#AkudanKorea: Korea Tourism Organization’s ‘one-stop shop’ for Indonesian solo travelers

Posted by - May 8, 2018

ARE YOU an Indonesian solo traveler seeking a memorable South Korean holiday? Then you’re in luck!
To better provide for solo travelers who want to visit the popular destination, Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) Jakarta has launched #AkudanKorea (which means “Korea and I”).
#POP CULTURE
Would you rent an oppa for your South Korean vacay? Through the campaign, KTO Jakarta intends to highly the services and facilities that have been developed to encourage travelers, particularly solo travelers, to explore the best destinations in South Korea.
The country has been getting a lot of traction in the media as of late due to the recent 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and the 2018 inter-Korean summit.
So it’s befitting that KTO Jakarta is using the buzz as leverage to launch #AkudanKorea and push tourism numbers to go the extra mile.
A post shared by Travel Wire Asia (@travelwire_asia) on Mar 11, 2018 at 9:26pm PDT
And as it stands, South Korea was voted one of the best, friendliest and safest places to travel alone in Asia by Skyscanner.
But unbeknownst to many, the country has a lot more surprises up its sleeve than just its burgeoning Korean entertainment industry.
From streets filled with its homegrown skincare/cosmetic brands to Korean drama shooting locations, as well as lush natural landscapes that change with every season to centuries-old historical sites, and not forgetting the uniquely South Korean food places, the country has it all.
A post shared by Travel Wire Asia (@travelwire_asia) on Mar 11, 2018 at 12:22am PST
Along with the launch of #AkudanKorea, KTO Jakarta also unveiled a website to appeal to solo travelers who do not wish to rely on tour guides to explore South Korea.
It contains a detailed event schedule, ongoing promotions and airline deals, tourist recommendations, and a neat #AkudanKorea photo challenge.
Currently, the website is highlighting promotional flights from Korean Airlines, Asiana Airlines, and Garuda Indonesia. So it’s really a “one-stop shop” for curious solo travelers.

For more information, visit KTO Jakarta’s #AkudanKorea website.
The post #AkudanKorea: Korea Tourism Organization’s ‘one-stop shop’ for Indonesian solo travelers appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Would you rent an oppa for your South Korean vacay?

Posted by - April 3, 2018

WINWINCOOK, a South Korean software company, just launched the very thing that may send Korean drama (K-drama) fangirls into overdrive.
Oh My Oppa is a specialty tour service targeting foreign visitors, allowing them to “rent” an oppa.
#TRAVEL HACKS
Arriving in South Korea: Language, etiquette, customs, soju For the uninitiated, oppa is a Korean term used by Korean women to address an older family member, friend, or a romantic partner. Especially in K-dramas.
It’s also quite prominently used in K-pop songs such as Psy’s Gangnam Style, Donghae&Eunhyuk’s Oppa, Oppa, and BLACKPINK’s Boombayah.
How does this service work, you ask?
Could this be every K-drama fangirl’s dream come true? Source: Shutterstock.
For four hours, you and two of your friends (or just you alone, if you’d like), you’ll get to hang out with an oppa of your choice. Depending on who you choose, he’ll meet you at a subway station before you go off on an adventure together.
There are a couple of activities that you can do with different oppas. Fancy a walk along the Han river under cherry blossom trees? Arami oppa is up for it anytime from April 6 to April 14, 2018.
A walk in the park isn’t your thing? Would you rather play dress-up and pretend to be Korean royalty at the country’s largest palace? Architecture enthusiast Ryan oppa is the man you’re looking for.

If you’d like, your designated oppa may suggest activities that require extra payment such as visiting a pet cafe, but there are strict rules to what oppas can or cannot do. For example, they’re discouraged from arranging tours at night or going out drinking with their assigned tourists.
“It started out as a joke that foreigners coming to Korea expect to find men like the ones they see on dramas, but no, there aren’t any men on the streets that are as good-looking, tall and nice as the TV stars,” said Lee Joon Woo Winwincook CEO told The Korea Herald.
Currently, the website features seven Korean men. While they’re not professional tour guides, they are either Lee’s friends or those recommended by acquaintances, and they have had some minimal training.
While the Oh My Oppa service is borderline questionable, it’s not the first, and it’ll likely not be the last.
In China, an app called Hire Me Plz allows people to hire dates to bring to family occasions such as when visiting home during the Chinese New Year festivities. The fake girlfriend or boyfriend will travel with said “client” to meet his or her parents and appease them and their relatives.
The post Would you rent an oppa for your South Korean vacay? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Surviving Asia’s 5 most expensive destinations for business travel

Posted by - April 3, 2018

WITH bleisure (a business and leisure travel combo) becoming a phenomenon, more and more business travelers are extending work travel for leisure.
However, extending your stay can be quite costly, especially if additional expenses for the trip has to come out of your own personal budget. This equals accommodation, meals, transport, on top of currency exchange, for the entirety of the extension.
The best way to go about this is to know firsthand which cities are expensive for travel.
#BUSINESS TRAVEL
These Asian countries are most welcoming for expats If you’re coming to Asia, keep in mind that despite the US dollar being the most powerful currency in the world, the cost of living in the region greatly varies and not all Asian countries are affordable.
In a survey released last December, market research company ECA International said 26 of the world’s top 50 most expensive cities to live in are in Asia, with 14 cities in China alone.
“This compares with just four EU cities and three US making it into the top 50,” the firm wrote.
It’s helpful to have a picture of how much life will cost as an expatriate or a business traveler in some of these locations, so here are Asia’s five most expensive destinations for business travel and the average daily expense you’d likely be making.
Tokyo Cost of living in Japan is generally high, with expatriates pegging the average monthly cost at around JPY100,000 (US$945). But it really depends on which Japanese city you’re going to.
For example, Tokyo is cheaper than both London and New York, but really expensive compared to Thailand or the Philippines, and a large chunk of your daily expenses will go to paying for your accommodation. Eating out at a restaurant, drinking at a bar, and going to the theater is also costlier than most Asian countries as they’re seen as more upscale activities.
There’s nearly nothing that you can’t find in Japan’s combinis. Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$536 (JPY56,742).
Tip for surviving the trip: Take the Tokyo Metro (Japan subway) and stock up on simple, money-saving meals from Japan’s popular combinis (convenience stores).
Hong Kong Although Hong Kong is no longer the most expensive city for business travel, it’s still one of the most expensive in Asia, and it certainly has the potential to empty out your bank account.
Four-star hotel prices in the land-starved country cost about US$284 per day. And due to the high price of goods, meals and drinks can cost up to US$186 per day. If you’re going to eat Western meals every day and dine out at nice restaurants all the time, then be prepared to cough up quite a bit of dough.
It’s not impossible to find affordable eats in Hong Kong. Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$508 (HKD3,987).
Tip for surviving the trip: Take the MTR (Hong Kong subway) and make cheap food places (market food, neighborhood noodle joints) your daily destination.
Seoul In 2015, The Economist‘s Worldwide Cost of Living report classified Seoul as the most expensive city in the world for buying everyday food items. For example, an average price for a loaf of bread (one kilogram) in Singapore costs US$3.54 while in Seoul it costs US$13.91.
And like the above well developed East Asian countries, staying in this South Korean capital can be expensive and business travelers should expect to fork out US$252 per day on a four-star hotel. That being said, subways, buses, taxis, eating out, and buying basic clothing is cheaper in South Korea than Toronto.
Remember to clink your soju glass and say, “Geonbae!” Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$490 (KRW518,625).
Tip for surviving the trip: Take the Seoul Metropolitan Subway and seek out bars like Ssada! Maekju! or Makgeolli Salon in Hongdae where you can get free refills for draft beers (KRW7,295/person), soju (KRW4,863/person), and makgeolli (KRW5,269/person).
Singapore For the fifth year running, the Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked Singapore the world’s most expensive city to live. That goes hand-in-hand with it being one of the world’s most expensive cities for business travel as well.
Business travelers can expect to spend an average of US$251 on four-star hotels per day and about US$186 on food and drinks. You’ll never have a dull moment on the island because Singapore is home to various attractions such as Universal Studios Singapore, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo, Underwater World, Madame Tussauds, and more.
But they come with a price, of course.
The world’s most expensive city to live is also one of the world’s most expensive cities for business travel. Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$472 (SGD618).
Tip for surviving the trip: Take the MRT (Singapore subway) and check out all these free things that you can do.
Dhaka Are you surprised to find that Dhaka, the capital and largest city of Bangladesh, is on the list too? According to The Daily Star, the cost of living in Dhaka is as high as the Canadian city of Montreal although the living amenities and conditions in these two cities are worlds apart. In fact, it’s considered more expensive to live and work in Dhaka than nearby capitals like New Delhi and Islamabad, and cities like Kolkata.
The living cost rose by 8.44 percent in Dhaka in 2017 because of hikes in prices of rice, vegetables, house rents, electricity, gas as well as other services. Hence, you should expect to spend about US$155 on meals and drinks. And as a business traveler, most of your expenses will go to your accommodation as it costs about US$277 on average for a four-star hotel.
Built in 1872 and standing on the Buriganga River, Ahsan Manzil is one of the most attractive historical sites in Dhaka. Source: Shutterstock.
Per day, you should expect to spend: US$456 (BDT37,921).
Tip for surviving the trip: Public transportation is not an option there, and traffic and pollution are exceptionally bad so plan your travels well and mask up if need be.
The post Surviving Asia’s 5 most expensive destinations for business travel appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Don’t make these cultural Pho-pas when eating in Asia

Posted by - March 22, 2018

YOU may think you’re being polite by eating everything on your plate.
Perhaps you think everyone else around you is being rude as they slurp their soup and suck up the slithery noodles while making an almighty racket.
But you’re wrong.
Asia has a rich history of culinary etiquette, but it’s not continent-wide. So there are lots of variations of eating rules.
Breaking these established rules may get you disapproving looks, while others will get you chucked out of the restaurant entirely.
#PLACES TO EAT
Totoro fans listen up, we’ve got a tasty surprise for you Here are a few tips and tricks to make you look like an Asian-dining-etiquette pro.
Japan A post shared by Meliina (@meliinaida) on Oct 1, 2012 at 4:05am PDT
Sticking chopsticks in your mouth to resemble a vampire-walrus isn’t cool and neither is standing them upright in a bowl of food.
Doing this is thought to bring bad luck, so make sure you use the chopstick holder beside your bowl when you’re not gobbling down your dinner.
Also, avoid passing food from chopstick-to-chopstick as this is a process done at Japanese funerals. However, it’s not food that’s passed around, it’s bone fragments from the deceased.
A post shared by Johnny (@johnnytonton) on Mar 20, 2018 at 9:38pm PDT
Some other points to remember, if you don’t want to feel like an ignorant tourist, is to not wave your chopsticks around or point them at people.
Equally, don’t scratch yourself with them, because that’s gross. And while you may be new to the chopstick game, try to avoid stabbing your food. Take the time to learn how to use chopsticks and impress the locals.
A post shared by Victor Chien [簡VIC] (@natureboy.vic) on Mar 19, 2018 at 9:41pm PDT
In Japan is it entirely fine to make as much noise as possible while eating as it tells the host and the chefs that you’re enjoying your meal.
Malaysia A post shared by Febiyani Sitepu (@febiyanisitepu) on Oct 7, 2017 at 2:43am PDT
If you’ve ever traveled to Malaysia, you will know it is a nation of multiculturalism, stunning natural beauty and home to some of the most delicious Pan-Asian cuisine.
There are three different types of dining etiquette here: Malay-Malaysian, Indian-Malaysian and Chinese-Malaysian, each with their own set of rules.
Malaysians strictly eat with their right hand as the left is for washroom purposes only.
A post shared by Melissa Calvi (@mel_calvi) on Jan 21, 2018 at 2:54am PST
It is polite to let the elders take the helping first if you are eating at someone else’s house. Always remember, only take what you know you can eat as every grain of rice is sacred and should not be wasted.
If you’re devouring a dinner of delicious Chinese-Malaysian food, then be prepared to share. Often, the Chinese will order dishes for everyone and then you pick what you want, place it in your bowl and nosh away using chopsticks.
Perhaps one of the most famous Indian-Malaysian dishes is banana leaf rice. Rice, curry and a selection of scrumptious pickles, chutneys, and accompaniments are served on a giant green banana leaf.
A post shared by Leong Li-Ern (@liernleong) on Mar 20, 2018 at 3:09am PDT
Always show utmost appreciation when dining with Indian-Malaysians and never eat in a hurry. Once you’re done, make sure you fold your banana leaf towards yourself, as folding it away tells your host you hated the meal…which is virtually impossible.
China A post shared by Tabemachita (@tabemachita) on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:13pm PDT
The same chopstick rules as in Japan apply to eating a Chinese meal. However, there are a few added rules.
Never leave your chopsticks pointing directly at someone across the table and don’t suck the grains of rice off your eating utensils even at the end of a meal.
Unlike in Malaysia and Japan where it is good practice to eat everything on your plate, in Chinese etiquette, it is polite to leave some food at the end of a meal as a sign that the host went above and beyond to provide you with a good and ample feast.
If you’re dining out, it is courtesy to argue with your host about paying the bill. Insist at least two or three times that you will pay for it or split it. However, don’t ever fully insist on paying the whole bill as it insinuates your host can’t afford it.
Equally, don’t just let your host pay without putting up a fight as it implies your host owes you.
There needs to be a fine balance and one that will take practice.
Thailand and the Philippines A post shared by Bangkok foodies (@bangkokfoodies) on Mar 18, 2018 at 7:20am PDT

Anyone who has a fear of using chopsticks can heave a sigh of relief as Thailand and the Philippines use forks, knives and spoons to eat.
A post shared by Jemi (@jemstagram21) on Mar 20, 2018 at 9:21am PDT
Both nations pride themselves on having a friendly hospitality industry. Filipino and Thai hosts will go above and beyond to create a great dining experience so it’s important to remember not to lose your temper or get angry in a restaurant if something doesn’t go your way.
This is called “losing face” and you will end up embarrassing yourself more than those you intended your yelling at.
Cambodia A post shared by Marlon Julius (@marlon.julius) on Mar 20, 2018 at 12:39pm PDT
This is a nation where you can expect more to be plonked on your table than you ordered, but nobody is complaining.
Often, restaurants will bring out food you didn’t order. It’s worth trying a bit of everything but don’t worry, as you’ll only be charged for what you eat.
A post shared by Cem Akkaya (@cemakkaya) on Mar 20, 2018 at 7:50am PDT
On the table, you will find forks, chopsticks, and spoons. Avoid eating with forks. Instead, use it to place food on your spoon or between your chopsticks.
Vietnam A post shared by Siobhan Moss (@shivmossy) on Dec 22, 2017 at 9:31pm PST
Expect eating here too big a family affair. The Vietnamese tend to eat together with family or friends and order plenty of dishes for everyone to share.
You should do the same, as it’s the best way to try everything. Also, if you’re dining out, expect the men to be first served first (quite literally feeding the patriarchy).
A post shared by 플리페 현경부원장 (@pllipe_kyong) on Mar 20, 2018 at 9:26pm PDT
Also, make sure you always get up and ask for the cheque as it is considered rude for the server to bring it to your table.
Never feel obliged to tip in Vietnam either, it is entirely at your discretion, but everything is so cheap in Vietnam and the food is some of the best in the world – so you’ll probably want to show your gratification.
#ANTHONY BOURDAIN
Get your Obama fangirl on at this Vietnamese restaurant South Korea A post shared by Tomáš Pek (@tominopek) on Feb 14, 2018 at 1:18pm PST
The chopstick rules that apply to all other Asian countries apply in South Korea too.
In South Korea, make sure you let your host know how much you’re looking forward to the meal and always thank them after you’ve finished. Gratitude and politeness are the biggest etiquette winners in South Korea.
A post shared by Sangho Lee (@sang_ho_u) on Mar 19, 2018 at 9:40am PDT
Don’t be surprised if your host or servers at a restaurant encourage you to drink, as this is a big part of the South Korean culture.
In fact, it is considered rude to turn down alcohol, but remember to always top up other’s glasses before your own.
The post Don’t make these cultural Pho-pas when eating in Asia appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Halal eats: 10 Muslim-friendly restaurants in Seoul

Posted by - March 12, 2018

HOLIDAYS are so much more fun and enjoyable when you don’t have to worry about what you’re eating.
Besides, what is traveling if you can’t chow down on local fare and the likes?
#HALAL
Halal eats: 10 Muslim-friendly restaurants in Tokyo Muslim travelers tend to hit a couple of roadblocks when it comes to finding halal restaurants in a foreign place, especially in countries that aren’t traditionally Muslim-friendly.
Fortunately, the Seoul Metropolitan Government have been pushing for more halal restaurants in the city to cater to the ever-growing numbers of Muslim tourists. Seoul’s halal restaurants consist of those with a Muslim chef and owner, the only Korea Muslim Federation (KMF) halal-certified restaurants, and restaurants that use exclusively halal ingredients.
Here are our top picks of halal corresponding restaurants in Seoul so that you can kick the #FOMO in the butt.
Source: Giphy
Jalmukesumneda!
Halal Kitchen If you’re planning to swing by Bukchon Hanok Village (attraction in Seoul with traditional Korean housing), make a pit stop at Samcheong-dong for your fill of halal Korean cuisine. Halal Kitchen is pretty popular with the city’s Muslim community as it is the first halal Korean restaurant in Seoul. The restaurant serves up tantalizing dishes such as bulgogi (marinated beef), dak-galbi (sweet and spicy stir-fried chicken), japchae (stir-fried glass noodles), and bibimbap (mixed rice bowl). You may also order ahead before arriving.
A post shared by Halal Kitchen (@halalkitchenkorea) on May 12, 2017 at 7:49pm PDT
Address: 86-4 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul.
Gosam-I Gosam-I has received so many praises because unlike the standard Korean BBQ joints, the restaurant is particularly famous for its mackerel galbi (BBQ mackarel), so much so that its patrons suffer withdrawal symptoms. “I for sure want to come back to this restaurant when I visit Seoul again in the future,” read one TripAdvisor review. Cozy and with canteen-style tables lined in rows, Gosam-I keeps its menu simple and in three categories: grilled fish, stews, and stir-fries. Choose from mackerel, samchi (Japanese mackarel), Atka mackerel, galchi (hairtail fish) for your grilled fish dish, and have it with a side of kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew).
A post shared by Hani Fadzil ERA (@hahanybunch) on Jun 2, 2015 at 12:58am PDT
Address: 38 Yonsei-ro 7an-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul.
Alchon Ewha Woman’s University Branch Particularly famous among the Ewha Woman’s University students, Alchon is a chain restaurant that takes pride in its albap aka flying fish roe rice bowl. For KRW3,500 (about US$3.30), you will get a specially flavored steamed rice dish served with fresh lettuce, salted laver, and seasoned fish row on a hot stone rice bowl. The best part is that the menu has English words and patrons can even choose different levels of spiciness. Soup and sides are self-serve so just remember to pick up a piping bowl of hot broth and side (radish kimchi, fish cakes, and yellow pickled radish are available) before digging into your rice bowl.
A post shared by 알촌(alchon) (@alchonfood) on May 28, 2015 at 2:30am PDT
Address: 14 Ewhayeodae 7-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul.
Makan Halal Restaurant Owned by a Korean Muslim, this restaurant has an extensive menu, offering everything from bulgogi (marinated beef), samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup), grilled chicken, dak-bokkeum-tang (braised spicy chicken), Tteok-galbi (grilled short rib patties), bibimbap (mixed rice bowl), jajangmyeon (noodles in black bean sauce), and more. Considering the rave reviews that it has been getting, it’s safe to say that almost all, if not all, the items on their menu are worth trying. Makan Halal has friendly, English-speaking staff so worry not about getting your orders across. Seats are limited though so try to avoid the peak hours.
A post shared by Muhammad Sufi (@sufiz89) on Jan 19, 2018 at 10:43pm PST
Address: 52 Usadan-ro 10-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
Osegyehyang For soy-based vegan delicacies, head on over to Osegyehyang. Located in Insadong, a district known for its slew of arts, crafts, and souvenir stores, Osegyehyang stands out for its variety of vegan meat and Korean-Chinese dishes, with items such as jajangmyeon (noodles in black bean sauce), ttukbulgui (stone bowl vegan meat), bulgui deopbap (vegan meat rice), and tangsuyuk (sweet and sour pork) on its menu, just to name a few. The restaurant also sells the vegetarian ingredients (as well as vegetarian snacks) that are used in its dishes by the counter, so you can whip up your own vegan meals at home.
A post shared by Robbie (@robbie_m_) on Jan 16, 2018 at 3:21am PST
Address: 14-7 Insadong 12-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul.
The Halal Guys Itaewon is particularly famous for its Muslim community, hence there are a lot of halal restaurants and supermarkets selling halal ingredients in the district. It’s also where the beautiful Seoul Grand Mosque, the first Islamic mosque in Korea, is located. And not too far away from the mosque is The Halal Guys, the iconic chain food truck from New York. Designed like a fast-food joint, the restaurant offers their signature chicken and rice or beef and rice salad bowls in small, regular, or New York-sized foil bowls. If you’re not feeling like rice, try the sandwich.
A post shared by The Halal Guys Korea (@thehalalguyskorea) on Oct 22, 2017 at 9:53pm PDT
Address: 187 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
Ilji Hanbang Samgyetang In the Korean culture, samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) is believed to prevent illness. However, at most places in Seoul, it’s served with insam-ju (ginseng wine), which doesn’t make the dish very Muslim-friendly. Luckily, there’s a samgyetang restaurant that takes halal orders. Located in Jongno-gu, Ilji Hanbang Samgyetang uses 16 kinds of oriental medicinal herbs, farm-fresh chicken, and other ingredients in their samgyetang. But because it’s cooked upon request, Muslim patrons are advised to call the restaurant in advance 02-754-1358 to make a reservation.
A post shared by °¿ Jevan Hah ?。 (@jevanhah) on Apr 29, 2017 at 3:52am PDT
Address: 48, Myeongdong 8ga-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul.
Yang Good BBQ – Yeoksam Stare at locals enjoying their BBQ dinner no longer because there’s such a thing as halal BBQ in Seoul. While Yang Good BBQ serves alcohol at the restaurant (most Korean restaurants do), the ingredients and the meat are halal-certified. The restaurant specializes in mouthwatering-ly good lamb BBQ so take your pick: either lamb meat in its full glory or marinated lamb coated with Korean sweet sauce. Yang Good BBQ also has lamb soup, deonjang-jjigae (fermented soybean paste soup), mulnaengmyeon (cold noodles), and other Korean dishes on its menu. Go ahead and treat yourself after a long day out in Gangnam.
A post shared by 권원형 (@gweonweonhyeong1847) on Aug 23, 2017 at 5:45am PDT
Address: 15 Nonhyeon-ro 95-gil, Yeoksam 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
Kampungku Authentic Malaysian Restaurant Myeongdong is known to be Seoul’s ultimate shopping mecca, with rows upon rows of Korean makeup and skincare stores, fashion boutiques, shoe marts, restaurants and cafes that attract hordes of tourists on the daily. Good thing there’s a Muslim-friendly restaurant right around the corner then. Kampungku Authentic Malaysian Restaurant is a Malaysian-owned halal-certified eatery that offers the best of home-style Malaysian “soul food” such as nasi lemak and rendang ayam. So if you’re missing a taste of home while you’re away in Seoul, Kampungku is where you want to be. The restaurant also has a prayer room for Muslim guests.
A post shared by clees | 장리산 (@cleeswanders) on Jul 10, 2017 at 1:30am PDT
Address: 25 Toegye-ro 20-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul.
Busan Jib Restaurant Contrary to its name, Busan Jib Restaurant isn’t actually located in Busan. It is, however, located in the heart of Seoul. Muslim tourists from Malaysia and Singapore often flock to Busan Jib Restaurant as it uses halal-certified meat to whip up delicious Korean cuisines such as Korean spicy chicken stew, haemul pajeon (seafood pancake), spicy seafood stew, and chili squid. To add on, the restaurant also serves ikan bakar (grilled fish), nasi goreng (fried rice), and ikan asam pedas (sour and spicy fish), which caters to the Malay’s tastes. Prepare to spend quite a bit though as TripAdvisor reviews have suggested that it’s quite pricey.
A post shared by farahshiraaz (@farahshiraaz) on May 22, 2017 at 5:23am PDT
Address: 1-4 Myeongdong 8-gil, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul.
The post Halal eats: 10 Muslim-friendly restaurants in Seoul appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Eating any of these popular delicacies can cost you your life

Posted by - March 7, 2018

THAILAND is the land of many things.
Bustling markets, vibrant nightlife, pristine beaches, lip-smacking street food, intricate shrines, and exquisite cuisine. It truly is the land of smiles as you’d be hardpressed to find a tourist who leaves the country unhappy.
#CHINESE
Thailand’s tourism is on the rise, but who’s visiting the most? But liver cancer is the last thing that any tourist would want to be packing home with them.
Thousands of Thais have reportedly lost their lives to cancer due to eating koi pla, a popular salad dish-like delicacy in northeastern Thailand. Made from finely chopped raw fish, mixed with herbs, a dash of lime juice, and sometimes a sprinkling of live red ants, the fish harbors a dark secret: it can cause liver cancer.
How do they know this? For starters, people in the northeast region of the country have bizarrely high levels of liver cancer and accounts for more than half of all male cancer cases in the region. A person can develop liver cancer when they contract a liver fluke parasite infection, and the freshwater fish used to make koi pla carry the fluke worms.
Source: Shutterstock
When eaten, the flukes work their way into the liver, where they release a particular protein that increases cell growth, providing the parasites with a food source. This protein is the key to the parasite’s cancer-causing ability. Once a person has contracted the infection, there’s not much doctors can do to prevent it from later becoming a chronic inflammation, which eventually becomes cancer.
The flukes also grow and lay eggs, which get excreted – often back into the water in which the fish are living – and then eaten by a snail, which is in turn eaten by fish, and thus the cycle starts again.
BBC quoted DR Banchob Sripa at the Tropical Disease Research Laboratory in Khon Kaen University as saying, “We have been studying this link in our labs for over 30 years.”
“We found that the liver fluke can make a chemical that stimulates a host immune response – inflammation – and after many years, this becomes chronic inflammation, which then becomes cancer.”
Source: Shutterstock.
Dr. Banchob said that up to 80 percent of people in communities in Isaan were infected by the fluke. As such, doctors in the area are trying to educate people about the risk that eating koi pla poses. And the good thing is, it’s working.
“I think 60 percent do understand the causes of the liver cancer,” Dr Banchob revealed.
“They are aware of the liver fluke. But 10 percent are still eating raw fish. I believe that 10 percent probably cannot change. So we should change the environment, make the fish cleaner, to get fewer infections.”
Koi pla aside, the parasites can also be found in other raw, freshwater fish, especially in the Mekong region. But the best way to go about it in order to avoid contracting a cancerous infection is to eat cooked fish.
Other potentially deadly foods It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so here are a couple of other seemingly harmless foods that could kill you.
Source: Shutterstock
Bullfrog: A delicacy especially in Asia, the giant bullfrog’s legs are used for a number of popular dishes including frog legs porridge. However, it needs to be cooked right as the frog’s skin and inner organs contain harmful toxins and there have been fatal consequences. Octopus: Better known as sannakji in South Korea, this dish is eaten extremely fresh and still squirming on a plate. While it seems like fun and games, and quite a sight to experience, it’s not so much when people die as a result of choking on the tentacles. Blood clams: Also known as cockles in some parts of the world, blood clams are popular in China. Because they live in low-oxygen environments, they ingest viruses and bacteria, including Hepatitis A and E, typhoid, and dysentery. Fugu: Chefs in Japan must undergo special training to handle the fugu, otherwise known as the pufferfish, including learning how to prepare it. The fish’s liver, ovaries, and skin contain large amounts of tetrodotoxin. And there is no known antidote. With that in mind, maybe you should order something else?
The post Eating any of these popular delicacies can cost you your life appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Get hot under the collar: Asia’s spiciest food

Posted by - March 6, 2018

WE’VE all got that one friend who proclaims, “I don’t think it’s spicy” before chocking on the oxygen that turns to fire in their mouths as they pant for air.
Whether your tolerance for spice is as much a spaghetti bolognese or an Indian vindaloo, the dishes that have made it onto this list are eye-wateringly hot, and that’s before your dinner has even kissed your lips with its fiery tongue.
We present, for your tongue tingling enjoyment, Asia’s hottest dishes.
Chongqing Hotpot – China A post shared by yu (@baibaikathy) on Feb 23, 2018 at 11:18pm PST
While hotpots can be found all over China, the beef-fat-drizzled, kitchen-sink-sized bowl of hot soup, full of fiery fresh and dried chilies, makes the Chongqing hotpot especially spicy.
Accompanying the overwhelming amount of chilies is tenderized meat, usually beef, but chicken and mutton can also be found marinating in there, alongside some 20 other herbs and spices.
Whatever you decide to dip into the soup, be it tofu, vegetables or more meat, your taste buds will be temporarily fixed into a state of spicy euphoria.
Instant Chili Pickle – India A post shared by Kshitij Bisen (@kshitij_bisen) on Aug 20, 2017 at 2:52am PDT
This Indian dish is sure to get you in a pickle with its hot, spicy and tangy flavors. Originating from the Rajasthani region, this pickle has developed into a favorite dish across India.
The dish can be prepared in less than 15 minutes using only one pan. While recipes differ from region to region and household to household, most cooking instructions include fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, coriander and of course as many green chilies as your palate can handle.
Either pinch a pickle and drop it into your mouth, layer them inside a roti and eat it as a fiery wrap filling or enjoy them as a side dish with your main meal.
#HALAL
Halal eats: 10 Muslim-friendly restaurants in Tokyo Jjigae – South Korea A post shared by Q bistro Vegas • Korean Food+ (@qbistrolv) on Mar 5, 2018 at 3:23pm PST
Korean winters last for what seems like years and are bitterly cold. So, what better way to warm up than with dishes that are physically hot and crazy-spicy hot?
Jjigae will warm you up from the inside out.
This dish is one of the most popular dishes in South Korea and can be found in many restaurants and on plenty of dinner tables.
The dish consists of thick cuts of pork, seafood or fresh tofu in a stew-like appearance, it is served in a boiling pot to keep it hot for as long as it takes the diners to chow through it.
The extreme spiciness is added by the red chili paste or from chili-covered-kimchi-cabbage which is a staple in any Korean’s diet.
Hot and spicy Tom Yum – Thailand A post shared by Q bistro Vegas • Korean Food+ (@qbistrolv) on Mar 5, 2018 at 3:23pm PST
Tom Yum soup knocks on each of the tongue’s flavor receptors.
First, it hits the middle where your tongue thinks it’s entirely sour, but as the soup fills your mouth the salty, sweet and bitter senses come into play for a taste explosion.
The soup combines chicken or seafood with citrus and Thai Bird’s Eye chilies.
These rank between 50,000 and 100,000 on the spicy scale, also known as the Scoville scale. In comparison, a jalapeno chili only reaches around 5,000 on the chart.
Eat with caution or expect steam to escape your ears.
#NIGHTLIFE
Asia’s 50 Best Bars is coming to Singapore Sambal – Indonesia A post shared by Larissa Salvador ride (@larisse.salvador) on Sep 26, 2017 at 7:44pm PDT
This may not be a dish eaten on its own unless you’re a masochist or desire stomach ulcers, but it deserves a very worthy mention.
It can be found in almost every corner of Southeast Asia, just waiting to give a fiery condiment-kick to any dish.
This hot sauce contains the reddest chilies, shallots, sugar and sometimes fruits. Depending on where you try the paste, it may also contain shrimp – but it will always leave your lips tingling.
If you’re yet to sample this saucy little number, go for it but go easy, unless you’re happy to buy all the cucumbers and milk in the store to create a cooling off sanctuary for your mouth.
Spicy Buffalo Wings – Singapore A post shared by Sunset Grill & Pub Pte Ltd (@sunsetgrillandpub) on Aug 3, 2017 at 4:18am PDT
“What the heck, buffalo wings?” is probably what you’re saying to yourself. But these little nibbles of sticky deliciousness pack a hefty punch and Singaporeans love them.
One of the most notorious places to try devilishly hot chicken wings is at the Sunset Grill and Pub in Jalan Kayu, Singapore.
Daredevils flock in numbers to this no-frills restaurant to experience some of the world’s hottest buffalo wings.
The spiciness scale here is ranked from one to 35, and according to the reports from those brave enough to sample the hot-chicken-glazes, anything above 10 is likely to scald your mouth and send tears streaming down your face.
“We took up the challenge to try level 35. I was tearing so much, but happy tears”, attested one brave soul.
This list is in no way extensive, and we’re sure there are plenty of other sizzling specialties hiding around across Asia. What has been your most extreme dish?
The post Get hot under the collar: Asia’s spiciest food appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

I scream, you scream: Squid ink ice cream earns points at PyeongChang 2018

Posted by - February 19, 2018

PART OF GOOD, WHOLESOME TRAVEL FUN is sampling the local food – even for those who are at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
South Korean cuisine is largely made up of rice, vegetables and meats, with the ever-present variety of side dishes to accompany a meal. But the country is also home to a number of interesting street food and treats.
#ICE CREAM
Game of cones: Kuala Lumpur’s best ice cream and desserts Thick toasts, bingsu (shaved ice with sweet toppings) and soft serve ice cream are just a couple of the more popular desserts, and they come in all shapes, sizes, servings and interesting flavors.
One such interesting flavor of ice cream is getting attention. It looks like black licorice, sesame or charcoal, but there’s a chance that it tastes a whole lot fishier than that.
#PYEONGCHANG
PyeongChang 2018: Let the Games begin At the Jumunjin Fish Market in Gangneung (about a 25-minute drive from PyeongChang), one specialty “squid shop” is gaining attention for its squid ink ice cream. Korean-American chef Deuki Hong, who is one of the featured guest chefs of PyeongChang 2018, and food enthusiast Monica Lee visited the market to sample the ice cream.
The verdict?
“It’s actually delicious. It’s like, salty and sweet, a little bit,” Hong said, while Lee commented, “It takes more like chocolate than vanilla but I’m not sure how to explain it.”
And if anyone is wondering, yes, there are bits of squid in there.
The shop also sells other squid products squid bread, squid cups and squid powder.
Anywhere else in the world, squid ink is usually used in cooking to make paste, paella (a Valencian rice dish), or risotto. But in South Korea, it has been quite a popular flavor, having been used in burgers, fried mozzarella cheese, pizzas, and more.
Would you try the squid ink ice cream or you squirming at the mere thought of it?
The post I scream, you scream: Squid ink ice cream earns points at PyeongChang 2018 appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.