If you know anything about us at all then you know that if there is one thing that is likely to make us like a place and stay put for a while, that thing is clearly food. Now, Savannakhet with its population hovering around 120,000 people (seriously, that is the size of the SECOND LARGEST […]
Vietnam is a deceptively big country. From top to bottom, it snakes over 3000 kilometers, and travelers who aren’t careful with their itineraries may find themselves spending more time in transit than actually taking in the sights. On our first visit to Vietnam, we spent two months traveling from Hanoi up to the northern border […]
My mother’s side of the family is from Trinidad. Even if you can’t locate Trinidad on a map, know this: Trinidadians love to eat. What nation doesn’t, really? Regardless, visits to my maternal grandmother (Nanny) always revolve around food. Although her narrow house spans many floors, inevitably foot traffic at family gatherings is always highest […]
Asia is a continent of superlatives. Nearly every attraction we have visited is touted as the top of its kind and worthy of its own chapter in the Guinness Book of World Records. I’m not sure how many “biggest buddha in country X/Asia/the world/the universe” we have seen at this point, but suffice to say […]
“What do you think this is?” Joseph, our guide, holds a small, green object in his hand, about the size of a grape, but clearly much firmer. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before, but given that we’re at the recently relocated Satok Market, one of Kuching’s most famous food markets, I’m reasonably certain […]
I promise that one day I will write a post about our time in Malaysia that is not focused on food. Today, however, is not that day.
I loved the city of Melaka and want to tell you all about it, but the truth is that I keep coming back to the food. It was so good, that I just can’t seem to talk about anything else. We had always heard that competing UNESCO rival George Town up in Penang province was the country’s food capital, so you can imagine our delight when Melaka unexpectedly provided us with the perfect setting for an impeccable and authentic Malaysian food bender. No disrespect to George Town (we ate really well there, too!), but in Melaka, we came for the historic buildings and stayed for the food… if that’s not a glowing recommendation, I don’t know what is!
If you only have room in your brain to know three things about me, let them be this:
1) I love costumes
2) I love surprises—and secrets!—but am terrible at keeping them myself
3) I love food
Some people say that in life you should follow your heart, but we say that when traveling, definitely go with your gut.
It is primarily in the pursuit of food that our first stop in Malaysia winds up being the sleepy town of Muar. Our first impressions of the town are, quite honestly, not great. Based on the rhapsodic praise in our not-so-trusty Lonely Planet, we have arrived expecting a town that not only knows how to eat but one that is also “languorously Malaysian in mood and with the feel of a bustling Chinatown.” Instead, we find a city with lethal traffic, but whose streets are otherwise largely deserted; stepping off the main drag, the vibe that greets us is just a hair more lively than somnambulant. I don’t think tumbleweed is indigenous to Malaysia, but rest assured that if it were, it would be completely at home blowing through Muar’s streets.
Some eating experiences are transcendental, elevating the art of food to a higher plane, but good food doesn’t have to be fancy. In fact, on our travels our most satisfying meals aren’t the high falutin ones with slices of lemon in our water glasses or multiple forks of varying sizes to navigate. Instead, I’ve been all about the no-frills meals that make me feel down-right primitive.
And nothing knocks me a couple of notches down the evolutionary chain more than when I’m attacking a plate full of crab.
“If you’re going to begin a show in Singapore, it should be in a Hawker Center—in fact, in my opinion, it should be in this [Maxwell Food Centre] hawker center—and you should probably begin with the most beloved dish in Singapore, chicken rice.” – Anthony Bourdain
When it comes to listing Asia’s top food destinations, most travelers are quick to name Thailand. It’s a hard choice to argue with, but when Tony & I were plotting our trip, there were two other destinations we honed in on with the intention of simply stuffing ourselves silly: Hong Kong & Singapore.
There comes a time during every traveler’s foray through Asia when one is eventually confronted with Durian. Travel through this continent for any length of time and sooner or later, you’ll turn a corner and smell something so fetid and foul it will nearly knock you off your feet. You get used to the assault on the senses (particularly olfactory) that travel in Asia provides, but the odor that wafts about when durian is in the vicinity must surely be considered a crime against humanity.
From 10¢ glasses of local drafts sipped on tiny stools on street corners in Vietnam to $2 1.5L pitchers of ice cold lager in Cambodia, Asia has developed something of a reputation amongst budget-conscious travelers who enjoy a tipple or two. By and large, Asia’s reputation as the land of low-cost liquor is well-earned, but there are a few places where booze will break the bank, Singapore being chief among them. Though you can stuff yourself for a pittance in the Lion City, washing down your meal with an adult beverage will see you hemorrhaging money at a worrying pace.
I’d go so far as to say that of all the places we visited in Taiwan, we ate the very best and enjoyed the food the most while in Hualien. And just like the kofta from New York City that haunts us in our dreams, many of these meals were ones that if we were ever to return to the city on our own, we’d have a hard time replicating.
It’s another installment of Chewing the Fat, and this week we’re so happy to be doing so with the delightful Sarah of Sarah Somewhere! Sarah was a flight attendant for a major Australian airline for eleven years before deciding to quit her job and travel the world with no plan, agenda or foreseeable end date. She and her partner Tyrhone sold everything they owned, including their home, to travel and create a simple, fulfilling life of creativity and adventure. They write about the journey at Sarah Somewhere and Tell Them I Said Something. After a year of travel through South East Asia, China and India, they are currently based on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, swimming, writing, creating and of course… eating.