What does Central Asia taste like?

What does Central Asia taste like?

In a word, delicious!

One of my favourite things about travel is trying all the new unfamiliar foods that one encounters. Here are a few of the delights I discovered while traveling through Kyrgystan and Tajikistan.

Manty – juicy dumplings filled with beef and onions
Fresh bread and fig-like fruits. Bread is always served with every meal and it’s considered bad luck to put it upside down.
Breakfast
Nearly every meal starts with a hot bowl of soup. And bread, of course. The bread is quite robust and it’s very satisfying to tear apart
More spices in one place than I’d even know what to do with them all
A soup featuring beets, cabbage, potato, and sour cream, topped with dill. This reminded me of borscht.
Salad is often served without any dressing but frequently includes generous amounts of herbs, especially dill. Central Asians love dill.
Grilled meat is very popular, either as kabob or as in the quail here, butterflied and grilled over hot coals
Mastava – a filling vegetable soup that features boiled rice, much like congee. Another similar soup is Lagman, which features noodles rather than rice.
Bread is an important part of every meal and you can always find it fresh
Fried fish caught from a high altitude stream
Sweet juicy melon is in season (late September and early October)
Plov (pilaf) is one of the most common dishes. This one features sparse amounts of vegetables and meat, both of which are in short supply high in the mountains
Much like plov but here we have noodles rather than rice
One of the most delicious fruits I’ve ever eaten. Sweet, juicy, and it just falls apart as you bite into it
Tajikistan’s version of KFC
But instead of fried chicken, they serve pizza
And just in case you were feeling homesick craving a Big Mac
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Who says Scandinavian has to be expensive?

Who says Scandinavian has to be expensive?

I’ve just arrived in Malmö, Sweden’s third largest and most multicultural city. It was once controlled by Denmark and is actually a shorter train ride from the Copenhagen airport than is Copenhagen itself. Continue reading “Who says Scandinavian has to be expensive?”

A Month in Ladakh

A Month in Ladakh

September just might be the best time to visit Ladakh, a mountainous region in northern India sandwiched between Pakistan, Tibet, and Kashmir. Charles and I enjoyed the crisp mornings and cool nights and each time we returned to the bustling city of Leh, where we stored our luggage between treks, we were amazed at how quiet the streets were becoming. Continue reading “A Month in Ladakh”

40 Countries

40 Countries

Last year I set a goal of visiting 40 countries by my 40th birthday. Less than 12 months later I find myself in Brazil, celebrating reaching that goal (and early too). I’d thought my 40th country might be somewhere exotic but I couldn’t have chosen a more festive atmosphere than the home of Carnival, especially during the 2016 Rio Olympics. I’m also happy that I got to share the trip with my brother, who loves the Olympics.  Continue reading “40 Countries”

Three Foggy Days in Hong Kong

On my way back home from a very fulfilling trip, I had a short stopover in Hong Kong. The weather was dreary. Not cold but not warm either and foggy enough to obscure most of the skyline for which the city is famous. The grey sky took nothing away from the fantastic food and colourful street scenes, however. I decided to leave my camera packed away while I snapped random photos with my smartphone. The results were rather mixed but I’m quite happy with the more candid perspective that it seemed to give me.
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What does $2 get you on the streets of Bali?

What does $2 get you on the streets of Bali?

Bali has a reputation for being a tourist trap packed with Australian holiday-makers. There are parts of the island (or group of islands, really) where that’s certainly true. If you take some time to dig a little deeper, you’ll discover there’s another, more authentic side to this tropical wonderland. Of course, I’m talking about the food. I sat down at an unassuming stall along a busy nondescript road and ordered the first dish you should try anywhere in Indonesia – Nasi Goreng. Literally “fried rice”, this is like ordering pad thai at a Thai restaurant or spaghetti in Italy. It’s a test of the cook and how well they do this dish will either whet your appetite for more or tell you it’s best to try somewhere else. It’s usually good, sometimes very good. It’s also fast and cheap.
Continue reading “What does $2 get you on the streets of Bali?”

Headwind to Stanley

Headwind to Stanley

Cycling Tasmania – Day 28
Marrawah to Stanley (via Forest)

80km, 640m elevation

Tasmania is known for exceptionally strong winds. I’ve been very lucky on my cycling trip so far, having gotten only one day of really strong winds and much of that was either at my side or my back. Well, today my luck changed. I battled through a headwind for most of the day, still enjoying myself but working a lot harder than usual.
Continue reading “Headwind to Stanley”