Tastes of Asia

Do you know what is Sapa? Have you ever been there? I visited Sapa yesterday, and I don’t mean Swedish-based aluminium company nor the national agency of South Africa nor the frontier town and capital of Sa Pa District in the Lao Cai province in northwest Vietnam. With the last choice we are closest, but still more than 5000 miles away.

Temple in Sapa

Temple in Sapa

Streets of Sapa

The Sapa we will talk about today is Vietnamese Town in Prague. Sapa is a commercial center of Asian business for the whole Europe, everyday 25 of containers full of fishes go through its gates. You can visit this town in the city on your own, but also you can take a guide. I visited Sapa with the Chef of SaSaZu restaurant, one of the most fancy restaurants and clubs in Prague.

In the salon

Our tour started in the salon, where we chose to take a massage or get manicure, as we wanted to enjoy the visit Asian way. Our tour went through the culinary street, decoration’s street (the small lights glittered and everything was prepared for Christmas Season), business street for air plane tickets and all other kinds of business, shops with dresses etc.

In family restaurant we saw handmade preparation of rice paper and also taste it with explanations, what to use, how to flavor it and eat it.

Rice paper "pancakes" in the kitchen and on the table

Fresh vegetable and herbs

Our next stop in this labyrinth was in the main shop with fresh Asian herbs, where we bought coriander, banana leaves, some root, which looks like ginger but it is not a ginger. Shahaf (the Chef) taught us some recipes and we were buying ingredients for our dinner. We left another shop selling Asian specialties with Durian chips, Coconut and Jackfruit juices and rice noodles in our bags.

The last tastes we had in the market was a Pho bo, special Vietnamese soup that you finish on your own with the spices and herbs according to your taste. The closer was a sweet special kind of drink with small tapioca balls, unexpected taste, but nice.

Pho bo - spoon or chopsticks?

And our dinner? Yes, we prepared it accordingly to Shahaf advice and I have to admit it was very good, exotic but tasty. Chicken with banana leaves and coconut juice, that’s what I can only recommend.

Our dinner in a pan and on the table

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Dusicky – Halloween – Dia De Los Muertos ?

What do you celebrate at the end of October / beginning of November? In Czech Republic we celebrate Dusicky, which is a nice and common name for the Day of Deceased. In translation means Souls. At the weekend around this feast you will meet a lot of festive drivers, cars will be full of aunts and uncles and grandmothers and grandfathers, not talking about decorations for graves – baskets with dried flowers, artificial flower compositions, autumn wreaths and candles.

Grave, the leaves are uncleanable

Graveyards will live with families cleaning and decorating their graves. At this time we always go to Jihlava, small city in Czech Highland, where our family grave is. For me it is a big celebration, first as I love Jihlava, walking in the city, second our bigger family will meet during this occasion and I really enjoy it.

Jihlava square - the terrible building was covered similarly like the fountain in front of it. Just the reason for it was different.

Eyes in heart shape were my favorites

However, you can also celebrate Halloween here in Prague. I often go to Prague Botanical Garden, where you can make your own pumpkin, eat pumpkin pie, soup, but also typical Czech sausages roasted in the fire by yourself.

Roasting the sausages, yes, I know they are not dressed properly ...

My favorite Tearoom "On the road" is there regularly

Children, but also adults, are dressed as Halloween asks and at the dusk there is a parade walking around the garden. The route is lined with pumpkins with candles; also masks are carrying their lightsome pumpkins (small ones) or lanterns.

This year I had found out that celebrations of Dia De Los Muertos took place at Stromovka, our wood in Prague, by the pond with ducks the first November day. Mexican music and Mexican food was there, you could decorate your own sugar skull or cut out the skeleton for your Mexican altar.

Sugar skulls

We also get an interesting explanation what Mexican altar means, what is on it and why, I am not going to let it out to you, but this year we asked Steve Jobs to come to Prague to celebrate the Day of Deceased with us. We put on the altar his photo, black turtleneck, Levi’s jeans and some food for vegetarians. Unfortunately I didn’t wait long enough to meet him.

The altar

So you see that you can enjoy all the feasts in Prague, and not only around Halloween.

Eatable skull on the table - this looks brilliant!

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