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Food Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Food

A Basic Guide To Negombo, Sri Lanka

negombo sunset

You may not have heard about Negombo, Sri Lanka, but if you’re planning a trip to the capital Colombo, you need to read the next few sentences. Colombo is a bustling city, without a lot of obvious tourist attractions. The activity there is functional, in the way some capitals tend to be; meaning for travelers Colombo isn’t the ideal place to base yourself.

Nearby Negombo on the other hand is by the beach, infused with the culture waves and sand typically carry with them, close enough to Colombo, plus plenty to do on its own. Here’s a short guide to Negombo and why you probably should stay there instead of Colombo.

Where To Stay

The family run 8+ Plus Motels name is not confidence-inspiring but don’t let that discourage you. 8+ Plus Motels is a clean, modern, efficiently run motel (the rooms all face outward into a fenced courtyard area). A fairly hearty breakfast is included and the wifi connection is solid. In case food or Internet connectivity aren’t on the top of your list of priorities, they offer airport pickup, which is nice since the airport is in Negombo. International flights tend to leave in the middle of the night so having a ride arranged makes things easier for travelers who don’t like planning much.

8+ plus motels negombo

Add to that 8+ Plus Motels is less than a 10 minute walk to the beach as well as many of the restaurants and bars along the sleepy main road through town, it’s accommodation I can thoroughly recommend. I’ll add a few more nice features – air conditioning in the rooms, never a shortage of hot water, and complimentary coffee served throughout the day.

Speaking Of Coffee

When you search for good coffee in Negombo, you’ll inevitably come across one of the simplest places to enjoy it – aptly named Zen Cafe. This is the smile that greets you, the coffee is good, and there are plenty of vegan options too if you happen to be lactose intolerant or otherwise.

zen cafe negombo

I’ve heard since I visited Zen Cafe may be under new management but hopefully not a lot will change to the staff, several seats, and table right outside. What makes Zen Cafe so adorable is how relaxed it is, just away from a lot of the action but close enough to people-watch, read, or simply dose yourself with caffeine.

zen cafe negombo

Keep It Simple

This isn’t a full guide (clearly) to Negomobo but why you should probably stay here, rather than Colombo on your next trip. Getting into Colombo is easy enough with public transportation (around 40 minutes) though getting out is the nice part too. The beach at sunset is particularly beautiful. Families come to watch the sun slip under the horizon, get snacks from the stalls, both of which you should do too. One of the better viewing spots is close to Lords Complex Restaurant, a good place to eat around 90-120 minutes before sundown or after, as the evening air cools slightly.

negombo sunset

Colombo is a busy place without much of the balance that Negombo provides to turn the activity level down. Under the radar almost to a fault, many find out about Negombo after they’ve checked into Colombo for a few days. Hopefully you now have in mind to flip that around a bit, spend the days away in Negombo with Colombo being your day trip destination.

3 Of The Best Places To Drink Whisky In Edinburgh, Scotland

whisky edinburgh

You may not like whisky and many would say it’s because you’ve not had the right whisky – to which I would add, you’ve not had whisky in Edinburgh, Scotland. Experiencing whisky in Edinburgh gives you a flavor of the culture here as well, people who like to talk, often over drinks, and good Scotch whisky gives you the opportunity for both across the city.

Here are 3 of the best places to drink whisky in Edinburgh, a city to visit if you don’t know where to go, for enthusiasts and amateurs alike.

1. The Albanach

the albanach edinburgh

At first glance this pub on the corner of Edinburgh’s downtown might trigger your tourist trap alarm but staff at The Albanach are friendly and very knowledgeable about whiskies. Plop yourself down at the bar or grab a (rather hearty) meal before 8pm; anyone behind the counter will have the right whiskies whether you ask for their recommendations or have some specifics in mind. Based on your tastes, preferences, and combined with some creativity on their part, you may just find a whisky you never knew was perfect for you.

2. Royal Mile Whiskies

royal mile whiskies edinburgh

Again, deceiving from the outside if you tend to avoid places that look too popular to be interesting, Royal Mile Whiskies blend the drinks with the land from which the Scotch is fermented. Royal Mile Whiskies is where to go if you’re shopping for a gift or something to take home, it’s where I discovered my favorite whisky I never knew existed. Chances are high Royal Mile Whiskies is where you’ll find a unique Scotch too. Plenty of complimentary tastings inside as well to help you decide.

3. Arcade – Haggis and Whisky House

edinburgh scotland bagpipes

As the name implies, there are two things Arcade does especially well. Arcade is popular and often crowded but if you can catch a time when it’s a bit quieter, you won’t be disappointed. Since it’s well-known, it can be less inviting if you arrive at peak hours, so plan accordingly.

Notable Mentions

There are a lot of excellent places to drink Scotch whisky, with tastings and knowledgeable bartenders, across Edinburgh. For visitors, these three are in the middle of town, easily accessible, and fun places if you’re with friends or traveling solo. Up the road, Deacon Brodie’s Tavern is also a nice choice, with a few caveats. They’re one of the places open later for food, but avoid eating there on the weekends because there will be a line out the door. During the week however, excellent for an after-8pm meal or a generally anytime dram of whisky at the first floor bar.

Much like Turkish raki, the best accompaniment to whisky is conversation, with no better place than Edinburgh for both.

Why Do You Fart So Much When Flying?

Extra flatulence is not just you (or the person next to you) but rather a phenomena everyone experiences to varying degrees as altitude increases. It’s something you may have pondered the last time you flew and my video above explains exactly why this happens and a few things you can do to mitigate farts when flying.

Essentially, as you go up from sea level, the decrease in air pressure allows the gas already in your gut to expand. As the gases expand, they start putting extra pressure on your insides, eventually wanting to make their way out from the only exit available.

Start With Less Gas

Since these gases are created by the bacteria in your gut as a byproduct of digestion, the first countermeasure is to reduce the amount of food for them prior to flying. Ideally, flying hungry first thing in the morning should mean fewer farts in flight. (Keep in mind when you land, air pressure closer to sea level increases which can also cause cramping.)

In case you can’t avoid eating right before or during a flight, sticking to lesser processed menu items may help. Roughly 65% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant to some degree, so ordering a vegan meal can help you avoid dairy products. Less processed food could also be beneficial.

You can catch up on all the gassy details in the video but keep in mind about 60% of pilots report regular bloating while flying, meaning it is something we all have to deal with. Even on the ground, the average person farts about 10-20 times a day but if you’re particularly concerned about stinking up the cabin, some charcoal-filtered underwear might be an option for you. For everyone else, the bathroom is a good alternative if you can make it on time.

The Best Places To Eat In Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands

curious traveler

The Galapagos is, in places, a remote wilderness but Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island is as close to a tourist-theme town you’ll find anywhere. Puerto Ayora is the main settlement where tour boats come to restock and budget travelers base themselves to do shorter excursions to nearby Galapagos Islands.

Tourism is still in its early stages in Ecuador‘s Galapagos and Puerto Ayora (population 12,000) is beginning to offer visitors a lot of places to eat: many mediocre, some decent, and a few rare finds. These are some of the best places to eat in Puerto Ayora, the largest town in Galapagos.

1. La Garrapata

la garrapata

Right in front of the dock are a long string of restaurants and bars along the tiny main strip in town, visually blending into one another. At first glance, there’s not much to distinguish La Garrapata, one of the better places to eat (with good service) close to the dock. Prices are slightly above average than nearby restaurants but fairly inline with general costs in Puerto Ayora. Food (and beer) portions are large and range from a variety of traditional Ecuadorian to Western dishes.

2. Galapagos Deli

galapagos deli

I like simple foods in large quantities at good prices with a decent selection of alcohol to go with it. If that sounds like you, then you’ll enjoy Galapagos Deli. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the dock – the location keeping its prices under the average of places like La Garrapata. They serve large sandwiches, pizza, salads, fresh juices, beer, teas, and coffees to. Anywhere else Galapagos Deli would be average at best but in Puerto Ayora where much of the ingredients have to be shipped in from the mainland, it differentiates itself in simplicity.

3. 1835 Coffee Lab

1835 coffee lab

Looks like a tourist trap – you know, the kind that’s especially alluring after a long travel day when you just want to hear some trendy pop music you only sing alone in the car. 1835 Coffee Lab checks those boxes (even some 80s hits too!) but does serve a good variety of local coffees. Galapagos coffees are well-known so it’s best to get a good taste while you’re in town. Keep in mind it’s a bit pricey so if you’re on a very strict budget, 1835 Coffee Labs might not be the best place to grab a daily caffeine fix.

The Best Of Average At Best

As I mentioned before, Puerto Ayora’s selection of restaurants and cafes wouldn’t stand out in many popular tourist destinations around the world. In Galapagos however, where there’s not much of a tourist trail yet, most supplies have to be imported, and there’s a steady supply of tourists with little competition, it leaves few remarkable choices. Like albatross returning to land, Puerto Ayora is a rest stop for a great adventure just beyond the shore.

How To Remove Stickers From Passports

Some airports (I’m looking at you Istanbul) take liberties with your passport, slapping stickers on them at various security checks in between gates, leaving your precious travel identification with adhesive residue that’s hard to remove. When I posted the picture below, many of you left helpful suggestions on how to remove the sticker residue. One that stood out to me in particular was an olive oil trick, which I tried in the video above.

passport stickers

Basic Steps

First, remove the sticker as best you can with your fingernail or a plastic card from your wallet. Once you’re done getting the largest, easiest pieces of sticker removed, dab you fingertip in olive oil. It doesn’t take much, just rub it into the passport where there’s stubborn sticky stuff enough to cover it entirely.

Now that you’ve done that, take a paper towel and wipe off the residue. Theoretically. As you can see from my attempts, after multiple applications, this trick worked… but not entirely. (Although my passport was super shiny, a nice side effect.)

Apply Soon

What I noticed is newer stickers were relatively easy to remove with olive oil, but the older gunk seems it will be one with the passport forever. So, if this passport junk leftover from security stickers annoys you, it’s best to remove at and any baggage tags as you can after arrival at your destination this olive oil trick, which is also unintentionally vegan.

Do you have any tricks for keeping your passport stickers? Let me know in the comments below!

One Of The Best Bars In The World Is Fun Fun In Montevideo, Uruguay

bar fun fun montevideo

The perfect bar is barely lit and a bit too crowded. Where all practical concerns for the sober mind dissolve with one drink after another causing live melancholic music to become the emotional equivalent of nuclear fusion for human joy. A place where time gets lost. You might have a place like that in your own life, and if so, you’ll love Bar Fun Fun.

From the outside Bar Fun Fun in Montevideo, Uruguay, is an unassuming brick hole with tightly packed tables – some come for the evening, others stay for the night – serving a variety of appetizers and its signature drink made on site, uvita. Fermented grapes, sugar, and other undisclosed ingredients it tastes something of a toxic fruit punch. There’s a number of snacks as well, heavy bar foods to prepare you for one uvita too many.

Reserve Your Spot

Weekends are busy so you’ll need to reserve a spot to make sure you’re not in the unofficial standing room of anywhere there’s space. Plenty of tourists have found out about Bar Fun Fun but there aren’t too many in Montevideo to begin with, so you don’t feel like you’re in alcoholic Disneyland.

At the entrance there are the local regulars catching a smoke. Around the tiny stage several seniors whose wrinkles are lit up in red or purple reflections of the neon lights. Shows usually start at Fun Fun with some music and comedy, with enough breaks in between acts for everyone to continue their conversations.

Tango The Night Away

Bar Fun Fun opens at 9pm and once the lighter music has concluded, it’s time to tango. The tango at Fun Fun is intense, precise and calculated, with plenty of emotion to spare for the crowd. The schedule of these shows vary throughout the week, Thursdays are particularly nice since it’s not as packed a house as the weekend. (Bar Fun Fun is closed on Sunday and Mondays).

uvita montevideo bar fun fun

The magic in the dance is how captivate the audience is, well on to their third, fourth, and fifth rounds of wine, beer, or uvita. The waitstaff also seem more relaxed at this point, as food service ends and they can slow down a bit to focus on just serving drinks. Did I mention the staff are warmly edgy? All adding to the ambiance of familiarity you’ve immediately fallen into.

Fun Fun Not For Everyone

Bar Fun Fun will feel an uninspiring experience for those who dip their toes in what’s a pretty popular recommendation on TripAdvisor. Travelers who don’t like late nights and aren’t willing to stay into the later hours of tango, will miss the best part afterward: the voice of Ricardo Olivera.

By this time in the night, the crowd at Bar Fun Fun has become a collective consciousness, being lead where the music takes them. Much like in Turkey, where the best accompaniment to raki is good conversation, friends sing and cheers, embracing the fact the next morning will be a bit rougher than normal. Chances are if you’ve read this far or your fondness for such places has been peaked, Bar Fun Fun in Montevideo will endear itself to you as well. Salud.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More


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