exploring back alleys and side streets for something delicious

Dumplings, unite!

exploring back alleys and side streets for something delicious
It all started with a wooden table in an alley: square, unadorned, pressed up against a cement wall. It wobbled a bit on the uneven cobbles.

Somewhere nearby, a game of mahjong- the soft clinking of tiles echoed faintly on the evening air. Wisps of a forgotten dream, sounds from another time. I imagined the room where they played. Dark, smoky. Fingers twisted with age shuffling, shuffling, shuffling. The worn bone and bamboo whispers as it slides between mysterious symbolism and a poetry of deeper meaning. Through all that is lost and everything that is gained, what will be revealed? Plum blossom, peacock, white tiger, sword. Continue reading

The-Passage.org kalguksu recipe

Not Your Eomma’s Kalguksu: an ode to eating on the side streets

vibrant colours of Tunxi, China's local market

It turns out that I am a back alley kind of girl. This was something that I didn’t know about myself until we moved to Korea and began to travel through Southeast Asia.

Give me food stalls, stacks of dumplings steaming on street corners, wobbly stools, plastic chairs pressed up against cement walls, narrow passages crammed with tables. Let me sit elbow to elbow on a wooden bench in a bustling market noisy with sizzling, slurping, hissing, lip-smacking goodness. Paper sacks and plastic bags. Crunchy, greasy, savoury, sweet, bean paste, sesame, skewers, buns, pancakes and pockets. I am happiest at Continue reading

Qinghefang Ancient Street- Hangzhou, China

Qinghefang Ancient Street: A Feast for the Senses

Qinghefang Ancient Street- Hangzhou, China

just before the crowds…

We emerged from the narrow street where our little guest house sat nestled into a row of white washed buildings. It was quiet, and the essence of another era lingered between the walls and the cobbles. Then, as we rounded the corner and stood at the opening of Qinghefang Ancient Street we saw it: a throng of humans stretching as far as the eye could see. I am not going to lie- Continue reading

West Lake walkabout: scenes from Hangzhou, China

West Lake Walkabout

West Lake walkabout: scenes from Hangzhou, China

We woke on our first morning in Hangzhou to the sound of birds chirping in the courtyard. I kept my eyes squeezed shut and listened intently to their song, not yet wanting to break the spell, and tried to imagine what words the ancient Chinese poets would use to describe the moment. Is it possible that there was a proverb somewhere in their early morning music?
Continue reading

Little guardians of Quinghefang Ancient Street... Hangzhou, China

Hangzhou, we arrive.

Little guardians of Quinghefang Ancient Street... Hangzhou, China

little guardians of Quinghefang Ancient Street…

 

The bus hurdled westward until Shanghai was just a collection of faded grey shapes.  I watched through the window as the suburbs rolled by: groups of colourful housing complexes creeping their way across green.  Power lines, train tracks, industry.  Even in the mystical land of the red dragon Continue reading

Scenes from Malapascua Island, Philippines

The Magic of Malapascua (part 2)

Scenes from Malapascua Island, Philippines

As we surveyed the rubble through the barbed-wire fence, the whole while nursing our warm beers, Josephine recounted the story of how her house was lost to a massive storm. Continue reading

Idyllic beach scene...Malapascua Island, Philippines

The Magic of Malapascua (part 1)

Idyllic beach scene...Malapascua Island, Philippines

Sometimes when you arrive at a place, you find that it is full of magic.  It is not necessarily filled with ancient structures to be revered, or dazzling skylines as a testament to the clever engineering capabilities of its humans.  The place may not be studded with snow topped mountains, awe inspiring waterfalls, or pristine beaches.  Yet, when you arrive, you can feel Continue reading

Creating the perfect bite of food in Chiang Mai, Thailand

A little dinner with your Hong Thong?

Creating the perfect bite of food in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Creating the perfect bite of food in Chiang Mai, Thailand

The more time we spent in Thailand, the more obvious it became that the best way to find a great place to eat was to follow your nose, and look for the red and blue plastic chairs. Seemingly synonymous with ‘delicious’ all across the country, it took us little time to figure out that where we found the chairs, we would find Continue reading

Scenes from Chang Phueak Market (North Gate Market) - Chiang Mai, Thailand

Feeding Frenzy at Chang Phuaek

Scenes from Chang Phueak Market (North Gate Market) - Chiang Mai, Thailand

A few dozen food stalls clustered together on the north side of Chiang Mai, whisking up delicious Thai food to order?! We wouldn’t dream of missing out…

Chang Phuaek Market in Chiang Mai, commonly referred to as the North Gate Market, is a wonderful place Continue reading

Street Scenes...Tokyo, Japan

Postcards from Tokyo…

Street Scenes...Tokyo, Japan

Godzilla is coming!

Tokyo:

It is a whirl, a twirl, a blur.

Facades of steel and glass make angles against the blue sky.  Mind boggling crowds of humans move like liquid across wide intersections, down shopping streets, and through perfectly manicured parks.  Kitchy pop music finds my ears as I stand on a corner. Continue reading