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Favourite Food

&

Travel quotes

 

Food is our common ground, a universal experience. - James Beard

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Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag. - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

 


National Day of ...

 

Argentina 25 May (First Patriotic Government, the Spanish viceroy is removed and replaced by the Primera Junta during the May Revolution

On the Argentinean menu...

Trivia: Argentineans celebrate Friend’s Day, a day dedicated entirely to friendships. and everyone gets together late at night to celebrate friendship on July 20th. More facts....

 

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Jordan 25 May (Independence Day, from the United Kingdom 1946)

Dining in Jordan...

Trivia: The Jordanians believe that praising children excessively can invite bad luck and is generally avoided. More facts...

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Georgia 26 May (Day of First Republic, declaration of independence from Russia 1918)

What's on the Georgian table?

Trivia: Georgia is considered the birthplace of the wine. On the territory of present-day Georgia found the oldest remains of wine jugs and vines. Georgian wine is just awesome. Be sure to try it. Georgians are proud of their wine. More facts...

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See all National Days

for MAY.

 


Food related events....

MAY 2015, food-related events.

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Food related events on this date in history!

 


 

Want even more food history?

oldfoodie

...visit The Old Foodie.

 



See where we have been...

24 percent of the world's countries!



 

The villages of the Blue Mountains in NSW are all different.....

Leura is one of the loveliest......

 


 

Meet the lovely people of the Andes.

Read more....

 


 

Take a seafood tour in Hobart....

....then feast on your catch!

 


 

Stay in a Parisian villa...

...and pay less than you'd think!

 


 

Take the Grand Tour of Switzerland.

It comes with extras...

 


 

A 'grand' way to travel in Ireland.

Luxury plus....

 


 

A miraculous way to stay less expensively in Rome.

Stay in a monastery...

 


 

Get some help with cooking from a robot!

Has your kitchen got room for one of these?

 


 

Sri Lanka's latest luxury accommodation.

Find out where it is....

 


 

See this amazing 'stick-art' and how it is created.

Read more.....

 


Penang, Malaysia is a vibrant, arty, food-crazy destination.

Visit it here.....

 


 

See if you know the world's top 10 chocolate destinations.....

Check your answers....

 


 

Darwin may be Australia's smallest capital city but ....

...there is a lot happening

 


 

Sensational Singapore...

...as the sign says 'You should be here'!

 


 

Discover Ireland's sensational Atlantic coastline.

Now you can walk along it!

 


 

Pack your Big Yellow Suitcase ...

... find out where you can take it!

 


 

Or maybe you can spend some time in Greece?

Here's how....

 

 
 

 

 

traveltipstop

What do you do when you lose something while travelling (apart from scream and cry!)?

This gadget is the answer.....

 

 

 


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Ancient grains are making a comeback - like barley.

What do you know about barley?...

 


triviatop

ciaos

 

The rind of the mangosteen, a tropical fruit, has a high tannin content and is used to cure leather in Asia. It is also used to fix the color black in textile dyeing.

Find out other strange food facts.....

 

 

 

Luxury meets style and convenience. Seems to be the right mix for Australians cruising the Mediterranean.

Find out more...


 

 

books

.............and Apps and DVDs



 

Ever wished you could escape to Spain?

Here's the latest book from one author who did.....

 


 

Heading for Hong Kong? Take this book (and an appetite) with you!

Read all about it.....

 


Explore 19 areas and discover Tokyo's best food and shopping.

Read more....

 


 

Find your way around a new country - greet the locals, eat the food...

Explore with Marco Polo!

 


 

Everyone's favourite grandmother and cook, as known by her grand-daughter, Kate Gibbs....

....sharing her recipes for life , and for the kitchen

 


 

Now you can create your own home patisserie.

A top French patissier shows how....

 


 

Does Australia have the world's best beaches?

Find out where Australia's best ones are....


 

Join five women for a weekly meal in Umbria, Italy - simple, but so much more.

Find out about this beautiful book... 

 


 

Adriano Zumbo is king of the A-Z of sweets, desserts and pastries.

Now you can learn his secrets...

 


If chocolate is your weakness, this new book will feed your need.

Read about it...

 


 

If Thai cookery has always been too difficult...

This is the book for you....

 


 

Learn the tricks of barbecuing from an expert with an endless supply of ideas and tips.

Get fired up about it....

 


Is Copenhagen big enough to conceal many secrets?

The authors of this book thought so....

 

 


You probably know of Rick Stein from his TV and cookbook fame, as well as his restaurants...

..but now you can get to know him from his memoir

 


Put the Taste of Australia into your meals with Lyndey Milan's latest book.

Read more....

 


 

Fresh from the West - chef Sophie Zalokar's delicious recipes using local south-west Western Australian produce.

 

Read more....


 

Visit Spain - from your own home!

Learn how to cook the food with an expert!

 


Lovers of Venetian food will be thrilled with this insiders' guide to the city and its food.

Read more.....

 


Whether you are a wine expert or just want to be, this book is for you.

Find more here...

 


 

If you can't get to Scandinavia - you can at least bake its cakes and breads.

Here's how....

 


If you are a reader of food blogs, this behind the scenes peep at the real story, will captivate.

Read more.....

 


 

Yes, the City of Light has still more secrets to disclose!

Discover them here....

 


 

Thai Royal Cuisine is now within your reach with these authentic recipes, edited by a descendant of Prince Chakrabongse.

....enjoy preparing them yourself.

 


America-bound travellers, take note! 

The fully revised edition is now  available....

 


If you'd like a food-loving guide to show you around Paris, Jane is the person to do this.

Read her book....

 


Want to eat the world? Here 39 cuisines have been explored and explained.

Find out more....

 


Love cooking, like trivia?

This book is for you!

 

 


Now you can bake like Phillippa!

Get ready for the compliments!


Got friends coming for a party - this is the book for you!

Find some new recipes....

 


The world's greatest maritime explorer - and real person.

An engaging read...

 


Burma is a mystery to many people. Its food is even more obscure.

Read this and be delighted...

 


The biggest and most beautiful book of Italian food.

Read about it here....

 

 

 

 

Window on Ipoh, Malaysia

Never heard of Ipoh? Don't feel too badly. Likewise, don't be embarrassed if you didn't know it is in Malaysia. Just don't call it EYE-poh. It's EE-poh. Gottit?

And if you want to know more about this man (above) read on....

If those magnificent fingerlike hills shading into transparency at the horizon remind you of parts of China, there is a good reason. They are part of a range of karst formations that ring the city for 20 kilometres or more.

These limestone mountains are similar to those found near Guilin in southern China and also far northern Vietnam at Halong Bay. Just as in those places, here there are grottos and caves, and of course many of these hills have been quarried extensively, plundered for their rich deposits of lime so valuable for the making of cement. 

 

WATCH THIS video to get a real feel for the city

 

But we were headed for a welcoming and comfortable place on the city's edge. M Boutique, our hotel, subtitles this first property in a projected chain, as Strangers as Friends. 'Come as strangers, leave as friends' goes the note on the card holding our room key. 

Carefully styled to connect the warmth of the past with the style and efficiency of the present, there are little surprises like these battered suitcases (above) everywhere. Whimsy rules, and it is a little like being put up for the night by a charming and slightly quirky great aunt - albeit one with a great sense of what a guest needs. One who has sought style advice from her strenuously trendy niece, perhaps.

Boutique it is, too, with just 93 rooms. Ours is tiny, barely large enough for the bed, but it is superbly comfortable, and all our needs are meticulously catered for. There are free drinks in the smallest fridge we have ever seen, a hair-dryer tucked away, a safe, waffle-weave slippers and free WiFi (yes!). Tea-making too. It's times like this you thank the British for their influence in Malaysia!

There's a chic urban Melbourne-meets-Malaysia feel to this place and we love it! Ipoh was a major tin-mining city during the era of British rule, and there are reminders in the hotel decor too. We are to discover its colonial past everywhere in the city during our stay, but we see it first, reflected here in these tin trunks.

Although there is a trendy cafe next to the hotel reception, also adjoining the hotel is the OldTown White Coffee restaurant. Serving Asian and Continental meals, we can see it attracting travellers from KL and Singapore.

When in Malaysia, there is no question about what we will eat. Kaya toast for breakfast or a massive plate of nasi lemak (above) and here it's included in the tariff.

After lunch, a no-brainer in the tropical climate: this cooling deseert of ais kachang (above) - shaved ice topped with cendol noodles, corn, cubes of jelly, red beans and syrup. Delicious!

Sorry! We couldn't resist it another day, too, this time topped with not so traditional, but creamily delicious ice cream.

Despite the fun we were having in our hotel and at the restaurant, we needed to explore this city which was in its time called 'the city of millionaires' because of the wealth generated from tin-mining in the late 19th century.

This is the railway station and it is not difficult to see why it has been called the Taj Mahal of Ipoh. It designer, Hubbard, had lived in India and built this former hospital in the Neo-Moorish style.  

The railway station stands to one side of the Old City, with its many glaringly whitewashed buildings, relics of British colonialism, some still used as banks and offices, and held in great esteem, today. We had picked up the Ipoh Heritage Trail brochure and set out to see  as much as we could before wilting in the noonday heat.

 

In front of the railway station are two important things to see. The plaque (above) is self-explanatory – and chilling.

Nearby, this flourishing tree gives no hint that it too, is linked to death. This is the ipoh tree, after which Ipoh was named. Its sap was poisonous, used long ago by the indigenous people to tip their hunting arrows. 

Morning is always the best time to see a market, though, and we are lured by the possibility of some shelter from the sun, so we head for the Pasir Puteh Wet Market. After the brilliant sunshine outdoors, it is almost dark inside, but our eyes soon accustom to the dimness.

Especially with this sort of thing glaring at us! Of course fish heads are beloved by cooks throughout south-east Asia for curries and other dishes and these look to be about as fresh as they get.

Likewise these little fellows.

Like most good food markets, this one is arranged according to categories. In the chicken section, we are not surprised to find the black-fleshed chickens originally from Indonesia, and so expensive they are somethimes known as the 'Lamborghini' of chickens. The feathers are black as well as the flesh and even the organs are dark. The cooked flesh retains the colour too.

Malaysian cookery relies heavily on fresh produce and there were many aisles of fruit and vegetables, herbs, fresh pandan leaves, taro, garlic, fresh ginger, and vats of freshly sprouted beans.

For vegetarians, or simply to add a heft of extra protein to a dish, tofu is a great favourite, and here there are about as many versions as you would find anywhere: fried, dried, marinated, fresh, and more.

The egg section dished up these black beaiuties. But, no, they do not come from those black-fleshed hens! These ones have been preserved and the black covering has dried hard. Nearby were hen eggs, duck eggs, quail eggs...

.... and of course seafood, shelfish, and crustacians. How would you like to spend your day painstakingly cleaning these tiny clams by hand? Chances are this man was up all night, out in his boat, or on the sands, collecting them too.

Back out on the street, we could have spent a happy few hours reading the signs on the shophouses. If you come here, look for the sign for Dr Phang - a dentist, of course!

We had driven to Ipoh from Penang, just a couple of hours north on the freeway. Penang's wall murals have become quite a tourist drawcard, but Ipoh has some too and, interestingly, this one and several others in town were done by Ernest Zacharevic, one of the pioneers of Penang's street art.

This one is encouraging people to have a cup of coffee, and if you have been in a Malaysian cafe, you will recognise the pattern on the cup which seems to turn up in most of them.

While many of the older buildings in Ipoh are familiar to visitors from countries with a background of British rule, this tall tower was a surprise. It looked as if it had been lifted from the Tyrol, perhaps. Yet the Birch memorial and its delicate murals and belltower is a memorial to Perak’s first British Resident Minister, a man perhaps as unsuited to his role, as this European-looking building is to Asia.

We had been told of Ipoh's food and dining, and for a while we wondered if that was a myth.... until after cruising  the evening streets for some time we came across the hub of the town's outdoor dining scene. For the evening meal, several streets have been blocked and tables pulled out into the cooler night air.

Ipoh's claim to culinary fame is its famous sar hor fun noodles. People come from Kuala Lumpur and other parts, simply to slurp up a bowl of them. Why are they so good? Remember the mountains surrounding this city? Water from limestone areas is especially good and it is this mineral-rich water which is credited with making the local noodles so outstanding.

Don't just believe us. You'll have to go there and try for yourself.

Perak, the Malaysian state of which Ipoh is the capital is called the country's food bowl. Its soil, conditions and climate all collaborate to make ideal growing conditions for many forms of produce. 

But while the action has moved to the middle of the street, that doesn't stop the shops staying open to capture other shoppers. Here a lineup of huge pomelos swing temptingly above the shelves of pastries.

If you haven't met a pomelo yet, it is the largest of the citrus family, and although it is very similar to grapefriot, its flesh is less juicy and less sour. Cleaner and easier to eat, it is often broken into segments for sale in markets or pieces are crumbled into salads. 

Remember our friend from the top of this page? This is where he was riding his bicycle stall, ringing a bell in an attempt to catch attention. He had on board a selection of hot dishes in the covered pans and vegetables which he could add to them.

Across  the street was a shop selling teas made from herbs and flowers, and each had a story attached to their basket. Some would help with blood, others provide energy, some were calming, some could help with weight control.

And then, some were just beautiful, like these dried rosebuds. 

Ipoh, we found, to be prosperous, proud of its heritage, but like the rest of Malaysia, eagerly looking ahead. It is a city on the move. Once tin was its claim to fame and fortune. Today its culture and food, tourism and trade are keys to the future.

The motto of M Boutique hotel is 'come as stranger, leave as friends'. After a couple of days in  Ipoh, we reckoned the city should adopt this for its own promotional material.

More information on Malaysia..... OR in Australia.....

Text and images: ©Sally Hammond

Video: ©Gordon Hammond

 

 

 

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DON'T MISS THESE:

2015

AUSTRALIAN FOOD EVENTS

Foodservice Australia, Melbourne, May 31-June 2

Rutherglen Winery Walkabout, Victoria, June 6-7, 2015

Cake Bake & Sweets Show, 12-14 June 2015, Sydney

The Rocks Aroma Festival, Sydney, July 26, 2015

Barossa Gourmet Weekend, SA, 14-16 August, 2015

Fine Food Australia, Sydney, September 20-23, 2015

Cake Bake & Sweets Show, 23-25 October 2015, Melbourne

 


MUST SEE!


Lyndey Milan and Ian 'Herbie' Hemphill take viewers on an eight-episode Moveable Feast of Australia, beginning on 7TWO on Feb 7.

Don't miss out.... 

 


 

RECIPE TIME

Make your own bagels....

...they're not as difficult as you might think

 


 

 MUST TASTE THIS

Chocolate is delicious - but wouldn't you like to eat it with a clear conscience?

Now you can....

 


scc

Need a coffee????

Taste_03

330 of Sydney's BEST cafes in this HUGELY POPULAR iPhone and iPad app!

... read more

NOW ALSO available on Android

 visit the blog and hear the good news! 

Hear a podcast

 
 
 

 

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TAKE A BREAK

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MAY 2015 food-related events worldwide.

 


 

HERE'S YOUR CHANCE!

WIN - a road trip on the Legendary Pacific Coast of NSW.

Be quick!

Details....

 


 

So you want to explore SYDNEY?

This new app is just what you need.....

 


 

A year of fabulous food festivals is ahead in 2015 for Britain!

Find out when and where....

 


 

Festivals throughout Australia too in 2015.

Check these out...

 


 

Scotland's Year of Food and Drink 2015....

...what's on?

 


Festivals in Korea, 2015

Here they are....

 


 

2015 Malaysia's Year of Festivals....

Find out when and where...

 


What's happening in Rome this month....

Check it out here...

 


 

Ever dreamed of having your own place in France.

This may make it easier....

 


 

SPOIL YOURSELF -    TOTAL LUXURY

Tour the world in a luxury private jet .....

But wait, there's more.....

 


 

Where better to take a French cookery course.....


...than in Paris?


 

Taste Miami with someone who knows.

See how to do it...

 


 

Shopping in Paris is great fun - but you might need some help...

...and not just with carrying your purchases!

Find out more.....

 


 

food and wine tour in one of France's most beautiful regions.

Learn more about it...

 


 

Now you can travel and pick up some artistic skills - and enjoy Italian cuisine.

...find out where

 


Here is the answer for food and wine lovers travelling around Australia.

Read more....

 


 

SYDNEY'S LIVING HISTORY

Find out about the (sometimes colourful) past of  Australia's first city:

slhlogoiPhone and iPad App packed with information and pics.

....discover what has made Sydney the great city it is.

BUY IT NOW on iTunes here

or for Android  here!

 

 

 


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Sally, and Gordon Hammond also operate the Australian Regional Food Guide Web site. This comprehensive directory is a great resource for everything that is happening in the regional food scene in Australia. Make sure you visit and bookmark this site. Please Follow on Twitter or Like on Facebook.