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April 2016 Archive
Top 5 Temples to Visit in Thailand
Thailand is a beautiful country with plenty of amazing sights to see including stunning natural landmarks and vibrant marketplaces. But no visit to Thailand is complete without seeing some breathtaking temples. Here are the top 5 must-see temples in Thailand.
Also known as the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun boasts an impressive 230ft (70m) spire and is one of Bangkok's most famous landmarks. The Wat Arun consists of a grand pagoda in the centre, surrounded by four smaller pagodas made from cement and covered in millions of pieces of Chinese porcelain.
Wat Phu Khao Thong
Built in 1387, the Wat Phu Khao Thong, or Golden Mountain Temple, collapsed due to a lack of maintenance for over 200 years but has now been restored. Atop the structure sits a golden ball weighing 2.5Kg that was placed there in celebration of the Buddhist religion's 25th century of existence. Visitors are able to climb the Mon-Burmese style base up until the foot of the chedi. From this vantage point you are able to see the surrounding rice fields and the town of Ayutthaya.
Wat Rong Khun
Unlike most Thai temples, the Wat Rong Khun (The White Temple) is a true work of art by Thai painter Chalermchai Kositpipat. Located in Chiang Rai, the whole temple structure is covered in a mosaic of white mirrored tiles, and the architecture is filled with riddles, teachings and Buddhist philosophy.
Wat Phra Kaew
Located inside the Grand Palace complex, this temple is also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and is regarded as Thailand's most important temple. The Wat Phra Kaew houses the Emerald Buddha, a highly valued statue of Buddha in meditation that is carved from a singular block of jade.
Sitting beside the Grand Palace in central Bangkok, the Wat Pho is one of the city's longest standing temples and also one of the largest temple complexes in the city. This temple is popularly known for its giant reclining Buddha statue that measures 46 metres long and is covered in gold leaf.
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, a subtle balance of flavours served with crushed peanuts, fresh chives and a dash of lime. Discover more with our Thai range
Super Healthy Asian Ingredients
Many Asian cuisines are renowned not only for their distinctive flavours, but also for their common use of potent healthy ingredients. The medicinal powers of many of these ingredients have long been recognised and used in traditional medicine in Asian countries for thousands of years. These ingredients have staggering health benefits and are staple ingredients in Asian dishes - just another reason to incorporate Asian dishes into your diet.
Ginger is a staple in Indian, Chinese and Thai dishes because of its distinctive flavour, but it also offers an amazing range of health benefits. Its most frequent medicinal use is to aid digestion, but it is also commonly used to relieve nausea and motion sickness. Additionally, ginger is believed to have anti-inflammatory qualities that relieve pain. Eating a heavy infused ginger meal may also be beneficial to those suffering cold & flu symptoms as it may speed up the recovery and reduce the symptoms.
Kimchi, a fermented vegetable dish is foundational to Korean cuisine and carries an impressive range of health benefits. The probiotics which are created in the fermenting process aid digestion and also provide ample antioxidants which fight against free radical damage. Kimchi is also full of flavonoids and phenolic components which support a healthy immune system, helping you avoid getting sick. Kimchi is even believed to have cancer and diabetes fighting properties and aid with weight loss.
A staple in almost all Asian cuisines, chilli contains an amazing seven times the vitamin C of an orange and can relieve migraines and muscle, joint and nerve pain. It can also boost your metabolism, aiding in weight loss.
Tumeric is commonly used in Indian and Thai curries and is perhaps the healthiest ingredient of all. Tumeric has natural anti-inflammatory powers and is also a powerful antioxidant, which means it can work to prevent cancer and dementia.
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Japans Top 4 Nature-Inspired Holidays
Japan's appreciation of nature is reflected through their numerous national holidays and celebrations for nature and its importance to the nation's survival. Here are four of the best nature-inspired holidays.
Beginning of spring (Setsubun) 3rd February 2016
Setsubun is the day before the first day of spring, according to the old Japanese calendar and is celebrated throughout the country. Traditionally, soybeans are thrown around the house to cast out oni (bad spirits).
Greenery Day (Midori no hi) 4th May 2016
Greenery Day is a day dedicated to appreciating nature. Originally celebrating Emperor Showa's birthday, Greenery Day was established to honour his love for the environment.
Trees are planted across the country and events are held to bring people closer to the natural world.
Marine Day (Umi no Hi) 18th July 2016
Japan is made up of over 6,000 islands, so it's no wonder they set aside a holiday for the ocean.
Marine Day is a day to give thanks to the ocean's abundance, which has supported the nation's economy for hundreds of years, as well as reflect upon the importance of the ocean and pray for the continuation of Japan's marine success. The day is associated with the first day of summer and people flock to the beach to enjoy the start of the season.
Mountain Day 11th August 2016
Mountain Day was first celebrated in 2014, for Japanese citizens to become familiar with mountains and appreciate their blessings. Japan is famous for its breathtaking mountains. The most well-known, Mount Fuji is an active volcano, west of Tokyo.
Celebrate these amazing holidays at home with friends. With Asian Home Gourmet, you can create authentic Japanese dishes at home with our range of authentic Japanese flavours.
Why the Japanese Diet is so Healthy
Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world. One of the biggest factors contributing to the longevity of the Japanese people is believed to be the diet. So what secrets to long life can we learn from the Japanese?
Unsurprisingly, the core ingredients in Japanese cuisine all carry significant health benefits. The main ingredients which are eaten daily in Japan are: fish, vegetables (especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and kale), soy, rice and fruit. The most popular beverage to drink alongside meals is green tea, which is renowned for its numerous health benefits.
Cooking at home frequently rather than eating out, means that there is total control over the ingredients used. A traditional Japanese home cooked meal consists of fish, rice, vegetables, miso soup and green tea.
Fresh Seasonal Ingredients
In Japanese cuisine, the emphasis is on extremely fresh food. Usually the ingredients used in dinner would have been packaged and sold earlier that day rather than weeks ago, as is common in western supermarkets. Eating fresh seasonal produce ensures that foods retain the maximum nutrient content.
Japanese dining culture involves eating in small, slow bites, chewing the food fully before swallowing. Portion sizes are roughly a third of that which is commonly served in America. The combination of small portions and slow eating means that the Japanese rarely over eat.
The main carbohydrate source in Japan is rice, as opposed to bread which is more commonly eaten in the west. Bread is often over processed and refined and excess consumption often leads to weight gain.
Breakfast is usually the biggest meal of the day, meaning that the metabolism is kick started in the morning and the body has all day to digest the food. Eating the biggest meal of the day at night time can lead to a sluggish digestion, as the body must struggle to digest the food while you are sleeping.
Dessert is not commonly eaten after meals in Japan, except for some fresh fruit. While pastries and cakes are available, they are eaten mainly on special occasions.