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November 2017 Archive

El Nido Travel Guide

El Nido Travel Guide

Image Credit: Journey Era

A tropical getaway nicknamed 'Heaven on Earth' El Nido is located south-west of Manila in the province of Palawan in the Philippines. Known for its limestone structures, amazing coral reefs and stunning beaches. It is currently ranked #17 in Condé Nast Traveller's list of 'the 20 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World'. With the best time to travel in December, January and February, we suggest you start packing!

Getting There

From surrounding capital cities, there are three ways to travel to El Nido:

Plane - regular flights depart daily from Manila or Cebu. For a duration of around one hour, it is by far the most efficient option. Planes land at Lio Airport, about a 20-minute tri-cycle ride from the main city in El Nido.

Bus - From most major surrounding cities, buses run each day and take approximately 6 hours. They are the most economical option and, although lengthy, are often almost a guided tour in themselves.

Boat - the most picturesque way to travel. Anywhere from 7-10 hours, the trip varies on a day-to-day basis and can be cancelled at very short notice due to local weather conditions. Depending on the time of year, weather conditions, frequency of trips, and the company you select, changes can be made to your schedule minutes before you previous departure.

Beach Days

Coated in palm trees and enclosed by the mountainous surrounds, Nacpan Beach is both quiet and the most popular tourism location of the region. For a day out with the family or a peaceful beach day on your own, it is most certainly a local must-see.

Duli Beach - the largest stretch of beach in the region, Duli Beach is known for its white and soft sand. The perfect picnic spot, it's a family friendly beach location with little to no rock or limestone formations in the area. The shallow waters also make for the ideal spot to sit during the much warmer hours of the day.

Island Hopping

Simizu Island - known for its beautiful limestone formations and clear turquoise water, Simizu Island is renowned for its snorkelling and diving spots. The region is also known for its local vendors and is regarded as one of the best places in El Nido to grab lunch.

Bacuit Bay - renowned for its dotting of islands and innumerable locations to visit. With over 45 individual islands, the area has more than enough to keep you on your toes.

Natural Wonders

Ille Cave - archeologically one of the most significant locations in El Nido. With relics and evidence of tribes from more than 12,000 years ago, the Ille Cave is a wonder to behold and an amazing place to explore.

Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls - for those who love a good hike, the Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls are a 40-minute trek, that is truly worth the effort. The refreshingly clear pool at the base of the waterfalls is the perfect place for a romantic day-trip.

Local Cuisine

Although El Nido is part of the Pinoy or Filipino cuisine, there are a few speciality dishes that identify the region. For breakfast, we highly recommend Tocino and Garlic Rice, the most traditional morning meal. It consists of sett, thinly sliced poke sausages, fried egg, sliced and friend tomato, and white garlic rice. The dis is surprisingly light and very filling.

 

Travel Vietnam Like a Local

Travel Vietnam Like a Local

Image Credit: Shogun Supa

Travel Vietnam Like a Local

So, you're thinking of going to Vietnam and want the authentic experience? Vietnam is an iconic holiday destination known for its breathtaking landscape, friendly residents, exquisite cuisines and affordability. It has world famous beaches, but its incredible heritage and historic sites are often forgotten.

Must eat: The Quintessential Vietnamese Pho

Vietnam is well known for its simple but authentic Vietnamese Pho, with Pho noodle stands scattered across the city. This is a delicious and affordable meal in Vietnam, made from salty broth, fresh rice noodles, chicken/beef and a blend of delicious herbs. To enjoy the authentic Pho experience from home, make yours with our Spice Paste for Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup, it contains a delicate blend of ginger, coriander, star anise and cinnamon which makes it utterly irresistible. 

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Image Credit: Miss Cheve

Must experience: Crawling through the Cu Chi Tunnels

When adventuring Vietnam, there are numerous opportunities to reflect on both the wonderful and devastating moments of its heritage. The Cu Chi Tunnels are remembered as the complex maze of underground connected tunnels, where Viet Cong soldiers would hide from American soldiers during combat in the Vietnam war. The tunnels are over 121km long in Cu Chi alone, and are filled with trapdoors, living areas, storage caches, weapon factories, hospitals and kitchens. During the war, the tunnels had minimal food, air and water, and sicknesses such as malaria were prevalent. This site is a must-see to understand Vietnam's rich history and tenacity.

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 Image Credit: Arresting Piano

Must eat: The tantalising Banh Xeo

A trip to Vietnam wouldn't be complete without the flavoursome Banh Xeo! This is a crunchy crepe filled with pork, bean sprouts, shrimp and herbs. To eat Banh Xeo like a true Vietnamese local, slice it, roll it up into rice paper leaves and dunk it in some side sauce!

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Image Credit: Mch Case

Must experience: Mountain Biking through the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is famous for having the oldest Asian Karst mountains, formed a staggering 400 million years ago. The park has hundreds of extraordinarily large cave systems and underground rivers which you could spend weeks exploring. Many people enjoy the beauty while forest trekking, and locals enjoy mountain biking around the region.


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Image Credit: Jonny Rouse 7

Must eat: The palate-satisfying Cha Ca

Cha Ca is a rite of passage adored by the Hanoian people, with restaurant names dedicated to the dish. The meal includes a tasty combination of fried chunks of fish, commonly seasoned with garlic, ginger, turmeric and dill which will blow you away.

 

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Image Credit: Nj Beo

To bring the authentic Vietnamese cuisine experience to your kitchen, visit our range and check out our Marinade for Vietnamese Barbeque Meat and our Spice Paste for Vietnamese Chicken Curry to bring a touch of authenticity to your meals at home.

How To Make Kimchi

How To Make Kimchi

Image Credit: koreanbapsang.com

A staple of Korean cuisine, Kimchi is a traditional side dish to accompany almost any main meal. It consists of fermented vegetables, mostly cabbage and radish. The superfood is rich in Vitamin A, promotes clearer skin, aids with weight loss, and strengthens your immune system. One serving also provides over 50% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C and Carotene, which is essential to good health.

With so many health benefits, such a unique flavour and so easy to make, how could you not add this to your next meal?

Traditional Kimchi

Traditional Kimchi is significant both historically and culturally on the Korean Peninsula. It dates as far back as 40-30 BCE, and was popularised from the 7th century onward in light of the food's durability.

To preserve food for greater periods of time and last through colder weather, vegetables like cabbage were fermented and pickled. Large quantities were stored underground in jars, to maintain the right temperature and ensure fermenting occurred correctly.

Over time, additions and alterations to traditional recipes have changed the way the dish smells and tastes. Very traditional recipes, prior to the 17th century, do not include garlic or chilli, despite these ingredients now defining the dish.

Kimchi is produced by placing cabbage and radish into a brine, amongst spices like Korean sea salt (not unlike Kosher Salt), gochugaru (chilli powder), scallions, garlics, ginger, and jeotgal (salted seafood).

The overall flavour is both sour and spicy. The fermentation process produces lactic acid that gives it a powerful tangy flavour, not unlike sauerkraut. In recent centuries, with the addition of chilli and garlic, the dish has become increasingly spicy. As a result of these additions, kimchi gets its classically red appearance.

Modern/Hybrid Variations

With more than 200 variations within the Korean cuisine, not including hybrid dishes, kimchi is an ever-changing dish with infinite combinations and alterations. Modern takes on the dish remove the chilli, add in new variations of radish, combine trendy ingredients like kale, and even the addition of fruit!

Baek-kimchi (otherwise known as white kimchi) is a Korean cuisine variation made without chilli pepper, as a mild-spicy alternative. Chonggak-kimchi is cubed chonggak or "ponytail" radish, a popular spicy kimchi, made with white radish for a crisper, spicier finish. Yeolmu-kimchi is a popular choice during hotter months, and is made with young summer radishes. It has a sweeter taste and is faster to prepare since it doesn't need to be fermented.

Fruit Kimchi is a combination of fresh fruit and mixed nuts, salted and submerged in brine to pickle overnight. The result is a strikingly odd balance of sweet and sour. Common fruits used include pears, pineapple, and grapes. It is mostly served as a breakfast accompaniment and can maintain its flavour, like a regular kimchi for weeks on end.

A more popular variation is Kale Kimchi. It is not dissimilar to kimchi made with cabbage, but has a stronger, more resounding bitter flavour. As fermentation takes place, kale breaks down to produce a very strong kimchi with innumerable healthy benefits.

The traditional flavours of kimchi, are often difficult to reproduce and require years of experimentation with the fermentation process. Make it with easy and home, and skip the days of fermenting, with our Korean Kimchi Soup!

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El Nido Travel Guide

El Nido Travel Guide

Image Credit: Journey Era A tropical getaway nicknamed 'Heaven on Earth' El Nido is located south-west of Manila in the province of Palawan in the Philippines. Known for its limestone structures, amazing coral reefs and stunning beaches. It is currently...

» Read more

Travel Vietnam Like a Local

Travel Vietnam Like a Local

Image Credit: Shogun Supa Travel Vietnam Like a Local So, you're thinking of going to Vietnam and want the authentic experience? Vietnam is an iconic holiday destination known for its breathtaking landscape, friendly residents, exquisite cuisines and affordability. It has...

» Read more

How To Make Kimchi

How To Make Kimchi

Image Credit: koreanbapsang.com A staple of Korean cuisine, Kimchi is a traditional side dish to accompany almost any main meal. It consists of fermented vegetables, mostly cabbage and radish. The superfood is rich in Vitamin A, promotes clearer skin, aids...

» Read more