All this Earth Hour chatter last weekend got me thinking about the magic of dining sans electricity. From desert barbeques and full moon parties (and I'm not talking about the notorious Goan or Thai variety) to candle lit dinners on the beach, here are my top three meal-time memories that would make any Earth-Hour enthusiast proud:
Barbequed chops and burgers in Oman
There's nothing quite like getting lost on deserted roads, having to steal wood from an abandoned construction site and building a campfire from scratch to work up an appetite. Whether the beach, the rocky summit of Jebel Shams or the sandy wadi beds, barbequed meals hastily prepared by firelight and handy headlamps in Oman rank among my favourite outdoor meal memories. Pack an icebox with premarinated lamb chops and beef patties (they'll last a full day of driving even in the height of summer), stock up on the mustard, ketchup, mayo and buns and don't forget a box of matches!
Full Moon Festival in Hoi An
Ravers expecting the drug and trance-fuelled Full Moon parties of Goa and Thailand may be disappointed; I was not. Every month on the 14th night of the lunar calendar, Hoi An shuts off its electricity for a few hours and the sleepy town transforms into a fairyland of floating lanterns, candlelit restaurants and moonlit streets, with traditional games, music and hand-rowed boat trips down the river offering the only forms of entertainment. Pick a table by the river, order a drink and some cau lau and enjoy Hoi An at its bewitching best...
Rum pancakes on the beach in Goa
True, you probably won't be sitting in complete darkness but turn your back on the coconut trees strung with fairy lights, face the sea, let your feet sink into the cool sand and watch the moonlight catch the crest of the waves - there's no better way to spend an evening in Goa than with dinner at a beach shack. Finish off your meal with a flourish and order a flaming rum-soaked pancake. The waiters are generally generous with the booze and will weave through the tables with your pancake spewing blue flames for some extra drama in the dark.
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