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  • Aitutaki, Cook Islands

    Aitutaki translates to ‘a little paradise’ which is what it is. It is home to 1800 charming people and is considered one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world. Aitutaki is a secluded sun-kissed lagoon that is home to 15 motus or islets; one of the best tourist destinations in the world. The island, which is part of the Cook Islands, has many things to offer; some of the best are covered in this article. 

    First things first; it is a stunning lagoon that has much to offer in terms of marine life. There is a brimming population of marine life making it a South Pacific treasure. Maina or ‘Little Girl’ is the best place to go snorkeling while in Aitutaki; it is also home to the red-tail tropicbird which is treasured for its red crimson feathers. 

    The second wonderful thing you can expect from Aitutaki is a delightful coconut cake, sweet fruit smoothies, and lovely afternoon teas. These can all be found at Tauono’s Garden Café; a charming garden café run by one-time Canadian-Austrian Sonja and her occasional team of travelers and WWOOFers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms). The best thing about this place is that all the food is organic and made from freshly-picked ingredients in the onsite garden. 

    Speaking of food, the Flying Boat Beach Bar & Grill is another place you should visit for great cuisine. It is a daytime restaurant that is open to outsiders that offers more than great food. It has one of the most stunning locations; near the horizon on an above-water deck, so you will go for the food but stay for the view. My friend who owns a catering company was impressed with the service here. If that says anything, it means you should really check it out!

    The Tamanu Beachfront is home to the Tamanu Beach Hotel; a breezy, thatched-roof, open-sided restaurant that is always open to outsiders. Here, you will enjoy the stunning view, a beautiful sand beach, and a chance to dine on Pacific-style fresh fish, great salads and other local dishes; all in the warmth of the sunset. 

    If you like outdoor activities that challenge your body but still keep the focus on fun, then the 30-minute hike to the top of Maungapu (124m) will be a wonderful experience. It is the highest peak in Aitutaki that will provide you with a magnificent view of the whole atoll and deep blue lagoon. The track will start you off gently then gradually become more challenging; in the end, the view is worth every step. 

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  • Filipino Street Foods Guide

    The Philippines is not as iconic for street food as its neighboring countries Hong Kong and Bangkok are. Filipino street snacks are a must-try for intrepid foreign visitors!

    Isaw — is charred pork or chicken gut on a skewer, is among the most highly regarded street foods in the Philippines. Every local has a personal opinion. With pork isaw being marginally larger and firmer than chicken isaw, the lightly seared meat is full of flavor. Flavoring with vinegar has been one of the smartest ways about consuming Isaw. Most individuals prefer to drench their isaw in chili onion vinegar and then let as much vinegar as possible be absorbed. It is especially gratifying to contrast the smoky isaw with vinegar.

    Mango-on-a-stick —You can think of it as the Filipino take on a caramel apple, except that it’s a green mango instead of an apple, and it’s spicy shrimp paste instead of caramel. And it’s one of the best things for me that you could always eat on the streets of Manila.

    Usually, they choose Indian mangoes which are split from the seed, threaded onto skewers, with a good spread of shrimp paste. Although the shrimp paste is salty and fishy and a little spicy, the mango is crispy and very sour, producing the perfect blend of texture and flavor.

    Taho —For a sweet and filling snack or dessert, another well-loved classic from the streets is taho, which is silken tofu mixed with arnibal and sago pearls. It’s common to see (and hear) taho purveyors in the morning and early afternoon on the sidewalks, so sample a cup of the relatively healthy bite when you spot one. Some use a spoon to eat it, while others choose to use a straw or even drink it straight from the cup.

    Banana Q and Camote Q — A basic snack consisting of skewered bananas wrapped in caramelized brown sugar is Banana q, also referred to as banana cue. It is also marketed along with kamote q which is prepared using sweet potatoes (Kamote) in the same way. These are two of the most abundant snacks that you should indulge in the streets.

    Fish, Chicken, Squid Balls — Most Filipinos who go out for a swift fix in the afternoon settle for deep-fried balls made up of fish, chicken, and squid. It’s a popular food item throughout Asia. It’s primarily made out of flour, and yet these bite-sized orbs are perfect snacks on-the-go when soaked in sweet and sour sauce or vinegar.

    Kwek-Kwek — Not only are these bright orange eggs gaze-catching but delectably appetizing, too. When you boil a quail’s egg, Kwek-Kwek is what you’ll get, then drop it in a mixture and deep-fry until the surface is nicely browned And crispy. Before consuming, Kwek-Kwek is commonly submerged in vinegar, like most Filipino street food.

    Helmet and Adidas — In coming up with names for their favorite items, like street food, Filipinos can be very imaginative. Helmet corresponds to chicken head, while chicken feet are Adidas, and yes, in the Philippines, both are charred to delicious perfection! With delicacies like Walkman (pig ears) and Betamax (cubed chicken or pork blood), you’ll find that no animal parts are wasted in the Philippines.

    Sorbetes — Sorbetes are Philippine-made ice cream and are typically served on wafer cones, sugar cones, or even bread sometimes. In the mornings and afternoons, street vendors usually wander the streets, peddling the Filipino favorite that local people jokingly call “dirty ice cream.”

    There are some incredible must-eat street food snacks in the Philippines, from smoky grilled chicken intestines dunked in vinegar to Filipino balut to sweet banana turon. And one of the most unforgettable aspects of eating street food in the Philippines, apart from the food, is the exceptionally nice people you will encounter when you eat! So, which Pinoy street food Are you thrilled to try…

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