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Archive for asia

Perpetual Stew in Thailand

By Linda Tancs

A Bangkok bistro is giving new meaning to the term “slow cooking.” To wit: a pot of beef stew has been cooking for nearly half a century at Wattana Panich, a local institution in the Bangkok neighborhood of Ekkamai. The secret to its longevity is the retention of some of the broth for the next day’s brew. And on and on it goes, through three familial generations (so far). The secret to its success is the taste—an aromatic mix of a dozen Chinese herbs, plus garlic, cinnamon, black pepper and cilantro root added to beef that’s allowed to simmer for seven hours. This is one dish for the ages.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Green Caviar in Japan

By Linda Tancs

Miyako Island is the largest of the Miyako Islands chain located in Japan’s far southern Okinawa prefecture. It’s a subtropical haven known for its stunning beaches and coral banks, a go-to destination for swimming, snorkeling and diving. Amidst this natural splendor is another gem, a seaweed delicacy farmed on the island known as umi-budō (sea grapes). Because of its shape and color, it’s often referred to as “green caviar.” Why not give it a try, and visit the beaches (some of the best in Japan), which are best enjoyed between April and November.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Fire-Breathing Bridge

By Linda Tancs

Stretching about 2,000 feet across the Hàn River in central Vietnam, the Dragon Bridge is more than just a speedy thoroughfare from the airport to Da Nang’s city center. In fact, it’s a tourist attraction, embedded with a gold-colored steel dragon above the six-lane roadway that spits smoke and fire. Day or night, it’s quite a sight, illuminated with over 2,000 color-changing LED lights for a spectacular night show.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Fruit Kingdom

By Linda Tancs

Wakayama is a city in Japan’s Kansai region. Since feudal times, local farms have cultivated premium fruit, the notoriety of which has bestowed upon this region its designation as “the fruit kingdom.” One of its most prized crops is sanbokan. Similar to a mandarin orange, it’s easily distinguished by its pronounced basal nipple and unusual taste. Its parentage is unknown, which gives rise to many legends, including one that attributes it to a single tree that grew inside Wakayama Castle. Whatever its origin, fruit connoisseurs are sure to love orchard picking among the many farms in the area.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Japan’s Wisteria Tunnel

By Linda Tancs

Arguably one of the most beautiful parks in Japan, Kawachi Wisteria Garden is awash this time of year in, you guessed it, wisteria. An overwhelming 22 kinds of wisteria flowers will be in bloom, forming a kaleidoscopic tunnel measuring 262 feet. The park is located in Kitakyushu, six hours outside of Tokyo.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Japan’s Naked Festival

By Linda Tancs

Held on the third Saturday in February, Hadaka Matsuri (“naked festival”) isn’t quite as hedonistic as it may sound. Featuring over 10,000 men, the apparel of choice is a loincloth. They bathe in it at a pool at Saidaiji Kannon-in Temple to purify their souls. That might be one of the more serene aspects of this annual religious rite. Later at night, the party really gets going when the men pack themselves into the temple like sardines, vying for one of the twigs thrown into the crowd by a priest. A lucky catch means prosperity for the coming year. The temple is an easy walk from Saidaiji Station on the JR Okayama Station’s Ako line.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A New Year in Vietnam

By Linda Tancs

The Vietnamese lunar New Year, also known as Tet Festival, is the most important festival of the year in Vietnam. Its name, Tet, is an abbreviation for Tet Nguyen Dan, and it commences tomorrow with the Year of the Cow. Although many tourist spots will be closed for the holiday, it’s still a good time to visit to soak in celebrations with parades, fireworks and dancing. The streets are vibrantly decorated, particularly with striking floral displays. February also offers great weather. You’ll find some of the biggest displays and store openings in cities like Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

It’s a Small World in Tokyo

By Linda Tancs

Miniature villages are a dime a dozen, but Tokyo’s Small Worlds takes it to another level. For example, many of the miniatures are operational, like a rocket that lifts off and planes flying at Kansai Airport. There’s even an opportunity for visitors to place model figures of themselves in the area of their choice using 3D printers and scan technology. Billed as the world’s largest miniatures theme park, the 86,000-square-foot facility is uniquely immersive. It’s located in the Ariake district of Tokyo, a short walk from Ariake-Tennis-no-mori Station.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Three Peaks in Seoul

By Linda Tancs

The only national park in the Seoul metropolitan area, Bukhansan National Park in South Korea is also known as Samgaksan (Triangle Mountain) because of its three peaks: Baegunbong, Insubong and Mangyeongbong. With its many ridges, peaks and valleys, it’s a popular spot for hikers although nature lovers in general will appreciate the 1,300 species of plants and animals occupying this niche amidst the bustling city. Best of all, it’s easily accessible, with various metro stations serving the park entrances in under one hour.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Art and Faith in Kyoto

By Linda Tancs

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji is a Buddhist temple in the Arashiyama neighborhood of Kyoto, Japan. Neglected through the ages due to its exposure to natural disasters, it re-emerged thanks to the artistry of the late Kocho Nishimura and a cadre of amateur stone sculptors. Through their efforts, the temple has become best known for a small army of moss-adorned sculptures that now cover the hillsides. Known as ratan (followers of Buddha), the art represents ordinary people captured in stone by their makers, oftentimes memorializing a loved one. Bus or taxi is the best way to arrive at what may be Kyoto’s most intriguing temple.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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