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Spilling the Beans: Villa ISSI

in Dining by

Every chef in Elite Havens has his or her signature creations – the ones guests ask for again and again. This month, the chef at Villa Issi shares two of his gourmet dishes with us. Try these recipes at home and get ready to wow your guests at future dinner parties. 

AYAM PELALAH

Shredded organic chicken breast with homemade tomato sauce

Ingredients:

  • 150 gr chicken breast
  • 25 gr bean sprout
  • 5 gr romaine lettuce
  • 10 gr tomatoes, diced
  • 10gr red chillies, diced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 5gr garlic, diced
  • 5gr shallot, diced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 – 3 star fruit slices (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Grill chicken breast for 5 -6 minutes per side.
  2. Transfer chicken breast to a bowl, allow to cool and shred the chicken meat with 2 forks.
  3. To make tomato sauce, heat olive oil in a pan.
  4. Sauté diced tomatoes, garlic, red chillies and shallots.
  5. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
  6. Mix shredded chicken breast and bean sprouts with tomato sauce.
  7. Place romaine lettuce on top of a plate, serve the chicken and garnish with star fruit (if using).

Serves 1

TUNA SAMBAL MATAH

Pan-seared Tuna with shallot, garlic, lemongrass sambal and fresh mango salad.

Ingredients:

  • 200 gr tuna loin
  • 100gr young mango, cut into long thin strips
  • Salt, freshly ground black pepper and paprika powder
  • Sweet chilli dressing
  • 50gr sautéed asparagus
  • Steamed rice wrapped in coconut leaves (optional)

For the sambal:

  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 lemongrass stems, finely chopped
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Preparation:

  1. Season tuna with salt, black pepper, and paprika powder.
  2. Mix the sliced young mango with sweet chilli dressing.
  3. Sear tuna loin on a pan about 5-8 minutes and cut into 4 slices.
  4. To make sambal, mix all the ingredients for sambal in a bowl.

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Galle’s Outdoor Activities

in Recreation by

Located on the south coast of Sri Lanka, Galle is a destination in its own right. Stay in a luxury villa in Galle, such as the superb No. 39 Galle Fort, Ambassador’s House or Villa Pooja Kanda, and you’ll be blessed by having a wealth of attractions and activities on your doorstep.

Galle’s golden beaches are washed by a warm sea where snorkelling, diving, deep sea fishing and surfing are all possible, as well as whale and dolphin watching from November to April. The coastal interior is characterised by paddy fields and palms, and this setting is ripe for explorations on foot, by bicycle, or by canoe, travelling upriver to seek out birds and wildlife.  

Snorkelling and diving

IMAGE CREDIT: MY TOUR IN SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka’s marine life and coral reefs don’t quite live up to other parts of Asia, however it’s still an enjoyable experience nonetheless and easy to organise from Galle. Experienced divers can explore a handful of wrecks lying in deeper water. Marine life in the region includes turtles, reef sharks and coral fish, though the coral around Sri Lanka is generally in a poor condition. Dive sites are better towards Hikkaduwa, where there’s a marine sanctuary. There are a few spots for snorkelling, such as at Unawatuna, Jungle Beach and Hikkaduwa.

Surfing

IMAGE CREDIT: THAMBAPANNI LEISURE

Surfing in Sri Lanka has really taken off in the last couple of years. Many beaches close to Galle, such as Devata, Ahangama and Midigama particularly, as well as Weligama, 45-minutes’ drive east, and Hikkaduwa, 45-minutes’ drive west, are well set up for surfers of all abilities. Devata is the closest beach to Galle, and has emerged recently as a place to learn to surf; its sliver of sand is sprinkled with surf outfits. Weligama has many more surf operators and its wide sandy arc of bay is a much more picturesque setting for beginners. Many of the other locations mentioned, such as Midigama and Ahangama, suit more experienced surfers.

Whale and dolphin watching

IMAGE CREDIT: SRI SHARAVI

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s best places to see the planet’s biggest fish – the blue whale.

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Five of the Best

in Recreation by

We present you the best five (extraordinary) activities you can only experience in Bali.

Be a Rascal

Take a day trip on Rascal – a handcrafted 31-metre phinisi cruiser that launched at the end of 2016.  Hewn from ironwood and teak, Rascal is a luxuriously modern yacht with chic interiors that give a nod the beach house style of The Hampton’s.

Life is a lot more beautiful on Rascal. Image credit: Ultimate Indonesian Yachts

Rascal’s pared back style delivers hospitality of the highest order: among the crew of nine is a talented young chef working the kitchen, which was designed by Bali’s famous Watercress Café’s executive chef Josh Job, and the award-winning mixologist outfit Proof & Company inspired the cocktail list. Onboard, for your leisure and pleasure, is fishing gear, diving equipment and a personal dive manager, two tenders, kayaks, waterskis, a biscuit and a banana boat.

Visit the beguiling island and deserted beaches of Nusa Penida, the hot surf spots of Nusa Lembongan or sip cocktails during a private and romantic sunset cruise. 

More information here.

Flying High

Soaring high above the lush, jungle-carpeted mountains, sparkling crater lakes, dazzling Kuta coastline and active volcanoes that leak steaming sulphur into the atmosphere are just some of the highlights of a helicopter tour in Bali.

Life is better at the top. Image credit: Bali Adventure Sky Tours

This island of the gods is an awe-inspiring visual package, with verdant rice terraces that are so exquisite that UNESCO has marked the region for all-time preservation, set alongside ancient sea temples such a Tanah Lot – perched high on top of a rocky outcrop that’s inaccessible at high tide.

Image credit: Bali Adventure Sky Tours.

More information here.

Mesmerising Sunset Trance Dance of Fire

The Kecak dance is an extraordinary display by 100 or more bare-chested men clad in checkered cloth, sitting in concentric circles, swaying, standing up, lying prone as the story of the Hindu epic – the Ramayana unfolds around a raging fire.

Kecak dance at Uluwatu Temple. Image credit: ewigbalitour

Voices chant in a trance-like rapture while the gamelan beats. A woman is stolen by a demon from her princely husband and the story tells of the challenges the young prince and his brother must overcome to rescue her.

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5 Things You Should Invest In for Your Bali Wedding

in Weddings by

Quality is infinitely better than saving a few bucks.

Your wedding is a momentous and joyous occasion and as you plan your wedding, there are few things you should definitely spend more money on.

Which things are worth the splurge?

1. A Fabulous Venue

We might be biased, but having a stunning wedding venue is one of the most important details of your special day. The venue will play a crucial part in creating the right atmosphere at your wedding and the venue’s style will be key to defining the rest of your wedding theme. From cliff-top locations with 180-degree views of the seas to chic lush tropical gardens, we have a wedding venue for you, your groom and your style. If you’re into traditional Balinese surrounding, private beachfront and magical sunset, Sungai Tinggi Beach Villa ticks all the boxes. The villa’s dedicated events space – a coconut grove directly connected to the sands via a timber walkway, makes an unforgettable setting where you pose for portraits, exchange vows and party. Balinese dances can also be staged in the natural amphitheatre of the grounds.

Other recommended beachfront venues: Atas Ombak, Villa Batujimbar, The Anandita, Arnalaya Beach House and Taman Ahimsa.

 2. A Wedding Planner

We are not saying that it is impossible to organise your wedding on your own, but the right wedding planner can save you money, expenses AND the stress. The wedding planner takes care of it all for you and ensures that each last detail and your requirements are met – a key to having a successful wedding in Bali. You should focus on being present at the happiest day of your life, and not stressed for making timely decisions in trying to make everything perfect. From photographers, DJs, flowers, cakes, flowers, you name it and an experienced wedding planner will help make them come true. 

3. Professional Hair and Make-up artist

This is your special day and you want to look flawless. High-quality makeup will make you look your best in your wedding photos and most importantly, last through your entire wedding day (especially in Bali’s hot and humid weather). Bridal makeup done by professionals will neither smudge nor sweat off and you will look amazing even after the last dance. 

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Guilt-free Gastronomy: Healthy Eating in Phuket

in Dining by

Phuket has a bit of a reputation as the place for parties and play. Yet, in line with the global trend to travel in pursuit of health and wellness, it is also emerging as a tropical island getaway to restore the body and mind. Yoga, wellness and detox centres are popping up all over the island and a growing number of restaurants are promoting good health as well as good taste in their quest to attract diners.

Santosa Wellness Centre, found on the hillside overlooking Kata Bay, is one such place offering several mind-body workshops and a restaurant serving creative raw, vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Santosa’s colourfully presented dishes, such as ‘summer rolls’ stuffed with fresh coconut meat and a mix of vegetables, are as eye-catching as they are delicious, and they also offer regular Saturday buffet dinners for healthy grazing with sunset views.

Other leading-edge restaurants attached to wellness centres include Atsumi Raw Café near Rawai Beach (Indonesian gado gado wrap, raw pad thai, smoothies), Divine at Thanyapura Sports Centre in Thalang near the airport (organic gourmet cuisine and biodynamic wines), and Supernatural at Atmanjai Wellness Spa on Friendship Beach (raw vegetable lasagne, power broth soup, raw chocolate mousse).

Though the practice of cleansing and avoiding meat as a way to restore health is gaining wider appeal around the world, it’s not a new concept for many Phuket locals. The annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival dates back nearly 200 years, when members of a visiting Chinese circus troupe fell ill and embarked on a ten-day cleansing rite that included a vegan diet, refraining from sex and alcohol, and performing some rather shocking rituals such as skewering their faces and walking over mounds of fiery hot coals (reportedly adopted from the Hindu festival of Thaipusam).

A number of vegetarian restaurants run year-round, too, with a handful of shops near the Chinese shrines along Ranong Road in Phuket Town serving up fresh and healthful local dishes. One of the best is Ruamjai Vegetarian Restaurant, with a buffet breakfast and lunch that brings in crowds of locals and travellers daily. Just wander in and point to two or three dishes, such as massaman curry or tofu and bean sprout stir-fry, from the large display pots and they’ll put them on a plate of brown rice for you.

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