To my fellow rum fans – there is a magical place on the winding streets of Havana that we can call home. It’s the Havana Club Museum, a cultural casa dedicated to the nation’s best known alcoholic export. Havana Club has been my preferred liquor for a few years now, but it wasn’t until my trip to Cuba last autumn that I really considered it’s origins or production – and while you cannot visit the rum distillery itself (I drove past this industrial beast on my journey from Varadero to Havana Airport), you can hear the story of the brand and learn a thing or too about the rum aging process. the most interesting part for me was the miniature models of the sugar cane plantation with working train and infrastructure. The guide takes you around and up through the museum, enabling you to get a look at this impressive model from different angles.
Following on from some tasty adventures at Jonker’s Walk night market in Melaka, I wanted to find a similar experience in Penang. While known as one of the best food destinations in the world, there is not really one main place to go to street food in central Georgetown, instead the coastal areas of Guerny Drive and Batu Ferringhi are known hotspots, but a bit far out without relying on taxis both ways.
Yesterday I landed in Malaysia and headed straight to Melaka, a historical trading point with a rich mix of cultural influences. This evening I headed to Jonker’s Walk (Jalan Hang Jebat), one of the main tourist streets of Melaka, which on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings swells with the hustle and bustle of a world class night market. Stalls line each side of the street selling local and imported delicacies, along with gifts and gadgets from budget hawkers. I managed to get reacquainted with sugar cane juice while trying some Mango ice cream served in a plastic egg, along with what I can best describe as a Taiwanese crumpet.
Riga’s Central Market is a relatively well known attraction that sits a block away from the Old Town as a gateway to the Moscow District. It provides a slice of everyday Latvian life to visitors as it’s main function is to simply sell produce to locals. There are two elements that really make this such a unique experience; size and settings. The market is comprised of five massive halls in former Zeppelin hangars, which create a strong a stoic benchmark in Riga’s cityscape.
I’ll be honest, food was not one of the highlights while in Riga. Most of the meals I tried were stodgy or lacking in flavour, along with being very limited in range for vegetarians. The local drink, Balsam, was also something I wasn’t too fond of so I was pleasantly surprised by how Black Magic,a kooky little cafe and bar in Riga’s Old Town, managed to utilise the alcohol within chocolate in such delicious ways.