Thursday, October 16, 2014

10 Memorable Food Encounters in My Travels

For the love of travel and for the love of food, it's about time I write this post.

More often than not, travel by itself is an adventure. It can get even more adventurous when you go all out on food. I don't mean splurge on food, but have that desire or drive to experience food through its cultural value. This allows you to connect with the people and the country itself on a different level. You leave the place with a deeper cultural understanding than you have before. This will also allow you to reflect on the culture that you have back in your home country, whereas for me, the Philippines.

Eating something different and eating in a place where certain food matters to the locals for centuries of collective history, opens you up to a channel of nostalgia in the near future. You will find yourself wanting to go back as though somewhere you made another home after tasting a piece of that place.

It's amazing how one can look back with their friends at an experience and say something like, "Did you remember that time when we had that and it was so good!"

So here's my list of 10 Memorable Food Encounters in My Travels

10. Beef Garlic Steak in Boracay Island, Philippines

food adventures in travels

My friend April and I decided to go out on our own from our hotel to have our taste of some gastronomic European cuisine in Boracay. We decided to have French cuisine for lunch. I originally ordered coq-au-vin (chicken in wine) and she had this Beef Garlic Steak. The latter was so good! One of the best dishes I've ever had in my visits to Boracay. Even to this day, we still talk about that food and we want to try it out some more if we ever go back to Boracay together. Hopefully the restaurant is still operating.

9. Lamb Curry in Singapore

lamb curry food adventures in travels

We spotted this quaint restaurant along the street when we were just coming back to Singapore from a day-trip in Malaysia. We smelled the whiff of spices that stuck on us the previous day after strolling Little India's food market. Hunger and the smell of overwhelming spices have pulled us to the restaurant. The lamb curry was delicious. I am not sure if it was the best in the area, but the fusion of spices in this curry delighted our taste buds. It was also my first time to eat lamb.

8. Sea Urchin, Pandanon Island, Bohol

sea urchin edible food adventures in travels

sea urchin edible food adventures in travels

All the spikes were already taken out when these were offered to us. It really was just like tasting a fleshy salty goo that melted in your mouth. What makes it memorable? We were cruising in an outrigger boat when we had this.

sea urchin edible food adventures in travels

7. Saramsam Pasta in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

saramsam pasta food adventures in travels

This is really an unusual pasta from Saramsam Restaurant. It's weird how that dish made me happy at that time. (Yes, I get ecstatic with certain foods.) Without the local anchovies and pasta, you would really think it's supposed to be a salad because of it's semi-ripened chopped tomatoes, chilies and ripe mangoes. But damn, it's really really good!

6. Tubbataha Salad, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

tubbataha salad food adventures in travels

It is a simple salad of tuna sashimi, mixed fruits and large lato or sea caviar. I still can't wrap my head how everything in it just works tastefully in the mouth. Anything from Ka Lui Restaurant, I'm a fan!

5. Sauteed Abuous or Red Weaver Ant Eggs in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

Unfortunately, I had no photo of this dish in Saramsam Restaurant. I had been lucky to be given this dish for free by the sister of the restaurant owner. I didn't mind eating the tiny plumpy bits of ant eggs. They tasted okay. They kind of sting your tongue a bit. The sting was gone a few seconds after munching.

4. Seafood Boodle in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

boodle food adventures in travels

Ka Lui is my favorite dinner place in Puerto Princesa, but Bilao at Palayok Restaurant is my favorite restaurant for lunch every time I chanced to travel back to Palawan. Their very affordable seafood boodle wins my heart every time. I love how we can squat/sit on the floor or even in a duyan like they do in rural areas. It adds to an awesome dining experience.

3. Tamilok / Wood Worm, Sabang, Palawan

tamilok wood worm food adventures in travels

Just imagine the taste of oyster but is more fleshy. I did enjoy it. Contrary to common belief, it's not really a worm but a type of saltwater clam.

2. Bak Kut Teh in Singapore

bak kuh teh food adventures in travels
at Song Fa Bak Kuh Teh Restaurant

Bak kut teh reminds me of our local nilagang baboy but one could definitely tell the difference. Bak kut teh has its own unique taste. I couldn't seem to put my hand on what exactly was in it. The best I could do if I were to replicate the dish is add star anise. This bone soup can be addicting.

1. Nasi Lemak in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I only had to grab this cuisine at a convenience store. It was the cheapest I could get to be able to have a full meal. It was an awesome experience eating it in a double-decker bus on my way back to Singapore. Nasi lemak is rice cooked in coconut milk. The one I had was packed with dried anchovies or dilis as we locally know it; sambal (a Malaysian shrimp paste) and some roasted peanuts.

I would love to know your awesome food encounters.

Let me know about your most memorable food adventures by leaving a comment below.

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