Food, Food and more Food

It’s Ramadan, so of course I’m thinking about food…There are a few things that I’m more passionate about than food. I would say that I’m a picky eater, but at the same time I eat a lot. I’ve been a pescatarian for eight and a half years now. Originally, I was just trying out not eating meat (chicken, beef, lamb, etc.) for a month, which turned into six months and now it’s been over eight years. Now, having such a particular diet can make eating while traveling difficult sometimes. So, I made a list of places I’ve travelled to with the best food! =)

Bali

IMG_4498Omg! The food I had in Bali was probably the best that I’ve ever had, whether it was at small, local restaurants or larger, fancier ones. Bali was the first time that I ever got up for the breakfast included with my hotel. They have tons of fresh, tropical fruits that I had never tried before, like dragonfruit, passionfuit and more. Of course, I had the juices back home, but never the actual fruits. Bali also has amazing fried noodles. I had them for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner. You get it? So delicious!! It’s also very easy to find halal food in Bali, so you don’t have to worry about pork products being used. Since Bali is an island, there’s tons of seafood! The best thing about Balinese cuisine is how fresh and flavorful it is. 

Spain

Ceviche

Lobster, Mango & Avocado & Ceviche

I’ve been to a few cities in Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Segovia and Toledo)- all of which have really good food. Obviously, Spain is famous for tapas (small plates) and paella, which are tasty. However, my favorite thing about Spain is the really good specialty restaurants like cevicherías (ceviche restaurants), marisquerías (seafood restaurants), pulperías (octopus restaurants) and more! Basically Spain is a pescatarian’s destination. So much fresh seafood and veggies!! My favorite Spanish dish is the Spanish tortilla or omelette made from fried potatoes and onions-aka the perfect breakfast! 

IMG_4007San Miguel Market is a good place to try different types of Spanish food. I had different types of calamari and ceviche there. I loved the variety of food and not having to settle on just one type. Everything comes in small portions so you can try many different things at once. The only downside is it’s a bit expensive compared to other places in the city, but still cheap compared to American prices i.e. €20 or $22. The only downside with food in Spain is that you have to be careful about the large amount of pork products in food. Aside from that, it’s perfect! 

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is an up and coming tourist destination for food and architecture. Like Spain, there are many pescatarian and vegetarian options. Being a coastal city, there are so many options for fresh, local seafood and vegetables. There’s a lot of pork, similar to Spain, but it’s still fairly easy to find halal food. Portugal has tapas or small plates, also like Spain, so you can order many and different things to try, instead of just one. My favorite tapa in Lisbon was pan-fried, crispy sardines with garlic. Yes, sardines!!

Maldivian Beauty

I would say that Maldives is definitely the most beautiful place that I’ve ever been to– from the clear blue water to the sound of bats overhead (yes bats!). Everything was amazing! The people, the food, EVERYTHING!! 

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Hulhulmalé

I had wanted to go to Maldives since I did a project about it. However, I didn’t think that I’d be able to go anytime soon. Living in Saudi Arabia makes it super easy to travel around Europe, Africa and most places in Asia. So, when one of my friends suggested that we go to Maldives, I jumped at the chance. Who can beat cheap tickets?

In the first night in Maldives I stayed in Hulhulmalé at the HM Retreat, an overnight hotel, close to the public beach. It’s a small hotel, but it’s close to the airport and clean which is good for an overnight stay. Personally, I wouldn’t stay there for more than one night because the rooms are pretty small. They also provide a free standard breakfast. 

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Amazing food from Royal Quest

The great thing about Hulhulmalé is that most hotels have small restaurants in the lobbies. So, there are many food options =). My favorite restaurant was in the Royal Quest Hotel. They have the BEST seafood fried noodles! 

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Hulhulmalé Public Beach

I think it’s good to spend at least one day in Hulhulmalé before going to a resort to get a feel for Maldivian culture. The island is really clean and people are nice–plus it’s really cheap. The Hulhulmalé beach is beautiful. Yet, nothing compared to the beaches at the resorts. There are a lot of rocks in the water; it’s still unbelievably clear. However, there are a lot more rules there. For example, you can’t wear bikinis.

I ended up staying at Kurumba Maldives, an island resort, which means coconut in the local language. Naturally, coconuts are a theme throughout the resort. On the way we were given coconut scented hand towels and coconut sorbet. There are 8 restaurants to choose from for each meal, which includes everything from Chinese to contemporary Western cuisine. There’s a spa, masjid, pools, tons of beachside seating, and it’s perfect for watching the sunset. 

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Sunset…

The first night we ate at Thila, which offers contemporary Western food for dinner. They have really nice outdoor seating over the ocean. While we were eating, sharks were swimming below. The scenery and décor were awesome, but the food was even better. Another good restaurant at the resort is East, which has “Oriental Cuisine” from China, Singapore, Cambodia, etc. 

To be honest, in Maldives, I didn’t do much. I just relaxed. There’s nothing better than waking up in the morning with nothing to do but decide if you should eat first or go to the beach first. Maldives is truly the place to go to fully relax and get away from life. I literally slept outside a few times in the hammock outside of our bungalow. I felt like I was in a paradise. The only noises to be heard were the waves hitting the sand and bat calls. I experienced true tranquility. Also, I went in January, so it wasn’t too hot or humid. The weather was perfect. The bungalow was great too! We got the deluxe bungalow, which was pretty big. It had a Jacuzzi bathtub, an indoor and outdoor shower (my new fave thing).

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Complimentary Coconut =)

The only negative thing about Maldives is the taxes. They are extremely high! When I booked the bungalow it was one price–then they charged about a fourth of the price in taxes (almost $500). At the resorts everything is in dollars and it adds up after a while. So, when you go just keep that in mind. Aside from that it’s the perfect place to go for a relaxing vacay =)