Planet DMC

News and tidbits from the travel industry

Category: BBC Page 1 of 8

Putrajaya: The capital city you’ve never heard of

No politician has left as large an imprint on Malaysia as Mahathir. Malaysia has been an independent nation for 64 years, and Mahathir was prime minister for 24 of those, with his second leadership stint ending in 2020. While his tenures were tinged with controversy, Mahathir’s aggressive development strategies helped Malaysia build one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies in the 1990s. Several of Kuala Lumpur’s largest monuments testify to his ambition – chief among them the massive Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the iconic 452m-tall Petronas Twin Towers. But his boldest project of all was Putrajaya, Malaysia’s “other” capital city.Ronan O’Connell (BBC)

Doubles: Trinidad’s addictively spicy street snack

Doubles is a humble sandwich made from curried chickpeas tucked between two pieces of fried flat bread and dressed in tamarind and coriander sauces, mango chutney, kuchela (spicy, green mango chutney) and cucumber. It’s sold from makeshift stalls that have changed little from the original ones nearly a century ago, as well as in popular restaurants and tiny cafes. The best doubles feature soft bread and tender chickpeas that have undergone a long simmer in a curry sauce. When the condiments are added, the punchy taste experience perfectly balances sweet, tart and spicy in one addictive little package.Ramin Ganeshram (BBC)

Oman’s spectacular ‘Norway of Arabia’

Kumzar’s unique character owes much to geography. The village sits on the Musandam Peninsula, a tiny coastal exclave of Oman separated from the rest of the country by 100km of the UAE’s rocky desert. Musandam’s nickname – ‘the Norway of Arabia’ – derives from its wildly dramatic coastline, ravaged by fjord-like khors – although, unlike their Scandinavian counterparts, these rocky inlets were formed not by the steady slithering of glaciers but rather by the collision of tectonic plates, which crack the Earth’s crust from beneath like terrible creatures vying to emerge from an egg.Daniel Stables (BBC)

The Chinese noodle dish whose name doesn’t exist

In past centuries, Shaanxi’s biang biang noodles were little more than a humble local dish, mostly consumed by time-strapped workers who didn’t have occasion to artfully pull thin noodles. Compared to other noodle varieties from north-west China, biang biang were less known outside of Xi’an. But they were a comforting and beloved staple among locals, for whom the backstory and written character were common knowledge.Megan Zhang (BBC)

Trang: the Thai city obsessed with breakfast

The people of Trang have a reputation as serious eaters. People elsewhere in Thailand eat three maybe four times per day, but people in Trang eat nine times a day!Austin Bush (BBC)

Malaysia’s humble ‘king of noodles’

I don’t remember how old I was when I started. But char kway teow is all I know.Uncle Tan

The erotic origins of Italy’s most famous sweet

Legend has it that in the Sicilian city of Caltanissetta during Arab rule (around 1000AD), a harem of women created the treat – a fried, tubular pastry shell made of flour, sugar and butter that’s filled with sweet and creamy ricotta cheese – to exalt their emir’s masculinity. While this story can’t be proven, as there are no written records, the notion of erotic pastries dates back centuries.Agostino Petroni (BBC)

Sanbokan: Japan’s rare, sour citrus fruit

In fact, sanbokan is both eaten as fresh fruit and used as an acidic seasoning. It’s easy to peel, and once its large seeds are removed, it’s cut into chunks and served. Because it’s so high in citric acid, it’s also used by chefs to season winter’s rich seafoods, often taking the place of lemon. One way it’s used takes advantage of sanbokan’s large orange-like size: the fruit is cut in half, its flesh scooped out and the shells used as bowls, which are filled with such delicacies as chawan mushi (a seafood egg custard), steamed cod milt and fugu blowfish.Tom Schiller (BBC)

Pakistan’s ingenious solutions to life

Totkay speak to Pakistanis’ memory of their former selves. The custodians of these cures are often grandmothers who have lived through Partition, war or both. Sharing totkay is a vestige of their resilience and resourcefulness. During rampant political turmoil or imminent famine, totkay were powerful portals into a world of healing: not alternatives, but medicine itself.Aysha Imtiaz (BBC)

Gochujang: The trendy Korean food that burns

Gochujang hits several different flavours at once – spicy, yes, but also sweet and salty with an underlying umami note called gamchilmat in Korean. It’s an irreplaceable taste; maybe that’s why 21% of South Koreans pack gochujang when travelling abroad, according to Yonhap News Agency.Erin Craig (BBC)

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