All posts filed under: Southeast

Hue Citadel: Echoes of Imperial Vietnam

Beginning in the 15th century in a land known today as Vietnam, Dai Viet – an empire of the Viet people from the north – which had successfully defeated their long-time rival, the Chams, expanded their territory further south. Quite the opposite of the Hindu-influenced […]

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A Waterworld Called Inle

On a sunny Thursday morning, the river town of Nyaung Shwe is already brimming with activity. Its quay, the main gateway for locals and tourists alike to visit Inle Lake, is thronged by dozens of colorful slender boats. Our boat, conspicuously painted pink and fitted with […]

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Penataran: Appeasing the Mountain God

Swirling tongues of fire welcomed erstwhile royal families and priests who ascended the stairs of Palah, a late 12th-century Hindu temple located on the southwestern slopes of Mount Kelud. The volcano was so active and unpredictable that a temple was deemed necessary to appease Acalapati, […]

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A Tale of Three Cities: Jakarta

What is there to love about Jakarta? That was a question I asked myself when I first moved to the city back in 2008. The city’s traffic has been consistently ranked among the worst in the world for many years. In my first few years […]

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A Tale of Three Cities: Singapore

The Little Red Dot is a nickname Singaporeans love to use to describe their country: a small but dynamic dot in Southeast Asia. Despite its size (roughly 40% smaller than Rhode Island or 40% bigger than Andorra), Singapore is today among Asia’s leading financial hubs, […]

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Baluran: Into the Wilderness

Our driver carefully navigates the gravel path, flanked by trees and shrubs, tall and low, that cuts through the dense forest. From the national park’s entrance off the main road that connects the East Javanese cities of Banyuwangi and Situbondo, it is a good 13 […]

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My Son: Beauty in Desolation

Indochina, a region that comprises most of Mainland Southeast Asia, has been both an entrepot and battleground of influences from two ancient superpowers in Asia, India and China as the region’s name suggests. Coined in the early 19th century, the term has been used to […]

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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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Sweet Food from the Heart of Java

Chapter 5, Part 5 Indonesia, a vast country which looks rather small on Mercator maps, is a nation comprising somewhere between 13,000 to 17,000 islands, where hundreds of ethnic groups speak different languages and practice their own customs. When it comes to food, each region […]

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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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