Posts tagged Seaside
The Happy Meal

Exploring | Rasdu Atoll, Maldives

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Paradise (definition):

- a very beautiful, pleasant, or peaceful place that seems to be perfect

- a place that is perfect for a particular activity or for a person who enjoys that activity

- a state of complete happiness

 

"...what about Maldivians who live here? Are they always happy? What do they dream about? What is their idea of paradise on earth?..." 

 

 
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The water is crystal clear. I see my footprints fading in the sand. I look around. The breeze is blowing through the palm trees. The air is warm and humid and there is a delicious smell of fresh, charcoal-grilled fish. I want to try every single Maldivian seafood dish. It´s all just too perfect here. Am I dreaming? 

But what about Maldivians who live here? Are they always happy? What do they dream about? What is their idea of paradise on earth? 

 
 
Faraha and Anha

Faraha and Anha

 
 

Faraha, Anha and Ahusan.

Later on I met Faraha and Anha on a neighbouring island where locals live. The two little girls were going to see their older cousin Ahusam play soccer and they invited me to follow them.

Ahusan was wearing an old Real Madrid T-shirt. He came to greet us and I took the chance to introduce myself.

Ahusan, may I ask you something? If you imagined yourself in a paradise, what would it look like and what would you like to eat there?

- Chicken McNuggets.

Sorry?

 
 

"...Ahusan, may I ask you something? If you imagined yourself in a paradise, what would it look like and what would you like to eat there?

- Chicken McNuggets.

Sorry!?..."

 

- Chicken McNuggets, says Ahusan again.

Are you serious? Is this your idea of Paradise?

- Yes. My idea of Paradise is to eat a box of Chicken McNuggets while watching a game between Real Madrid and another team at the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. That would be my dream.

- Yeeeeees, Chicken Mc Nuggets! - yelled the two cousins.

But why??

- We saw these Chicken McNuggets yesterday on tv!

:-/

 
 
 
 
A perfect greek Wedding

Exploring | Santorini, Greece

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The small village of Imerogivli at Santorini is one of the most breathtaking and romantic places I have ever been to. It ́s no wonder that so many people want to get married there. It ́s also one of the few places I know where I could spend days doing nothing more than just look at its minimalistic architecture, the dark lava and the blue sea. That blue, in all those shades, has me hypnotized.

 
 
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Imerogivli is one of the few places I know where I could spend days doing nothing more than just look at its minimalistic architecture, the dark lava and the blue sea.

 
 
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Mezedes at a traditional mezedopoleío.

Mezedes at a traditional mezedopoleío.

 
 
Simple Greek meze: Bradada on the left side.

Simple Greek meze: Bradada on the left side.

 

With their tomatoes, Santorinians prepare their "Tomato Keftedes", a mint-flavoured fritter that goes well with the ubiquitous tzatziki.

 
 
 
 

Santorini is particularly well known for its "Vinsanto" wine, but it has some other interesting culinary specialties. For example Bradada, a cod dish that, like the wine tradition, was imported to the island by the Venetians.

The volcanic soil and the dry climate of the island combine not only to produce the famous wine, but also outstanding sweet tasting tomatoes and a characteristic kind of yellow split pea called fava (not to be confused with fava beans). With their tomatoes, Santorinians prepare their "Tomato Keftedes", a mint-flavoured fritter that goes well with the ubiquitous tzatziki. "Married faves" is another local dish, a puree of fava with sizzled onions, olive oil and capers. Marry all this again with a fresh grilled octopus, a glass of Vinsanto and the superb sunset view from the terrace of a restaurant and you have the perfect greek wedding.  

 
 
 
Maldivians: Tuna in the Veins

Exploring | Rasdu Atoll, Maldives

 
 
 
 
Ajit

Ajit

 

The apprentice chef

Ajit, a friend of Ahusan, works as an apprentice chef in the Island’s Tourist Resort and looks younger than his age. He is originally from India, is his middle 30´s and –like so many other migrant workers­– not so long on the island, but long enough to visit in his spare time many of the small restaurants of Male –the capital of the Maldives–and get an overview of the authentic local food.

The traditional cuisine of the Maldives -says Ajit- was very simple and consisted mostly of all derivates of coconut and tuna. The Islands are quite close to South India and Sri Lanka coasts –about 350 km north from  here– so maldivians have had over the centuries rice, flour and many other spices. This is why we find here so many curry dishes, but they are milder as the indian ones because maldivians use much more coconut milk. We also find like in India Naan, Papadum, Roti and Chapati. Eastern flavors are also present due to the contact to Arab traders, who stopped here on the way through to Asia and brought with them religion – the Maldives used to be Hindu and Buddhist but they embraced Islam in 1153– so alcohol and pork meat is banned from the local cuisine. Vegetables and tubers are also not very present due to lack of farming land on the islands. Agriculture is simply not profitable, so all greens must be mostly imported. Typical dishes are Mas Huni, shredded smoked fish with grated coconuts and onions, which is the most common Maldivian breakfast, or Garudiya , a clear Tuna fish broth, or Mas Riha, a delicious Curry with Tuna, onions, chili, fennel, garlic, sometimes lime juice and –see the the arabian influence– cumin.

 
 
 

"Vegetables and tubers are also not very present due to lack of farming land on the islands. Agriculture is simply not profitable, so all greens must be mostly imported."

 
 

„Maldivians love Tuna –continues Ajit–. Their favourite is Skipjack  and Yellowfin Tuna"

 
 
A maldivian family

A maldivian family

 

Maldivians love tuna

Do they only eat Tuna? They are surrounded by the sea. What about other fish species? did I ask Ajit. „Maldivians love Tuna –continues Ajit–. Their favourite is Skipjack  and Yellowfin Tuna, either dried or fresh, raw, boiled, grilled or as soup. In ancient times Maldivians did not use to eat fish from the reef for some social reason –as far as I know because other would make fun of them, but that has changed nowadays as they are not that isolated and see how foreigners eat other fish species too.  What they still do not understand is why tourist pay such amounts of money for a Lobster that –in their opinion– does not have any taste at all. I have to say, that I agree, because warm water lobsters that are caught here do not have the same taste as the much more delicate cold water lobsters. If maldivians could choose tuna from the can or Lobster I´m sure they will go for canned tuna.

 

"There is also something quite curious also related to tuna: It´s called Rihaakuru"

 

There is also something quite curious also related to tuna: It´s called Rihaakuru, a tuna-based thick paste which is the result of hours of cooking tuna in water and salt. This extract, present in almost every household in the Maldives, is a seasoning that can be use used as a flavouring for many dishes. It is the so called "Bovril oft the Maldives". Traders exported Rihaakuru to countries as far as China over centuries, but the histamine concentration of Rihaakuru has been described as being at levels that are regarded as a risk to human health. Only Maldivians are mostly inmume. 

 
Easy, spicy, healthy and exotic, Mas Huni, the maldivian breakfast: freshly grated coconut, boiled fresh tuna, green chiles, curry leaves. Served with chapati

Easy, spicy, healthy and exotic, Mas Huni, the maldivian breakfast: freshly grated coconut, boiled fresh tuna, green chiles, curry leaves. Served with chapati