Whether you’re frolicking in the hot summer days of the Northern Hemisphere or all wrapped up against the cool wintry season in the Southern Hemisphere, our picks of good food will keep even the most intrepid travellers out there happily satisfied.
Words: Alice Yong
For an authentic taste of Korean traditions, join a cooking class or food tour by O’ngo Food Communications in Seoul, South Korea. Conducted by Dr. Jia Choi, who trained at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York, the hands-on classes in English or Japanese highlight local flavours and seasonal ingredients with visits to local food markets to buy the necessary ingredients. Beginners can start with homemade haemul pajeon (seafood pancake) and sundubu (soft tofu stew) while more experienced foodies may opt for Vegan Temple and Royal Court Cuisine classes. www.ongofood.com
GETTING THERE AirAsia X flies daily to Seoul from Kuala Lumpur. Go to www.airasia.com for details.
Best to Bento
Think out of the lunch box for your next picnic. Transform rice, meat, fish, vegetable and bread into edible works of art with author and blogger Crystal ‘Pikko’ Watanabe. From whimsical kiddy creations to festive themed masterpieces, there’s a special bento (set meal box) for every occasion! Read about Crystal’s bento-making adventures and learn useful tips, tricks and recipes to make your own culinary masterpiece at www.aibento.net
Bali‘s most sought-after restaurant, bar and lounge, Sarong, was voted by readers of the Miele Guide as one of Asia’s top 20 restaurants last year. For the 2012/13 edition, Sarong and its sister outlet Mama San are currently in the running to be amongst the region’s best in the restaurant guide that profiles Asia’s best restaurants and top chefs across 18 countries. It is indeed a taste of sweet success for both restaurants that have been enticing visitors with their innovative Asian-inspired street food. www.sarongbali.com
If you relish the idea of going to a private Malaysian home for a traditional meal prepared by the family matriarch or, scouring for the best eats at cosy, offbeat family-run restaurants or old food stalls, check out Simply Enak’s unique ‘Dine with a Local’ programme. Headed by Kuala Lumpur-born and bred Pauline Lee, Simply Enak specialises in private tailor-made food tours for visitors to the capital city of Malaysia. www.simplyenak.com
Yummy in Ho Chi Minh City
“The best home-style Vietnamese cuisine minus the fancy presentation I’ve tasted is at Cuc Gach Quan – The Brick Restaurant (10 Dang Tat, Tan Dinh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, tel: +848 38480144). Sited in an old Vietnamese house, access to the restaurant is via a narrow bridge across a koi pond and a steep flight of stairs. Feast on crispy fried soft tofu with lemongrass, young watercress salad with beef, a mildly tangy soup of river fish paste with baby starfruit, tomato and dill, and caramelised fresh water fish in claypot. Complete your meal with pure pomelo juice or iced passionfruit with honey.”
~ Vincent Tan, executive chef, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The Best of Indonesia
Packed with 200 tantalising recipes and colour photographs, The Best of Indonesian Cooking will have novice and seasoned cooks drooling with delight. Authored by four Indonesian ladies who are experts in their own fi elds, this informative tome will educate you with its comprehensive step-by-step instructions and overview of typical spices, seasonings, key ingredients and kitchen utensils used in Indonesian cooking. www.marshallcavendish.com/genref
Three to the Fore
Renowned New Zealand winery, Craggy Range, teams up with The Club Saujana Resort for an exclusive Wine Maker Dinner on June 2 at The Restaurant. A sumptuous six-course dinner (RM210++ per person) will be whipped up by a team of three chefs: Austrian-born Chef Alexander Waschl from The Club Saujana Resort, Executive Chef Conny Andersson from The Datai Langkawi and Executive Chef Jerome Carrouee from the The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Here’s your chance to sample the exclusive Te Muna, Kidnapper’s and Fletcher Family wines: top tipples that reflect the unique weather and cultural aspects of the vineyard and the distinct characteristics of the vintage, served alongside truly delicious dishes. www.theclubsaujanaresort.com
Here are some good reasons to indulge in the finest quality chocolates.
CHOCOLATE DECREASES THE RISKS OF STROKE
- A Swedish study indicates that eating more than 45g of chocolate (especially dark chocolate) per week decreases the risk of stroke among women by 20% due to the flavonoids and antioxidant properties found in chocolate.
- Eating about 7g of dark chocolate daily can prevent blood inflammation and improve blood flow to the brain.
CHOCOLATE MAKES YOU SMARTER
- British psychologists found that flavanols in chocolate helped their study volunteers with mental math skills such as counting backwards from a randomly-generated number between 800 and 999 after drinking a cup of hot chocolate.
Laap from Laos
This salad like dish is generally considered the national dish of Laos. Made from any kind of meat that is minced and marinated with a variety of spices and herbs, the meat can be eaten cooked or raw like a ceviche. It is often served with a side dish of sticky rice.
“I had a very fresh and delicious fish laap at The Lao Garden Pub & Restaurant (KM3, Thaduer Road, Vatnak Village, Sisattanak) in Vientiane. Though raw, the fish was so well marinated and seasoned, it tasted amazingly delicious! It’s a great way to get acquainted with Laotian cuisine”
~ Khairul Azhar Zahari, AirAsia guest