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DoubleTree by Hilton Penang invites you to Malaysia’s culinary capital

The Thaiger

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DoubleTree by Hilton Penang invites you to Malaysia’s culinary capital | The Thaiger

DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang is inviting food lovers to discover the amazing flavors of Penang with a journey of discovery into the island’s unique culinary scene.

Part of Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HLT), this stunning seafront resort is the perfect base from which to explore the gastronomic culture of Penang, which is often labeled the “Culinary Capital of Malaysia”. The new “Jom Makan” (Come Eat) campaign will allow guests to uncover the island’s most mouth-watering attractions, from bustling markets to sizzling street food stalls, exquisite restaurants, creative cooking classes and much more.

With its rich cultural diversity, including Peranakan, Indian and Chinese influences, plus a tropical climate and abundance of local seafood, Penang has developed a vibrant food scene, which stimulates the senses with its fantastic flavors, colors and aromas.

The island’s most famous dishes include nasi kandar, or rice served with various choices of curries; laksa, the famous spicy noodle soup; char koay teow, a fried flat noodle dish; a popular Penang version of Hokkien mee featuring yellow noodles in prawn soup; and the local tandoori chicken.

DoubleTree by Hilton Penang invites you to Malaysia's culinary capital | News by The Thaiger

All of these delectable dishes, and many more, can be discovered at the street food stalls and local restaurants of Penang’s capital, Georgetown, and the popular beachfront area of Batu Ferringhi.

The launch of Jom Makan also coincides with the Penang International Food Festival (PIFF), a culinary extravaganza that returns to the island this September. This annual event is a celebration of Penang’s street food, with 16 days of mouth-watering food and drink on Georgetown’s Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street). Guests can immerse themselves in a carnival of cuisine, including an invasion of more than 150 food trucks, themed dining experiences, mini festivals and a professional chefs’ challenge.

DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang offers regular complimentary shuttle bus services to and from Georgetown and Batu Ferringhi, allowing guests to experience this free culinary fiesta and other events such as the Georgetown Festival, which returns this summer.

“Every visit to Penang is a feast for the senses. At DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang, we are proud of this rich culinary heritage and encourage our guests to experience every mouth-watering delicacy the island has to offer,” said Jamie Mead, the resort’s Regional General Manager. “Our own chefs present an array of authentic local dishes at Makan Kitchen, our lively all-day restaurant. Alternatively, guests who want to learn more about the island’s food can ask our concierge who will be delighted to recommend the best places to discover local cuisine.

“I would like to invite all guests to jom makan – come and eat with us here in Penang, the culinary capital of Malaysia,” he added.

Visitors who want to discover daily life in Penang can choose to visit the island’s markets such as Chowrasta Bazaar, where locals flock to buy fresh meat and fish, along with a wide range of sweets and pickled fruits. Then after dark, Macallum Street Night Market is the perfect place to savor incredible local street food in a vibrant and colorful setting.

DoubleTree by Hilton Penang invites you to Malaysia's culinary capital | News by The Thaiger

Guests can also experience a wide variety of hawker stalls and charming family restaurants in World Heritage-listed Georgetown, while the Long Beach Food Court in Batu Ferringhi allows diners to choose from an amazing array of delicacies.

Finally, guests can completely immerse themselves in Penang’s culinary culture with a cooking class. The Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School provides the perfect introduction to the island’s most popular dishes, while Nazlina’s Spice Station takes guests on a tour of the local food markets before returning to Georgetown for an atmospheric alfresco class.

Meanwhile, the Kid’s Club at DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang hosts children’s cooking classes, introducing a new generation of potential chefs to the wonders of Malay cuisine.

DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang is inviting guests to discover everything that Penang has to offer with special rates that include daily buffet breakfast for four people, plus warm chocolate chip cookies upon arrival. To learn more click HERE.

DoubleTree by Hilton Penang invites you to Malaysia's culinary capital | News by The Thaiger

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Business

Fish sauce excluded from Thailand’s proposed tax on salty foods

May Taylor

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Fish sauce excluded from Thailand’s proposed tax on salty foods | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Cook’s Illustrated

Thailand’s Excise Department and Public Health Ministry is considering a levy on salty foods in an attempt to tackle the sodium-rich diets of Thai citizens, and the health consequences.

The director general of the Excise Department, Patchara Anuntasilpa says the tax would be calculated based on the amount of salt in a product, with the proposal being sent to Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana by year end.

Fish sauce is a liquid condiment made from fish or krill that have been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years.[1][2]:234 It is used as a staple seasoning in East Asian cuisine and Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly south east Asia and Taiwan. Following widespread recognition of its ability to impart a savoury umami flavor to dishes, it has been embraced globally by chefs and home cooks.

“If the tax is approved, we will allow entrepreneurs one or two years to reduce the salt content and launch a less-salty version of their product.”

The World Health Organisation and the UN both recommend taxing foods with a high salt content, saying increased sodium intake leads to high blood pressure, cancer and kidney and heart disease.

The Nation reports however, that while the proposal is to levy the tax on frozen and canned foods, along with processed items such as instant noodles, seasoning such as fish sauce and snacks like potato chips would be excluded.

The Federation of Thai Industries has pledged to cooperate with the government’s effort to improve the health of Thailand’s citizens, but its head Wisit Limluecha says he is not in favour of taxing popular seasonings, snacks, frozen or instant foods.

“Research has found that these foods represent only 20% of what we eat each day, and everyone has different eating habits, so the better solution would be to advise consumers on how to eat healthily.”

Wisit warns that the tax may damage the country’s competitiveness in the food sector both overseas and in Thailand, where imported products are easily available. He also voices concern that small businesses will suffer if unable to afford ingredient and packaging changes.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Business

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain

May Taylor

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Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain | The Thaiger

(…or is that a 90% ‘steak’?)

PHOTOS: Wongnai

DealStreetAsia, an investor news site reporting on Asian business, confirms that Singha Corporation has purchased a majority stake in the Thai restaurant chain, Santa Fe. It’s understood that Singha purchased the shares held by Lakeshore Capital for approximately US$50 million or 1.53 billion baht, giving it a 90% stake in the chain seen in most Thai shopping centres.

The Nation reports that Singha will now oversee over 110 restaurants across Thailand in one of the country’s biggest food industry deals of the year. The company first turned its attention to the food industry two years ago, launching Food Factors Company under the Boon Rawd Brewery group.

WongnaiFood Factors aims to make 5 billion baht over 3 years under the stewardship of Piti Bhirombhakdi. The company has an ambitious long-term target of 10 billion baht a year, along with plans to be listed on the stock exchange.

The Santa Fe chain was established in 2003 by Surachai Charn-Anudet’s KT Restaurant Company, with the aim of becoming a major competitor to Sizzler, the American chain brought to Thailand by Minor Food.

SOURCE: The Nation

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand's Santa Fe restaurant chain | News by The Thaiger

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Food Scene

Top 10 tips to avoid food poisoning in Thailand, and cures (2019)

The Thaiger

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Top 10 tips to avoid food poisoning in Thailand, and cures (2019) | The Thaiger

NOTICE: The Thaiger are experienced travellers but we’re not doctors. This information is provided as a general guideline if you are confronted with food poisoning. In all cases consider seeking medical attention.

Travelling in foreign locations and trying out the local dishes will always risk a bout of the dreaded food poisoning – Bali belly, Thailand tummy.

Thailand has some of the world’s tastiest food but also the potential to put you flat on your back for a few days.

Travelling around Thailand you face a double whammy of exotic new spices along with an equally exotic list of new microbes and bacteria working hard to make your day a bad one. One bit of bad luck and you’ll disrupt the delicate balance found within your digestive system.

Contaminated water? Spoiled meat? Food left out in the open for too long? Whilst the vast majority of Thai food, even the street food, is unlikely to upset your digestive system, the more adventurous your eating, the more likely you are to confront a bout of food poisoning along your journey.

It will start with stomach cramps, nausea and sweating. It will usually kick in in the first four hours after your meal, probably earlier. You’ll know it!

Projectile vomiting and diarrhea are usually the result and the next 10-12 hours of your life will be spent in close proximity to a toilet. You will feel like death-warmed-up – chills, cramps, maybe a fever and lots of sweating. But you WILL get over it.

Here is The Thaiger’s Top Ten tips to avoid, and recover from, a bout of food poisoning.

Top 10 tips to avoid food poisoning in Thailand, and cures (2019) | News by The Thaiger

AVIODANCE

Don’t get food poisoning! The best way to recover from food poisoning or its lesser partner, traveller’s diarrhea, is to not get it in the first place. But even the most cautious tourist can consume something they think is safe…but isn’t.

Avoiding food poisoning is everyone’s obvious aim. If it happens it’s not the end of the world but is going to put a dent in your plans for a few days. Be cautious, read up about potential problems and turn you brain on before you go ‘full commando’ on food you’ve never experienced.

No fresh leafy greens

Unless you are absolutely sure they have been copiously washed with filtered water it is best to avoid eating anything in this category. Cooked greens are usually ok, especially in boiled soups. Try to also avoid raw unpeeled fruit or vegetables.

Salads in a street restaurant somewhere off the beaten track? Probably not.

Street food

Street food, literally food you can buy on the kerbside or footpaths anywhere in Thailand, often looks and smells amazing, and is usually safe to eat. But avoid anything that looks like it’s been sitting around in the sun and humidity.

Stick with bubbling boiling soups, freshly made Pad Thai, and meat that has been grilled right in front of you.

Ice ice baby

The vast majority of restaurants and bars in tourist areas use ice that comes from frozen purified water and have it delivered daily. Off the beaten track it’s best to ask first if the ice ‘nam kang’ is made from tap water or is fresh that day. When in doubt, leave it out – enjoy your drink a bit warmer than usual 🙂

Drinking water

It’s best to observe the golden rule about drinking water in Thailand – never drink the tap water. The down -side is that most of the potable water is going to come to you in plastic water bottle which we’re all, including Thailand, trying to reduce the usage. Most hotels, and some restaurants, will have drinking stations where you can top up your water safely.

Water is very cheap in Thailand and is available everywhere – at least in the ‘on every corner’ convenience stores like 7-eleven and Family Mart.

All that said, we suspect that in places like Phuket, Chiang Mai, most of inner Bangkok, Pattaya and Hua Hin, the water out of the tap IS safe to drink these days. But don’t take our word for it! As a traveller, you need to err on the side of caution.

The Thaiger has lived in Thailand for a decade and brushes teeth and uses the local supply (in Phuket) and has never had any ‘tummy-rumbles’ from interacting with the local potable water supply. But that’s not a scientific study, just our experience.

Leftovers

“Mmmm, that pizza was great last night. I’ll have the rest tomorrow.”

Maybe, but you need to refrigerate it before it gets cold and, the next day, eat it quickly before it has time to ‘warm up’. If it’s more than a day, throw it out or feed it to the dog or cat who have cast-iron stomachs compared to humans. Ditto for any other leftover you think you’d like to save for the next day.

Top 10 tips to avoid food poisoning in Thailand, and cures (2019) | News by The Thaiger

RECOVERY

Rehydration

If you are experiencing diarrhea or vomiting you need to make sure you rehydrate properly. If you are not doing a great job holding water in, go to the nearest pharmacy and pick up Oral Rehydration packets.

If you are suffering from food poisoning in Thailand you will do well to grab some of these packets. They should cost you no more than 5 baht. Use up to 5 a day, really.

Seek Medical Treatment

If it’s a mild case you are probably going to be able to self-medicate your way back to perfect health. If it’s serious and you’re just flat on your back (between ruses to the toilet) for more than a day, then you’d be advised to seek medical attention. If you have blood in your vomit or stools, or high fever lasting more than an hour or so, seek medical attention quickly.

Thai doctors usually go down the medication route whereas some western doctors would now specify a more natural approach to recovery. If you have medical and travel insurance (you’re insane travelling without both!), and are in places like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, Samui, Hua Hin or Khon Kaen, then head to a private international hospital, rather than a local hospital.

There’s nothing really wrong with the local hospitals – you will be charged less but you will be charged – but you’re going to have to battle language barriers and waits at a time when you’re not really focussed on anything except how sick you feel. Thai hospitals are great with emergencies – you will not be considered an emergency, no matter how awful you feel.

A better choice would be a local clinic – Google is your best friend here or ask you hotel or someone with some local knowledge.

CAUTION: A lot of people use to take Loperamide aka. ‘Imodium’ when they had diarrhea in the past. Generally medical advice these days is NOT to take these drugs unless you consult a doctor first. Read more HERE.

Rest and time

Your body will use a lot of energy trying to evacuate whatever is making you sick. Sometimes you will wonder where everything coming out of you came from! It’s just a never-ending source of hell. At some stage though it will calm down and your poor body will be exhausted. So rest.

Don’t be afraid to miss out on a couple of days of activities as a result – put your body and recovery ahead of anything. For now you need lots of sleep and rest.

Be a BRAT

For a few days stay off the exotic foods that put you here in the first place. Go bland, go BRAT. The BRAT diet is tried and tested and, whilst not very exciting, will hep the flora of your stomach recover quickly while getting enough nutrients to keep you going.
BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Yeah, bland indeed.

You can add to this fairly palette with other gentle foods – plain biscuits, oatmeal, weak tea, apple juice or flat carbonated drinks (just open them and let them sit for a few hours), bland ‘broth’ soups, boiled potatoes.

Here are foods to avoid during your recovery – milk and dairy, anything fried, greasy, fatty, or spicy, steak, pork, salmon, and sardines, raw veggies, including salad greens, carrot sticks, broccoli, and cauliflower, fruits, such as pineapple, orange, grapefruit, apple, and tomato, very hot or cold drinks, alcohol, coffee, or other drinks containing caffeine. Or Thai food generally!

After a few days on BRAT you can start trying things like soft-cooked eggs, cooked fruits and vegetables, and white meat, like chicken or turkey.

Importantly, until your body has finished getting rid of ‘whatever is ailing you’, don’t eat anything. It will just end up, along with everything else, making a quick journey from one end to the other.

Start drinking flat soda or carbonated drinks, or ‘Gatorade’-style electrolyte drinks (you can powders from any Pharmacy) as soon as you can to keep the body hydrated, even fresh coconut water, (although make sure it is fresh, otherwise you’re going to end up in the toilet).

Dehydration is a big problem following a bout of vomiting and diarrhea so focus on getting some fluids back into your system as soon as you can tolerate it.

Top 10 tips to avoid food poisoning in Thailand, and cures (2019) | News by The Thaiger

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