Best of the Maldives: Indian Tempura – Velaa

Velaa - Indian tempura

Lori’s not a big fan of sushi, so when we go eat Japanese (which with our son Chase’s interest in Japan is not that uncommon), she always opts for the tempura. And it is one of my favourite dishes as well. Fried food without the heaviness of most western fry-ups because the rice flour lightens the batter. While originally a staple of Japanese fare, it’s made its way onto the tables of other cuisines (our local Thai serves a delightful tempura squid). But despite two decades of travelling to the Indian Ocean, I had never sampled Indian Tempura until our visit to Velaa. And not only was it something new, it was something exquisite. The “Indian” style adds turmeric to the batter, which is a bit firmer. And the item was “Soft Shell Crab with Tamarind Chutney” ($38) which was a distinctive fare in any style.

As it happens, this recipe was featured at another resort, Coco Bodu Hithi’s gourmet extravaganza “Savour 2015”, gut this was a one off event.

Coco Bodu Hithi - crab tempura

Best of the Maldives: Curry Station – JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru - curry station

The Maldives Sub-Continental location means that the region dish of “curry” is a traditional staple. But, a curry varies widely not just in different recipes, but also in different countries. Living in England, Indian curry is time honoured tradition, but lately I’ve become more struck by the fragrant coconut and coriander tastes of Thai curries.

I don’t think I’ve seen a resort that hasn’t served a curry as a part of its buffet selection. But JA Manafaru serves all the curries. Well, at least all the ones I knew about.

Its main restaurant offers a Curry Station which has the following styles of curry…

  • Sri Lankan
  • Maldivian
  • Kerala
  • Indonesia
  • Thai
  • Indian Molee

And they are not sitting there pre-made but rather their chefs prepare them for you fresh to order (see photo). And as such you can tailor them to your own liking choosing the sauce, the meat (chicken, lamb, seafood) and how spicy you like it. In fact, the curry is so fresh that the curry leaves grown in the chef’s herb garden on the island.

Best of the Maldives: Thai Boxing – Centara Ras Fushi

 

Today is a double holiday in Thailand – both the King’s Birthday, honouring Thai tradition and culture, and Fathers Day. The latter is more than a card occasion and is marked by this official holiday.

Someone who will be marking the day is Prasit Latsila Sujith K.V. from Phuket who teaches yoga, tai chi, and Pilates at Centara Ras Fushi. He also teaches the ideal sport for today – Thai Kick Boxing.

As it happens, Thai boxing skills are typically “passed down through the generations” according to Prasit and he learned the art from his father. He competed when he was young and studied it at university.

Another curious fact about Thai Boxing (or Thai Kick Boxing) is that it is the second biggest sport in Thailand. One of the first things I learned running Piero (sport television graphics) is that “Football” is the #1 sport in nearly every country in the world (“American Football” in USA, “Aussie Rules football in Australia, and “Soccer” football everywhere else). The variety comes in which sport is the second most popular. Motor Racing, Basketball, Ice Hockey and Rugby are the most common “2nd sports”. Thai Kick Boxing is one of the rare solo seconds, ie. the only country where the sport is #2 (another example of a “solo second” is Netball in New Zealand and Squash in Egypt).

Prasit offers regular and requested classes at the waterside yoga pavilion which is part of the resort spa (see photos). A session starts with the “Ram Muay” which is a “show of respect to the teacher” and a warm-up. And today in Thailand, is one big “Ram Muay” for wisdom imparting fathers everywhere.

มีความสุขวันพ่อ

Centara Ras Fushi - thai boxing 3

Centara Ras Fushi - thai boxing 2

‘Tis the Season

Maldives season graphic 1

Whale Shark season, Manta season, Whale Shark season, Manta season…

When (and where) to see Whale Sharks and Mantas are right up there in the Top 10 List of Frequently Asked Questions about the Maldives. A number of answers abound on the web especially in the TripAdvisor Maldives Forum, but none so illustrative as Moosa Fulhu’s 3 slides posted on the “Marine Biology in the Maldives” Facebook page.

May all your seasons bring tidings of majestic pelagics.

Maldives season graphic 2

Best of the Maldives: Swimming Wheelchair – Kurumba

Kurumba - swimming wheelchair 2

Today is International Day for Persons with Disabilities. The subject is a bit personal to us as I am currently coaching para-rowing and Lori works with disabled clients for the Epilepsy Society of the UK. The versatility of materials and miniaturization of components has led to an inflection point in disability adaptations that remove countless obstacles that previously impeded impaired individuals.

Like those visiting paradise and wanting to soak in all of its magic including its sparking lagoons. Kurumba is already the resort leader in accessibility, and they have added even more to their support with swimming wheelchairs. Not only designed (with big wheels) to move easily across the soft sands of the beaches, but also to continue right into the water.

Kurumba - swiming wheel chair 1

Why Don’t I Do It (make money)?

No messge here

“Amateurs in any discipline are the best, if you can connect with them. Unlike dilettantes, career professionals are to knowledge what prostitutes are to love.” – Nassim Taleb

The bigger Maldives Complete gets, the more often I get asked not just “Why do you do it?”, but also “Why don’t you monetise it??” I don’t have any big hang ups about “selling out” or making a return on quality, hard work. But money is simply not my motivation for the Maldives Complete. Every decision comes with a cost (even if that decision does include a pay out). For me right now, the potential benefit simply doesn’t outweigh the costs to me of “going professional” which would entail keeping stakeholders happy, cluttering the screen, and raising questions of objectivity with my readers.

Maldives Complete-ly by the Numbers 4

Maldives Site Summary 2015

7th Anniversary for Maldives Complete. Another year and a bit more “complete”. Not only do I get more and more data for the databases as well as a flurry of new “Best of the Maldives” pieces, 2015 introduced even more major additions to the site…

  • Dive Site Database – Biggest collection of Maldives dive sites on the Internet.
  • Beauty Database – A comprehensive catalogue of the celebrities, models, pageant queens, and lifestyle bloggers with their photogenic portrayals of paradise in the increasingly Instagrammer age. 105 resorts of the 118 active (89%) now feature a fashion beauty who has graced their property.

I also was able to find time and resources to overhaul some long outstanding issues. The biggest was migrating off the Microsoft Community Server (Telligent) blog platform to the more capable and up-to-date WordPress platform. All the changes hit the visitor numbers a bit due to the chopping and changing, but I am hoping the upward growth continues (mind you, the profile has risen to the point that most of the regular Maldives aficionados follow the site around the world and not sure how many more there are). I am currently in the middle of doing a similar migration getting off Microsoft’s obsolete Silverlight platform and moving to HTML5 for the “Snorkel Spotter”. I’ve also tidied up a number of cosmetic and technical issues and am working on some more design improvements in the coming year.

Thanks to everyone for all their support. It seems to just get easier (and more fun) with more resort management, resort staff, guests and other Maldives aficionados forwarding material on a daily basis.

ޝުކުރިއްޔާ (shukuriyyaa)