Tag Archive | "asia"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Shelter Italian Bar & Restaurant in Hong Kong

Posted on 21 January 2014 by Alysa Liu

Shelter Italian Bar & Restaurant - Entrance

Shelter Italian Bar & Restaurant - Entrance

Shelter Italian Bar and Restaurant takes Hong Kong’s restaurant scene to new heights by presenting one of the most original sustainable dining spaces in the city. Officially opening on 31st October, the gastronomic sanctuary at the seventh floor of Hysan Place specializes in Italian food presented at the al fresco space with several distinct areas, including an organic garden growing vegetables, herbs and fruits. The venue also boasts a VIP dining area, bar lounge and a deli store for customers on-the-go.
The restaurant celebrates its debut with “diva of Asia” who is also a passionate environmentalist Kelly Chen, as the guest of honor to officiate the opening ceremony. Other VIPs attending the Grand Opening press conference on 30th October are Mr. Siu Chuen Lau, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hysan Development Company Limited; Mr. Xavier Beysecker, Managing Director of Pernod Ricard Hong Kong; and Mr. David Yeung, Co-Founder of Green Monday. On 31st October, a celebrity-studded private party will be held to celebrate its official grand opening.
Shelter Italian Bar and Restaurant’s commitment to encourage sustainable living in the city extends to collaborations with community non-profits such as the eco-friendly social enterprise Green Monday. The restaurant’s interior decked out in nature-inspired designs and colours, cultivates a serene ambience to offer visitors a tranquil escape far removed from the hyper pace and urban sprawl typically associated with Causeway Bay.
Great food requires exceptional ingredients and Shelter Italian Bar and Restaurant is committed to sourcing the best ingredients for diners. Supported by Easy Organic Farm, the crops in the garden are all harvested without any chemicals or genetic manipulation.
Executive chef Simonetta Garelli defines the menu as classic Italian with a focus on northern specialties and a few regional favourites. Organic produce is used where possible, such as chemical-free vegetables, wild-caught fish and hormone-free meat.
“The world is sick now so we all need to make changes; I’m grateful for this opportunity to make changes in my own little way, through cooking and educating people on eating healthy.” Try signature dishes such as pici all’arrabbiata, a hand-rolled spaghetti in spicy red sauce made with homegrown tomatoes; or the organic risotto from Acquerello in black olives and cream sauce with prawns. For secondis, the hormone-free beef tenderloin is recommended, served with beer foam and organic tempura vegetables. Close the meal with the healthy and lean dairy-free cheesecake.
Complementing the experience is an extensive menu of wines, champagnes and cocktails also available at the elegant outdoor terrace. Shelter Italian Bar and Restaurant is a groundbreaking culinary concepts and the multi-faceted venue at the heart of Causeway Bay is a destination in itself.

Website: info@shelterhk.com
Reservation: +852 2778 8398
Email: info@shelterhk.com
Address: Shop 718-719 (Open Terrace), 7/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

Shelter Italian Bar & Restaurant - Dinning Area
Shelter Italian Bar & Restaurant - Lounge Area

Shelter Italian Bar & Restaurant - Lounge Area

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Why Kowloon Should be on Your Bucket List

Posted on 03 September 2013 by craigb

There’s no denying the amount of places to travel around the world within one lifetime, that’s the reality for any enthusiastic traveler. I’ve been traveling around the world since I was allowed to step foot out of my own country at age 18 (and with the permission of my amazing parents); I wanted to experience the world by myself and create photographic memories that won’t fade away. Across my travels, I’ve visited and lived in several countries from the indigenous tribes of South America, climbing the steps of Chichen Itza, to battling the freezing cold of Moscow. Every experience is valuable but there are some places which mean a lot to me; one of the places was Kowloon, Hong Kong. I’ve established an unbreakable connection with the country to the point leaving it was hard. However, even if I couldn’t live there, I do recommend people to visit Hong Kong and witness the diversity of people, cultures and food the country has to offer. If you look past the shopping or sight-seeing, you can experience more of Hong Kong within a day.

When I was in Hong Kong back in 2005, things were crazy. This was to be the first Asian country I’d be stepping foot into. During my travels, I usually go to fairly westernized countries due to the fact I wasn’t ready to step out of my comfort zone; I wasn’t ready to experience culture shock. But as a New Year’s resolution for 2005, I was ready to step out of my comfort zone and experience Asia.

I stayed in a hotel on Nathan Road which wasn’t too far from major attractions within the city. I was able to walk to a variety of locations including Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui Beach, Hong Kong Museum of Art and much more. I’d recommend people to walk there if they happen to have a lazy day; it’s better to experience the city on foot rather than on wheels!

Kowloon Nathan Road

At night, Temple Street becomes alive with shop vendors, the smell of delicious steam buns, and the sound of people shouting out their goods. You’ll be confronted with a wave of people, both local and tourist types walking down the streets enjoying their strolls or shopping adventures.

However, if you remove all the glitz and glam out of Kowloon, there’s always a section where you see the ‘not-so-glamorous’ side of the city. I’m referring to the Kowloon Walled City. There are no tall skyscrapers or expensive shopping districts here; the area was quite dodgy and it radiates a sense of insecurity. I went there because I wanted to see what the Walled City looked like. The Kowloon Walled City was a densely populated and largely ungoverned settlement in Kowloon.

Walking through the city itself, it almost felt like walking through a ghost town even if I knew there were people there. The buildings were tall, old, unstable and stained with rain water. When you look up in some areas, you can barely see the sky but instead, you see metal staircases coiling in front of buildings. Walking through the alleys you feel as if you’re being spied on when in reality, it’s your nerves.

The city was best known for its crime syndicates and underground activities. Maybe that’s the reason why nobody really goes there. It’s scary. It’s unnerving. It’s bizarre.

When I think about it, Kowloon really offers a sense of curiosity. On one hand, you had this lavish and close to luxurious city where the top brands were marketed, mixed in with local delicacies and knowledge. On the other hand you had an almost crumbling, decrepit building that houses deep histories.  It’s like viewing two sides of the same coin; one side was colorful while the other was dull. However, it shouldn’t hinder you from coming here to experience Hong Kong. There’s so much more to discover within the city rather than its attractions; experience the nature of the city by talking to its people or eating its delicious dishes. It’s worth it!

I’m glad I was able to come here to experience this city. If I had the opportunity, I would go back within a heartbeat! Kowloon has etched a permanent place in my heart and it would always be the place to go back to. When I need to get away from the madness of the West and enter the doors to the East, Kowloon would be here waiting for me.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Paradise Found: Redang Island, Malaysia

Posted on 15 February 2013 by Taya Ng

Just off the northeast coast of Peninsular Malaysia lies the idyllic tropical island of Redang. The ultimate paradise, this unspoilt isle is blessed with palm tree lined white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. And since it’s part of a protected marine park, the area boasts spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving.

How to get there

The quickest and easiest way to get to Redang Island is to fly to its tiny airport (RDN) from either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. Berjaya Air is the only airline operating seasonal direct flights (approximately one hour) from these two cities. Alternatively, some resorts provide complimentary ferry transfers included with their vacation packages from Merang and Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.


Where to stay

There are a dozen hotels on Redang, but the top property on the island is The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort. Located on the northern tip of Redang, this luxury resort is nestled on its own picturesque secluded bay, making it an ideal destination for discerning travelers wanting to get away from it all.

The resort is a quick five-minute drive from the airport and provides complimentary shuttle service. Upon arrival, check-in is a breeze as you’re greeted with delicious welcome drinks and refreshing cold towels.

There are a variety of lodging options available on this beautiful property including ocean front suites, hillside rooms with soaker tubs and lush rainforest views, and even an exclusive clifftop villa with stunning sea views complete with a personal butler at your beck and call.

Animal lovers can enjoy daily visits from monkeys on your room’s patio. Ensure you don’t leave any personal belongings outside because these little visitors have an affinity for tossing items off balconies trying to find any remnants of tasty room service orders.

Pro Tip: If you book online directly through the resort’s website, then you gain access to exclusive package deals that include accommodation and meals.

Where to eat

Dine on fresh seafood at the Beach Brasserie, sip cocktails on the sprawling chill out deck, explore the complex flavors of authentic Malaysian cuisine and taste an array of international dishes at Asean Terrace Lounge.

To celebrate a special occasion, you can book customized dining experiences. Ocean highlights include an intimate meal on a private yacht at sunset or lunch on a floating pontoon in the middle of the calm sea. Beach lovers can partake in a Robinson Crusoe ‘castaway’ for two, enjoy a traditional feast under the stars, or take pleasure in a bespoke candlelit dinner on the water’s edge.

Your holiday is not complete without drinking fresh coconuts on the beach with sand between your toes. These hydrating beverages are ordered from Bayu Bar for a few ringgits, but if you ask the groundskeepers, they’ll harvest some coconuts from the palm trees right on the beach and open them for you free of charge.

Additionally, there are a couple shops and small open air eateries located just before the entrance of the property. They offer quick meals, snacks and cold drinks for a fraction of the resort’s prices.


What to do

From relaxing and sunbathing to enjoying water and land sports, there is something for everyone on this ultimate tropical island. Spend a leisurely day on the beach swaying in a hammock and take respite from the equatorial sunshine by lounging on cushioned sunbeds in thatched cabanas. You’re guaranteed peace and quiet since the property is on a private cove (Teluk Dalam Kecil) and only resort guests have access to this beach.

Feel like getting active? This beach is excellent for swimming as the sheltered bay always has calm waters. Pick up a game of beach volleyball, play some tennis, or visit the fully equipped marine center to book diving excursions. Adventure seekers can trek into the jungle towards Teluk Dalam Besar beach, equally as pretty and often deserted.

Pro Tip: Rise before dawn and you’ll be mesmerized by the spectacular sunrises the island has to offer.


When to visit

Book your trip between March and October when Redang is blessed with sunshine and blue skies. It is advisable to avoid monsoon season during the months of November through February.

Redang Island is the perfect destination for a honeymoon vacation, romantic getaway or to celebrate a special anniversary. If you’re looking for a luxury holiday on an exclusive white sand beach with crystal clear water, then this is the ideal paradise for you.

Comments (2)

Tags: , , , , ,

Maharajas’ Express: A palatial way to explore India

Posted on 08 January 2013 by Lena Attwood

Inviting you to a world of exotic forts, royal palaces, age-old monuments, inspiring landscapes, sun-kissed sand dunes, mystic cities, and diverse wildlife is India’s latest luxury train – the Maharajas’ Express. From the royal interiors of the train to the select destinations, everything aboard this luxury train soothes your mind, calms your souls and yet excites your wild streak.

An Exterior view of Maharajas' Express train

An Exterior view of Maharajas' Express train

Conceived by the Indian Railways in 2010, the train flaunts the rich architectural heritage of the Kings of the bygone era. Where history is at your doorstep and luxury is at your command, a journey on board the Maharajas’ Express offers all luxurious comforts and amenities to the guests. A masterpiece in every sense of the word, it is adorned with two very finely decorated dining restaurants, a relaxing lounge, a well-stocked bar and majestic cabins designed to recreate the magic and elegance of the personal state carriages of Maharajas of the colonial era. The train carriages are fitted with panoramic windows to offer the vista of rolling landscape as train travels through some of the most fascinating landscapes and countryside of India. Sylvan parquets, intricate carvings and palette of soft hues characterize the interiors of the train. All cabins have individual temperature control, LCD television sets, DVD players, direct dial telephones, internet, even live television and electronic safe-deposit box. One of the many highlights of a trip aboard the luxurious Maharajas’ Express is the food with something to delight every appetite from berry compote pancake with fresh watermelon juice for breakfast, to filet mignon, smoked beef saltimbocca or prawn tikka for dinner. From Italian, French, Mediterranean to Mexican and Indian, every cuisine has got a place on the la carte menu of the two restaurants – Rang Mahal and Mayur Mahal aboard this train.

Rang Mahal Restaurant - Maharajas' Express

Rang Mahal Restaurant - Maharajas' Express

The train travels across some of the most captivating landscapes in India, covering well-known tourist destinations including Delhi, Mumbai, Agra, Jaipur, Ranthambore, Khajuraho, Udaipur, Varanasi and more. The medley of beautiful landscape, charismatic culture, diverse traditions and mystical history of India comes alive in the 5 exclusive Maharajas’ Express journeys, which have been recently launched by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) this year – Heritage of India, Treasures of India, Gems of India, Indian Panorama and The Indian Splendour.

Out of the 29 sites in India inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, the Maharajas’ Express journeys cover six of them, namely: Taj Mahal (Agra, Uttar Pradesh), Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh), Agra Fort (Agra, Uttar Pradesh), Jantar Mantar (Jaipur, Rajasthan), Khajuraho Temples (Madhya Pradesh), and Ajanta Caves (Maharashtra). Amidst all this sheer extravaganza and opulence, Maharajas’ Express lets its guests explore India’ most exotic and colorful locations of the Indian sub-continent like the battle scarred forts, the palaces of breathtaking grandeur and whimsical charm, wildlife parks and sanctuaries surrounded by barren mountains and the raw natural beauty of lakes and water bodies. The off-train excursions have been carefully planned keeping in mind the comfort and luxury of the guests. None of the journeys have been overloaded with trivial destinations to keep to trip enjoyable and invigorating. The peerless wonders included in the journeys on offer are eloquent reminders of the rich heritage that India is blessed with!

Champagne breakfast overlooking Taj Mahal

Champagne breakfast overlooking Taj Mahal

All in all, a journey aboard this luxury train offers a kaleidoscopic fiesta that lures you with its magical richness and stunning variety. No wonder the train has already bagged two major awards to its credit – 1st Runner up in the Conde Nast readers choice travel award 2011 and CNBC travel award 2010 under category of “Best Luxury train”.

All these luxuries and amenities come at a cost, which is a whopping USD 3580 per person per journey. The price can go up to USD 22000 for the grand presidential suite, which spans over an entire carriage!

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , ,

Heavens in Saigon

Posted on 08 January 2013 by backyardtravel

Swanky bars are all well and good, but nothing says “cool” like a buzzing rooftop bar. The feeling of being outdoors in the open air, enjoying the breeze high above a busy metropolis somehow adds extra ‘oomph’ to an evening. Perhaps it’s the altitude, or simply the stunning skyline that surrounds; either way a cocktail somehow tastes better when supped 60 floors up.

Here’s our picks for a delicious rooftop drink in Saigon:

Chill Sky Bar Saigon


Perched on the 27th floor of the AB Tower in District 1, Chill has been open for just over a year and attracts the sleek, sexy and well-dressed upper echelons of Saigon’s elite as well as foreign travelers seeking the best views of the city for their holiday snaps. Chill is the place to be seen splashing the cash in Saigon. Our tip – be sure to dress appropriately or risk the wrath of the maître d’ and an embarrassing U-turn!

Broma Bar


Broma is certainly the ‘new kid on the block’ in Saigon. Having been open just a few months, it’s currently the ‘fresh’ new venue in HCMC and has got tongues wagging with its faux-medieval decor and a three-meter-long fish tank built into the roof dividing Broma’s two levels, making it visible from both. Broma’s location in the center of the city is prime, in the shadows of the Bitexco Tower. The alfresco area on the second floor overlooks Nguyen Hue Street and the Saigon River and feels akin to a secret lair or tree house, where you can enjoy the breeze, some subtle lighting and the carefully crafted selection of Euro treats, beers and wines on the menu.

saigon saigon bar - caravel hotel

Saigon Saigon Bar

At ‘only’ nine floors up, Saigon Saigon Bar is a low-rise rooftop option, but still provides beautiful panoramic views of HCMC. Built in the 1950’s, like Rooftop Garden, this dusk-time drinking destination has a rich history and was one of the bars that journalists used to frequent during the Vietnam War, often using the bar as a viewpoint for spotting planes and aerial assaults going on around the city. Well…that was their excuse for being there every day anyway! HCMC is much more sedate now of course, but Saigon Saigon Bar still oozes history from all its nooks and crannies.


Shri Restaurant & Lounge

Crowning the 23rd floor of the Centec Tower in downtown Saigon, Shri’s modern European menu and bountiful list of imported wines aren’t for those traveling on a budget. As is the case so often in life though; you get what you pay for! Love-struck couples are a common sight here given the laid back romantic atmosphere Shri provides, especially during sunsets. So if you’re looking for a place to impress your ‘special someone’, this could be it!

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Why visit the Summer Palace in Ayutthaya?

Posted on 28 September 2012 by ayutthayatrip

Bang Pa-In is a small town around 50km north of Bangkok, and 20km south of the ancient capital of Ayutthaya. The town was established in the early 1630’s by King Prasat Thong of Ayutthaya as a second home for him and his family members during the summer months.

After the sacking of Ayutthaya by the Burmese army in 1767, the royal palace was left abandoned and unused while the new capital of Bangkok was being established.

Not until the reign of King Mongkut (King Rama IV), was the Summer Palace re-occupied and renovated. This work was continued by his son, the Great King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V), and it is his version of the Royal Palace that you can see today. Continue Reading

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Bali’s top destinations for culture, adventure, romance, luxury and island relaxation.

Posted on 04 July 2012 by Stefan Russel

One of the reasons that I love Bali so much is the diversity of the island. A short drive can take you from one place to something completely different, making you fell like you have crossed several borders.
Below my tips to destinations in Bali depending on whether you prefer temples and museums, candlelight dinners on the beach, volcano climbing, holidaying with the rich and famous or you just want to get away from it all on a tropical island.

Continue Reading

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

5 Things to do in Tokyo

Posted on 28 September 2011 by muchadoabouteating

One can enjoy Tokyo no matter how short the stay may be. Of the many things to do, these were those I did.

1. Walk through the lush greenery of Meiji Jingu Shrine 明治神宮. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Write your prayers on a piece of ema.

At Meiji Jingu

Ema to write one's wishes

2.  Pop into any ramen chain. Try to order lunch on the vending machine. Slurp and enjoy the piping hot goodness.

Ramen Vending Machine

Keika's ramen vending machine

3. Wake up early for Tsujiki Market 築地市場. Walk, look, buy and eat your way through.

A stall at Tsujiki Market

Random stall at Tsujiki Market

4. Visit the any intriguing shops and busk in Japanese’s way of life.

Shop in Midtown

Chopsticks shop at Midtown, Roppongi

5. Explore the amazing food basements numerous times. And eat till one’s content!

Pierre Herme at Isetan, Shinjuku

Pierre Herme at Isetan, Shinjuku

Have fun in Tokyo!

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Magical Mystery Food Tour around Chiang Mai

Posted on 26 May 2011 by Alex Gunn

Hang on to your hats, one way round no bumping…here we go. This is a whistle stop food tour for the serious food lover around the magical jungle city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Not for the faint hearted.     chiang mai moat life coaching holiday

Our day starts early with fresh brewed local coffee at my good friend Khun Sonthaya’s Coffee House. Now this might not sound too impressive, but good coffee is not that easy to find in a city strangely obsessed with instant Nescafe and condensed milk. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big “condensed milk with everything” fan but first thing in the morning it doesn’t really cut the mustard, does it. Not for the likes of you or I anyway.

Khun Sonthaya only buys top class local coffee beans from a small company called HillKoff who grow their coffee on the humid mountain sides just outside of Chiang Mai. You can, as a special treat, ask Khun Sonthaya for the special Civet Poo Coffee that is now being locally produced by a small organic organisation up in the mountains. Let me explain.

At night wild Civets (a notoriously shy and illusive cat like mammal) emerge from their day time hidy holes to creep through the jungle feeding on whatever they can find…notably the freshest and ripest coffee beans which they are most partial to (apparently). As the coffee bean passes through their gut, acids remove the outer layer of the bean which gives the coffee a strong but smooth taste (I did say not for the faint hearted). In the morning a small team of poo hunters comb the mountain side for Civet poo in order to process it into tiny amounts of rare tasting coffee. The price as you can imagine is horrendous. In America it sells for between $35 and $50 dollars per cup.

After coffee, Khun Sonthaya will join us for the rest of our food tour. We’re all off to Ching Choo Chai breakfast restaurant on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. Don’t try to find it by yourself…you won’t. It’s out of town and in an odd location off the ring road. It’s a real “locals only” place frequented by everyone from traffic cops to bank managers. There’s no menu, no hanging about and no disappointment; it serves the best breakfast you will find anywhere in the world (and God knows I’ve looked hard). You have a choice of 3 things; pork and rice, pork ball soup and rice porridge with (you guessed it) pork. I’m going to treat you to pork and rice (Cow Ca Moo). The pork is braised for hours and is so tender it does actually feel like it melts in your mouth. The rice is local jasmine rice that is served with the cooking juices of the pork. To off set the smoothness of the pork it is served with a spoonful of home made pickled cabbage and wonderfully hot spicy red chilli sauce.

Apart from serving the best breakfast in the world Ching Choo Chai’s prices are fairly competitive. To eat breakfast here with me and Sonthaya it will set you back less than the price of a Mars Bar in the 7 Eleven. So, breakfasts on me. I am the last of the big spenders!

life coaching food at market

Okay, ready for lunch? We’ll warm up by stopping off at the side of the road to buy a massive bunch of fresh Lychees. We’ll munch our way through as we speed off in my old diesel truck to a lunch restaurant called “that Northern Thai chicken place next to the moat”. Every lunch time they roast hundreds of chickens on big outdoor grills made from old oil drums. We’ll order a couple of plump golden good’uns and some hot and sweet red chilli dipping sauce. As a special treat…just because you’re with us today I’ll treat you to what is literally translated as a “Pork Shower”. Great name isn’t it. It is a type of ground pork salad mined with spicy chillies and freshened with chopped coriander and mint. It’s a great accompaniment to anything. We’ll wash all of this down with iced lemon tea and some of their home made coconut ice cream.

Now then, lets have a walk along the tree lined moat to work up a proper appetite…the leafyness and coolness of which always, and rather romantically, reminds me of  Paris (sorry but it really does). To take our minds of Paris I’ll treat you to some mango and sticky rice as we walk along.

Finally, as the day is drawing to an end and the sun is slipping behind the ever present Suthep Mountain we’ll set off, back out of town to my favourite fish and sea food restaurant locally known as “That fish and sea food restaurant out of town”. It’s a big operation and incredibly popular with Thai families. It starts to fill up from 5pm onwards and is staffed by an incredibly efficient army of waiting staff. We’ll get a table over the big central pond near the fountain so the afternoon air is cool and fresh. Our smiling waitress won’t leave until we have ordered everything we want, so nobody gets left behind. We’ll let Khun Sonthaya order as it’ll be quicker. I’ll put in a request for both of us, what about; a whole Pomfret fish steamed with ginger, shallots and lime, stir fried spinney crab, a few oyster omelettes (just because they are so good), some rice and a spicy papaya salad, all washed down with a big iced jug of beer.

fish restaurant from counselling retreat

We’ll sit out late under the stars in the moonlit shadow of the mountains listening to the distant and strange whirring noise of the Nightjars watching the owls swoop down from the forests and the bats flitting about the street lights. We’ll relax and talk about food, maybe order a couple of Thai whiskies and think about where we should eat tomorrow. Or shall we just do it all the same again.?

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Chiang Mai Has Gone Bananas

Posted on 11 March 2011 by Alex Gunn

banana sellers

You may think the idea of having 5 different types of bananas to choose from is entirely normal. But, I can assure you that if you had grown up on the outskirts of London in the 1970s were it was unusual to buy fruit at all (unless someone was ill) you would also share my amazement. 

When we were kids a sign of extravagance was to have a bowl of fruit on the sideboard. At Christmas it was joined by a small bowl of walnuts. There were only ever 3 kinds of fruit in the bowl, apples, oranges and bananas. The apples were soft, the oranges bitter but the bananas were at least a bland non offensive alternative. They usually disappeared first, then the apples and the oranges were sometimes left untouched and alarmingly none the worse for several years.

How can it be that you can get to 40 something years old and not realize there are varieties of banana. You would think that someone might tell you along the way, in the same way that you get to realize that the moon is not really made from cheese or the school nurse tells every boy their eyesight is so good they could be a fighter pilot (I was eighteen when an optician nearly killed himself laughing).

When I moved to Chiang Mai I basically thought that bananas were bananas. I had some vague idea that I had seen tiny, miniature bananas in Harrods or somewhere posh like that, which cost about a million pounds, but just assumed they were some weird affectation of the rich and famous (“Jeeves….make my bananas smaller!”). It is therefore with childlike delight that I can walk down the road any time and peruse several varieties of banana in my local market.

At the moment the market looks like a banana festival on Planet Banana. There are tables full of bananas of every shape, size and hue of yellow. I love the tiny finger sized ones that come in enormous bunches of up to 20 fruit. What I particularly like is the fact that you get so much for only 20 Thai Baht and when you eat them you feel like a giant. The flesh of these tiny fun sized bananas is a pleasing dark yellow. As different to the white anemic tasteless things we grew up eating as you could possibly get.

The fact that they are so wonderfully small and good to eat really does get me. Imagine being able to eat little water melons or growing tiny little juicy apples on little fairy trees. Moving to Thailand must be as close as you can get to moving to a different universe.

Although the tiny bananas are a knock out they do not have as good a taste as the big traditional looking fellows. My Thai friend told me that the literal translation for this type of banana is “good smell” which is certainly well placed. When you peel them they are beautifully fragrant which makes them irresistible. Although the flesh is whiter than the small ones they are creamier in taste and not as grainy and seem to command much higher prices.

In between these 2 extremes there are what I call “everyday bananas”. I get the feeling that people don’t really like them, that they are a bit common, which suits me fine. They are certainly the cheapest, I can get a big bunch for just 10 Baht or even 5 Baht if they won’t keep too long. They tend to be fairly straight and modest in size. The last bunch that I bought had hard black seeds inside like lead shot. It was the first ever time I’ve eaten a banana that has got pips. Will the wonders of Thailand never cease?

I have a strange affliction whereby I will almost certainly cycle down to the market this evening completely certain that I don’t need to buy any more bananas only to return with another huge bunch feeling strangely proud. My children are beginning to develop a pale yellow tinge although luckily for me the novelty of banana sandwiches has yet to wear thin. Perhaps I’ll buy just one more bunch.

 banana trees in old house

Comments (0)

Sign In

Amy Ma

Food & Drink + Hong Kong

Amy is a regular contributor to the South China Morning Post and Wall Street Journal amongst other publications. [...]

Pua Mench

Hong Kong

Pua is a writing and traveling enthusiast based in Hong Kong, with a weakness for all things related to the culinary arts and healing modalities, and a passion for sustainable living. [...]

Kim Inglis

Wellness Spa

Kim has been an editor and journalist for over 20 years, more than half of which has been spent in Asia. [...]

Nellie Huang

Travel Adventures + Singapore

Nellie has been published in Food & Travel magazine and Lifestyle, and is a contributing author of V!VA's Guatemala Guidebook. She writes to travel, and travels to write. [...]

Sarah Jane Evans

Travel Adventures + Borneo

She has published travel articles in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia in publications including: Vacations and Travel magazine... [...]

Carrie Kellenberger

Photo Blog + Taiwan

She has traveled throughout Asia, finding work as a writer, editor, educator, voice over artist, photographer, and nightclub singer. [...]

Mark Lean

Kuala Lumpur

From writing about music, Mark expanded his focus to design, fashion, food and travel. In recent years, he has explored the highs and lows of Asia. [...]

Joel Quenby

Entertainment + Asia News

Joel is a British writer and journalist who's lived, worked and traveled in Southeast Asia since 2002. He's filed yarns for numerous publications...[...]

Alex Gunn

Chiang Mai

After several diverse careers as a circus performer, school teacher, psychotherapist, stunt pilot and university lecturer he can now be found poking about far flung markets, museums, restaurants and odd places in and around Chiang Mai.. [...]

Page 1 of 41234»