7 Incredibly Interesting Facts About Sushi That You Probably Don’t Know

7 Incredibly Interesting Facts About Sushi That You Probably Don't Know

1. Sushi grade fish that is suitable to be eaten raw must be frozen for 7 days at -4 Degrees Farenheit or flash frozen for 15 hours at -31 Degree Celsius. 

2. " Sushi" refers to rice that has been seasoned with vinegar, sugar and salt. It does not refer to raw fish.

3. In Japan, sushi is considered to be a type of fast food.

4. Sushi is meant to be eaten with hands traditonally and chopsticks are reserved for sashimi.

5. When eating, dip the fish part of sushi into soya sauce and not the rice.

6. When eating sushi, do not drench it in soya sauce. You are supposed to only lightly dip it in soya sauce to appreciate it's natural flavour.

7. The blade of a sushi knife belonging to a professional sushi chef is sharpened everyday like the knife of a Samurai soldier.

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The Arts Scene in Barcelona

The Arts Scene in Barcelona

When you think about the art scene in Barcelona, most people would only think of Antoni Gaudi and his great architectural feats, or Picasso and his iconic art. While Gaudi’s work did play a major role in shaping Barcelona’s ever-evolving art scene, and Picasso is an art icon in his own right, there is definitely more to Barcelona’s art scene than these two great artists. Here are some of the best art pieces to look for if you are on the hunt for some iconic art in Barcelona, aside from Gaudi’s buildings and the Picasso museum.

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Fernando Botero’s The Fat Cat Sculpture

Built by famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero, the “El Gato del Raval” or “El Gato de Botero”, is certainly a sculpture that cannot be missed. The iconic oversized cat located in Barcelona’s La Rambla del Raval has been seen around Barcelona since 1987. Initially calling other areas in Barcelona, like the Parc de la Ciutadella its home, the sculpture finally moved to its current location in 2003. Thousands of tourists visit this beautiful masterpiece daily to take pictures or to even climb onto its back!

[BARCELONA-FLAVOURS https://www.bonappetour.com/s/Barcelona–Barcelona–Spain?lat=41.38506389999999&lng=2.1734034999999494]

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Rebecca Horn’s L’estel Ferit

Also known as “Homenatge a la Barceloneta” or “The Wounded Star”, this masterpiece was created in 1992 by German visual artist Rebecca Horn. Located on the Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, a 1.25km promenade from La Barceloneta to Port Olímpic, the 10-meter high sculpture reflects the past developments of the Barceloneta district. From a run down outlier to a bustling metropolitan area, the four steel boxes stacked on top of each other, aids in showcasing just how far the Barceloneta district has come.

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Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Matches

Known locally as “Els mistos”, this oversized sculpture is one of the most iconic pieces of art that decorates the streets of Barcelona. Designed and produced in 1992 by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, a Scandinavian couple, this 22-meter high sculpture was part of the large-scale redevelopment efforts that took the streets of Barcelona, in preparation for the Summer Olympics that was held that year. This sculpture is now located at the former Olympic site of the Vall d'Hebrón, a mere 30 minutes away from the city center.

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Frank Gehry’s “Fish” Sculpture

This 52m long sculpture is one of the most unique landmarks located on Barcelona’s seafront. Also known as “El Peix”, Gehry’s masterpiece is one of the best known and most striking landmarks on Barcelona’s seafront. The gold facade of the sculpture certainly makes a statement, as the sun catches perfectly on its surface, allowing it to glisten and shine during the day. This was another sculpture that was part of the redevelopment efforts in Barcelona for the 1992 Summer Olympics. Both beautiful and functional, the “Fish” sculpture also serves as a canopy that links the renowned Hotel Arts to the seafront.

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Agbar Tower

A stark contrast from the traditional stonework that Barcelona houses, this 38 storey polished aluminum skyscraper is located at the entrance to Barcelona’s new technological and business district, [email protected] Said to be shaped after a geyser and the hills of Montserrat, the “Torre Agbar” also reflects the architectural legacy left behind by Gaudi, with references made to the bell towers his unfinished church, the Sagrada Familia. The 142-meter building lights up every night, according to a certain schedule (that can found on their official website) with special light shows made available on certain holidays like New Year’s Eve. Aside from being a spectacular piece of architecture in Barcelona, the Agbar Tower is also extremely eco-friendly, with it receiving the green building award from the European Council in 2011.

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Street Performers

Art in Barcelona definitely transcends physical and visual art, with its streets being constantly filled with performers from all walks of life. From human statues to singers, and even dancers, talented individuals can be easily found on every corner of the city. Street performers are especially prominent in La Rambla, a famous walking avenue in the heart of Barcelona. However, with new restrictions put into place, the avenue can only host a maximum of 15 performers at a time.

Art can be easily found in all sorts of shapes and forms in Barcelona. From architecture dating back to the last century, to new modern masterpieces, art is certainly something Barcelona is not short of. As this is just a brief excerpt of what Barcelona has to offer, do check out our other posts to learn more about this beautiful city and how to have the best vacation during your stay there.

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What Makes Mom’s Dinner So Special?

What Makes Mom’s Dinner So Special?

Sometimes a mother’s biggest legacy is her recipes, and they are also a family’s most precious inheritance. Our mothers have often sacrificed their money and the little time they have to make sure the family has a homely and hearty meal on the table. Author Mitch Albom put it perfectly when he wrote “I don't know what it is about food your mother makes for you, especially when it's something that anyone can make – pancakes, meatloaf, tuna salad – but it carries a certain taste of memory.”

The inextricable link between memory and taste is a strong argument for why a mother’s meal is so special, and why you proudly say “this was my mother’s recipe”. But it also goes beyond the realms of what science can explain, it is the healing power of your mother’s chicken soup when you had the flu, the love poured into her famous apple pie and the taste of home in every brownie.

A local newspaper asked children what made their moms so special and 50%, or 8 out of 16 of the children mentioned food, meals and their mother’s cooking. We were inspired by this to find out more, and turned to our hosts, many of whom are mothers looking to share their home-cooked food and give travellers a taste of what “home” and a mother’s love means in another country. Here are some of the responses:

Our host Regina from Singapore is a mother to two children, Avril and Nicholas, she told us that “motherhood has made me a better person in many ways; having more patience, empathy, selflessness and true unconditional love”. Her children were eager to talk about their mom’s cooking and said they love it because “it is delicious and healthy…A comfort food that never gets boring because mom is such a creative cook”. They also mentioned another factor in what makes a mother’s meal so special, which is the excuse to “spend time together as a family”.

On motherhood, our BonAppetour host, Francesca said “Having a son when I was so young made me mature, and become more responsible before other girls of my age, but at the same time it made me feel so enthusiastic and curious about life as a child. My son and me grew up together and often we are more like brother and sister rather than mother and son!” For Francesca’s son it was purely the fact that the food was made by his mom, and that was why it was so special “my mum's food is the best, she always cooks with fresh ingredients and I love her simplicity in the kitchen. Her food is so special because she's my mum and she’s the best!”

 

We do not know whether mom’s cooking is so special because it is made with a handful of love, a pinch of protection and heaps of care or because of the memories we make around the dinner table. But what we do know is that home is always where mom is.

What makes your mom’s dinner so special? Let us know if the comments below for your chance to treat your mom to a mother’s meal with one of our hosts around the world.

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The Little Sparrow: Walk in the Footsteps of Edith Piaf

The Little Sparrow: Walk in the Footsteps of Edith Piaf

 

When Edith Piaf comes to mind, I think about her passion, her determination, the carefree spirit of her younger days, and this undying spirit of constantly seeking greatness. Her life story is no doubt one of the most classical rags to riches stories out there! But yet, it is also one that I hold so close to my heart.

Read on to find out where you can go to relive The Little Sparrow's journey to stardom. To discover more about Edith's home and district in Paris join local Allison who is an expert on Paris' 20th district, after following in Edith's footsteps you can eat some must try french food in Allison's home based restaurant in Paris!

For all the global fame she achieved – that distinctive potent voice, soused in 3am smokiness; ballads like “La Vie En Rose” and “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” – she was very much a figure whose tale was pinned to the French capital.

Edith was born in a doorway at 72 rue de Belleville in the 20th arrondissement on the 19th of December 1915 , 7 days before christmas! She might have just been the gift sent down from heaven! Above the worn out marble doorstep is a plague that reads, ''dont la voix, plus tard, devait bouleverser le monde'' which says how her voice would go on to move the world. Edith did not just go on to move the world with her voice, but brought inspiration to many and continues to do so even today. 

How her singing career started was when she was touring the country with her father. He was a contortionist working for the circus that later went on to street performance. The story goes that one day Edith’s dad pushed his young daughter, Edith, to the front of the crowd and said ‘PERFORM’ and that was when she started singing as the audience looked at her in awe. At that moment, Edith found within her this immediate passion for singing not just for survival but because her voice was being heard. 

Hold me close
and hold me fast 
this magic spell you cast 
this is La Vie En Rose 
— Edith Piaf – La Vien En Rose 

One of the first few cafes that Edith sang in was the Aux Folies, which is still around today! She sang at Aux Folies in between performing as a street musician with her father. You can head over there for a breakfast and sit on their terrace soaking in the morning Paris air.

Here is the address: 8 rue de Belleville, 75020, +33 6 14 17 91 33, aux-folies-belleville.fr. Open daily 7am-2am

As she started singing, Edith and her best friend Simone ‘’Momone’’ Berteaut, earned enough to take a room at the Grand Hotel de Clermont, at 18 Rue Veron on Montmartre’s lower slopes which is still there today. It was a place where the both of them stayed for four years in cramped conditions! It should really be a sight to see for it is one of those structures that still retains remanents of the old gritty Paris – low ceilings and walls covered with fresco, paintings on ageless walls and jazz bars just around the corners. 

"I was hungry. I was cold. But I was also free. Free not to get up in the morning, not to go to bed at night, free to get drunk if I liked, to dream… to hope." — Edith Piaf 

But her career really took off when Edith was singing along the street one day and Louis Leplée' found her (1935). He then invited her to take singing classes and after which put her on stage to sing to rooms full of people. Edith then obtained her famous moniker: The Little Sparrow. Visit what used to be Louis Leplée's cabaret, Le Gerny's, at 54, rue pierre charron, in the 8th arrondissement

The next place to visit would be the Metro Porte de Bagnolet, a square that was named after Edith in 1978. It was redeveloped in 2003, to mark the fortieth anniversary of her death, and now you can see a statue of Edith which was erected in the square. 

To sing is to bring to life; impossible if the words are mediocre, however good the music — Edith Piaf

After which make your way down to the Edith Piaf Museum. It used to be a tiny flat where she once lived in and was turned into a museum run by Bernard Marchois who has been a longtime fan of Edith. It is only open three days a week (Monday to Wednesday) from 1pm to 6pm and you need to call before you come! The museum is marked only by a small plaque: Les Amis d’Edith Piaf, with the advisory that it’s only by appointment; the telephone number is below.  The walls of the museum are dressed with photos and portraits of the singer and there are life sized cut outs of the diminutive singer, the boxing gloves of the famous Marcel and many more! It is definitely a must visit! 

Next up, is the Moulin Rougue where in 1944, Edith met Ivo Livi who turned out to be one of her great lovers and used to sing at her shows. (he was also romantically involved with other high profile celebrities such as Simone Signoret and Marilyn Monroe). The Mounlin Rouge is known as a cabaret that was founded and built in 1889 and ever since then it has been coined the modern birthplace of can-can which is a seductive dance which then later turned into a form of entertainment. Today, it still retains its antiquity and atmosphere for a place of entertainment for guest all of over the world. This is an absolute must-see and must-go… book a reservation and be ready to be blown off your feet. 

My troubles, my pleasures
I don't need them anymore
Swept away my past loves
With their tremors
Swept away for always
I start again from zero
— Edith Piaf – Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

By now, you should be feeling hungry! Opposite the Moulin Rougue between the supermarket and the steakhouse restaurant take the rue Pierre-Fontaine, until you get to the rue Mansart. You will be able to see A la Cloche D’Or. This was the restaurant where Edith used to dine with Marcel Cerdan. 

For those of you who have watched the movie La Vien En Rose, Edith Piaf's biopic starring Marion Cotillard (who received an oscar award for her performance), this next destination should strike a cord with you. The scene where Edith wrote a song for her lover, Marcel after getting the news of his tragic plane crash and wanted to so badly sing it for everyone to hear but did not make it to the end of the song and collapsed on the stage. L’Olympia, the legendary concert hall built in 1893 and has since then served as a theatre, cinema and concert hall that was launched in 1954, was where Edith was invited to sing on the stage. 

When he takes me in his arms, and speaks to me softly, I see the world through rose-colored glasses. — Edith Piaf 

 After Marcel's death, Edith went spiralling into a hole of alcohol and drugs. The last placed where she lived was at 67 boulevard Lannes, the 16th arrondissement. It was in that exact house, on the first floor where she wrote the song Je ne regrette rien in 1960. 

Last but not least, her resting place. Edith passed away on the 10th October 1963 in Grasse at the age of 47, but her death was officially announced on 11 October 1963 in Paris. She was buried a few days later, on the 14th of October together with her cuddly toy rabbit in the cemetary Père Lachaise, situated in the 20th arrondissement (the same arrondissement she was born in). Other "residents" of this feted Paris cemetery include – of course – Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. Piaf lies in a plot which reads "Famille Gassion-Piaf" – alongside her infant daughter, her father and her second husband Theo Sarapo. The tomb is found in the south-east corner of the cemetery, on Transversale 3 – between Avenue Circulaire and Avenue Pacthod.

I want to make people cry even when they don't understand my words — Edith Piaf 

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