Luwak Coffee, would you try it?

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Have you ever tried coffee that has been made by beans which are first digested by a cat? Well I have!

On a recent trip to Bali, we were on a day tour and our driver stopped off for an unscheduled visit to a coffee plantation. The coffee that was being grown, harvested and roasted there, it turns out, is quite a lot more famous than we had known. I’ve found that Luwak Coffee, also known as Civet Coffee, Kopi Luwak, and ‘cat’, ‘wolf’ or ‘crap’ coffee, is known as the Dom Perignon of the coffee world.

After doing my research when we got back, it also appears to get much attention from outside of Indonesia due to the unethical way the Asian Palm Civets, the cats which eat the coffee berries, are kept, some times in battery type cages. If I knew this before our visit then I probably would have asked our driver to miss out this part of our tour but I didn’t, and as a coffee lover, I was very excited to be there. From my research, I gather that the majority of the battery plantations are on the island of Sumatra and not in Bali where we were which makes me feel a little better.

So back to our tour… It started by us being shown around a small area of the plantation where they had many different fruits, vegetables and herbs growing. Some of which were completely exotic to us, some are regularly on my shopping list.

SCC Jack Fruit Bali 2014

Some Jack Fruit Growing at the plantation

SCC Pineapple Bali 2014

I had no idea that Pineapple grows like this!

SCC Coffee Berries Bali 2014

Coffee berries growing at the plantation

We then came across our first Civet in a cage, it was a pretty big cage and the cat was sleeping soundly curled up in the corner.

SCC Civet Cat 1 Bali 2014

Our guide explained that the civets are let out at night (they are nocturnal) which is when they eat the coffee beans, it is then the digested beans, which ferment as they pass through the animals intestines, that are collected from the droppings as they move out through the other end, if you know what I mean! They are cleaned and roasted before being ground and made into Luwak Kopi.

SCC Coffee Beans Bali 2014

It was first discovered back in the Colonial Era, the workers on the Indonesian coffee plantations weren’t allowed to consume the coffee beans which they collected so they got around this by instead taking the beans which had been digested by the Palm Civet and cleaning, roasting and grinding them to enjoy the coffee themselves.

SCC Coffee Roasting Bali 2014

After seeing all this, we were offered a chance to try some at the cost of 5 USD per cup, we got one to share. It was a good cup of coffee but I have had better, I really don’t quite understand how it caught on! I have read that a single cup sells for as much as £60 in London, well if you are in London and fancy a decent coffee then I would highly recommend that you head to the Monmouth Coffee Company instead! We also got to sample some other beverages which the plantation sells, they were really tasty but so so sweet!

SCC Lemongrass Tea Bali 2014

SCC Tea and Coffee Sampler Bali 2014

SCC Tea and Coffee Sampler 2 Bali 2014

Would you try Kopi Luwak? Or maybe you’ve already tried it? Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Pasarbella

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When we lived in Kent, I used to love getting a train up to Borough Market. Often we would meet my parents early to beat the crowds and spend a morning wandering around the stalls. All whilst grazing on the delicious food before heading to a pub across the river Thames to rest our weary feet over a few drinks. We even visited with Bryan, our Pug, last Christmas. He couldn’t believe his luck eating all the food scraps off the floor and sniffing all those lovely smells. The closest thing we had in Geneva was the Sunday market on Plainpalais, a flat diamond clearing between L’Arve and the Vieille Ville. The food was rarely of good quality, the best things we managed to get there were a coffee from the back of a bicycle and a baguette. Everything else seemed to have the same strange background taste to it.

It was only on Friday night that I learned Singapore had it’s own counterpart. Pasarbella, a new indoor food market, only open since May this year, can be found underneath the grandstand at the old Turf Club. I was very excited to hear about it and planned to go as soon as possible. On Sunday morning we were up and out early, out of habit I guess, to explore the food market. It was easy to find and they have ample parking, so armed with my camera we headed in.

Entrance from the East End

Entrance from the East End

When we walked in, the first thing I noticed was the lights, there are so many bright lights it has a cave kind of feel to it. Almost like a grotto for foodies!

SCC Keep Calm Food Sign

SCC Food Glorious Food Sign

The different sellers are spread out as more permanent fixtures rather than like market stalls which give it a bit more of an upmarket food hall feel to it rather than a market but I guess that makes sense as it’s open everyday. We decided to have a wander around first to get our bearings and to see what was to offer. A lot of the stallholders were still setting up anyway.

A suckling pig

A suckling pig

SCC Beer Sign

SCC Rare Cheese Sign

SCC Seafood Sign

A pretty florists stall

A pretty florists stall

Preparation at James Butchery and Co where we bought some yummy beef burgers to cook at home for lunch - they were very tasty!

Preparation at James Butchery and Co where we bought some yummy beef burgers to cook at home for lunch – they were very tasty!

Our first stop was at Nibbles by Rabbit Carrot Gun – what a strange name! We picked up a sausage roll which was heated up in the microwave later in the day. It was the closest we have tasted to a sausage roll outside of the UK.  They also stocked some great looking pies which we will definitely be trying another time.

SSC Pasarbella Pies

The next traders to persuade us to part with our hard earned cash were the lovely ladies in The Cheese Ark. Their layout is slightly different. There were a few Gouda’s laid out to try and a couple of cheeses displayed but the rest were shut away in their cellars. They were very helpful asking what cheeses we liked and giving us lots of tasty samples but we tried not to get carried away. We left with some young Gouda, a tasty Buffalo blue cheese and some Belper Knolle.

The entrance to The Cheese Ark

The entrance to The Cheese Ark

One of their cheese cellars

One of their cheese cellars

After our cheese purchasing, we thought it was about time we had a little snack. All this food was making us hungry! We passed the Keith Crackling Roast stand where the smell of crispy pork belly was too much to bare – we gave in…

SCC Crackling Roast Sign

SCC Crispy Pork BellyWe got a small portion to share which was one of the thin strips you see above sliced into bite sized pieces, it was so yummy we scoffed it all before I even thought of taking a photo! Opposite was a tasty looking burrito stand but I couldn’t of stomached a burrito so early!

A few times we passed Le Patio although they weren’t serving yet. They had some huge pans they were making Paella in, similar to ones they have at Borough Market. It wasn’t ready to be served yet but each time we passed it was a little further along the line and looked really tasty!

SCC Le Patio Sign

SCC Paella 1

SCC Paella 2

SCC Paella 3

Nearby they had a stall by Da Paolo, they have a cafe near to my fiancés office where we have met for lunch before. They do a great Carbonara. Just look at those oversized pastries!

SCC Da Paolo Pastries

Once we were shopped out, we grabbed a flat white from Dutch Colony, which was very smooth, and had a final wander before jumping in the car and heading home to graze on our goodies for the day!

SCC Dutch Colony Coffee

Here are some more shots I took throughout the morning.

SCC Pasarbella on corregated steel SCC View from roof SCC Seafood Sign

Some more of those colourful lights

Some more of those colourful lights

Some delicious looking Russian cakes. I vow to try the pomegranate next time.

Some delicious looking Russian cakes. I vow to try the pomegranate next time.

A coffee grinder outside the Dutch Colony coffee stall

A coffee grinder outside the Dutch Colony coffee stall

SCC Coffee Beans

SCC Fish Heads

SCC Crab and Lobster

SCC Fish

SCC Clams

SCC Duck Clam

SCC Fish Eye

SCC Crab

SCC Surf Clam

SCC Peppers

SCC Courgette

We will definitely be returning, but later in the day so we can eat in one of the food outlets there, although it’ll be tough to choose which one! I’ll also make sure we draw out money before as a lot of the stalls are cash only.

If you fancy visiting Pasarbella, here is their website with all the info you need! http://www.pasarbella.com

Fish on Friday!

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OK so for me it was actually yesterday and I wasn’t eating the fish they were eating me, well, kind of….

 

A friend and I took advantage of an offer at a local fish spa as we were intrigued to find out what this fish pedicure malarky was all about. The thought of little fish nibbling at my toes made me feel a bit nervous but after reading into it, I found that the fish don’t actually have any teeth, they just remove any dead skin by gently nibbling away.

Fish Ped1

After having our feet cleaned of any creams by a therapist we were ready to go. I nervously dipped my heel into the tank and watched as the fish came swimming over to see their next feed. At first it tickled slightly but after a while it felt quite relaxing and me and my friend were able to sit and have a catch up while the tadpole like fish did all the dirty work.

Fish Ped 2

The result? I found that a traditional pedicure is much more effective but we both walked out of the spa fresh footed and relaxed.

Would I return? Maybe if there was another offer or someone else was paying.