Night Market, Phuket, Thailand

I absolutely adore Thai street food! The smells, the flavours, it’s quick, is it healthy?, filling & cheap! What more do you want!!?

The night market in Phuket does not disappoint! It has every sort of food & drink you could ask for. I start with a coconut, then a cold lemon & honey drink & I finish with a thai iced coffee – I have been dreaming of this since I last left Bangkok.

Even walking around the night market is a delight for your senses, there’s music, souvenirs for sale & you can even get your hair cut if you fancy.

 

The Western guy getting his hair cut draws a crowd of onlookers

The food was incredible. I didn’t know where to start. My two friends were happy to share so we winded our way down the stalls stopping to sample along the way. In the end I got the Kanom Krok (coconut pancakes I LOVE). I got so many I had to give a dozen away in the end. I have been dreaming about these little guys since my last trip to Thailand 2 years before. I also got a thai salad which was so spicy I gave it to a thai family sitting nearby. I got delicious pad thai as well. My god it was all worth the wait!

 

 

Honey lemon on tap – Bliss!

 

 

 

 

I was quick to get a sweet Thai iced coffee

 

Condensed milk, the cornerstone of any good Thai iced coffee

 

They make the salad on the spot using these delicious fresh ingredients

 

This salad was far too spicy for me!

 

 

You HAVE to try!

 

 

Little pockets of deliciousness

 

Making the magic happen ❤

Tomorrow I travel to the fitness retreat so I shouldn’t really be indulging – but I love Thai food so much I can’t resist!

Advertisements

Eating in Kathmandu, Nepal

Successfully eating my way around the world…..

Here’s some of what Kathmandu has to offer:

I can’t tell you how much I want Pad Thai right now!

Rosemary Cafe

This place does lovely breakfasts. I adored the french toast, bacon & maple syrup. It has a sweet outdoor seating area, good service & great food. I often came here alone to sort out my life with the decent wifi. Occasionally I would bring a friend & they were always impressed with this side street find.

 

OR2K

This is a really popular restaurant with numerous floors. It has a cool, chilled vibe, sociable on floor seating, a vast menu & quirky decor. This was a firm favourite with all my friends, but personally I thought it was a bit pricey & I didn’t really love the food. I would happily curl up here with a book & ginger, lemon & honey. They have a sister restaurant in Pokhara which is exactly the same decor & vibe. Worth checking out.

 

Chick N Falafel

There was a wrap bar under OR2K & I noticed before the queues outside. Taking this as a positive sign I joined the queue & had my first wrap! It was a spiced chicken, salad & sauce wrapped in a steaming mann – tasty, cheap & super filling. I loved it & wish I tried it sooner. After discovering it I had it every other day!

 

Pumpernickel Bakery

I came here for breakfast a few times & it was lovely. It has a laid back atmosphere & great food with freshly baked goods . The fruit, muesli, curd was my staple here & the great wifi meant that I would often sit here for a few hours planning my trip.

 

Utse Restaurant

The hostel recommended this restaurant to us as a hidden nepalese gem. This is a traditional menu with great options. We got thalis & were overwhelmed with the amount of food that arrived! Great value for the amount of food you get.

 

Thamel Momo Hut

Being the momo addict I am of course I couldn’t pass the momo hut without calling in. Lovely momos! Not the best I’ve had, but I won’t knock a momo!

 

New Orleans Cafe

This is a cute restaurant, a bit more expensive than others. It has a good menu & a selection from the west as well. The cocktail list was tempting!

 

Sum Cafe

This was part of our hostel, Thamel 327, offering a nice menu, average/expensive price. I had breakfast a few times here but would normally get a ginger, lemon, honey here then venture out for a walk & find somewhere else to eat. Friendly staff & great hostel!

 

 

 

Eating in Pokhara, Nepal


Pokhara has that backpacker eatery  thing going on. They know what they’re doing. It isn’t exactly cheap & many places add 20% on top of the bill. When you’re a backpacker on a budget you only fall for this a few times before it becomes the first thing you check in a restaurant. Here are a selection of some of the lovely places I visited:

 

AM/PM Organic food

The fruit, museli & curd here is lovely! It is served in a mason jar & feels very London good living chic – not litter strewn Pokhara. It tastes lovely. The wifi is good here, the service is good & I enjoyed the ambiance. It’s quite western & a bit more expensive than other cafes. I was most impressed at a cheeseboard on the menu – I couldn’t afford to try it!

 

Peace Eye Cafe

I came her for a shake & it tasted so terrible I couldn’t drink anymore – which, for a massive foodie like me, was extremely disappointing! I didn’t come back here after which was annoying because the decor & ambience was really chill.

 

Guesthouse next to Peace Eye Cafe

I visited this cafe/hotel daily while I was doing my course as it was nearby. The fruit, muesli & curd was so tasty & really reasonable. Their juices were nice as well. The atmosphere was laid back & homely. I visited so often that the staff & even some of the other guests just presumed I was staying here.

 

OR2K

This is pure backpacker haven. The comfy seating on floor is so chilled out. This restaurant is really big & spacious with stunning views of the lake & mountains. The wifi is good – when the electric is working & there are plenty of plug sockets for everyone. Unfortunately I didn’t really enjoy the food here & on several occasions I passed my barely touched plate on to fellow backpackers. The staff are friendly & it is nicely decorated. This is a branch of the same named restaurant in Kathmandu, they are very popular.

 

The Hungry Eye

I came here a few times, mainly for decent wifi access. It’s a nice comfy place to lounge in. The food is ok. The hot chocolates hit the spot & staff are friendly. They have good wifi – when the electricity is working.

 

Godfather’s Pizzeria

I heard good things about this restaurant & I had to try it! I wasn’t disappointed. The electric went out mid meal & we all sat in darkness nibbling our pizza’s until the generators fired on. If you’re a pizza fan check it out.

 

Olive Branch

We came here the night before my friends went for their Annapurna Circuit hike. They had impressive looking curry. The food was nice & they have a happy hour beer & wine deal.

 

I have no doubt you can find something for all tastes in Pokhara – & remember, TripAdvisor is your friend!

Dumpling heaven! Cookery class in Kathmandu, Nepal

Dumpling, momo, gyoza – whatever the hell you want to call these little sacks of heaven. I am addicted to them!

Considering how many damn dumplings I ate in McLeod Ganj, I couldn’t very well not attend a dumpling making class! I signed up along with a lovely American girl from my dorm room. My Brazilian friend didn’t come as she has a cook at home & has no interest in cookery herself – The culture differences are so fascinating. Cooking is a big social part of my life. I enjoy being the host & provider for family & friends. The majority of my friends have a similar affection to cooking & we often take it in turns to host each other & sporadically bake cakes (ok, maybe that bit is mostly just me…I love baking).

I booked the course with Social Tours. They seem to be a very popular, well run & honest company offering a wide array of activities, classes & volunteering opportunities. If you go to Nepal you should definitely check them out. One of my friends from home frequently works with this company having started out as a volunteer with them. She speaks incredibly highly about them & you can see the bonds she has developed with the owners who she now considers dear friends. I also spoke to a young girl currently volunteering for them in a school. She was nearing the end of her program & visually upset to be leaving in one week. She was determined she would be back again & said her heart was in Nepal. I found this so encouraging after the horror stories of volunteer tourism & how, for example, orphanages are set up solely for the profit of this new tourism boom.

When my friend & I arrived for the course the atmosphere was very relaxed. We had a coffee & chilled in the common area chatting with the course coordinator. He was very friendly & spoke openly about his recent marriage, problems he encountered due to his caste & all the good work his company is doing. It is almost childlike the innocence & inquisitive manner we take speaking to each other with no prejudice, just wanting to learn more about each others cultures. Most people I speak to are surprised when I tell them I’m not married & I don’t have children. Some have even elaborated to tell me if it was someone in their country they would wonder what was wrong with them! I found this hilarious – although in hindsight this could be crying material gold next time I’m feeling emotional….

A girl took us to the shops to buy the ingredients for the dumplings. We got chicken (the frozen chickens were heaped upon each other in the open freezer & cut on the fly infested unclean chopping board), potatoes, spinach, herbs, cheese & a mars bar. We took our ingredients back to the centre & into the well organised clean kitchen area. We washed our hands & set to work creating our dumpling delights!

 

 

 

 


The two ladies taking the course were very friendly, talkative & open. We were able to find out about them & give them an insight into our lives. They said they rarely make dumplings because it can be time consuming & more expensive that traditional Dal Bhat. The majority of Nepalese eat dal bhat twice a day, everyday (according to all the locals I spoke to). Dal Bhat is a local favourite comprising of a curry, rice, a potato side, vegetables, chutney & bread. It is cheap & easy to make & very filling. On the mountains the trekking guides & porters eat it religiously as it keeps their strength up for the day.

Together we chopped the ingredients for the dumpling fillings while another lady prepared the dough to wrap the dumplings in. We filled these with our mixtures: spinach, potato & cheese, & chicken & coriander.

The ladies made the dumplings look so simple. They were masters of the folds & twists while my American friend struggled atrociously! It was hilarious as her dumplings looked dreadful & each one had to be redone so they wouldn’t split open during steaming. Have a guess which dumpling is hers in the picture below…

I managed mine ok, but I was only going half the pace of the rapid Nepalese! We made two different shapes of dumplings then the girls cut up the mars bar & put it in the dough wraps for dessert. We were so excited when the dumplings were ready!

The dumplings were steamed quickly & served to us in a lovely handmade leaf bowl. We were too busy chatting amongst each other to pay attention about the delicious peanut & spicy sauces the ladies made to accompany the savoury dumplings. They were amazing! The ladies set the table for the four of us then served up the dumplings. Oh my goodness they were incredible! We were so impressed with how flavoursome they were! We got another portion then had our sweet mars bar dumpling for after. It was divine! It sent us into that silence that only people experiencing true pleasure know!

With a full happy belly we paid for our afternoon cookery class (the price is what you think it’s worth), thanked everyone & walked contentedly back to our hostel rubbing our full tums.

If you get a chance I defiantly recommend coming here to do a cookery course & checking out the other activities Social Tours has available.*

 

*This is not a sponsored post

My favourite restaurants in McLeod Ganj

Here’s a run down of my top 10 favourite restaurants in McLeod Ganj – I didn’t lie when I told you all I did here was eat…..

 

10 Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen

img_3753

I had a lovely pizza here & a chocolate brownie & ice cream. The food was nice but nothing exceptional. I found a long thick black hair in my chocolate brownie so I stopped eating it – maybe it was a blessing in disguise…?

 

9 Nick’s Italian Kitchen

This was a busy & popular restaurant my friends loved to go to. The wifi is hit & miss, mostly miss. I tried the Tibetan butter tea here & I really didn’t like it! I’ll stick to trusty ginger, lemon, honey tea. The outside seats have beautiful views of the Himalayas but beware of the odd rogue monkey! They have a wide menu of Italian & international foods.

 

 

8 Woeser Bakery

img_3560

German bakeries are apparently a big deal in India & I have found them everywhere I’ve went. I called into this one for a traybake & I wasn’t especially impressed. The traybake was fine, but nothing exceptionally delicious. Nice for a sugar hit. I’m not sure why it’s so highly rated on trip advisor.

 

7 Carpe Diem

img_3548

This was a nice enough restaurant with comfortable on floor cushion seats. I came here to do some research & ordered & got the wifi code then discovered the wifi wasn’t working. So frustrating when you’re in the mood to be productive!  The staff didn’t seem to care & just kept giving out the wifi code to other people despite knowing it wasn’t working. I got a hello to the queen which was grand. I don’t think I could ever be disappointed with one! Where can you go wrong with crumbled cookies, ice cream & chocolate?

 

6 Lobsang’s Four Seasons Restaurant

This was a cute Tibetan restaurant serving traditional cuisine of soups & momo’s as well as pizza & pasta. I enjoyed the traditional atmosphere however sometimes service was a bit slow. They have a small book exchange & free wifi.

 

5 Tibet Kitchen

img_3690

I got some delicious momo’s here. In case you haven’t noticed I’m a momo addict. I can’t get enough of them! This is a clean, busy restaurant with a nice atmosphere. I wish I discovered it sooner during my stay.

 

4 Indique

img_3534

I really liked this Indian restaurant. It had outside rooftop dining which was lovely, the wifi was ok. The menu was lovely & the food looked & tasted great. They had a varied book exchange. The menu was a bit pricier to what I’ve become accustomed to in India. I also think I may have gotten sick here….

 

3 Moonpeak Espresso

This was a modern cafe with a nice food menu. They do a pot of ginger, lemon & honey which I love! The wifi is good & if you get a window seat the views & people watching are a delight.

 

2 Black Tent Cafe

9c5a36b7-235d-435a-bbaf-96e729aef9c6

I adored this quaint cafe/restaurant. It was really laid back with the cushion on the floor seating I just love. I could easily relax here with a book & ginger, lemon, honey tea. The food was ok. I had a toastie which was a lovely throwback to western cuisine but very greasy. The staff were really friendly & chatty.

 

1 Snow Lion Restaurant

img_3546

This is a comfy, laid back restaurant with sofa’s to lounge on. They have a big book exchange & good menu of breakfast food, momos, milkshakes & desserts! Their only downfall was the momo’s were fried & I prefer them steamed (I’m quite a momo prude nowadays….). Their wifi is good & there were a lot of plug outlets available.  I could happily relax here with a drink & plan my next few days travel. The open plan & spacious tables make it easy to strike conversation with fellow travellers & I would often see the same people here.

 

Bhagsu has some lovely restaurants as well, so if you’re staying in the area it’s worth checking out.

 

What did you do in McLeod Ganj??

Hello to the queen – a popular dessert in India!

If anyone was ever to ask me what I did in McLeod Ganj the answer would be eat.

img_3548

A pot of chai & a Hello to the queen to share

I ate everything there. Days were focussed on what I would eat & where I would go next. I strategically planned in order to visit as many places as possible & ordered according to what would compliment my friend’s meal.

Gyoza

I ate cake, curries & gyoza. I had museli, samosas & soups, pizza, pasta & pancakes. You name it, I ate it!

Chilli sweet potato fries

McLeod Ganj caters extremely well to the foodie backpackers keen to try EVERYTHING.

Lord knows I did!

Chocolate brownie & ice cream

Sugar free me!

I have been reading up about sugar, food processing, chemicals included in processed food & the harsh reality that we have no idea what we are consuming. It has been a rude awakening for me as I have always trusted food labels claiming their contents are ‘good’ for me. I feel like this industry has been fooling people for years & I hope they face retribution once we are honestly educated on the matter.

My favourite book has been Swallow this: Serving up the food industry’s darkest secrets by Joanna Blythman http://www.amazon.co.uk/Swallow-This-Serving-Industrys-Darkest/dp/0007548338/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438550270&sr=8-1&keywords=swallow+this

It is an informative & interesting read with a manageable amount of science in it. My facial expression whilst reading it was one of discomfort & unease. The thought of eating processed foods now makes me want to wretch. I am embracing this as a turning point.

I also read Sweet Poison by David Gillespie http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweet-Poison-David-Gillespie/dp/0718179072/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438551407&sr=8-1&keywords=the+sweet+poison This made me realise fructose is my main nemesis. Sugar is off my Christmas card list, but fructose I intend to avoid like the plague.

images-2

I am so frustrated with government & big food manufacturers lying to the public & endangering our lives, health & happiness to line their pockets. Do they eat their own produce after knowing the detrimental health affects & the chemical processes the ‘fresh’, ‘added vitamins’, ‘natural’ produce has endured to deplete it of all nutritional value. Disgusting. I hate being hoodwinked.
images-1

For years I have been on & off dieting. It’s difficult when the food recommended to dieters with the best intention to become healthier is, of course, highly processed & chemically altered. Take the Glycaemic Index for example. Food with added sweeteners are lower GI & deemed good for you. Bullshit! This is what has made me, at times, a miserable yo-yo dieter. Forever buying seemingly ‘healthy’ products from these people while costing me my health, happiness, money & sanity at the confusion why they weren’t working. These companies have a lot to answer for.

We were concerned about chemical warfare in the future. Look to your plate. You have been consuming it your entire life.

Let me know if you want me to write a blog on how I’m eliminating sugar from my life, the results & the facts I’ve learnt.