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March 2018 Archive

Popular Easter Traditions in Asia

Popular Easter Traditions in Asia

Image Credit: All China's Women's Federation

The celebration of Easter is one of the most important days on the Christian calendar, as millions rejoice and commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In western culture, this holiday is losing its religious significance as the commercialisation of the Easter Bunny and chocolate eggs take over.

Although Asia does not typically follow the same traditions as the western society, there is an abundance of surprising and unorthodox traditions which are celebrated each year.


Philippines 

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Image Credit: Flickr


In comparison to the exchange of the chocolate eggs in western society, the Philippines takes a more traditional and literal route to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the Philippines, men from the province of Pampanga re-enact the whipping of the stations of the cross and are nailed to a wooden cross with stainless steel nails into their hands and feet. This physical sacrifice is believed to bring upon the forgiveness of sins but also to rejoice new life. 


China 

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Image Credit: Pinterest


China celebrates the holiday by decorating and exchanging eggs as gifts, (as the religious implications are not so poignant within their culture.) The symbolism of painting an egg is meant to represent: new life, rebirth, growth and fertility. These eggs are drained and then painted with images of women or traditional designs. Alternatively, materials such as jade and wood are also carved into egg shapes. 


India

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Image Credit: CozyNuk

Well known for its melting pot of diverse cultures and religions, India celebrates Easter with equal enthusiasm as any other holiday. However, instead of eggs given as gifts, India prepares Simnel cakes, flowers, and colour lanterns as presents to share. The start of Easter also signifies the end of winter, whereby India celebrates Holi festival also known as the "The Festival of Colour" which honours the start of a fruitful spring harvest season. 


If you aren't planning to visit Asia for Easter this year, easily achieve an authentic taste at home with out spice paste and sauces. For a colourful explosion on your taste buds, more ideas on dishes and ingredients,check out our wide range of products here

Top Destinations in Vietnam this Spring

Top Destinations in Vietnam this Spring

Image Credit: Justgola


The month of March in Vietnam sees temperatures rise and travellers emerge. If you are interested in exploring the natural environment of this beautiful country, spring is the time to do so.

This time of year in Vietnam hosts many cultural, historical and religious events and generally lasts from February to April. With the flowers blooming and the sun shining, there are plenty of places to explore and we have collected a few to get you started.


Sapa Rice Fields

Sapa is a town in Northwest Vietnam known for its mountainous terrain and terraces which are full of rice fields. Between March and May the rice fields are in a dry season which offers travellers pleasant weather to trek through Sapa. In mid-April you can experience blooming flowers which envelope the rice fields before a new crop. 


Da Nang, Vietnam

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Image Credit: Vietnam Tour Booking

This beach city will leave you feeling relaxed but also excited from the busy atmosphere of the most dynamic city. When visiting, make sure to explore destinations such as Ba Na Hills, My Khe beach, Linh Ung Pagoda, Han River and the Dragon Bridge to really make the most of this beautiful city.


Perfume Pagoda Festival

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Image Credit: Vietnam Visa Corp

The Perfume Pagoda is located 69km south of Hanoi and is one of the most famous Buddhist pilgrimages in northern Vietnam. Thousands of pilgrims travel to this sacred cave and pray for happiness and prosperity in the coming year. Pilgrims board boats which carry them along the Yen Stream through a beautiful and captivating landscape of green rice paddles with limestone mounts to the base of Huong Mountain.

Aren't planning to visit Vietnam anytime soon? Don't worry! Easily achieve an authentic taste at home with our Vietnamese range available now!

March Equinox: How is it celebrated in Japan?

March Equinox: How is it celebrated in Japan?

Image: Wallpapers craft

 

March Equinox also known as the Vernal Equinox is a holiday celebrated in Japan and across Asia, welcoming the spring season. This day became an official public holiday in 1948, and is typically celebrated on March 20th/21st which helps to mark the end of winter and the arrival of spring. Keep reading to find out how Japan celebrates this special day!

 

On the day of the Vernal Equinox the sun rises in the east and sets exactly in the west, making day and night of equal length and marking the beginning of spring in Japan. Traditionally known as Shunbun no Hi, it's a day to reflect with nature and to spend quality time with family.

 

The celebratory period begins three days before the Vernal Equinox and ends three days after (making it last over a seven day period), this is commonly referred to as higan. Higan is a time where families come together and pay respects to ancestors by visiting their grave at the cemetery and offering gifts such as flowers and incense. The gravestones are often hand-washed by family members to honour their families before the coming of spring. It is also customary to spring clean the house during this time which is also followed by many families in Japan.

 

Food also plays an important part of Higan, and an offering of botamochi (rice dumplings covered in red bean paste) is made to the ancestors after the memorial services. 

 

If you can't join the Vernal Equinox celebrations this year, why not create some delicious meals at home with the help of our Japanese range.

5 most common types of sushi in Japan

5 most common types of sushi in Japan

Image Credit: Napoleon Four

Sushi is undoubtedly one of Japan's most famous dishes and it's becoming increasingly popular all over the world. This dish has evolved throughout the years, and there are so many variations and fillings for the type of sushi we see today.

From vegetables to raw fish and cooked meat, we are here to take you through the most popular types of sushi you'll encounter in not only Japan, but all over the world. 


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Image Credit: Pinimg

Often referred to as nori maki or norimaki, this is the most popular form of sushi in the world! The rice and ingredients are carefully rolled up in a sheet of seaweed, and then cut into smaller pieces. Long, thin rolls typically feature just one ingredient like a strip of fresh tuna or cucumber. Futomaki is the thicker variety of Makizushi which includes a combination of rice and complimentary ingredients.

Gunkan Maki

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Image Source: Trip Advisor

Gunkan Maki is another type of maki (rolled or wrapped sushi) and was invented in the 1940's in a Ginza sushi restaurant. It's made by wrapping a wide strip of seaweed around a rice ball while leaving enough space at the top to fill with various ingredients, such as salmon roe and kanimiso (blended crab brains).

Temaki

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Image Credit: Gurunavi

Temaki often resembles the shape of an ice cream cone. The rice and ingredients are held within a sheet of seaweed wrapped into a conical shape. It proves to be popular at restaurants throughout Japan, given how easy it is to prepare. Popular fillings include squid, pickled plum and fresh shiso leaves.


Nigiri

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Image Credit: Gurunavi

Nigiri is the original form of sushi that we know today. It's made up of hand-pressed rice, and is topped with any number of ingredients. It is believed to have been invented as a type of fast food by a sushi chef working in the 1800's who decided to sell his freshly created sushi to nearby workers as a quick snack!

Sasazushi

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Image Credit: Kurobe

In Japanese, "sasa" refers to a bamboo leaf and saszushi refers to sushi consisting of rice and topping wrapped in a bamboo leaf. The topping for this type of sushi includes a wide range of wild vegetables such as mugwort and bamboo shoots, walnuts, mushrooms, miso, shredded omelette and salmon.

 

Feeling hungry? Why not make some at home yourself! Use Asian Home Gourmet's range of Japanese products, to bring the delights of authentic Japanese cuisine into your home today. 

Festival of Colours: Food traditions for Holi

Festival of Colours: Food traditions for Holi

Image: All That's Interesting

 

Commonly known as the festival of colours, Holi is celebrated with much excitement and enthusiasm every year in India especially in the Northern region. As a holy event in the Hindu calendar, Holi has many interesting rituals and mythologies which impact the way in which this holiday is celebrated. We explore some of the most popular food and drinks which form the foundations of the festival of colours.


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Image: Notey


Bhang

When celebrating Holi, the unofficial drink is undoubtedly referred to as bhang. Culled from the leaves and buds of the cannabis plant, it is prepared with a mortar and pestle to create a fine paste. Milk is then added to the drink and then often flavoured with sugar, fruit and other spices making it a tasty and refreshing beverage for the festive season. The Holi traditions often begin with reciting the Sanskrit chants, followed by a delicious glass of bhang!


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Image: Archana's Kitchen


Puran poli

Most popular in the West Indian State of Maharasthra, puran poli is a staple of Holi celebrations. Although it initially resembles a roti, puran poli is a sweet and buttery flatbread made from lentils. The stuffing is made from boiling lentils and adding sugar to bring out the sweet flavour. Cardamom, saffron as well as nutmeg are also added to the stuffing, and the dish is sometimes served with ghee and milk for extra texture and flavour.


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Image: Archana's Kitchen

 

Thandai

Often flavoured with nuts and spices such as cardamom, rose petals and poppy seeds, thandai is a sweet and creamy drink during the Holi celebrations. If you can't join the Holi celebrations this year, why not create some delicious meals at home with the help of our Indian range? Available now for a fraction of the price at your local supermarket.


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Popular Easter Traditions in Asia

Popular Easter Traditions in Asia

Image Credit: All China's Women's Federation The celebration of Easter is one of the most important days on the Christian calendar, as millions rejoice and commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In western culture, this holiday is losing its religious...

» Read more

Top Destinations in Vietnam this Spring

Top Destinations in Vietnam this Spring

Image Credit: JustgolaThe month of March in Vietnam sees temperatures rise and travellers emerge. If you are interested in exploring the natural environment of this beautiful country, spring is the time to do so. This time of year in Vietnam...

» Read more

March Equinox: How is it celebrated in Japan?

March Equinox: How is it celebrated in Japan?

Image: Wallpapers craft   March Equinox also known as the Vernal Equinox is a holiday celebrated in Japan and across Asia, welcoming the spring season. This day became an official public holiday in 1948, and is typically celebrated on March...

» Read more

5 most common types of sushi in Japan

5 most common types of sushi in Japan

Image Credit: Napoleon Four Sushi is undoubtedly one of Japan's most famous dishes and it's becoming increasingly popular all over the world. This dish has evolved throughout the years, and there are so many variations and fillings for the type...

» Read more

Festival of Colours: Food traditions for Holi

Festival of Colours: Food traditions for Holi

Image: All That's Interesting   Commonly known as the festival of colours, Holi is celebrated with much excitement and enthusiasm every year in India especially in the Northern region. As a holy event in the Hindu calendar, Holi has many...

» Read more