Category: Food

Momo Man At Berlin’s Street Food Fair Will Make You And Your Stomach Very Happy

holy nepal berlin

Beating in the center of Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood is a weekly street food festival that brings together artisans cooking up the best non-menu items from all around the world. Reflective of Kreuzberg itself, once the shunned, poor, and mainly foreign part of town, street food is being embraced for many of those now exotic qualities.

Thursday nights from 6pm-10pm within the brick walls of Markthalle Neun (9), chefs from all over the world serve up their favorite street food from back home. And every Thursday night you’ll find a bright-smiled face waiting for you in front of the Holy Everest stall set up near one of the main entrances.

Momo Man

G.B. (Rajesh) Lama wants people to learn about Nepalese cuisine in the best way possible: by tasting it. So often G.B. says, the “Nepalese” food you find at any given restaurant is actually Pakistani. Similar but not the same, G.B. serves vegetarian momos, dal bhat, Himalayan soup, and the desert shi momo. Markthalle 9 is the only place in Berlin, Germany you can find these Nepalese foods, which is why I affectionately call G.B. ‘momo man’.

holy everest momo

What’s In A Momo?

A momo is a type of dumpling that comes in a number of varieties but the ones at Holy Everest are vegan, steamed, and filled with peas, cabbage, spinach, carrots, garlic, (the full ingredient list is posted on the stall) and covered in a seductively spicy red tomato sauce. You add a little chutney on top at your discretion.

Clearly G.B. has a system. He effortlessly moves momos from bottom to the top of a three layered steamer, calmly serving a long line of customers in between. They smile, he smiles.

Street Food Fair Doesn’t Stop There

Thursday nights the street food festival is an eating, drinking, and lounging celebration. Among the vendors you can find Japanese takoyaki being prepared by a young couple from Osaka (where this fried squid ball originated), homemade chocolates, and a wide spread of Turkish meze (appetizers) you’re not likely to find at a restaurant outside of Turkey.

A post shared by Anil Polat (@foxnomad) on

Stalls run out of food fast and the lines are long, so it’s best to arrive early for the full selection of eats. Arrive close to closing time and you can avoid the bulk of the crowds, but you’ll be limited in the foods you can find. (The beer however, never runs out.) Other days of the week, there are more special events. The first weekend of each month there is a breakfast festival for example; Saturdays are the artisan market.

From Nepal To Nepal

G.B. spent 16 years as a trekking guide in the Nepalese Himalayas, moving to Berlin in 2013 with his family. He’s brought his unquestionably positive pride in his nation to Markthalle 9, where you can find him some other week days as well. (Markthalle 9 is open from 12pm-6pm daily, with some vendors holding variable hours.)

markthalle neun

All of the momos at Holy Everest are homemade, as are the other menu items. A serving of momos goes well with Himalaya soup – an aromatic vegetarian vegetable broth. (Each are 5 euros.)

himalaya soup berlin

Currently, G.B. is planning on opening a true Nepalese restaurant in another part of the city over the summer so he can reach, and teach more palates in Berlin. But you shouldn’t miss a Thursday night at Markthalle 9 for a taste of the worlds best street foods, most easily reached via the Gorlitzer Bahnhof metro stop, a 7 minute walk away. Be sure to visit Holy Everest, say hello to G.B., have some momos, and you too are sure to have a smile.

How To Get To The Top Of Tirana, Albania’s Mount Dajti By Cable Car

dajti ekspres

Albania’s capital city Tirana doesn’t have the reputation of being the most beautiful, but I ask you to try agreeing with that from the view atop Mount Dajti overlooking the city. Something more objective however is Tirana’s ad-hoc system for pretty much everything, including public transportation.

You can get to the top of Mount Dajti, just outside of Tirana, by taking the Dajti Ekspress, the longest cable car in the Balkans. There are a lot of options for getting there but only a few that make sense. Here are the best ways to get to Mount Dajti.

From Town To Base Station

Before you do anything, it’s important to make sure you have, or withdraw, enough cash for the journey as well as cable car. The credit card machine at the base station hasn’t worked in forever – show up with only a Mastercard and you’ll have to go all the way back into town.

et'hem bey mosque tirana

  • Cash To Bring – A round-trip cable car ticket is around 800 lek ($6.30 dollars) and the bus about 65 lek (.50 cents US). There’s a good cafe and restaurant up at the top that do accept credit cards but I wouldn’t rely on them, so bring extra cash to enjoy some food as well.

Head to the Et’hem Bey Mosque in the center of town. Looking at the Et’hem Mosque (with the clock town on the left) about 50 meters to the left is a bus station. You’ll see people waiting around, possibly a bus, or neither. Look for the Linze bus and confirm with the driver he or she is headed toward Dajti.

  • Dajti Cable Car Hours – From 10am to 7pm (winter); extended hours to 10pm during the summer months. The Dajti Ekspres cable car is open everyday except Tuesdays.

The trip from the bus station to nearby the cable car station is about 25 minutes. Go to the last stop – it also helps to sit near the front so the driver can let you know you’re at the right place.

Drop Off And Ready To Walk

From this point, you’ll have to walk about 10 minutes uphill following signs that aren’t very accurate. As you walk in the direction the bus was pointing when it arrived at the station, ask every few shops to make sure you’ve not gone off track. The shop owners are very helpful, often leaving their stores to give overly detailed instructions for the deceptively winding roads.

mount dajti tirana albania

Unless you’re arriving with a bicycle, get a round-trip ticket up to the top by taking the 3.6 kilometer (2.2 mile) Dajti Ekspres cable car. A lovely 20 minute ride, unless you have serious fear of heights, take in all of the views of Tirana on the way. After arriving don’t miss the countryside on the far side of Mount Dajti.

  • Meal With A View – Although the pizza is pretty good, be sure to get a seat by the window, even if there is a wait at Ballkoni I Dajtit, the sight is spectacular.

Above it, there’s a cafe that rotates 360 degrees, like this:

Other Options To The Top

Taxi is an option but you’ll have to negotiate your way there, expect to pay about $15 USD for a one-way ride. There’s also a shuttle which connects with one of the bus stops but since there’s no set timing information available, consider it the very leisurely (possibly uncertain) way up. Up, by the way, is the direction it’s easiest to go – finding a taxi nearby, especially close to closing hour means bus is likely the only way you’ll be getting back into town.

This Is A Picture Of The Very First Starbucks

very first starbucks

Although I didn’t know it was at the time, this grainy photo of the original Starbucks is one of the worst, but first, from before foXnoMad was even a concept. For some reason taking a picture of every Starbucks I came across (and/or Bill Gates) became a personal photographic scavenger hunt.

Across from the Pike Place Market, I noticed an odd Starbucks, with the wrong logo and colors. Shutter, click, snap. It wasn’t until seeing another picture of it years later did I realize this was the first Starbucks. In terms of multinational coffeehouse sightseeing, I had taken a picture of the Great Pyramids without knowing it.

The first Starbucks opened on March 31, 1971, but didn’t sell coffee to drink, but the beans themselves. Obviously things worked out from there since old or new, there always seems to be a line out the door.

The Best Restaurant In Pristina, Kosovo, Might Be The Best Health Food In The Balkans

home restaurant pristina

The concrete construction of Pristina, the capital of the small rebellious republic of Kosovo, isn’t the prettiest. Old cement apartment blocks with weathered paint are evidence of a stalled economy, the similar story shared by many disputed and autonomous territories around the world. A short walk up though from the dull apartments looking over Mother Teresa Square though you see something new, a restaurant bringing Kosovan food back to its main ingredients.

Balkan Clean Cuisine

Aptly named Home Restaurant inconspicuously sits behind a small garden of lazy ivy while boldly serving some of the best fresh foods dishes in the region. Spend enough time in the Balkan capitals like Sofia, Bulgaria or Belgrade, Serbia, and you’ll come to find there is a lively petri dish of healthy eateries cultivating an ever growing number of unique vegan, vegetarian, gluten, sugar, whatever-weird-allergy-you-think-you-have free restaurants.

home restaurant pristina menu

Home Restaurant, a lot like these other places however doesn’t alienate its cuisine, but rather incorporates locals dishes into its vision of the original.

Going Back To Roots

Many restaurants focused on health trends tend to think up original dishes with completely foreign ingredients, trying to create an entirely new cuisine to cater to vegetarians, vegans, or the lactose intolerant. At Home, traditional Balkan dishes are brought back to their origins of varied fresh vegetables, fish, meat, and hearty soups with plenty of legumes. A lot of Kosovan cuisine, like Turkish for example, is unintentionally vegan.

home restaurant salad pristina

Home serves freshly cooked food daily and the menu variable enough that it too can change day to day. Aside from offering traditional meat dishes there are also modern touches like the sesame tuna steak or falafel for vegetarians. All of the meat and eggs are from farms – not the factory kind – sadly, a feature one has to look for in modern cuisine. The vegetables too are grown locally, something you distinctly notice in the taste of everything you eat at Home.

As It Should Be

Home highlights Kosovan foods without constraining itself. The sauces are simple, vegetables in season, and care is taken to add to the ambiance by staff who – as cheesy as it sounds – make you feel at home. In case you’re wondering, the prices are also moderate by Pristina standards, cheap compared to much of Europe, even its eastern fringes.

home restaurant pristina kosovo

At this point, I’m rambling on about how great Home is because I would go to Pristina just to eat there. There’s probably a deeper story about how it came to be in Pristina (since it’s a bit odd Home is there in the first place) but I never got around to finding out because I was too busy eating during each visit.

home restaurant pristina fish

The excellent food is served by friendly staff at reasonable prices plus they offer free wifi (they also accept credit cards). You should not miss Home Restaurant if you’re in Pristina, and to be completely honest, it might be worth visiting just to eat there if you’re traveling in Skopje or other nearby cities.

What It’s Like To Live In Turkey As Foreigners, 13 Years After A Dream Come True

This is a guest post Barry and Julia, who sold up in the UK to travel around Turkey for 6 months. They’re still in Turkey, living in Fethiye on the southwest coast. Their blog, Turkey’s For Life is a slow travel and food blog about Fethiye and other parts of Turkey. All of the images in this post are courtesy Turkey’s For Life.

fethiye boats

In the UK, many people dream of moving off to pastures new; moving overseas to those dreamy Mediterranean coastal towns or rural villages where life is going to be relaxed, natural, sunny, perfect.

When we still lived in the UK, almost 13 years ago now, we, along with millions of others would be glued to TV programs like ‘A Place In The Sun,’ where we were fed the dream; watching British couples looking to make the great escape being taken around overseas properties by a glamorous presenter.

Luxury villas with swimming pools, traditional Spanish farmhouses, rural French gites. “Ahhh, we could live there. Just imagine how perfect it would be,” the millions of viewers would say as the couples walked from room to room saying, “Oh, this is a good size. This is bright and airy. 15 acres of land with the property, you say?”

Kabak road ölüDeniz Turkey

13 years ago, after a few holidays there, we had completely fallen for a coastal town in Turkey and when the opportunity came about that we were in a position to jump ship, we took the plunge and bought our own ‘place in the sun.’ (It’s not a luxury villa with a swimming pool in acres of land, by the way!) We actually took the plunge to travel Turkey for a few months, not to live here…but we never left.

After 13 years of life in Turkey, we’ve done a lot, seen a lot and learned a lot…and there’s much further to go.

When Anıl asked us if we’d like to write a guest post for his blog, it was a case of hmm, what to write about. Well how about a few random musings about life in Turkey, in another culture, in a town that mixes local life with backpacker stop off, with package holiday tourism. Musings about how we assumed life would be – and how life actually is.

We’re Going To Be Fluent In Turkish

That was definitely going to happen to us when we moved to Turkey…Oh yeah, we were going to blend in with the locals, speaking fluently in our new language. Well, we’d already picked up a few words and phrases from past visits. Surely, we’d hit ‘fluency,’ at some point. Hmm, well, 13 years in and lots of study later, we can just about get the gist of a newspaper or magazine article. We can bumble our way through a conversation if we know the subject matter.

But put us in a room with lots of random Turkish conversations going on and watch that glaze fall over our eyes. We’ve got some friends who can fall into Turkish conversation with ease (why oh why can’t we do that), we’ve got some friends who can just about manage a ‘hello, how are you’ and we’ve got lots like us, too. Not all of us are blessed with the language-learning knack, it seems – much as this irritates the life out of us, personally.

Survival tip we give ourselves from this – We go easy on ourselves. Our town is a bit of an anomaly in that a lot of the Turkish residents are fluent in English – and they love to speak English. We actually use our Turkish more when we’re out of town than when we’re at home.

I’m Going To Immerse Myself In All Things Turkish Cuisine

For us, moving to Turkey meant immersion into all things Turkey and Turkish and, especially with the cuisine, that’s what we did. We were almost militant about it, in fact, to the point that we never went to any other type of restaurants or made any other foods at home for perhaps a couple of years! We ate, we read, we asked Turkish friends about Turkish food, we watched them cook and we taught ourselves lots of Turkish recipes.

Full English breakfast? Fish and chips? Restaurants specializing in foods from other countries? They were all off the menu.

bulgur wheat rice

We’re passionate about food and, to be honest, we’re glad we did this. And it wasn’t difficult either – well, Turkish cuisine is ranked among the top 3 cuisines in the world. Why wouldn’t we want to explore and experiment.

Today, our daily diet is predominantly Turkish cuisine but again, over time, we’ve learned to give ourselves a break. As well as oodles of great Turkish eateries – traditional and modern – there are a good few international restaurants in our town so if we fancy an Indian meal, Chinese, Italian or yes, even a plate of good old fish and chips; well, that’s okay occasionally, too.

Our Friends Will Be Turkish. I’m Not Going To Be Part Of The Expat Community

There’s that immersion thing again. No, we didn’t come to live in Turkey to sit in those stereotypical British bars, watching British TV programs via satellite, complaining about the latest increase in local beer prices. We’d made a few Turkish friends from previous visits to the country and they were all we needed, thank you very much.

But a lot has changed in 13 years. When we first came to Turkey there were relatively few expats in our town. That number has fluctuated over the years for lots of reasons but the reality is, our town is good in that it manages to blend so many people in a relatively small space.

A lot of Turkish people work in tourism so they’re comfortable with having so many people around of different nationalities. Is there an ‘expat community?’ Not even sure, to be honest. If ‘expat community’ translates to an ‘us and them’ scenario then that is not the case. Yeah, there are some pockets where the clientele in bars and restaurants is predominantly British – but generally, especially around the town center, it is a whole mix of everyone and that’s where we spend a lot of our time. Inevitably – and thankfully – you meet lots of other people, too. Some live here, some have a place here and are in town often.

paspatur fethiye turkey

We’ve got lots of close Turkish friends but we’ve also got British, Australian, American, Hungarian, Russian, Dutch, German and Danish people in our lives, too – and lucky us that that’s the way it is.

Ahh, But You Don’t Live In The Real Turkey

If we had a lira for every time someone said that to us! We can assure you that wherever you may live or travel to in Turkey, it is very real.

There are coastal tourist areas where beaches, beachwear, bars, nightclubs, restaurants and foreign holidaymakers prevail – and these places might be ‘touristy’ but they are still very real. Cosmopolitan cities, where the high street is packed with designer stores, remote villages in the Anatolian plains where people live off the land and barely see anyone from outside the village, let alone a foreigner. They are also the real Turkey. It’s all the real Turkey; it’s just that each place is very different.

istanbul turkey fishing

We Can Still View Turkey Through (Slow) Travelers’ Eyes

One of our favorite places in Fethiye is the otogar (intercity bus station). Even after 13 years, we still get excited at the sight of all the buses coming and going and the company offices listing all their destinations – we really can just take our pick. Somewhere an hour or so down the road or a 20+ hour overnight bus journey. Where to next…

Turkey is a vast country. Because we live here, we have the luxury of being able to practice what we preach on our blog – slow travel; attempted immersion into many of the places we visit. There is so much out there to see and do and absorb and if we listed everywhere we’ve been, it might look pretty impressive…but we’ve hardly scratched the surface. Each place we go to – some we visit time and again – comes with its own pleasures, rewards and challenges.

Living in Turkey has been a huge learning curve and that learning never stops. It’s a case of keep traveling, asking, listening, reading, being open and the more we learn, the less we realize we know. That’s the best part. Never boring, that’s for sure.

And The Biggest Lesson Of All…

Anıl himself has written a blog post about this subject and, with regards to Turkey, it’s what we try and show in our own blog in every post we write. The biggest lesson of all is that the majority of people in this world are good people and we’re all just trying to live our lives in the best way we can on a daily basis.

Particularly recently, Turkey is often in the news for unpleasant reasons – as it should be – and the same can be said for a lot of other countries in the world, too. (I’m actually writing this post in complete sadness on a day of national mourning – the day after the terrorist attack on Atatürk Airport in Istanbul.)

The problem with such international media coverage is that you only get to see those countries when an atrocity occurs, a disaster or when its leader makes a newsworthy statement. All those billions of good people mentioned in the above paragraph, who are just getting on with their everyday lives, get swallowed up in that and we forget they exist. But those good people are the ones who are going to make your experience in Turkey – and other countries, too – memorable for all the right reasons. I hate to use the cliche but if you do a stint in Turkey, you’ll know why ‘Turkish hospitality’ is a phrase used so often.

izmir turkey

As two people living in a country where lots of people currently fear to travel, all we can say is this country – and elsewhere in the world – has so much to offer. Yes, use the media to make yourself aware of what’s happening in a country but also get down to ground level, too. Read blogs (there are lots of us bloggers in Turkey – travel, food, politics, random musings), talk to people who live here (social media is a wonderful thing), do your homework…and that’s when to make the decision about whether or not you want to go off and see for yourself. You never know, you could end up living there…

Thank you very much Julia and Barry for sharing your experiences living in Turkey with us. If you have any questions for Barry or Julia, you can ask them in the comments below and find them at their blog Turkey’s For Life, on Facebook, and @TurkeysForLife on Twitter.

I Had To Visit A Place I Used To Live To Actually Take Pictures Of It: A Photo Essay Of Fethiye, Turkey

One of my homes along the way of traveling for more than 5 years, when I lived in Fethiye, Turkey I hardly took pictures of it. Before I knew it, my time there was up. More than pictures, I left with proof that most of us hardly travel to local sites near where we live. (When was the last time you were a tourist in your own town?) When I returned for a visit recently I turned my lens to what is one of the most photogenic places in the world.

fethiye calis canal photo

Looking for lunch or perhaps some peace, fishing away on a warm afternoon.

man fishing fethiye turkey

Simple as it sounds and common along Turkish coasts, balik ekmek – fish bread sandwich – at Anacigim Fish Sandwich Boat.

anacigim fish sandwich boat

Although it’s the slightly longer trip, the Calis Water Taxi forces you to slow down a little and appreciate the beauty of the bay.

calis water taxi

An Efes at Guven’s Bar and Restaurant, where you can find this scene of heaven.

guven's bar restaurant fethiye calis

Across the way and above the bay, reflections at the end of a warm Fethiye day.

sundial pool fethiye turkey

Zooming out a bit to catch a glimpse of Fethiye from Sundial.

sundial hotel fethiye turkey

Does “I want one” count as a caption?

sailboat fethiye turkey

Quickly though, Fethiye begins to feel like home again, life slows, and I put the camera down.

sundial fethiye turkish tea cup

There are a lot more pictures of Fethiye you can see here but the town isn’t just a pretty face. Start with 8 days in Fethiye, hike up the Lycian Rock Tombs, then head to the ultimate online resource for all things Fethiye, Turkey’s For Life. Whether you’re in town for a visit or staying a while, you too might realize that putting down the camera, smartphone, or tablet from time to time isn’t such a bad thing after all, especially in a place like this.


About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More

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