A taste of Thailand: experience the cuisine

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Thai cuisine needs no introduction, visit any town in the western world and you are likely to find a Thai restaurant within a short distance. Thai food in Thailand, however, is a whole new experience; as skilled as Thai chefs are in taking foreign food and putting a spin on it, traditional dishes are all about detail, balance and variety. The juxtaposition of hot, salty, sweet and sour flavors is what makes the food so special. As with many national dishes, Thai food reflects its country’s environment, culture and values. From street food to a la carte, the food of this Asian nation is full of flavor and ingenuity.

Back to basics

Traditional Thai cuisine is basic in terms of how quick and light preparation is, yet complex in terms of balancing the flavors. In most cases, the food has at least three or four elements of taste that come together to form a perfect blend to awaken the senses. Smell is just as important as taste and Thai dishes generally have a mild yet identifiable aroma which carries throughout the eating process and stays for some time after.

Thailand’s calling card to the rest of the world is Pad Thai. Though an infinite number of variations exist, the national dish comprises beansprouts, noodles, tofu and onion; the finishing touch is the sprinkling of peanuts that are ground almost to dust. Any other ingredients you decide to add, such as fish sauce, peanut sauce or chili oil, you can. The dish has raw ingredients not too dissimilar to those used in western dishes, but it is how they are cooked, the combination of flavors and the added extras, which transform the dish from toned-down to traditional Thai.

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Tom Yam Goong is the national aroma of Thailand due to the fragrant herbs used; lemongrass, lime leaves and shallots are the staple smells of the dish and chilies and fish sauce make the dish sing. Jumbo shrimp and mushrooms are the substance of the meal and the main tastes are hot and sour. Many Thai nationals have Tom Yam Goong as a starter, but it can also be served as a main dish if rice is added to bulk it up.

A quick and easy staple of the Thai eating experience is Kuay Tiew. No other dish will test you chopstick skills as much as noodle soup; slurping on the liquid broth is inevitable. There are countless ways in which noodle soup can be served, which makes it one of the most versatile of the more popular Thai dishes. The noodles are usually thin and broad and the substance of the dish is meat of any kind. The most popular meats are duck, chicken, beef, pork and seafood, not too different from the traditional meat staple foods of the western world.

Market meetings

No culinary-inspired trip to Thailand would be complete without a visit to one of their world renowned food markets. Talaats, as they are known, are a fundamental part of Thai life and families and friends gather here to purchase food, dine at their favorite vendor or just kick back and munch on a deep fried snack.

You can’t get more of an authentic Thai food experience than visiting the country’s largest and most famous market, Damnoen Saduak. Though the prices are higher than elsewhere and the place is flooded with tourists and locals alike by the time it opens its gates, the floating market gives a fantastic taste of the old river life and a chance to pick up some great souvenirs. As well as being faced with a magnificent array of fabulous new foods, you are encouraged to hire a sampan to explore the surrounding canals.

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The Railway Track Market in Samut Songkhram is definitely worth a visit. A 40 minute drive south-west of Bangkok, this crazy and chaotic market straddles a working rail track and stalls are rolled out of harm’s way eight times a day. You can find every type of Thai food here and are able to hire a guide to ensure you make the most of the experience.

On the streets

Thailand is well known for its street food and many who visit return home with stories to tell about what exotic item they have purchased and eaten from a road vendor. Most new experiences will invariably involve an insect of some kind; many street vendors sell deep fried locusts, bamboo worms and even snake heads. Finger food in Thailand isn’t all about insect eating however, there are many foods sold on the street that are more acceptable to the western pallet.

Som Tam (papaya salad) is one of the most popular street food dishes. Fresh, flavorsome and most importantly, fast; Som Tam is a sweet, sour, salty and spicy concoction of shredded papaya, tomatoes, shrimp, garlic, peanuts and chili peppers. The flavor combination may well be like nothing you have tasted before, but it is refreshing and will leave you wanting more. The majority of Thais’ like their Som Tam extremely spicy, so ask for a milder version if you are new to this delicacy.

Moo Ping is a grilled pork skewer that is widely available from street food vendors. Grilled meats in general are popular and you will often find chicken is available as well as the more adventurous varieties, such as buffalo. Each vendor will have their own type of marinade, but it is usually sweet and garlic tasting. Again, the raw ingredients themselves are common in the western world; it is how they are cooked, served and seasoned that makes them truly Thai.

Cooking schools are popular in Thailand with both locals and tourists who are eager to create their own unique dishes. Pattaya is a large city and offers many culinary classes, some of which are overseen by the top chefs in the country. Be sure to make time for a stopover in Pattaya for a food festival or a cooking class and then travel on to one of the smaller towns for an authentic dining experience. Sitting on the floor and eating with your right hand is the traditional Thai way.

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Thai food is well worthy of its reputation as one of the world’s greatest cuisines. Intricacy, texture, color and taste are vital components of any Thai dish and, much more than this, many of the ingredients are used for medicinal purposes in addition to the flavor they bring. Whatever your taste, be sure not to miss sampling at least one or two traditional dishes on your next visit to Thailand.

 

How is Premium Leather Made?

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There’s nothing like the look, smell, and feel of a beautiful leather bag, wallet, or suitcase. Although many are aware that Ghurka leather products and accessories are made out of some of the finest leather around, many are unsure of how the leather is made. If you’ve always wondered how premium leather is treated and finished, here’s everything you need to know.

Selection

Leather is similar to the skin of the human body. Overtime, it fades, wrinkles, and develops new, beautiful characteristics. While eliminating these characteristics can improve the overall appearance of a piece of leather, doing this can take away from the quality. However, if there are too many flaws, the leather may also lose its appeal. To maintain the look of a leather bag, wallet, or accessory, it is essential to start with the most flawless piece of leather available. Typically, calfskin, particularly French calfskin, has the softest feel and finest grain accessible and is a choice type of leather for creating accessories.

Treatment

The majority of leather hides are treated to create that signature brown or black leather color. One of the processes used to complete this is known as vegetable-tanning. This treatment type is highly beneficial because it is an environmentally responsible process and is also the most gentle on animal hides, allowing them to retain their natural beauty over time.

To create vegetable-tanned leather, hides are soaked in large drums full of this tanning substance for approximately 30 days. Then, the hides are colored using an aniline or semi-aniline treatment. At this time, the hides are submerged in a dye which allows coloring to soak deep within the porous surfaces of the leather. Once the hide is treated with pigment, it will continue to change and develop as the leather develops over time.

Finishing

After the selection and treatment processes are over, the leather is then turned into the desired product. Since most premium leather pieces are made by hand, each one has unique characteristics that add to their value.

The Benefits of Leather

Accessories made out of leather can’t be matched by products made out of different materials. This is because:

  • Leather lasts. Leather accessories are known to last for many years and are better able to withstand the elements than materials like fabric, plastic, and vinyl. This is an important factor to keep in mind when you are debating whether you should purchase a leather case, travel bag, or any other product you will carry around with you on a regular basis.
  • It provides protection. If you own a camera, laptop, or any other type of technological device, you know how risky it is to carry it around with you. Leather cases and accessories will do a better job of keeping your technology safe than other products made out of different materials.
  • There’s nothing else like it. Products made out of high-quality, premium leather are an investment that will get you more compliments and use than accessories made out of other materials.

Creating premium leather is a lengthy and skilled process. However, it is well worth it due to the overall appearance, feel, and durability of products crafted out of fine leather.

Why to visit Germany

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Germany is a country with rich history and a country that has a lot of things worth visiting. This country is the home of Beethoven and Back and it boasts around 300 theatres, 630 art museums and 130 professional orchestras. If you are art-lover, then this is the country you should visit.

German is the primary language but a lot of the population speak English as-well which makes it easy for the visitors to communicate. The Germans are friendly and they will answer all of your questions. Germany is divided into 16 diverse states and each region has different food and drink specialties. This is great place to experience adrenaline rush since this country is the home of the high performance cars. You can rent a car for a drive on the autobahn, where there are no speed limits.

One of the most popular events in Europe is Oktoberfest which is held in Munich. If you attend this beer fest you will meet people from all over the world. The food you get in Germany is different than the food in many other countries. You get served a huge plate full of food and not some stylishly decorated little morsel. There is something interesting for everyone, if you are going here with kids, or even if you are going alone, you should take a look at Europa Park which is the 2nd most popular theme park resort in Europe after Disneyland in Paris.

Why to visit Austria?

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The unique thing that you can hear here is yodeling. It is unique form of singing that everyone finds interesting. The earliest yodel was recorded in the middle of 16th century and this tradition continues to this day. If you are interested in Mozart, Schubert, Strauss or Beethoven, then you can learn a lot more about them in this country. If you are big fan of classical music, then you already know that the best orchestra in the entire world is the Vienna Philharmonic.

You cannot miss the Alps if you ever visit this country. The Austrian Alps are the country’s most popular tourist destination and the main reason why tourists come here. That is why there are more visitors during the winter.

The Austrian food is something you have to taste if you ever visit this country. It is a lot more than just wiener schnitzels and apple strudels, even they are both delicious. There are many delicacies that you should try and if you like eating sweets, then you should try the delicious type of chocolate cake – Sarchertorte. Austrians are making wine and brewing beer for a very long time and some of the traditional coffee houses in Vienna are some of the oldest in the world. Viennese coffee is something very delicious, made of two shots of espresso, whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.

Top places to visit in America

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America is one of the richest continents and probably the most developed compared to all others since most of the technology is made there. But besides that, America has a lot of nice places that traveler addicts should visit. The Americans have heard of all these, but the other people probably not. Here is a list of some great places that everyone should visit whenever there is a chance to do so.

  1. Yosemite National Park, California. It is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. This park was originally protected by President Abraham Lincoln’s signing in 1864. It became a national park in 1890.
  2. Jersey Shore. The Sandy Castle project started as an idea in February to help Point Pleasant Beach and the greater Jersey Shore community recovers from the effects of Superstorm Sandy.
  3. Las Vegas. A city built on gambling and entertainment. It is expanding into other activities designed to attract visitors. Though it may not be ideal for those seeking an enriching cultural experience, Sin City is a great getaway if you’re looking to escape the real world — however innocently or as excessively as you choose.
  4. New York City. Museum-strolling, opera-watching, bar-hopping — the sheer number of things to do in the Big Apple puts most of its U.S. peers to shame.
  5. Jackson Hole. It is perfect place for the nature-lovers. Whether you’re skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort or snapping photos of the residents at the National Elk Refuge, you’ll be in awe of what this destination has to offer.

Georgetown Streets, Malaysia

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On arrival, visitors are usually intrigued by the narrow, congested streets of Georgetown and its pulsating waterfront. It is here, on the waterfront, that Penang is linked to the 20th century by the flotilla of freighters and streamers anchored in the harbor, which cause the ferryboats from Butterworth to zigzag a 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) winding course to reach the landing at Weld Quay.

Penang is a Far East warehouse for everything imaginable, from electronic gadgets to plastic toys. There are silks from Thailand and India, fabric from England, cameras from Germany and Japan, textiles from America and from Malaysia, brocade and sarongs. Jalan Pinang (Penang Road) is the main shopping market. Shops open in the early morning and do not close until the bars are empty and the late moviegoers have cleared the streets.

Lebuh Campbell, just off Penang Road is the main “Chinese” shopping center where Nepalese street vendors sell nylon shirts, fake alligator-skin shoes, laughing jack-in-the-boxes, and precious stones, guaranteed to cut glass.

Perhaps the most exciting shopping in Penang is in the many junk shop along Rope Walk. Here, shoppers must literally climb over mounds of discarded gear. Those who do not mind getting their hands dirty are certain to discover a dusty thing or two. One London boutique saleswomen found a luxurious Chinese emperor’s robe salvaged from the local opera stage. So, why don’t you give a try and you might find something more interesting that you expected.

Night-time Niceties in Georgetown

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The streets of Georgetown, Penang are made for nightlife. The Chinese, in particular, never seem to go to bed. Their open-front restaurants are noisy gathering places where waiters shout your order to someone in a back room. A jukebox, if there is one, is turned on full volume. Hawker stalls on Gurney Drive and the Esplanade do a thriving business, while brightly lit stores cater to late-night shoppers. At the fashionable hotels, latecomers wait in line at the discotheques. There are roof top restaurants where dinners look down over the city light, hills and harbor, and dark cellar cabarets with no view at all.

Those who prefer to seek entertainment in bars can find a few around Georgetown and on the northern outskirts of the city. Some small and friendly establishments, like Hong Kong Bar, keep a “family album” of snapshots showing just about every traveler who has walked in and bought a drink. They provide jukeboxes for dancing, game machines for entertainment and barmaids for conversation. If you prefer a light music and comfortable surroundings, I would like to recommend the Penang Bar Street, along the stretch of Penang Road from Cititel Hotel and to where it intersects with Lebuh Farquhar. Others are more consciously sophisticated, like the Farquhar Bar in the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, which only operate until midnight.