Review: La Taberna Alhambra, Madrid

cof

It took me over 35 hours to reach Madrid from Tokyo and three flights. The plus side was I got to hunt down noodles and night markets in China en route. But despite these indulgences I was starving by the time I arrived.

To make matters worse, little sister who kindly came to meet me at the airport was brain addled due her “sleep is for the weak” campaign. It took her nearly 25 minutes and several wrong transfer buses and escalators later to meet me at arrivals.

Fortunately, she had done some research (by research, I mean, looked up some decent restaurants) and she ushered me promptly into La Taberna Alhambra on the way home. Continue reading

Exploring Jianghan Road, Wuhan

cof

cof

When I booked a flight from Tokyo to Madrid, I didn’t imagine I’d be dragging my suitcase round a night market in central China. But that’s exactly how things played out.

A layover of 8 hours in Wuhan forced my hand; there was absolutely no way I was going to sit in an airport that long when a 24-hour transit visa exists. An adventure beckoned.

Continue reading

Recipe: Easy Punjabi Chicken Curry and Mixed Vegetable Dhal

img_20161011_201808

I love spicy food. And when I say spicy, I don’t just mean chilli heat that burns your tongue off. I mean food that is really rich in spices, with flavours that have tantalising layers and aromatic depths.

So, admittedly, it’s quite tragic that I fell in love with Japan where flavours are clean, simple and precise – with an emphasis on minimalism to bring out the essence of the original ingredient.

This has its place, but sometimes I just want a really tasty curry. Even better if it’s one I can make in under an hour… Continue reading

Review: Daidarabou, Takasaki / 大大坊、高崎市

img_6200

Daidarabou / 大大坊

I love adventures but sometimes I feel that I am a stranger in my flat, because I am home so infrequently. This weekend, I would’ve maybe tried to take it easy (I can hear my friends’ laughter echo as I write this….) but I had to catch a train to somewhere. Yes, had to. Let me explain… Continue reading

Dining at Minshuku Baikou, Shimoda

IMG_3808

This weekend was what is known as a “sanrenkyu” in Japan, or in other words, a three-day holiday. Although the Japanese have by law 10 days paid holiday per year for just 6 months of service, increasing thereafter to 20 days, due to the extreme work culture – which, incidentally is one of the least efficient worldwide – long-suffering workers only take an average of 9 days a year.

This gives national holidays a particular significance as everyone can legitimately take a bit of break. Which means that every hotel in a popular can area will be literally fully booked.

Which means it is normally a terrible idea to try and book last minute.

Which is something I always seem to end up doing. Continue reading

Eating in Taipei: street food snacks from 巧房餡餅

IMG_2929

Cōng yóubǐng / spring onion oil pancake

Would I write a blog post dedicated to an oil pancake, a  simple street food snack? Why yes, yes I would. To me, this is what is being a foodie is all about.

There’s been a backlash against the term “foodie”. The argument is that it has lost it’s meaning … and in a way, it has. That’s because it’s drowning in meanings. It can be someone who knows a lot about food, someone who enjoys their food, or someone who really appreciates high quality food and is probably/possibly slightly snobbish.

I would class myself as planting both feet and an elbow(?) in all three categories. Junk food is definitely out, but I’m flexible when it comes to the health benefits (or not) of different food.

So, no, my street food does not have to cost £9.50 and be soaked in truffle oil (London, I’m looking at you!). Continue reading

A Traditional Taiwanese Breakfast: Yong He Dou Jiang Da Wang 永和豆浆大王

IMG_2831

IMG_2842

Yong He Dou Jiang Da Wang / Yong He Soy Milk King / 永和豆浆大王

I know I may have written that I want to be Italian, but there is one other country I would happily claim some culture from – and that’s Taiwan. It all began with a fantastically fun trip to Taipei back in 2012, which was then followed by encountering someone who would become one my closest friends – and even get me into trouble for laughing too loudly. And that someone happens to be Taiwanese. We would joke that we were twins separated at birth. Except when I fervently photographed my food – at those times, she would sigh and say, “Why are you more Asian than me?!”

But if there were another a reason that I should be Taiwanese, it’s the fact that they take breakfast very seriously. There is a culture of crowding round street vendors or restaurants with street seating, buying all kinds of freshly fried and steamed treats. The news that I can stuff my face for under 80元 (~260 yen) whilst sitting on the street surrounded by all the sights and smells of breakfasting was a clear signal that Taiwan is a place where my stomach belongs. At least, in the mornings. Continue reading