Culinary Tourism Is Fun

Are you a foodie or a travel nomad? If you are both, you are the one to be all kicked up while enjoying varied multi-culinary experiences during all your travels. As you pass the streets, your tastebuds must get excited by various cuisines’ scintillating aromas and flavours. Whether street food or fine dining, you love trying new foods on the go.

I am a food traveler – I love sampling local delights. The last places I visited were Deolali (Nashik) and Kochi. Wherever I go, I love small street food corners and make it a point to mention in my social media posts as well about the local cuisine. So, I call myself a culinary traveler. Though I am not much into learning recipes, I love eating food from locals. Trust me; I look forward to traveling. Food is a brownie point for me and motivation to travel.

If you are a seasoned traveler, you must be the one to schedule a visit to the local streets of the place you intend to visit. But, even if you are not, you can still experiment with local foods. So, what is culinary tourism? It refers to travel experiences exploring local food and drinks in a region. Culinary tourism has caught up with all travel nomads interested in trying new, unique dishes and learning about the food, history, art and culture, and traditions of different regions of various countries. 

This is a different type of tourism genre that has suddenly become popular in India. For example, as a part of culinary tourism, food travellers go to food festivals, visit local markets, and attend cooking classes and food tours arranged by locals or startups. 

Farm-to-the plate

Many cities in India have opened local farms and markets where people can sample fresh produce or dine at restaurants specialising in local cuisine to promote culinary tourism in the region. This offers the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and drinks and provides better insight into the local culture and way of life. This way, tourists gain a better perspective of the history (passionate about heritage), traditions, and customs of the places they visit while supporting local businesses and farmers. In addition, home stays in hill stations will provide you with food made from fresh farm produce.


In addition, culinary tourism can have a positive impact on the environment. It promotes sustainable farming practices, thereby reducing the carbon footprint associated with food transport. Overall, it offers a unique and immersive way to explore new destinations and experience different cultures through food.

Local art forms and culture 

The best way to court the local art and culture of the place is to live in art villages. Most cities have started culture centers that promote music, fine arts, and the visual arts for tourists who want to know the place better. In addition, heritage walks and food walks are organized by government tourism organizations. While booking accommodation in a place you want to visit, you can check local attractions and events popular in the region. Many times, there may be folk artists who sing and dance. You may get a schedule on the region’s website for the same. 

Food tours

Some groups organize walks in areas of the city known for popular food joints catering to the local palate. It is the best way to scintillate taste buds. Some groups even allow people to learn the regional recipes cooked for generations. Then, you can observe the cooks make unique dishes.

Meet the natives

As a food explorer, you will love meeting people born and raised in the region. Imagine you are getting to meet the local tribes and getting to hear stories of the yore and local folklore, the legends, and the lesser-known mysteries of the region. The elders of the group would love to narrate their stories about the local culture and history that is unavailable on Google, Wikipedia, or any other search engines.

Food bloggers

These days, social media has become the Yellow Pages, Sulekha, and Just Dial of yesteryears. The 90s and 2k generation will relate to these websites, equivalent to phone directories for all local contacts in a city. The only difference is here. You get audio and visual details too of the said places. Influencers use Facebook and Instagram to share all travails and stories of various cities and countries they visit. Several food bloggers and V (video) bloggers regularly post videos and photographs of the food they eat and their top recommendations. If you follow them on social media, it can help you plan all your travels effectively. They even mention significant and popular events and festivals in their posts. You also can become one if you love food and traveling.

Tips from Culinary travellers

  • Make a schedule. You will not miss going to places
  • Prior research helps – blogs, reviews
  • Look for sites less visited
  • Avoid foods commonly available; choose local food that you will not get outside the region
  • Go on Food walks
  • Check for the appropriate season to see the area (avoid getting a heat stroke/ice bite!)
  • Lastly, be open to trying all foods and flavors

Signing off with a food byte. “You have to taste a culture to understand it.” – Deborah Caterer So go ahead and become a culinary traveler. Enjoy scintillating foods and join hands with the natives in promoting local cuisine this summer!


Priya is a quirky writer/photographer/closet poet, and singer who has traversed a non-conventional path. As a former entertainment journalist who has worked in print and online media for a decade, Priya loves talking to people and writing their unspoken stories. She is the single parent of an 8.5-year-old son settled in Tamil Nadu and a freelance Content Consultant. Priya is also an informal mentor to parents in her local parenting network. She dreams of being an author and maybe a scriptwriter someday!

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Canada Home To Many

With a breathtaking 9.984 million square kilometers and a 202,080-kilometre coastline, Canada is the world’s largest country in the Western Hemisphere. The second-largest country with the longest beachfront on the entire planet, with only four people per square kilometer. 

Canada’s vast tundra stretches towards the Arctic Circle and is sandwiched between the Arctic and the United States. Like the USA, it is divided in half; in the western part, the Rocky Mountains stretch from north to south, and the prairies offer extensive regions for cultivating canola and grains. Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa, the country’s capital, are all in the eastern part of the country, considered its traditional heart.

It is a large country with harsh winters, breathtaking fall foliage, and a colourful, diversified population. Yet, it is undoubtedly one of the world’s most prosperous and peaceful nations. These are some of the reasons why so many individuals wish to live in Canada. By reading on, discover why Canada is more than just the Great White North.

The greater the number, the greater the delight

The immigration system in Canada is widely recognized as being among the most modern and advanced in the world. The land can accommodate a large population, but to ensure that Canada maintains its position as an economic powerhouse on a global scale, the nation must keep up with the technological, manufacturing, and trade demands of both domestic and international markets. As a result, the nation welcomes more than 300,000 new permanent citizens yearly. In addition, because the Canadian government views immigrants as a benefit to the country, it spends millions of dollars each year to assist newcomers in adapting to life in Canada and starting new employment.

Stability achieved through long-term residency

Canada is one of a minimal number of countries that genuinely give migrants the opportunity to apply for permanent residency from the very beginning of their time in the country. Most other countries only offer valid visas for a set number of years. So if you have permanent residency in Canada, you have the assurance that you can stay in the country for as long as you like, and you can construct a life there with the understanding that there is no time limit on your stay.

Accepting and tolerating diversity

The OECD ranks Canada at the top of the list of countries that lead the globe in terms of acceptance and tolerance of different ethnic and religious groups. Most of the country’s inhabitants are immigrants, resulting in a vibrant blend of ethnicities, cultural practices, linguistic varieties, and social norms. One out of every five Canadians is a migrant. More than twenty percent of the people living here were either born in another country or are of immigrant ancestry.

Great place to raise a family

The Best Countries to Raise Kids Survey ranked Canada as the fifth best country to raise children, trailing only the Nordic countries. Countries that received a passing grade scored highest in a compilation of eight country attributes: concern for human rights, family friendliness, gender equality, happiness, income equality, safety, a well-developed public education system, and a well-developed health care system. Countries that received a passing grade care about human rights, family friendliness, gender equality, and income equality.

Exceptional Natural Splendour

All of this and much more is waiting for you in Canada, including the Northern Lights, snow-covered landscapes, woods in full autumn colour, the majestic Rockey Mountain Range, Niagara Falls, some of the world’s most pristine coastlines, and the site of the second largest lake in the world. In addition, there are 44 national parks in Canada, one of which is the Great Bear Rain Forest, considered the most magnificent forest in the world. One can find the park on a remote island off the coast of Canada.

Universal Health Care

The publicly funded, universal health care system known as Medicare in Canada is a point of pride for the country. However, Canada is ranked 14th in the world by the World Health Organization, four positions ahead of the United States.

Canada Is Home to some of the world’s best-known tourist attractions

The nation is home to stunning natural beauties and thriving cities with a diverse cultural heritage. The Rocky Mountains, Vancouver, Victoria, and Calgary dominate most itineraries in Western Canada. Some of the most well-liked destinations in Central Canada are Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City. The splendor of Gros Morne National Park, combined with the cities of Halifax and St. John’s, provides its distinctive character for visitors who go to Canada’s Maritime Provinces in the east. Off the beaten path, but no less impressive, is Canada’s North, where visitors can watch polar bears in their natural habitat and discover the remote beauty of locations like Nahanni National Park and the cities of Whitehorse and Yellowknife. Also worth noting is the Toronto CN Tower, which, at 553 meters high, offers unrivaled views and a rotating restaurant.

Check Out Canada if you are planning to migrate. It’s worth it.

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My Goa Diaries

Sun, Sea And SandIn my 40th year, I had almost given up on this dream of mine until this plan manifested. Yes, I feel somewhere, the Universe finally conspired to send me to Goa. It was my best gift to myself before 2022 concluded. Yay! I screamed and fisted my hand high in the air. It was super thrilling and surreal. 

My college buddies and I had carefully crafted a Goa plan! In our final year, we made a pact to reunite in Goa yearly (our own Dil Chahta Hai goal), drive around on bikes, etc. Unfortunately, neither the reunion nor the Goa trip happened. The plan sank amidst all our life plans. I moved out of Mumbai and went south for my education. My crew also scattered, each dragging into their life and career goals. Goa ended up being a part of my endless bucket lists of “places to go, and I wish to go.” 

So, when this plan emerged, I did hesitate a bit, but in the end, I just gave into the squad spirit and got in headlong! The best part about this trip was that it was not only a maiden trip for me but the same for most of our gang. I have to mention that our bunch is an exceptional community for me or, rather, a like-minded tribe that connected and bonded like fire with a matchstick. Most of us were meeting each other for the first time after a long gap, making it positively memorable. 

For those who have been to Goa endless times and those who haven’t stepped on Goan soil (like me), it gave me a different perspective of Goa from what I had heard from friends. It exceeded my expectations about this tiny state ruled by the Portuguese centuries ago. The beauty of this state will leave you mesmerized – waves, sand, greenery, and extreme calm, even amidst the loud party music! It took me 24 hours to thoroughly soak in the atmosphere and be myself. 

So, after we landed in Goa at midnight at the Dabolim airport (most of the band reached late at night and others in the wee hours of dawn), we were busy catching up with our sleep. Once refreshed, we started exploring our nearest surroundings. Some of us took a walk around. We were put up in a place called Verla, Parra. It’s located in the quaint Bardez taluk, a scenic countryside where you can take endless long walks in its winding lanes that eventually join the principal roadway.  

Once all of us got ready, we all got set out for a late lunch. En route, we also caught a glimpse of the famous Biker Mania event, where dozens of bikers were seen racing in the dirt tracks. 

Our lunch was at a Mediterranean-style hotel on the Ozran beach road, nearly seven kilometers from our place of stay. The peppy music added to the beautiful ambiance and made us sway to the beats and be lost in a trance. But since Dil maange more (heart demands more), we quickly finished our food and made our way to the sea – our much-awaited part of the trip…. the beach. 

So, for all new to Goa, Ozran is also referred to as Chota Vagator or a small Vagator beach. It is an extension of the famous Vagator beach. In north Goa, it is one of the most captivating and panoramic beaches. When we finally descended to the beach, we were welcomed by a gorgeous sunset and skyline, where we melted with the waves and the crowd. A quiet beach compared to the others in the same stretch, Ozran is a relatively rocky beach with some unique carvings done possibly years ago (do watch out for those). We relished our dinner there with blissful music from the shacks and returned only after midnight. 

On our second day, we had planned a morning walk in the old areas of Goa, beginning with Panjim. Any Goa trip is incomplete without a walk in the legendary Latin Quarter or the Fontainhas. We got an excellent travel host who helped us explore these old lanes and see old houses. The three-hour walk soaked us into the centuries-old history of the state that was once ruled by various Indian empires, including the Kadamba Kingdom, Vijayanagara Empire, Bahmani Sultanate, and Bijapur Sultanate. During the Bijapur era, the Portuguese invaded Goa and ruled for over 450 years. It heavily influenced today’s Goan culture, cookery, and structures. India had to annex Goa in 1961 to make her part of this great nation. The colonial influences and multi-cultural creative influences are vibrant and stunning. 

The three-hour walk started at the Panjim Post Office (one of the oldest landmarks of Goa) and culminated at one of the oldest Goan-Portuguese bakeries and cafes called “Confeitaria 31 De Janeiro”. The area also houses old cafes, taverns, and colourful houses. The Confeitaria’s name has a fascinating history. The Portuguese meaning for Confeitaria means confectionary, and the second part of the name was kept after the date it was established: January 31, 1930. This cafe still has one of the oldest wood-fired ovens where they prepare all the baked delicacies. We gobbled and enjoyed all the traditional Goan delicacies and desserts like Bebinca (all-purpose flour, coconut milk, and egg yolk/white), Perad (guava and cheese), dates-walnut cake, and also their mouth-watering puffs and mushroom quiches while enjoying some melodic music played by our travel host on his guitar. 

We returned to our rooms, refreshed ourselves, and prepared for another evening on the beach. This time, we chose to explore Mandrem beach, a relatively quiet beach compared to its popular party hangout, Arambol beach. The best highlight of the beach is the drum circle, which happens there daily. It is a unique circle of drummers who play drums and customized instruments. Anyone can join the process and play away! A mesmerizing one-hour experience. Playing the drums for me turned out to be highly meditative and surprisingly calming for my mind (towards the end of the circle). Some of our crew leisurely did beach shopping; some got their hair braided, while others went for a comforting massage. Some masseurs offer their services at negotiable prices, and you can comfortably lie down and doze off. Make sure you take advantage of this experience as well. 

We enjoyed the sea, had our dinner at the shacks there, and lazed around with music till late at night, staying on till the early hours of dawn. Then, finally, we managed to catch up on a few hours of sleep and be refreshed for another day. 

Goa possesses an energy and vibe that makes people stay energetic despite not getting enough shuteye. The sea air does some magic to the soul. We survived most of the days with little or no sleep! 

One of the must-dos (apart from partying) is a trip to Chorao island, one of the biggest islands in Goa. The island is a natural biodiversity of birds and mangroves. So, on our third day, we had a beautiful ferry ride to the island and a memorable clay bath in a freshwater lake on the island, arranged by our travel host again. A three-hour experience there made us want to be there longer. We returned by evening back on the same ferry to the mainland. A small tip here for travelers: for any visit to the island, make sure you book a vehicle/cab, which can be perched atop the ferry boat to the island.

Since it was our second last day in Goa, we wanted to make it memorable. So, we finally hit the most happening beach in the area – Anjuna beach. The market starts right at the opening of the beach. You can get apparel, trinkets, and all sorts of memorabilia here. So, make sure you haggle well! After our satisfying retail therapy, it was time for sea and food therapy again. We spent the last few hours bathing in the sea, dancing to the tunes of our playlist (on loop) with drinks and a sumptuous dinner at a shack. Then, we played Secret Santa, exchanging gifts with our friends.

As a squad, we bonded so much. By the end of the trip, we wanted to sidestep parting ways so soon. So the last day was a potpourri of tearful hugs, goodbyes, promises of yet another Goa trip, and loads of selfies (apart from the million pics we had already taken during the trip!).

So, ticking off my bucket list, I sign off with a traditional Goan greeting in Konkani (language)while parting ways with ever-loved friends. “Mog Assuni” (Keep the love)

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Heavenly Kashmir

 Welcome every onlooker's eyes
   The Restless desire flapped its wings
    I called you lovingly, and at last, you heard me
    Oh, Kashmir, without banging an eyelid
    I wanted to make a snowman
    I wanted to glide through the flakes
    So, let's visit the paradise on earth.  

Kashmir, a land dedicated to water, is unique by every means. The weather, landscape, snow-capped mountains, lakes, culture, cuisine, and fantastic people make Kashmir the country’s finest.

From Srinagar airport, we went straight to Dal Lake. The magnificent view was just breathtaking. We stepped into the houseboats anchored at the Dal Lake near Shikaras (wooden boat). Dal lake is the summer capital of J&K, enclosed by majestic pirpangal mountain and Mughal gardens. The mercury plunged to minus degrees. The one-night stay in the houseboat was marvelous, except for the frequent power outage. The houseboats were different from the ones we are used to in the backwaters of Kerala. Shikkaras cruised quietly, and the houseboats stood still with perfect poising. The one-night stay in the houseboat was a unique experience, a remarkable memory of a lifetime.

After breakfast, we proceeded to Pahalgam. On the way, we witnessed the beautiful chinar trees, the signet of Kashmir. The leaves were golden in colour. Besides walnuts, cherry, berry, pine trees, and willow trees were also seen. Some of them had already shed their leaves and looked naked to greet the arrival of winter. Fun fact, cricket bats are made out of willow trees, and bat-making manufacturers were also seen on the way.

Nearing Pulwama, every 50mtrs on the road saw CRPF men and Trucks loaded with army personnel guarding rifles on the highway. Of course, the region is under the army’s control. But, for the residents, it seemed normal. Everyone had to face the strict security check in the army camp while returning to Srinagar airport.

Saffron is the most expensive spice known to man. It takes 70,000 saffron flowers to make 400 grams of saffron spice. Pulwama is famous for its production, a vastly exported product of the region. Besides Saffron, Pulwama is renowned for producing milk and has surfaced as the Anand of Kashmir, with dairy cooperatives operated by women and youths transforming milk production in the Kashmir Valley.

First, the people are impeccable and attractive. One can easily assume the secret of Kashmiri beauty lies in the amount of Saffron and walnuts used in Kashmiri cuisine. It was fascinating to encounter walnuts in food and drink. It looks like Saffron enhances the skin’s glow and improves skin tone, and consuming almonds enriches beauty. Time to supplement our eating habits with more spice and nuts! 

We visited a shop near the saffron field. Purchased Saffron, Saffron oil, and dried fruits of different varieties. We tasted Shahi Qawah, a herbal tea mixed with Saffron and minced dried fruits. The taste and aroma were exquisite. They are perfect for our health. The rate also seemed more affordable. It was a sure thing to purchase.

The roads were narrow. Common people were using small vehicles, and buses were rarely seen. Roads were only good on highways. On the way, we visited the Avanthishrava Temple ruins in Avantipur, under the control of the Department of Archaeology. Tourism and agriculture were the primary sources of income. 

Our stay in Hotel Milan in Srinagar was alright. A visit to the Aru Valley and Betab Valley added a delight to the nature of Kashmir. Pine trees and snow-capped mountains surrounded the place. Silver lakes were turned gold in the light of the dawn, and the jewel blue river was the soul of the ice-cold mountains.

A visit to Apple valley was ever unforgettable. Apples are everywhere, and we can pick and buy them. Moreover, at a more reasonable rate, we could purchase fresh apple juice and other apple preparations like jam, pickles, etc.

Gulmarg. The visit alighted us to some unknown world. We were lucky enough to experience the sudden fall of snow. Words were not enough to explain. Gulmarg is a must-see place. Once in your lifetime, you should visit. 

All four seasons are apt to visit Kashmir. However, as a precaution against accidents, only small vehicles with chained tires are allowed into the mountain area. On the way, we changed into boots and coats on hire to sustain the ice-cold atmosphere. Roads on either side were snow-covered, snowflakes were falling like rain, and a meadow of snow led us to a more heavenly zone.

Surrounded by lofty snow-covered Himalayas, meadows of flowers, deep ravines, and evergreen forest valleys, Gulmarg also had the world’s second-largest Gondola. A ride in the Gondola offered us a beautiful scenery of pine trees covered with fully embellished snow. Gondola riding was the top attraction of Gulmarg.

A word of caution to the tourists, out of our bad incident with the local sled pullers. They appeared poor and helpful, but they were tricky. While completing the small distance through the ice, they loot us with more than double the amount they initially agreed to. Cheating tourists out of their helplessness was not suitable for a place where the primary source of income depends on tourism. 

The Shikkara ride in Dal lake was enjoyable. While riding, many small boats approached us with loads of elegant accessories for trading. On the shore, shops were seen with intriguing handcrafted items, dress materials, woolen goods, etc. Samovar ranging from 7000 to 4000, was an excellent item to purchase for keeping as an antic lifelong memorial. We visited Nishat and Shalimar Mughal gardens. A visit to this place was worthy of seeking peace of mind and happiness.

Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam heavily influence Kashmiri culture. The original hand-woven pashmina clothes occurred as a signature of Kashmir. Pashmina shawls are created from the finest cashmere wool from Ladakh. A single shawl requires thread from about three goats. It sustains a temperature of minus 5 to 50 degrees Celsius – costs starting from ten thousand to lakhs – Kashmiris gifted pashmina clothes to the bride during marriages. It lasts for about fifty years without damage. Pashmina shawls, blankets, carpets, traditional jewelry, silverware items, and samovar for making tea were specials in Kashmir. They usually drink salt tea made in the samovar to suspend cold.

They had developed the art of cooking to a very high degree of complexity, quite distinct from any part of the world. Basmati rice dishes of different varieties were served in the restaurant along with Rogan Josh, Goshtaba, Dum Aloo, Rajma, Naat Yakni, Arabgosth, etc. These were recipes from Kashmiri pundits of the Mughal era. The rich aroma and flavours tantalize the palette and stay in mind. They preferred dishes made out of lambs. Different types of rotis were also seen in the way-wide shops, and the smells were tempting to a foodie like me. A paradise of mouth-watering dishes also awaits those who visit there.

      The distance saw longer
      I am away and away
      But you have always been
       In a thousand ways
       Adieu beautiful Kashmir 
      My dear beloved
       I always remember your fragrance
      That the garden offered me
       Not just in memories
      It would grow old together with me.
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Kappa Cassava Tapioca

Kappa is the only dish that brings joy to my life. Kappa, AKA Tapioca. Some call it Cassava. Full of carbs and Oops, no nutritional value. That is a simple truth; however, if you make Kappa in Malabar style and have it with Spicy Fish Curry, your heart goes sprinting up and down, and you keep coming back for more. Give me Kappa for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I will take it gladly without any qualms. That’s just me. 

In Kerala, a tropical coast in the south-west of India Tapioca is a staple food in our cuisine. Once or twice a week, at home we have Tapioca for breakfast. With afternoon tea, we have Tapioca chips and even better at times, boiled Tapioca with shallots and birds-eye chilli chutney with or without Yoghurt. Sometimes for dinner we have mashed Tapioca with meat or fish. It’s just delicious.

The Great Famine of 1876 in India contributed significantly to how Tapioca came to existence in today’s Kerala culture. The then Maharaja of Tranvancore, Vishakham Thirunal Rama Varma, introduced Kappa as a replacement for rice between 1880 -1885. To beat the hunger, people vastly cultivated Tapioca, which helped them through the hard years. Even today, most Kerala farmers and select households still produce Tapioca for sale and for personal daily use. 

In fact, Tapioca is native to Brazil. It comes from the native plant, Cassava. It is a starchy plant grown and reaped throughout Brazil, Thailand, and Nigeria. People in North and South America, West Indies, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Europe all have Cassava in their cuisine.

Let’s find out the different ways people around the world prepare and enjoy Cassava.

Kappa Vevichathu (Kerala, India)

In two ways, people enjoy Kappa in this region. The first way it is prepared is where tapioca skin is removed, chopped into cubes, boiled in water with salt to taste, and set aside. Next, mix the boiled cubes with a ground paste containing grated coconut, green chilies, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, garlic, and shallots, and cook for five minutes. Some like it mashed, and some like it a little chunky. Finish it by heating coconut oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds and frying curry leaves. In Kerala, this dish is served with Fish Curry or Beef Curry.

The second way it is prepared is where tapioca skin is removed, diced course lengthy, boiled in water with salt to taste, and set aside. Then, people enjoy it alone or with Kanthari mulaku Chutney/BirdsEye Chilli Chutney. 

Casabe (Central America, Latin America & The Caribbean)

Casabe is made from a single component, Just Cassava. It contains nothing else, giving it a tough and crunchy consistency. Casabe means flat bread.

To prepare Casabe, fresh Cassava is peeled, grated very finely, pressed to yank all of its liquid, and hung for several hours until it forms a sort of cassava paste, from which later patties are made. The cakes are then flatted and cooked in a large hot pan until the dampness has evaporated and the patty is crunchy. Finally, it is broken up and eaten as crackers, dipped in fantastic.

Saka Saka (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Saka Saka, also called Cassava leaf soup, is a Congolese dish. But, no, it is not a soup but a type of stew made with fish or any meat of choice with Cassava leaves. Time management is critical in the preparation of this dish, which is also called Pondu

How is it made? In a reasonably medium to a large pot, add onions, your choice of fish or meat, and season with salt. Simmer until tender, and this leaves you with two cups of stock. Separate the fish or meat from the stock and set it aside. Again a large pot, heat the oil and saute onions and crayfish for a few minutes, and then add more fish or meat(not the meat or fish we separated earlier from the stock water), preferably smoked beef or turkey or chicken or fish. Next, add peanut butter, pour in the stock water we set aside earlier, and cook for 10 minutes. To this mix, we add Cassava leaves (in case it’s not available, spinach leaves are substituted) and cook for nearly 30 minutes and at the last phase, add shrimp and cook for another 4 minutes. Saka Saka is served with steaming hot rice. 

Fufu (Nigeria)

Simple and satisfying is the only way to describe Fufu, the famous African Swallow food. It is filling and an easy dish prepared in every West African household. 

Remove the tapioca skin, chop into cubes and boil till tender. Mix it in a blender to make it a smooth paste. Transfer to a pot and stir energetically until a thick, smooth semi-solid paste. Shape it into balls, wrap it in plastic foils to retain the dampness, and set it aside. Fufu is eaten with your right hand. Pinch a little bit from the ball and have it with flavourful stew or soups. Fufu is not chewed. It’s swallowed, definitely a dish not to miss. 

Sago Gula Melaka / Sago Pudding (Indonesia and Malaysia)

This sweet pudding is made by mixing Tapioca pearls with water or milk and adding sugar. Sago Gula Melaka is a Tapioca pudding made by boiling pearl sago in water and then serving it with syrup of palm sugar (known as Gula Melaka) and coconut milk. It is simple and tasty.

No matter where you are in the world, Cassava is loved. Once a poor man’s food, it’s highly sought after and the most fulfilling food. Yes, it’s full of carbs, yet, it’s uncomplicated. One can spice it up based on ones liking, and it can be feasted with full flavours or not. People of all ages love it. Next time you want something different, try a restaurant near you that specialises in African cuisine or order a Sogu Pudding after your meal from your Asian diner. Try Malabari cooking or Kerala Restaurant and enjoy Cassava at its many best. Did you know the black pearls in your favourite Bubble tea… it’s Tapioca? Check it out . They are delicious.

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Europe In 14 Days

Oh, wanderer, where are you going?
Oh, gypsy, take me with you,
I am not afraid of the roaring sea,
Nor the hot melting sun,
The snow-studded mountains,
The world is my home.
My beautiful home.

Travel helps make the unfamiliar familiar. It is said to be an effective remedy for adjusting one’s life, stresses are relieved, and a feeling of refreshment comes along. So let’s travel and travel again. Our first part of the trip took us through the United Kingdom, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Germany. We made our way to Switzerland from Germany, and our journey continued to more exciting towns and cities.


It is a mountainous central European country, home to numerous lakes, villages, and the high peak of the alps. The land is also known for its ski resort and hiking trails. Switzerland is famous for its mesmerising alpine scenery, branded watches, and deliciously milky chocolates. A melting pot of many cultures, it is also known for its fascinating cities and scenic train rides that showcase the best of the country’s natural vistas.

Famous chocolate brands like Toblerone and Lindt are worldwide household names. Alpine milk from the high altitude is its special ingredient. Swiss cheese is another renowned food product. Every kind of swiss cheese boasts its unique flavour. Swiss fondue is the most popular national dish. Swiss watches are the benchmark in terms of quality and make excellent gifts. Another popular item is the swiss army knife featuring plenty of utility tools in addition to the primary blade.

Engelberg is an alpine town in central Switzerland. The highest mountain, Titlis, a revolving rotary Golconda, leads to the summit. On the way, the sight of the flock of cows and sheep grazing and the sound of the bell on their neck was a fantastic experience. Titlis cliff walks to the suspension bridge, and the glacial park Trubsee offered a heavenly experience, ice walk, playing with ice forgetting age, health conditions, and the extremes of temperature. In the base, there were restaurants and shopping malls. Everywhere there was a strict rule to be in line. The queue systematically followed. They are famous for timeliness. For the swiss, being on time isn’t simply a gesture of courtesy. It is said it is a way of life. It is famous for being one of the safest countries in the world.

Albert Einstein and Roger Federer are world-famous alumni of Switzerland. We all knew that the origin of the Red Cross was also Switzerland. It’s truly a beautiful place in more ways than one, also living there seems quite expensive.


Officially the republic of Austria is a landlocked country in central Europe, situated in the Eastern alps, a federation of nine States. Its capital Vienna is the largest city and state by population. It is famous for Art & Opera. The infamous Marie Antoinette, then Emperor of Rome from Austria’s youngest daughter, Archduchess of Austria, married King Louis XVI, hailed from this part of the world.

The city of Zurich, a global center for banking and finance, lies at the North end of Lake Zurich in northern Switzerland. Lichtenstein, a German-speaking 25km Principality between Austria and Switzerland, is known for its medieval castles, alpine landscapes, and villages linked by a network of trails. No crime, no military, and people wouldn’t lock the doors of their houses. Dentistry is the main business of the people. Interestingly, Aug.15 is independence day. On that day prince invited everyone to his castle for lunch.


The capital of Austria’s western state of Tyrol, a city in the Alps, has long been a distinction in winter sports. Innsbruck is also known for its imperial and modern architecture. From Innsbruck to Hungerburg, we traveled by funicular drive cable car to 2750 ft. It was famous for snaps, a locally made fruit brandy. The classic movie sound music was shot in this country.

We visited the Goldenes Dachl in the Old Town. Believed to be the city’s most famous landmark, it was a delight seeing the structure constructed in 1500 still standing with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles. Commissioned by Emperor Maximilian I to mark his wedding to Bianca Maria Sforza is now an open museum. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby.


The wealthiest city in Europe, a group of more than 100 islands, is sinking to the backwaters. When we crossed a bridge, we entered one island to the other. We enjoyed boat riding to see the scenic beauty of Venice. The streets were densely crowded. If we were a little bit careless, our belongings were to be someone else. The jail where the legendary Shylock got imprisoned is a monument now. Venice was famous for its pizzas and glass wares. We visited a glass factory. The artists there demonstrated how beautiful Ferrari motifs were made with a molten goblet.


Even a slight wind can change the course of the tide; that’s why God intervened in everything. Saints are human beings who God directs to serve the people. St.Antony, a Portugal, abandoned everything to help the poor people. St.Antony’s tomb was kept in the famous basilica of St. Antony’s church. The visit to the church was soothing to the mind and body.

Proceeded to the Tuscany region on either side of the road, apples, peaches, Vineyards, and sunflower farms were seen. Stone pine trees and conical pine trees added beauty to the region. The place was famous for cattle breeding and leather goods. Shopping was worth buying original leather goods at a cheaper rate.

Rain was a deficit in Italy. For the past two years, there has been no rain. But we didn’t feel any drought-like situation. On the contrary, the sight of Vineyards and apple farms added cooling to the eye. Breakfast was very nominal in Italy. Italians took little time to cook but took hours to enjoy food. The pasta was the main dish. They prefer a three-course menu including chicken and sweets.


Leonardo Da Vinci’s buildings were all in terra cotta style in the city of Michelangelo. On the way, we saw the magnificent the sculpture of David. What an incredible sight! Colosseum, the Amphi theatre was an incredible sight too.

The Vatican

With a population of just 850, the Vatican is the smallest country where the Pope, the supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church, resides. Unfortunately, our visit was scheduled for Tuesday, so we missed the opportunity to get blessings from the Pope. Nevertheless, the visit was beyond description. 

Now it was time for us to return home. Fourteen days passed away, like a few hours. On the way back to Milan airport, we visited the leaning Tower of Pisa and splurged on some shopping.

Travelling promotes new memories and makes us learn new things, discover different cultures, and make new friends. History surrounds us everywhere we go. Getting out of our comfort zone doesn’t only reduce stress. It’s also great for physical health and makes us feel more positive about life.

Travel helps make the unfamiliar familiar. It is said to be an effective remedy for adjusting one’s life, stresses are relieved, and a feeling of refreshment comes along. So let’s travel and travel again.

Follow K. Syamala

A Maratha’s Food Memoirs

Chai corners, melas (village festivals), forts, temples, ancient houses, and loads of greenery to feast your eyes on. The Deolali-Nashik Road belt looks like – a melange of cultures, including the native Maratha culture. Once you board the train from Mumbai to Nashik, it is a different picture and food aroma at every station the train halts. 

Having spent my childhood in Maharashtra (born and brought up in Mumbai and Nagpur) and being away from the state for nearly 12 years, this visit filled me with nostalgia and flooded me with fond food memories. 

Our journey started from Coimbatore to Mumbai on a flight, and the second part of the journey to Nashik was by train (most awaited!) from Mumbai. While I was in my birth city Mumbai, the first meal was the delicious Vada pavs (packed lovingly by my favourite aunt) that I dug in shamelessly! After spending three precious hours with her, our train adventure began. We boarded the train to Nashik.

It was Navratri, and we were visiting my aunts who live in Deolali, a quaint little town near Nashik, with a culture and life of its own. Morning and evening walks are a delight looking at the greens around; most importantly, you can breathe fresh air that you rarely get in city limits. A market across the road is within walking distance, and you get to feast your eyes on tiny accessory stalls, small kitchen items, dresses, footwear, colourful Diwali lamp stalls, and stalls with wooden and plastic toys. There was a fantastic mela, a fair full of Giant Wheels, and all the fun rides for adults and children. The place wore a festive look, dotted with aromatic food stalls. It felt like I was in another time zone altogether. No one was in a hurry to rush home, prepare dinner, put kids to sleep, or prepare for school or work the next day. Lazy strolls around the market are all you need for your dose of unfiltered joy and happiness. All everyone wanted was to enjoy the ambiance. This place will make you pause and reflect on life – a perfect breather in a highly stressed life.

Even the police officers guarding the mela (fair) area were calm and relaxed while navigating and controlling crowds (extremely crowded). It was a stark difference from the city police officers, who would be stressed and burnt out while managing groups. The people around also respecting the law and following rules was a pleasure to watch. This made the environment peaceful. As they say, it takes two to tango! 

Saptashrungi Devi Temple 

We reserved a day for sightseeing in and around Nashik. The Sahyadris were blissfully green post the showers a day before and abundantly moist. So, we decided to explore a place called Vani, where the famous Saptashrungi Devi temple is located atop a hill surrounded by sapta, or seven mountain peaks in one of the ranges of the Sahyadris. Thousands of pilgrims throng the temple in trucks, minivans, cars, and even rickshaws. In addition, there are buses to take pilgrims atop the hill temple. This temple is known for its powerful Devi presence; hence, pilgrims vow to visit the temple once it is fulfilled. 

As we started driving again, we spotted small tea stalls at almost every corner. Most boards had “Amrut Tulya Chai” written, which excited me since I finally got to taste this particular chai I wrote about. ‘A Chai Lover’s Soliloquy.’

Amrut Tulya in Marathi means equivalent to nectar. Honestly, these are small cups or chai shots of nectar (small paper cups), and you will not be satisfied with one cup. Here the nectar is pure organic jaggery that they use to sweeten this special masala tea (the tea shop owner said the suppliers and makers are secretive about the ingredients!). They get these tea packs which they use to brew tea for customers.

Sula Vineyards

Our next halt was at the most famous and not-to-be-missed Sula Vineyards. This is an out-of-the-world experience every wine lover must have! The moment you enter it until you are out is as surreal as possible. You can experience a reel version of the Vineyards in a movie, get a tour of where the wine is made – first-hand knowledge from how the grapes are grown till their production and processing, and a wine tasting room where you can select the wine of your choice. They even have several multicuisine restaurants where tourists can relax with a glass of wine and delectable cuisine. We returned with bottles of my favourite wine and lots of pictures for wine memories! 
P.S.: The place is a visual treat for photography lovers! 

Homemade Delights

Being a foodie (and a native), authentic Maharashtrian cuisine is something I have been craving for. So this time, I satiated every bit of my tastebuds; with my aunts’ yummy meals – Sabudana khichdiPohaZunka bhakarPithlaBhakar vadi, traditional lasun (garlic-dry coconut-red chillies) chutney and Misal-roti and gravies using Goda masala (a Maharashtrian specialty). 

Deolali’s History

Historically, Deolali is a small hill station, one of the oldest military centers in the country to have begun the Air Force station, the School of Artillery of the Indian Army. It used to be an old British camp and is currently a part of the Nashik Metropolitan Region. You can spot army officers and guards in uniforms as you walk around. They coexist beautifully with civilians who respect the military area boundaries. Deolali is just 12 km (roughly half an hour’s drive) away from Nashik city. One can explore homestays too in Deolali and Nashik – traditional old houses converted for guests to enjoy the native culture. 

Back to Mumbai & Then Home

Our five days in Deolali and Nashik flew past, and it was time to bid farewell. Our flight was scheduled from Mumbai. We boarded the morning train from Nashik, heavy with memories of the visit. The next part of the journey was even more exciting. Minus our delay in getting our cab thanks to the infamous Mumbai traffic!

Our first stop was at a leading Gujarati eatery called Thakkar’s Bhojanalaya in Kalbadevi. The traditional Gujarati thali is sumptuous and fills you with aromas as soon as you enter the place. A huge thali was kept, and we feasted on every dish placed on the plate. Beginning with the jaggery rotis (wheat and bhakri) drizzled in ghee to the various sabzis (dry cooked vegetables), gravies and savouries (pakodas), and the delectable desserts – Gulab jamun, special barfi, shrikhand, and fruit custard. This thali is worth every penny you pay! 

Following this, we visited the Gateway of India and walked around the Queen’s necklace – lazily enjoying the breezy sea air, soaked enough to take us back home.

Anyone visiting Maharashtra, do make it a point to visit offbeat places there so that you get to taste native delicacies better and interact with the locals who will give you a lot about the history and culture of the place. Festivals are the best time, though!

Travelling is an incredible adventure; everyone must take a break from their routine and plan a trip to a favorite ! This time was indeed a foodie’s memoir for a lifetime! So signing off till I visit yet another exciting city and flood you with more food.

Follow Priya Rajendran

First Trip To Europe

As the saying goes, a thousand-mile journey begins with a single step. Although life’s short and the world is vast, and those who don’t travel read only one page of the world’s book, when you travel, the whole world opens up. Each time we travel, we see the world with new eyes. The more we get lost in our travels, the richer our lives become. We began our journey as a group of forty people. It was a capsule journey, not an elaborate one, so here are few of the cities, let’s go.

Europe is the continent of hopeless romantics. A place that radiates warmth, happiness, and enchantment in the form of hot summer nights under the stars. I saw youngsters thronged in front of pubs with beer, vine, and cigarettes in their hands; when asked out of curiosity, it was customary during weekends. Each magical European city writes a love letter to the past through its customs and architecture.

Let’s visit the UK and Europe. My European Tour highlights.

United Kingdom

Our start. The UK, comprised of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, is an island nation in northwestern Europe. The birthplace of Shakespeare and the Beatles is home to the capital, London, a royal city surrounded by a rush of modern life. The city is full of traditional heritage, contemporary culture, green spaces, and a few surprises, a city jam-packed with culture going on around the clock. Unfortunately, due to the unexpected sad demise of The Queen, the authorities shut the city down. Furthermore, they did seal off all tourists’ access to Buckingham palace and the surrounding areas. Unfortunate but understandable.

A ride through the London Eye offers the most beautiful views of London city. For example, London Bridge, which we hear as a nursery rhyme, passed through it. In my mind, the verse just kept playing. 

London Bridge is falling down

London Bridge is falling down

Falling down, falling down

London Bridge is falling down

My fair lady.

A visit to the Madame Tussauds wax museum was a magical experience. We met Indian celebrities and enjoyed a photo shoot with legendary figurines. A ride through the magical world with light and sound was enjoyable to both young and old. 

Our next stop was from Heathrow to Amsterdam by Eurostar. The train journey was fascinating. We travel under the tunnel through the sea. We didn’t feel anything unusual, only darkness everywhere. 


Famous for cheese and vine. A city and port in the Netherlands known for its historical inducements, collection of excellent arts, and commercial and financial center of the Netherlands. About 1/5th of the workforce still relies on the honoured bicycle for transportation. Thousands of different types of cycles were seen on the curb-sides. All roads had red coloured cycle corridors, and both young and old were comfortable riding them. I do feel a need to appreciate this. The sight itself occurred, rejuvenating the eye.

Amsterdam is famous for its Asian restaurants. I noticed marijuana in numerous varieties sold in every small and prominent shop. It is legal, and people are seen relishing smoking marijuana or, as we call it, ganja after a sumptuous banquet. Tourism accounts for about 1/10th of all jobs, and local people appear friendly. The major attractions were canal cruising. We enjoyed it very much. 

A very intriguing happening on the train trip shows the typical South Indian trait. The train canteen offered unlimited ingredients for a cup of coffee. Our fellow tourists used milk, sugar, and coffee powder to make self-made coffee. The fun fact, no one bothered to take a spoonful of hot water. The person in charge’s watchful eyes turned red with anger seeing the mess they made with the empty packet of milk and spilled milk on the ground. Soon he put up a board showing canteen closed. 

Getting anything for free is a weakness for us. We grab as much as possible; whether we require it or not is out of the question. Frittering food is considered an offense in Europe. The authorities may have thought we were seizing someone’s food and wasting it. Take only what we need, and respect another person’s right to survival—something we need to learn.


Our next journey was towards Belgium. It is the most densely populated and prosperous region in Belgium. La.grand Palace in Brussels is a remarkably homogenous body of public and private buildings. Mannequin piss and Atomium were the most significant attraction in Brussels. Mannequin, the lucky charm of Brussels, pisses beer during festivals. Yes, one could enjoy unlimited beer from him.

When it comes to food, the world is so diverse, and each country has its specialty. Unlike us, European prefer to eat cold foods. They didn’t drink tea. Belgium is famous for its Waffles and the tastiest ones in the world.

Transfer to Paris from Brussels took about 4hrs to 320kms. Going through the highway on either side, we saw Birch trees, maple trees, and cedar trees. The leaves were falling. The same tree holds different colours of leaves, like green, yellow, brown, and golden. The beginning of Autumn. It was so beautiful to witness.

We should also learn to shed our ego by gathering together, unbundling what is undesirable to our inner self, and forgetting about what we are or who we are. Explore the Autumn in splendour, and even the trees began relieving their coverings, so metamorphosis yourself into a new one.


Apart from “Baguettes, Croissants, and Eclairs, Paris is “The city of love, fashion, and chocolates. Love birds flocked together and flooded the Seine river with love locks, a mad belief that by doing so, one could get your love forever. Unable to hold it anymore, the river was recently cleaned, and the city banned people from dropping love locks into the river.

Your love could exist in every object you pass through, not limited to one person or one entity, and bearing the burden of proving its worthiness is not at all a good idea. Love to be bloomed and its fragrance to be spread everywhere you exist. Let’s love unconditionally.

We missed the opportunity to visit the famous Louvre museum, where the beauty queen Monalisa mesmerised the whole world with her ever-charming smile. However, we are satisfied with the photo in the gallery.

Eiffel Tower is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel. The wrought iron lattice is a powerful and distinctive symbol of Paris, impressed by its stature and daring design. We were lucky enough to ascend to the entire third level and enjoy the panoramic view of the city.

In the evening, we saw the wholly rhetorical Eiffel Tower under much pomp and vigour, and its beacon reached 80km at 360 degrees. The Tower had witnessed and sometimes been an actor in important events, both sumptuous and tragic in France’s history.

The water cruise through the river seine also gave us some refreshments for the mind and body. The roads were well maintained, and it was said every six months, roads were repaired. Whether it requires or not was out of the question. No trace of waste was seen elsewhere, and there was no foul smell. An interesting thing I noticed was that the seat behind the driver was always kept unoccupied. It was a precautionary measure to avoid the driver’s attention, if any, from the action of people sitting behind. Unlike us, the drivers had a specific duty time. Working beyond that was not permitted. I wondered whether the whole of Europe was a no-horn area. Yes, blowing the horn means they were reprimanding. People were crossing the road only through zebra crossing and walking through the walkway. Even though no one was crossing, the driver stopped the vehicle at the pedestrian crossing. The disciplined way of following the road rules was to be learned.

Karlsruhe (Germany)

The Tower of the 18th-century palace offers views of its fan-shaped layout. From the city of Zurich, a global center for banking and finance, we proceeded to The Black Forest, a mountainous province in Germany bordering France. It was known for its dense evergreen villages, associated with the Brothers Grim Fairy tales. The place has been renowned for the Cuckoo Clocks factory since the 1700s. A visit to the factory was a memorable one, and there was a presentation on how the clock was taking shape practically handmade. We saw Titi See (lake), and the Rhine falls on the way. Shopping inside was perplexing because each one occurred better than the other. 

There are many other places and cities and stories to share, and I will share them other time. I was really in a trance. Words are not enough to explain. More to come soon.

Follow K. Syamala