Chewing the Fat with the Cultural Xplorer

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It there’s one thing we’ve learned over and over again on our travels, it’s that there’s nothing like food—whether you’re sitting down to a meal or simply just reminiscing about some of the great dishes in your past—to bring people together. I think Chewing the Fat does a great job of accomplishing the same thing (albeit in a virtual space), and it’s been pretty incredible to see so many foodie travelers come out of the woodwork since we launched this series, all of them eager to talk about two of their favorite things: traveling & food! One of the best feedback we’ve received from you, our beloved readers, is that you’ve discovered a lot of great new blogs written by fellow kindred spirits through this series; I hope that today will be another one of those instances. It certainly was for me!

You see, today I’m chatting with Chanel, the founder and head blogger behind Cultural Xplorer, a site where she writes about culture, off-the-beaten-path attractions and destinations, and—of course—all the delicious food she has encountered in her travels. After spending two years living and teach English in South Korea, Chanel is currently a graduate student who resides in New York City and writes quite a bit about the ins & outs of living in the Big Apple (and eating her way through it!), as well as the ‘foodcations’ that she’s able to squeeze in here and there. Prior to receiving her request to Chew the Fat with us, I wasn’t familiar with Chanel and her site, but I’m so glad that is no longer the case! I love the way Chanel dives into the local cuisine of all the destinations she visits without any hesitations or judgment—she is a fearless traveler through, and even when she’s not writing about food, she always comes up with a fun & unique way to put her own stamp on her adventures.

Read on as Chanel talks about why Korean food makes her taste buds tingle with joy, the beauty of NYC brunches, her top foodie destination in the United States and so much more!

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Mini Budget Breakdown: London Travel Costs

Buckingham Palace, London

We knew that following our time in Asia that transitioning to Europe would be hard on our dwindling travel funds. Many people joked that we couldn’t have picked a worse destination than London as our entry point with respect to sticker shock. While it might be true that London is a very expensive city, we had an amazing time during our eight-day visit—I reveled in reigniting a long-standing love affair as well as getting to introduce Tony to one of my favorite cities in the world and watch him start his own romance with London. The icing on this already-delicious cake was getting to reunite with friends made on the road while traveling, and getting to see London through their eyes too.

So, yes London is about as expensive a travel destination as one could pick, but we don’t regret a single pence or pound we spent during our visit. It probably doesn’t hurt that—as The Beatles sang, thanks to a little help from our friends—we were able to keep our budget relatively in check and came up with a few tricks to make our time in London relatively affordable.

Check out a detailed analysis of how much it cost us to visit London to see what I mean:

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Unexpectedly Awesome Adventures in Eating, London Edition

Traditional English Tea

There were many places on this trip that I was excited to visit for essentially little more than the chance to eat my way through them. It will probably not surprise many of you that England was not originally on that list.

It is now. England may traditionally be the laughing stock of the culinary world, but if our meals during our latest visit are anything to go by, Blighty’s days as a gastronomical whipping boy are well and truly over.

Don’t believe me? Take a gander at the (mostly) delicious dishes we tucked into during our time in the city:

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Two Offbeat London Activities Actually Worth Paying For

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In my last post, I wrote extensively about the many free things to see and do in London. With so many free attractions at your disposal, I outlined how it is entirely possible to fill over a week in London town without spending anything above and beyond your lodging, food and transport, and to do so quite happily and without any major FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) taking hold.

As I also mentioned, however, London has plenty of rather pricey attractions—so many that it can be rather difficult to decide where your travel fund is best spent. During our time in London, we were lucky enough to have two wonderful experiences—each off the beaten path in its own way—that we consider to be highlights of our time in this amazing city. Due to the generosity of friends, we were able to enjoy both of these activities for free, but we both agreed that they were each so fantastic that we would have happily dug into our travel fund in order to experience each one because they were well worth their respective admission fees. You don’t need our help to find your way to things like the Tower of London, the London Eye or Buckingham Palace, but I figured both of the following activities are sufficiently unconventional that you might overlook them in favor of some of the city’s more famous attractions and that would be a real shame.

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Chewing the Fat with A Cruising Couple!

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Given that today’s Chewing the Fat interviewees  have been taking the travel blogging world by storm over the past year with their epic adventures through Asia, Europe and South & Central America, I assume everyone’s familiar with them. In case you’re not, however, a little introduction: Dan and Casey are two lovebirds, world travelers, and adventurers extraordinaire. Their website, A Cruising Couple, is all about adventure travel – with a dash of class. They enjoy being outdoors, working from trendy cafes, and gorging on Mexican food… something we talk an awful lot about in this interview!

If we have any regrets from our Big Trip, it’s generally that we frequently stumbled upon an awesome expat travel blog long after we had already come, seen, and eaten our way through the country in question. Such was the case with  Dan & Casey. Back when we first discovered their blog, they were living and working as English teachers in Taiwan—one of our favorite countries when it comes to delicious eats and culinary indulgence. Little did we know that while we were prowling the streets of Taipei solo looking for our next great meal, Casey & Dan were nearby doing the exact same thing! Catching up on their blog, we quickly realized that this dynamic duo definitely knows how to eat and it pained us to no end that we had missed a chance to hang out with them in person. Since we didn’t get to eat our way through Taipei together, I decided it was time to make up for that oversight with the next best thing: this interview. After all, we all know that food brings people together—whether it’s actually sharing a meal, or just talking about it. I consider this interview an appetizer for when our paths one day cross again; I know it will happen because although the world may be a big place, we gastronomic globetrotters have a way of finding one another!

Read on as Dan & Casey discuss what makes Mexican food the best, North Carolina state fair delicacies (Krispy Kreme burgers anyone?), the pitfalls of getting “hangry” while traveling, and so much more!

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