Tag Archives: cuisine

Prague: How about the food?

I found eating out in Prague very cheap (250-500 Kc per meal, often including dessert and a soft drink) and I really enjoyed trying a few different restaurants with traditional Czech food.

Most Czech dishes are very meat-based and contain also dumplings, with some added cabbage here and there. Probably not the lightest meals but very tasty!
My meat feast over the long weekend started with a delicious venison guláš, served alongside with bread dumplings.

Venison guláš

The following day I tried a “farmer’s plate” with pork meat, grilled sausages (grilované klobásy), bread dumplings, potato dumplings, cabbage and gravy.

All-pork farmer’s plate

It was then time for a basic beef guláš in a cheap cafe’, and on my final day some roast duck with dumplings and cabbage.
All food was really good but I particularly enjoyed the venison guláš and the all-pork dish.

And for dessert? I recommend trying the trdelník, a traditional rolled pastry coated in sugar and sold in street stalls around Prague. But don’t fall for the tourist varieties filled with all sorts of sweet things, from chocolate to ice cream: the classic version, empty inside, is the best one!

Trdelník

Let’s talk about Piadina

Ever been to Italy?
Ever tried piadina?
No?
Well, this is something that really deserves a place in that growing wishlist of things you want do & try when you travel!emilia_romagna_map

Piadina is a traditional regional food that originates from Romagna, the south-eastern part of the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy.

Piadina is a type of flatbread made with white flour, olive oil or lard, salt and water, all mixed and then cooked in a flat pan. When it’s cooked you add the filling, which can be anything from cold meats – in the more traditional versions – to Nutella – in the modern variants.
A classic is piadina con prosciutto, stracchino e rucola (Parma ham, soft cheese and rocket). Delicious and definitely one of my favourites!

Piadina Italy Romagna food

ItalyPhotogallery_016And let’s not forget the people involved: a good piadinaro never fails to entertain you with a good chat and a joke! The man on the photo on the left was so excited about me taking pics of his kiosk that started boasting about it with his “competitors” at the market: “This lady is taking photos of my food, and not yours! She is going to take me overseas with her!”.
But no, he didn’t make it into my suitcase in the end…Italy Romagna food piadina piadinaro

Tribute to Vietnamese food – part 3

And after Part 1 and Part 2 we have now reached Part 3, the final part of my Tribute to Vietnamese food!

Ready? Let’s go!

The hotpot in the header image was served in a budget restaurant in Da Lat. The pot was placed at the centre of the table and kept simmering while the ingredients were cooking. Not being familiar with the cooking technique, I kept staring at the pot wondering when it would be ready and safe to eat. I must say, it tasted very good.

Rolls and dumplings with sauce
Rolls and dumplings

The rolls and dumplings above are from Hoi An, a town whose reputation as the ultimate gourmet getaway is steadily growing. Great food and lovely composition on the plate for this dish!

Cao lau
Cao lau

Cao lau is one of the most popular Hoi An specialties, and its ingredients are noodles, slabs of pork, bean sprouts and fresh vegetables. The noodles are quite different from any other Vietnamese dish: thicker, quite chewy and with a firmer texture. The dish tastes delicious!

Homemade Vietnamese meal
Homemade Vietnamese meal

Last but not least, here’s the highlight of my food experiences in Vietnam: a fully homemade meal which I helped preparing when in Hanoi! Noodles, vegetables, and rice paper rolls. Very tasty.
See also this post for the full experience.

And this is the end (for now) of my Vietnamese food memoirs.
I hope you enjoyed it!

Tribute to Vietnamese food – part 2

Vietnam is a country of waters: hundreds of miles of coastline, rivers, and huge delta areas characterise its length. Fresh fish and seafood are readily available, and therefore such dishes abound in the Vietnamese cuisine.

Here are some of the mouth-watering seafood dishes that I savoured during my trips:

Steamed squid dish
Steamed squid with spring onion

The one above was my first meal at the night market in Phu Quoc, a great place to be. The squid looked fresh and tasted great. The sugarcane juice went very well with it too. The fact that my stomach was not upset at all after the meal (I am sadly prone to food poisoning when in the tropics) made me return to the same market a few times during my stay. And more seafood dishes were tried.

Steamed squid dish
Steamed squid dish

This steamed squid dish was nice and fresh and served at one of the cheap seafood restaurants on Ang Bang beach in Hoi An. A pile of morning glory was my choice of side dish as usual…

Shrimp and squid with ginger
Shrimp and squid with ginger

This shrimp and squid combo was actually made of two separate dishes but when put on the same plate they fit very nicely together. Again, all seafood looked and tasted very fresh. As you would expect on an island like Con Dao.

Mackerel soup
Mackerel soup

The mackerel soup above was prepared using a mackerel that had been caught under my eyes in Con Dao and then immediately taken to the restaurant kitchen. It couldn’t have been any fresher! The mackerel was cooked in three different ways, and the soup version is the only one I took a photo of. Very colourful and yummie!

Fish in garlic sauce
Fish in garlic sauce

One more from Con Dao: fish in garlic sauce. A bit too much garlic maybe, but it supposedly helps keeping the mosquitoes away. Regardless of any mozzie repellent properties the dish tasted good, the presentation on the plate was very nice and it was incredibly cheap (I don’t remember ever paying more than 180,000 dong for a seafood dish, which is equivalent to less than £5!).

Last but not least in my seafood tribute is nuoc mam, the notorious Vietnamese fish sauce! Largely produced from fermented fish in smelly factories in Phu Quoc, the fish sauce is an ever-present ingredient in the Vietnamese cuisine.

Nuoc mam, or fish sauce, from Phu Quoc
Nuoc mam, or fish sauce, from Phu Quoc

More images and comments about Vietnamese dishes are still to come. Keep following me!

(The first part of this series is here: Part 1)

Tribute to Vietnamese food – part 1

I am not exactly a cooking enthusiast or a foodie.
And I never thought I would ever write about food.

But I love Vietnamese food so I thought I’d pay a small pictorial – but not only – tribute to some of the dishes that I tasted during my two trips to Vietnam.
Disclaimer: this is not meant to be an extensive review of Vietnamese cuisine, but only a sample of what I tried (and took a photo of).

Let’s start with this:

Stir-fry with beef in Vietnam
Simple stir-fry

This was my very first meal in Vietnam. On my first trip. Stir-fry with beef and rice. And a cup of coffee.
It looks like dinner or lunch, but in fact it was given to me as breakfast. A slight shock to my Western palate used to sugar rushes first thing in the morning! But I had to learn more about Vietnamese breakfast…

Next is the world renowned Pho, a bowl of broth with noodles and meat (usually chicken or beef) – another very common type of breakfast:

Beef pho, or pho bo
Beef Pho, or Pho Bo

I must admit I love Pho (not for breakfast, though! Lunch for me, please). Simple but tasty and filling. And cheap – which is always a plus. I love the little street kitchens that serve Pho, with their simple tables and chairs. I love sitting with the locals and watching them as they talk to each other and enjoy their meals. There is such a lively atmosphere there :-).

Talking about popular dishes, let’s not forget what is probably the most popular vegetable dish in Vietnam: morning glory with garlic!

Morning glory (water spinach) with garlic
Morning glory with garlic

Morning glory, also called water spinach, is probably the most common vegie in Vietnam. As a result, it never fails to show in restaurant menus, usually in the “sautéed” version. When travelling, this became quickly my favourite vegetable dish and I honestly cannot remember going two consecutive days without having my fix of morning glory with garlic!

The tribute to Vietnamese food doesn’t end here, so keep following me!