East African Local Dish

In Grill, Tanzania on November 26, 2009 at 9:51 pm


Nyama Choma – crispy fatty meat roasted to a perfect combination and seasoned with sassy curry flavour.

In Swahili, it literally means “grilled meat”. Using curry powder to marinate the meat, its wobbly fats are further flavored with a sizzling taste.

Back in those days as a volunteer in Bomang’ombe,  Tanzania, I would spend Friday evenings with my local friends munching on Nyama Choma, coupled with ice cold Serengeti beer. They would bring us to the best in town, where the beef was roasted just before we arrived.


Nyama Choma is usually eaten with ugali, boiled cornmeal mush,  the primary staple of the entire Sub-Saharan African continent. Ugali is eaten with almost every other thing, especially soup, stew or sauce, or other dishes with sauce or gravy. As a side dish, ugali is served in a big bowl that everyone eats from.


Where to find it:

Nyama Choma is not available everywhere, and you need to know which ones are good. Always ask a local – they’ll always know the best. Remember to order in advance before you go.


Imperial Food in Beijing

In China on November 9, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Behold the imperial version of  traditional Chinese dishes at Ge Ge Fu: a Manchurian restaurant set in an authentic ancient mansion allowing you to genuinely walk back in time, specifically, the Qing Dynasty.


At Ge Ge Fu (translated to ‘Home of the Princess Dowager’), food does not play the key role. It’s is the rare experience that they provide.

With waiters dressed in traditional Royal servants’ costumes, and even addressing you as a Princess, you really might just feel like a royalty. It is inevitable to feel like you’re walking straight into a tourist trap (at least I did!), but the all-Chinese menu and Chinese-speaking Manager and servers assure you a true Chinese indulgence. Don’t fret – bring a phrasebook along, and you’ll do just fine.

Before the meal, you even get a tour of the ancient mansion, where you can explore the ancient study room and living area. They are fully furnished with antique porcelain and ivory furniture, retaining the way they looked centuries ago. There are also traditional dance performances and acrobatics right in the eating hall.

Traditional dance in the courtyard

The restaurant’s specialty is its hot pot. With a huge variety of different soups and sauces to choose from, I’d highly recommend the duck soup and snake soup. Steamy, sour yet rich, and definitely a refreshing taste of Imperial cuisine. Match that with some cold vegetables such as pickled cabbage, and rice, you would get a satisfying and unique meal. Of course, with such a unique setting and extravagant cuisine, all these come with a price. A 3-course meal that comes with vegetables and steaming hot pot, costs 200RMB per person.

Hotpot and dumpling

Ge Ge Fu Restaurant

9 Daqudeng Hutong, Meishuguan Houdajie,
Open 11:30am-1:30pm; 5pm-10pm

Tel: +86 10 6407-8006

My original article was posted on Things You Should Do.

Top 5 Foods to Try in the Philippines

In Exotic Foods, The Philippines on November 6, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Honestly, can you name any typically Filipino dish? Why does the mention of Asian food only brings to mind Kong Bao Chicken, Chinese Fried Rice and Pad Thai?

Filipino dishes have been under the shadows of its Asian cousins for way too long. Thanks to Anthony Bourdain, they are gaining some well-deserved attention of their own these days.

Barbecued meat - Photo by petitochips.

The Philippines undoubtedly has the best barbecued street food and satiable meat. At every corner of the Philippines, you will find locals gathered around a barbecue grill, enjoying skewered meat with a San Miguel beer in hand. These are 5 of the best Filipino foods to dip your hands in to taste culture at its best.

1. Isaw Manok

One of the most popular local favs is the unique Isaw Manok (grilled chicken intestines on a skewer)- grilled to crispy perfection and glazed with sweet and spicy sauce. Besides the Isaw, there are many other barbecued organs you can choose from – chicken gizzards, liver and goose tongue. They might sound exotic, but give it go and you’ll find them better than any other grilled foods around.

Isaw Manok

2. Tapsilog

A typical Filipino breakfast, this platter is made up of rice with dried cured meat and a fried egg cooked sunnyside up. Simple as it is,  the Filipinos can’t live without it. Despite its huge portion, especially for a breakfast, you’ll be asking for more.

Tapsilog - Photo by Miggy