Peru: Cusco – Cuy

I felt a bit sad when we left Cusco. We had a flight to the Amazon next – which was of course, very exciting – but somehow because it was a flight, it felt more final than if we had left by bus.

Because we’d had a couple of quiet days in Cusco, I had gotten used to pottering around the town, walking the roads from our hotel to the main square, learning to cross the roads like a local (just going for it, basically), finding nice places for Alastair and I to eat, declining offers of massages and Machu Picchu trips from touts, and generally having a very relaxed time.

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Mr Huang Jin

Remember when Melbourne was xiao long bao mad a couple of years ago?

That’s one food trend I’m happy to consume. And when Sarah posted about Mr Huang Jin’s XLBs recently, I was keen to check them out after an average XLB experience the previous week.

Mr Huang Jin are located in the Rialto tower on Collins Street, and haven’t been open for terribly long. And I feel the need to get this out of the way first: they’re not your typical dumpling restaurant where you can eat until you burst for $10. A serve of dumplings at Mr Huang Jin is $18-$20. Is it worth the extra money when you can go to a cheap cheerful place for much, much less? Well: read on.

I rocked up with Alastair and Bro on a warm Wednesday evening. We were the only table, so service was attentive, and very sweet.

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Peru: Cusco – Inkazuela

After the Inca Trail, Alastair and I were both completely Wrecked. With a capital W. Remember the 3.30am start? We didn’t get back to Cusco until 11pm that night. Longest day ever.

We had another day in Cusco after the Trail, and while we probably should’ve used the opportunity to visit the Sacred Valley, the thought of doing stuff and seeing more Inca ruins didn’t exactly fill me with excitement. It’s like the ABC syndrome you get in Europe (Another Bloody Cathedral) – in Peru, it’s the NAIR problem – Not Another Inca Ruin! Oh so sad.

To assuage my slight guilt (trust me, it was only slight), I told myself we’d seen the best Inca ruin in the world, so I called it done.
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Gami Chicken and Beer

A life without fried chicken is a life not worth living.

It’s true.

It’s a shame that fried chicken has been marred by the trashiness of KFC because when it’s done well, it’s a thing of delicious, delicious beauty.

At Gami, which I *finally* visited the other week, they serve Korean fried chicken and beer. While there are other dishes on the menu, with a name like Gami Chicken and Beer, what else would you be there for?

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Taste of Melbourne 2012: opening night

Disclosure: I attended the opening night event preview courtesy of Taste of Melbourne.

Taste of Melbourne is back over the next few days, and tonight I attended a preview of the event with a group of other bloggers. Over several hours, we were shown a little of what’s happening and available this year.

The biggest change for 2012 is the location – previous years have been held at the Royal Exhibition Building, but this year it’s at Albert Park Lake.

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Peru: Inca Trail – Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is Peru’s most visited tourist attraction and I won’t lie – it was the reason we went to South America.

I knew a little bit about the Inca Trail, and from the little I knew, I thought it would be cool to do. But I deliberately didn’t learn too much about it.

I knew it was a four day / three night trek and ended at Machu Picchu, I knew that there would be porters and all we’d have to do is walk, but beyond that most of the details were a surprise. And oh, what a surprise. I was suprised both by how easy AND how difficult it was.

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