Aside

Kerala… This part of the world is extremely romantic and its lush green forests and brackish backwaters make for an exuberant corner for romance and sightseeing. However, the best way to spend your days in Kerala is to adapt to the local cuisines, the local customs and the local languages. First-time tourists may miss out on the fun by ignoring this basic aspect of holidaying.

kerala-backwater

One of the major mistakes which a tourist may make is to look for north Indian food. Kerala, of course, is a popular tourist destination and has got every kind of eatery where you can find easily north Indian dishes or even international cuisines. But unless you are a very finicky eater or unless you have a phobia for unfamiliar foods, it will be a mistake to miss out on the local cuisines. The dosa of Kerala is simply delicious. While you may have munched it in your own city (since it is available all over the country), the fact is that there is a huge difference between the Dosa available in north India and the Dosa available in south India. Here, you can get them in different varieties, ranging from simple to chocolate Dosa and more. Likewise, there are a few dishes which are local to Kerala. One great thing about south Indian dishes is that they are light and easy digestible.

Image source -hungrygrape.wordpress

Image source -hungrygrape.wordpress

Missing out on the Ayurvedic massage is also something which can be a sin. Some budget-conscious tourists may not fall for the charms of the local massage parlors. But the truth is that Ayurveda has got its roots in these parts of the country. So, the Ayurvedic massage out here is of the purest form. The kind of pleasure they give to your muscles and mind is unparallel. Missing out on them is a blunder. Besides, there are many different therapies and massages and many of them are affordable. Though the Ayurvedic centers stay open throughout the year, it is believed that the best time to enjoy them is during the rainy season. So, if you happen to visit Kerala when the monsoon is on (between June and September), you must definitely give Ayurveda a shot. On another note, those who are looking for best Kerala tour packages from Delhi should also target the monsoon season when the prices drop to their lowest point. Honeymoon packages in Kerala have become an easy catch for both budget-friendly and luxury-loving tourists.

image source -keralatravelcentre

image source -keralatravelcentre.com

Though any sensible couple will not miss out on a houseboat, but some people, for some strange reason, do so. It is a very unwise thing to skip the houseboat rides. Kerala is chiefly known for its backwaters and if you haven’t explored these waters on a houseboat, you have missed out on something really beautiful.
Fishing is another local sport which every tourist should try- if not for the fun then for the archaic bliss and experience they bring.

Kerala: A Place of green forests and brackish backwaters

Feasting on Maldivian cuisine: Dishes I intend to try

Maldives is an island and one which is just too beautiful to not to visit. While the beauty of the beaches is a feast good enough for your hungry eyes, if your belly begins to rumble and grumble, then you can always look forward to some delicious dishes which the island is doomed to serve you. Being a fish person that I am, I take pleasure in the thoughts of booking Maldives holiday packagessomeday. The reason is simple and one which you must have already guessed. Maldives is a destination for a seafood junk which I am (I admit with no guilt). The sea is a readymade source for different types of fishes which inevitably form an integral part of the Maldivian cuisine.

Beach Football

Apart from fishes, other delectable sea creatures are also on the foodie’s list of must-try outs. However, it is the tuna which is the top ranker in almost all the menus of all the local eateries. Maldivian cuisine is traditionally very much inclined in the favor of rice, fish and coconut. In fact, these three items pretty much sum up the local cuisine of the island. However, of late, the country has been heavily influenced by international cuisines. Therefore, what we see these days is a delicious mix of local and foreign dishes which are readily available in most reputed restaurants.

‘Mas Huni’ is one favorite item which I have promised my digestive glands the day I land in this country. Though the recipe is available on the internet, it is hard for a male person like me to decipher and then to reiterate the meaning here in this short post. But what is clear and deliciously so is the fact that the dish is prepared with tuna and coconut (they are good enough for me)!

maldives

Kulhimas or Chilli Tuna is another item which I intend to dig into. It is a spicy form of tuna fish and though I have an aversion to spice, I would take a departure from my usual norm and try it out in any case.

Garudhiya is a delicious-sounding fish soup which is another item you should order without a second thought. In case you want to give the fish a miss, you can sink into HanduluBondibai which is a sweet form of sticky rice.

I am not a very wealthy person. But with cheap holiday packages to Maldives being so invitingly available, my hopes are getting high. Pretty soon, that tuna fish would be floating inside my mouth. And then I would come back again with another post about Maldivian cuisine. Till then, ciao!

Summer Festivals of Toronto, Plan Your Trip for Maximum Entertainment

Torontonians know how to enjoy summer through festivals. They appreciate how short this season is, often starting around June and ending abruptly in mid September. But less than 4 months of good weather does not mean Torontonians prefer to hideaway in the backyards or cottages. They like to celebrate publicly. Variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds also contribute to why Toronto residents like festivals. People of Toronto are very proud of mixed cultures they represent, they are also proud of human rights Canada provided and festivals are just one way to celebrate these facts. If you plan to travel to Toronto in the summer you will too, be very pleased to become part of one famous Toronto festival.

√ June Festivals

Pride Parade June 21-30, 2013

Toronto is one of the first cities in the world to have Pride Parade regularly every year. First Pride Parade was held here in 1972. Gay rights are very strong in Toronto with them having practically equal rights of expression, religion, civic rights (marriage and adoption) etc. Pride Parade is to celebrate these basic freedoms. It is one of the most expressive festivals in Toronto, the loudest music and most colorful procession. Pride Parade is usually scheduled for Saturday of Pride Week. Exact date and time of the parade is still to be determined.

Toronto Jazz Festival June 20-29

Jazz has become for many a major summer festival of Toronto. It is by far the most cultural, family event that gathers thousands of musicians from around the world. Among bands you will frequently see Hollywood celebrities such as Steve Martin, but also among visitors. Festivals attracts half a million visitors every year. Performances take place through out the city restaurants, venues and streets. Tickets can be purchased on site or online via Toronto Jazz Festival official website.

Dragon Boat Festival June 22-23

This year it will be 25th Dragon Boat competition event in Toronto. If you have children you will very much enjoy this event that takes place on Centre Island. It is expected that in 2013 over 200 teams will compete. Dragon Boat racing is a Chinese tradition, but because of the uniqueness of the idea that is based on art, competitive spirit and music, many non-Chinese teams participate each year.

 √ July Events

Honda Indy July 12-14

is for car racing lovers. Professional moto racing event that gathers majority of international racing stars is not to miss. Racing takes place on the streets of Toronto, mostly around Exhibition Place. Live entertainment, good food and fun is guaranteed.

Caribana or The Caribbean Carnival Toronto Festival

(last week of July) will be celebrating it’s 44th year this year. The idea is based on Brazilian Rio de Janeiro festival and parade to celebrate the freedom, culture, music and summer. Parade is a colorful procession of well dressed and rehearsed teams of dancers dressed in Caribbean inspired costumes. Great even for families.

√ August Festives

Taste of Danforth August 9-11

This is a Greek Festival featuring greek traditional music, entertainment and food! This is a great family event that attracts over 20 percent of entire Toronto population. It is one of the most attended street festivals of Toronto. You really need to come and see what Greek fun has to offer.

Toronto Buskerfest August 22-25

Buskerfest is a niche street festival showcasing international talent of acrobatics, acting and creative street entertainment. One of the best family events for all ages. Enjoy good food, drinks and a large variety of street acts. Good mood guaranteed!

Author of this article, Nancy Schneider, lives in Toronto. She writes about the city, world travel, shopping, fashion and tips for buying sunglasses online with free shipping to Toronto.

Toronto, a Food Heaven

Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America, only smaller than New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. With it’s size it is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. But unlike many travel rivals, Toronto does not have a food problem. In fact, Toronto is a food heaven. Reason – presence of any cultural food cooked by actual first generation immigrants at a low price. There is absolutely no developed city in the world that has this many Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Eastern European, Italian, French and American restaurants operated by people who were actually born (and learnt how to cook) in those countries. So what are the major factors that make Toronto a Food Heaven?

 Food Variety Everywhere

Another beautiful thing about Toronto’s food is that you will find a restaurant of each type in practically any area of the city. You don’t need to travel to Markham to eat Chinese or to Brampton to eat Indian. Whenever you are staying, just tell a hotel clerk what food you feel like that day and you will get plenty of recommendations within minutes from where you are. One explanation to this variety is that Canadians love to go out. It is estimated that average Canadian of any age, or family size, goes out on average twice a week. To go out this often, people need variety.

 Low Price

What to expect in terms of prices? Well, this is another beauty about Toronto. Price and quality not necessarily go hand in hand. Generally food quality is high everywhere due to very rigorous food inspection regulations. In Toronto a chef will never be able to bribe himself out of random inspection and one red tag can literally mean a career. Price varies based on interior of the restaurant really. In many cases it comes down to how much owners spent on renovations. If you care more for a friendly atmosphere that posh walls, an average dinner will cost you $15-20 per person not including alcohol. For this price you will be getting extra large size of meal, always. In Toronto everything is big, including restaurant entrees. You will be full for your $15 guaranteed.

Freebies

In Toronto for the cost of food you will be also getting unlimited drinking water. Yes, tap water if free in Toronto, no matter how much you order. Tap water is absolutely clean and safe, in fact here, no one calls is tap water. We call it just “water”, and we don’t mean a bottle of mineral water like in Italy of UK. We literally mean normal drinking water. In many cases water will be even served with lemon and ice. In Chinese restaurants you can request green tea and it also will be served free of charge. Tea in addition to water, go ahead and ask for both! In many Japanese restaurants (warning, more common outside of downtown), you will also be getting a free miso soup. Whenever soup is not free, you can get it for $1 or $1.50 per bowl as in Japanese food, miso soup is not regarded a course, it is almost like a tea – a comforter. Freshly baked bread is common in European restaurants, also served free of charge.

 Service

Now, don’t you dare to complain about restaurant service in Toronto. Of course there are exceptions, but on the large scale comparing to 20 most visited cities in the world, Toronto restaurant service is superb. Reason – wait staff is compensated minimum wage salary ($10.25 per hour, quite high!) in addition to tips. Wait staff actually makes a very good money here, so they are generally very happy to have this job. Plus, as you will quickly find out, “Canadians are nice”. You will never see a grin on you waitress face, nor you will get a note on your bill complaining for low or no tip. Tips are not a must. If you leave none, you will still be thanked and welcomed back. Of course, I urge you to leave a tip, but I just wanted to make a point that you will be getting equally good service regardless.

Author of this article, Nancy Schneider, lives in Toronto. She writes about the city, world travel, shopping, fashion and tips for buying Kliik glasses online with free shipping to Toronto.