South Korea is a land of extremes! In some parts extremely traditional in others extremely outgoing and modern, but without a doubt in any case extremely beautiful! South Korea is also called the land of the Morning Calm, but the capital of Seoul tells a completely different story. Seoul is a city that never sleeps, nowhere else in the world does the phrase ‘work hard, play hard’ apply more than in Seoul. You can hardly turn a corner without stumbling across a tourist information booth, a subway station or a taxi in this metropolis where beautiful reconstructed palaces rub shoulders with teeming night markets and the latest technology.
Things you didn’t know about South Korea:
- South Koreans are obsessed with feces, and everything from turd-shaped cookies, phone charms, and an entire museum devoted to poop can be found in the country. Toilets across the country also feature pleasant flushing sounds, background music, and colored water.
- South Korean men love makeup, spending close to US$900 million a year, or a quarter of the world’s men’s cosmetics. Up to 20% of the male Korean population is reported to use makeup regularly.
- When a Korean’s name is written in red ink, this indicates that that person is about to die or is already dead.
- South Korea is famous for its practice of “crime re-creation.” Citizens suspected of crimes such as rape or murder are led by the police in handcuffs to the scene of the crime and ordered to publically reenact the crime. To make the reenactment even more humiliating, the media is also invited to take pictures and publish details about the crime.
- The microchips for Apple’s iPhones are made by the South Korean company Samsung,
- South Koreans are automatically classified at birth according to their blood type, which is a custom that originated in Japan but has become very important in South Korean culture and may even determine who gets to marry whom.
- On the South Korean island of Jeju, women traditionally go out to work while their husbands stay home. These women are called haenyeo (“sea women”), and they dive for sea urchins, abalone, and octopus, continuing a tradition that goes back 1,500 years and is passed down from mother to daughter.
I have been looking forward to this one! I know this is not a very traditional dish, but it is really really popular in South Korea! I heard so much about Korean fried chicken! The only Fried Chicken we have here in the Netherlands is KFC, and to be really honest I am not really a fan, little bland for my taste. But this fried chicken blew my mind!!!! Crunchy, spicy and sweet all at once!!!
Tokyo, to me Tokyo represents the town where anything can happen, from the strangest food combinations like sushi kebab to the extremely traditional rules of some sushi chefs who elevate making sushi to a form of art! And not just food-wise also the fact that there is an entire neighborhood to dedicated to manga art! (it’s called Akihabara). Temples that several centuries old are next door to high tech robot restaurants. Geisha and Sumo wrestlers!!! There so many sides to Tokyo that it’s impossible to see all of them in one trip!
Things you didn’t know about Tokyo:
- Founded as Edo once upon a time (in the 12th century), Tokyo’s literal translation means “East(ern) capital.
- As the annual Cherry Blossom Festival nears, television and radio reports include information on the “cherry blossom front” (sakura zensen), or the advance of the cherry blossoms across the different regions of Japan.
- Capsule hotels (hotels that contain rooms roughly the size of a large refrigerator) can be found around Tokyo. Most rooms include televisions, wifi, and an electronic console.
- Despite its popularity as a worldwide landmark and part of Tokyo’s backdrop, Mount Fuji is actually visible fewer than 180 days per year due to clouds and Tokyo’s air dust concentration.
- Tokyo contains over 100 universities and colleges, giving it the world’s highest concentration of higher learning institutions. One-third of Japan’s university students attend school in Tokyo.
Tsukemen or dipping noodles as they are also called, are soo good and the perfect dish for a light hot summer meal! You can keep it simple or use as many condiments as you want. But it’s a lovely meal to share with friends or family passing around the little bowls. The sauce is what it’s all about, the best word to describe it is umami, it is sweet and spicy at the same time and just utterly delicious! I served it with leftover jerk chicken from the Jamaica recipe but you can use any left over meat you have, or roasted pork belly would be ideal!
For me when I think about Jamaica, Bob Marley is the first thing that comes to mind. And I’m gonna guess I’m not the only one. What you didn’t know is that Jamaica is a divided country and has been divided since the days of slavery, there is a small minority that controls almost everything, and then there is poor majority, less connected and left out. Jamaican cuisine is a reflection of the conflicted history. Bread fruit, salt fish this used to be slave food, cheap long lasting filling. Still all these years later the division between rich and poor is still very very clear.
Things you didn’t know about Jamaica:
- African slaves imported to Jamaica brought their own form of religion, Obeahism. Obeahism is a form of voodoo that is still practiced on the island. However, it is kept quiet, since the practice of Obeahism is punishable by death. People who practice this form of voodoo believe that the Obeah man can use evil spirits to bring good or bad luck to others.
- British writer, Ian Fleming is famous for his 007 James Bond character. After designing his dream home, Ian Fleming chooses to have it built in Jamaica and name it Goldeneye. In Jamaica, he wrote ten of his world renowned James Bond spy thrillers.
- In 1988, Jamaica became the first tropical country to enter a Winter Olympic event. It was the bobsled event. The movie, Cool Runnings, tells the story of the Jamaica’s first foray into the Winter Olympics. Only the United States has won more Olympic and World medals than Jamaica.
- Jamaica is one of only two countries in the world that has no colors in common with the flag of the United States of America. The other country is Mauritania
- The stunning Blue Mountains in Jamaica are named for the mist that covers them. From a distance, the mist appears blue. The second moon in a month is called a blue moon; however, there have been half a dozen sightings of sapphire colored moons in the past 40 years.(green and yellow). Libya used to have a solid green flag but has since changed it to include red and white. The Jamaican flag is green, yellow, and black.
I was so looking forward to finally trying out the real Jamaican Jerk Chicken, and it was everything I dreamed it would be! Perfectly balanced spice and sweetness! And no this chicken is NOT BURNED, people!!! That is simply the spice rub that is caramelizing, and the most delicious part of the entire dish
Guinea Bissau is one of Africa’s secret most breathtaking little corners. Rich with wildlife, rainforests and decaying towns from the colonial era. So Guinea and Guinea Bissau might be very close to one another but the difference is immense! Guinea Bissau is slowly transforming into a stable country with a stable government. While in Guinea there are still a lot of problems. In Guinea Bissau there has been peace and prosperity since the independence from Portugal in 1980. Guinea Bissau doesn’t just consist of mainland there is also an archipelago that is part of Guinea Bissau, with beautiful, peaceful islands.
Things you didn’t know about Guinea Bissau
- Contrary to what you might expect, residents here are called ‘Bissau-Guineans’, not ‘Guinea-Bissauans’!
- Guinea-Bissau’s flag draws its inspiration from the flag of the Republic of Ghana. It was the struggle of the Ghanaians for freedom that inspired the people of Guinea-Bissau to put up a fight for their very own.
- Former President Vieira and his rival Military Chief Wai were both assassinated in January 2009, though a stable interim government is currently in place.
- In 2003, there were an estimated 8 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there was 1 mobile phone in use for every 1,000 people. In 2003, 15 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet.
- Western-style clothing is typical attire for work and daily activities because it is inexpensive and readily available, shipped secondhand from Europe and North America. Adults value cleanliness and modesty. Locally made traditional clothing is more expensive and is reserved for special occasions.
Ingredients: 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs (cut into large pieces), 3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil, 1 large onion (halved and sliced), 3 tbsp tomato purée, 1 chicken stock cube, 400g basmati rice, 1 red bell pepper (deseeded and thickly sliced), 1 yellow bellpepper (deseeded and thickly sliced), 100g okra (halved), bunch coriander, (roughly chopped to serve
For ginger chili base: 2 garlic cloves, 2 x 400g cans plum tomatoes, thumb-size piece fresh root ginger, 1 scotch bonnet chilli (deseeded)
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large deep frying pan over a high heat then add the meat and fry for about 5 mins till golden all over. Lift out of the pan onto a plate.
- Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the onions until soft but not golden, about 5 mins. While the onions cook, make the ginger and chilli base. Put the garlic, tomatoes, ginger and chilli into a food processor or blender and whizz till smooth.
- Add the tomato purée to the onions, fry for another 2 mins then add the ginger and chilli mix. Crumble in the stock cube, stir then pour in 600ml boiling water. Add the chicken, bring to the boil then simmer for 15 mins.
- Put the rice into a large bowl, cover with cold water and use your hands to wash the grains. Tip the water out then repeat twice until the water runs clear. Add the rice to the pan, turn the heat down to a simmer then cover with foil and a lid (so no steam can escape) and cook for 20 mins.
- Take the lid off (the rice won’t be cooked yet) then scatter the peppers and okra over the rice. Re-cover and cook for 10 mins until the veg is softened and the rice tender. Just before serving, mix the veg through and scatter over coriander.
Dominica a tropical island in the sun, very often confused with Dominican Republic but that’s on the other side of the Caribbean. Dominica was discovered by Christopher Columbus on the 3th November 1493 on his second trip. He thought he had arrived in India. Oh boy was he of by just a few miles… When he discovered Dominica the Arawak people were living there. Soon after Dominica was colonized by Spain these Arawak people started dying of the flue and smallpox. Nowadays there are only 3000 Arawak people left on the island.
Things you didn’t know about Dominica:
- Dominica is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles and was formed by geothermal volcanic activity.
- The main industry is tourism, however the locals are proud of how well preserved their island is and they’re doing everything they can to avoid deforestation. 40% of local power is generated through hydro-electricity thanks to all the waterfalls and rivers. Conservation and eco-tourism aren’t buzzwords on Dominica, they’re a way of life. Even if tourism increases to Dominica, it will never be a high-rise hotel island. (that’s the way to go guys well done!)
- Dominica is often described as ‘the anti-Caribbean’ and isn’t your average 2-week all-inclusive style island. Since there are now white sandy beaches to be found on Dominica.
This Caribbean Reef Chicken is Sweet and Spicy at the same time! So deliciously caramelized!
Ingredients: 1 roast chicken,, ½ tsp salt , ¼ tsp. pepper , ½ cup dark brown sugar , 4 tbs. dark rum (divided) , 1 tbs. lime juice, 2 tsp. lemon pepper , 1 tsp. ginger , ½ tsp ground cloves , ¼ tsp. cinnamon , ¼ tsp. garlic powder , 2 drops sriracha hot sauce , 4 tablespoons of mango chutney, lemon – sliced, lime – sliced
Sprinkle salt and pepper over washed and dried chicken. Set aside.
In a small bowl, make Caribbean paste by mixing together sugar, 2 tablespoons of the rum, lime juice, lemon pepper, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, garlic powder, and hot pepper sauce; set aside.
Place the chicken, skin side up, in a large shallow baking pan. Rub Caribbean paste evenly over the chicken. Bake in a 205 C oven for 75 minutes or until the chicken is fork tender. In a blender, place chutney and remaining 2 tablespoons of rum; process to blend. Spoon chutney mixture over chicken and bake about 10 minutes more or until chutney is warm.
Drugs, violence and kidnapping not very long this was a pretty accurate picture the papers painted for us of Colombia, but the sights, sounds and people tell a different kind of story these days. Colombians are taking back their country and are celebrating their culture, their traditions and food. In only 10 years the large drug cartels have quietly fade into the background. To say Colombia is multicultural is an understatement Caribbean, hispanic and native influences are to be found throughout the country.
Here are some things you didn’t know about Colombia
- Colombia is one of seven countries that the United Nations indentified as major food exporters. Just about anything will grow there from kale to mangoes to potatoes.
- Colombians get 70% of their electric power from hydro. Their country’s rivers and winds are able to supply double the amount of energy they need.
- Colombia has more freshwater than the US and Canada put together.
- Medellin, home of the legendary late cocaine trafficker Pablo Escobar is today one of the safest cities in South America.
- Corinto in the department of Cauca, is the only place in the world where chickens learned how to swim, which the do in order to mate with the ducks that live on an island in the local river.
So this recipe was epic! Wow I was sooo impressed! And so was my family, my brother was so dissapointed when het came back from school and there were no leftovers the next day, even though I made extra. The chicken tasted sooo rich.
Sichuan is a province in the West of China, known for its spicy kitchen (chili heaven!), fertile land and off course giant panda’s. The landscape is very diverse, with Qinghai-Tibetan plateau in the West, Sichuan Basin in the middle (basically farm land), and Hilly Region in the East. Large mountains with turbulent rivers and deep valley’s crossing through.
Things you didn’t know about Sichuan
- It is also known as land of abundance since ancient times.
- The population is 90 million, which makes it the fourth most populated province in China. (90 million!!! That is like quadruple the people who live in the Netherlands, and that in 1 province!!!)
- Have I mentioned the GIGANTIC SIZE of the province you can compare it to 12x Switzerland!
- Wildlife to be found in Sichuan: Giant Panda’s, Sichuan Golden Monkey’s, Takin (I never heard of a Takin I actually had to google it!)
I love spicy food, the Sichuan pepper I only discovered a few year ago. It has a really distinctive taste, it sort of numbs your tongue or something it is really hard to explain. I think it tastes great though. Seriously go easy on the salt in this recipe!