Author: Bianca Termulo

72 Hours in Bangkok: Where to Eat, Where to Go and What to Do

72 Hours in Bangkok: Where to Eat, Where to Go and What to Do

72 Hours of pure experience. A lot of food, a lot of shopping and a lot of wonderful sights. Bangkok Travel Guide.

Game of Thrones: Why I now look forward to Mondays

Game of Thrones: Why I now look forward to Mondays

In case you’ve been living under a rock, learn more about what happened in Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 1-6 right in time for the final episode. Find out what type of GOT Fan you are, and some predictions for the final episode.

Morocco in 8 days and 7 nights

Morocco in 8 days and 7 nights

My fascination with ancient cities goes all the way back to 7th grade. At a young age, I could only imagine this mystical place when I think of some of my favorite movies. Aladdin running through the market place, Indiana Jones discovering some ancient artifacts whilst getting away from hidden booby traps, and Prince Dastan jumping on the brown stone walls surrounding the walled city.

Have you ever visited a place where everything seemed familiar yet new all at the same time? That’s how I felt when I visited Morroco. Morocco is a place that is rich with culture, history, and landscape. It’s a place that is frozen in time. On one side, you have areas that are modern but on the other end of the city, you see old ruins, stone walls, and ancient architecture.It’s a place that is beaming with tradition and culture but also welcoming of the new ways that technology has brought to us.

Morocco is in Nothern Africa right below Spain, it’s characterized by having a rugged mountainous interior,  a desert and a lengthy coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. One way to describe it is it would be a Muslim or Arabic version of Greece.

It’s home to over 33 million Moroccans and 9 UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Moroccan Culture is a mix of Arab, Indigenous Berber, African, and European influence. One of the most striking things you might notice is that most locals only speak French or Arabic. Luckily, in the bigger cities there are already some English speakers.

How to go to Morocco

Morocco is one of the places that Filipino Citizens can visit WITHOUT a Visa, they give you one upon arrival at the airport and they allow you to stay for over 90 days.

Option 1: If you’re coming from Manila book a flight to either Casablanca or Marrakech from Kiwi.com. Remember there are no straight flights, so you will stopover in either Doha, Dubai, or  Istanbul.

The cost will range from 800 USD to 1600 USD or 40,000PHP to 80,000 PHP depending on your travel period.

 

 

Option 2: If you’re already in Europe, take a ferry from Andalucia to different ports around Morocco.

By Petit Taxi: These are the metered taxi available in each of the towns. Each town has a different colored taxi, and each taxi can take up to 3 passengers. Don’t be surprised if the taxi suddenly stops and lets another person enter the car. It’s common in Morocco to have multiple passengers without changing the price.

Rent a Car: There are numerous rent a car services available in the Airport, make sure to document all parts of the car and the interior so you won’t get charged extra. It costs around 70 USD or 3500 PHP per day.

By Train: To travel great distances across the country, one of the most reliable ways to go is the Train. It’s safe, affordable and easy. It starts from the Mohammed V airport and ends all the way at Dakhla. It also passes thru all the major cities (Rabat, Casablanca, Fez, Meknes, Marrakech), that’s why it’s most convenient. Rates start from 8 USD to 75 USD or 400 PHP to 3750 PHP  depending on the distance.

Route Travel Time
Marrakech to Casablanca 3 hours 10 minutes
Marrakech to Fes 7 hours 10 minutes
Marrakech to Rabat 4 hours 15 minutes
Tangier to Marrakech (Overnight train) 10 hours
Tangier to Casablanca 6 hours
Casablanca to Fes 4 hours
Casablanca to Casablanca Airport 32 minutes
Rabat to Fes 2 hours 30 minutes

Check out their website for the list of rates and schedule: http://www.oncf.ma/Pages/Accueil.aspx

By Bus: Another way to get around the country is by riding the bus. Make sure to get tickets from CTM and SupraTour Buses, they are the safest and more reliable with affordable prices. They also have buses with wifi and more leg room for their luxury option.

Book your tickets here: http://www.ctm.ma/

By Walking: For short distances, walk around the city. The brown stone walls never get old, as each new corner promises a new sight.

HOW TO STAY CONNECTED:

We use the Flexiroam X ultra-thin microchip, you just add a thin film strip to your SIM and enjoy data roaming in over 100 countries. Hassle free of not renting out any wifi devices in the airports and making cash deposits. You don’t have to change your SIM or subscribe to any local telco or have an open line phone when you are traveling. Easy, convenient and cheaper way to get data.

Click here to get your kit

Food

Moroccan food is a mix of Arabic, Berber, and Mediterranean cuisine with some European and African influences. Their cuisine is very rich and flavorful. Some of the key ingredients used in their cooking is fig, olives, goat cheese, cous cous, and dates. They have their own traditional way of cooking and using traditional earthware called the “Maraq”. One of the things we love is that like in Korean restaurants, they also serve you side dishes of different kinds of olives before your main course arrives.

Here are some of the dishes we recommend you try:

Traditional Moroccan Dishes:

Tajine -It’s a slow-cooked stew braised at low temperatures, resulting in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. Best eaten with bread or cous cous.

Pastilla – is the most emblematic Moroccan appetizer. It consists of a sweet & savory chicken filling that is wrapped in layers of very thin dough.

Kofta – is seasoned ground beef or lamb.

 

 

Traditional Moroccan Desserts:

Morrocan Sweets

Fried Doughnuts

During your trip, you’ll be served copious amounts of mint tea, they offer this as a sign of hospitality and also, it has good medical benefits for your stomach.

Accommodations

If you’re thinking of checking into a hotel or hostel don’t bother, I suggest you try getting a room at a Riad, these are traditional Moroccan houses with a courtyard that they convert into an affordable hotel. This is one of the best ways to experience what it’s like, for locals, each house is decorated with Moorish themes, decorative tiles, different styles of arches, and various calligraphy. Once you enter their doors, you will be amazed at the beauty of their homes. They usually serve a Moroccan style breakfast that comes with the room. One night stay in the Riad could cost you from 20 USD-40 USD. Remember to book ahead of time!

Currency 

The Moroccan currency is called the Moroccan Dirham. See the exchange rates below:

1 PHP = 0.18 Moroccan Dirham

1 USD = 9.48 Moroccan Dirham

 

Casablanca is probably my least favorite Moroccan city. Popular for the movie “Casablanca”, the city is a port on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a modern city with a few ancient remnants.  It’s considered the financial and business center of Morocco. I would that compared to the other cities, this is the most modern with their own branch of Starbucks and the Morocco Mall.

Where to Eat:

 

  •  Patisserie Bennis Habous, a family-owned Casablancan tradition since 1938
  • Al-Mounia – First Moroccan restaurant in the city, they opened in 1958
  • Sqalla restaurant – Try their traditional Moroccan breakfast
  • Ricks Cafe – If you were a fan of the movie, check out their restaurant try their goat cheese salad with fresh figs.

Where to Go

 

  • La Corniche Beach – Go for a stroll, or take a dip if you’re daring. You can also find numerous dining establishments around this area
  • Hassan II Mosque – The Second largest Mosque in the world, that has the capacity of up to 25,000 people.
  • Sacre Coeur Cathedral – One of the most beautiful African churches, the area surrounding this called Parc de la Ligue Arabe, is an open courtyard with wide open spaces and a number of small cafes.
  • Habous Habous is similar to the medina. It’s an old city surrounded by concrete walls. This area is not so popular with tourist and that’s why it remains authentic, you can find anything here from olive oil, dead birds, sorcery, fake clothes, or temporary henna tattoos.
  • El Hank Lighthouse – Ask some of the locals at the bottom to bring you up, it gives you a 360 view of Casablanca.


What to Do:

 

  • Hammam – An integral part of Moroccan life, the Hammam is a bath house that locals visit weekly. It’s similar to any spa where you have a steam room and varying temperature of water, a steam room, a scrub, and a massage. Rates start at 10 Dirham/1.20 USD/ 60 PHP. I suggest you splurge a bit to have an attendant give you a scrub.

          How to enjoy the Hammam:

  1.  Take some time in the sauna
  2.  Put some savon noir (a black soap made of olive oil) all over your body.
  3. Use the hammam scrub to remove all the dirt and dead skin cells. Your skin will feel so smooth as if being born again. It’s the kind of clean that we don’t usually get at our everyday baths.
  4. Add on: Enjoy your chocolate mask and massage. It’s truly a different experience.
  5. Do yourself a favor and purchase their exfoliating gloves and take it home, to experience this luxury anywhere.


Where to Stay:

For Casablanca, we opted to stay in a hotel. Here are some of the more affordable places we found:

 

One of the most magical places we’ve been to is Fez. Fez is the second largest city in Morocco. One of the biggest attractions here is their Medina that was built in the 9th century then later on expanded in the 13th century to the size it is today which has over 9000 streets. It’s truly a marvel, to explore and will make you begin to question what time period you are at presently. Fez can be divided into several areas, the old city Fez el-bali(The old part of Fez), Fez el-jdid(The newer part of Fez which is still a hundred years old), and Ville Nouvelle(New city) .

Where to Eat:

 

  • Palais de Fez – Enter via a secret stairway in a carpet shop, try their pastilla- a traditional Morrocan dish where a  spicy pie is filled with the meat of young pigeons filling.
  • Riad Arabesque – They have the best lamb tajine.
  • Cafe Clock – This cafe doubles as a cultural center by day, and a host to musicians, and local films by night. Try their famous Camel burger.

What to do per area

 

  • Take a cooking class
  • Visit during the sacred music festival held during June 7-15th with an Andalusian theme. 

1. Fez El-bali

  • Wander through Talaa Kebira thru the Blue Gate– Lines of souks, shops, arts & crafts will feast your eyes while the experience itself is like stepping into a time machine, whisking you right back to old Fez with immense charm.
  • Al-Qarawiyyin – The oldest university in the world.
  • Chouara Tannery – Learn how they make leather, and shop for some local leather goods Disclaimer: This area is a bit smelly because of the leather making process.

2. Fez El- jdid

  • Tombe dei Merenidi – This ruin in Fez was one of my favorite attraction. Go on up the hill, you can see this old ancient ruin and also the 360 degree view of the city.
  • Royal Palace or the Dar el-Makhzen

3. Ville Nouvelle – If you miss the modern world, drop by Vile Nouvelle and have a coffee while sitting in their courtyard lined with palms trees.

4. Mellah – Traditional Jewish Quarter

Where To Stay

 

 

Marrakech is a city suspended in time, on one hand, you have these thousand-year-old carnivals, minarets, and a labyrinth of alley ways that give you a glimpse of its past firmly planted in our present time, in another,   luxury hotels and streets with guides.

Where to Eat

 

  • Jemma El Fna Square – There is a wide food selection in the square. From snails, kebabs, grilled meats, and tajine.
  • Amal Restaurant – Try their Moroccan breakfast and Berber omelet then take cooking lessons to learn more about the local cuisine.
  • La Canteen des gazelles – Order the Tajine des Gazelles.

Where to Go

 

  • Majorelle Garden – A passion project of Jacques Majorelle, it took him 40 years to make this enchanting garden, the late Yves Saint Laurente bought it in 1980 to save it from demolition.
  • Jemma El Fna Square
  • Saadi Tombs
  • Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret
  • Rahba Kedima Square – Go shopping in this area and haggle to get good deals

Where to Stay:

 

Ouarzazate is the gateway to the Saharan desert, this area houses a lot of the cultural and desert tours.

To reach Ouarzazate, it takes around 4 hours from Marrakech, passing thru the Atlas mountains. You can take the bus or a grand taxi but the best way to get around this area so you will be able to make any scenic stops is to rent a car for around 100 USD/ 1000dhm/5300 PHP. This was the only area I’ve seen where you can see part of the desert but then from the distance, you see the Atlas mountains with a snowy top. Every moment here is picturesque, as there are also many abandoned Kasbahs around the area.

Where to Eat: 

 

  • Espace Kasbah Amridil Restaurant – Traditional Moroccan home cooked meal served in the middle of an abandoned Kasbah. 
  • Kasbah Tazentoute Restaurant
  • El Bahja Restaurant – Try their grilled chicken.

What to Do:

 

  • Ait Benhaddou – a UNESCO heritage site, also where they filmed films like The Mummy, Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Prince of Persia, and Kingdom of Heaven.
  • Mandatory Camel Ride
  • Studio Atlas Ouarzazate – Check out their local studio tour that filmed several Hollywood films like Gladiator, Prince of Persia, Jesus of Narazeth, and Cleopatra.
  • Camel trek and desert camping tour ranging from 100 USD to 300 USD. Experience the daily life of the indigenous Berbers, what they eat, where they sleep, and how they travel.

Where to Stay:

 

Morocco is a country rich in UNESCO Heritage sites, if you’re staying for a longer period of time in the country, stop by and enjoy the beauty. I’ve listed all these below:

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES

 

 

SAMPLE ITINERARY for 8 days/7 nights

Day 1 Casablanca

9am Hassan II Tour

2pm La Corniche Beach

4pm El Hank Lighthouse

Day 2 Casablanca

10am Sacre Cour Cathedral

1pm Hadous Hadous

6 pm Hammam

Day 3 Fez
9am Train to Fez

2pm Talaa Kebira

4pm Tannery Tour

6pm Al-Qarawiyyin

Day 4 Fez

10am Cooking Classes

2pm Tombe dei Merenid

4pm Dar el-Makhzen

Day 5 Fez

10 am Take a train to Marrakech

8 pm Hammam

Day 6 Marrakech

10 am Majorelle Garden

2 pm Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret

5 pm Jemma El Fna Square

Day 7 Ouarzazate

6 am Take a car to Ouarzazate

1 pm Ait Ben Haddou

3pm Studio Atlas Ouarzazate

Day 8 Marrakech

10am Saadi Tombs

1pm Rahba Kedima Square

Take the flight back to Manila

Travel Tips:

 

  1. Most Moroccans practice the muslin religion so don’t look for pork on your visit here.
  2. Please bring a scarf if you plan to enter the mosque
  3. Dress warmly, the temperature here ranges from 9-20 degrees Celcius. Also, don’t be too liberal with your attire, leave the short shorts, and spaghetti straps at home.
  4.  Haggle
  5. Don’t be surprised when a random person enters the cab you are in, it’s normal and it won’t reduce your fare.
  6. Remember to hold onto your belongings, there are pickpockets here

 

Leaving Morocco is like waking up from an extended state of dreaming. Each of their cities elicits a different experience, from a slow-paced walk by the beach, having your first hammam, to haggling with locals at the Medina, climbing the huge steps of the kasbahs, trying out exotic food, and to have your first camel ride. You uncover ruins, different landscapes, and detailed architecture that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. You can experience the different sides of the Moroccan lifestyle by observing each one of these cities.  It’s the kind of place that stays with you even after years, and it leaves you wondering when you’ll be back again.

Time is still in Morocco, and somehow the longer you are away the more vivid the memory gets.

As we always say. Go forth and wander and become your own storyteller.

 

Travel Hacks!

  • BEST DEALS IN FLIGHTS: Want a quicker way to scan the cheapest airfares available per airline-destination? local carriers included. Log on to Kiwi.com and get the latest flight on demand with the best price
  • BOOK ACCOMMODATIONS: Get room availabilities and best rates with real user reviews via Tripadvisor.com
  • MOBILE NETWORK and CONNECTIVITY: We tried out Flexiroam just attach the Flexiroam X ultra-thin microchip to your SIM and enjoy data roaming in over 100 countries. Hassle free of not renting out any wifi devices in the airports and making cash deposits. You don’t have to change your SIM or subscribe to any local telco when you are traveling. Easy, convenient and cheaper way to get data.

 









 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Do you want to collaborate? or recommend other places? Comment on the line below or send us an e-mail over at experience@fatgirlsdayout.com

Make sure to check out our other How to Wander Series and follow us on our Instagramand Facebook page for real time updates.

Sinsun Seolnongtang (Malate): Shabu Shabu and BBQ Buffet on Steroids

Sinsun Seolnongtang (Malate): Shabu Shabu and BBQ Buffet on Steroids

A hidden Korean Shabu-Shabu and Samgyusal Restaurant in the center of Manila. Unlimited deals, good quality meat, and excellent sauces.

La Chinesca: The bi-racial love child of Mexico and China

La Chinesca: The bi-racial love child of Mexico and China

“La Chinesca”, as known in Mexican history, gets its origin in the Chinatown neighborhood of Mexicali where that is the highest concentration of Chinese immigrants to date. They outnumber Mexican Nationals 10,000 to 700. The area which they occupy is called  “Chinesca”. In Chinesca, it is common to see the Chinese try to preserve their Art, Food, and Culture thru festivities like calligraphy writing, movie showings, and food festivals. It is also a common sight to see the local restaurants adapt to the local tastes. This is perhaps the only area in Mexico where you can find Shark fin tacos, and a Chinese man wearing cowboy boots while having a burger and green tea.

The fusion of the East and South America is very evident in their food and culture. To bring this concept to light, Chef Bruce Rickett’s travelled to Mexico, the land of tacos, to learn more about the Mexican art of taco making. La Chinesca, is his passion project, to bring a bit of Mexico to home. I believe that this is what he tries to bring in his 19-seater restaurant in the middle of Aguirre St. in BF Homes, Paranaque. It’s very similar to his first restaurant Sensei, his initial venture into Japanese before the Mecha Uma and Ooma fame he has today.

 

It can be hard to find since there are no signages. Once you see Imbiss and Songkran it’s right across beside the organic place. Look for the wrestler sign and you know you’re near.

 

 

The space is quite small and can get loud when full. I recommend sitting by the window or by the bar so you can watch the chef in action. The walls are decorated with posters from different Hollywood films and icons from China, Mexico and some pop culture references that feature the taco.

 

 

Since we came early on a Sunday, there were still seats available.

 

Let’s get to the tacos. Once seated, they give you their menu where you simply tick off what you want. They then serve your their 3 sauces, the Salsa Roja, Chipotle, and Salsa Verde.

CARNE ASADA. Hanging Tender, esquites, Chinesca crema, salsa fresca.

 


CARNE ASADA, 110 PHP

This taco with the hanging tender steak is quite similar to the steak they have at Sensei and Ooma. It then topped with esquites (a Mexican street food salad), creme and salsa. The steak is cooked very well, but I felt it lacked the texture of the usual taco I like. The flavors blended well together, but if you don’t eat it immediately it tends to crumble on your hand.

CARNITAS. Achiote pork confit, bean puree, pickled onions, roasted pineapple, chicharron. HUACHINANGO. Battered snapper, cabbage, salsa fresca, Chinesca crema, salsa macha.

 


CARNITAS, 90 PHP

This taco had flavorful pork confit, bean puree, picked onions, roasted pineapple, and chicharon. This was very balanced in texture and flavor. The pork was well complimented by the sweetness of the pineapple, then tanginess of the pickled onions. The chicharon was a nice touch to add another dimension to the dish.

HUACHINANGO, 100 PHP

For their version of fish tacos, they use a battered snapper. The deep fried fish for me was a bit disappointing. Rather than a crisp batter, it seemed a bit soggier. The different sauces on the top complemented it well but lacking the texture we look for in fish tacos.

 

CAMARONCITO  Shrimp, chorizo de Chino, potato, pickled onions, sesame leaf, Mozzarella.

CAMARONCITO, 90 PHP

We’re not sure how I feel about this taco. The shrimp inside was fresh and delicious with the mozzarella, however, I didn’t like the small shrimp pieces they used to top it with the sesame leaf. It made the taste of the shrimp a little too fishy for my taste.

Insider Tip: We suggest you order one taco at a time, the soft tortilla crumbles after you add the sauce. It get’s a bit damp and the piece breaks. To enjoy the taco more, get it one by one, then eat while it’s hot.

La Chinesca throws away your typical notion of what a street taco is. In this true meeting of Eastern influences and South American taste, Chef Rickett’s combines both worlds in his use of ingredients and food preparation style. La Chinesca produces the bi-racial love child of China and Mexico with their unique tastes, textures, and combinations.

Call me old-fashioned, but we prefer the good old street taco with the grilled meats, chopped onions, and cilantro. But when we get a craving for something more refined we’ll find ourselves back in La Chinesca, and devour their unique tacos, guacamole, paired with a bottle of Corona.

 

 

CX Rating:

La Chinesca

  • 248 Aguirre Ave., BF Homes
  • Operating Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 11am to 2pm; 5pm till we’re out
  • Contact Number: +632 738-0724

La Chinesca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Do you want to collaborate? or recommend other places? Comment on the line below or send us an e-mail over at experience@fatgirlsdayout.com

Make sure to check out our other Where to Eat Series and follow us on our Instagram and Facebook page for real time updates.

FGDY PNG FINAL

Hanoi Corner: From Hanoi with Love? 

Hanoi Corner: From Hanoi with Love? 

Their promise of  “From Hanoi with Love” as their tagline was actually an unrequited love that was never felt when we went there that Saturday afternoon.

Tajimaya: My Yakiniku Done Right

Tajimaya: My Yakiniku Done Right

Unlimited grilled meat on charcoal. Need I say more?

Kushikatsu Daruma: Deep Fried Wizardy

Kushikatsu Daruma: Deep Fried Wizardy

When visiting Japan, what my friends tend to notice is that in their food culture they tend to focus on a specialty, if a family has been making one kind of dish, they perfect it and pass it on to the next generations. This way of life has elevated food in Japan to higher heights.

In Osaka, in the Shinsekai district, one particular restaurant called Kushikatsu Daruma has perfected the Kushikatsu. They’ve been making it since 1929. Their secret is their batter, oil, and dipping sauce that enhances the ingredients used in this deep-fried skewer. It’s genius. Meat on a stick. Deep fried. You can never go wrong.

Luckily, we now have our very own branch of Kushikatsu Daruma, right here, in Uptown Mall. One of the rules, you must observe while here is NO DOUBLE DIPPING.

The industrial ambiance of the restaurant built of wood, steel, and red Japanese lanterns. Aside from their logo that is also inspired by their company president,  the words “NO DOUBLE DIPPING” is plastered all over the walls, and tables. The staff is friendly and ready to help you if you have any questions regarding their menu.

What we ordered was the beginner set, that comes with 9 different sticks for 480 PHP.

It comes with a Classic Kushikatsu, Prawn, Chicken with garlic, Chikuwa, Tsukune(Chicken meatballs), Tonkatsu, Leeks, Potato, and Camembert cheese.

Best to eat this hot. The first thing to do is to dip the Classic Kushikatsu into their sauce. I like leaving the skewer in the sauce for a few seconds before taking a bite. The sauce is a tangy Worcestershire sauce that envelops the batter. The light batter is crispy, once you bite into it the flavor of the meat burst in your mouth. It’s tender and tasty. It’s very surprising that even though it’s fried, it’s not oily at all. These tasty little skewers are actually quite addicting and best eaten with a cup of Gohan.

 

Latest Published Menu

This Osakan delicacy is one of the original top 3 Street Foods you must eat in Osaka. No need to take a 5-hour plane ride to try this delicious Kushikatsu. I recommend trying the Beginner set to ease in, and then order additional sticks that you want to try it. To be honest, the price is a bit steep for a few sticks with 1 or 2 pieces of deep fried meat or vegetables. The sauce is a water-downed version of Worcestershire sauce, but somehow after a few bites become addicting. In spite of that, I do appreciate the history behind the dish and it is very much worth trying.

Kushikatsu Daruma is truly a testament to how the Japanese perfect their dishes and keep their traditions alive thru their food even from the simplest dishes.

For a taste of Osaka right here in Manila, head over to Uptown mall.

3 extra rice rating

 

KushiKatsu Daruma

Uptown Place Mall, 36th Street Corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

(02) 946 7374

Kushikatsu Daruma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Do you want to collaborate? or recommend other places? Comment on the line below or send us an e-mail over at experience@fatgirlsdayout.com

Make sure to check out our other Where to Eat Series and follow us on our Instagram and Facebook page for real time updates.

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World Street Food Congress 2017: Why Philippine Street Food Was Misrepresented

World Street Food Congress 2017: Why Philippine Street Food Was Misrepresented

Our experience and insight to the recently concluded World Street Food Congress