Friday, May 20, 2016

The Memorial of Abul-Qasim Ferdowsi Tusi - Courtesy of Amir Khojasteh

The 15th of May and its following week is dedicated to the memorial of Abul-Qasim Ferdowsi Tusi, or Ferdowsi. Ferdowsi is renowned for his work, the “Shahnama”, or “Book of Kings”. The world's longest epic poetry written by a single poet. Putting such literary treasure in writing and having it revised, in 500,000 verses, is the result of to the least 30 years of constant effort around more than thousand years ago. This literary masterpiece contains Heroes, Myth, and the history of Iran from its beginning with the creation of the world and the very beginning of the arts of civilization (discovery of fire and metal, learning how to  cook, and the rule of law) , and ending with the Islamic Conquest of Persia in the 7th century.

Shahnama has as well had a great influence on international literature. In 1835, Alphonse de Lamartine (French author and poet), on the Civilization Magazine discussed the Tale of Rostam around the topic of contemporary and history's greatest and the most genius. Amongst many tales and stories in Shahnama, the tale of Rostam and Sohrab became very famous in Europe and was translated into multiple languages and created profound literary beauty. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer, and statesman who had a great deal of respect towards Persian literature mentioned Ferdowsi and his greatness at the end of his poetry book West – östlicher Divan. Victor Hugo (Victor Marie Hugo, French poet, novelist, and dramatist) in his work, Les Orientales, has been inspired by Ferdowsi and mentioned him on numerous occasions.
We acknowledge Ferdowsi as the beholder and savior of the Persian language. In his time, Arabic was the language of science and literature in Iran. Ferdowsi put Shahnama in words with such objective that if it was not for him, Persian language would not have built such foundation that would travel as far as Chinese Turkestan to the Mediterranean coast, and from India, Kashmir, Bengal to Caucasus and central Asia, more than half of Asia and even in Europe as far as Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ferdowsi concludes the Shahnameh by writing:
بسی رنج بردم در اين سال سی
عجم زنده کردم بدين پارسی
نميرم از اين پس که من زنده ام
که تخم سخن را پراکنده ام
هر آنکس که دارد هش و رای و دین
پس از مرگ بر من کند آفرین
I've reached the end of this great history
And all the land will talk of me:
I shall not die, these seeds I've sown will save
My name and reputation from the grave,
And men of sense and wisdom will proclaim
When I have gone, my praises and my fame.
Translated by Dick Davis.

Written by Amir Khojasteh

Friday, April 29, 2016

Courtesy of The Leaf Jimbaran

Rejuvenate at The Leaf Jimbaran
April, rarely one's favorite month, finds us impatient for the holiday season, dreaming of summer vacations at the beach, and escape. For me, going on an excursion is the best way to remove that tiresome hustle and bustle of a routine life. Thankfully, I live in a place that is never far from peace, calm and tranquility. So, when I’m seeking a bit of peace and quiet, nothing gives me more relief than a quick Bali escape to Jimbaran!
The Leaf Jimbaran is one of the rejuvenate villas in the area that will help to reduce stress from your body muscles and mind, and at the same time induce vitality to your system. Put aside the images of busy beachfronts with music pounding late into the night and heavy foot traffic in the morning, because you will not experience such situations in this villa.
Whilst making for an amazing Bali escape in Jimbaran, you’re able to make a straight dash for a more private and personalized experience at the Jimbaran Bay Beach, where you can find the bluest water you’ve ever seen. Walk along the beach and take part in the watersport activities for a complete bliss of the day, or go back to the villa and chill at Cilantro Rooftop Bar and Lounge that angled out towards the ocean perfect for watching the sun rise or set over the horizon. After a long fun day, you need to rejuvenate your fatigued body. Having treatment at Thyme Spa is a perfect decision to end the day. You can even have the treatments in the privacy of your own rejuvenate villa.
Prepare yourself for a package of absolute relaxation, comfort and adventure. So, have no second thoughts when you finally make time for a Bali escape in The Leaf Jimbaran. You deserve a little taste of happiness!

Courtesy of Prego - The Westin Nusa Dua

Vivere per Mangiare a Prego
When the elements of a fine dining restaurant meet the décor and the ambiance of a modern Italian kitchen, a charming and convivial restaurant is born. Nestled in Nusa Dua area, Prego has an intriguing space that will tempt your senses with its beautiful stylistic layout and a roomy colorful interior in mitigating tones with a somewhat laid back vibe. You will be cooled off by the sound of a soft ocean breeze while admiring the glistening tableware atop the pristine linen. Outside the building, an infinity pool is ready for your pleasure, partially shaded by tall and swaying palm trees.
The menu offers energetic yet advanced dishes, highlighting custom-made pasta in an assortment of sauces and pizza with imaginative flavors cooked in a wood-smoldering stove and substantial flame broiled entrées. From crisply baked bread and pizza to home-made pasta dishes finished with great sauces, the whole menu is loaded with enticing alternatives for those who are looking for an authentic Italian eatery in Bali.
Stack up your plate with fresh well-seasoned calamari, fragile arancini and salty slices of excellent prosciutto topping shapes of multi-hued melon, all-encompassing the star of the dish – an overflowing hill of startlingly crisp, creamy burrata cheddar, served on an energetic serving of mixed greens loaded with bits of pumpkin and sun-dried tomato.
Next up, time to try the ravioli pasta. The dish got curved around the seven cheddar filling to look precisely like a treat wrapper. In any case, the dish is a great deal more than an adorable trick. The smooth pesto sauce and brilliant cherry tomatoes give an excellent stage to the delectable kaleidoscopic pasta.
Consider the Cannoli Alla Siciliana for dessert. The southern style mixture tubes were made using a touch of wine as a part of the player, giving them a light surface and sensitive crunchiness, while the filling of ricotta, chocolate chips, and Timberland nectar was smooth and creamy. The extravagance was cut by a pool of strawberry soup, highlighted with vanilla and basil, and fragments of crunchy candy-coated orange, giving the treat a shockingly complex character.
Whether you dine in by yourself, with the special one, or taking your entire family, this open kitchen restaurant keeps its flavor to the classic Italian style that will bring your culinary journey to a whole new level of satisfaction. As an Italian quote says, “la vita è bella,” indeed life seems beautiful being at Prego.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Courtesy of Happy Chappy

Time to cherish the best Chinese cuisines
People like me, always remain eager to explore the best places where the best food is served. I am a great fan of Chinese food; it not only satisfies my hunger, but makes my taste buds to dance with the flavors. I always remain open to visit such places where I can get delicious Chinese cuisines.
So, when I heard about the Happy Chappy's restaurant, I thought why not? And now here I am, sharing how my supper went. I went to Happy Chappy restaurant; I witness a pleasant family-style Chinese eatery enlivened by a mix of conventional Chinese tradition with a hip, having a modern influence. Happy Chappy's offbeat interpretation of upscale Chinese dining is tempered by one of the finest, best in class kitchens serving the most delightful customary Cantonese-style Chinese cuisines in Bali. I went there with my friends, and we all were quite pleased by Happy Chappy's enticing and contemporary environment with reasonably priced, yet insightfully plated dishes.
At Happy Chappy Chinese Restaurant, you'll discover genuine great Chinese dishes. We can think of fancier portrayals – luscious, creamy, to kick the bucket for, excellent – and yes, Happy Chappy is the majority of the above, and that's only the tip of the iceberg. However, nothing clarifies it better than genuine great Chinese nourishment. A dinner at Happy Chappy is a whole ordeal that begins the moment you stroll through its delightful Chinese entryways and voila! You're in 1930's Hong Kong. From its wooden completing, red lights, Chinese adornments and sketches to the huge statue of the glad Buddha in the hall; everything cooperates to give you that one immaculate eating background.
We began with the Steamed Dim Sum Platter; it's only stellar. Immaculate in all viewpoints, they're delicate, delicate, crunchy, delicious and fragrant. At that point came the Peking duck. The ducks are carefully and meticulously arranged to give you that incredibly delightful taste and crunch.
The dinner starts when the duck is revealed; when the smell teases your taste buds when your fingers touch its firm skin to set up the hotcakes before you close your eyes and nibble into that very fulfilling, tremendously anticipated the first chomp. Relish its taste, its succulent delicacy, the flavors and burst of freshness from the fixings.
At the point when the duck is done, don't be disillusioned. There is an interminable rundown of the top choices from the Menu, and we appreciated the Kung Pao Chicken with Cashew Nuts, Salted Prawns in Egg Yolk and Seafood Fried Rice. Lamentably for us, we didn't have space for sweet, however before you leave the table, attempt its Fortune Cookie, they're set up in-house and possesses a flavor like a dainty Italian roll!
Before you leave, visit the eatery's Dragon's Den Bar. Back pedal in time and enter a Chinese Kung Fu film of an underground bar where anything could happen! Intended to breathe life into your Kung Fu dreams from its conventional Chinese entryway to the cut mythical beast on the bar best, the pièce de résistance in any case, is the Goliath saltwater aquarium, giving the bar an ethereal, quieting feel.

While going out, I heard myself saying to my friend that "Chinese food tries to engage the mind, not just the palate; To provoke the intellect." And it's true; Chinese food is all I want to empower my mind and senses to start the work again.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Courtesy of NOW! Bali Featuring Republik 45

The Patriotic Flavours
Longing for an authentic, world-class Indonesian restaurant? Bali is home to a number of fine dining Indonesian restaurants that make for the perfect spot for decadent dinners, intimate dates or memorable group gatherings. For this reason only, Republik 45 is a place to be considered. Located on the busiest street of Kerobokan, Republik 45 breaks away from the usual Indonesian dining scene, taking the Indonesian cuisine to the elevated level. This solid fine dining establishment serves up an inspired menu of home-style selection with a casual elegance, offering a rich menu that is known for its flavor and history, presenting a combination of recipes that are passed down from generations to generations. It is an ideal place to taste the exotic flavors and recipes of Indonesian archipelago.
The large dining hall features impressive industrial yet stylish design with the open-air, chill ambience. To add the homey feeling to this grand building, the plants decorate on one side of the wall while a picture story of a Balinese ceremony attached on the other side. The bar at the end of the hall makes for a great prelude to your lunch or dinner, from where you can enjoy their selection of signature cocktails. Afternoon’s live acoustic or DJ performance at night will cheer up your dining experience.
This restaurant highlights Indonesian food in a sophisticated ambiance but still offers the right interpretation of the dishes. The variant menus showcasing traditional dishes of particular region in Indonesia. The authentic flavours of Bali are also on offer, highlighted by their popular Megibung sharing dish for those who want to experience ancient Balinese family dining style. Some would consider the menu at Republik 45 to be fusion, but they are actually a playful combination of the traditional Indonesian recipe with modern and western techniques to result in a clever and beautifully presented Indonesian dishes.
The food I am going to list down is ‘finger licking’ good! It really gave me ‘A Kick in the Mouth’. Starting up with Bebek Goreng Bali which was stuffed with local spices, steamed and then deep fried. The duck became so soft that I could even chew the bones. The perfect dish to serve side by side with this is Ayam Taliwang. At first glance, the chicken looked almost like the common grilled or fried chicken, simply covered with a spicy relish. Only after tasting it, can we discern the difference. The meat was well done in its melt-in-the-mouth texture. It tasted spicy but deeply piquant, so rich. This dish was one of the considerations culinary connoisseurs to order. I also got the chance to try Ikan Bumbu Kuning. The fish was served perfectly with herbs seeped into the meat, mixing with the yellow sauce of fresh turmeric and lemongrass that will heavenly taste in your mouth!
The meal danced across my palate with a symphony of flavors. I guess the best quote I can describe for this culinary journey is “Food is like music; every ingredient is a powerful note.” I believe each player on the staff is a member of the talented orchestra that brings this symphony to life, making Republik 45 feel sophisticated while still keeping the authenticity of Indonesian dishes.
Republik 45
Jalan Raya Kerobokan No 86A, North Kuta, Badung Regency

Spiritual journey to the purification of living

“Water is the sign of life and purification.” My last trip around the island tickled the spiritual in me with the abundance of mythological places that Bali has to offer. Tirta Empul and Tirta Sudamala are some of the places that popping up in my mind when I hear the word “Holy Water”. Therefore, I managed to make a short trip to those sacred places.
Located in the Tampak Siring village, Tirta Empul has been a magnet to Balinese worshipers as a sacred place to bathe for healing and spiritual merit. The name “Tirta Empul” is given to the water source within this beautiful temple. This spring is the source for purification baths, pools and fish ponds, which finally flow to the Tukad Pakerisan River. The Balinese Hindus flock to the clean, cool springs because they believe the springs offer wellness and have magical curative properties. This place is a total bliss and will attract you with its beauty. Anyone visiting here is expected to wear decent clothes, and for that reason there are many people standing outside the premises who will provide sarongs for free.
The first sight of the temple shows the beautiful garden and pathways which are decorated with beautifully engraved statues and tropical plants. Then you will be directed to the blissful bathing pools which had crystal clear water and the mixture of warm and cold water. I highly recommend to spend your entire day purifying holy bath. It is truly breathtaking. The water feels so good and soothing. Legend has it that the sacred spring was created by the god Indra. His forces had been poisoned by Mayadanawa, so he pierced the earth to create a fountain of immortality to revive them. I can see why this place is so important to the Balinese.
My next visit was Tirta Sudamala, which is located in the middle of thick trees not far from the center of Bangli Village. The word Sudamala means ‘purification’, however, this place not only purifies body, but also your mind and soul. I was enlightened as I walked in the place. It was full of greenery and I could hear the chanting of almighty in every corner of the place. They say it is never quiet around “the shower” area because the water seems so clean and so the local village people are using it as their drinking water.
I went down to the river and slowly dipped my body in the water. The water was refreshing in a combination of warm and cold. It is said that those who are struggling with life’s challenges will benefit from bathing in the waters, which wash away ambiguity and lead to spiritual awakening. As for me, I experienced a positive energy entering my body. The waters of Tirta Sudamala are also believed to cure illnesses and cleanse auras. It is an ideal location for praying, meditation and reflection. Such a unique spiritual journey.
I remember an anonymous quote I stumbled on the internet the other day, “When we pray, God hears more than we say, He answers more than we ask, He gives more than we imagine… in His own time… in his own way!” I guess, having visited these holy places retain my faith in God.

Tirta Empul Temple
Jalan Tirta, Tampaksiring, Gianyar Regency

Tirta Sudamala Temple
Bealang Village, Bangli Regency