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Borneo

🚌 Sarawak – island of Borneo

🚌 Sabah – island of Borneo (soon) 

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Sarawak – island of Borneo

Sarawak Borneo will amaze you with its culture and natural beauty. The Island of Borneo has probably one of the most richest and diverse ecosystems I ever seen, but unfortunately many of its forests have been lost for oil palm, putting wildlife and people in danger.

I started my trip in the capital Kuching and I used bus, boat, motorbike, bicycle, and mini vans to travel, this are the places I visited :

🚌 Kuching  / Santubong peninsula / Bako National Park / Semenggoh Nature Reserve/ Bau / Kubah National Park

Explore Kuching and it’s old colonial charm by foot, loosing yourself in its magnificent streets from china town, indian neighbourhood and the river front. I highly recommend you to visit the museums they are really good, look up for street art and don’t miss the sunset in the river front.

To visit the other side of the river, get one of the local boats (1RM each side), go for a walk,  enjoy the view and try a traditional Kek Lapis (layer cake).

In Kuching you can rent a motor bike in the city for 40RM a day to explore the the small villages around including Santubong Peninsula, a nice  quite town with great views and beaches.

I went to the Matang wildlife centre but I don’t recommend it at all, they may do a good job at rescuing and helping the animals but they are all in small cages, I found it quite depressing.

We got the red bus nÂș1 stopped in front of the open market in Kuching to Bako National Park (3.50RM) the park entry is 20 RM, and the boat 40RM both ways (runs from 8 to 15h). You defenetly need to spend at least a day there and do a couple of trails. The park as beautiful mangrove swamp, luxurious rainforest, streams, waterfalls, and if you’re lucky (like me ) you may see proboscis monkeys in their native habitats. This park has an incredible biodiversity, which includes almost every vegetation type in Borneo.

We went to Semenggoh Nature Reserve to see semi-wild orangutans in their natural habitat for that we got a bus from Kuching (4RM) at 7:20 from the open market stop. Once in the reserve you need to walk to the feeding point, the entry is 10RM. Be aware that you may not be lucky enough to see them.  They have 2 hour-long feedings, 9am to 10am and from 3pm to 4pm.

Next stop was Bau, the bus from Kuching  takes an hour,  the bus is an old one so expect a sweaty journey (4.5RM). Bau is a small clean and organised town, has a good market, food court and a Chinese temple that deserves a visit.

Once in Bau we realised that was difficult to find public transports to take us to the different caves so we started walking and hitch-hiked. Hitchhiking was safe and we meet really nice and interesting people. We visited the fairy cave (5RM), a really nice and impressive open mountain cave, no light needed. then we took another lift to the wind cave Nature reserve (5RM) for this one you need a torch, there is plenty to see and lots and lots of bats.

If you plan to come buck to Kuching by bus, the last one departs at 3:20, but never trust the bus schedules 🙂 they often leave early.

To go from Kuching to Kubah National Park, get the bus K21 (4RM) and its an hour ride.The entry is 20RM. The park is gorgeous with lots of hills, ups and downs, I personally found it quite tiering, so get your legs ready. The park offers several trails from one hour to several hours, you can’t buy food or water in the park, so bring something. I did  a couple of trails including the trail to the waterfall where you can get refreshed  and visited the frog pond. The last bus the kuching is at 1:30 but if it doesn’t appear you will have mini bus passing and you can ask them to stop (5RM)

Sarawak is not known for its beaches, I went to Damai beach but I don’t recommend it at all.

 

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a Vegan in Sarawak – island of Borneo

Sarawak’s food is just amazing, and the only problem you will have being a vegan is not to gain 10kg 🙂

Kuching 

đŸŒ±Sin Wei Tong cafe – has a vegetarian stall, great food around 5RM per dish. some dishes have egg but can request without.

đŸŒ±Shun son yen – vegetarian restaurant  by kilo, with delicious food and fresh juices I paid around 15RM for my meal. Make sure you go early to have all the option still available because the food goes quickly. You can try a bit of everything.

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đŸŒ±Â water front –  there are food stalls and restaurants that have great vegan options.

đŸŒ±Zhen Xiang Zhai, delicious food and a good place to try the Sarawak laksa, they close at 3pm. A meal with drinks will cost around 15RM can can choose from the buffet or order off their menu.

đŸŒ±open marker – lovelly local place to explore.

đŸŒ±Food fair, at the time you are visiting Kuching check if they have a food fair, they have all kinds of food, but be prepared for a crowded place.

Bau

đŸŒ±Bau food court– One of the food stalls serves exclusively great vegan food but other stall still have a few options, have a look and ask around.

Other food in the region

💚Seri Muka – Malaysian sweet with rice with pandas leavesimg_1804

💚Steamed Buns –  easily find any food markets and street stalls. They have vegetarian fillings like – sweet been past,  Kaya, Pandan or black sesame paste.

💚Kendal, dessert made with coconut milk, green jelly noodles (rice flour)

💚ABC, made out of shaved ice and a variety of ingredients such as red beans, fruit, sweet corn, grass jelly, etc..

💚Ondeh-Ondeh, glutinous rice flour dumplings filled with ‘gula Melaka’

💚Sticky coconut rice with palm sugar and mango

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💚Fruit and Vegetables, don’t miss it …

💚Other treats

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

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Vegan in Mozambique

I don’t really want to demotivate anyone, but if you’re a vegan travelling in Mozambique you’re going to have a hard time.

1383915_10200673552109384_560808564_nAs you know they have a famous cuisine and are one of the best countries in Africa foodwise, but is all about tiger prawns, seafood, fresh fish and chicken.

I traveled from north to south only by public transports and thought lots of rural areas, where there isn’t any infrastructures, restaurants, cafes, food stall or surprisedly not even many street markets. So you are asking the same question I did, where and what to eat?

If you are in a rural area, you need to rely on the local people and what they can do for you, but communication can be a big problem, because if they don’t speak Portuguese (what is possible and probable) they will speak one of the 43 langues spoken in the country (yes you read well 43..)

If you are in place that has a “restaurant” you will do all your meals there and again, struggling with communication, try to explain what you can eat and understand what they have. Maputo is the exception,  has good options, and its easy to find your way around.

Mozambique was colonised by Portugal in 1505, their cuisine has been deeply influenced by the Portuguese. One of the most eaten dishes is ncima a thick porridge made with ground  maize and water, in my opinion just serves the propose of giving you energy.. its tasteless, but vegan 🙂

Here is a list of some vegan dishes that I came across:

  • Mucapata– rice with coconut, absolutely delicious, very common in Mozambique island.
  • Xiguinha – Made with cassava and cacana leaves, common in Inhambane province.
  • PĂŁo – white bread rolls, you can find it in any market baked in wood-fired ovens in villages.
  • Matapa – made from stewed cassava leaves, ground peanuts, garlic and coconut milk, more likely to get it if you end up staying with locals.
  • Collard Greens in Oil – it’s a sautĂ© of onions and collard greens.
  • Chamusas – triangle shaped pastries, asked for the potato ones.
  • Cassava with Red Sauce – sauce made with fresh tomatoes, green peppers, onions, garlic and  oil
  • Rice and Beans – its a very common dish.
  • Mucuane – with boiled cassava leaves, tomatoes, coconut milk, ask if is made with shrimp or Cashews.
  • Quiabo a Zambiana  Okra
  • fresh sugarcane juice
  • pĂŁo de sura – it’s a coconut sweet bread more typical in the Inhambane province
  • Cashews  – they have nut trees growing all over the place. You’ll see people selling bags of cashews on the side of the road and on the beach. they sell while plain, roasted peri peri, roasted salt.
  • Fruits and vegetables– fruit and veggies are available at markets and on the sides of roads all over the country, depending on the season you can find good papayas, coconuts, mangoes. Avocados okra and collard greens  are also seasonal, avacados only in season for a few short weeks. Others, like tomatoes, cassava or beans, are available year-round.  Green peppers, onions, and bananas, seem to go through recurring phases.

    photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

🚌 If you are planning to visit Mozambique, or if you are just curious.. check the post about my trip – Mozambique.. it’s maningue nice 

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Mozambique.. it’s maningue nice

Maningue Nice is a popular local expression that I heard many times mostly outside the capital city Maputo, “maningue” meaning  very, and no doubt that Mozambique is a “very nice” place to visit, but not as pleasant to leave, although all it’s natural resources the majority of the population leaves in poverty with less than $1.25 per day.

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-21-09-07I travel through Mozambique for nearly a mouth, I flew to Maputo and then to Pemba (north of the country) where I started my trip.

🚌Pemba / Nacala / Moçambique Island / Nampula /Pebane / Quelimane / Beira / Vilankulos /Inhambane/ Tofo / Chidenguele/ Maputo 

I traveled from north to south always by local buses and small vans called chappas, what is part of the authentic Mozambique experience, and remember that here the journey is more important than the destination.

Even if you are doing a long journey, the bus will be chaotic packed with people, bags, animals, and everything else that you can imagine, and not enough sits for everybody, If a chappa carry 15 people, they somehow manage to fill them with at least 25 people and a few chickens 🙂

You can’t use a chap to  travel if you are in a rush, there is no timetables, and they leave when they are full.. and forget everything you’ve learned about road safety ….. and pray…. it is frequente to see drivers drinking and smoking while driving, there is no speed limit, the state of the vehicles is horrendous, and what does the word “seat belts” means, right?!

When you are traveling by bus, at least will never get hungry, because the driver will stop many many times in the middle of nowhere, and a dozen of people will appear with all sort of things to sell through the bus windows. Basically they do a 2 in 1, travel and shopping. So don’t push for me about the smell 🙂

If you asked me for 3 words to describe my journeys, I would say: slow, smelly and chaotic. Patience and tolerance is much needed for this long and sweaty journeys.

I stopped at the main cities, but traveled mostly through the rural areas, where people never had seen many tourists or speak much Portuguese, surprisedly communication was a problem, despite Portuguese be the national oficial language, not many people speak it outside the main cities. Mainly because Mozambique is a poor country where the access to school is very limited.

The Mozambique Island, was a former Portuguese trading-post on the route to India and it’s the only place in the country  part of the UNESCO World Heritage.


Maputo it’s different from the rest of the country, it’s a developed city with all the basic infrastructures, some preserved colonial-style architecture, it’s culturally dynamic, and with a rich night life. You can discover Maputo by walking around the Baixa, losing yourself in the streets. The city does have a lot of petty crime, especially once it’s dark, and tourist/foreigners are on the spot. I wouldn’t  recommend walking around the city after dark alone.

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It’s not uncommon to be harassed by  workers, drivers or even the police. A foreigner is likely to be targeted by police trying to extort money, so always carry your passport, and don’t  pay if you haven’t done anything wrong,otherwise you are giving them incentive to hassle the next traveller.

Mozambique has a  rich culture and much to offer if you like to explore, meet people, do outdoors activities and be in contact with nature. I  definitely recommend a visit and hope you enjoy it!

Be kind, patience and enjoy the small things in life…<3

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

đŸŒ± Information and testimony about being a vegan in Mozambique – Vegan in Mozambique

Sweet potato chocolate cookies (bolinhos de batata doce e chocolate)

 

img_1475This recipe is vegan, gluten, sugar and fat free and still DELICIOUS  uses only a few ingredients it’s easy to prepare and will surprise you.

  • 100g dates
  • 200g water
  • 340/350g sweet potatoes (steamed and mashed)
  • 30g  cocoa
  • 80g oat flour
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 handfuls raisins (or to taste)
  • 2 handfuls sunflower seed and/or nuts (to taste)

Put all the ingredients (less the raisins) in food processor or blender and process until pureed. Add the raisins and sunflower seed and mix until just combined.

Spoon the cookie dough, by the heaping tablespoonful, onto prepared baking sheets non-stick baking sheetand bake for  25 to 35 minutes at 200°C.

Remove the cookies from oven and allow to rest and cool down.

These cookies are not crispy they are soft in the middle.

 

PT:

Esta receita Ă© vegan, sem glĂșten, açĂșcar e gordura e mesmo assim Ă© super DELICIOSA.

  • 100 g tĂąmaras 
  • 200 g de ĂĄgua
  • 340 / 350g de batata-doce (cozida e esmagada)
  • 30g de cacau
  • 80g de farinha de aveia
  • 1 c.de sopa de canela
  • 2 mĂŁos cheias de  passas (a gosto)
  • 2 mĂŁos cheias de sementes de girassol e / ou frutos secos (a gosto)

Colocar todos os ingredientes (menos as passas e as sementes/frutos secos) no processador de alimentos ou liquidificador e processar até obter uma massa homogénea. Adicionar as passas e as sementes de girassol/frutos secos e misturar.

Com a ajuda de uma colher, colocar pequenas porçÔes de massa num tabuleiro de forno forrado com papel vegetal e deixar cozer por 25 a 35 minutos a 200 ° C.
Retire os biscoitos do forno e deixe descansar e arrefecer.

Estas bolachas não são estaladiças  são  bastante suaves no meio.

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Deliscious Easy Homemade Dried Tomatoes in the Microwave (tomates secos no micro-ondas, fĂĄcil e delicioso)

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I’m really enthusiastic about this recipe, since I mastered the technique I never bought sun-dried tomatoes again, the ones you can do at home have the same authentic delectable taste.

  • 6 tomatoes
  • 3-4 sliced garlic cloves
  • herbs like oregano,  rosemary, basil to taste
  • olive oil

Wash and dry the tomatoes.Cut them in halves, scoop out seeds and excess liquid with a spoon. Put them directly on the microwave carousel  without touching each other (cut-side up). Microwave, uncovered, on high for 3 minutes, then remove any excess liquid. Repeat this operation as many times as you need (time will vary depending on size of tomatoes and microwave ) but will be around 7 -8 times.

When they are dried out (but still soft) allow them to cool, they will dry out more once cooled.

When the tomatoes are cool, place them in a clean glass jar and layer with the sliced garlic and herbs,  Cover with Olive oil. They can be stored for months.

Use your tomatoes in pasta, on toast,  bread dough, green salads, hummus, homemade crackers, pizza, stir fry, pasties, etc..

PT:

Desde que comecei a secar tomates, nunca mais comprei no supermercado, na minha opinião ficam tão ou mais saborosos,  mais baratos, e podem ser adaptados ao nosso gosto.

  • 6 tomates
  • 3-4 dentes de alho finamente cortado
  • ervas aromĂĄticas (orgĂŁos, tomilho, manjericĂŁo, louro..) a gosto
  •  azeite

Começar por lavar bem os tomates, cortå-los ao meio e retirar as sementes. Colocar os tomates directamente no prato do micro-ondas, com a parte cortada virada para cima.

Levar ao micro-ondas na potĂȘncia maxima por 3 minutos. Retire o excesso do lĂ­quido e repetir a operação por mais 6 -7 vezes sensivelmente, pois depende sempre do tamanho do tomate e do quĂŁo maduro ele estĂĄ (ajustar o numero de vez no momento, atĂ© que fiquem relativamente secos). Deixar arrefecer para acabar de secar.

Num fraco de vidro fazer camadas  de alho, tomate, ervas aromåticas e azeite. Guardar no frigorifico e deixar repousar pelo menos por 1 dia  para que apure o sabor.

Os tomates secos ficam Ăłptimos em pratos de massa, no pĂŁo, saladas, hummus, bolachas  pizza, salteados, tortas, patĂȘs , etc.

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