The Pleasures Of Travel – Eating Local Foods

Thai floating market vendorI confess that meandering slowly through local markets, eating traditional street food, and eating where the locals eat is one of my greatest joys when I am travelling.  I’m an adventurous eater and enjoy sampling the food that is loved by the people of an area I am visiting.  I learnt on my first adventuous trip out of Australia that I had a cast iron stomach, so eating local foods or purchasing from street vendors holds no fear for me.

The food and travel website Thrillist has released its guide to The World’s 18 Best Food cities. Their top cities were chosed according to a trend of improvement and innovation, as well as the diversity and uniqueness of traditional styles and the quality of the venues.

Coming in at number 17 was Melbourne Australia. I love their comparative description of Sydney vs Melbourne. I’ve never really understood why people are so passionate about Melbourne, but I obviously haven’t eaten at the right places.

If Sydney is the New York City of Australia, Melbourne is basically a less hilly San Francisco: smaller, a little more Victorian in its stylings, with an impressive food scene to match. Though famous chefs from all over the world have opened outposts in Sydney (see: David Chang), Melbourne’s scene happened more organically with chefs that came up there, as evidenced by now-ultra-famous toques like Frank Camorra of the MoVida empire, and Andrew McConnell of Cumulus, who turned laneway (like alleys, but much cooler sounding) dining into something more hep, less sketchy.

Bordeaux and Bologna are rated as first and second in the world, with London listed in fourth place for the big name restaurants in that city. But I was delighted to see the street food in quite a few cities was mentioned as being an important part of the culinary experience of cities such as Mumbai, Marakesh and even New York.

Thai seafood curryI have special memories of meals in interesting places around the world, perhaps the most amusing being beside the sea in Da Nang, Vietnam, where we ordered two spring rolls and ended up with two serves of 20!  More recently we stayed at a hotel in Bangkok, booked online for no reason other than it was the right price in the area we wanted to be in, where the chef had been part of the royal family’s staff and cooked many of the traditional Thai food.  With no idea of the reputation of chef or restaurant we ate at the hotel just because we were too tired to go anywhere else, and had the most superb Thai meal.  Such are the things that make a holiday very special.

What is your most precious memory of a foodie experience during your travels?

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Jenni Proctor

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