|K is for...|
This young man is making pomegranate juice at the Kashgar Sunday market, on the far western border of China, the high point of the week. The locals dress up for this, hook the family donkey to the cart, then pile on and head for town.
The place is absolutely bursting with people. They come for the food – mounds of figs, cartwheels of bread, baked sheep’s heads, pomegranates - the energy, and the socialising. It was hard to imagine that a thousand years ago (and a thousand years before that) this place would have been just as busy.
Kashgar was an important staging post on one of the several branches of the ancient Silk Road. It is still a fascin ating place to viist - especially on Sundays when the market brings everyone into town.
The Muslim influence is strong in the west, and during Ramadan people come to the markets to stock up on food to be eaten after sunset when they are allowed to feast again.
These round breads, cooked inside a deep cylindrical oven....
....are worth enjoying with every meal. Read more about the silk road with its magic and myths........
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:
Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur - the name often shortened to KL - stands at the muddy confluence of the Klang and Gombek rivers (and that’s what its name means). With a population of over one and a half million people, this is where many conference and international visitors stay.
The 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers at 452 metres are the tallest twin towers ever built. They were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 until surpassed by Taipei 101. But while the towers were only completed in the last few years, remnants of the past persist in KL. Dataran Merdeka has British colonial buildings and the Petaling Street night market in Chinatown is a reminder of another time.
While it's easy to slip into a back lane and still find people playing mahjong, or carrying on their lives as they have for decades, the face that KL presents is shiny and cosmopolitan, facing the future, and ready for anything. The country's aim is to become fully developed and prosperous by the year 2020, and they are well on the way. The streets are squeaky clean and graffiti is just not there.
The ingredients of Malaysia's racial stirfry: Malay, Tamil Indian and Chinese, plus Portuguese and Straits-born Chinese called Nyonyas and Babas, makes dining here a rich experience. Whether you dine at streetside hawker's stalls, elegant hotel restaurants, or 'banana leaf' Indian eateries where searing curries are served on just that – a sheet of banana leaf – the choice is endless.
Kerala is a south-western Indian state noted for its beauty making it a top tourist destination in India. National Geographic's Traveller magazine names it as one of the ten paradises of the world and lists 50 must-see destinations of a lifetime in Kerala.
In Kerala, South India, children on New Year's Day keep their eyes closed until they are led to a special tray holding food, flowers and gifts.
Because of the rich cultural history from many racial influences, Kerala's cuisine is also diverse, making use of locally grown spices, coconuts and tropical fruit.
Nicknamed 'the city of joy', Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) in the West Bengal state of India. It is a vibrant, densely-populated city of around five million people. Bengali cuisine is rice-based with meat and fish widely used. There is a wide variety of dishes and vegetables are popular.
Kinkawooka Shellfish, South Australia:
Kinkawooka Seafood is based in the pristine waters of South Australia's southern coast. The company has adopted growing and handling methods used in the traditional farming of mussels in the La Rochelle region of South Western France. These methods focus on keeping the mussels high in the water to maximize their intake of nutrients, which whilst limiting their shell growth, this produces a meat that is unparalleled in flavour and texture. They are also know for the production of high-quality prawns, oysters and clams.
(pic: Wikimedia Commons)
Kelp, a type of seaweed, enjoyed a small amount of popularity amongst vegetarians until 1984 when it was banned because tests had found it to contain arsenic. Probably the oldest crop known, harvested by seaside-living Romans, Greeks and Chinese, it was used medicinally as well as on the table and agriculturally. Processed kelp is known as kombu to the Japanese. Formerly kelp was available in tablets as well as a powdered or granular form. It was used to substitute for salt and to add flavour to many dishes, and it also provided an additional source of iodine essential for the proper function of the thyroid, vitamin B12 and other vitamins.
Kelp is harvested from Freycinet on the east coast (above) and bull kelp is taken off the rocks of King Island to be used commercially in ice-creams, cosmetics and other uses, and also pickled by one enterprising island company.
Kiwifruit (or Chinese Gooseberries):
(pic: Luc Viatour)
This soft and furry egg-shaped fruit have grown in China for centuries and were exported to most other countries but it took some enterprising New Zealanders in l940 to rename them kiwi fruit and corner an entire market. Kiwi fruit is a good source of potassium and chromium, said to be useful in the management of diabetes. One medium fruit contains all the vitamin C you need for a day.
The brilliant green flesh is a beautiful addition to fruit salads, cheese platters and desserts, and is still sometimes used to accent meat dishes, although this seventies fad has largely passed. In season in autumn and winter, the fruit should be allowed to ripen at room temperature and then refrigerated until use. Serve peeled and sliced, or halved to scoop from the skin with a teaspoon.
If you want to use it in a jellied dish, cook it first as, like pawpaw and pineapple it contains enzymes that may break down the gelling action.
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