Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One world, many plates

If you spend the majority of your time in Anglo Saxon country you will know that the food is a tad bland and devoid of any real flavour and so one of the best things about travelling is trying many new, exciting and wonderfully tasting dishes.

One of the stand out trips for me, food wise, was Thailand. Volunteering in a hill tribe meant that food was super authentic and very different.

We ate stir-fry pretty much all the time which was prepared in this hut and brought out on this small round table we ate outside with chickens and dogs running around our ankles. Likely, I love food and have a fairly robust stomach so I wasn’t bothered by this in the slightest.

My most memorable dish was Chang Mai Noodles and this is a bit like the Malaysian Laksa but hotter and with crispy noodles. The first time we had this dish was on a local road side joint on the way to Chang Rai and I thought the amount of chilli would propel us in to space but seriously, it was divine. The second time around was a lot more bearable chilli-wise but no less wonderful.

Another great memory from this trip was doing a cooking class. I totally recommend this for anyone who likes food and travels a bit as you get more of a feel of the local cuisine and hopefully a few tips on how to cook some dishes at home. Some classes even take you to the markets to pick up some supplies and this can be great as markets are always entertaining and full of the unexpected.

Spending 3 interning months in Malaysia was incredible in so many ways but one of best thing about it was, because of the cost, eating out every day of the week.

If any of you know some Malaysians you will know that one of the first questions that they will ask you after saying hello is ‘have you eaten yet?’ I know the enjoyment of food is pretty universal but the Malaysians take food obsession to a whole new level. It soon became very normal to start planning what you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner from the moment you woke up.

With Malaysia being home to 3 major ethnic groups, means that the kinds of dishes on offer is very diverse. You can have curries one night, noodles the next and Satay or Laksa the next with a Subway (I just had to get some fresh veggies in at some point) for lunch. Nasi Lemak was always a favourite for breakfast.

Trying food from street stalls was another great memory. At first I was a little nervous as I thought I would be getting gastro from eating the food but then I realised that I should stop being a princess that has given way to 'Namby Pambiness' and that I had nothing to worry about.

Long after I have returned from Malaysia and Thailand, I’ve always gravitated towards their cuisine and really attempt to recreate some of the dishes at home but, in reality, they are a poor imitation.
You wouldn’t necessarily go to Ghana for the food but spending 5 weeks there meant that I got to taste a far bit of local food.

Ghana being on the coast and an exporter of seafood, fish was a major part of any meal as too was rice which often constituted a third of what was on the plate.


Food in Edinburgh doesn’t always come to mind but I really enjoyed it. The carbs and processed meat (i.e. sausages and Haggis) was always welcome after a long day running around sightseeing this wonderful part of the world.    

tasted nicer than it looked
Having just spent time in Shanghai and India I got to try many amazing dishes. 

Chinese food was a delight, with its noodles and dumplings that has me going back for more than what was good for me. I loved every meal and every dish was amazing. Using chopsticks was a great noverlty as well as ordering multiple dishes and sharing them among you and your friends because, after all, eating is a communal activity.  

Nicer than it looks, trust me!!
I wouldn't say the Indian that I eat was a disappointment but it was just different to what I had grown up eating. Because I was in the south, it was vegetarian and a lot of rice. Not that I dislike rice but the amount did seem to be a fast track to type II diabetes. But there were several dishes that we did eat that were amazing and to die for but they were often at our local restaurant (don't think it catered for westerners) rather than at our homestay.    

I love food!!! Food is great and obviously each place that you travel to offers something new, different and totally exciting. That's what makes travelling so cool. 

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