Danshui Food Speciality – Ah Gei’s Famous Tofu and Fishball – Taipei

ah gei famous tofu and fishball and fish paste danshui

In my last post I mentioned about the many unique snacks and food at Danshui, Taipei.  Definitely if you ask many of the locals, there is one common snack that most will recommend you to try in Danshui.  It is a unique tofu/fishcake dish and the authentic ones can only be found at a place called Ah Gei‘s in Danshui.  This dish is not found elsewhere in Taipei, so my wife and I decided to check out what the hype was all about.

There are 2 branches of Ah Gei that we found in Danshui, one was along Zhongzheng Road, while the other one is just out from Zhongzheng Road near the waterfront.  We tried the one that was located along Zhongzheng Road.

ah gei danshui

The Ah Gei branch on Zhongzheng Road.

The menu of Ah Gei from the shop on Zhongzheng Road.

View of the tofu and fish balls lined up to be cooked.

We ordered the famous fish balls and also the signature tofu fishcake.  Here’s how they tasted.

The Fish balls

To me they had enough springiness to them when you bite into the fish ball, but either than that nothing too special about them.  They were good, but to me they were just fish balls, so nothing much to report about on this.

ah gei fishball

The Ah Gei fish balls.

The Tofu Fishcake

Now the tofu fishcake was alittle bit more interesting.  It was a giant tofu with a fishcake that seals the top.  And as you break the fishcake seal, there is a hefty filling of clear vermicelli noodles (also known as glass noodles)!  It was quite an interesting surprise inside.  To further top it off is that the tofu is drenched in a thick, pink and gooey sauce.  The sauce had a combination of a sweet and slight tinge sour taste to it.

ah gei tofu fishcake

The signature Ah Gei Tofu Fishcake with that mysterious pink sauce.

You bust open the fishcake on the top, and there is glass noodle underneath!

Close up view.

Everyone that I talked to said that this was a must try dish in Danshui and that it was really good.  I guess it is good for some people, but for me I didn’t quite like it at all.  I consider myself a pretty adventurous eater, where I will try anything, but surprisingly this is a rare occasion where I just didn’t like the taste of it.  It was a little bit too sweet for me, and with the combination of the mysterious pink gooey sauce drenched over the glass noodles, tofu, and fishcake mixture, it didn’t really look right either.  But don’t take my opinion for this, I’m sure its good, but its just not for me.  I guess this is like one of those things where you either like or not.  So check out Ah Gei in Danshui and you be the judge…

In case your interested here’s what the other branch of Ah Gei which is located near the waterfront in Danshui, just off Zhongzheng Road.

Close view of the Ah Gei that was located near the waterfront in Danshui.

Visitor’s Information to Ah Gei restaurant in Danshui:

Location map of Ah Gei:
Highlighted in Green – Danshui MRT station
Highlighted in Blue – Ah Gei along Zhongzheng Road (across the street from the New Taipei City Danshui District Office)
Highlighted in Red – Ah Gei located near the waterfront (near the ferry docks)

The Perfect Singapore Holiday

Singapore is an island city state, just off the cost of Malaysia in South East Asia, Singapore is made up of 63 different islands and once was part of Malaysia, gaining its independence in August of 1965. There is a lot of natural history in the local area as well as plenty of colonial history dating back to the British rule of the area. Singapore has lost much of its natural rainforest and is a very urbanized landscape. There is plenty on offer to see and do though in this wonderfully cosmopolitan city.

  • Singapore Zoo/Singapore Botanical Gardens
  • Universal Studios
  • Shopping
  • Night Safari
  • F1 Grand Prix

There is a lot to see and do when you visit Singapore.

The Zoo and Gardens

Both of these attractions are a good way to see some of the Flora and Fauna which is native to South East Asia. You also get to see species from other parts of the world as well. The zoo and gardens are a great was to spend a couple of hours and explore the sights and sounds that are on offer. You can even take in a Night Safari as well where you will see nocturnal animals coming out and being fed, a bit more natural than a normal zoo setting. All of the plants and animals at all three of the destinations are well looked after, and they have very high standards set by themselves.

Universal Studios

Universal Studios has been very popular since it opened in March 2010. There are a mixture of rides there which will help the kids of all ages have fun, including mums and dads. From the Transformers: The Ride 3D experience, to the thundering Battlestar Galactica Rollercoaster, there is plenty to get you screaming with joy at all of the fun you will be having. There are plenty of places that you can grab something to eat in between the roller coaster riding, don’t eat too much though, wouldn’t want it coming back up on the next ride!

F1 Grand Prix

If you love things loud and also love fast cars, then try making your trip coincide with the Singapore F1 Grand Prix which usually happens in September of each year. The circuit is made up of the streets through the city, and it is held at night time making it a truly spectacular spectacle to behold. This is a very popular time of year to come though, so you need to book early. You will find things going on from the Thursday before the race, with the race being on the Sunday evening. You will need to make sure you have your ear plugs for the weekend though as the F1 cars are not only fast, but they are very loud as well. Due to the high demand when the F1 team is in town, it is not only the busiest tome to come but also the most expensive, so if you are looking for a cheap holiday abroad, Singapore may not be for you at this time of year.

Shopping

If shopping s more your thing then you will not be disappointed with Singapore. There is always a sale on somewhere, and you have some of the best shopping malls in all of Asia here as well, so lots to choose from. As you are a tourist you can get a VAT refund when you leave the country, which can make some items that you buy very cheap indeed. You have a mixture of all of the big well known fashion designers with their own stores, to off the shelf fashion boutiques and small market with high quality, practical and cheap ensembles available so all wallets can shop easily in Singapore. There are also plenty of tailors who can make your bespoke clothing and custom made suits at very reasonable prices. After all of that shopping, you can stop off at a restaurant or a café and sample some of the local foods on offer. You will be able to find traditional Malay and Chinese dishes as well as plenty of western fair as well. Whether you stay in Singapore for your entire holiday, or just stop off for a few days passing through, you will sure to have an amazing time when you visit this pearl of the orient.

The Best Museums in Hong Kong

the best museums in hong kong

 

Are you traveling to Hong Kong soon? If so, be sure to check out some of the excellent local museums while you are there. Listed below are some of the best museums in Hong Hong.

 

1. Hong Kong Space Museum

This location is a perfect tourist attraction for the entire family. It is a very popular spot in Hong Kong that is shaped like an egg, and the Omnimax Theatre uses the dome as a projection screen for videos. The front end of the Space Shuttle is on display and can be walked through, and various models and artifacts are on display as well.

2. Hong Kong Police Museum

This museum is small in size but worth a visit. It will provide tourists with the history of Hong Kong from colonial times to the present. Anything having to do with Hong Kong’s police force is covered. The building is located on a hill providing a wonderful view of Hong Kong Island.

3. Hong Kong Maritime Museum

A trip to this museum is an enjoyable excursion. It is sponsored by the Hong Kong government and the Tourism Board. Visitors can learn a great deal about maritime affairs, shipping and warfare in different parts of the world as well as in Hong Kong itself. It will be opening this year in a new location and will have more space for models, artifacts and other displays.

4. The Flagstaff House Museum of Teaware

This museum is small in size but has a wonderful collection of antique ceramics. The building is a British colonial house that happens to be a monument of historical significance. You can enjoy tea and a meal in the cafe and also buy some lovely items.

5. The Museum of Art

If you love art, you must put this museum on your list of places to visit while in Hong Kong. Almost all of the art contained within is Chinese. The cafe overlooks Victoria Harbor, and the gift shop is where lovely souvenirs can be obtained. With seven galleries and four floors, this museum is an impressive size. The Chinese Antiquities Gallery is the highlight of the excursion.

6. Hong Kong Science Museum

If you are bringing the kids along on your trip to Hong Kong, they will especially enjoy a visit to the Science Museum, which caters to teaching children about science. The museum consists of 18 galleries and 500 exhibits with interactive models, videos and computers. Do not think that it is just for children, though, as you may learn a thing or two about science as well.

7. Hong Kong Museum of History

The History Museum is located next to the Science Museum and will tell the story of the history of Hong Kong from prehistoric times up to today. There are numerous artifacts and videos to enjoy.

 

Hong Kong is populated with many museums that can entertain and teach both children and adults. You will have a great time browsing through them throughout your trip.

Taipei Confucius Temple – A Subtle Temple in The Old Part of Taipei

confucius temple taipei

Located in the old part of Taipei, the Datong District is the Taipei Confucius Temple.  It is modeled after the original Confucius Temple from Shandong Province in mainland China.  If you don’t know who Confucius is, he is probably the most influential ancient Chinese philosopher of all time.  His teachings of ethics and moral values are so profound and influential that till this day most typical Chinese people still cultivate these values.  Strong family values and filial piety are such examples of his teachings that you will definitely see in a typical Chinese family.

The Taipei Confucius Temple is a great place to start when exploring the Datong area.  One of the main differences between the Confucius Temple and the rest of the Taoist / Buddhist Chinese Temples you see in Taiwan is that Confucius Temples are more modest in nature and subtle in look.  This is because Confucius valued simplicity.  Another main difference you will see is that there are no statues of deities and stuff like that in the Confucius Temple.  Reason being is that Confucius himself was never a saint, or god, but merely a mortal human being.  Instead you will see ancestral tablets bearing his name in the main temple halls.

confucius temple taipei

One of the huge walls you will see surrounding the Confucius Temple compound.

Some monkey statues as you head towards the entrance of the temple.

When we went, the temple was undergoing some renovations works.  Here was one of the spooky looking buildings near the temple that were undergoing renovations.

confucius temple main hall

The main hall of the Confucius Temple that houses the ancestral tablets of Confucius.

People in the back practicing some kung fu.

confucius temple grounds

Confucius Temple grounds.  Notice how it is very subtle looking.  There are no extraordinary dragons and ornaments decorating the temple.

The main hall.

A show was put on to demonstrate how it was during the Confucian times.

The ceremony about to end.

Visitor’s Information to Taipei Confucius Temple:

Nearest MRT station: Yuanshan MRT station, take exit 2 and walk about 10 mins along Kulun Street.

Address: No.275, Dalong St., Datong Dist., Taipei City

Admission:  FREE

confucius temple location map

Taipei Confucius Temple location map (area highlighted red).

How To Spend The $150 Bonus Resort Credit On A Red Label Holiday

Building on the success of The Captain’s Red Label Fares, Flight Centre today launched The Captain’s Red Label Holidays. These tailored travel packages include airfares, accommodation and great bonus extras. As the Red Label brand provides exceptional travel experiences, we have hand-selected terrific properties in Phuket, Bali and Fiji that provide the perfect setting for a relaxing getaway.

To make the experience even sweeter the Red Label Holidays come with Price Drop Protection, a $150 resort credit and free WiFi to help you stay in touch.

This begs the question – how should you spend your $150 resort credit? We contacted the resorts and hotels for their suggestions.

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The Hard Rock Hotel, Bali

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 Enjoy happy hour at Centerstage

“At the Hard Rock Hotel Bali we treat every guest like a rock star. Adults can sip cocktails at The Shack pool bar, located at Bali’s largest free-form swimming pool. If you’re travelling with kids, junior rock stars are kept entertained with day activities at the Lil’ Rock Kids Club, with membership offered to children aged 4-12 years old. These include the lunch and supervised indoor and outdoor activities. Teenagers and parents are welcome to enjoy the complimentary TABU Family Entertainment Center with games room, movie room and lounge. All these are benefits are in-line with the Red Label Holidays’ concept – to provide unique holidays or in our language, ‘authentic experiences that rock,” said Marketing Communications Manager Fandy Lo.

“To spend your resort credit you could dine al-fresco by the pool at Splash Bistro, which has a Mediterranean-inspired menu. After your meal you could unwind and enjoy classic rock and Top 40 hits performed live at Centerstage every evening. Don’t miss the special happy hour promotion for drinks. After a long day of Bali sightseeing enjoy a traditional Balinese massage at the newly renovated Rock Spa.”

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Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa, Fiji

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 Savour a delicious meal at the Takali Restaurant

“The Captain as the face of Red Label Holidays personifies a consistent, reliable and trustworthy brand.  These are the same qualities that the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa is recognized for.  As Fiji’s first and largest international resort, we understand the importance of holidays for families and couples, and our brand conveys credibility, quality and value in delivering a wide variety of resort experiences,” said Director of Sales and Marketing, Roel Constantino.

“For the resort credit we recommend the cultural night at our Marau Village, which features a fire walking and firedancers show. Fijian and Pacific Island cuisine is served – it’s prepared in a Fijian lovo or earth oven.  On the other hand, there are a myriad of choices ranging from international buffets at Lagoon Terrace, seafood nights at our Beach Bar & Grill and Italian favourites at our Golden Cowrie restaurant. A wide range of sea and land sports and recreation activities are also on offer.”
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Sanur Paradise Plaza Suites, Bali

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 Tuck into some Dim Sum

“We feel that we have the perfect balance between affordability and quality of service. Our 4-star hotel properties feature clean, smart rooms, excellent dining options, great value for money when it comes to food and drink, as well as our friendly staff, who are what make our properties what they are. Why are we the perfect match? We under promise and over deliver. We are exceptionally friendly. We aim to make our guests as comfortable as we can,” said Donna Murphy.

“For guests staying at the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel, they should not miss our Dim Sum lunches. We know that jelly fish and squid head may not sound so appetizing, however, the way our chefs prepare these dishes is incredible. One of my favourite dishes is new on the menu – Vietnamese Pork Belly Salad. The idea came from our General Manager, who recently returned from Vietnam and fell in love with this salad. With crunchy pork belly, lettuce and a stunning dressing, this salad is one that you will definitely come back for again and again,” said Donna.

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Burasari Resort Phuket, Phuket

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 Enjoy a Thai meal at the Kantok restaurant

“Burasari Resort Phuket is a well known property. Our resort is located on Patong Beach – you can walk to the beach in around two-minutes and many entertainment venues within walking distance to the hotel. With our water fountains and tropical foliage, Burasari Phuket is an oasis in the middle of bustling Patong Beach,” said Marcel Boeni, Vice President of Sales & Marketing.

“I would recommend that Red Label guests at Burasari Resort get pampered at our spa with one of our signature massages or enjoy a delicious Thai meal at our traditional Kantok Restaurant.”

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Meliá Bali

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 Unwind with a massage

“The mission of Meliá Bali is to earn the loyalty of our guests by providing them with a unique Balinese experience. Our team offer a courteous service, looking after everything down to the last detail, to make their stay a perfect experience. With the special benefits that we offer through this program, we want our customers to have an even better experience on their holidays and a truly have a unique holiday with added benefits.” said Novaria Irianti, Public Relations Manager.

“To spend the $150 resort credit, guests could put their vouchers towards a meal at our restaurant or a treatment in our spa. If you’d like a spa treatment, its only valid in the morning and can be used for everything except for Decleor.”

Brisbane-Based Consultant Jessica Explores Bangkok and Chiang Mai

Consultant Jessica Orreal recently spent a week in Thailand. She was keen to explore the capital, Bangkokand the northern city of Chiang Mai.

“I didn’t think that I’d like Bangkok but it was a really fun place. It was great for shopping, for the delicious food and I found some really unique hotels. While in the capital, I did a full-day organised temples tour where an informative guide took the group around to various temples. It also included a boat ride through the Bangkok waterways, which was amazing to experience. While I enjoyed seeing Bangkok, I preferred Chiang Mai. It was quieter and a bit more cultural. It was nice to get into the hills,” said Jessica.

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View From the Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok

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“This photo was taken from the Club Lounge of the Shangri-La. The lounge was very inviting and comfortable – with computers and a cafe area. But this view is very impressive. I had only seen Bangkok from the ground; so it gave me a nice perspective of the city,” said Jessica.

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Row of Golden Buddhas, Wat Pho Temple

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“We were taken to this temple as part of our temple day tour. There’s the main temple area but these Buddhas are in a little alcove. I thought it was a really cool shot. This is where they restore the Buddhas; so you can see a Buddhas which is black. This one is about to have a new coat of gold leaf applied,” said Jessica.
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Outside the Flower Market, Chak Phet Road

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“There are fantastic markets on Chak Phet Road. It’s famous for the flower market but it also has fresh produce. I really enjoyed exploring this side of Thailand. It’s so real and authentic,” said Jessica.

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Flowers Hanging at the Market

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“The flowers are just incredbile. I ‘d never seen so many fresh flowers before. But it’s the way they construct them that makes the arrangements amazing. These are marigolds that have been strung together. They use these creations as a gift,” said Jessica.

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Traditional Northern Thai Cuisine, Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai

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“I have never tasted so many different flavours in my life. This is the vegetarian/pescetarian version of a traditional northern Thai feast.  There’s a little bit of seafood, lots of spices and an eggplant dip. After dinner we lit lanterns and released them into the air,” said Jessica.

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Ornamental Fountain, Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai

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“This was a really great hotel and with a nice view. The local artists made these umbrellas and used their skills to creatively hand paint our names and flowers onto these umbrellas. It was such a nice gesture,” said Jessica.

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A Tuk Tuk Ride through Chiang Mai

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“This is my first Tuk Tuk ride – I was apprehensive at first. But they are very good drivers – I felt very safe.” said Jessica.

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Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai

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“This photo shows the elephants bathing which I felt was a natural thing for them. It’s set just below the mountain range – the location is gorgeous. I appreciate what this park does for conservation. As part of the experience, we also got to ride an elephant, something I have always wanted to do,” said Jessica.

Dip Your Toes Into the World’s Most Amazing Resort Pools

The bright lights of Tokyo are a world away from greenbelt Saitama, where Australia meets Japan in a vital World Cup qualifier on June 4. When Socceroos supporters step out from the gun-metal grey concrete of Urawa-Misono train station, they will find themselves surrounded by open fields.

 Japanese fans

From a distance, Saitama Stadium appears to have been plonked incongruously onto the middle of open farmland. Downtown Tokyo may be a mere 30 kilometres away but urban sprawl hasn’t quite caught up to Midori-ku – a name which fittingly translates to “Green Ward” to reflect its agricultural surrounds.

Despite its nondescript surrounds, Saitama Stadium is a hotbed of Japanese football. Built for the 2002 World Cup, the 63,000-capacity venue is the regular home of Urawa Reds – one of Asia’s most popular club sides. But it’s a different colour on show when the Japanese national team are in town as the feared Samurai Blue strut their stuff in front of their adoring fans.

Wall of noise
Anyone who has watched football in Asia knows the reputation of Japanese fans. Their fervent Ultras Nipponsupporter group is one of the loudest in world football and they routinely turn their home end into an impressive shade of blue.

That won’t stop Australian fans from trying to out-sing their fanatical counterparts and around 3,000 Socceroos supporters will be wedged into one corner of Saitama Stadium for this marquee World Cup qualifying showdown.

It’s a far cry from the approximately 43,000 Socceroos supporters who descended upon Germany for the 2006 World Cup finals – reputedly the largest mobilisation of Australians anywhere since the end of World War II.

On the road
It makes sense that an increasing number of Socceroos supporters are travelling in support of the national team. Since joining the Asian Football Confederation at the start of 2006, Australia has so far featured in major tournaments in Germany, Southeast Asia, South Africa and Qatar.

And with destinations like Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent, the ancient state of Jordan and the hidden gem that is Muscat in Oman to call upon during various Asian Cup and World Cup qualifiers, Australian fans are now spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring the exotic lands at their doorstep.

More than just an excuse to sing when you’re winning and sink a few beers in the stands, the Socceroos offer sports fans a rare opportunity to travel internationally on a regular basis and learn a thing or two about new countries and cultures in the process.

Saitama showdown
For now, it’s a relatively familiar foe staring down the Socceroos in Saitama, with the two sides having met five times in competitive fixtures since Australia’s historic 3-1 win over Japan at the World Cup in 2006.

The last time these two fierce rivals met in Japan, they did so in the historic port city of Yokohama, where just under 70,000 fans witnessed a cagey scoreless draw which ultimately benefited both sides.

There’s more at stake this time around, but even if the Socceroos lose, Australian fans can console themselves with the fact there’s still plenty to do in downtown Saitama.

The core of the city lies around Omiya Station – keen observers of Japanese football will note Omiya Ardija are the Saitama city rivals of Urawa Reds –and the streets surrounding the station are typical of any urban Japanese area.

Karaoke bars, izakayas, sushi restaurants and the usual assortment of Japanese streetside stores abound and come 10pm on Tuesday night, downtown Saitama will be buzzing – regardless of the result between two of Asian football’s fiercest rivals.

Chef Luke Nguyen Talks Beef Noodle Soup, Hoi An and Relaxing in Byron Bay

On his culinary travels, one of the most memorable destinations for Chef Luke Nguyen was Cambodia.

“As I step back in time walking around one of the largest and oldest Hindu Temples in the world, Angkor Wat, I also learnt the ancient cuisine of the Khmer people; a cuisine that was almost lost during the Pol Pot Regime. Food for me is culture, and I found that every Khmer dish that I came across had an incredible history and such an amazing story to it,” said Luke.

Luke NguyenLuke in his restaurant, Fat Noodle

While Sydney foodies have been appreciating Luke’s unique style of Vietnamese cuisine at his restaurant in Darlinghurst and at the Star Casino, Brisbane enthusiasts now have the opportunity of savouring his dishes atFat Noodle located within Brisbane’s Treasury Casino. To construct the menu for this stylish new addition to the Brisbane restaurant scene, Luke used his own travels through Asia as inspiration.

“Through my culinary travels throughout Asia, I come across new and exciting foods every day. The best dishes that I find are mostly street food, hawker style dishes. I have taken these favourite dishes of mine and constructed my Fat Noodle menu around them,” said Luke.

“What makes Fat Noodle unique is that we use premium produce to make the food that we serve. A great example is our Pho; a Vietnamese beef noodle soup. Our stock is simmered for 24 hours using 12 different spices and medicinal herbs, ox tail, roasted vegetables and waygu beef brisket. It is then served with freshly made rice noodles and fine slices of Angus Beef. There is no use of any artificial flavorings such as MSG in our cooking. Our flavours are extracted from all the goodness of our premium sustainable products. At Fat Noodle, we offer the ultimate street food dining experience in the most incredibly designed restaurant setting.”

Fat NoodleFat Noodle in Brisbane’s Treasury Casino

According to the talented Australian-born chef who is currently filming the Vietnamese version of Masterchef where he is both host and judge, Vietnamese food is light, healthy, delicate and extremely well balanced.

“Vietnam was ruled by China for a thousand years, colonized by the French for almost one hundred years and its neighbouring countries are Thailand, Laos and Cambodia – so you can understand why Vietnamese cuisine in one of the most refined Asian cuisines in the world,” he said.

For travellers keen to learn more about Asian cuisine, Luke has partnered with tour company APT to guide a dedicated Vietnam and Mekong River Cruise that explores the flavours of the region. Luke hosts four tours annually taking enthusiasts to places where no tourists have gone before, eating at places where no tourist could ever find and experiencing things that no tourist could ever get to see.

“The definite highlight for me and for my guests is visiting my family in old Saigon. This is where both my parents grew up, and it is where my uncles and aunties still live today. We walk through the narrow lanes of this ancient area absorbing the daily lives of the local people. Small markets dot the area, with vendors who never get to see foreigners, smile and welcome us into their stalls with open arms. We visit my Aunty’s three homes, passed down from my grandmother. It is a behind the scenes look into life in the real Vietnam,” he said.

“I have been travelling back to Vietnam for the last 15 years researching and learning about regional Vietnamese cooking. I have eaten at thousands of street food stalls and restaurants throughout the country, so I know where the best ones are located. It is through food that I share and showcase Vietnam.”

Mekong RiverAPT Mekong River Cruise

With so many fantastic destinations across south-east Asia, it was very difficult for Luke to recommend one location over the others, however when pressed he nominated Hoi An in central Vietnam.

“The entire town is dotted with thousands of colorful lanterns lighting up ancient old buildings and cobbled streets, which is surrounded by a slow flowing river and pretty foot bridges. One would think they had arrived on a movie set; this quiet town is just so incredibly charming and romantic. Then there are the regional foods, which are some of the most flavourful in Vietnam. Must try dishes are Banh Mi Thit, Cau Lao Noodle, White Rose, Fried Won Ton and Tam Huu,” said Luke.

“To relax away from work, I always go to northern NSW around Byron Bay where my partner Suzanna is from. It is seafood, beaches and beer almost every day. Abroad, I love visiting Kyoto in Japan. The people, the culture, architecture and the food have a calming effect on me.”

 

Luke NguyenLuke on an APT Tour

Delicious Malaysian Food On A Budget

There is no doubt Malaysia is a foodie destination, and Penang offers some of the best and most interesting cuisine in South East Asia. Whether it’s a traditional Malaysian noodle dish, or a vegetarian meal, Penang offers a selection of unique Malay, Chinese and Thai taste sensations, best enjoyed with a cold Ais Tingkap “sherbet” drink. Find the best food fusions, combining fresh, local ingredients, from the street hawkers at Gurney Drive in George Town, Macalister Lane and Penang Road.

Here are five of the best budget conscious foodie options in Penang.

 Penang

Noodles
Experience authentic Malaysia at street level when you purchase a noodle dish from a traditional street vendor. These are often the cheapest meals around, with a variety of noodle dishes available for just a couple of dollars. You know it will be good because the locals and the cook’s family and friends eat at the same cart. In Penang, choose the busiest carts with the highest turnover and you’ll find that noodles are more often than not, the freshest, healthiest and cheapest meal in town.

Penang Assam Laksa
Penang Laksa, or Assam Laksa, is a spicy Malay staple, boasting fiery chilli flavours combined with fishy mackerel and sour tamarind. Served with white noodles and cucumber, pineapple, fresh mint and coriander, the unique flavours, aromas and textures are contrasting and potentially challenging to the uninitiated, and well worth a try. Find it at city street carts and the Cecil Market Food Court in Lebuh Cecil.

Lok-Lok
Lok-Lok, Penang’s street side canapés, offers a range of healthier options compared to the more commonly deep-fried, seasoned meat variety. Meatballs, seafood, vegetables, quail eggs, and Chinese Dumplings on skewers are boiled in water rather than oil and served with your choice of sauces. If you’re up for it, live like a local; boil your own sticks and dish up your own sauce. Discover the best Lok-Lok on Penang Road.

Char Kuey Teow
Char Kuey Teow, comprises flat white rice noodles, stir-fried in soy sauce with shrimp, Chinese Sausage, bloody cockles, eggs, bean sprouts and chives. The best flavours come from fresh ingredients so choose a busy street cart that stays well stocked. The wok in which the dish is cooked also makes a difference. Only a hot, well-seasoned wok will give the dish its distinct “breath of the wok” flavour. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll understand the urgency with which Malays from out-of-state head into Penang for a plate of Char Kuey Teow.

Vegetarian
In George Town, Penang, vegetarians can enjoy an extensive array of delicious options at EE Beng Vegan Buffet. You could easily eat here every day of your stay in Penang, with Chinese Buns, tofu, vegetables, brown and white rice, and made-to-order dishes on offer. Next door at the a la carte EE Beng Vegetarian Restaurant, try the Tofu Clay Bowl. Another popular vegetarian venue, Sushi Kitchen, serves Radiant Light Porridge, and sushi and noodles.

Kuala Lumpur’s Best Adventure Activities

Kuala Lumpur is one of South-east Asia’s most exciting cities – with its ancient streets juxtaposed against a unique modern style and towering buildings. However, thrill seekers listening for the call to adventure will want to get out of this magnificent city and try these adrenaline-pumping adventure activities.

 Batu Caves

Rock Climbing
The 400 million year old Batu Caves, located just 13 kilometres – about 30 minutes – north of Kuala Lumpur, is a popular Hindu site and boasts a beautiful temple in a cave within the 150-metre high limestone hill. Opt for a steep climb of 272 steps or a more challenging climb up the limestone cliffs. Choose from more than 170 climbing routes and enjoy seeing the temple and superb views as you hang from the cliff. A tip though: watch out for the monkeys.

White Water Rafting
Outside the city of Kuala Lumpur are some of Malaysia’s most thrilling rivers; perfect for thrill seekers who dare to hit the white water in a raft. Just 90 minutes from Kuala Lumpur is Sungai Selangor, a higher-grade river (River Grade 4) that can be rafted in half a day. Enjoy waterfalls, rainforest scenery, and the challenges of the rapids. By the end of your journey, enjoy calmer waters upon which you can relax and float. For an even greater challenge, try Jeram Besu near Benta or Sungai Telom in the Cameron Highlands.

Stand Up Paddling
Less demanding than regular surfing, learn to Stand Up Paddle in Malaysia with professional instructors at Tasik Biru (Blue Lake) in Selangor, outside of Kuala Lumpur. Practice correct posture and paddling, and develop core strength, confidence and balance to enable you to enjoy the scenery surrounding the lake and later, once you’ve mastered your technique – the sea. You’ll be paddling and checking out the reef in no time.

Paragliding
Get a bird’s eye view of Kuala Lumpur as you take advantage of thermal updrafts to soar above the city like an eagle. Complete a 30-minute ground training session, which involves learning about the equipment you’ll be using as well as safety procedures before taking off from launch sites such as Bukit Jugra, located just 30 minutes from Kuala Lumpur. Choose a tandem paraglide or go solo and enjoy the spectacular scenery.

Skydiving
Experience the thrill of free-falling for more than 35 seconds before your parachute opens and allows a gentle canopy ride down to ground level. If you’ve got a day to dedicate to skydiving, why not book an Accelerated Freefall course and become an expert? With proof of your skydiving license and your most recent logbook, experienced skydivers are welcomed in Kuala Lumpur.