectively melts said cheese curds) originated in French Canada but quickly made its way around the country. Poutineries have popped up nationwide offering poutine varieties of all kinds but Poutini’s House of Poutine is arguably the best of those in Toronto with menu items like BBQ pulled pork poutine, roasted mushrooms and onions poutine and, because sometimes you’ve got to throw everything traditional into one, smoked meat poutine. Vegetarian or vegan? They also have gravy and cheese just for you. With two locations, you can take your pick but be sure to bring cash – it’s all they accept!

Download the Zipkick app for more restaurant, bar & cafe recommendations for some great cities worldwide and stay tuned for more cities & restaurant additions.

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Top 10 Foods in Peru You Have To Try

By Claire Sturzaker 

Peru is renowned for its cuisine, and rightly so. Immigrants from Europe, Asia and Africa all came to Peru with their own style of cooking, and fused it with traditional flavours to create some of the most exciting and delicious food in the world.  Peruvian cuisine showcases the very best of ‘fusion’, and from street food to Michelin starred restaurants there is a huge range of dishes in Peru to choose from.

Traditional Peruvian cuisine is based on potatoes, corn, quinoa and legumes; and the spicy yellow ají and rocoto peppers add heat and colour to many dishes.  Restaurants will often offer a daily ‘menu del día’, a cheap 3 course meal including a soup, main course and a dessert or juice.

Peruvian food

Prices can vary from 7 soles (approximately 2.50 CAD or 2.00 USD) & up to 25 or 30 soles (9.50 – 11.50 CAD or 7.50 – 9.00 USD) in more touristy areas, but the menu is always a great way to sample local dishes for rock-bottom prices.  In the evenings, the à la carte menu is more expensive but of course you get more choice!

Food can vary wildly according to the region of Peru where you are, and dishes you find in the North are very different to those found along the coast or in the Andes.  Wherever you visit in Peru you are sure to find delicious food, but here are my top 10 must-try dishes in Peru that you simply have to eat while you are here!

10 Must-Try Dishes in Peru

1. Ceviche

peruvian ceviche




This classic Peruvian dish is made of pieces of raw fish marinated in lime juice and chilli to ‘cook’ the fish. Ceviche is usually served with sliced raw onion, choclo (corn), a slice or two of sweet potato, and perhaps some lettuce for a bit of colour.  More popular (and fresher) around the coast, this delectable dish has just the right amount of spice to mix with the tart lime and fresh fish. Generally, ceviche is made with a white fish such as sea bass or sole, although you will also find mixed ceviche including cooked prawns, a ceviche of concha negra (black blood clams) in the North of Peru, or trout ceviche around Lake Titicaca where the lake provides an abundance of the freshwater fish.

2. Anticucho

Not for the faint hearted, this is street food at its best.  Marinated slices of beef heart, threaded onto skewers and barbecued over an open flame – a delicious, iron-rich snack for the meat lovers out there!  If you’re not sold on the beef heart, you can also find anticuchos of normal chicken or beef meat, although the beef heart is the most traditional.

3. Palta a la Reina

Peruvian Avocado Palta a la Reina

Avocado is king in Peru, or should I say queen?  There are many simple starters made with sliced or halved avocado, the creamy pale green flesh needing little to compliment it. Palta a la Reina, is ‘Avocado, Queen Style’ and usually includes one, or even two, avocados stuffed with a mixture of shredded chicken, carrot, potato, green beans and mayonnaise.  It makes great light lunch or starter for your main meal, and lots of healthy vitamins too!

4. Papa a la Huancaina

Of course the potato is the real king in Peru.  There are over 3000 types potato in Peru and this dish, originating from Huancayo in the central highlands of Peru, highlights the yellow potato as its main ingredient.  The potatoes are boiled whole, then sliced and served smothered in a creamy, spicy, cheesy ‘Huancaina’ sauce.  Accompanied by lettuce, boiled eggs and black olives, this is a great dish for veggies too.

5. Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado Peruvian food

This fabulous dish showcases the blend of traditional cuisine with the Chinese stir-fry style of cooking.  Slices of juicy steak are stir-fried with onions, tomatoes, cilantro and aji, and served with fries and rice on the side, or sometimes all mixed in together.  This dish truly has everything!

6. Aji de Gallina

A scrumptious dish made from shredded chicken in a creamy yellow sauce, served with rice, boiled potatoes, and black olives.  At first glance this is very similar to Papa a la Huancaina with chicken – but the secret is in the sauce.  The famous aji amarillo (yellow spicy peppers) give the sauce its unique flavour, together with mixed walnuts, milk and cheese.  A Peruvian classic and definitely one of the must-try dishes in Peru!

7. Arroz Chaufa (Chifa Style)

Arroz Chaufa Chifa peruvian rice dish

A whole style of cooking evolved from the mix of Chinese immigrants who came to Peru in the 19th century and starting serving up their traditional dishes.  Chifa comes from the Mandarin word meaning ‘to eat rice’, and the fusion came from the lack of availability of Chinese ingredients in Peru and the immigrants used what they could find in their dishes.  Chaufa is a stir fried rice which combines Chinese and Peruvian flavours, and can be made with beef, chicken, hot dog sausages or a mix of all three.

8. Causa Rellena

Another classic Peruvian food where the potato reigns supreme.  In this traditional dish, mashed yellow potato is layered with tuna or chicken, avocado, sometimes other vegetables, and plenty of mayonnaise.  Served as a starter or a snack, the key is in its pretty presentation and combination of layers.

9. Cuy

cuy Peruvian Guinea Pig

You can’t have a list of must-try Peruvian dishes and not include our furry friend the guinea pig. Viewed by many of us in Europe and North America as a cute family pet, here in Peru guinea pigs are a sustainable, easily reared, and tasty source of meat. Andean families keep cuy in their homes to add warmth in the winter, entertain the kids, and even diagnose illnesses, but they simply love to eat them!  Usually roasted on a spit and served whole (including the head, teeth and feet) this dish may be a step too far for the squeamish, although you can ask for it to be served without the head.  With a flavour somewhere between chicken and rabbit, the meat is surprisingly tasty if cooked well, so be sure to seek out a restaurant with a good reputation to get the best guinea pig!

10. Rocoto Relleno

Rocoto Relleno Peru food

Peruvians are definitely fans of stuffing things.  Palta (avocado), papa (potato) and rocoto (a kind of spicy bell pepper) are often served stuffed with various delicious fillings.  My favourite of these is the rocoto relleno.  Traditionally from Arequipa, though also common in Cusco and the rest of Southern Peru, these spicy peppers are served stuffed with a tasty minced meat mixture, and usually deep fried in batter.  Served with rice, potatoes, or perhaps a bit of salad, this is comfort food at its best!

Watch out for Inca Kola!

Not technically a food, so I haven’t included this in the Top 10 list, however Inka Cola is a Peruvian national institution.  More popular in Peru than Coca Cola, the American giant bought shares in Inka Cola, as they were worried about the competition!  This freakishly yellow, ridiculously sweet fizzy drink is sure to rot your teeth if you drink too much, but to Peruvians it is sweet, sweet nectar and they drink it like water.  If the yellow colour doesn’t put you off, prepare for a taste like bubble gum or cream soda.  Be sure to give it a try to get a ‘real’ taste of Peru!

 


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Creator & writer of Tales of a Backpacker. Claire Sturzaker is currently backpacking South America sharing her adventures, tips, tricks and thoughts about life on the road. You can also find her on Twitter & Instagram!

 

 


 

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Light the Torches! Two Things We Regret Eating!

Controversial issues are not typically things we deal with on our blog and that’s a shame. It’s a fact of life that people have differing opinions and some people are incredibly vocal in their beliefs. It’s natural to shy away from creating conflict. Part of this is due to a gene-deep need to fit into society to survive. The other part is because it’s damn uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, to be the brunt of an attack by people who disagree with something you’ve said or done and want to let you know, in no uncertain terms, that they think you’re an ass. Get those angry comments ready folks. We’re about to stir up some emotion. You may just think we’re a couple of asses by the end.

Controversial Food Around The World

Penis Shaped Dessert at Shilin NIght Market Taipei

A little more controversy: Penis-shaped waffles, cakes and popsicles at Shilin Night Market, Taipei

Cultural differences range from the subtle, almost indistinguishable to the stark, brutally contrasting. While travelling, these differences are highlighted time and time again. Sometimes it feels as though there’s a spotlight following us around as we travel from country to country, pinpointing those differences. Usually, it’s other people controlling the direction of the beam: “Did you know they have ping pong shows in Thailand?!” or “Careful when you order in Korea, they eat dog!”. These completely incomprehensible differences then become the fuel for an attack of the morals and ethics of another culture.

Don’t get us wrong, we judge too. Especially when we’re hungry, travel-weary or just plain fed up with navigating the minefield of frustrations that come while dealing with the behaviours of a culture so different from our own. In the end, we get over it and realize it’s all about perspective. We’ve even come to realize that our own steadfast (or at least we thought they were) beliefs in what is right and wrong across cultures occasionally move into a grey area reserved for those who step away from their own ethnocentrism and attempt to view a culture from within. This is especially true when we cross paths with controversial food around the world.

Having said all that, we have done a few things we swore we would never do. Two things we ate in particular that, even after mentally stepping inside the cultural-framework within which it is acceptable, we feel regret and dismay. Alright, we’ll be honest, we didn’t step inside anything mentally with the first one…we were just flat out drunk.

A Night Of All-You-Can Drink Yakiniku

japan yakiniku bbq

Two hours. That’s how long we had to indulge ourselves and reach epic levels of sloppy, delicious gluttony. And boy did we indulge.

Yakiniku, or BBQ meat, is one of our favourite styles of restaurant in Japan where you cook your own meat over a grill in the middle of your table and get in touch with your inner caveman (or woman). Conversation ensues with the smell of wonderfully marinated pork or perfectly tender steak, and oftentimes the sake is flowing. Our friend in Okinawa decided to take us to a local yakiniku that also happened to be all-we-could-eat, all-we-could-drink, for only $30. And when we say ALL you can drink, we mean spirits, wine, beer, cocktails, sake, you name it, you can order it. And we did.

Needless to say, two hours later our friend’s suggestion to go across the street to an izakaya (tapas-style) restaurant and continue drinking seemed like the best idea ever. What she didn’t tell us was that she planned to order some of their specialty dishes for us to try. Dishes we hadn’t planned on ordering while in Japan.

We followed her inside the narrow entrance, squeezing behind the occupied stools lining the bar and made our way upstairs. Taking off our shoes, we settled ourselves onto cushions on the floor around a table, a traditional Japanese setting, as the owner discussed the menu with our friend. She talked us into agreeing to eat raw chicken.

horse meat and raw chicken japan

Disclaimer: These photos were taken while under the influence

As the dish of small, light-coloured pieces of uncooked chicken made its way in front of us, we noticed the dark-red, unknown strips of meat set to the side. “That”, she said, “is basashi…raw horse”. Carolann made some inane comment about Black Beauty and Macrae stared, eyes glazed with, er, uncertainty.

The rest happened in a alcohol-fueled haze. The cell phone recording of the experience, a helpful guide to the events that transpired as chopsticks met horse meat and horse meat met mouths. We have different recollections of the taste, neither of us found it overly offensive but then, neither of us went for seconds.

While horse meat is considered a delicacy in at least 9 other countries, including Iceland and France, the taboo of eating it is far more wide-reaching, though this wasn’t always the case. Nowadays, horses are a hugely controversial food, often too closely linked with the concept of a pet to make them acceptable food items and it was this connection that had us avoiding any further consumption.

The raw chicken on the other hand, was a dish we happened to order more than once while in Japan.

That One Time in Korea

live octopus korea

They were going to eat it and it was still moving.

Standing in one of the cluttered, busy aisles of the Gwangjang market, the food stalls alight from the overhanging lamps, we watched as the plate of squirming pieces of tentacles was placed in front of the two waiting customers near us. We had stopped at a stall serving sannakji, raw octopus that is cut into small pieces, live. As we watched the bowls of sauce moved ceremoniously beside the plate and the two patrons preparing to dig in, we saw no sign of those tentacles slowing down.

Then it happened. The duo glanced over and noticed us staring, with our eyes wide and mouths gaping, and they smiled. They were either being very nice or very clever in choosing their meal-time entertainment, but they offered their plate to us and told us we could try. With that kind smile and polite offer, we gave a few weak shakes of our head. A second offer, the plate moved even closer and a new pair of chopsticks appeared. We looked at each other and knew we were both thinking the same thing “how rude is it for us to turn this down?”. We finally accepted. Both of us taking turns choosing a piece, taking way too long to think about it, and finally placing that squirming, sliding, tentacle in our mouths.

eating raw octopus in Korea

It’s a controversial practice. Something we both said we weren’t going to do. Unfortunately, that’s not all we did. We also went home and researched the topic of eating live octopus, specifically how an octopus feels when it is being chopped up. Try that kind of research about something controversial you’ve done. It’s a great way to make yourself feel even shittier than you did.

Digesting (excuse the pun) a bunch of research on cephalopod neuroanatomy, and believe it or not psychology, as well as discussions on animal cruelty and welfare, cultural sensitivity and food culture we were left with the bone-deep knowledge that we would not be trying sannakji again. We respect that it is a delicacy in the country, not just a crazy thing tourists do when they go to Korea, but to us it is also an inhumane way to treat a living creature and something we don’t wish to participate in again.

What We Learned

So, have at us! We think we were wrong too, but you know what? In the end, we can say we learned a few things:

1. It’s not as easy as right and wrong. Cultural traditions and ties are a strong force and when you are immersed in a culture, things can start to look a little different than you once thought.

2. We’re a bit stronger in our beliefs BECAUSE we tried these two things. We can say unequivocally that neither are things that we really need to be eating. Granted, if you’re a vegetarian you will say no animal needs to be eaten…so you’ve got us there.

3. We learned another lesson in “not judging others”. After all, we’ve done it too!

and

4. We’ve learned that we can do some unpredictable things when we drink too much in Japan!

 

 

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5 Of The Weirdest Foods Found In Asia

As we’ve mentioned several times when discussing our visit to the food stands of a night market in Beijing, or our culinary exploration of Taiwan, there’s very little food we don’t like or, at least, won’t try – even the dishes that are labelled as the “weirdest foods in Asia”. We’ve even surprised a lot of locals when they offer us different dishes that foreigners typically consider “weird Asian food”, and we eat with hearty enjoyment, but the Nomadic Boys, another couple of travellers whose culinary explorations always capture our attention, have put together a list for us of some weird foods they’ve tried in Asia, and we think that these may cause even us to hesitate.

Here’s their list, and experience, with 5 of the weirdest foods found in Asia:

Nomadic Boys Dive Head First Into Some Of  The

Weirdest Foods In Asia

 

Nomadic Boys mermaids photo

 

We are Stefan and Sebastien, a gay couple from London. Stefan is second generation Greek Cypriot, born and raised in North London and Sebastien is from Lyon in France.

We first met over 6 years ago in London and have been together since.

We have two main passions in common: food and travelling. So, we decided to combine the two and eat our way around the world together, starting with Asia. Nomadic Boys is our travel blog chronicling our adventures with our food discoveries.

Along the way we’ve encountered some delicious food, particularly in places like Sri Lanka, Vietnam and China.

But along the way we’ve also tried some pretty weird foods, and here’s 5 of them:

#1 Peking Duck Feet in Beijing, China

Stefan and Sebastien from The Nomatic Boys eating Peking Duck Feet in Beijing, China, one of the weirdest foods in Asia

 

Beijing is famous for its duck dishes (named after the city’s former name, Peking) and they are delicious. We had lots of yummy duck dishes ranging from roast to crispy.

But, the Chinese eat all parts of the duck. Literally, every single part of the duck is eaten including the face and the feet. Ok the face may have some flesh and is easier to stomach, but the feet?

We struggled with this a little bit.

#2 Airag (Fermented Mare’s Milk) in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Stefan drinking Fermented Mare’s Milk one of the weirdest foods in asia

Airag is fermented mare’s milk with a slight alcoholic content and popular with nomadic families throughout Mongolia. It dates back to the days of the Mongol empire in the 1200s when traditionally guests to a nomadic ger (their fast-to-assemble nomadic home) would be offered a bowl of airag along with a plate of dairy based treats.

We were quite excited to try airag as we had heard a lot about this drink before arriving.

But it’s absolutely disgusting: bitter and sour, like a yogurt that has passed its sell-by date by several months.

It is also supposed to have “cleansing” qualities and you are warned to go easy on it. We did not need to be warned as a few sips was more then enough to satisfy our airag curiosity once and for all.

#3 Vu Sua Fruit in Hoi An, Vietnam

Sebastien from The Nomadic Boys eating Vu Sua Fruit in Hoi An, Vietnam, which is considered to be one of the weirdest foods in Asia

Vietnam has the ideal tropical climate to keep us fruit lovers happy and we were spoiled with a variety of mangoes, dragon fruits, papaya, passion fruits…

In Hoi An (Central Vietnam), we stumbled upon a new fruit we’ve not yet come across in our travels around Asia: the breast milk fruit!

Actually it’s more formal name is ‘Star Apple’ (or Vu Sua in Vietnamese).

Star apples are juicy and sweet. They are so nicknamed because as you peel them, a few white milky drops dribble out, just like, er breast milk!

#4 A Platter of Bugs in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Fried crickets and silk worms anyone? Washed down with a platter of spring rolls with chopped red ants with fried giant water bug, tarantula and scorpion? All of this topped with a samosa containing chopped feta, spinach and tarantula…?

a plate of bugs and some of the weirdest foods in Asia- courtesy of The Nomadic Boys

Okay, we’re showing off now, but Cambodians make the most of what they have and cook these high-protein-easy-to-maintain creatures for a crunchy and quite chewy meal.

We were too shy about trying cooked bugs from the streets vendors in Cambodia, but instead visited the famous BUGS cafe in Siem Reap and sampled their discovery platter.

Sebastian from the Nomadic boys eating scorpion - the weirdest foods in asia

The fried scorpion particularly excited Sebastien. After he got over the whole psychology of ‘UN SCORPION…QUELLE HORREUR: IT’S A FRIGGIN’ SCOPRION!’ , he found it to be palatable, chewy and not so bad – almost like eating a prawn.

#5 Balut (Duck Embryo), The Philippines

Sebastien eating one of the most weirdest foods in Asia, Balut (Duck Embryo), in The Philippines

Now THIS bad boy always raises eyebrows with every foreigner visiting the Philippines.

Balut is a developing duck embryo boiled and eaten as a snack in the shell and with a splash of vinegar.

It is a popular street food snack that originated in the Philippines and is also frequently found in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Stefan from The Nomadic Boys eating Balut (Duck Embryo) in The Philippines, one of the weirdest foods in Asia

The ideal age of the duck embryo is 17 days (called balut sa pulaI), when the chick is almost fully formed with feathers, beak, claws and bones. Let’s just say it has a slight crunch to it…!

The alternative is a younger balut (known as balut sa puti): more mushy and gooey…equally as, er, tasty.

We tried a few baluts at Puka Beach on Boracay island in the Philippines and absolutely, er, loved (!) it. It tastes like a very concentrated egg flavour but with a very gooey, jelly-like texture with pieces in it.

What is the weirdest food in Asia you’ve ever tried? Comment below and let us know! 

 

 

 

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Our 5 Favourite Places to Eat in Chiang Mai

Everyone can cook amazing food in Northern Thailand, or at least that’s how it seems, meal after meal, enjoying pretty much every dish we order regardless of where we eat in Chiang Mai. Whether it was from a street vendor, a food court, or a nice sit-down restaurant on a busy tourist street we would always be served a meal worth noting, and because of that, trying to find the best places to eat in Chaing Mai is a tough task… so we are going to show you our favorite places to eat in Chiang Mai.

Even the time we rolled up to the seediest looking of street vendors, because we were absolutely starving, and found flying ants (flants) in our soup. We may have stopped eating after we found the 5th flant but it was still pretty darn good soup!

best places to eat in chiang mai

So what does one do, and where does one go ? when the options are absolutely endless and you are presented with a veritable smorgasbord of food choices?

We stayed in Chiang Mai for the better part of a month and while that doesn’t give us nearly enough time to visit even a fraction of the places to eat, we definitely managed to try quite a few. We’ve narrowed down five of our top places to eat in Chiang Mai, each offering a different dining experience or fare.

Places To Eat in Chaing Mai:

Best Thai Restaurant In Chiang Mai – Suwee

suwee restaurant chiang mai, cashew nut chicken, best restaurant in chiang mai

Suwee haunts our dreams. Not that we admit to dreaming about food that often, but when we do, it’s generally this restaurant that takes the stage. Not only is Suwee the best Thai restaurant in Chiang Mai but it’s safe to say it’s our favorite restaurant in the world, no other Thai restaurant can or will compare. South of the main city, located in Hang Dong, Suwee restaurant is a typical plastic chair, plastic table cloth, local restaurant. The food however, is anything but typical. Formerly a chef for a hotel in Chiang Mai, the owner decided to venture out on his own and open up Suwee restaurant with his wife – and boy are we glad he did!

We stayed the majority of the time at an Airbnb guesthouse around the corner from Suwee and as such, were able to frequent the restaurant to our hearts content. We should note that even when we stayed clear on the other side of the city, we still made the long and arduous drive for a meal when we could.

pork chiang mai, food in chiang mai

We ended up trying almost every Thai dish on their menu and were unable to find fault with a single one. Our favourites were the cashew nut chicken and the fried kale and crispy pork (for only about 50-90 baht per dish and each dish is easily shareable between two people!), but virtually any choice will leave you satisfied and thinking about when you’ll next be able to visit. We were hesitant to write about this secret gem as we were concerned about an influx of tourists but really, we can’t keep this one to ourselves – it’s too good not to share! It’s the best food in Chiang Mai!

Suwee Restaurant

As this is a local, plastic chair restaurant, their presence online is pretty much non-existent. Instead of a site, we’ve provided a dropped pin on Google maps, that will allow you to get right to the restaurant!

Best Coffee Shop In Chiang Mai with culinary masterpieces – Namton’s House Bar

Namtons House Bar Coffee

We’ve already written about Namton’s in our post on the top five places to find good coffee in northern Thailand, but it really is such a great place to eat that we couldn’t miss adding it to this list!

While staying at the Swiss Lanna Lodge in Chiang Mai, we found ourselves in another part of town and without any clue where to find the best places to eat in Chiang Mai. One of the staff members at Swiss Lanna recommended Namton’s, down the road and we decided to try it out one night for dinner.

The food was spectacular and the self-taught chef created some culinary masterpieces at incredibly reasonable prices. From their salmon sashimi salad to their roast teriyaki chicken and wedge potatoes, it’s a place you will not only remember, but will be looking to go back again, and to us it has the best coffee in Chiang Mai!

How To Get To Namton’s House Bar: Check out the map on this unofficial Namton’s House Bar Facebook page for location and directions.

 Bar And Food In Chiang Mai Old Town- Tiger Kingdom, In Town

Tiger Kingdom In Town Chiang Mai

When it comes to looking where to eat in Chiang Mai, we generally avoid tourist locations, especially restaurants, unless they come highly recommended. We prefer local atmosphere, food and, let’s be honest, prices and we enjoy immersing ourselves in a culture rather than finding the typical hangouts for foreigners.

We made the exception for Tiger Kingdom In Town. Not to be confused with the actual Tiger Kingdom filled where visitors can pet the large felines, In Town came recommended and we liked it so much we ended up going back for drinks later during our time in Chiang Mai.

thai food chiang mai restaurants tiger kingdom in town

The food is good Thai-style cuisine at relatively inexpensive prices, especially for a tourist locale. There is also a great selection of beer and drinks and with live music and a consistent crowd, it’s a great place to hangout with fellow expats and tourists, and since it’s in such a great location in the middle of Chiang Mai old city, it has some great Chiang Mai night life, with live entertainment almost every night.

How To Get To Tiger Kingdom In Town: Check out the map on this unofficial Tiger Kingdom In Town Facebook page for location and directions

A great change of pace – SP Chicken

sp chicken chiang mai

While it is tucked away from the main activity in Chiang Mai’s old city, SP chicken is definitely worth a visit. Serving some delicious rotisserie chicken which you can watch being cooked on a spit in the front of the restaurant, this was a welcome change to the typical fare we had been eating.

The meal came almost as soon as we had ordered and the chicken was perfectly cooked and seasoned, with some great Thai dishes for sides.

sp chicken best restaurant chiang mai

The prices are incredibly reasonable and it is a talked-about favourite among locals and tourists. Careful though, there are several different “SP Chickens”, or look-a-likes, and it’s the original you’ll want to try first!

How To Get To SP Chicken: Check out the map on SP Chicken’s TripAdvisor Page for location and directions.

A Thai cultural experience – Street vendors & markets

street food thailand chiang mai

Probably some of the best priced, tastiest food you’ll enjoy in Thailand will be found right on the streets. From meat skewers to soup, bugs to pancakes, you’ll find an assortment of different dishes served along the side of the city’s streets and, especially, at the night markets.

Markets will allow you to try a little bit of ‘this and that’, while vendors serving soups and other sit-down style dishes offer delicious local meals at incredibly low prices.

chiang mai best restaurants night market

You’ll be able to experience an interesting aspect of Thai culture and tourism in Thailand, walking the stalls of merchandise and watching the buskers in the street while eating or sitting down with locals at a street stand and dining on some of the best roadside food you’ll ever have.

Words of caution: look for stalls and vendors that seem busy and, particularly, where locals can be found. If you stick to this, you’ll most likely avoid any ‘flant-in-soup’ issues!

How To Find Street Vendors/Night Markets: Night markets are much everywhere in Chiang Mai!! Some great markets to check out would be the Warorot Market, the Sunday Night Market and, if you are in the area, Hang Dong’s Night Market (held once a week).

 

Have you been to Chiang Mai? Comment below and let us know where your favourite place to eat was!

If not, let us know how you usually find good restaurants to eat at while travelling to new places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Craft Beer Paradise in Busan

Part art, part science but complete dedication and skill. What is it that combines the talent of an artist, the palate of a connoisseur, the scientific ingenuity of a chemist, biologist and physicist? It may sound strange, but we’ve discovered that some of the most interesting creations are produced in microbreweries. In Busan, we found it in one place in particular.

Galmegi Brewery – An Evening of Beer & Food

best beer busan, microbrewery busan, best restaurant busan

Stepping through the door into the first floor of Galmegi Brewery in Busan, South Korea, we had no idea that in a short time we’d not only be tasting some great brew, but also enjoying one truly delicious meal.

Now, don’t get us wrong, we enjoy Korean food and soju but at some point you’ve ingested enough Kimchi and hard liquor to say you’ve truly experienced Korean cuisine. Added to that, there’s a culture developing in Korea that involves international cuisine and an increasing demand for good tasting beer that can’t be found in the mainstream, major brewers’ repertoire of beer options. In this then, we were up for trying a different side of Korea’s culinary scene.

galmegi brewery craft beer busan, best microbrewery korea

Just a short walk from Gwangalli Beach, the casual atmosphere and the clean, unpretentious decor of Galmegi Brewery was friendly and inviting. Passing the downstairs bar, complete with a windowed backdrop giving a glimpse at the brewery behind, we headed upstairs to the main dining area and took a seat at a table with a view out of the large floor-to-ceiling windows. The second floor was equally as comfortable and welcoming as the downstairs was, with another bar area and more seating.

galmegi brewery, craft beer korea, best craft beer busan

The menu makes it clear that they take their craft beer seriously. With 10 of their own beers available (although the actual number may vary depending on new and seasonal options), there’s a great variety of flavours for all beer drinkers.  Their prices are also incredibly reasonable and you can tell they aim to provide a great, and honest, experience. We went with the sampler which gave us 4 half pints of different beer for only 12,000 won ($10.75 USD)

The four beers included Lighthouse Blonde, which was Carolann’s favourite and was light, soft and refreshing with a hint of citrus; Moonrise Pale Ale, a slightly tart, fruity and hoppy beer; Galmegi IPA a refreshing, hoppy and sharper beer, a little drier than the Moonrise; and Espresso Vanilla Stout, which was Macrae’s favourite and was a richer beer with a wonderfully blended coffee (which explains why it was Macrae’s favourite) and vanilla flavour.

craft beer south korea, best craft beer busan, microbrewery korea, best restaurant busan

Throughout our evening, we also tried several of their other craft beers including their Black Jindo Imperial Stout, Doljanchi IIPA and soon-to-be added Campfire. Each one offered another variety of flavours and we enjoyed them all.

The food options are also a testament to their focus on the microbrewery: extensive enough to provide a variety of choices with options that compliment the beer but not an overwhelming amount to overshadow the highlighted beer menu.

Their appetizers, or “bites”, include chips and dips, fries, fried chicken, salad and a charcuterie board and many of their dips and sauces, such as the Sriracha mayo and sweet & spicy sauce, pay homage to Northeast Asian flavours. We chose the Piselli Pizza (14,000 won or $12.50 USD) and, since it is the true test of a good burger, the Classic Burger (13,000 won/about 11.70 USD)

galmegi brewery, best pizza busan, best restaurant busan

The Piselli Pizza arrived with the onslaught of a wonderful aroma. A fairly large-sized thin crust pizza topped with pesto, mozzarella and feta cheese, salami and lemon. It was cooked perfectly, leaving a delicious crust with a great taste of its own, and the toppings provided wonderfully blended flavours. It didn’t take us long to polish off the slices.

best burgers busan, best restaurant busan, best restaurant korea

The Classic Burger had mouth-watering layers of beef patty, tomato, lettuce, cheese, bacon, mustard and ketchup and was presented with a side of fries. One bite into this thick, juicy burger and we knew this was a little more than a classic burger. Carolann, a self-proclaimed burger connoisseur (don’t forget, she’s been published for burger reviews in Koh Phangan, Thailand!), describes it as more of a classic burger – with a twist.

The surprising maple flavour of the bacon worked incredibly well with the combination of simpler condiments as did the mustard, which was more of a mustard seed spread and was void of the sharper, more sour flavour of regular mustard or even classic dijons. The fries were also flavourful, with a slight hint of smoked hickory and spice.

After a first taste of each of the 4 beers in the sampler, we could see ourselves becoming regulars. After we tasted the food, we knew we’d be back before we left Busan.

Mastering the Craft of Craft Beer in Busan

microbrewery busan, craft beer korea

One of the great things about Galmegi Brewery is that all the action happens in-house, which means that if you are visiting on a quieter night, and you are interested, they will be more than happy to give you a tour of the brewery and explain the process. While it was a Wednesday night and apparently “quiet”, there was still a steady and consistent stream of people but we were able to take a look at the microbrewery and learn about brewing craft beer and the business of craft beer in Korea.

It was through discovering the process of producing the beer and creating the flavours that we learned there is a lot more to brewing than we had realized and it’s evident that the brewers at Galmegi Brewery have a passion for what they do and a pride in the quality of beer they produce.

best craft beer korea, craft beer busan, best restaurant busan

For a microbrewery, there is the continual innovation of new tastes and flavour combinations and the task of recreating popular creations. With that comes the challenges of biology in the yeast strains, chemistry in the composition and production of the beer and the mechanics of the maintenance of the equipment and machinery. No small task this even, or perhaps especially, in the smaller setting of microbreweries.

We had an amazing night at Galmegi Brewery and will definitely be visiting again before we leave Busan. It’s a place to which you would want to keep coming back, with a menu chalk full of quality craft beers, that is consistently serving favourites, as well as frequently offering new beers, and a list of delicious food to compliment the variety of tastes, all served in a unique and welcoming atmosphere.

Do you prefer the creative flavours of craft beers or do you tend to stick to one brand label you know and love? Comment below and let us know!

 


 

You Can Do It Too

In Busan? Head to Galmegi Brewery for a truly memorable experience. You can also check out their menu online and keep an eye out for the new types of beer as they are added!

Galmegi Brewery

부산광역시 수영구 광남로 58, 613-813
58 Gwangan-ro, Suyeong, Busan 613-813

Phone: 010-4469-9658

Hours:

Tuesday-Saturday: 6pm – midnight

Sunday: 6pm – 11pm

Or, check out their other location just around the corner, serving their amazing varieties of beer and a lighter menu:

Gwangan Taphouse

부산광약시 수영구 남천바다로 3-4 세진진빌딩 3층
3-4 Namcheon 2(i)-dong, Suyeong-gu, Busan, South Korea

Phone: 010-4469-9658

Hours:

Monday-Thursday: 6pm – midnight

Friday: 6pm – 1 am

Saturday & Sunday: 1pm – 1am

 


 

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