All posts filed under: Travel

We are home.

It has been an epic 65 days of traveling, eating, drinking, experiencing and adventuring with my husband The Koala. Along the way, we’ve traveled with friends and family, met up with old friends and made new friends. We visited 7 countries and stayed in 18 different places in south east asia. Brunei, Malaysia (Borneo), Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. It’s been exotic and surreal. Being back in front of my mac, in our lounge (looking just the way we left it) it feels like the last 2 months happened to someone else. In the 2 months we’ve been away, I “cooked” only 3 times. A half day cooking class in Chiang Mai, and if you count it as cooking, we had local BBQ where you cook raw ingredients at your table at a restauarant- we did this 2 times (Vang Vieng, Laos and Koh Phangan, Thailand). All other meals – I’m talking an average of 3 meals a day – were eaten out. That’s 192 meals right there! I didn’t photograph every single …

Food tourism

THE PIG ON VACATION As much as Pigs love food they would truly enjoy a culinary experience on vacation. When traveling they tend to dine at the finest restaurants, eat the richest chocolate and drink the most expensive champagne. In addition, their natures to be relaxed and laid back would lead them to an easygoing vacation somewhere on an island or in a resort where they can hang out and be completely taken care of. From the US bridal Guide. Culinary vacation? Me? Really? Naw… I often remark that I would love to eat my way around the world so now I can blame it on my Chinese horoscope. Food tourism is becoming more of a common occurance these days and I think all the food travel shows help boost the industry and make more people yearn to eat exotic things in faraway places. I don’t think of Auckland as being a particularly culinary city, so I was surprised to learn there are a few gourmet food tour companies operating in Auckland. I have no experience …

In anticipation of eating in Vietnam

I adore Vietnamese cuisine. I feel like it’s the lighter, brighter of the South East Asian cuisines and as a result of this, something you can eat regularly. I’ve never been to Vietnam before, but when I visit Hanoi I’m planning on Pho (noodle soup with a rich beef broth) for breakfast and Banh Mi for lunch until I can’t eat it anymore. I look forward to eating at a snake restaurant in the village Le Mat. For a set price (never just wander in without agreeing on a price it may later be extortionate amount), you select a live snake which is expertly killed, blood and bile drained into shot glasses and the heart served still beating. Then they whip the snake away and make a 6-8 different dishes using the rest of the snake. Snake spring rolls, snake soup, crispy fried skin, grilled snake, snake meat with and lemon grass and chili, … It sounds a bit barbaric I know, but from what I’ve read, it’s a culinary experience, not a fear factor …

A magical elixir for the food blogger

I just drank my first dose of a magical elixir. This vaccine is to protect me from the harms of cholera and traveler’s diarrhea. I pray this will give me the iron stomach I need to eat all sorts of varied, wonderful and slightly questionable things. I bumped into my sister this morning and she said that the potion was delicious. I was apprehensive. Maybe if I was expecting an awful taste, it would take pretty good. It was a rasberry and saline flavoured drink. I wouldn’t call it delicious. But since I was expecting delicious, I was a bit disappointed. Oh well, I didn’t have this drink for the flavour sensation. It is the effects of this drink that I am interested in. Onwards and upwards!

Inspired by Noodle Pillows

Reading a book about Vietnamese food and travel inspired me to make this chicken noodle soup. No recipe, I just made it up as I went along, so no claims on authenticity here! Vietnamese food to me, is really fresh, simple ingredients that enhance their flavours. Vietnamese food is highly underrated here in New Zealand. Hardly anyone talks about Vietnamese cuisine. I guess because it doesn’t have the hot, bright, bold or loud cuisine of Thailand or India, or the elegant, regimented cuisine of Japan, so it gets forgotten about. Chinese cuisine is pretty big here though, so maybe it’s simply been overlooked because it’s fairly similar to Chinese cooking? Vietnamese cuisine the kind of thing I can eat very often. The food is balanced and light. There is a strong Cantonese influence as well as a French influence on Vietnamese cuisine. It’s like someone grabbed two of the world’s culinary giants and married them up. Herbs help make everything fresh tasting and you are encouraged to interact with your food, adding each ingredient to …

Noodle Pillows by Peta Mathias

Just finished reading a great food travel book called Noodle Pillows by fellow New Zealander Peta Mathias. Published in 2003, this is an account of Peta’s journey through Vietnam as a single woman, eating everything that stood in her way. It’s always nice reading a Kiwi perspective of food from a faraway location. Full of recipes and at only 182 pages, it’s a very easy read. Some of my favourite bits: Nobody could communicate with anybody, so he took the Russians into the kitchen and pointed to things. They were delighted and wanted everything, absolutely everything. The meal went very well and a light snapped on in the entrepreneurial Vy’s brain. The very next morning she put a sign outside the Mermaid, listing what the customers had eaten the night before – this was their first menu. ‘Vietnamese don’t use menus. It’s like songs. Everyone knows all the dishes and they just ask for what they feel like that day.’ Have you ever been to a restaurant where there was no menu? Where the chef …