Tag Archives: Vegan

PB Eats… Gauthier Soho

Sorry I have been AWOL for sorry long. Work then Christmas and life in general has kept me occupied, and I have completely ignored the blog.  I did go on holiday in October to Goa – I didn’t blog about that as it was a lovely family holiday (the first one in years!). What I will say is that the resort was fabulous – Taj Exotica in South Goa.  Amazing rooms, sprawling grounds, excellent food and the service was second to none.   Loved loved loved it.  So recommend this place – perfect for R&R.

Since then – no holidays (to be honest I didn’t have any holiday left to take at work after Mallorca and Goa 😂).   But this post is about food – vegan food is on the rise and in 2017 it just went crazy! So many options! So how better to celebrate my milestone birthday than trying a vegan tasting menu at Gauthier Soho?  I had been there before but never to try this menu.

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I started off with my current favourite tipple of choice – a Negroni, which arrived with a couple of interesting amuse bouches, carrot mousse in a pastry case, beetroot hummus on a cracker and these light, super airy turmeric crackers.  Different, pleasant and a good start to the meal.

We decided not to go for the wine tasting, but instead ordered a mighty fine bottle of Prosecco that keep us going throughout the meal.  Onward to the actual menu – 8 courses of vegan goodness – which we read while having the very tasty bread, served with a seriously good grassy olive oil.

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1st course, a plate with a little garnish and smaller ones with tomato, sesame, avocado and shallot.  We had some table side prep (no pic, I was too distracted) where the waiter basically minced a cooked carrot, which was then placed in the plate.  I quite enjoyed this – it was the little touches that added zings and burst of flavour.

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2nd Course – essentially an apple and celeriac ‘soup’ with chestnuts.  It didn’t look like much and it wasn’t a substantial service, but I loved the classic combination, warm, crunchy, creamy.

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Now the 3rd course sounded lovely – truffle, technicolour, rainbow… I didn’t know what to expect, and I was very happy with what I got – beetroot purees, slivers of truffle, semolina balls.  This was one of my favourite dishes – a proper taste explosion and a wonderful combination of flavours.

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Things then started to get a bit wobbly.  4th Course.  Mushrooms, garlic, spelt, maize and a green chlorophyll sauce.  On paper? Everything I like.  What arrived was a little cake of polenta with some spelt grains on top – lush.  The green sauce – packing a punch and also very good.  The raw mushrooms were also good, complemented the dish.  But that brown ‘thing’ on the plate – vile.  We’re not sure what it is, maybe a dehydrated shroom – but it tasted like old boots.  Eugh.

And then it went temporarily downhill with the 5th course.  So bear in mind, an aperitif and a couple of glasses of prosecco down, bread, nibbles and 4 courses – so we were getting a bit full – but not full enough, come on, we had dessert to look forward to!  But this course – kohlrabi, autumn roots, pickled turnip and marmite broth.  I am firmly rooted on the hate marmite side of the fence, but shock horror, that wasn’t what I didn’t like – the broth was actually the best part of the dish, full of umami.  The roasted veggies were OK, nothing fancy, but that puck of kohlrabi – inedible.  it was thick and chunky and dense. The black hole of this dish – nothing redeeming about it, it actually could have been left off the plate!

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With desserts on the horizon, things were on the up again.  6th course and first of the three desserts.  This one was excellent.  Passion fruit and mango and pretty as a picture.  It had all the textures and elements of a good dessert and it was an absolutely delight to eat.

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I really appreciated the effort with the 7th course – vegan meringue! Made with chickpea water or aquafaba.  It was filled with lemongrass ice cream, surrounded with pear, herbs and pine nuts.  Although this was my least favourite out of the desserts, I was pretty impressed with the combination of ingredients.

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I was expecting the last course to be all fireworks and sparkles – and oooh, I definitely got that and more.  I don’t usually like bananas in a dessert as it usually tastes more artificial than natural, but on this plate, everything was balanced perfectly.  The chocolate was chocolately and rich, the banana flavour subtle – and it doubled up as my birthday cake.  Good on all fronts.  Absolutely perfect!

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By this point I was truly stuffed, I think I might have had a mint tea that came with the petit fours, but my memory fails me now.  All I remember was that the chocolate truffles were quite nice.

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Although there were a few blips here and there, I thoroughly enjoyed this tasting menu.  I would so recommend it, and what I quite like is that it is a seasonal menu, so depending on when you go, you’ll get to try different dishes.  And as it was my birthday, as a parting gift, they gave me a little hand written card wishing me a happy birthday and offering 2 glasses of champagne on the house the next time I visit.   I will definitely revisit – and the free glass of bubbly will go down very nicely 🙂

PB Eats… Vegan Beer Festival

Oh my word. Where is the time flying.  Back at work, completely settled down, my time off is but a distant memory….  Food wise, I’ve been making a lot of home cooked lunches – quinoa, cous cous with veggies.. Eating out? Nothing out of the ordinary, just the usual places.

Saying that, I did have a nice meal at Virasat, a north Indian restaurant based in Newbury Park.   It serves a lot of carnivorous food, lots of dishes with dairy – paneer, butter naan, but there was salvation in the form of crispy bhajias, channa masala and puri. The bhajias were nice and crunchy, and the tomato chutney was amazing – it actually should have been a garlic sauce!  The channa masala was super spicy in terms of spices used as opposed to heat (does that make sense?), although the fluffy puris did help.

But my highlight was the London Vegan Beer Festival, held at Hackney Downs on 15th July 2017.   But before that, I went to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford for the Para Atheletics.  The last time I went to the stadium was during the Olympics in 2012 – I loved every event I saw, and we were even lucky enough to get tickets to the closing ceremony.  So being back watching these amazing, inspiring athletes was a humbling and impressive experience.

Now. Vegan Beer Fest. Whoohoo! A place where I can eat whatever I want? Without having to ask questions? My excitement was building up while we were queuing up.  £5 (booked in advance) got you entry, a plastic pint glass and a sheet with all the beers on it that you could tick off while you drank them.

To be honest though, I was mainly there for the food, although we did try 1/2 pint of beer from Moor Beer Company.  I chose a bitter beer – Claudia, which I enjoyed, and M went for the milder So’Hop, which she didn’t enjoy (she’s not a beer drinker, but she tried!)

We tried mushroom arancini from Arancini Brothers, which were moist, juicy and served with this red pepper dip.  Good start.  Young Vegans, the pie experts where also there – and seeing that I had never tried their pies, we chose the Seitan and Ale pie, with mash, fried onions and a teeny salad.  The mash was excellent, the pastry was super delicious and crumbly and the filling – massive pieces of seitan – a very big portion and good value for money.  Next – an option that you can’t go wrong with – Club Mexicana.  I love everything on their menu, usually choosing what to order is the difficult bit.  We went for fish tacos.  Oh my word.  Not surprisingly, the best thing I ate – full of flavour, texture – seaweedy and fishy in a good way – oh so tasty.

But we weren’t done – not yet.  There was dessert.  A peanut butter chocolate brownie from Young Vegans (part of the meal deal with the pie).  Gooey, moist, peanut buttery, chocolatey but a bit too dense – didn’t stop me from eating it – it was delicious!  Peanut Butter Bakery also had a stall – I bought two doughnuts for later – almond dulce de leche and I think a raspberry one.  The flavours were nice, but I found them dry – they needed a cup of tea.

It was an excellent day – athletics, truly excellent vegan food – I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Apparently there was a vegan food market held in the same place in June, I’ll be keeping an eye out for when the next one is on!

PB Eats… Vegan In London 2

No travel blues, no jet leg, I’m enjoying the weather and free time and not really thinking about going back to work in July.  What have I been up to? Spending time with my lovely niece, pottering about, chilling in london and exploring new restaurants.  This week I have mainly been eating a lot of hummus and falafel. But first, a wonderful discovery – a vegan cafe in Pinner, north west London.  Everything is vegan, fresh and simple. I loved the concept – a number of hot dishes – tofu, beans, potatoes, quorn that can be put in a wrap or in bowl – with loads of salads on the side.

We went for an ABC – apple, beetroot and carrot – juice, freshly pressed and tasty. I went for a chilli tofu salad bowl with quinoa, salsa, avocado, cucumber.  The other bowl? Bombay potatoes with hummus, avocado, olives, cucumber and watercress.  These were big bowls for about £6 – such good value for money.  We really enjoyed our food – simple, tasty and flavourful.  They also had a counter of VEGAN cakes and muffins. We bought a slice orange and polenta cake (really really tasty and orangey) and an apple and cinnamon muffin (ok, a bit to sandy in texture for me), but forgot to take photos.

This is a place I will definitely be going back to – a no brainer really.  Next stop? Turkish restaurant Yaprak in Eastcote.  They have an excellent lunch time menu, 2 courses for £6.95. My sister had been here before and was impressed with the food.  The restaurant was a bit quiet – we were ladies who lunch on a weekday – but I’ve been told it gets really busy on weekends.  I ordered a fresh mint tea and chose a starter and main from the lunch menu. Hummus and falafel. My sister went for just a main (a la carte) of vegetable kebab, that came with a big salad.

Complimentary flatbread brushed with this lovely mix, and dips – yoghurt (I think), olives (marinated with coriander seeds – whoa! Excellent) and chilli sauce (sensational!!!!!).  The portions were massive and super tasty. Everything was made in house – and you could tell. Hummus was very earthy and full of flavour. The falafel was airy, nutty and very moreish. I didn’t know what to expect with the vegetable kebab – but we got a mound of vegetables in this delicately spiced sauce. Absolutely lovely.  Only thing I didn’t want to have or try was the psychedelic Turkish delight.  Another place I’d visit again.




A place that I won’t be going back to is Ya Hala, a Lebanese place in Paddington. We went for a an apple juice with mint and ginger – nice, but mainly because I needed hydration as opposed to it being good. It definitely wasn’t fresh. I went for the falafel  and hummus again, and M went for a mixed mezze plate.

Big portions – and the mezze platter looked good but M did not even have 3 bites. Verdict? The meat tasted like it was a few days old and everything was tepid and horrible.  So epic fail then.  The falafel on the other hand weren’t bad flavourwise, just very dense and stodgy – nothing like the light and airy ones at Yaprak. Salad was dull. The hummus was ok though.

So more hit than miss on the restaurant front, but it is always good to explore new places. And talking about new places, there is an ice cream shop in Ruislip that does proper gelato and dairy free sorbets – La Dolce Vita.

I chose raspberry and it was super delicious! No added colouring, nice bit of raspberry flavour, no artificial taste – bellisimo. The pistachio and hazelnut gelatos are apparently very very good! Will definitely go back to try the other sorbets – mango, passion fruit, lemon… whooo!

PB Eats… Mildreds

I’m back in London, will be back at work in July, so am enjoying the last few days of ‘freedom’.  I have to say the glorious weather has definitely helped – they’ve chased my holiday blues and jet leg away for sure.  First meet up was at Mildreds, a place I’ve been meaning to try for a while.   Vegan heaven, super popular and amazing food.  Aaah.  So the food was not as good as hoped, and I’m not sure if it was down to them being so busy or whether it was poor choices on our part.  But poor choices aside, the food should taste good, right?  We kicked off with a cocktail, I went for an Aperol Spritz – perfect drink for a sunny day.  

Instead of going for a main course, we decided to share some small plates/starters, and go with the flow.  I thought we chose a good selection of dishes.  Gyoza with a soy/sweet chilli dipping sauce.  The filling was soy mince I think, not my favourite, but the outside – hard and chewy dumpling wrapper, and not in a good way.  Next? Smashed avocado with lime and chilli and organic corn chips.  Beautiful avocado, but lacking in terms of seasoning and lime – which let everything down.  The purple corn chips were quite yummy though.  

Now I love miso aubergine, or nasu dengaku, and when done right, this dish is luscious.  Meltingly soft aubergine, hot, almost fluffy miso dressing, sweet, sour, salty, umami overload.  Sadly this dish was an epic fail.   Barely lukewarm aubergine, I couln’t taste any miso.  Bland bland bland.  The best small plate was tenderstem broccoli with confit garlic and chilli.  Perfectly cooked, the dressing was so delicious, and the garlic was divine.  Loved this dish.  One decent dish out of four, I wasn’t happy and didn’t want to spend any more time or money on the savoury stuff.  

So bring on desserts. Vegan desserts.  Now We Are Talking.  The BEST vegan dessert I have had.  Chocolate hazelnut brownie, salted caramel sauce and ice cream.  Served warm, it turned out to be one of the best vegan desserts I have had. Seriously chocolate my, seriously caramel, seriously creamy, seriously good. That with a cup of green tea – lovely. 

In hindsight, I think I should have just gone straight in for a main course – but it was such a hot day, the idea of having a pie or a burger or a stir fry/curry or a dish with rice (yep, still not feeling it fully) was not welcoming.  I will give this place another try and check out the main courses – just to make sure the problem might have been with me and not Mildred.

PB Eats… Vegan Hong Kong – Again

So following on from my previous post of HK vegan eats back in April, I was looking forward to exploring and enjoying more restaurants in Hong Kong.  I won’t talk about breakfasts – they were in the hotel, either avocado on oat cakes, or finishing the rest of my bars – primal pantry and my favourite ones.  I also got a stash of fresh fruit – dragon fruit, mangosteen, mango, whatever looked good and tempting. Look at this perfect avocado!!


And since HK was purely on my time and schedule, I used to have a leisurely breakfast in the hotel, go out shopping and sightseeing and then have a late lunch. No dinner because I’d be so full. This worked out perfectly as I could really pig out for lunch 🐷.

There are some restaurants I went back to, and there are some I avoided.   The main reason for this is Captain Hindsight and my gut.  There were some restaurants that my gut just didn’t like, so I stayed away.  I think it is down to the mock meat used in some of the meals, and I found out that some MAY contain dairy!! Argh!  I did explore quite a few restaurants, and there were still quite a few that I just didn’t have the time to check out.  Good thing there’s always a next time!

One thing I will is that the Happy Cow app was so useful and quite precise in terms of their direction, especially in HK. I used it virtually everyday to decide where and what to eat! Thank you Happy Cow!

Veggie Family 

I went here the first time around and really liked the food and concept so decided to go back again. I ordered off the menu last time, but this time was different – I went at lunch time and saw everyone eating what I assumed to be a set lunch – I was right. Using my very limited Cantonese and a lot of sign language, I found out I could get 3 veggie dishes, rice and soup for only HKD48. Result. I went for greens, mixed veggies and curry tofu. I asked for some extra chilli sauce and I was good to go.

This meal was really delicious. No nasties, low salt, but it was still full of flavour, and a very big portion! Sadly for the rest of the time I was in HK they were closed so I couldn’t go back.  But I definitely would have – so recommend this place and very very easy to find – slap bang on Nathan Road.

Po Lin Monastery Vegetarian Restaurant 

So after a full morning and 1/2 an afternoon of exploring the Big Buddha (Tan Tian) and walking along the many paths surrounding the statue, I stopped at the vegetarian restaurant for lunch. I bought a ticket for HKD100 that included lunch and entry to the museum at the top. Pricey for what I got, but I wanted to try it out. You don’t have to go for this lunch, there is also a cafe that sells snack items that looked very popular too. The set menu included soup, three veggie dishes, rice and tea.

The soup was pretty dull and bland, with big chunks of boiled carrot. It tasted like hospital food. Not nice to be honest. The rest of the food was much better. Greens with mushrooms – excellent, and didn’t need any pimping as the shrooms added so much flavour to the dish. Mixed veggies included mock meat (left it alone) and cooked cucumber and celery (so yummy). It was. Very comforting dish, but to be honest I could have done with a chilli kick. Last dish? Crispy bean curd stuffed rolls. Yummy. Crunchy, jam packed with carrot and radish, these provided a different texture to the whole meal.  Overall, a pleasant meal.  I did meet some omnis who I had lunch with and they were pretty depressed and did not like any of the food. One of them outright refused to eat it. A bit extreme methinks!

Lock Cha Teahouse

This was one of my favourite places to eat in HK. Set inside Hong Kong Park, which is one of my favourite spaces in HK anyway, this restaurant specialises in dim sum, with a menu that has daily specials.  They do use dairy and eggs, but they speak English and were quick to point out what I could eat and what I couldn’t.

So I went a couple of times and mostly ordered the same stuff (if it ain’t broke why fix it) and a few specials. It is a beautiful space. What I loved is that each table comes with its own kettle – which meant I could drink hot tea until I popped, which is what I did. On one occasion I ordered the white tea, and the next an oolong – both of which were excellent and I truly enjoyed. Each tea was served differently with the aim of enhancing the drinking pleasure.  It worked.

My fav dishes? Bean curd stuff with veggies – this was really yummy.  I used to love turnip cake but never found a veg one, the normal ones always had bits of pork. This one had bits of carrot, and was melt in the mouth. Super good. The har gau looked very very omni like, but tasted nice, though I wouldn’t order them again as I found the filling very soft. One of my favourite dim sum dish is steamed glutinous rice, and this version was stuffed with mushrooms. Oh my word. Absolutley loved this – texture, taste, mouthfeel – everything. I could have ordered just this and made a meal of it :). Finally, shanghai dumplings stuffed with veggies and served with a vinegar dip. These were nice, but the wrapper was too fat.


Now these dishes were very mushroom heavy, not a problem for me, but if you’re vegan and can’t have/hate mushrooms, this might be the place for you. I loved this place – and would recommend it to everyone. The decor, the teas, the service and the food was all great. It was pretty expensive, I paid approx HKD220 for each meal, but I will caveat it by saying it does depend on how many dishes you order and the tea – which varied between HKD50 – HKD150!

Zero – Langham Place

So after a long day walking around Mong Kok, I decided to nip into Langham Place to see what foodie delights they might have. Lots, but all meat centric, until I walked across this place. Mmmm. Pizza.  And create your own too. Whoo! I ordered this orangey drink, very nice, and decided on my custom pizza. So this place isn’t cheap, HKD98 for a base with sauce, cheese and herbs (obvs sans cheese for me), and then HKD12 for every other topping. I went for a romanesco sauce with asparagus, peppers, pineapple (yes, it belongs on a pizza, esp a cheese free pizza), artichoke and chillies.

I was pleasantly surprised with what I got. The sauce and toppings, good. But the base – oh my word. Crusty, chewy, yielding – very very impressed.  I would go here again – but be prepared to pay!

Vegetarian Japanese – Fife Street

So I don’t know the English name of this restaurant, but I know it was ok Fife Street. For those who can read the lingo – the name is on the menu 😬.  So this place isn’t vegan, but they could veganise everything on request, and I realised that is just by laying off the mayonnaise. We ordered a handful of dishes, some more successful than others.

Mango and alfalfa sprouts hand roll – very nice once I got rid of the mayo and the bits of mock meat. The meaty stuff was like a marinated bean curd, it was a horrible dish. Dry and flavourless, not worth ordering. The veggie gyoza on the other hand were well made and well stuffed, very moreish and delicious! Final dish – sushi stuffed with crispy tofu topped with avocado. This was also very good. My favourite dish of the lot!

Another enjoyable meal, and pretty reasonable – HKD 180 for this meal, if I remember correctly, including endless tea, as is the norm in HK.

Green Common – Harbour City

For months I’ve been reading about the Beyond Meat burger. Dairy free, soy free, meat free obviously… and Green Common in Hong Kong sells it! So even though I’m not the biggest mock meat fan, I wanted to try this as it was made not of soy but pea – so what’s the worst that could happen? The space is small, clean and slick, and there is also a mini store where you can pick up a lot of vegan stuff.

So I went for the burger with extra avocado. You could add on fries and a cold pressed juice and make it a meal deal, which I did. Juice – mmmm. Green juice I love you. Fries – nice and crispy and hot. Burger? Oh. The burger. It looked meaty. It felt meaty (I’m an ex meat eater so I know!). It blooming tasted meaty. It was so weird eating this. The flavour was a bit one dimensional, but the texture and mouthfeel? Spot on. That has definitely been perfected.

Would I order it again? I don’t think so. I’ve tried it, and I’m satisfied with that. And without going into too much detail… You know what happens when you go to the loo after you’ve had too much beetroot or asparagus? I had the same with this burger 😆.  If I had more time I would have gone again – they had some cool salads and those fries were really good! Worth checking out.

Pure Veggie House 

This was one of the food highlights in Hong Kong. Pure Veggie House in Admiralty.  Organic, fresh vegetables and not a mock meat in sight. This menu was very extensive but I decided to go for the dim sum options, as the a la carte options looked too large. I went for a pot of Puerh tea – very very good. I ordered three dishes – the most I think I could eat, and I was right. A schezhwan noodle soup with sesame and peanut – and a good hit of of chilli. OMG. what a sensational bowl of soup. All the flavours, perfectly balanced and every mouthful was pure pleasure. YUM! The mushroom spring rolls were also stunning – crispy, well filled, so tasty – see people, you can cook tasty food without MSG! And those veggie dumplings – or rather, steamed herb dumplings. Amazing and full of flavour. I loved all those dishes.

I so recommend this place to everyone, including omnis, it was so so delicious and it will be the first place on my list when I do come back to HK. LOVED IT!

Mana! Fast Slow Food 

Central on Hong Kong island seems to be the place with a lot more vegan and veggie places, and everyone was raving about this place – online, vegan blogs, instagram, everywhere.  On Wellington Street, a 7 minute walk from Central (exit D2), this place is so tiny I walked past it the first time.  There are few places to sit and eat, there is a ledge with bar stools but I wouldn’t want to perch on there. Saying that, there was a shared table at the back, but with no AC and a big fan, takeaway was the way to go.

A green juice to kick off – spinach, green pepper and a few other things – you can’t go wrong with this, I’ve never met a green juice I don’t like. There are salads to order and wraps I chose the falafel wrap, with humus, pickled vegetables, salad and obviously falafel. The wrap was a bit to thick for me, and the falafel seriously dry!  I also thought they were way too big. Not good. Saying that, the pickled veggies were really tasty and sour and they were generous with the humus and salad.  What was good was the raw chocolate cake – nutty, chocolatey and not very sweet. Delicious!!

I thought Mana! was reasonable, a half wrap was HKD50 and quite filling.  I did go back and have the tofu wrap, which was a lot more successful and juicy.  Definitely a good place for a filling snack on the go – choose wisely!

Sun Garden Cafe, Kadoorie Farms

I spent one day outside the madness of HK in the new territories on Kadoorie Farm. So much to see and do and so much walking – by the time I had seen everything and got back down I was famished! Thankfully there was a vegetarian cafe onsite, with a decent menu and a specials board too.  The country salad looked tempting but unneeded something more substantial and picked the rice and pumpkin. Yummy! Well cooked, hearty, full of vegetably flavour – definitely a good choice.  I also had a iced soy coffee. This was a great meal, and a really brilliant cafe. I really enjoyed this place and the food.

Veggies SF

Veggies SF is a fully vegan restaurant in the heart of central, on the 10th floor of a building packed with other restaurants.  A proper themed restaurant, modelled on 50s Americana. It looks very cluttered but in a good way – it added to the character of the place.

Virtually everyone was having these epic looking burgers – and that is exactly what I wanted. So much choice! I am Fabulous (thank you) was picked. The burger was HKD168, but at lunch time they do a deal that for the same price, a drink and soup are included. Whoo! I chose a typical HK iced lemon tea drink – perfect accompaniment to the burger. The soup was tomato and lemongrass. It was tomatoey in a home made way, but I couldn’t taste anythinf else. Pleasant. The burger was epic. Look at it! I had to deconstruct it to eat it. The patty was very soft but very tasty. And those pickled onions were so delicious – great addition to the burger. It was definitely a fork and knife job. The salad was also good, but I could have done without the wedges – they were too chunky and slightly undercooked. Didn’t finish them.

I liked this burger, I liked the restaurant and it is on the list of ‘I’ll be back’ places in HK. K

Saravananaa Bhavan

I’m saving my North Indian feasts for when I’m back home, but after all the Chinese and western food, I was craving some Indian flavours. Cue Saravanaa Bhavan or SB.  This is a chain of restaurants around the world. I’ve been to the ones in India, Kenya, England and I wanted to check this place out. The menu here was a lot more extensive than back home, but my favourites were also there.  I was very excited and ordered two dishes. The first one – my all time favourite, an idli and medhu vada with sambhar and all the chutneys. Lush. Steaming hot idli, crispy vada, and all the chutneys were sensational.  Loved it. The Mysore masala dosa, my second dish, was also great – gigantic, slathered with a spicy chilli chutney and yummy potatoes.


This meal was lush – this chain prides themselves on food consistency worldwide (like McDonald’s haha), and in this case – thank you very much. Loved this meal – spicy, hot, deliciousness. Thank you SB.

Jade Vegetarian 

This restaurant is in the heart of Mong Kok, On the same road as Langham Place. A tiny vegetarian restaurant, packed with people – takeaway was the order of the day. The staff were so lovely, spoke perfect English and confirmed they don’t use MSG. There were so many options, quite a bit of mock meat too. I wanted something simple and delicious so I just chose the noodles with vegetables, and and and – cheung fun. One of my favourite street food dishes. The noodles tasted home cooked and oh so comforting. Loved them. The cheung fun was doused with hoisin sauce, chilli sauce and sesame seeds and oh my word. You need to try this if you haven’t. And if you have – you know how SUPER TASTY this is. YUM.

I loved this meal – simple, tasty, flavourful. All boxes ticked. Yay!

Fresca 

Final meal in HK – Fresca in Central. Essentially a juice and salad bar. A cute little space, I think I went for a large salad book that comes with a base of leaves and then you can choose 4 salad toppings. I wanted to try the tofu – and there was very little left so I was told I can have another topping. Whoo! I also had beetroot and walnut, creamy vegan coleslaw, chickpea and sweet corn salad and this cucumber and radish salad. Each salad on its own was excellent. And together – even better. Oh my word. Best salads I have EVER had. I cannot tell you how tasty this food was. If I lived in HK I would be here everyday – but I would go for the small salad box – they are very generous with their portions here.

This was my last meal in Hong Kong – I was so full and so happy – a perfect end to a perfect break.

I will mention the meal I had on the plane. The Plaza Premium Lounge at HKIA was well stocked with booze and food, but my only options were spring rolls, a roasted veggie sandwich and crisps. So I didn’t have  much there. On the plane? I need to write to Virgin Atlantic and tell them to stop using aubergine in their vegan meals. And to be more creative with their desserts. Cold or hot, aubergine does not taste good – and I’ve hadit in  every meal, whether I fly to America or Asia. Starter – vegetable terrine, or rather cold eggplant, onion and tomato topped with cherry tomatoes and thee cubes of sweet potato. Pi$$take. Mains were better but over heated to an inch of it’s life. The tomato carrot lasagne was quite yummy. But the broccoli was overbooked and the potato wedges tasted like cardboard. Epic fail. Dessert – fruit. :(. Thankfully that giant salad from Fresca kept me going. Sort it out VA.

And that completes my epic food fest in Hong Kong. So as you can see, I had so many options and I ate A LOT of food, thankfully all of it MSG free and tasty. So if anyone says you can’t eat well as a vegan in HK – LIES! All lies! I ate like a queen!

PB Travels… Georgetown

Hello Georgetown! We left Kota Aur and it was only a short drive to Georgetown. Once again, like in Melaka, I knew I would like this place. Georgetown is a very walkable place – and the taxis were pretty reasonable too. 

Where am I staying?

Red Rock Hotel is a 10 minute cab ride from the heart of the action, or a 20 minute walk. The hotel was equipped with a pool and the rooms were pretty basic. 

Ratings?

  • Grubbiness factor: low, but the room had a ‘threadbare’ quality about it – like everything was falling apart 
  • Bed: 6/10. Bed was comfy, however the air conditioning was exceptionally loud – and it needed to stay on as Georgetown is a hot and humid place. It was like being on a plane.  
  • Shower: 8/10. Nice and powerful. 

What did I eat?

Breakfasts were essentially more fruit and these cereal bars I picked up from the supermarket  whooo! No fried rice!! No pic either.  As it was so hot I couldn’t do lunch – I would have a cereal bar and just drink loads of water.  I also had another cendol for ‘lunch’ which to be honest wasn’t as nice as the first one.

Dinner one night was at Red Garden, essentially a food court specialising in seafood.  Everyone was in ‘food paradise’ as expected apart from me. There wasn’t much for me to eat. I had a seaweed salad (out of a packet methinks) and some spring rolls. I was still so hungry that I ordered a mango sticky rice. It was all ok,  nothing special to be honest. 

But all was not lost! What did I find? By accident? A WESTERN VEGAN RESTAURANT!!! Wholey Wonder. Now you know me – food wise I try and go local but a month of non stop veggies and rice and tofu just left me craving something completely different – or stuff I have back home. So I popped in to check out the menu and ordered a smoothie. Cacao, almond milk, blueberries, chia seeds!!! The manager was this lovely bloke who gave me then heads up on where to buy stuff I was craving – like the aforementioned chia seeds – I was a happy banana. 

So while the gang went to another food court for dinner (I wasn’t going to join them again to eat, well, nothing), I went back to Wholey Wonder. Another smoothie (green this time), a roasted vegetable pizza (with this amazing nut/nutritional yeast Parmesan) and dessert too! This stunning berry cheesecake slice, followed by an almond milk cappuccino. Oh Mama! All this food was so so so full of flavour, so tasty and so so nourishing. I loved this place. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. 

What did I do?

We drove around Georgetown, checking out the buildings and listening to our lovely tour guide about how Georgetown has changed over the years. We also checked out a few temples, the most notable being the temple of the Goddess of Mercy, or Kuan Yin. I loved this place. Very impressive and blingy, but very calming and sedate. There was a prayer tree where you could get ribbons with pre printed messages for virtually anything – love, money, power.. you basically write your name (or the person you’re dedicating the wish to), pray, make a donation and hang it on the wooden ‘wishing tree’. Aaah. The things we do! 

There are a number of jetties by the sea, they were built by the Chinese when they first came here, and most of the jetties at named after prominent Chinese families – whose descendants still live there. I went to the Chew Jetty – and loved it.  Full of character, you could look into people’s houses, chat to the locals, buy souvenirs, food, everything and anything. It was lovely just to walk up and down and watch the world go by – and the view at the end was lovely – with a cool breeze too. Bonus!  There are also Tao temples dotted around, on and at the start of the jerry. These photos are of temple at the start. It was also so cool – you can go there and get your fate predicted (think Tarot sticks), and apparently there is a resident shaman/sorcerer to sort out everyone’s problems – he wasn’t there when we visited. 😦 


I also spent a lot of time walking around, checking out the malls (meh), walking around Little (South) India, and the amazing street art. There were also quirky little shops, selling souvenirs (the only interesting thing that wasn’t same same but different were these notebooks with pics of the street art – I bought a few). Every local I came across – Malay, Chinese or Indian was super friendly and always up for a conversation. I spent half my time chatting there – and I loved it! 

Finally – I went to the local Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) on Jalan Gurdwara. This was a tip from one of the locals I meet along my way. I was expecting a tiny little temple but when I got there, it was lovely and big. I really really loved going there – I had the place all to myself and I spent enough time giving thanks for all the amazing experiences I am going through and wonderful people I am meeting through my travels. Simple, humble Gratitude. Thank you!!! And thank you for Wholey Wonder – I stumbled across it on the way back from the temple. Whoo! 


Georgetown, I have enjoyed you and your people. This is a place I’ll definitely come back to. 

PB Travels… Melaka

Hello Malaysia! The flight from Yangon to KL was short and sweet. There was a lounge in Yangon airport (yay) and I actually got a really decent meal (rice, dal, tofu – looks grim but tasted amazing) on the flight. I’ve always liked Malaysia Airlines – another airline I’ve never been disappointed with. 


So after a short overnight stop in KL, the first proper stop on my Malaysian adventure in Melaka. It was quite easy to get to, a metro ride to the main bus station and then a two hour ride on a local bus. The bus station was massive and air conditioned, very well organised and oh my word. What a change! I was cool! I was relaxed! I wasn’t fanning at a feverish pace (don’t even know where it is!). A Malaysian local bus has seats and leg room and air conditioning – wider, longer and cooler than any other bus I’ve been on.  Very nice change from the boiling tin can in Burma. 

I warmed to Melaka the minute I got there. Quirky, full of character and small enough to walk around. My kind of place. 

Where am I staying? 

Hotel Mimosa, a 10 minute walk from all the action. Perfectly alright for the time I was there. 

Ratings?

  • Grubbiness factor: low. Nice and clean with crisp sheets 
  • Bed: 8/10. Hard bed with pillows of the right height. Yay!
  • Shower: 6/10. I need more power!! 

What did I eat? 

Breakfasts in the hotel – a decent enough spread. I went for the usual – banana on toast SANS PB. I have finished my lovely unadulterated PB, and it is very very hard to find one here that doesn’t have any hydrogenated oils. Why!!! Peanuts are oily enough!! And why add extra sugar and salt and other cr*p?! Aargh! 

Dinner? Street food! And enough options for me! Lime soda was the default drink. I tell you, it is made for the heat :). What did I have? Mushroom galore – barbecued and sprinkled with this spicy mix and Laksa! Vegetarian! Spicy, hot killer broth, tofu pieces, veggies – seriously delicious. Similar to but nothing like a tom yum. Same same but definitely different. I also had another go at durian (topped with coconut milk) and managed to have a mouthful, but I’m sorry. It is not a fruit for me. Gotta love you and leave you durian. 

One of the best snacks I had was cendol. Pronounced chendol, this was a serious pleasure to eat – and ‘Me friendly’ without having to modify it! Shaved ice, brown sugar, pandan worms (what else are they made of?!) and coconut milk. Yummy. Perfect dish for the heat – cooling, icy, textured. This was an excellent eat.


What did I do?

I did the typical tourist things and loved it. The only thing I didn’t do is the river cruise, as I practically walked up and down it. Lots of beautifully maintained houses, cafes, hideaways – very picturesque. 

What was very impressive and a definite don’t miss was the Baba Nyonya museum. Baba Nyonya is the name given to the people who have Malay/Chinese heritage – who created their own culture and food. The museum was and still owned by a prominent local Baba Nyonya family. We paid 16 ringgit and got an hour long fascinating tour – you can’t take pics inside unfortunately but it was still excellent. Loved it.  

We sat on pimped trishaws and got cycled around. We went to the Dutch square, a stunning place with maroon/red buildings in a Dutch colonial style, and a stunning Chinese temple. We also went to the A Fomosa fort, with very scenic views of Melaka. 



Jonker Walk was also very interesting. It starts off with a food market, morphs into a street market that sells everything and anything and then into a street food market. Full of character, chock full with locals and tourists and a brilliant place if you wanted to buy junk or eat amazing food. 


I also had an amazing reflexology massage. My masseuse was so amazing, she pinpointed what was physically bugging me – she was spot on – and also what I should or shouldn’t do. Go here! 

I loved loved loved Melaka. So much to do and so much to see and eat. I can see why it is one of the highlights of Malaysia! 

PB Travels… Yangon 

Final stop in Burma – Yangon. And our mode of transport? Overnight train from Mandalay to Yangon.  I’m pretty comfortable with such sleeper trains and the ones in Burma are similar to those in India. So as long as you have a good support system (snacks galore, good company, strong thighs for hovering in the loo on a swaying train) you’re good to go. Thankfully I was was equipped on all fronts :).  Another reason to be thankful was that the train station was a lift away from the hotel – so we got there (via a supermarket stop) and found our berth for 4 with enough time to spare. 


The train ride itself (I will not mention the heat again – it was hot but that little rotating fan worked very hard), bumpiness aside, was a lot of fun. We spent the night eating, drinking, laughing hysterically – but I was glad to be off it in the morning. We got into Yangon at 8.30am (not 6am as informed), ready for a day of sightseeing. 

Where am I staying?

Hotel Panda, a fairly nondescript Yangon city hotel that is using the WWF logo as their own (is that allowed?). Big rooms, lots of space (for my laundry to be strewn about.. hahaha), good enough for one night before I leave the country.  

Ratings?

  • Grubbiness factor – low but a tired room. 
  • Bed: 7/10. After the bumpy train ride, the bed was very welcome!
  • Shower 7/10. Powerful and hot for long enough to wash me and my clothes. The water was tinged orange and had a rusty smell though. I’m still alive so it can’t have been that bad. 

What did I eat? 

Breakfast in the hotel was alright. Lots and lots and lots of options but not much for me – but what they had was good enough – tofu, vegetables and papaya, all washed down with a green tea. No pic. 

On another day we went to a typical Burmese tea house for breakfast. Lucky Seven is a popular chain, all staffed by young school boys (supported by the restaurant to stay in school). Lovely Chinese tea and a lemon soda to start. There was only one thing I was going to order off the expressive menu – yep. Aloo Puri. Again. Good choice. It was excellent – crispy, light, nice potato curry – perfect breakfast. This was such an excellent experience – I loved it! No other lunches for me – too hot to eat!

Dinners? Well, after our epic lunch in Mandalay to prep ourselves for the train ride, my ‘dinner’ consisted of nuts, local crisps, Oreos (coconut flavour – they were alright, but wouldn’t buy them again!). And local Mandalay rum with warm coke. The rum was cheaper than most of the food we bought! It was very pleasant and went down very very well! We also kept hydrated….as for the names of the water.. lol, very macho! 


Our final dinner in Yangon was at New Doreen where the menu made me chuckle. Lemon soda and a stellar tofu, spinach and pineapple (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it) dish with rice. Most enjoyable, but not as much as reading the menu. 


What did I do?

While on the train? Not much other than eat and laugh and check out people at station stops. There wasn’t much sleeping, and before it got dark we did see a lovely sunset. We did have the local train lads popping in a few times to practice their English and get us cold water. Very entertaining!

In Yangon? We went to a couple of highlights for me in Burma. One was the Shwedagon Pagoda. Slap bang in the middle of city, it is a sprawling temple complex with lots of mini temples and stupas – all blingy, but this time, not a bad thing. I walked around taking in all the temples (there is a handy temple map) and even went to the onsite museum. Primarily because it was air conditioned but once I got there I was genuinely interested. My kind of museum – not too big, full of interesting stories about the Buddha, rooms of relics and mini stupas – very good. I also people watched for a long time. It was interesting to see how people used these temples – sleeping, chatting, praying, chanting, having picnics under the Buddha – very informal and relaxed. I really liked this place. 

The other place that was excellent was the reclining Buddha. Now everyone who goes to Wat Po in Thailand is impressed with the statue there. I thought that this was much better – less people for starters, and the Buddha’s feet were particular impressive. What I also loved were the little Buddha statues surrounding the big one – all holding various mudras. We are all the same!!!! The only thing that I wasn’t sure of was the effeminate face of the Buddha. Other than that – all very amazing. 


We also wentaround the city centre and were taken for an obligatory tourist stop – the Scott/Bogyoke Market. Was it worth it? Hell NO. Don’t go, unless you want to be be bored out of your mind seeing stall upon stall of the same jewellery, jade and wood carvings (made in China, of course). 

However all was not lost. I found a cool little shop outside the market called Yangoods – full of quirky Burmese momentos, but most were made of leather – which I wasn’t going to buy. I did find some beautiful ceramic coasters – job done.  

So that is all of Burma done and dusted for me. Bagan and Inle Lake were amazing – but I would go back when it is cooler. You can layer up and get warmer, but when you’re baking and there is no way of cooling down you’re fried. Pun fully intended. So it won’t be country I will come back to, but really glad I visited it. 

PB Travels… Inle Lake

Ok. Let me be honest with you. My first impressions of Burma were not favourable. First of all, the temperature shot up by about 8 degrees – from a bearable 28/29 degrees c to a stifling 36/37 degrees. Combine that with a bus with air conditioning just for show and NO cool air/breeze, sheesh. I was not happy!

Border crossing from Thailand to Burma was effortless. I came in at Tachiliek and yes. You can use an e-visa here, despite all the conflicting info you read on the internet. I went to the embassy in London which wasn’t a problem for me, but other people in the group I’ve joined had to send theirs off at additional cost and worry. You don’t have to!

We made our way to the airport near the border. Airport? Well think of your standard bus station in rural India – that was the airport. No cooling facility, (naturally) heated metal seats and very very grubby. The service on the flight with Yangon Airways was very good, and so was the food for those who experienced both. Everyone got 2 cakes and coffee/tea – I  couldn’t eat the cakes, so no food for me. 

The plane was filthy as hell though – I promptly feel asleep once in my seat and didn’t wake up until we landed. Maybe that is why the flight was good 🤣. We finally got to our hotel in Nyang Shwe – the gateway to Inle Lake. 

Where am I staying?

Hupin Hotel, a road away from the main street and market, a 10 minute walk from the pier to Inle Lake and that is all I can tell you. 

The hotel itself was not bad at all. I forgot to take a picture of my bedroom. It was bright, spacious and airy.  Ratings?

  • Grubbiness Factor: low, just a bit tired in places. 
  • Bed: 7/10. Nice hard bed but soft pillows for me. 
  • Shower: 9/10. Powerful, rain shower and really nice toiletries. Whoo!

What did I eat? 

Breakfasts were included in the hotel, eggs, pancakes, sausages, fried rice, banana bread. Nothing for me so I had the standard – banana and PB on toast. Didn’t take a pic of that. But what I did take a pic of was the breakfast that awaited me the next day. When the manager found out that I couldn’t eat much, she offered to bring me a home made breakfast. LOOK! 

Bearing in mind I haven’t had Indian food for about three weeks – this was a welcome sight. Roti! Puri! Aloo! Oh man. I had all those puris, one roti and most of the aloo. I was in heaven. I even took the rest of the food for the bus ride later that day. Thank you Hupin Hotel Manager! 

Lunch? One day – a simple one in the airport – a room with green plastic chairs and garish stuffed toys. I ordered a sprite – and I’m not a soda drinker, but I needed something to combat the heat and lack of air conditioning. I ordered mixed vegetables – which were loaded with pepper, not a bad thing in my book. Delicious, although I would have liked to have a bucket of ice at this point. To eat but preferably to sit in. 

We had lunch on the lake one day, and I was told by my guide that the eggplant salad is a speciality of Burma. I decided to dive in and order it. What arrived (along with my lime soda), was a seemingly simple and squishy plate of food. But my word. Aubergine is back on the menu! Loaded with fresh onion, fresh green chillies and a killer sauce, it hit the spot. Oh, and a snack of fried bean curd with a soy chilli dipping sauce also went down very well. 

Dinners? Hupin Restaurant, a 2 minute walk from the hotel – I couldn’t manage walking more in that heat. Thankfully the food was stunningly good.  I had the same stuff – tofu with veggies, fresh chillies and steaming rice. Proper Chinese food and it was excellent. Soft tofu, tangy, hot sauce (no MSG), crunchy veggies = bliss. 

The waiter was so so lovely, he even got me my own veggie soup when he found out I couldn’t eat the complimentary chicken soup. That soup might not look like much but is was so full of flavour. YUM! So recommend this place for the food and also because of the Bollywood movie playing in the TV screens 😬. 

What did I do?

I got hot and stayed hot. Other than roasting and sweating, we got on a long tail boat that took us across Inle Lake. Stunning scenery and we came across these fishermen of the lake, putting on a show for us.  




We made our way to a market that is held every 5 days – and this was a wonderful experience.  As you have now gathered, markets are a highlight for me. This one was still so raw and organic and full of so many interesting things – food, flowers, pots, mild intoxicants. And the people. Super friendly and curious, always up for a sign language conversation. After  walking around I ordered yet another sprite from the local market caff and people watched. Loved loved loved it.  

We then embarked, still on our boats (thank the Lord for brollys and cool breezes), on checking out the local craft action. I’ve seen silk weaving enough times, but what amazed me this time, and I’ve never seen it before, is thread made out of the stem of the lotus plant. Amazing to watch. The stuff produced is a really labour of love, and very expensive. I’m talking $90 USD for a thin long scarf. 


The other thing that I hadn’t seen before was cheroot making. Girls with beautifully manicured nails expertly rolling up cheroots, with a lining of newspaper and a corn husk filter. They also had them in different flavours – star anise, rum and banana – they all smelt pretty horrible.. whatever floats your boat I say. 


Next? A pagoda with 5 mini Buddha statues. Or they were once – you can’t see them anymore as people have plastered them with gold leaf. So although this was a temple and there were lots of locals, there were also lots of tourists – which meant someone decided it was a good idea to charge 500 kyats if you wanted to take photos. I decided not to pay – on principle – not with all the postcards and posters on sale all over the temple. I was also not impressed that women can’t get near the Buddha statues. Don’t appreciate any culture/religion that imposes such restrictions. 😤

Finally, another highlight. Even more so because the weather had cooled down so much and it was raining. Whoooo! The floating gardens of Inle Lake. Sweet potato,  chillies, and 60% of the region’s tomatoes are grown here. No pesticides, grown on the mud dredged from the lake, it was a very impressive sight! 


Inle Lake is very beautiful – it is really like a mini city and there is enough going on so there is something for everyone. The first taste of Burma – so far so good. Onward to Bagan, via public bus. 

PB Travels… Chiang Rai

Next stop – going to spend a few days in Chiang Rai, mainly to check out the White Temple and relax… even more. Chiang Rai will also be the gateway to my next destination – another first, Burma or Myanmar. Yay!

Where am I staying? 

Diamond Park Inn Hotel, literally 5 minute walk to the night market. Excellent location and there was even a nice pool. 

The room was nice and spacious, with the beds on a raised platform. Highly inconvenient as it meant clambering up and down every time you wanted something from the bed or left anything there. 


Ratings? 

  • Grubbiness factor: low. The room was really clean, what I didn’t like was the AC (desperately needed) which had a damp smell. Not nice.  
  • Bed: 6/10. Mainly because of that ledge, the pillows were lovely though. 
  • Shower: 8/10. Nice and powerful. Lots of toiletries – decent ones at that too. 

What did I eat?

The hotel breakfasts were the best so far (I’m in Thailand after all, they’ve being doing this tourist thing for long enough and it shows). Massive buffet spread with loads of food. 

I had some lovely supersweet pineapple and watermelon, followed by some veggies, rice, carrot and beetroot. Yes. For breakfast. And I would do it again. SO delicious. Next day? More or less the same, but I finally found a soya yoghurt in the.. wait for it.. local Tesco.. known here as Tesco Lotus. Delicious! Oh, and a green tea bag I found in my backpack from the plane. 


Lunches were at Cabbages and Condoms, an NGO set up to support family planning in Thailand, with all proceeds going to the cause.

One day I had the papaya salad – EXCELLENT, and another time I had the Tom Yum Hed. MORE EXCELLENT. I love love love Thai food. Nice to have good food again… This stuff was perfectly balanced – sweet, sour, salty, hot – all boxes had a big fat tick. Yumyumyum. Tipple of choice – a lime soda. This soda water is particularly bubbly, making it a really refreshing drink in this heat! And it is hot here (sorry London, muhahaha). 

Dinners? In the night market. There was a stage set up with singers and cabaret performances (read: ladyboys).

The food was, well, again, EXCELLENT. I went for a Thai Green Curry (known as Green Curry in these parts 😆) and oh my word.  Creamy, hot, flavourful – superb. The other night I went for a simple dish of stir fried veggies – even that was excellently done. 

What did I do? 

The White Temple is the must see attraction – just outside of Chiang Rai, on the way from Chiang Mai. Now. I usually don’t read up reviews or research most of the main attractions in a town as I feel it might be hyped up and then I expect too much. 

WELL. I’m going to hype this up. This temple is awesome. After seeing loads of red and gold temples in Laos, here is this white and silver temple. So impressive from the outside, and it seemingly looks like every other temple… until you step closer, and see the robot king.. or the depiction of hell and heaven (see all those hands reaching out for you? Hell). Fascinating. 

Sadly you’re not allowed to take photos in the main temple. But I will say this much – completely expect the unexpected. The walls are covered with the most amazing murals, featuring not only the Buddha, but also Marvel and DC Comic heroes (yes, you read right), to cartoon characters and political figures.  It is such an impressive space! 

There is also a small gallery and a larger exhibition featuring the works of the genius behind this temple. I LOVED both. His artwork is so insightful and expressive, absolutely loved it.  And there is shop at the end. Due to space, ongoing travel and fear of flattening issues, I only bought a few magnets, postcards and a small poster. BELIEVE THE HYPE! Go here!! 

What else did I do? Natural hot springs – one for boiling eggs (98 degrees C) and one for boiling feet (much cooler, thankfully). So dipping my feet into hot water in hot weather was actually a very soothing experience. Really enjoyable – another recommend, but only if you’re passing by. 

Obviously I went for more massages. I didn’t think I could have a bad massage in Thailand – but now I know you can. Avoid this place.  

I went there for a foot massage, which turned out to be one hour of a girl massaging the same spots on either side of my legs. Shockingly bad.  Thankfully redeemed by a SUPER Thai massage here – monmueng lana massage. My masseuse was an effeminate young lad – super tall and super skinny and super strong. I was howling in pain at the time, but I felt super great afterwards! Go massages!

I also checked out the night market – same same but different and I’m waning a bit to be honest. It is all the same – nothing stands out so will patiently wait until I like something. 

So Chiang Rai really surprised me. I was expecting it to be a boring place, but I enjoyed my time there. They even have a cat cafe (shudder), but each one to their own I suppose. 

Bye Bye Chiang Rai!