Cheap and Delicious Traditional Albanian Food

I could still smell the food, the smell of the Mediterranean that hung in the air.

Albania is amazing during summer. Tirana, the capital, is Albania's beating heart. A dense metropolis sparsely studded with discreet high-rise, the city can easily be recognized by its loud vibrant colors and cinematic graffiti-plastered walls. The teens, proud and aloof, are clad only adequately to expose their perfectly sun-kissed skin. Albania, in my opinion, is the most badass country in Europe, and its local cuisines are equally as fierce and wicked.


popular albanian food
Delicious Traditional Albanian Food

Listed below are a few popular Albanian food which have made my stay in Albania extra delightful and satisfying:


Cheap and Delicious Traditional Albanian Food

popular food in albania
Paçe Koke - "Head Meat Juice" - served with garlic-infused wine vinegar and various spices

traditional food in albania
Cevapcici - Grilled skinless minced meat sausage

delicious food in albania
Pilaf - An Albanian variation of Pilau

what to eat in albania
Tavë Dheu - Fried meat in curds

popular food in albania
Tavë Me Mish Viçi - Pan of calf meat

traditional food in albania
Patate Furre - Oven-baked potatoes

delicious food in albania
Grilled lamb chops

what to eat in albania
Byrek Me Spinaq and other pastries

popular food in albania
Albanian Wine - strong with a very unique sweetness

traditional food in albania
Raki - A traditional Albanian fruit brandy

My biggest regret is probably not getting to try Tavë Kosi, the national dish of Albania. It is a dish of baked lamb and rice served with a generous portion of yogurt sauce. Will try to create the dish using the recipes online, but I am pretty sure the taste will be nowhere close to the ones prepared there. Wishing I could turn back time!

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Top Things to do in Istanbul

If Elizabeth Gilbert has rediscovered her appetite in Italy, I have definitely got mine tastefully restored in Istanbul.

Istanbul is a city of colors, cordial smiles, succulent döner kebab, and a delightful blend of cultures. With sufficient time on hand, Istanbul makes the perfect, most comprehensive travel destination. From inexpensive street food to upscale restaurants, buzzing city to sleepy villages, Asian to European (or Eurasian) - it has something to fit everyone's budget and preference. Below is a brief guide to the top things to do in Istanbul:

Top Things to do in Istanbul

 

Turkish Bath

Turkish bath is a relaxing and cleansing treatment with each standard session lasting for about an hour. You'd be clad in sweat most of the time while sitting in a room filled with hot steam. Cleansing is performed on a big slab of marble where you will be thoroughly scrubbed, rubbed, and washed from head to toe by a masseur.

Note: I was asked to strip completely naked during the cleansing session by my naked female masseur. I did not find it to be a problem. However, I've later learned from the experience of others that you're supposed to have a towel on at all times.

things to do in istanbul
Facilities at a Turkish bath


Try the Turkish Coffee

It goes without saying that Turkish coffee is a must-try when in Turkey. These roasted and very finely ground coffee beans are boiled in a cezve and are then served in a small, colorful porcelain cup on a saucer where the grounds gradually settle. Sugar is optional.

It is said then once you are done drinking and all that's left are the grounds, you can flip the cup over and read your future from what forms on the saucer. Of course, I've attempted this several times but I could not make anything out of it, unless it is repeatedly indicating that my life is a black hole (very likely)

good food in istanbul
Turkish coffee


Try the Turkish Tea

While you're at the coffee, why not go for the tea as well? Turkish tea is usually served for free (otherwise it doesn't cost more than 2 TL). It is usually served piping hot in a very delicate glass.

turkish tea istanbul
Turkish tea


Try the Local Turkish Dishes

It is a challenge trying to look for restaurants that serve local dishes. You'd need to look hard beyond the sea of kebab stalls and fast food chains. Local food is obviously the most authentic, delicious and tasty, so don't miss out on the chance to savor them while you're there!

good food in turkey
Delicious Turkish Pilav with some dishes which names I have a hard time recalling


Go on a Bosphorus Cruise

12 TL, 90 minutes, magnificent views of both the European and Asian sides - the Bosphorus Cruise is very worth it.

Tips #1: Go in the evening and you'll get an amazing view of the sunset as the backdrop thrown in for free.
Tips #2: Sit on the left side of the ferry. The ferry goes in a way that all the amazing attractions are on the left and that gives you plenty of opportunities for clear shots.

istanbul river cruise
Bosphorus Cruise
Views from the Bosphorus Cruise


Visit a Mosque

The Ottoman Empire had made Islam an important influence here and mosques are a common sight. Take some time off to visit the impressive Blue Mosque or any other mosque (most of them allow visitors) which usually do not take an entrance fee. Females should dress decently and have their hair covered with a scarf.

popular mosques in istanbul
Inside one of the Turkish mosques


Take the Tram

One must get on the 19th-century Nostalgic Istiklal Caddesi tram not only for its historical values but also because it gives its passengers a slow but exciting ride through İstiklal Caddesi. Another notable tram is the T1 Bağcılar- Kabataş tram, which stops at nearly every major attraction such as the Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace, Sultanahmet and many more.

trams in istanbul turkey
The pretty Nostalgic Istiklal Caddesi tram honking its way through the Istiklal Street


Visit an Island

There are a few islands close to Istanbul known as the Princes Islands (Adalar) which are reachable by ferries which make the perfect day trip on a sunny day. There are not a single car on these islands, and taxis are replaced by horse-drawn carriages instead. Note that the shores here are rocky and void of sand, and tourists were suntanning on the grass instead. Anything goes!

popular islands near istanbul
The island of Büyükada, or Big Island

 

Get a Bird's-Eye View of Istanbul

The city is spectacular, more so when seen from above. Climb the Galata Tower (25 TL) and reward yourself with a stunning view of the buildings as well as the Golden Horn.

top attractions in istanbul
Istanbul from above

interesting things to do in istanbul
View from Galata Tower
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How to Order Food Online from Shogun2U

shogun and saisaki buffet
Dato' Sri Michael Chong, the man behind Saisaki and Shogun

Shogun is no novice in the food industry, and its recent introduction of Shogun2U aims to further amplify the dining experiences of its enthusiastic patrons. Striving to provide convenience and ease, Shogun2U offers affordable and delectable online pre-booked meals which are heartily prepared by in-house chefs using ingredients of the highest quality. Foodie can indulge in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese food, and those with an adventurous palate can extend their feasts with the wide range of desserts and drinks available on the website.

Additional info on Shogun2U services:

  • Minimum order for delivery is RM25
  • Meals can be booked and scheduled in advance
  • Meals can be delivered to homes and offices
  • Estimated delivery time is 1 hour
  • Prices indicated on Shogun2U are inclusive of GST
  • Shogun2U delivers to Ampang, Batu Caves, Cheras, Cyberjaya, Kajang, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Jalan Ipoh-Sentul, Puchong, Putrajaya, Segambut, Seri Kembangan, Serdang, Setapak, Wangsa Maju, Shah Alam, Subang, and Bandar Sunway

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Award-winning chefs at Shogun
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Limited Edition Panda Sushi Set

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A large variety of dishes and set meals offered by Shogun2U

How to Order Food Online from Shogun2U

You can order food online from Shogun2U in a few simple steps:
1. Register and log in on http://shogun2u.com/ (Register now to enjoy free delivery!)
2. Key in your city and area to determine estimated delivery time. Click "Find"
3. Browse through menu and click "Add" to select
4. Click "View Cart" to review your order or to make changes to it
5. Enter any applicable promo code to receive discount (Use YES40 to get 40% off spending above RM42). Click "Next"
6. Key in address, telephone number, and schedule desired time and date. Click "Next"
7. Select payment method
8. You will receive a call shortly to confirm your order
9. Sit back and wait while the chefs at Shogun prepare your meal!


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My dinner, delivered 10 minutes before the scheduled time.

Use the promo code YES40 to enjoy 40% off all food and beverages (except Nyutori) today!


Yangshuo Beer Fish

popular china food
Yangshuo Beer Fish 啤酒鱼

One does not travel to Yangshuo without giving its Beer Fish a try.

As suggested by its name, the two main ingredients in this dish are beer and fish. Grown carps caught from the Li River will only be selected, gutted and cleaned upon order to ensure utmost freshness.

The preparation of the dish is tedious but is surely worth the effort. Fish is first fried in camellia oil to achieve a slightly crusty texture on the outside. It is then braised in a superior beer brewed locally in the province of Guangxi, before being served with a generous portion of colorful jardinière, including diced tomatoes, pepper, coriander, spring onions, and so on.

More about Yangshuo Beer Fish:

The dish is served and eaten with its scales. I was initially surprised to see that my fish was not scaled, but my Chinese cook claimed that it has been so perfectly braised that the scales have become soft and tender, and it would be a waste (or an insult) to not eat them. The scales are also thought to be the most unique feature to this dish.

Chosen carps usually weigh above one kilogram and they must be caught from the Li River because according to the locals, it is so that the fish would taste the best. Fish from the Li River is also believed to be one-of-a-kind in the world because they have lived a life of contentment in the clear water surrounded by beautiful green hills and karst. (Yes, the Chinese can sometimes be overly philosophical)

Yangshuo Beer Fish 啤酒鱼
Beautiful Li River surrounded by karst after the rain

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Moku Japanese Grill & BBQ, Oasis Damansara

Attention KL-lites, a new trend is here and it is ready to take over the food industry.

Kushikatsu, or seasoned, skewered, and grilled meat is a very popular type of Japanese dish, which is usually served in an Izakaya setting (places where food is served to accompany the drinks).

popular restaurants in oasis damansara
Moku Japanese bbq review
Moku Japanese Grill & BBQ

Food is served in small portions but the variety is endless. In addition to grilled meat, seafood, and vegetables, there are burgers, pitas, salad, soups, spaghetti, Asian noodles, pizza, steaks, local fares, and many more. Drinks served include tea, coffee, fresh juice, cold-pressed juice, soda, and beer.

Price range: RM2.50 - RM20 per portion.

Moku Japanese Grill & BBQ Menu

 

good food in ara damansara
Some of the food served at Moku Japanese Grill & BBQ

good restaurants in ara damansara
A variety of cold-pressed juices at RM10-RM13 each

good restaurants in ara damansara

Moku is exactly the kind of place that I will go to for a bottle of beer or two with a good friend after work or on a rainy day. While the BBQ here is pretty ordinary, I find the Spicy Cream and Seafood Spaghetti very appetizing.

Moku Japanese Grill & BBQ
03-7859 7657
A-G-08, Oasis Square, 2, Jalan 1A/7A, Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya