Inside Out With Rahul Yuvi is a fun Blog serving its readers some of the Best Travel Blogs embedded with all the Do’s & Don’t’s of various destinations along with basic tips & tricks for smart travelling . Besides, you will find here some honest & straightforward Reviews of various popular as well upcoming Hotels /Restaurants /Resorts /Local Street Food.
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Continued from Motorcycle Diaries – Chapter 1 !! …. The Hope So what happened next ? Did the ordeal continued or The Hope , as they say it , finally emerged somehow. Lets find out ! It was more than 30 mins that we were standing at that place making the lemonade out of the... Read...
So what happened next ? Did the ordeal continued or The Hope , as they say it , finally emerged somehow. Lets find out !
It was more than 30 mins that we were standing at that place making the lemonade out of the lemons life served us. We sighted the headlight of a 4 wheeler (may be a Safari) coming to our direction from Gangtok side. As there was hair pin loops, it became invisible in few seconds. Again it appeared, this time even closer to us.
“This is our chance guys, we have to stop it” I said, motivating the team.
We stood on road almost blocking the way. It was a Bolero with three ladies on the back seat and a driver.
As a natural reaction, they were terrified having four guys, dressed in black with hooded jackets and bikes. We may have appeared like bike robbers to them.
I approached the driver to calm him down. I explained him the pathetic situation we were in. Asked for his help for a drop to the nearest village where we can get a mechanic who can fix my bike. He denied at once. This was quite understandable under the odd hours and the weather conditions prevailing. But it was our last hope.
I compiled some of the most merciful and emotional dialogues I ever listened in few sentences and approached the ladies on the back seat. Some how I succeeded in persuading them. It was agreed that they will drop on of us to a village around 3km back, towards Gangtok.
Owing to the collection of emotional dialogues and based on my recent performance I was nominated for the task by the team. I with my camera bag sat on the rear most seat and moved towards the village.
The Bolero dropped me to the village, not exactly a village. It was a small inhabited area with few shops, one of which was of a motorcycle mechanic. To my most unpleasant surprise it was in closed condition. But it was on me to evacuate my friends stuck in that mess. I inquired about the options. A lady on a tea stall near by said there is a back door to the mechanic shop.
I jumped a wall to reach that door. I knocked and peeped inside to find a young lad (probably he mechanic) playing Ludo with a school aged boy. They were so involved in their game that they just ignored me standing on their gate.
I raised my voice asking for help repairing the bike to which the mechanic said, “Shop is closed and I don’t have spare sprocket”. Having said that he closed the door.
All the bad words I have ever learned from my good friends came to my mind and I dedicated all to him. I mean how can someone be so reluctant towards his work and especially so insensitive towards humanity.
With my shoulders down I went back to the main road. The lady said this mechanic is good for nothing. I nodded in agreement. She seems to understand my situation. But she could not help. I mean the Teapot and spoon was surely not going to fix my bike.
I was standing on the road thinking what can be done. An over speeding wagon-R, playing and earsplitting music with five school aged boys came to the tea shop to buy cigarette.
“This is your last chance or your friends will be standing in the rains for the entire night” I told myself, this time to motivate myself.
They seemed to be “brotherhood age boys”.
This is the age where brotherhood prevails the most. Boys of their age are on the peak the sine curve of the “Sense of brotherhood”. (Copyrights reserved.)
I set my tone friendly and narrated the incidence. I told them that they are the only saviors around. While few of them didn’t want to spoil their party but my words made impact on two of them (One perhaps was the owner of Wagon-R). Bro Code Prevailed.
In a moment I was in wagon R with two of them. We dropped rest on the tea stall. The boy driving the car was driving ruthlessly. For a moment I though this is going to be another issue of the day. I mean I never wanted my friends to read a news with heading that “Three died, as a Wagon R fell into a steep valley”. Looking me being anxious, the guy driving the car said ” Bhaiya, Don’t worry ye hamara ghar hai, hamein yahaan ke raste yaad hain”. Bro don’t worry this is our home and we know the roads here.
To which the second one added “Please don’t judge him brother, he is half bottle down”.
Back to the spot of incidence Rahul, Pradeep and Sameer being fully wet started to freeze. While Sameer was praying to god, Rahul and Pradeep entrusted science. They started the bikes and placed their hands on the engine. It was so cold that they were able to hold the running engine. That actually helped regain some Fahrenheit. Owing to the rain, taking out mobile phone and contacting me was not an option for them.
For safety they kept the bike headlights and indicators on. This would increase visibility and avoid accidents.
It was getting unbearably tough for them to sustain the conditions. They were wearing their helmets through out this period. For them, the time was passing very slowly.
The thunders were sudden and ferocious. The rain was exceptionally awful.
Rahul started shivering due to frosty cold conditions. He took a chance of opening his bagpack amidst such rain, to take out his Old Monk. He sipped took neat shots to get some warmth.
There was a entangled web of thoughts in their minds. Huddling each other they discussed everything possible.
What if Deepak failed to bring any help? How will he return?
How will we survive the whole night, if we were forced to?
Can we pull one bike with other?
Should we send one person ahead in search of Deepak?
Accepting and denying all possibilities they stood drenched in between nowhere.
I reached the spot with the Wagon-R. Placed the luggage in it. Shifted the faulty bike to the mountainside. Covered it with bushes. Sameer and Pradeep sat into the car. Me and Rahul rode the remaining bike to that Lady’s tea stall.
Reaching a shade was a great relief for all of us. The tea tasted like a honeydew in that storm. That was the best tea of our lives. It saved lives.
I took my mobile phone and called Prithvi, who went in the utility vehicle and had just reached Gangtok with the first bike. Having experienced the weather condition on his way to Gangtok, He was already aware (Not completely though) what we might have been through.
I asked him to send the utility vehicle to our point. It took another 45 mins for the vehicle to reach us. By this time the rain turned into mild drizzle. All four of us boarded the vehicle and went to the point where we left that faulty bike. Loaded it in the vehicle. Reached the tea stall again. Me and Rahul rode the third bike and Sameer & Pradeep boarded the vehicle.
We reached Gangtok at 10.30 pm.
Later that night nobody slept, all were fainted.
Next morning, sipping the morning tea. We discussed all that happened. It was hell of a day. Where nothing gone right.
I asked all of them, What was the learning? All spoke in one voice.”Never come in Sikkim in rains”.
Author & Photo Credits :
Hey all ! How did you find the experience penned above ? Waiting for your feedback in comments section !!
Your’s Truly : Deepak Sharma Aka Lonely Musafir from lonelymusafir.com/
We all are slowly and steadily stepping out of the lock-down. Trying to make our life fall the way it was before. But, is the world the same as we knew it was? Certainly not. Before anything, you must protect yourself while getting back to a normal lifestyle in India. The first step towards... Read...
We all are slowly and steadily stepping out of the lock-down. Trying to make our life fall the way it was before. But, is the world the same as we knew it was?
Before anything, you must protect yourself while getting back to a normal lifestyle in India. The first step towards this is to take all the precautions. And another would be a health insurance.
A popular Video on air these days just briefs the same beautifully :
From a luxury, it has moved towards a necessity. Recently, I too came across the following situation where I was needed to enlighten my younger brother about everything on health insurance. He just started a family of his own and is unconcerned about their safety and future.
It was just another lazy evening during the lockdown when I decided to check on my health insurance. After observing me for an hour, my brother Aakash spoke up and asked: “You look busy. What are you up to right now?”
I simply answered, “I am looking for the best health insurance that fits my needs. What about you? Have you chosen any?”
To this, he replied: “Why do I need Health Insurance when I am already paying for a Life Insurance?”
It didn’t come to me as a shock but, as an elder brother, I decided to at least clear up his myths. Hence, I said, “Aakash, you have just started a family of your own. And it’s nice to hear that you have at least paid attention toward your life insurance. But as a matter of fact, the situation around the world is teaching us to take extra precautions.
Life insurance is a fund that would be delivered to your family if you lose your life. Whereas, health insurance is a security fund that will help you throughout the medication while you face any medical issues.”
Listening to this, he asked: “Don’t you think I am too young for opting for health insurance? Isn’t it like blowing up money?”
In my head, I knew it was a typical Indian mindset to overlook health. I smiled and answered, “Suddenly the world is under lockdown. People are suffering at a rate like never before. And the cost for quality treatment can be unbearable for any family.
In an unfortunate event, if you or any of your family members came across an accident, it will drain your financial savings and more if you don’t have health insurance.
If you do, the insurance will cover it all. And by the way no one is too young for health insurance.”
Fortunately, Aakash was now paying full attention towards the topic. After a minute of thinking, he asked: “Will health insurance be a different thing after this lockdown?”
To this, I replied, “Surely it will. It is crucial to protect yourself while getting back to a normal lifestyle in India. To make this possible insurance companies shall be changing their norms to deal with all this lockdown situation.
The claim policy, the criteria for a claim, and all the cover, everything must be different once the lockdown is taken off.”
Aakash enthusiastically replied: “Yes, I am convinced. I’ll call my agent and take the first health insurance that he suggests to me.”
I was happy to hear that but, I interrupted him. “That’s good to hear, but wait. Don’t be so quick on your feet for this. Before signing up for any insurance, you must check all the details such as benefits covered, coverage, co-pay and room rent, limits, consumables, etc.”
And with this, he nodded his head and, we started looking for health insurance for his family too and after comparing all the options, we zeroed in on health insurance offered by ICICI Lombard.
As said, we are stepping out of our homes during this unlock phase, the possibility of facing un-prepared calamity has increased. And as a family person, protecting our love ones is our priority. This post was to make you aware about the changing faces and importance of health insurance in today’s world. I hope it helps you in a good way, as it did to Aakash and #RestartRight.
Dramatic scenery, powder-covered glaciers, and old village mountain villages sans traffic put a ski holiday in Switzerland at the top of wish lists around the world. Dozens of ski resorts scattered among the sky-high peaks of the Swiss Alps offer something for everyone. You’ll find ski schools for beginners, impressive runs for intermediates, and seemingly... Read...
Dramatic scenery, powder-covered glaciers, and old village mountain villages sans traffic put a ski holiday in Switzerland at the top of wish lists around the world. Dozens of ski resorts scattered among the sky-high peaks of the Swiss Alps offer something for everyone. You’ll find ski schools for beginners, impressive runs for intermediates, and seemingly vertical drops for experts. Even non-skiers can get in on the action with après-ski experiences like fireside Swiss fondues, gourmet dining, cocktail bars with panoramic views, and luxurious spas. Here are five of the best resorts in Switzerland to consider for your next ski vacation.
For the ski trip of a lifetime, head to Zermatt, the Alp’s highest winter sports area with Europe’s most iconic mountain, the Matterhorn visible directly behind the town and along most of the trail system. The ski terrain here rises to altitudes from 2,500 to 3,900 metres, and you’ll find over 2,133 metres of vertical drop. The 360-kilometre trail system connects to three ski resort towns and Italy. Avid skiers around the world have aspirations of skiing over the Theodul Pass down to Italy’s trails.
Open since 2019, the Matterhorn Glacier Ride is the highest 3S cable car in the world and will get you to the Matterhorn Glacier where the slopes are open even in the summer for skiing and snowboarding. The area is blessed with long runs and terrain for any skill level. Beginning skiers and families with children flock to the easy slopes at Wolli’s Park at the top of the Sunnegga funicular. From here, advanced skiers can head up to the Rothorn’s trails and the Gornergrat ski pistes by gondola, chairlift, or cable car. A rack-railroad climbs the slopes to the Riffelhaus 1853, a hotel with an excellent restaurant and terrace with views of the Matterhorn. Cabins and chalets are scattered about for cosy to posh accommodations.
The Davos area is the scene for a string of popular ski resorts in Eastern Switzerland along the valley of the Landwasser River. One of the largest areas for winter sports in Europe, the two alpine towns of Davos and Klosters serve as a base. The multiple ski areas are interconnected, so skiers can choose any combination of over 300 kilometres of pristine runs. Most are for intermediates, but the off-piste terrain attracts advanced skiers.
Parsenn is the major ski area and connects Davos and Klosters. You’ll find challenging terrain and a few of the Alp’s longest runs. The longest is 13 kilometres and runs from Weissfluhgipfel to Küblis. The most expert skiers will be thrilled with a vertical drop of 2,034 metres. “Snow Farming,” the practice of placing a system of moveable fences for the wind to create mammoth drifts makes it possible to ski as early as October in Davos’s Flüela Valley. Snowboarders are drawn to the Pisha and Jakobshorn areas, especially Pisha with its off-piste terrain.
Don’t think for a minute that these are quaint little mountain villages; rather they are posh resorts where you may bump elbows (or ski poles) with celebrities and indulge in après-ski liveliness. Get to the ski runs in Parsenn on the funicular railway from Davos or the Gotschna cable car from Klosters.
St. Moritz is probably the most world-renowned ski resort in Switzerland. No doubt it’s because the town twice hosted the Winter Olympics, once in 1928 and again 20 years later. And much more recently, St. Moritz hosted the Snow Polo World Cup in January of 2020. The White Turf St. Moritz, a wild, snowy horse race, is held every year in February.
St. Moritz is also popular worldwide for posh hotels with spas and indoor pools, and a pricey après ski social life. But there’s another aspect of the resort town other than a place for the wealthiest or expert Olympic hopefuls. Family-friendly mountain lodges and beginner and kid-friendly slopes are a few minutes away in Silvaplana. From here, take the lift or cable car to the Corvatsch ski slopes.
You’ll find other fun things to do in St. Moritz in winter besides skiing. There are ice-skating rinks, bobsledding, and tobogganing. Top off the day with an array of tantalizing fondues at a friendly cafe like Gondolezza.
Experts looking for off-piste or freeride skiing or snowboarding and budding powder-hounds will be thrilled with the Verbier ski resort. It’s part of the western section of the 4 Vallees ski region and ranges from the lower slopes at Le Chable to the 3,330-metre summit of Mont Fort. Verbier is further divided into four areas.
Take the gondola from Le Chable across the valley to the lower Brunson ski area for challenging skiing. Beginners and lower intermediates will enjoy the open pistes on the Verbier village side of the Savoleyres / La Tzoumaz area. Skiers of all levels will be happy at the Verbier sector. It includes 1500 metres of skiable vertical up to Mont Gele. The Mont Fort sector is part of the interlinked 4 Val-lees ski region and features advanced routes and off-piste free ride.
You can get to Verbier ski resort easily via train from the Geneva Airport. Verbier is a vibrant village with numerous ski-in and ski-out accommodations and a lively après-ski and nightlife.
Ski and frolic surrounded by some of the planet’s most incredible mountain scenery at Grindelwald Wengen ski resort. Classic characteristics of the Swiss Alps provide the perfect skiing experience from novice to expert and every skill level in between. And what Zermatt has with the Matterhorn, Grindelwald matches with the encroaching peaks of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains.
The trails at Grindelwald Wengen are diverse and groomed with plenty of freeride powder opportunities. Skiers delight at the off-piste powder in the high alpine region off Lauberhorn & Männlichen. Grindelwald’s lengthy valley trails are perfect for progressive beginners and intermediates, and you’ll find places along the way to stop in for a brew. The gondola system is unsurpassed and a fabulous train ride winds through spectacular vistas. Take an exciting train ride to the nearby Muerren Schilthorn ski resort and across the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Grindelwald’s lodging is as varied as the skiing with options for every budget and taste. You’ll find tasteful, comfortable places in the tourist enclave of Grindelwald Village, and the Interlaken Ost & Kleine Scheidegg train connects to the village. Choose from luxury hotels, apartments, and chalets near the train station and village centre.
Don’t miss out reading this fun filled Travel Tale of an Indian Couple in Switzerland:
Happy Skiing (or hanging out) at one of Switzerland’s fabulous ski resorts. And don’t forget, you can visit the resorts in the summer for hiking, pools, spas, and elegant outdoor lakeside dining.
Author Credit :
Anna was born to travel the world having studied languages all her life. Although she has traveled the world, she now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on Expert World Travel.
Photo Credit : Jack & Matt from unsplash [ dot] com
“Sikkim in rains”, is the most difficult terrain to conquer in entire Himalayas. I am saying it based on my experience. This is a story of one such thrilling night which I will never forget. It was the Holi celebration of 2018 and we planned for Sikkim well in advance. The dates were somewhere at... Read...
“Sikkim in rains”, is the most difficult terrain to conquer in entire Himalayas. I am saying it based on my experience.
This is a story of one such thrilling night which I will never forget. It was the Holi celebration of 2018 and we planned for Sikkim well in advance. The dates were somewhere at the end of September, considering the fact that rainy season gets over by mid September.
On our Royal Enfield Classic 500, we had traveled the entire North of Sikkim including the most difficult terrain to Gurudongmar Lake. One of the most highest situated lakes in the world -> Gurudongmar Lake at 17800 Ft above sea level.
To our utter surprise it was raining cats and dogs in Sikkim. We had to travel in rain for hours long. The sun sets too early and that too suddenly. The trip was going as per our plans before a series of incidences started piling on us.
The First Blow
On our way back from Gurudongmar we were travelling from Mangan to Bardang, Sikkim. It was the most dangerous route due to multiple landslides and with marshy terrain.
We were riding on three bikes. I was leading the trail, Sameer was my pillion. The second bike was ridden by Rahul (My school friend) who was second in the trail with Pradeep as pillion. Prithvi was riding the third bike with Anjani as pillion. We were in the hair-pin loops just before the Rang Rang Bridge.
To a blink from Rahul’s bike I stopped. Rahul said he couldn’t find Prithvi following him. We waited for a few minutes, in case Prithvi has left behind due to some road blockages.
My phone rang, it was Anjani. He said their bike got skid on a sharp turn and they received minor scratches. But the bike’s front wheel got a severe bend and the bike isn’t moving at all. My watch read 2pm. We tried our best to fix the bend with all the tools we had or we could gather. Finally we gave up on the bike and started trying for a utility vehicle which can transfer the bike to Gangtok.
It was very difficult to get a vehicle in such terrains, but after untiring efforts we managed to fix a vehicle for the job. By then it was 5pm in the evening. Prithvi and Anjani rode the utility vehicle along with the damaged bike.
The Second one- Even Severe
Hefty Rain– We started at around 5pm from the point where the incidence occurred. And it started to rain heftily. It got dark in a few minutes. The thunders were so loud, as none of us ever experienced in our lives. The scene was horribly dangerous. The vision shrunk to mere five metres.
Thunder Blasts– We were following the trail taking the mountain side as reference. It was heavy flow of rain water on the way.
Suddenly there was a thunder blast just few metres ahead of us. It was on an electric pole. It was so bright that we couldn’t see the anything for a few seconds. Just a fraction of second after that we heard the most ear piercing blast of our lives.
This was the nature at its deadliest.
It was getting too dangerous due to the fact that we four were left in solitaire with no civilisation around.
The Roller Coaster
As the rain was getting torrential and we had no choice to move with little to no visibility my bike rear chain sprocket started giving symptoms of getting worn out. The chain was slipping on it time and again.
All of a sudden there came a steep ascent and I could not figure it out due to low visibility. I quickly shifted to first gear, and the bike started crawling up. At the midst of this abrupt incline the rear chain slipped again. Me and Sameer (who was on my back seat), rolled backwards along with the bike for about 4-5m. God has really been kind to us as we didn’t receive any injuries. Rahul and Pradeep came for rescue immediately and we any how pushed the bike up the cliff.
PS: All this was happening amidst heavy rains and thunderstorms
The Final Blow
Having recovered from that roller coaster ride we started our journey forward. It was around 7 pm and we were few kilometres to Tashi View Point. The rain water level on road was rising continuously as a lot of water was coming from uphill. It was marshy as well owing to the mud that was coming with the rain water.
My bike again stopped pulling. This time the last few sprocket teeth were gone. The bike became dead still. This was the worst that could happen to anyone having done hell lot of adventure since morning. It was complete dark by then and the only light sources available were our bike headlamps and the fiercest, booming and terribly violent thunderstorms.
What you do if you find your self in midst of such situation? Reply in comment below.
None of us in our deadliest dream have ever imagined this kind of situation. We had left with no other option than to stand quietly, deluged in rain with our feet submerged in marshy trenches made by the cascading rain. Hearing to the ear piercing sound of the screaming clouds along with buzzing of beetles each one of us was praying for a safe escape from this situation.
We parked our bikes close to the wall side and stood huddling each other and laughing on the pity situation we were in. This was the time I said, “This is what you call an Adventure guys”.
Pradeep as always, had a plan. He suggested to take shade of the wall side, “It will save us from rain guys” said Pradeep. But as there was heavy mud near the wall side and there can be a landslide anytime, other three were not in agreement with him. But Pradeep’s Ekla Chalo Re(Walk Alone) attitude drove him to the wall side. Now Pradeep was standing in shade of a small bush protruding from the muddy mountain and we three were still huddling in the rain and bitching about Pradeep.
All of a sudden, a scream from Pradeep broke the silence, It was a blood sucking leach that fell on Pradeep. While Pradeep was shrieking like anything, we three had the best laugh of our lives.
So what happened next ? Did the ordeal continued or The Hope , as they say it , finally emerged somehow.
This and much more in The Tale of a Horrible Night (Motorcycle Diaries – Chapter 2 ) . Stay Tuned !!
Author & Picture Credits :
Hey all ! How did you find the experience penned above ? Waiting for your feedback in comments section !!
Your’s Truly : Deepak Sharma Aka Lonely Musafir from lonelymusafir.com/
Don’t miss out reading another exceptional Travel Tale here :
Like many of you, I was also unaware of the need for booster vaccines. It plays a commendable role in our welfare and yet, many parents remain unaware. I came to know about this through a close family doctor, Dr Abhay during the time of the booster vaccine of my son. As said, I was... Read...
Like many of you, I was also unaware of the need for booster vaccines. It plays a commendable role in our welfare and yet, many parents remain unaware.
I came to know about this through a close family doctor, Dr Abhay during the time of the booster vaccine of my son. As said, I was completely unaware of the term, hence decided to sit with Dr Abhay and know more about it. He was kind enough to spare some time for me and answered all of my questions. Here is what I learnt from him. It’s very valuable for parents.
How are booster vaccines different?
Booster vaccine or booster shots are the additional doses of vaccines, given in the later stage of life. In addition to regular vaccines, they are an assurance that the body will fight the disease effectively.
Regular vaccines are injected into your kid’s body to let the immune system become aware of the disease and create antibodies to fight it. As a result, the body becomes capable of fighting that kind of virus or bacteria without any concern.
But as time passes, the body may stop creating these antibodies that are protecting the kid. In this case, the body becomes vulnerable to the disease caused by such bacteria.
This is where the booster vaccine plays an important role. A booster shot of vaccine is injected at the later stages of life. It makes your kid’s body re-aware of the diseases and starts regenerating the antibodies again thus, as the term suggests it boosts their immunity.
Why shouldn’t you miss the booster vaccine for your child?
Vaccines are the surest way to prevent serious infectious diseases and protect us through our lifetime. Booster shots are further reassurance of it.
Booster vaccines are unique in their own way and are given periodically at later stages of life. For example: DPT booster doses are given to children between the ages of 4-6 and 9-13. These are to boost their immunity against these diseases.
Others such as flu shots are given in the annual flu season to protect the kid from any further suffering.
Although booster vaccinations may not be mandatory/statutory but they are recommended by doctors all over the world.
As it is a topic that will make an impact on your kid’s health, it is always wise to learn about it from a doctor itself. As for the cost, these vaccines are under an economical budget so that everyone can take advantage of it. You can easily talk to your doctor and he will be able to guide you the best.
As the doctor explained to me, these vaccines can turn out to be a big boon in a kid’s life, may be at a later stage.
So, share this blog with your friends who should know about this. However, strictly ask them to take advice of qualified doctors only for a personal booster vaccine schedule.
#DontWaitVaccinate your child now! Get more information on DTP booster vaccines here.
The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of the public awareness initiative supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur India bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information.
Reference : –
It may be all the rage in the restaurant world now, but call it tapas, mezza, or dim sum, small-plate dining has been a culinary staple of many cultures for centuries. People love small plates for lots of reasons. Eating is a social experience. Ordering a bunch of small dishes for a group of people... Read...
It may be all the rage in the restaurant world now, but call it tapas, mezza, or dim sum, small-plate dining has been a culinary staple of many cultures for centuries.
People love small plates for lots of reasons. Eating is a social experience. Ordering a bunch of small dishes for a group of people to share reinforces the camaraderie and connection we feel when we dine together. As we’ve grown increasingly health-conscious, diners are taking nutrition experts’ advice: eating small meals throughout the day keeps us feeling more energetic and our metabolisms revved up. The built-in portion control that comes with small plate dining can also help people achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
For travelers, small plate dining is ideal for many reasons. Often our days are jam-packed. There are art treasures to see, beaches to bask on, mountain trails and outdoor markets to explore, after all. Stopping for a light, unfussy bite to eat helps us pack more into a day than sitting down to what might amount to an hours-long four-course feast. And small plate dining is also its own adventure. It’s a great way to sample a series of local eateries in one fell swoop without stuffing ourselves silly. But truth be told, when faced with a tempting variety of dishes at each venue you visit, over-indulging is still a distinct possibility—at least in my experience.
To get an even bigger kick out of small plate dining around the world, learning to order in the local vernacular is a worthy endeavor. The best language learning software focuses on teaching practical vocabulary first. You’ll often find lessons on how to order food early on in the curricula. And wait staff will be extra-appreciative for your having made the effort.
So let’s take a small plate spin around the world and learn what adventures await you in some of our favorite destinations.
Spain: Tapas and Its Basque Cousin Pintxos
Stories abound about how tapas became a way of life in Spain. My favorite is this simple, utilitarian tale. Centuries ago, barkeepers routinely covered the glasses of wine and sherry they were serving with tiny plates. They did it for a very practical reason: to keep flies at bay. (Tapas is derived from the Spanish verb “tapar,” meaning “to cover.”) Before long, they recognized an opportunity to attract customers and whet their appetite for more drinking by putting some lovely morsel of food on each plate. A few crunchy Marcona almonds. Olives cured in salty brine. The snacks were simple at first and some of these original offerings are still commonly served at tapas bars. But the tapas tradition has expanded to encompass more complex dishes made from seafood, meats, vegetables, pastry, and more.
In the Basque region of Spain, a separate but related tradition has evolved. Pintxos are Basque treats typically served on top of bread and skewered with a toothpick. The word ‘pintxos’ means to pierce. A dozen leftover toothpicks on your plate means you have dined well, indeed.
India: Thali for One or Family-Style
According to Indian culinary custom, a perfect meal is one that encompasses six “flavors”: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, hot, and astringent. The custom is actually based on Ayurvedic principles of health. Thali is a way of achieving this ideal. Thali is often served in a divided plate or on a platter that carries many small bowls. At a banquet, you’d be likely to see a thali platter more than four feet across.
A traditional Thali meal starts and ends with something sweet. Banana chips or banana sharkara, a banana fritter of sorts, often begin the meal. Payasam, a pudding sometimes made with rice or noodles, or galub jamun, bite-size cakes that are sometimes bathed in rosewater or syrup, are enjoyed last in the Thali dining tradition. In between these two sweet bookends, you’ll encounter the other five flavors. A meat-based Thali might include smoked meats, a fish curry, or braised mutton, but vegetarian Thalis are also very popular. Rice, flatbreads, and yogurt are common accompaniments to all of these dishes. There’s also a delightful, highly photogenic variation on the metal-platter Thali: sometimes Thali is served on a banana leaf.
Mezza: A Cross-Continental Tradition
From Morocco to Milos to Montenegro, the small plates known as mezza comprise a sweeping culinary tradition. Humble ingredients like olives, tomatoes, and garlic are the shared bedrock of mezza, but recipes in mezza-loving countries will vary according to dominant regional ingredients and religious restrictions.
In the Balkan states, cured meats and sausages make up the bulk of the mezza menu. Sudzuk, a beef sausage, is common in Muslim homes, where eating pork is prohibited. The dish gets its striking red color from generous amounts of sumac, a lemony spice derived from the berry of the sumac tree. Sumac trees grow wild in the Mediterranean region and the Middle East. Regional cheeses, including halloumi, labneh, and feta, and yogurt dips add a dairy component to many mezza platters. Vegetarian mezza platters often feature smoky roasted eggplant, deep-fried falafel, grape leaves stuffed with rice, herbs, and raisins, and spreads made from chickpeas and sesame seeds.
Dim Sum: Sharing a Chinese Tradition
Dim Sum is thought to have originated in the Canton region of China, but has been adopted throughout the Chinese provinces and the world. Nearly every neighborhood dubbed Chinatown, from London to Melbourne to San Francisco, hosts dim sum dining.
Dim sum is most often served as breakfast or brunch. Servers at a dim sum restaurant meander their way around tables, pushing rolling carts topped with small plates. Dim sum is social eating, grounded in sharing small portions so everybody gets just a bite of each delicacy. Steamed and fried buns and dumplings filled with shrimp and pork are perennial dim sum favorites. Adventurous travelers might want to sample Feng Zhua (chicken feet served in black bean sauce) and zhu hong (pork blood cubes). Buns stuffed with red bean paste, tamarind, peaches or pineapple, coconut balls, and egg tarts are a perfect sweet finish to a dim sum meal. If you want to really indulge, some dim sum establishments serve a separate dessert course that can overwhelm you with its variety—and calories.
Korea: Banchan Cuisine is Rooted in Buddhism
A classic Banchan dining experience consists of small plates served with soup, rice, and kimchi—the ubiquitous fermented vegetable dish served with every meal in Korea. The Banchan tradition dates back to the Three Kingdoms era of Korean history. Buddhism came to Korea in the 4th century CE, and the Buddhist influence on Banchan cuisine is still evidenced by the wealth of vegetarian dishes that appear on Banchan menus.
From seaweed, spicy cucumber, and spinach salads to pan-fried zucchini and garlic-chive pancakes, Banchan dining is tailor made for vegetarians and vegans. But meat and fish enthusiasts won’t be disappointed. The Banchan tradition evolved as centuries passed and moved away from its Buddhist roots. Pancakes made from shellfish are a staple of Banchan dining now. Soy-braised brisket and galbi (short rib) are other fork-tender favorites.
There’s More on the Menu
These are just a few of the small plate dining traditions world travelers can look forward to. Italian antipasti, French charcuterie boards, and Hawaiian pupu platters are a few others that come to mind. Eating small is big. You can do it on a global scale. Moreover, it’s a great way for travelers to gain a broad understanding of any culinary culture.
Susan Doktor is a journalist and business strategist who hails from New York City. She writes, guest-, and ghost-blogs internationally on a wide range of topics including travel, family, and food and wine.
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