After winning a Foodie Award (2013) with my food tourism in Asia I continue to come to terms with being penned as a foodie. To me foodies belong to an exclusive club of eaters, nibbling in swanky restaurants and comparing palates. The term often coming with a somewhat pretentious stigma attached. Of course I am glad to see the bar now lowered to include avid eaters like myself. People who eat food because they love to eat food. The foodie now inclusive of those who don’t take food too seriously and don’t feel the need to analyze or critique. To me eating is about enjoyment, indulgence and pure food pleasure. Food is meant to be enjoyed and with food tourism in Asia there is endless enjoyment to be had. It has become my job as a foodie blogger to share my food tourism experiences with other food fanatics.
My Introduction to Asian Food
When first travelling to Asia the closest to Asian food I’d come was chip shop curry or maybe a sweet and sour from my local ‘Chinese’. When in Asia I wasn’t surprised to find a whole lot more to Asian food than what’s found in supermarket freezers back home. It didn’t take long before I was obsessed. I think it was Som Tam to blame for this with its extreme blend of sweet, sour, salty and hot. The predominant Thai tastes which continue to excite my everyday life. While it wasn’t food which brought me to Asia it is now what keeps me here. I honestly can’t leave. While I do enjoy fish and chips back home there are just too many dimensions to Asian food which fail to be replicated in the west. Food is so much better in Asia and a whole lot cheaper.
My Daily Routine in Bangkok
I now live in Bangkok permanently. Every day I eat amazing food costing next to nothing; breakfast, lunch and dinner. My common routine would be spicy soup for breakfast (Tom Yum Kai), Crispy Pork on Rice for lunch (Kaprao Moo Grob) and my favourite meal of the day is evenings with spicy pork salad (Laab Moo) helped down with local beers at my local Isaan barbecue. A routine dreams are made of. That being said I don’t like routine so I often mix things up a bit. I generally do this with food tourism in Asia and when in Bangkok I have top food cities at my fingertips. Just a couple of clicks and I’m jetting off to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh… for weekends of glutton.
Confessions of a Gastro-Tourist
What is food tourism? While most travellers rush to beaches I am drawn more too big cities. There’s a whole lot of food in big cities plus less sand and sunburn. My travel routine starts by booking cheap flights before finding the closest hotel to favourite food haunts. If in Kuala Lumpur maybe next to Jalan Alor, if in Singapore close to my favourite shophouse restaurants in Geylang. I pull up a chair, order local favourites, down some big beers and watch the city pass me by. Living doesn’t get better. To choose a favourite city for food tourism in Asia it would be Georgetown, Penang. Georgetown is a regular VISA run for me living in Bangkok and has some of the most diverse, delicious and cheap food you will find in Asia; a mouthwatering mix of Indian (Mamak), Chinese and Malay.
Street Food is for Everyone
It is hard to talk about food tourism in Asia without mentioning Street food. Cheap, authentic and amazing. Western reputation often sees street food as food for people who can’t pay at restaurants. This is very wrong. Some of the best foods I’ve eaten were at Thai street food stalls costing next to nothing. Yes it is also very safe despite its reputation with travelers with ‘the squirts’. Street food is the easy culprit for blame of Traveller’s Diarrhoea but most of the time it is from water – ice-cubes, brushing teeth and water washed fruits and salads. With cooked foods you’re fine. In fact I prefer seeing food prepared and cooked in front of me, behind closed doors anything can happen. For the past 3 years I have eaten street food on a daily basis and have never had a problem. Street food is honestly one of the highlights of food tourism in Asia.