James Beard Publication of the Year 2017

R&K Insider: The King’s Statue and a Damn Good Whisky

This week on Roads & Kingdoms, we published a story from Mumbai on why the city’s fishing community is unhappy about plans to build a giant statue of a warrior king. Plus, a conversation with a whisky expert on why Japanese single malts are so good and so hard to find.

This post originally appeared on July 13, 2018, in Anup Kaphle’s weekly newsletter. Read the archives and subscribe to the newsletter.

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Good morning, dear readers.

Here’s a quiz for you: where is the tallest statue in the world?

If you said China, well, reward yourself. In fact, the country is home to not only the tallest, but more than half a dozen of the world’s tallest statues—and most of them are to honor Lord Buddha.

Now India wants to take claim on that record—but not without controversy. That’s the subject of the story we’ve published this morning on Roads & Kingdoms. The government of the Indian state of Maharashtra plans to complete a towering 212-foot statue of Shivaji Maharaj, a swashbuckling warrior prince from the 17th century who already has most of Mumbai’s prominent monuments named after him. But even before the statue’s construction has begun, it has exposed the deep fault lines between the city’s many ethnic and cultural communities—particularly the local fishing communities that were among the city’s first inhabitants. Read the full story by Namrata Kolachalam.

From the fishing villages along the tip of Mumbai, we take you to the Hasidic neighborhood of Mea She’arim in Jerusalem. Avi Blitz, who traveled to his home city after studying in the U.S. for years, wanted to find out why some Hasidic communities are opposed to using forks while dining. He may not have found a convincing reason—hands are cleaner than cutlery, one Hasid tells him—but he does discover what they use to eat soup. Read Blitz’s essay here.

What you won’t require forks for are two delicious breakfasts: this frisbee-like fried garlic dough from Hungary and this monkey bread from Milwaukee (the writer recommends adding some bourbon sauce).

If you’re into something much better than bourbon (ahem), we recommend Japanese single malt whisky. You may have trouble tracking some down, though. R&K’s Cengiz Yar spoke to Brian Ashcraft, who has spent over a decade studying the spirit, about why Japanese whisky is so hard to find these days. Short answer: it’s too good and only a small amount of stock is left from the 1980s. The long answer: you can read it in this fascinating conversation between Yar and Ashcraft.

That’s all for this week. I hope you, like the rest of us at R&K, are making plans to watch the World Cup final on Sunday. Repeat after me: Idemo, Hrvatska!

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