Category Archives: Food and drink

Getting the full Japanese experience – in Bangkok

Thailand’s capital, especially the central area of Sukhumvit, is home to a large Japanese community and has some fantastic Japanese bars and restaurants

I visited Bangkok expecting to eat a lot of Thai food, which I don’t think was unreasonable in the circumstances. So it was surprising that the most memorable meal of the trip turned out to be Japanese. Bangkok has one of the largest Japanese populations in Asia outside Japan. The official figures are about 50,000 but most estimates put it at at least double that, when you consider the numbers on long-term tourist visas who neglect to mention the fact to the authorities. About a quarter of work permits issued are to the Japanese.

Related: From dusk till dawn: in search of old-school Bangkok

Continue reading…
Source: gad

Culture, clubbing and chaos: out with the locals in Beirut

Amid the city’s traffic jams and power cuts, a collaborative vibe among young Beirutis is seeing cutting-edge galleries and bars spring up, along with an emerging LGBTQ scene

‘Life in Lebanon exists on a Samuel Beckett level of absurdity,” actor, writer and poet Dima Matta tells me. We are chatting on the terrace at Onomatopoeia on Jean Jalkh Street; it’s a music hub and NGO where Matta’s storytelling events have become popular with young, culturally aware Beirutis. Matta is referring to a political elite seen as a corrupt, contemptible joke, and to the daily consequences – roads choked with cars, electricity that runs for only a few hours a day, a bribery culture, and so on – of this alleged avarice and incompetence.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

A taste of Greece: the new culinary scene on Tinos island

From beekeepers to winemakers, locals and newcomers are creating a foodie paradise on Tinos in the Cyclades – and turning old buildings into stylish places to stay, too

It’s pretty obvious why the 20th-century Greek philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis called Tinos the “handmade island”. In the 50-odd villages of this 75 square-mile isle in the northern Cyclades, marble sculptors have transformed every lintel, doorway, and fountain into a work of art. Even the For Sale signs on empty houses are carved from marble.

The dry stone walls that corrugate the valleys, the intricate dovecotes and the gaping quarries sprinkled around these sage-scented hills are evidence of hard labour, as well as an artistic sensibility.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

How to eat flowers without poisoning yourself

I spent a week adding a floral touch to my meals – but if you don’t know what you’re doing, swiping flowers from the meadow can be a risky business

There are ups and downs in the world of edible flowers. By her own admission, Jan Billington, who grows and sells them from her organic farm in Devon, “smells amazing”. On the downside, she is regularly stung by Italian honey bees and is badly allergic, “although it’s just a matter of swelling”, she says. “It goes down eventually.”

Billington sells seasonal flowers to chefs and cocktail-makers, but more recently she has begun selling to amateur cooks who are hoping to inject a little personality into their cooking. Edible flowers are in the spotlight, or rather the polytunnels (thanks to the frost), because of Instagram, where they are used to zhoosh up food shots, and because of the rise of veganism, where they provide a bit of textural variation.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

Inspired by Italy’s Delia: a food tour of Cilento, Campania

Delia Morinelli helped bring the Mediterranean diet to world attention in the 1970s. Now she’s opened her first restaurant in the Cilento, a quiet corner of Italy that’s perfect for a culinary road trip

Delia Morinelli has been cooking all her life and she’s not about to stop now she’s in her 80s. In fact, she is making the most of her ninth decade by taking on a new challenge – her first restaurant. On the terrace of her hillside home in the coastal village of Pioppi, two hours south of Naples, A Casa di Delia, is reached by narrow stone steps through a garden. From vine-shaded tables, diners look out across the Tyrrhenian Sea, where windsurfers leave white trails in the sparkling blue water.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

Venice authorities step in after four tourists charged £1,000 for meal

Quartet of Japanese tourists ordered steak, grilled fish and water and were charged €1,100 in restaurant

The police chief and mayor of Venice have pledged action after four Japanese tourists said they were presented with a bill of €1,100 (£970) for four steaks and a plate of mixed grilled fish, washed down with water.

Another three women in the same group suspected they might be taken for a ride at the restaurant near St Mark’s Square and ate elsewhere, the Ansa news agency reported, but still ended up paying €350 (£308) for three dishes of seafood pasta.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

A matter of taste: six remarkable women and the food they ate

Dorothy Wordsworth’s black pudding, Eleanor Roosevelt and clams, Barbara Pym’s tinned spaghetti … What does the food these women devoured – or detested – tell us about their lives?

“Tell me what you eat,” wrote the philosopher-gourmand Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, “and I shall tell you what you are.” It’s one of the most famous aphorisms in the literature of food, and I thought about it many times as I was probing the lives of the six women in my book What She Ate. Food was my entry point into their worlds, so naturally I wanted to know what they ate, but I wanted to know everything else, too. Tell me what you eat, I longed to say to each woman, and then tell me whether you like to eat alone, and if you really taste the flavours of food or ignore them, or forget all about them a moment later. Tell me what hunger feels like to you, and if you’ve ever experienced it without knowing when you’re going to eat next. Tell me where you buy food, and how you choose it, and whether you spend too much.

Related: Food poverty is the ‘new normal’ in the UK. We adopted it from the States

Continue reading…
Source: gad

How I fell in love with kebabs | Gabrielle Jackson

From Europe to the Middle East, I discovered that a kebab shared with strangers can open doors (and eyes) and form friendships

In 2005, on the black-sand beach of Kamari on the Greek island of Santorini, my hungover friend ordered a gyros for breakfast. I scoffed, turned my nose up at her vulgarity and then asked, “May I have a bite,” as the delightful smell wafted across my sunlounger. With juices still dripping down my chin, I raced off to the Souvlaki Stop to order my own. That mouthful of lightly marinated chicken, topped with voluptuous red tomatoes and creamy tzatziki, wrapped in warm Greek pita and garnished with a few crunchy chips sticking out the top, changed my life.

I ate so many gyros on that holiday that it got me thinking: Why don’t I eat kebabs at home while sober? During daylight hours? Obviously, I ate them around midnight, on the way home after a night out, but rarely at any other time. I was living in London then and almost everybody I knew had the same kind of relationship with kebabs. Suddenly, this attitude seemed unfair and elitist.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

18 for ’18: the talent and trends tipped for the top in 2018

From girls with attitude on screen to new grime debuts, from Steve McQueen’s return to Tacita Dean’s London takeover, Observer writers on what to look forward to in the coming year

Something special is happening in UK publishing. After the success of The Good Immigrant (edited by Nikesh Shukla) and titles like Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, there has been a renewed push to rectify the problems of an industry that has too long ignored narratives outside the white experience. Out of the thousands of titles published in 2016, a Bookseller study found that fewer than 100 books were published by non-white Brits.

Continue reading…
Source: gad