A Look Back at PINCH

In 2012 PINCH was created to explore the connection between travel and peoples’ passions and lifestyle choices. At the heart of it was the recognition that very often it is our other loves that move us to get on the road.
Content is from the site's 2012 archived pages offering just a glimpse of what this site presented to its readership.

When the domain registration for PINCH expired and the site disappeared from the web. New owners have acquired the site. They have chosen to bring back an archived version of the site with the aim to inspire visitors to go PINCH's sister company Black Tomato at www.blacktomato.com/us/ an award-winning, creative and cutting-edge luxury tour operator who offer unique, perfectly-tailored travel experiences.
If the content of PINCH inspired you for adventure, Black Tomato will help you achieve your dreams.


PINCH is the online cultural lifestyle magazine from the people behind the award-winning luxury travel and lifestyle websites, Black Tomato,  Beach Tomato and Epic Tomato. PINCH was created to explore the connection between travel and peoples’ passions and lifestyle choices. At the heart of it is the recognition that very often it is our other loves that move us to get on the road.

Be it heading to a city to visit an exhibition celebrating local creativity, seeking out a hotel that captures a perfect design aesthetic or journeying to far-flung corners of the world in search of wondrous, soul uplifting cuisine, travel is so often the manifestation of other passions. PINCH celebrates these relationships and seeks to provide fuel for the next lifestyle experience. Here you will find editorial on global design, culture, food, style and the arts – all aimed at giving you that PINCH of inspiration to head out and explore this curious and captivating world of ours.

What’s more, you can do your exploring with PINCH. Our sister company Black Tomato is on hand to turn the words into reality through their trip planning services.

So take a PINCH of inspiration from this site and go. It’s all out there. Waiting





Strike a Pose…

For use of apt terminology, voguing,came intovogue,in the late 80s thanks to artists such as Malcolm McLaren and Madonna bringing it to the mainstream.  And we’re glad to say it has now once again come into public consciousness thanks to the release of; Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York 1989-92, the unmissable book by photographer Chantal Regnault, who was lucky enough to be immersed in the underground world of this extraordinary scene at its glittery peak. The scene, albeit dissipated, is still alive today in New York, which is a homage to the Big Apple, and its ability to foster individuality and diversity which would scarcely get the chance to flourish in other parts of the world.

The cultural phenomenon of voguing, a style of dance based on emulating the exaggerated poses of fashion models in magazines emerged in the house ballroom scene of Harlem in the 1970s. The underground ballroom scene acted as a safe harbour for gay and transgender African-American men, allowing them to express themselves, freely, without ridicule or abuse, which in turn give rise to a revolutionary movement; the exuberance and aplomb of which (in its heyday) has never quite been replicated since.

The members of the scene aligned themselves into social houses, such as the House of LaBeija, House of Dupree, House of Corey and the House of Xtravaganza. These social houses were named after their ‘mothers’,  Pepper LaBeija, Paris Dupree, Dorian Corey and Carmen Xtravaganza (now all deceased), legendary drag queens who brought the scene into being and mobilized young, urban gays to express themselves in ways that mainstream America could not quite fathom. At organised drag ball events, members of the houses competed against each other in various categories, such as ‘face’, ‘realness’, ‘butch femme’, ‘voguing’ and many more. It was out of the drag queen ritual of throwing ‘shade’ that voguing was born, when a queen would subtly insult another queen.


Malcolm McLaren first brought voguing into the mainstream with his video, Deep In Vogue. The video featured Willi Ninja, known as the Godfather of Vogue, he was one of the most influential characters responsible for bringing voguing to the masses. He also featured in the video for Madonna’s 1990 hit, Vogue, which became number one in 30 countries, catapulting voguing to a worldwide audience.

Madonna, Vogue


In the same year, Jennie Livingstone’s film, Paris is Burning, provided a moving and insightful look into the hidden world of drag balls, the drag queens, and the unbelievable lives they led. The film portrayed the hopes, dreams and struggles of these drag queens and the sad end that many of them met at the end of their up-hill struggle for acceptance and fame and fortune.

With the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic the ballroom community was ravaged, and many lost their lives to the disease. But during those wild years, when the ballroom scene was at its height something truly magical happened, something you look back on and wish you’d been there to experience, to glimpse the excitement of a scene that lit up the night and left a glamorously indelible mark on the society in which it flourished.

Beneath the subversive style, brazen sexuality, eccentric extravagance and most of all beneath the make-up, lay an avidity for acceptance into a world unwilling to listen. A struggle which many still face today; but indubitably, a struggle that has been lessoned by these pioneers of the eccentric, these queens of the underworld.

We’ll leave you with the immortal, maudlin tinged words of the legendary mother of the House of Corey, Dorian Corey, taken from the end clip of Paris is Burning,as she talks of a life lived and dreams lost.

Dorian Corey, Mother of the House of Corey


New York is still a bastion for individuality and self expression, and the voguing community still thrives in certain pockets of the city today. For anyone intrigued or inspired by the ballroom scene, a visit to the city where it all began is a must. Visit Black Tomato for more information and to plan a trip.


Observations on Paris is Burning:
I adored this film when it first came out in 2005 and fifteen years later it is still simmply fabulous. When my partner began the tiration process of baclofen that would ultimately help him stop drinking excessively, we would sit on our comfy sofa and watch Paris is Burning. Although baclofen is not FDA approved for treating people with AUD, it is the go-to treatment for AUD in France and Australia. In the US Baclofen is an FDA-approved medication traditionally used to treat muscle spasms, but is also prescribed off-label due to one side-effect: it helps users suppress their alcohol cravings, and break their drinking habit. The LifeBac program my partner signed up for with my enthusiastic and sympathetic support offers two different anti craving medications: baclofen and naltrexone. He chose the baclofen that involves starting with a low dosage and increasing it till an effective dose is discovered that makes the user completely and effortlessly indifferent to alcohol. Initially my partner suffered some side effects which eventually disapated. But while he was going through that rough patch, I would distract him by streaming movies and documentaries. I think we watched Paris is Burning a dozen times. I never tired of it. Not since Andy Warhol's The Chelsea Girls have I been so taken and fascinated by such a snap shot of real-life, stunningly etched characters full of wit, glamour and mind-boggling outfits.

BTW: The LifeBac program worked fabously. My partner can still share a glass of wine, but no longer has any cravings to drink more and more. What a life changing result. I raise my glass to LifeBac and all the drag queens, including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija and Dorian Corey from Paris is Burning.





14 April 2012


London-based neon artist Chris Bracey has worked with neon lighting for almost 40 years. During which time, he has given most of London’s Soho a brightly lit face lift and worked on major Hollywood blockbusters like Eyes Wide Shut, Batman and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. A new exhibition of his work; ‘Stages of Love’ is set to open at Guy Hepner’s LA and Miami galleries on the 3rd May 2012. PINCH caught up with him to find out where in the world inspires him and how he got into the art of neon.


A. My Dad used to work with neon lighting – he used to do fairground signs and circus signs. I started out my career in Soho as a graphic designer and got a bit disillusioned with it all so started learning the ropes with my Dad. I saw the signs in Soho in the 70s and they were all so tacky or really boring and I just decided I wanted to show them how creative they could be with the lighting. So I approached the club owner of the ‘Pink Pussy Cat Club’ to make him a sign and after that, I ended up changing many of the club signs in Soho throughout the 70s and 80s.


A. I’ve made a lot of signs for movies; the first Batman with Jack Nicholson was one of my favourites – a hotel sign in turquoise coloured neon. My other favourite was working on Eyes Wide Shut with Stanley Kubrick who is a legend. I made a jazz club sign which is in the film. Other than that, my favourite signs are the ones Dad made that I have kept hold of.


A. I find 1920s art deco very inspiring as well as old 50s Hollywood movies. Neon was originally invented for old cinemas and theatres which I love to visit.


I would have to say Las Vegas of course. There’s a sign called the Pink Flamingo there which is my favourite and an incredible bit of light work. But Hollywood has been very influential for me, especially old Hollywood movies. I’m very visual and pictures or music inspire me a lot, I might hear some interesting lyrics and decide there and then to make a sign. Going to the circus or funfair as a child, the neon signs captured my imagination. There was this amazing magical feeling when it all goes dark and that’s something I still love today.

Chris Bracey’s work is on display at Guy Hepner’s LA and Miami galleries on the 3rd May 2012.




all things bright and beautiful

Thoughts of neon may evoke visions of shockingly lurid leg warmers from the 80s (one of those decades that should probably be left in the fashion graveyard) but there is a much more stylish vintage incarnation of neon. We’re talking electro neon lighting – a challenging artistic medium that when handled with care and creative flare can bear stark meaning and have strikingly beautiful results. Think visual references to seaside retro, the glamour of old Hollywood movies and vintage fairground rides – often with a subversive red light district undercurrent.

So, if you have a love of all things bright and beautiful, grab a pair of shades and say thank you to French inventor Georges Claude who, over 100 years ago this year, first put the gas in luminous tubing and there and then, neon lighting was officially born.  Take a peek below at our brightly lit world as we hunt out the best places to get an eye full of neon…


It goes without saying ‘The Strip’ is the ultimate playground for any neon fan but don’t miss Sin City’s Neon Museum, a sort of tragic graveyard of old iconic neon pieces tellilng stories from days of old which the museum has been collecting since 1996 to preserve Las Vegas’ iconic art form.


Londoner Chris Bracey has designed neon lighting for big Hollywood blockbuster movies such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Batman and Eyes Wide Shut. Having worked with neon for almost 40 years, Bracey has certainly mastered the art form and many of his major works are on display in London at The Old Hardware Store until January 12th 2012.


No need to even step outside the airport in Chicago for a piece of neon beauty – Michael Hayden’s ‘skies the limit’ light sculpture stretches along a passenger concourse in terminal 1 of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and is made up of a staggering 466 neon tubes.


Los Angeles Museum of Neon Art is due to open in 2012 after relocation to a shiny new building in Glendale topped off with a rooftop diver in bright pink neon. The museum was founded in 1981 by artists Lili Lakich and Richard Jenkins and their collection includes vintage neon pieces as well as profiling exciting up-and-coming neon talent.


Project Neon is one woman campaign celebrating the best neon signage that Manhattan has to offer. Take a look at her blog for after dark inspiration for a brightly lit tour of the Big Apple.


Take it into your own hands and have a go at creating a piece of art for your home at a neon workshop. An Arts Collective based in the U.K. run mobile neon art workshops including demonstrations in cutting, blowing, stretching and bending glass. It’s a tricky medium to master but just think of the sense of satisfaction.

by Rebecca Shay



13 March 2012

Check-In With Tom, Domaine Malika, Morocco

Choices, choices, choices; life is full of them and when it comes to thinking about that well deserved flawless holiday, it’s hard to know where to start when there are so many beautiful and magnificent places to stay. So, to make your decision that little bit easier we’ve enlisted travel expert, Tom Marchant, co-founder of award-winning bespoke travel company Black Tomato and founder of PINCH Magazine to give us the insider info on some of his favourite hotels across the globe. It’s safe to say that Tom has stayed in a fair few hotels in his time and so if it gets the Marchant stamp of approval, it must be good. This week, for a luxury yet homely retreat, hidden in the mysterious landscape of the Atlas Mountains, Tom’s pick is Domaine Malika in Ouirgane, Morocco.


Words By Tom Marchant co-founder, Black Tomato


Arriving at Domaine Malika was one of those PINCH yourself moments. I found it astonishing that after just a three hour flight from the UK and an hour’s transfer from Marrakech, I was transported into another world where there was an abundance of traditional Moroccan charm combined with modern luxury. Domaine Malika doesn’t fall into the faux Morocco chasm where all things are bathed in half light and sprinkled with token lanterns to remind you of your location. Instead, in a traditional Berber style building, it very successfully creates an atmosphere that is wonderfully eclectic, clean and contemporary. You only need to gaze out of the window at the stunning Atlas Mountains and surrounding valley and you will be well aware of the magnificent location you’ve found yourself in.


Just one hour from Marrakech’s bustling medina, Domaine Malika is nestled in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, surrounded by pine trees and olive groves.


Hidden in the aromatic, subtle and mysterious landscape of the Atlas Mountains, Domaine Malika is the perfect distance from the sights, sounds and smells of buzzing Marrakech. Explore the never ending tunnel of souks before retreating to your idyllic haven of tranquility in Ouirgane. I love to explore my surroundings so was more than happy to set off on a dusty yet fresh journey across the arid terrain before coming back to bask in the sun and bathe in the refreshing waters of the pool. With the 360 degree view of the mountains, it was very hard to move from my settled spot.


For me, it’s the incredible service and hospitality this Moroccan bolt hole has to offer. Family owned and run by a French mother and son, the tender loving care that has been put into the décor and intricate details are highlighted through these consummate hosts without them being intrusive. With a ‘nothing is too much trouble’ attitude, you will feel completely at home as well as being free to revel in the finest of surroundings in a place where the atmosphere is authentic and quite frankly unbeatable.


With just seven rooms, Domaine Malika is intimate yet private. Each room is complete with an open fire creating a cosy atmosphere and features either a private balcony or patio where you can sit and enjoy the calm serenity and views of the Moroccan desert. With even the tiniest of detail tended to, you will be hard pushed to fault these beautiful rooms as their modern take on traditional Morocco works in a way you wouldn’t expect. For me, the suite offered something that little bit special as it is not only separated from the main house allowing for complete and utter privacy, but it is also finished off with earthy tones and 50s décor.

Domaine Malika room


No Moroccan hideaway would be complete without a traditional Hammam and having sampled a few in my time, I can say with confidence that this totally private and utterly replenishing experience is one not to miss. Eliminate all those toxins and inhale a range of purifying essences with a tradition that reaches back for over 1000 years. There are plenty of beauty treatments that are bound to appeal to your senses if the Hammam isn’t your thing, then sometimes I think it’s best to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and merely sit out on the veranda with a glass of traditional Moroccan wine, breathe in the fresh mountain air and enjoy the view.


The French influence of the hosts really shines through in their fresh and delicious food. From the fruit that is picked from the local orchard to the home cooked delights that will grace your table, each meal is cooked to perfection and will leave your taste buds tingling. For foodies like me though, things get even better as you take a private cooking lesson which will not only let you experience the smells and spices of Morocco, but also allows you to recreate that tantalizing taste once you are back to reality.

Domaine Malika room


It has got to be catching the afternoon sun as it landed on my balcony perfectly. With no disturbance but the sounds of the birds and the thought of the delectable dinner that lay ahead of me, it was a true experience of uninterrupted harmony.





12 January 2012
By Lilee Cathcart

Interview: Michael Johansson, Swedish Contemporary Artist

The contemporary art scene in Sweden is thriving and subsequently evolving. Swedish art & design has long since been characterised by an adherence to form and function, resulting in starkly beautiful results that scintillate with the elegence of simplicity. There are few countries with such an indiosyncratic design aesthetic, but many of the contemporary artists in Sweden are producing new, unique and exciting work. PINCH caught up with Michael Johansson, an artist impossible to pigeon-hole who is constantly challenging the traditional idea of Swedish design.


A. In a way I have always considered what I do as kind of the opposite of design. I think of design as a mixture of form and function, and my main interest during the past years has been to separate objects from their function by taking them out of their normal context and turning them into solely elements of colour and shape.

I use daily life objects in the hope that recognizing the various things inside the sculpture, but seeing them in a different way than normal might make you stop for a second and reflect on what this might mean. And of course, aesthetics is another way to attract an initial interest.


A. I am actually spending the fall as an artist-in-residence in Tokyo, which is an amazing place for experiencing art, among so many other things. It is pretty overwhelming, and I am still just scraping the surface. But I have always had a weak spot for Berlin, ever since I lived there in 2002. It might not be the most original city to come up with, but the special conditions that have prevailed there in recent years has been perfect for creating an interesting surrounding for art in many different ways. But there are still so many places I would like to visit, both to exhibit and for experiencing art.


A. Sweden have a number of interesting institutions, for example Magasin 3 in Stockholm, presenting exhibitions with important internationally established artists. Where I live in Malmö, there is a good selection of institutions and galleries as well, despite it’s small population. For exampleGallery Elastic has established a strong program over the last few years. Another of my favourite places in the past has been, Alma Löv Museum, located far out in the country side, but unfortunately they decided to close down last summer, but i’m sure it will continue in some way or another.


A. Like in any other country, there are a lot of artists doing great work that don’t get the attention they deserve. And it is of course also not certain that an artist that is doing great at home has the same impact abroad, and the other way around. But if for example artists such as Christian Andersson, Kristina Matousch and Viktor Rosdahl have not yet been noticed in London, those are a few names to look out for.


A. My influences come from various sources. Of course one is the inspiration from other artists, but more so from irregular situations in daily life, particularly things I encounter in my close surroundings. It could be the same colours or patterns on two different objects, two people passing each other dressed in the same outfits, a parking space packed by only red cars or discovering that an actor is playing two different roles at the same time when switching between TV channels. These irregularities, or coincidences, are a great source of inspiration for me. I have also as long as I can remember been fascinated by flea markets. And in specific a fascination by walking around to find doubles of seemingly unique, though often useless objects I have already purchased at another flea market. There is something irresistible in the knowledge that if you don’t buy that particular object right away, the opportunity might never come back. I think the same rules compelling me to select things at flea markets are also central to my art practice, that you need to combine something very familiar with something very unique to create an interesting art experience.


A. That of course depends quite a lot on the particular piece, but regardless of the character of the work the first problem to solve is always finding a suitable space to use as a starting point. I need that limitation to get started, an open space to fill. That space sets the framework for how the rest of the work will proceed, what kind of material that best suits that already existing environment in terms of colour, size and theme. When that is set I usually collect objects for a few weeks. Most of the things I use I find in various flea markets, but some of the objects are items I have carried with me for years.


A. Real life tetris.


A. I tend to be most inspired by small things happening in my close surrounding, things that you cannot predict.When leaving the safe realms of the surroundings you are used to, it is of course easier to realize how much of our daily life follows a certain pattern. The same thing is happening here in Tokyo as well. Of course the impressive architecture and crowded streets are making an impact, but the thing that intrigues me the most is realizing how people here have their own patterns. The particular way they store things in their garage, how they pack their groceries in the supermarket, etc. So I am not sure if it is a particular part of the world that inspires me most, but maybe more a particular part of the daily routine that feels most creative for me. Or sometimes, the lack of that routine.


In many different ways, but maybe not in the way you get the impression by looking at my work. I do not think the reason why I want to bring a higher density to a stack of objects come from the will to transport them in a more efficient way, even though I am sure it has in some ways affected my ways to pack a suitcase. But I think a change of context is important in order to stay focused, and is essential both for the process of preparing new projects as well as for carrying them out. Like I mentioned earlier, it is very inspiring to be presented with a new set of patterns for how to live your life, just a few steps away from  your everyday safety net.

Johansson is currently exhibiting at the following spaces across Europe:

X-MAS 11
Group Exhibition, Galleri
Christoffer Egelund, Copenhagen (DK)
Dec 2, 2011- Jan 14, 2012


Solo Exhibition
Kunstbanken, Hamar (NO)
Nov 19, 2011 – Jan 8, 2012


Space Invaders
Group Exhibition
Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen (DK)
Nov 11, 2011 – Feb, 2012


Norsk Skulpturbiennale
Group Exhibition
Vigeland-museet, Oslo (NO)
Oct 27, 2011 – Jan 29, 2012




24 April 2012
By Lilee Cathcart

If You Feel The Knead

Bread; fluffy, doughey, delicious. The very word ‘bread’ itself is synonymous with salivation and gastromonic happiness. One of our oldest and most beloved foods, the bread world is one of dynamic and eclectic culinary leanings, there are simply too many to choose from. As you venture across the globe, every country has their own varieties of this yeasty wonder. So instead of listing our favourite breads/countries for bread-lovers, we thought we’d pay homage to the bread world and pick out some important institutions that dedicate themselves to our favourite carby masterpiece. Take a look.


Coney Island Bialys and Bagels is Brooklyn’s oldest bialy & bagel shop. Founded in 1920 by Polish immigrant Morris Rosenzweig, the legendary bialy & bagel joint came under threat of closure earlier this year (its 91st) but has since been rescued by two cab driver’s, Zafaryab Ali and Peerzada Shah, who plan to keep the business alive. One of only three bialy businesses left in the city, Coney Island has been trying to convert the Big Apple into a nation of bialy lover’s for decades. Bialy or bagel, that is the question? It’s a deliciously bready toss-up.


In Stockholm’s young creative district, SoFo in the Sodermalm, sits the ‘Hotell Surdeg’, the world’s very first Sourdough Hotel. Sourdough has been steadily rising in popularity throughout Sweden in the past few years. Åsa Johansson and Markus Lundqvist, owners of the Urban Deli Bageriet, have come up with Hotell Surdeg (Hotel Sourdough), a mini tower block of shelves, for home bakers to leave their ‘mother dough’ mixtures in the capable and caring hands of the bakers to feed, rest and pamper whilst their owners are away on holiday. All for the tidy sum of $30.


The Bread Museum complex in Ilopolis incorporates the museum itself, a baking workshop, and a restored Colognese Mill, in what is an aesthetically beautiful collection of buildings. The pieces on exhibition include the history of bread and bread-making, as well as the bread-history specific to the “Brazilian Veneto” in the Taquari Valley. The restored, authentic Colognese Mill, which is the heart of the complex, was built by Italian immigrants a century ago, the contrast of the old and the new make for some inspiring architectural highlights. The refurbishment of the old mill aimed to recover original elements and functions and to incorporate them back into the contemporary structure.


Every three or four years the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie is held in Paris. The equivilent of world cup for bread makers, this artisan baking competition brings together the best bread connoiseurs from aroung the globe. Held in conjunction with the Europain, International Bakery, Patisserie, and Catering Exhibition which attracts over 80,000 visitors, this is one event you simply knead (sorry) to visit. Teams from 12 countries are invited to compete in the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie. Each team is made up of three members, and each person specializes in one of the major Coupe du Monde categories: Baguettes & Specialty Breads, Artistic Design, and Viennoiserie. France took the title in 2008, who knows who will be crowned champions this coming year.

Well, living in our current world of bready heaven, let’s just say, we know which side our bread’s buttered on.

  • Here are our top websites for all you bread-lovers:
  • http://www.thefreshloaf.com/
  • http://www.thekneadforbread.com/
  • http://breadartproject.com/
  • http://www.funkyfood.co.uk/Food-Photography-Bread.html



eat the street

Taiwan and food go hand in hand, no doubt about it. But there’s more to this cuisine than just the intrinsic ingredients and depth of flavours. It’s about getting out there and experiencing the food; through smelling, seeing, and feeling. And there’s no better place to do this than in the food markets. Bon Appetit…


Taipei’s best known food market, Shilin, comes alive at night as thousands of visitors converge on its stalls, each of which specialises in its own dish. As well as jewellery, clothes and gadget stalls, dip into as much of the finger food as you can here as some of the food vendors have been making and selling the same dish for decades, meaning they’ve certainly got their speciality down to a finely crafted art. You’d think you’d know what you were going to get with a simple oyster pancake or crab soup, but nothing can prepare your taste buds for the adventure that a hawker at the Shilin night market will take them on. From the late afternoon to the wee small hours of the morning, the streets buzz with hungry school kids, workers looking for their evening meal and tourists there to take in the heady mix of smells billowing from the stalls. We recommend trying the intricate and expertly prepared xiao long bao (dumplings); each dumpling has to have exactly 16 folds in it (accept no imitations) and is painstakingly prepared, soaking up all the savoury goodness of the broth and waiting to give you a dose of authentically deep Taiwanese flavours. That’s one stall down, only another 500 or so more to go.


Benefitting from its port, Keelung’s Miaokou Night Market specialises in seafood but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to pick up your finger food favourites as well. Located near the famous Dianji temple from where the market gets its name (Miaokou means ‘temple entrance’), walk between the glowing rows of lanterns that give the market its bright authentic hum and begin your sampling stroll through the stalls. The atmosphere is fast and frenetic, as hawkers implore you to buy, sit and eat in the fastest possible time, but don’t let them rush you; it’s all just part of the night market atmosphere. This being Keelung, we have to recommend you dig in to the seafood. A lot of it will still be alive and is selected and cooked to order, so if you like your food fresh, it doesn’t get much better than this. Local specialties include stewed eel soup, scallop ball and even some less palatable delicacies like smoked whale shark and smoked fish glue. The choice is yours…


steaming hot dumplings

Back to Taipei we go to sample another of the city’s famous night markets. Nicknamed, worryingly, ‘Snake Alley’, Huasi Street Market is famous all over Taiwan for its daring snake delicacies. Although nowadays there are vendors that serve dishes that are more recognisable (like burgers and sushi), the snake vendors still treat customers to the ritual preparing of the snake. First, the snakes are displayed by the snake charmer, making the snakes dance to his tune, and then the animal is cut open and cooked to order. As well as staples like snake stew, you’ll also be able to sample some other snaky snacks, where they don’t let any of the slithering reptile go to waste: Here, down shots of snake blood mixed with alcohol, snake semen, and snake bile, to name a few. If this isn’t quite the culinary experience you were hoping for, Huasi Street’s other specialities include eel noodles and shrimp in wine for flavours that your palette is probably more used to.


huasi street market

Taiwan’s southern city’s largest and most famous night market, and certainly one of the busiest, the Tainan Flower Night Market is little to do with flowers and much more to do with that Taiwanese obsession, food. Try Tainan’s famous ‘coffin toast’ which is essentially a whopping big piece of toast, cut open and filled with a creamy corn sauce. There are also lots of other fillings to choose from if you want something a little more exciting than creamy corn (we love it though). Other food specialities come in the shape of spicy duck blood, candied guava and a Pinch favourite, bubble tea. There are also lots of gaming stalls, so dust off those pinball skills or shoot hoops against your friends while digesting that ill-advised fourth serving of duck blood. Remember though, that unlike other markets, the Tainan Flower Night Market isn’t everyday; come along on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays to find the busy bustle of the market. For those of you actually looking for a real flower market, the Nanmen Weekend Flower Market is open Saturdays and Sundays and sells all manner of flowers and plants, with a specialisation in orchids and banzai trees.


Food, clothes, knives, gadgets and even live animals, Kaohsiung’s Liuhe Night Market is a bit of an all-rounder. Seafood abounds, with squid, crab and the expensive black fish eggs (caviar) known as the local favourites. Another favourite here, and throughout Taiwan, is stinky tofu – which is exactly what it says it is. The stinky tofu gets its reputation from being fermented in a special marinade for a few months, and while it may be stinky, the flavour can be compared to a mild blue cheese. Legend goes, the stinkier the tofu, the more smooth and delicious the taste. What’s more, locals in the market for a new pet come here to find new furry friends. Whether it’s a cat, a dog or a monkey, is their choice. Make sure to get to the market relatively early because it can get very busy here in the later evening.




Byron Bay’s Creative Community

2 August 2012
Words by Hannah Silverton. Quotes come from the designers.

Byron Bay sits on the most easterly point of Australia and anyone who has been there will agree it is a truly magical part of the world.  You are immediately enchanted by the beautiful natural environment, the friendly residents, the effortless style, but most of all its spirit and the serene state of mind it instils in you.

So it comes as no surprise that Byron both breeds and attracts lots of exciting local artists and designers – all of whom capture the essence of the area in their creations.

Thanks to its bohemian population, Byron Bay resembles a gorgeous sea of colour and texture – boasting more crochet than Greece and more tie dye than Woodstock. Sydney and Brisbane’s sleek uniform of white t-shirt, grey skinny jeans, black blazer, heels and tight bun is quickly traded for salty hair, bare feet and a flowing maxi dress.

Here, style has more emphasis on how you feel than how you look. According to Lizzie, co-owner of Spell & the Gyspy Collective: “When people, women in particular, get away to Byron Bay, they often want to get in touch with something within themselves. Call it the wild feminine; call it the creative within – however intangible it may seem, there is a new fashion scene evolving in Byron catering to this aesthetic desire.”

It cannot be a simple coincidence that all these creative wonders are concentrated in one area. The ocean, the bush, the lighthouse and the history of the land all serve as powerful inspiration for artists & artisans. Thanks to exposure at local festivals like Splendour, as well as the immense popularity of their blogs, Instagram and Pinterest pages, Byron’s humble creative businesses are becoming quite the global phenomenon.

Although social networking makes it easier than ever to discover designers on the other side of the world, stumbling upon these workshops, studios and boutiques in person is an adventure in itself. Being mostly young and home grown brands that have evolved from market stalls, they tend to rent spaces a bit of the town centre. Luckily the journey off the beaten track is a stunning one and any wrong turning is bound to lead to another treasure.

But we’ll give you a head start in the hunt and offer a glimpse into where to find the best of fashion in and around Byron…


Spell is like a never-ending fairy-tale. Behind it are two sisters, Elizabeth and Isabella, who have been forever enamoured with combining stones, feathers and lots of other materials to make one of a kind jewellery. With a leather craftsman father, and a potter/painter mother, the pair were destined to end up in creative Byron Bay. You can find them working and playing in the Ewingsdale Arts & Industry Estate, channelling their inner gypsy spirits, creating all sorts of adornments and sharing their designs with their friends at home and in different corners of the world. It’s obvious why they are such an online success – their frequent photo shoots and look books are a feast for the eyes. Take a peek, you won’t be able to resist…


“Tallow is a contemporary women’s brand, which embraces the exquisiteness, grace and vitality of female surfing. It pays tribute to the birth of surfing as a culture, when surfer’s ruled the waves and brought surfing’s message of freedom and individuality out of the water and showcased it to the world. With Tallow, community is back, the beach is an all-day affair, which carries long into the night and surfing’s influence exists far beyond the sand and water.”


“Part worldly traveller, part harem queen; the Goddess of Babylon collections epitomise bohemian luxe with an alluringly styled chic. From the medinas of Marrakech to the lush tropical warmth of Mexico, these creations are glimpses into designer, Chantel Barber’s travels, the lovechild of a long and colourful journey of wanderlust.”


“The Buffalo Girl label is one of spirit, adventure and beauty. Terri Cronin’s handmade quality leather accessories are bejewelled with turquoise and other signature embellishments. This distinctive style has drawn a strong following in Byron Bay, but Buffalo Girl also has fans in Elle McPherson, Erin Wasson and the catwalks of Sydney and Miami fashion weeks.”


“Designed lovingly in the hills of Byron Bay, Arnhem infuses vinatges style with a fresh contemporary edge. Seasonal colours, florals, animal, and tribal prints, on natural fibre fabrics, detailing and embellishments; Each piece is a special tribute to a world adorned with pretty things.”