Where are you heading off this summer? If you are a major foodie like me, you’d take to Google to plan out your foodie trail in the little time you’ve got at your destination. However, an even better bet is having a local friend who’s lived and eaten around the city. Today we are exploring Toronto (Canada) through the tastebuds of my very special friend Upa Hazarika. Upa and I go back a long, long time and have been friends since we were wee toddlers. Trust me, this girl has great taste when it comes to eating out ­čÖé Read on about her recent trip back to her hometown Toronto.

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One idle, sunny afternoon, my siblings and I headed to The Square, the heart of the city of Palmerston North, New Zealand. After a few mundane grocery chores, my sister treated us to a taco lunch.

She has been raving about Dos Locos Taco┬ásince I landed in New Zealand. This Mexican food truck has been setting trails ablaze in the foodie scene of Palmerston North. Owned and operated by a very lovely couple of Mexican and South American descent, the business first started off in New York, America’s street-food central.

dos locos tacos mexican food truck

With a population just over 80K and covering an area of 336 square kilometers, my gorgeous little hometown of Palmerston North, New Zealand can be considered pretty tiny by global comparisons.

However, this little city has earned itself a number of titles. It is known as the ‘Knowledge City’ of New Zealand, given the number of highly reputable educational institutions it houses for its size (the biggest, and oldest campus being Massey University from where I proudly earned my three tertiary degrees in Marketing).

Palmerston North is also known as the ‘City of Roses’ owing to its very well-loved Dugald Mackenzie Rose Garden.

Palmerston-North-Rose garden

A week before Christmas, a group of us found ourselves locked up in a room. Imagine the scenario: Lured into taking a free hotel room by a religious cult, we had a mere one hour to escape, or get brainwashed and risk a miserable death.

Brainscape Dubai Classic Room Review (2)

This is Brainscape Dubai. A brand new gaming concept imported from the UK where you actually pay to get locked up with a team of 3 to 5 adults, and play against the clock to find the key out.

I am back in sunny Dubai after a whirlwind trip back home to New Zealand. Where did the past two weeks disappear?

I flew via Singapore to Auckland, New Zealand and on the return path, I had an 8 hour transit in Changi Airport, Singapore.

As I was travelling alone, the thought of dwindling away 8 hours in Singapore all by myself seemed all too daunting and I was looking up Google on airport rooms and transit lounges.

Much has changed in Palmerston North, the little township of New Zealand I fondly call home. The bustling Broadway Ave is a ghost of its former self with big retail giants like Farmers moving into the grotesquely expanding mall, The Plaza. About a decade ago, the city center of Palmerston North spread beyond The Plaza, and I quite miss the charm of walking about town for my weekly dose of retail therapy.

Although the town looks shuffled with old favorites gone, and newbies playing trumps with bigger, brighter and newer signage, a few of my favorite foodie haunts have managed to survive the tests of time.

Here are 3 must-try places for foodies visiting Palmerston North:

palmerston north new zealand food restaurant review thai indian cafe cuba silk cake

Sunday morning was gloomy grey. The skies were dim with a hint of drizzle, and I would have continued nesting in my warm bed had my sister not announced she was heading to the weekly Palmy Farmer’s Market.

The Palmy Farmer’s Market sets up in Palmerston North every Saturday and Sunday morning from as early as 7 am till noon. It is a collection of stalls set up by local farmers from the neighboring towns, and Palmerston North residents flock here every weekend for great deals on fresh, organic farm produce.

Palmy Farmers Market flea market palmerston north new  zealand organic farm produce vegetables health maori samoan pacific island (3)

daffodil day new zealand cancer society 28th august 25th anniversary donate (3)
A daffodil from my father’s garden.

28th August, 2015: Today marks the 25th anniversary of Daffodil Day in New Zealand.

Daffodil Day is Cancer Society New Zealand’s annual fundraising event. It was created to raise cancer awareness, as well as encourage donations for cancer research and funding the care of cancer patients in New Zealand.

Daffodils symbolize rebirth and new beginnings, and is therefore the perfect icon for Cancer Society New Zealand.

I landed in Auckland, New Zealand late into the night after a 20 hour flight from Dubai via Singapore.

My brother lives in Auckland, and as soon as I got to his bachelor pad I hit the snooze button.

I had a mid-morning flight to catch to our hometown Palmerston North the next morning, and we decided to make use of the earlier half of the day by visiting the Fo Guang Shan Temple.

Fo Guang Shan Temple (Auckland, New Zealand) (11)