All posts filed under: South

Pokhara: Beyond the Hiking Trails

One morning in the middle of Nepalese winter, I woke up to the sound of children singing and playing from a house a few hundred meters behind our hotel. I opened the door to the balcony, stepped outside and let the cold and crisp air […]

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Food Nationalism

Chapter 5, Part 6 Several years ago, the headlines of Indonesian media suddenly flared up with nationalistic fervor against Malaysia following their claims (both official and not) over some cultural items that Indonesians are so dearly and emotionally attached to. Like sibling rivalry, netizens in […]

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Here Come the Europeans

Chapter 5, Part 4 Long after being considered merely as medicine, in the 15th century the Europeans’ perception toward spices began to shift as they were used more in local cuisines. Spices added an exotic taste to the continent’s traditional dishes, and demand from royal […]

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Influences from Bharat

Chapter 5, Part 3 At a heritage house in Kumarakom on the bank of Vembanad Lake, a part of Kerala’s iconic backwaters, I discovered one of the biggest surprises during the Spice Odyssey. On the day James and I arrived, we were served several dishes […]

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The Chinese Connection

Chapter 5, Part 2 Known as the “Middle Kingdom” in Mandarin, China has always projected its image as the center of the world even long before the modern People’s Republic of China was formed. Prior to the creation of the Communist state as well as […]

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Kolkata and the British Raj

Chapter 4, Part 25 “As soon as I stepped out of the hotel, beggars swarmed around me,” my aunt recalled. “You think the buses in Indonesia are full, you should see the ones in Kolkata!” my cousin added. They were in India’s third largest city […]

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Reviving Colombo’s Cosmopolitan Flair

Chapter 4, Part 24 We are in a small two-story restaurant right at the heart of a constantly busy district where our Australian-run homestay is located. Inside, the Italian owner is busy behind the counter while a local staff member attends the cashier. Others dash from […]

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Rejuvenated in Kandy

Chapter 4, Part 23 On the day we left the southwest Sri Lankan port of Galle for Kandy, I was still recuperating from a persistent cough. It was a result of the fast boat journey we took from the Bandas to Ambon, then the flights from […]

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Thanjavur and the Doctrine of Lapse

Chapter 4, Part 16 Once South and Southeast Asia were lands where Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms and empires, and later Islamic sultanates, conquered one another not only to exert their dominance, but also to control the lucrative spice trade in the region. Then the Europeans […]

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Pondicherry: Vestiges of French India

Chapter 4, Part 15 In 2006 I was in my second year learning French, and like many others who learned the language, I became a Francophile. I spent a considerable amount of time turning the pages of various French magazines and tuning into TV5Monde whenever possible, […]

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Chennai: An Enduring Charm

Chapter 4, Part 14 A string of light emerged on the horizon – scattered yellow speckles suggestive of an incoherent network of offices, houses, temples and roads – forming a boundary against the darkness beyond. The plane made a turn, and more were presented to […]

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