Monthly Archives: July 2018

Enjoy Local Fare at Chinese Food Restaurants

Singapore is made up of 70% Chinese people and just by looking around, you can see their influences everywhere. Not only in Chinese restaurants, pagoda structures, the Chingay festival, Chinese New Year celebrated with such colour and excitement and structures with Chinese influences, Singapore is coloured bright red by its dominant population. One of the great things about this is that we get to experience every aspect of Chinese cuisine and cooking there is. The thing about the Chinese culture in Singapore is that it is extremely eclectic; there is no one single tribe that plays a major role in deciding the culture that pervades our local streets.

From Hakka, Cantonese, Hokkien, TeoChew and even Chinese influenced cultures like Peranakan are all in Singapore. And these are just to name a few, there are so many more available and with the opening up of our local economy to foreigners, we are getting the benefit of more varied Chinese cultures from the mainland, Hong Kong and other parts of Asia. These different tribes and different beliefs mean only one thing, that we have a excellent choice when it comes to food. From the hawker centres all the way to fine dining, there is no aspect of Chinese cooking that we can miss out. Local influenced food that has tweaked recipes from Chine to strictly to the letter Chinese restaurants – there is something for everyone.

It is the charm of the culture that you can sit down with a pair of wooden chopsticks amidst the noise of a local hawker centre and cab be served some of the best Cantonese and Chinese cuisines in an air of luxury – using those very same chopsticks. Let us talk about the local Chinese food you can find in the low to midrange price eating houses. You have your collection of carrot cakes, char kway teo, chicken rice (which is hainanese), bah kut the and hokkien mee to name a few. As you can see, just by a small list of some of the local delights enjoyed by our Singaporeans on a daily basis, the roots of the dishes are far and wide. If you really want to absorb every aspect of Chinese culture and cuisine, I would highly recommend that you visit Chinatown. Located at the corner of the central business district, it is literally the nexus of everything Chinese and everything local.

You will miss out on nothing if you decide to go and visit these places. From every corner of the Chinese world, there is not a cuisine, a hawker fair or even a road side stall quick bite that you will miss. The prices range from extremely cheap to mid and high range for those more classy Chinese restaurants. Of course there are others spread all over the country and it is really up to you to take the time and adventure to discover these gems of places and taste some of the best food at these Chinese food restaurants.

Restaurants, the Best Location to Eat

People seem to love the exotic aroma of Indian spices and achaars. India is certainly the place for amazing Indian food but London is not far behind. London also plays host to some authentic Indian restaurants. From stylish and tasteful decor that reminds you of India to various chutneys, achaars and recipes, Indian restaurants in London seem to have it all. Indian restaurants in London are visited are surely visited for the love people have for India. The London restaurants boast its innumerable variety of delicious vegetarian dishes along with spicy and exotic non-vegetarian curries. The tempting Indian vegetarian dishes include Navratan Korma, Shahi Paneer Baingan ka Bharta, Daal Makhni etc and the non-vegetarian dishes are butter chicken, chicken tikka masala and sharabi kababi tikka.

Apart from Indian food, the culinary delights from Asia are also very popular. China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and other places are also flaunted on the menu cards of other restaurants in London. The pan-Asian flavors dominate the dining scene in London for the enjoyable experience it offers. These restaurants provide for buffets as well as al’-carte. With colorful cocktails and some alluring mocktails, the Asian dining experience is heightened. Eating the most favorite and specialized cuisines from Asia sitting in your own home London, these pan-Asian restaurants in London certainly have their unique selling point set.

The restaurants in London bring with them a corresponding decor and music with the cuisine that makes the dining experience more real. Having a bar serving the most exquisite alcohol and drinks only adds to the elaborate Asian setting. People are attracted to Asian food for its ingenious spices and herbs. Offering the best cuisines from world over, London certainly promotes multiculturalism. Eating out is an integral part of the city’s life, this becomes more prominent by seeing the variety of London restaurants along with many street food stalls interspersed all over the city.

A cultural hub and a city that loves food, London surely has a lot for anyone who is traveling or planning to be there any time soon. For all those who are going there for a holiday especially from Asia, it is hundred percent sure that you are not going to miss Indian, Chinese and other Asian cuisines there. Authentic cuisines in world-class setting is going to be a great experience for any one who loves traveling yet staying in touch with their Asian roots. One should not forget tasting and trying everything that is not Asian in London to get a comprehensive feel of the place but for all those times when you are missing India or your roots, any Indian restaurant in London can bring you back to the Indian flourish. Being in touch with your own food, lifestyle, culture, decor and space is not tough when you are in London. Therefore, enjoying the colorful panorama of the city, indulging in the goings-on of the city along with eating the best food at restaurants in London makes for a spectacular experience that surely can’t be missed.

Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Asia

Nobody really knows the origins of Halloween, although some state it began in Ireland and not America as you would expect. It is sometimes referred to as All Hallows Eve or All Saints Eve is a celebration of the day before All Hallows Day on 1st November. There are contradictions in History that say it was a pagan festival originating from the Celts, whilst others will have you believe it started with Christianity as a festival to remember the dead. Either way it is now one of the most popular events around the world and is celebrated in many different ways, none more so that in Asia.

In some Asian countries they actually celebrate by carving out Pumpkins, particularly in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore. In Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia they also celebrate with pumpkins or more ready to hand fruits such as watermelons. Over the past few years, children in Asia have taken to trick or treating. Again, due to the influence of western pop culture and the growing number of international schools in the region.

Halloween decorations are not necessarily evident in Asian homes but in the shopping malls, bars and restaurants there are decorations a plenty. Many schools will have celebrations, adult Asians will dress up in the office and of course the bars and restaurants will have parties that run into the early hours.

Here are the ways you can celebrate Halloween whilst in Asia.

1. Purchase Candles and Flowers

This is a big tradition, particularly in the Philippines. The Filipino people take the festival very seriously and will often return to their hometowns to be with their family at this time. They will decorate their homes with flowers and light candles. It is not just the Philippines where this happens, Korea and China also have this kind of decoration in celebration of the Halloween festival.

2. Cosplay

Asians love to dress up, especially East Asians. Japan and South Korea is the home of Cosplay and if you are there over Halloween you will see a variety of costumes. Over the rest of Asia it is more traditional but on 31st October people will tend to wear a scary mask or devil ears, even in the most uptight of offices. Into the evening a lot of the bars will have parties and offer prizes for the best costume.

3. Go on a Ghost Walk

This is becoming increasingly popular in Asia. Every year Singapore hosts a ghost walk, predominantly aimed at children but more and more adults are joining in for an evening of entertainment. Other Asian cities have followed suit with scary tours for tourists and locals alike. One of the best in Asia is Singapore’s Ghost Walk at the Woodlands Woodgrove.

4. Pay respect to the dead

In some Asian countries the traditional element of Halloween is taken very seriously. In China and Japan as well as Vietnam, lanterns are lit, special food is made and memorial services take place for those that have passed away. It is often the families will get together and remember loved ones at this time and say special prayers.

5. PARTY!

Asians love any excuse to party and in all the major cities in Asia the bars and clubs will be filled with special Halloween events. They are predominantly on October 31st but some will be for the weekend before or just after. The parties will be intense and the place will be very crowded. Some bar operators suggest that Halloween is a busier night of the year than New Year’s Eve.

How to Save Tons of Money on Food

You are on vacation in some foreign place, and your stomach starts growling because it is time to eat, however you look at your wallet and realize you don’t have much money left, so what should you do? Some people underestimate on how much food can cost you when travelling abroad. Therefore it is critical to ensure you budget yourself so that you have enough money for your food and drinks! Here are some great tips for budget travel on how to save tons of money on food.

Tip 1.) Eat at the local establishments and not at the hotels or fancy restaurants

One big money saving tip for food and beverages, is to eat at the local establishments, instead of at the hotels or fancy restaurants. Eating at hotels and fancy restaurants, typically are very expensive, and limited with choice and portions. By eating where the locals are eating, you will be guaranteed to have the most authentic culinary experience, along with the most affordable prices. This is very true when you travel to Asia, where you will probably get the best food at cheap prices at the street stall food vendors and “mom and pop” restaurants.

Tip 2.) For alcoholic beverages, drink at bars and pubs during happy hours

Many times if you go to the bars and pubs at the happy hour timings, you will get substantial discounts on your alcoholic drinks. Such perks include discounts on drinks, and even one for one drinks, which means buy one drink and get the other for free. Typical happy hour timings happen around lunch time, and also around the rush hour time after work, which is about 5:00pm until 8:00pm (depending on which city you are visiting). This is also a great way to mingle around with the locals.

Tip 3.) Cook your own meals

If you are staying at a place that has a kitchen facility for you to do your own cooking, then buying groceries and cooking your own meals maybe an option for you. Buying your groceries can definitely save you a lot of money, and also is a great way to experience the local fresh produce markets, and grocery stores.

Traveling is an excellent opportunity to sample different foods from different countries. It is a great way to experience cultures from different places of the world. By following these simple budget travel tips, you will be able to save tons of money on food and drinks, and also be able to have a more authentic travel experience.

Alec Chan is a travel writer who has travelled all around Asia for the past 8 years, and has developed powerful strategies on how to get the best deals in all his travel destinations. He constantly delivers informative, accurate, and insightful travel information through his travel blog alectravelguide.com.

How to Budget Southeast Asia Travel

Budget Southeast Asia Travel

Asia is the world’s largest and most populous continent with diverse cultures and fascinating people. This article will be concentrating more on the Southeast Asia region as it provides terrific value for budget travelers and you can travel from country to country overland effortlessly. You can travel easily through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma/Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia by land or with budget airlines.

Do plenty of research as it will save you money, time and frustration. Plan your day and how you are going to your destinations. Unnecessary transportation costs because of poor planning and indecision can really add up, so plan a logical route for your day and how you’re going to get from place to place. Look at budget travel guides like “Lonely Planet” or “Let’s Go” or “Trip Advisor”. These guides will give you useful information to specific countries while you embark on your Asian Adventure and soak up the culture!

Transportation

Bundled flights, all Asia air pass or even budget/low-cost Asian airlines can significantly reduce the cost of your airfare. If time permits, using trains or buses for long trips between cities is another cheap alternative and you would be able to sight-see while you en route to your next destination. Cathay Pacific Airways has one of the most popular air passes from the United States. Prices start at $999 for Hong Kong and two other Asian destinations (flies to 18 Asian destinations), and you have 21 days to use it. You can add cities and time for an additional cost.

Accommodation

For the adventure seekers, you can just book the first night’s accommodation in advance and then look for a cheap place to stay locally, and look around upon arrival for the cheapest accommodation. Backpackers should consider staying in hostels as you would get to meet other backpackers, share experiences and exchange information on places to stay and must see attractions.

Accommodation in Asia can be very cheap. There are beach huts in India for less than US$3 a night, and in many Southeast Asian countries US$10 is more than enough for a decent double room. You can also consider staying on the outskirts of a city or even in a nearby town or village. Rates are far cheaper and it allows you to immerse yourself more deeply into the culture.

Food

Forget about fine dining when you are traveling. Nothing will drain your budget faster than a few ritzy restaurants. The best food in Asia is found on the street. Look where the locals eat. In Asia, most food is fresh and not preserved. They are very cheap and can be just as good as restaurant food. Most are clean, but be careful with any meat you eat. Watch the locals. If what they are eating looks good, give it a try. It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak the language. Just point and smile. They will be happy to feed you. Southeast Asian street food is not just affordable but also delicious.

Also, leave your diet at home. You didn’t come to Asia to eat healthy. Enjoy the delights of Asian cooking. If the food doesn’t look safe, opt for fast food.

Lastly, two more tips that would really give you the extra mile on your adventure. Bargaining and theft prevention! Bargaining is a must and customary in most Asian countries. Start low because tourists are always quoted a higher price than locals. Theft prevention is often overlooked, but very necessary precaution. Money belts, locks and a watchful eye can prevent a theft that could put a major dent in your travel funds. Places like Japan and Singapore generally have very little petty theft, but in poorer countries like those in Southeast Asia more caution is necessary.