Pure Bliss

Why arroz negro’s black rice isn’t really black rice – at La Riua, Valencia

Why arroz negro’s black rice isn’t really black rice – at La Riua, Valencia

 

It was summer 2009 in Valencia, Spain. The classroom was cool, the students tanned with glistening skin, the sparkle of youth in our eyes. We were eager to learn, and eager to play. One warm night it was tapas and dancing in the old town, gliding through the cobbled streets, surrounded by churches and buildings with a history. The other night it was fooling around at the beach, grabbing a few beers to while the evening away on the golden sand, chilling and laughing and acknowledging the breaking sound of the waves as they touched and tickled our naked feet.

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Melt-in-your-mouth Spanish Carrillada

Melt-in-your-mouth Spanish Carrillada

 

This summer, I was off to a mini-trip in Spain to revel in the sights and foods (mainly foods) of some of the country’s major cities. One of them was Sevilla, the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalucía and the province of Sevilla. I had heard from several friends that this was a beautiful place to visit, and finally I was able to get a sneak peek of it myself during our two-day stay.

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Mariscos galore – seafood at its best at Kiosko Universal, La Boquería, Barcelona

Mariscos galore – seafood at its best at Kiosko Universal, La Boquería, Barcelona

 

The beauty of many Spanish dishes is how simple they are in both cooking methods and number of ingredients, and yet how they still manage to be incredibly delicious and versatile. It’s the same with seafood too: there are many regional varieties, but often all you’ll need for a delicious seafood dish is grilled, boiled or fried clam or mussel or shrimp, a little salt and a sprinkle of olive oil on top. Simple indeed, but such an indulgence.
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Juicy, moist tortilla at Bodega de la Ardosa, Madrid

Juicy, moist tortilla at Bodega de la Ardosa, Madrid

 

If you think of Spanish cuisine, more often than not a few key foods will come to mind. Aside from tapas (read more about Spain’s tapas culture here), jamón and paella, tortilla will likely be one of the hot contenders. But how much do you really know about this Spanish food ambassador? And do you know where to go for a melt-in-your-mouth feast of tortilla deliciousness?

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Horchata – a delicious, sweet Valencian tuber-drink

Horchata – a delicious, sweet Valencian tuber-drink

 

The first time I came across horchata was on a hot summer day once upon a time in Valencia, sweat streaming down my face, as I was desperately searching for something cool, something refreshing. I found it in the street, not in the form of ice cream, but in the cold, sweet, lip-smackingly delicious horchata ladled out from big metal cylinders built into mobile roadside street carts and poured into paper cones. And if you see orxata written on them, don’t be confused, it’s the same thing, written in Catalan.

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Traditional Korean food in a non-traditional setting: Soban in Krefeld, Germany

Traditional Korean food in a non-traditional setting: Soban in Krefeld, Germany

 

When my partner and I googled for a Korean restaurant in the vicinity of where we were staying in the new year, we were surprised to find one in Krefeld, a city with a little over 200,000 inhabitants in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Although only a train ride away from the larger city Düsseldorf, which boasts an 11,000-strong Japanese community and a smaller Korean one, the journey nonetheless takes almost an hour, making it less attractive for Koreans to venture out. The focus of this one-year old restaurant Soban on serving Korean cuisine to a primarily local clientele is certainly reflected in the kinds of foods offered there. (more…)

Dry Pot and Chilli Chicken at Wei Zi Prawn Hot Pot

Dry Pot and Chilli Chicken at Wei Zi Prawn Hot Pot

 

Wei Zi Prawn Hot Pot (no website yet, but you can get an idea of their menu at Just Eat) between Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush opened only three months ago. Though as their name reveals they are equipped with tables with in-built stoves for shared hot pots, you might want to make the trip to South West London for their dry pots – and their la zi ji. Not that I can comment on their hotpots, since I haven’t tried them yet. But I definitely know that those two dishes are worth coming for. (more…)

Monty Bojangles truffles straight from heaven (also likely to be found in a nearby supermarket)

Monty Bojangles truffles straight from heaven (also likely to be found in a nearby supermarket)

 

On a dark, chilly night not so long ago, I found myself standing in our little local Tesco Express, scanning the sweets aisle for something indulgent and exciting. I wanted something new, something scrumptious, something decadent. The usual sweets with their focus on sugar just couldn’t satisfy me anymore. Surely I must have missed something, surely there must be something that looked horrendous but would taste wonderful? And yet what were the odds of that happening? Disheartened and ready to give up, I turned a corner and found what should have been staring me in the face when I entered the store: a towering pile of purple-ish boxes full of Choccy Scoffy Monty Bojangles. (more…)

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