5 Desserts To Try In Thailand
Thailand is famous for many things: her street food, shopping, and sunny islands among others. What many do not realise is the Land of Smiles also has mouth-watering desserts up for offer. Fresh back home from a trip to Thailand, I find myself plagued by insatiable sweet-tooth cravings night after night. I would gladly return to Thailand simply to feast on the wide array of sweet treats available there. If you are lucky enough to be heading there soon, here are five delicious desserts you have to try.
Tub Tim Grob (Red Ruby)
Crunchy bits of water chestnut, coated with gelatinous tapioca flour and dyed red, resembles the namesake of this dessert. Those sweet, vividly coloured ruby balls are served in a drink of cold coconut milk. The result is a velvety broth and delightfully chewy morsels with every slurp. This dessert feels impossibly decadent and refreshing at the same time. It can be found at most restaurants or food courts.
Foi Thong (Golden Egg Yolk String)
Egg yolk and sugar are forced into a thin, stringy form, and rapidly boiled in syrup flavoured with rose water or jasmine flower essence. A mix of chicken and duck eggs may be used. It is recognised for its impossibly bright orange-yellow colour, and is commonly served at weddings or other important occasions for luck. The thin strands of yolk, infused with the fragrance of the rose water, tastes striking yet delicate. This classy, intricate item can be found in most restaurants. If you are visiting street food markets, you may even spot a skilled Foi Thong lady making it fresh. Some grocery or convenient stores may stock it in the chilled section.
Khao Niaow Ma Muang (Mango sticky rice)
Mangoes are aplenty in Thailand, and those travelling to Thailand should be glad, for you are bound to fall in love with this sweet tropical fruit with its silky smooth flesh. Mango sticky rice sees a whole mango fruit, skinned and pitted, cut into bite-sized portions, and served atop chewy glutinous rice. Rice kripsies, peanuts or other crunchy toppings, alongside coconut milk, may be poured over the dessert. The magic that pulls it all together is the impossible sweetness of the normally tart mango—it's impossible to replicate the ripeness and taste of the Thai mango. This dessert can be pretty filling, and is worth saving some stomach space for. Mango sticky rice is the quintessential Thai dessert, and can be found anywhere from street food carts to high-end restaurants.
Anyone who has pounded the streets of Thailand would have passed by a pancake stall. A dozen of them can easily be found along any single tourist street. Crispy, greasy, and highly addictive, this pancake tastes like a cross between a sweet biscuit and a fire-baked uber-thin pizza. The pancake seller usually prepares little lumps of dough, which she will toss and stretch and throw onto a hot grill with sizzling margarine. On its own, it's quite savoury. You can opt for a variety of toppings, from condensed milk to Nutella to tuna. They all taste delicious!
Coconut ice cream
Not easy to find despite being so popular, so if you stumble upon a vendor who sells coconut ice-cream, go ahead and treat yourself to a cone. The Thais love their coconuts, and nothing is quite as refreshing on a sweltering day in the tropics as this dessert. It is creamy, mild, and tastes so light you may associate it more with sorbet than ice cream. Sometimes served on a hollowed out shell of a young coconut, it may come topped with nuts or sweet corn. This simple, homely ice cream puts complicated, new-fangled flavours to shame. The best thing is, it tastes as good as it looks.
5 Outdoor Wonders Just Beyond Berlin
This article was written by Ofer Valencio Akerman, a turnaround expert and lifetime entrepreneur. He is the founder of hivino.travel, a travel site dedicated to helping people discover amazing places in Germany. Not sure where to spend your next weekend adventure? Take a breather from the hustle and bustle of Berlin, and broaden your horizons at one of the national parks just a stone's throw from the city. Discovered by HiVino, these five spots offer all manner of flora, fauna, and fun-filled activities with nary a U-Bahn station in sight. Jasmund National ParkYou know how the saying goes: The best things come in tiny packages, and no place exemplifies that statement quite like Jasmund. This bite-sized National Park may be Germany's smallest, but don't let the size fool you; from soaring chalk cliffs to stunning beech groves, the natural splendor here is beyond breathtaking. Stroll along the hiking trails to search for orchids, eagles, and rare plants, or hop on your bike for a relaxing ride along the Baltic Sea. Traveling with the kids? You're in for a special treat: Jasmund offers an array of family-friendly climbing trees that let little ones channel their inner Tarzans. Nationalpark HarzIf magical forests and fog-drenched vistas dominate your daydreams, Nationalpark Harz is your ticket to paradise. Sprawled across both Niedersachsen and Sachsen-Anhalt, this vast region is filled with the sort of canyons, valleys, and woodland hideaways you see splashed across the silver screen. Spend an afternoon spotting bats and boars on the hiking trails, but make sure to budget enough time for a ride on the Brockenbach. This 19th-century railway takes you on a climb to Brocken Mountain's peak, and it still operates on a nostalgic steam engine. The BasteiMother Nature definitely outdid herself with this one. Uncovered by HiVino's network of travel experts, this Saxon Switzerland rock formation is among the region's most striking landmarks, and its sky-high beauty and untouched surroundings nod to the continent's geological past. History lovers will have a special fondness for the park; the iconic Basteibrucke Bridge leads directly to the 14th-century fortress of Neurathen and its panoramic views of the Elbasandsteine. Hainich National ParkWant to walk on top of the world? Grab your hiking boots, and make a beeline for Thuringia's one and only Hainich National Park. Tucked among the deciduous forests and wildcat habitats, you'll find the Treetop Trail: a tour that lets you climb to the heights of Germany's very own jungle. You can even explore adventure trails that combine playful activities with natural wonders or take your kiddos on a hunt for hidden treasure. Hainich truly has it all. Muritz National Park Welcome to the land of a thousand lakes. Protected by UNESCO, this biosphere reserve all but overflows with waterfront vistas, wetland sights and must-try discovery trails. Get the lay of the land at the observation tower of Kaflingsbergturm, test your exploring skills with a GPS Adventure Tour, or commune with nature on a relaxing stroll around the ponds and bogs. Trust us: When it comes to lakeside wonderlands, Muritz National Park takes the cake. Need a few more ideas? HiVino's insiders' community is the place to be. From cliffs and canyons to riverside retreats, this network of local experts has the inside scoop on Germany's best-kept secrets, and they can't wait to share the finds. Pack those bags, and get ready for an adventure.
NYC Foodies Will LOVE the Duckathlon!
If you're going to be in New York City this weekend, don't miss the Duckathlon. Wait, what? Yes, the Duckathlon is a daylong food festival that will take you on an "experiential journey" from farm to table. Presented by D'Artagnan—which produces some of the tastiest poultry and game meats by working with small farms and making sustainability and humane farming practices a priority—Duckathlon will include demonstrations and challenges led by top chefs and farmers. When you're not tasting great food or watching a chef teach kitchen skills, you can interact with farmers and chefs to learn more about responsible farming and local sourcing. And if you're game, you can participate in some of the two dozen interactive challenges, such as identifying cuts of meat with Chef Shane McBride of NYC's Balthazar, taking a quiz on squab husbandry (yes, squab husbandry is a thing that exists), and test your knowledge of swine anatomy using a pig puzzle. Prizes will include wine, kitchen knives, whole hams courtesy of D'Artagnan, restaurant gift certificates, and Duckathlon medals. The Duckathlon is a benefit for Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian agency that feeds malnourished children and helps communities become self-sufficient. The agency's FoodLove initiative connects food enthusiasts and brands to the fight to end world hunger. When: Saturday June 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Where: Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th St., NYC Tickets: Open to adults 21 and older, $60 (groups of four will receive a 10 percent discount).
An Unforgettable Memorial Day Site
Visitors to Washington D.C. this weekend shouldn't miss the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (5 Henry Bacon Drive, nps.gov/vive). This deceptively simple wall, designed by American sculptor Maya Lin, lists the names of more than 58,000 American men and women who died in the Vietnam War. The enormity of the loss and the presence of visitors searching for a loved one among the names, which are listed chronologically, make this understated memorial unique and unforgettable.
Normandy Honors D-Day's 70th Anniversary
June 6th, 2014, marks the 70th anniversary of one of the most memorable battles in history, D-Day, when Allied forces stormed the beaches of Northern France, effectively changing the tide of war in favor of victory. This is an exciting time to be in France's Normandy region, home to picturesque cities like Honfleur, Bayeux, and Caen, as well as popular scenic sites like Mont St. Michel, a UNESCO world heritage site that shouldn't be missed if you're in the area. The region is celebrating the 70th Anniversary of D-Day by hosting a series of events from June 1-15 including a parade of D-Day amphibious jeeps and British boats on June 5th at Carentan, a Memorial Parade and Concert for Peace on Friday, June 6th, at Sainte Mère Église, Glenn Miller style concerts on the beaches of Arromanches followed by an impressive fireworks display, an air show on June 7th, a Liberty Dance in Bayeux with Big Band Jazz music, and festive family picnics on Omaha Beach. A parachuting display will take place Sunday, June 8th, at Sainte Mère Église, and three 1940s-era military camps will be set up in Carentan, Sainte Mère Église, and Vierville Sur Mere to demonstrate what military life was like in an American military camp, for paratroopers, and post-liberation. Click here for a full list of area events. I'm going to be visiting the area from June 3–8, touring the WWII sites, beaches, and memorials, visiting the festivities, and hearing accounts from Veterans who were there that day. I'm going to be staying just outside the town of Bayeux at theHotel iBis Budget Bayeux, an Accor Hotel we featured on our "World's Best Budget Hotels" Pinterest board. By the time I booked my trip, car rentals in the area were down to only manual shift vehicles (which, unfortunately, I don't know how to drive) and overpriced BMW automatic shift cars that would cost upwards of $500 for just a few days, not to mention the fact that gas is now running $7–$8 a gallon! I was able to find a company in Bayeux called Bayeux Shuttle that runs day-trips to all the big sites and attractions—I'll be taking a full-day tour of the Normandy Beaches and Memorials one day, taking a half-day trip to Mont St. Michel, and testing out the local bus routes (and inevitably, taxis) as I make my way to various events along the coast. I've been reading about affordable bike rentals in Bayeux, so might look into that as well. I'll be posting photos to our Budget Travel Instagram Page, so follow along as I explore this beautiful region, and visit our new "Stunning Scenes From France" Pinterest board to get a better idea of where I'll be heading. On a personal note, my grandfather on my father's side was actually supposed to fight on the Normandy Beaches that day—he was stationed somewhere in Morocco with the U.S. Navy but got pneumonia right before his regiment was shipped out to France and had to stay behind. It's crazy to think I might not even be here today if he had gone—and to think I'll be visiting Normandy for him all these years later. We want to hear from you: have you ever visited the WWII sites of Northern France? Have you explored the Normandy region without a car? Tell us all about it below!