My Local Eats: Goa, India

My Local Eats: Goa, India

Hi! Welcome to My Local Eats, a guest post series in which foodies from around the globe share their favorite local places to eat and drink.

Today’s guest post comes from Rachel, a masseuse and travel blogger who blogs at Hippie in Heels. Rachel is a fellow Midwesterner as well as one of my favorite new bloggers so give her site a look! Today she tells us about what to eat in Goa, India, her home away from home.

I’m an American living in Goa, India, for the past year. There are so many Indian foods that you MUST try when you visit India; from veg curries with rice and fried veg pakora, to chai tea and dosas. The Indian food you’ll have here won’t be anything like the restaurants in the U.K. or U.S. so be warned if you come here already “loving” Indian food, you actually might not know what it really is! Everything is cooked with ghee, a form of lard, so be prepared to gain more weight here than anywhere else you may travel.

For lunch and dinner a nice thali or curry might be on the menu, but I want to introduce the street food you get in the villages along the Arabian Sea. Street food is not the same all over India; Goa is tropical and so is the food! In my new home, I am always shocked by the yummy snacks I never saw on my previous journeys through India.

1. Corn on the cob with lime and salt. It tastes a little like Mexico! These mouthwatering treats (my favorite) are at all the markets on Wednesday and Saturday, but you can also get it in small towns on a daily basis or at any festival. It costs about 40 rupees and is more than worth every cent. Served in the husk to prevent dripping, it makes me wonder why we didn’t think of that in the U.S.!

india corn

2. Shawarma- some consider this Israeli food, but actually many countries have their own take on this sandwich and consider it their local food. You can get a foreigner’s version for 300 rupees, but it won’t be near as good as a local’s 50 rupee one in Siolim or Mapusa. Usually Chicken or lamb (but actually goat…) is used from a kebab. It’s sliced off as you order and put in a poi (a local bread) with mayo, tomato, and onion. You might need to ask for less mayo, as they love to pile it on! Of course, the Indian touch makes this shawarma unlike any other: spicy as can be! The same goes for samosas; they can be found all over India and the world, but Goa has a special spicy take on them.

shawarma india

3. Sugar Cane Juice or Sweet Lime Soda. These are at all the street stalls and are “cures” for any form of stomach-ache or Delhi belly. The sugar cane is VERY sweet, so maybe you should try a small one first. It’ll cost you about 10 rupees. Sweet lime soda is great for a hangover and will cost about 30 rupees. Normally made with soda water, lime, and sugar, they can also make it “salty lime soda” with salt, lime, and soda water instead if you like.

sugar cane juice india

4. Fresh fruit juice. Obviously, a staple in more diets than that of India, but because of the social culture of fruit juice here, it must be mentioned! Unlike in America, where groups get together to drink booze at night, Indians also socialize during the day, early in the morning. They aren’t the type to sleep in. Don’t be surprised if your Indian friends call you up and ask the typical “Wanna get juice?” There are “cool” places like Ganesh Fruit Stand in Chapora, where the hippies hang. It’s a very trendy thing to do and can take hours! I usually get some fruit salad with ice cream by the end of it.

fresh fruit india

5. Fresh bread from the local bike-riding bread man. Why buy bread at the market when an adorable dude on a bike is going to come by on a bicycle honking his horn to sell hot fresh bread at a better price? Better yet he may make the yodel-like bread call that’s he’s rolling by. We get our weekly poi,bagels, and roti from him. You’ll know it’s the bread man because he’ll have a big circled bucket on the back of his bike covered with a blue tarp.

hippie in heels

6. Cashew Feni- this one isn’t necessarily street food, but it is LOCAL. This is only available in Goa; nowhere else in the world makes homemade cashew feni. Like a moonshine, this comes from a cashew tree and bars make it in bulk. They have HUGE containers in the back and you can have a shot for about 50 cents. It’ll knock your socks off, so beware! It’s the number one thing Indian tourists stock up on to take home. Some call it “wine” but trust me, it’s more like rubbing alcohol… even the Indians use this as an antiseptic when they get a cut. To cure anything my driver says, “Pour feni on the bad place, then pour feni in your mouth… then pour feni on it again. Now rest.”

Rachel considers herself a contradiction: part dirty hippie/ part girlie girl. She is a travel blogger and masseuse, having quit her job as a nurse. She currently lives is Goa, India and blogs about traveling glamorously on a backpacking budget in India and beyond.If you want to get in touch with her you can follow her blog Hippie in Heels, or contact her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
My Local Eats: Madrid (Vegetarian Edition!)

My Local Eats: Madrid (Vegetarian Edition!)

Hi! Welcome to My Local Eats, a guest post series in which foodies from around the globe share their favorite local places to eat and drink.

Today’s guest post comes from Sam, a Madrid-based blogger who writes over at Indefinite Adventure. Check out his vegetarian picks on what to eat in Madrid! (more…)

In 2012, I lived in a small city in the west of Spain for three months teaching English. I’d been to Madrid once before that (to visit my partner’s sister who was studying there), but I didn’t really know the city that well. However, during my time living in Spain, I visited the capital a couple of times, often on the look out for good food.

Then, at the end of November last year, I passed through Madrid again on my way back from 10 months in South America with my partner (we thought stopping in the Spanish capital for a couple of days would mitigate the potential reverse culture shock of our reintroduction to Europe, but we were wrong, though that’s another story) and between these couple of visits, I think I may have uncovered the best possible day of food in the city for vegetarian-almost-vegans like me.

So for a day of tasty, balanced and (mostly) healthy food in Madrid, here are my top recommendations.

 

Breakfast at Chocolatería San Ginés

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sangines_churros

Spaniards don’t really do breakfast at home, instead opting for a cup of coffee or perhaps a cup of warm milk, then at around 10am, they might have a short break from work to eat something slightly more substantial, maybe toast with pulped tomato and ham drizzled with olive oil.

But since we’re treating ourselves, let’s go for something a little more decadent: churros (or porras) con chocolate at one of the oldest establishments serving this typically madrileño treat, Chocolatería San Ginés that’s been open since 1894.

Although rather rich and fatty, this dish is normally completely vegan, consisting of deep-fried dough rings that you dip in a chocolate sauce usually made with water rather than milk.

Website: 

Location

Chocolateria San Gines Address: Pasadizo de San Ginés Telephone: 91 365 6546 Metro: Opera Open: 24 hours a day, every day

 

Lunch at La Biotika

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All over Spain, you’ll find restaurants offering up a menú del día; a set lunch menu including a starter, main, dessert and drink for somewhere between €8 and €12 between 1pm and 4pm, give or take.

At La Biotika, all the soups, salads and mains are completely vegan, and desserts include a few diary-containing options, all of which are fresh and tasty, well presented and filling. On weekdays, the standard lunch menu with soup, salad, main, desert and drink will set you back €10.90.

I like the food here because it’s filling without being heavy, and inventive (as good vegan food should be) without just being weird.

Location:

Website: La Biotika Address: Calle Amor de Dios, 3 Telephone: 91 429 07 80 Metro: Antón Martín Open: 10am – 12am every day

 

Afternoon snack at La Mallorquina

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I don’t know about you, but I always need an afternoon snack, and especially in Spain where it isn’t usual to eat dinner until 8 or 9pm at the earliest. For something sweet, creamy and generally lovely, I recommend La Mallorquina, a bakery at Puerta del Sol, the city’s main modern square.

Some of what they offer changes with the seasons, but there are always delicious pastries, in particular I recommend the napolitana, a cream-filled pastry covered in icing sugar. It looks pretty simple, but a freshly baked one is really quite exquisite.

Location:

 Pasteleria Mallorquina Address: Calle Mayor 2 Telephone: 91 521 12 01 Metro: Puerta del Sol Open: 9am – 9.15pm every day

 

Dinner at Abona Vida

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After all that eating, you probably wouldn’t think much about what to eat for dinner, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll need to eat something before hitting the town or going to bed, so I suggest Abona Vida for a light snack.

Since this place is also an organic shop, you can pick up some tasty snacks for the next day, or your journey onwards from Madrid while you enjoy the laid-back atmosphere.

The menu is mostly vegan, though there are some egg-containing dishes, such as the quiche, but there are also options for dairy-free hot drinks, using instead almond milk, which is quite lovely. The staff are also super friendly.

Location:

A Bona Vida Address: Calle Navas de Tolosa, 3 Telephone: 91 522 98 60 Metro: Callao Open: 11am – 10pm every day (later at weekends)

Sam is a sometimes-EFL teacher, wannabe-minimalist, language geek who is trying to make it as a digital nomad with his partner, Zab. You can follow them on their blog Indefinite Adventure where they chronicle their journey, write about the places they visit, the food they eat (preferably vegetarian, organic and locally produced) and the people they meet. Connect with Sam via his blog, Indefinite Adventure, or on Facebook, Twitter of Foursquare.
My Local Eats: Toronto

My Local Eats: Toronto

Welcome back to My Local Eats, a guest post series in which foodies from around the world share their favorite things to eat and drink. Today we’re swinging over to Toronto (not too far from my hometown!) and hearing from Maria of the Happiness Experiment, who shows us what to eat in Toronto.

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This past August, while enjoying a warm summer’s night on a Toronto patio, I met a girl from Ireland. She was serving my table, and I was immediately curious about her story when I heard her accent. In her twenties and fresh out of school, she and her boyfriend had recently arrived to Canada on a two-year work visa. Wondering why they picked Toronto, of all cities in the world, to spend their typically European gap year (Can North America adopt this as a widespread rite of passage already?), she easily traced their decision back to food. Never having personally thought of Toronto as a destination for foodies, I was surprised by her answer. She explained that, unlike her home, where culinary variety is hard to come by, Toronto offers the opportunity to try many different cuisines in one city. Having lived just outside of Toronto my entire life, I realized that I had taken my ability to eat my way around the world without leaving home for granted. Before meeting this waitress, it hadn’t occurred to me that some cities do not share this luxury. Friends, I’d like to introduce you to some of my favourite eateries situated in one of the most multicultural cities in the world: Toronto.

Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco - Butternut squash agnolotti

Butternut squash agnolotti: Fresh agnolotti filled with roasted butternut squash and smothered in a tomato cream sauce Osso Bucco - Roasted garlic

Roasted garlic: Whole cloves of garlic served with crostini, a sauce of goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and pine nuts

Osso Bucco, located 40 minutes outside of Toronto in Brampton, a suburb of the city, is well worth the drive. (If you’re visiting Toronto without access to a car, it’s also accessible by public transit. From downtown, you can bus there in just over an hour.) It is my absolute favourite restaurant, taking into account everywhere I’ve eaten around the world, including the trattorie and ristoranti of Italy itself.

Being of Italian descent has resulted in extreme pickiness when it comes to Italian food, particularly pasta. Growing up, I consumed significantly high volumes of penne and tomato sauce, learning to distinguish the good from the bad before I could speak. Consequently, I am a tough critic of Italian food. Having lost faith in all of the “Italian” restaurants that I’ve been to outside of Italy, which fail miserably by comparison, I refuse to go to all but one: Osso Bucco, where the pasta is worth pulling pennies out of mall couches and my best friend randomly proposing to a stranger for (true stories). The textures of the pastas are perfect, the sauces are rich, and the portions are – in true southern Italian style – beyond generous.

Just as important as the food, the service is impeccable. I’ve been regularly visiting Osso Bucco since it opened years ago. Although there have been new additions to the family, the original staff remains, excitedly welcoming me whenever I walk through their doors. In fact, my best friend and I have eaten there so many times that we are referred to as “the Bucco girls,” a title that we wear proudly. The people behind Osso Bucco will do anything to accommodate their patrons. I basically make my own dishes whenever I go. Having tried almost all of the pasta on the menu, I shamelessly request to transform the available options. For example, chicken fusilli with rosé sauce instead of parmesan cream and shrimp instead of chicken for the same price as the menu’s version is not an outrageous request here. One time, they even made penne with pesto for me; meanwhile, a pesto pasta dish was nowhere to be found on their menu. For those who crave real Italian food paired with genuine Italian hospitality, Osso Bucco is a must.

Where to find it:

Website: http://www.ossobucco.ca/about_us Address: 341 Main St N, Brampton, Ontario Hours: Monday – Wednesday: 11:30 am – 9:00 pm Thursday – Friday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm Saturday: 4:30 pm – 10:00 pm Sunday: 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

La Carnita

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La Carnita, a Toronto Underground Market (TUM) success story, combines Mexican flavours with sheer inventiveness. You may not find their taco and tostada creations throughout Mexico, but you will certainly be impressed by their unique spin on Mexican street food. La Carnita’s expansive foodie following and quick progression from a popup to a brick and mortar are testaments to its deliverables. Anyone who follows the Toronto food scene knows of La Carnita. Their flavour combinations are explosive. Not stopping at the food, their drinks are as creative as their urban fare. Just as much a part of La Carnita’s concept as its edible offerings, the street art that adorns the lively restaurant sets the tone for an electric night in Toronto.

Where to find it:

Website: http://lacarnita.com/ Address: 501 College St, Toronto, Ontario Hours: Sunday – Monday: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm Tuesday – Saturday: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm

 

Lisa Marie

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Lisa Marie’s Italian inspiration stops at the word “cicchetti,” found behind its bar and across its menus. It would be a disservice to the passion and originality spilling from each dish to simply file this restaurant under the label of any particular cuisine. I can best describe it as an unparalleled gastronomic gem created by the talented and imaginative Matt Basile.

Matt is a Toronto street food legend turned restaurateur with a story nothing short of inspirational. A couple of years ago, with a dream of starting a restaurant and without the funds to back it, Matt quit his job to start a popup food company, cleverly named Fidel Gastro’s. Since then, he’s launched one of Toronto’s most beloved food trucks, and has become pivotal to the growing success of Toronto’s street food movement. Lisa Marie is a testament to his many accomplishments in the underground food industry. Less than two years after starting Fidel Gastro’s, Matt opened his dream restaurant this past April. (Given his dedication to his passion for food, I, as the girl behind The Happiness Experiment, am obviously a huge fan.)

For those of you who aren’t familiar with cicchetti, they are best defined along Lisa Marie’s wall: “Kind of like tapas . . . but not.” Cicchetti are small plates, which are fabulous for trying a variety of dishes in one go. You could go to Lisa Marie with a few friends and easily order the entire menu (or, if you’re me, independently eat your way through as much of the menu as your tiny bank account balance will take you, which is pretty far at this place). What stands out most about Lisa Marie’s menu is the creativity behind everything. Matt balances flavours and textures that I never would have imagined blending. Beer battered figs topped with a hint of basil? Philly cheesesteak tostada refreshed with cilantro? Bone marrow doughnuts dipped in drunken cherry jam? Hook. Me. Up!

Beyond the food is the unbelievable staff. This is the type of place that you go to once and can expect to be remembered when you return. I have yet to visit Lisa Marie or Priscilla (Fidel Gastro’s food truck) without being heart-melted by everyone’s genuine enthusiasm to see me. They know my name, they know what I like, and they always know what to suggest. I may have made an impression by ordering two jars of Elvis for dessert, but I have a wonderful feeling that they remember everyone, making all customers feel like the most valued friends in the world. It’s just how they are. If the pictures above didn’t entice you (and how could they not?), visit Lisa Marie for the people. You won’t be disappointed.

Where to find it:

Website: http://fidelgastro.ca/lisa-marie/ Address: 638 Queen St W, Toronto, Ontario Hours: Tuesday – Wednesday: 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm Thursday: 5:00 pm – 12:00 am Friday: 5:00 pm – 2:00 am Saturday: 11:00 am – 2:00 am Sunday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

The Food Dudes’ food truck

The Food Dudes - Dirty VEG fries

Dirty VEG fries: Wild mushroom gravy, cheese curds, mozzarella, southwest slaw, smoked garlic aioli, hot sauce, and tempura bits

The Food Dudes - Nutella bomb

Nutella bombs: Nutella-filled homemade banana bread with cornflake batter, bourbon caramel, and whipped crѐme

Since 2011, the Toronto food truck community has grown significantly, and one of my favourite trucks on the scene is by The Food Dudes, who first entered the industry as caterers. Their high-quality street fare is artistic. The flavour combinations are stimulating, and the presentation is illustrative of strong attention to detail. For a virtual taste of their creations, I highly recommend checking out their website, which showcases an elegant palette of beautiful dishes.

Not only are The Food Dudes talented cooks, they are great entertainers. If you ever happen to be visiting Toronto at the end of June, The Food Dudes’ annual block party is an event that no foodie should miss. This year’s event was held at MUZIK Beach, a large outdoor patio lined with cabanas surrounding a long, rectangular pool. It featured foods ranging from Islamic couscous to liquid nitrogen ice cream; unbelievably good music from the ’90s to present; and fabulous entertainment in the forms of food art, beer pong, jitz, bouncy Twister (I relived my childhood that night), a free photo booth, and more. Though definitely in the middle of Toronto, I felt like I had been transported to Vegas or Miami. While this is a once per year event, The Food Dudes can be tracked by following @TheFoodDudesTO on Twitter. Their food is absolutely worth stalking their truck for.

Where to find it:

The Food Dudes Website: http://www.thefooddudes.com/#/canvas Location and hours: For The Food Dudes’ food truck’s location and hours, follow @TheFoodDudesTO on Twitter.

Home of the Brave

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Home of the Brave, from the creators of La Carnita, just opened on King W in August. King W flaunts a particular culture of twenty-somethings that have outgrown Toronto’s Entertainment District, but not their stuck-up attitudes. I am definitely not a fan of the area; however, Home of the Brave’s menu was enough to convince me to mentally paper-bag the King W crowd for a TUM alum’s take on American cuisine. Fortunately, Home of the Brave’s atmosphere is nothing like the one just outside of it. The patrons are unlike the typical King W douches. I completely forgot that I was situated in one of my least favourite parts of Toronto. This place is a diamond in the past-prime clubbers’ rough. Similar to La Carnita, the staff is friendly and sociable. The decor is a street-art inspired play on American culture, with “Join or Die” being the central theme, referencing America’s melting pot. Furthermore, the music is incredible! If you love ’90s hip hop as much as I do, Home of the Brave will be your destination until close at 2 am. The music tops that of any club I’ve been to in the city.

As for the food, I join! Few Toronto food establishments boast American cuisine, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. To my satisfaction, I was exposed to dishes with influences from specific states evident in each. The inventiveness weaved throughout the menu is astounding. Amongst the many popular street-food inspired establishments appearing across the city due to the success of restaurants by various TUM alumni, Home of the Brave is a very welcome taste of something different in the heart of Toronto.

Where to find it:

Website: http://www.thehotb.com/ Address: 589 King St W, Toronto, Ontario Hours: Monday – Wednesday: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm Thursday – Saturday: 5:00 pm – 2:00 am
Maria Bellissimo was the protagonist of a sad, boring life until she turned her story into a happiness experiment. She chronicles her search for happiness on her supremely awesome and appropriately named blog, The Happiness Experiment, which she hopes will inspire others to launch their own happiness experiments. Connect with her on Twitter as well! @thehappinessx 
My Local Eats: Sydney

My Local Eats: Sydney

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve had a My Local Eats post so I thought we’d kick things back off again with a whole new continent… Australia! Laura, a native New Yorker who now calls Sydney home, fills us in on her favorite places to dine down under. Without further ado!

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Hi! I’m Laura, a native New Yorker currently living in Sydney. The coffee culture in Australia is famous, but it’s not all about getting your caffeine fix here in Sydney. New cafes, bars and restaurants are popping up every day and I have made it my mission to check them out.

Sydney Photo

Clipper Cafe

I went initially for the outdoor tables that conveniently catch the sun all morning, but I keep coming back because of the house-made chai lattes served in teapots filled to the brim. If the sun’s not shining, head inside to one of the long shared benches and order the baked eggs.

Location:

16 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe Everyday 6am-6pm

 

Four Ate Five

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Still the best coffee I’ve had in Sydney, Four Ate Five is conveniently located at 485 Crown Street (get it?). The Kumara chips, the pulled pork sandwich, the all-day breakfast and the friendliest staff on Crown Street are the main reasons I recommend this cafe to anyone visiting Sydney.

Location:

Four Ate Five 485 Crown Street, Surry Hills Everyday 7am-3:30pm

 

4Fourteen

4Fourteen

There are so many things to love about this restaurant: the open plan kitchen, the extensive wine selection, the knowledgeable staff, but most importantly, the food. Everything on the menu is meant to be shared, which is perfect because you’ll want to order almost everything on it.

Location:

4Fourteen 414 Bourke Street, Surry Hills Monday from 6pm Tues-Sat 12-3pm and 6pm onwards Sunday 12-4pm
 

 

The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel

Tucked away in Sydney’s oldest neighborhood, the Rocks, is Sydney’s oldest pub. All of the ales are brewed on the premises and you can even have a peak at the copper tuns as you sip your craft beer in the back room. During winter, grab a pint of the Nelson’s Blood and sit alongside the fireplace. You’ll never want to leave.

Location:

Lord Nelson Brewery 19 Kent St, The Rocks Mon-Sat 11am-11pm Sunday 12pm-10pm
 

Grandma’s Bar

Like all good Sydney bars, it doesn’t have a sign outside and it’s in a basement. Set up like your grandmother’s living room, it doesn’t feel like it should work, but it does. Giggle about the doily coasters then grab one of the signature cocktails from their extensive list. I had the el Burro, a mezcal, ginger beer and lime concoction. Bring friends and cozy up in one of the many retro lounge chairs.

Location:

Grandma’s Bar 275 Clarence Street, Sydney Mon-Fri 3pm-late Sat 5pm-late

Laura Bronner is an American Expat currently living in Sydney, Australia. After graduating from college she set off on what was meant to be a year of travel. That was three years ago. Since then she has lived and travelled all over New Zealand and Australia and the list of where else she wants to live grows longer every day. Find out where to next at An American Abroad. Facebook: An American Abroad Twitter: @usaabroad
My Local Eats: Rome

My Local Eats: Rome

Hi! Welcome to My Local Eats, a guest post series in which foodies from around the globe share their favorite local places to eat and drink.

Today’s guest post comes from Liam, a Rome-based travel writer who originally hails from London. Today Liam shows us what to eat in Rome, and I don’t know about you guys but I love, love, love Italian food… get ready for some pretty scrumptious food porn!  (more…)

My Local Eats: Rome

Living in Rome, it’s easy to forget how spoiled for choice you are. Aside from being resident in the nation that invented the greatest fast-food known to humanity (pizza) and mastered the art of pasta production (shh – don’t mention China!) there are a million and one places to get food so mouth-watering you’ll swear you’ll never eat anywhere else… until the next day, when you begin a fresh journey of culinary discovery. But that’s what makes Rome a foodie’s paradise: you could eat at a different restaurant for every single meal, every single day, and still not sample them all in one lifetime. Best of all: you don’t even have to be loaded. Below, I’m going to serve up a few of my favourite places in this awesome city for travellers like you to get a bite!

 

District: Testaccio

Testaccio

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No guidebook mentions Testaccio and no hotel chains set up here. It’s a rugged little neighbourhood a trek and a half out of the city centre that lacks any sights and is predominantly working class. But this is just a front for one of the best-kept secrets in the whole of Italy: Testaccio is where you’ll find the best food you’ve ever tasted. As in: ever. Buried between the crumbling buildings and dingy old shops are restaurants that have been in the same family for generations. They’re the real deal: the sort of place eateries in the tourist-orientated city centre pretend to be, only so much cooler! In quirky, low lit backrooms you’ll find old chefs who’ve been at it since your parents were kids, and boy do they know how to cook. Pasta, fish, traditional dishes and beautiful Gelato – it’s all here, it’s all cheap and it’s all authentic. And because the tourists stay away, it’s affordable for even the lowliest backpacker (like myself, ahem). Bonus tip: be sure to check out the local market for a whirlwind tour of the best fresh produce in the whole of Rome!

Restaurant: La Tavernaccia

(Via Giovanni di Castel Bolognese 63)

Website //Trip Advisor

Midway between off the beaten track and tourist-central sits La Tavernaccia. One of my favourite eateries when I first arrived in Rome, the place is family run, popular with locals and always packed to the rafters. Most of the dishes are – you guessed it – pasta based, but the main reason I always had for dining here was the atmosphere. It’s the sort of place where you can forget you’re in a city, or even in the 21st century, and half-expect to see a dashing brigand come bursting through the door at any second, pistol in hand (no luck so far). Even when it’s only casual types, the indoor section feels like something from a Fellini film: an ode to a vanished Italy, maybe? If you only go once, order the lasagne; if you go twice, have it again. Yes: it honestly is that good.

 

Market: Piazza Vittorio Market

(Via Principe Amedeo, 184)

Market Rome

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Again, most tourists steer well clear of the Piazza Vittorio Market – maybe because it jars with their vision of Romantic old Rome. Held in a distinctly multi-cultural part of the city, the market is home to all sorts of exotic produce, from Indian spices to Caribbean cuisine and a whole lot more in between. Think along the lines of London’s famous Peckham market and you’ll have some idea of what I mean. Although it doesn’t feel particularly Italian, the food on offer here is great and it’s an authentic reflection of the modern city: which is what I love about it. It’s a great place to while away a Saturday morning, or for peeking behind the façade of ‘tourist Rome’.

Food: Gelato

(Everywhere)

Gelato Rome

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Finally: a reminder for all of you to eat as much gelato as humanly possible. If you think you know ice cream, wait until you see how Rome does it. Almost a year of the stuff and I still haven’t tired (nor do I ever plan to).

So that’s it: a quick guide to eating in my (adopted) city. Hope to see you here soon!

 

Liam is a travelling food writer from London. Currently based in Rome and consuming extraordinary quantities of gelato, he is blogging for HouseTrip.com and is in the process of planning a culinary tour of Europe.

My Local Eats: Beijing

My Local Eats: Beijing

Hi! Welcome to My Local Eats, a guest post series in which foodies from around the globe share their favorite local places to eat and drink.

Today’s guest post comes from Agness who shows us what to eat in Beijing. Agness is a Polish vagabond and foodie who blogs over at the excellent budget travel blog, eTramping. I have a minor obsession with Chinese dumplings so this post was especially mouth-watering- Agness’ photography skills may have a lot to do with it as well. (more…)

Hi! My name is Agness and I’m a Polish foodie. I have been exploring Asia with my mouth constantly chewing and smacking since August 2011. I am currently wrapping up a year of teaching English in Dongguan, China and more importantly, discovering new flavours Chinese cuisine dares to offer me every day.

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Trying some vegetarian dumplings in Beijing.

Chinese food, especially Chinese breakfast, is one of the reasons I decided to stay 6 months longer in China. I just could not imagine my breakfast without having a plate of my favourite Chinese dumplings called Baozi or a bowl of fried noodles for my lunch. I fell in love with its unique taste, spiciness, a perfect combination of herbs and spices, Chinese mild tea and veggies. Although Chinese cuisine is full of oil, most of dishes are deep fried and I have put a lot of weight on, I still can’t resist the temptation!

A plate of Chinese dumplings I always have for my breakfast

My best culinary journey took place last May (2012) when I headed to Beijing. I took my best friend with me and our aim was to try as much food as possible to pick up a few we liked the most. After a few days exploring local restaurants and dining out at street food vendors, we finally made our decision. Today, I would like to share with you 5 most delicious authentic Chinese foods you just can’t miss when visiting Beijing, or in fact any province in China. They were just heaven in my mouth!

 

Baozi (包子)

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A serving of Baozi.

Description: You can either love them or hate them as they are full of oil. Stuffed with a various kinds of meat (from pork to beef) and fried veggies, they just taste delicious. You will always get them served with some spicy sesame oil to dip them in. What I love about them is their thick texture. Baozi are mostly steamed and eaten for breakfast. 1 or 2 should be more than enough, but don’t feel guilty if you have 5 at one go, they are just irresistible!

Price: Baozi are typical budget food. You can get one for RMB0,5 – RMB1 ($0.8 – $0.16).

Location: Although the best Baozi are served at street food vendors, there is one place you should dine out at and it’s called Wuyi Shan (武夷山农家菜). It is open daily 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30-9pm. Mobile 131 2669 6251. English address: Maliandao Hutong, Xuanwu district. Chinese address: 宣武区马连道胡同.

 

Jiaozi (饺子)

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Fried Jiaozi with some spicy chili oil sauce.

Description: Jiaozi, unlike Baozi, are much harder and more stodgy. They are firstly steamed and then fried. Their shape and size are also different – they are smaller and crescent-shaped but the feeling is the same – veggies with pork or beef. What I love about Jiaozi is that they are extremely crispy and crunchy and most importantly, filling.

Price: You will pay around RMB3 (<$0.5) for a plate of Jiaozi (6-8).

Location: We were recommended to go to Mian restaurant (食度面馆) and we absolutely loved dining out there. The food is very affordable and extremely tasty. You started our dinner with a few Jiaozi which costed us nearly the same as we were having them in the street. This cozy restaurant is open daily from 11am to 6pm, telephone 5978 9975, English address Dashanzi, 4 Jiuxianqiao Jie, 798, Chaoyang district, Chinese address 朝阳区酒仙桥街4号大山子艺术区.

 

Peking Duck (北京烤鸭)

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Beijing duck

Description: Although the meal is extremely time-consuming and a bit more expensive in comparison to other Chinese meals, its taste is absolutely worth it. The duck is well baked and has a great crispy crust. It is served with Mandarin pancakes, green onions and creamy sauce.

Price: The whole course costs RMB100 ($16).

Location: I would highly recommend the Dadong Roast Duck (Dongsi) restaurant located at 1-2 Nanxincang Guoji Dasha, 22A Dongsishitiao, Dongcheng district, Beijing 100007, China (Beijing Workers’ Sports Complex). Service was superb and food was just excellent.

 

Beijing noodles (北京杂酱面)

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A bowl of take-away noodles.

Description: It is by far, my favourite Chinese street food. It takes a few seconds to make it and it has a very aromatic taste of thick noodles, salty nuts and parsley. You can add some chili to make it spicy, but I always enjoy a mild version of it.

Price: A decent bowl of noodles costs RMB 5- RMB 8 ($ 1 – 1.25).

Location:We got them at one of the food vendors located just outside the Summer Palace in Haidian District just outside the west gate of Tsinghua University.

 

Youtiao (油条)

 

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A bowl of Youtiao.

Description: Deep fried Chinese bread stick made with yeast, very oily and might be a bit salty. They are very soft inside and crispy outside so you feel like eating a puffy bread. There are only pain Youtiao available, but you can dip them in peanut or chocolate butter.

Price: 1 You tiao usually costs RMB1 ($0.16).

Location:You can get them anywhere around Beijing Downtown Backpackers Accommodation which is 85号 南锣古巷 Dongcheng, Beijing, China.

 

After months of living, travelling and eating Chinese food, I have learnt that the more adventurous you are with the food, the more it will surprise you and I love surprises!

If you have been to Beijing, what was your favourite Chinese food you couldn’t resist?

Agness is a Polish vagabond who, after graduation, left her comfort zone and set off for a journey of her lifetime to China in 2011. She has been constantly travelling the world since then (slowly, but surely as she says), living like a local for less than $25 a day. She became a photography passionate and adventure blogger sharing her life enthusiasm and travel experience with everyone around. Follow her journey via her blog, Facebook page or Twitter.