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Food porn: a year of food around the world

FOOD PORN: a year of Food Around the World

It has been over a year since I put together “The Yummiest Blog Post of the Year“.

As a fan of food (or food porn whenever actual food is not around), I like looking at photos of delicious meals from around the world. Ethnic food, weird eats, indulgent sweets and snacks that allow me an insight on a certain culture or, sometimes, simply make my taste buds day dream.

This year hasn’t been any less yummy than the previous one – maybe on the contrary, as we’ve been traveling in quite far apart regions of the world. So, because I know you love world foods and food porn too, let’s visually indulge on some of the things we have eaten on the past months…

 
 

India

We started 2013 in India and this is the country that we have been spending most time in lately. For foodies, things never get boring around Incredible India, because there is such a variety of cuisines within the sub-continent. Apart from enjoying home-made food made with love by Ashray’s Mom, being in the capital, New Delhi, there is also easy access to pretty much all the regional cuisines including preparations such as:

छोले भटूरे Chole Bhature: spicy chickpeas and with fried dough, typically from the Indian state of Punjab

छोले भटूरे Chole Bhature: spicy chickpeas and fried dough, typically from the Indian state of Punjab

Masala Dosa: a South India speciality, somehow similar to a crepe but made with fermented rice and black lentils batter. Curried potatoes and peas hide on the inside and tastes better dipped in chutneys and sambar, a spicy stewy preparation.

Masala Dosa: a South India speciality, somehow similar to a crepe but made with fermented rice and black lentils batter. Curried potatoes and peas hide on the inside and tastes better dipped in chutneys and sambar, a spicy stewy preparation.

Breakfast dosa with sambar and chutneys in Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Breakfast dosa with sambar and chutneys in Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Another Tamil typical breakfast: idli, a savory cake made with fermented rice batter. Doesn't taste like much until you add chutneys, like mint, tomato and the ultra popular coconut.

Another typical breakfast: idli, a savory cake made with fermented rice batter. Doesn't taste like much until you add chutneys, like mint, tomato and the ultra popular coconut.

Kati Roll, originally from Calcutta: kebab rolled inside a paratha, garnished with plenty of sliced onions, chili and lime for a squeeze of even more flavor!

Kati Roll, originally from Calcutta: kebab rolled inside a paratha, garnished with plenty of sliced onions, chili and lime for a squeeze of even more flavor!

Crispy dough with a spicy filling of potatoes and green peas... give it up for SAMOSAS!

Crispy dough with a spicy filling of potatoes and green peas… give it up for SAMOSAS!

 

If you don’t know what to order when you’re in India, choose a Thali. This is a platter with a selection of dishes and can be veg or non-veg. Thalis vary depending on the region but they would normally contain a couple of subji (vegetables), daal (lentils), a type of chicken curry (for the non-veg option), pickles & chutneys, curd (plain yogurt) or raita (yogurt with chopped veggies and spices) and one or two forms of carbs – most commonly rice and/or roti (flat bread cooked in a clay oven).

Vegetarian Tali for less than $1 in Rishikesh - AMAZING!

Vegetarian Tali for less than $1 in Rishikesh – AMAZING!

Incredibly complete South Indian Tali: with different vegetable preparations, daal (lentils), yogurt, pickles, puri, papadam and sweet dish

Incredibly complete South Indian Tali: with different vegetable preparations, daal (lentils), yogurt, pickles, puri, papadam and sweet dish

 

One of my favorite places to indulge in food in India is South Goa. Maybe the fact that you eat with your toes dipped into the sand, while the sun is shinning and the air smells like sea salt does help food taste better… Or maybe it’s just that the pace of life allows cooks to make things properly. As proper as this:

Tandoori chicken with saffron rice - as if Goa wasn't HOT enough by itself!

Tandoori chicken with saffron rice – as if Goa wasn't HOT enough by itself!

Mushroom Tikka: marinated with yogurt and spices and cooked in the tandoor (traditional Indian clay oven)

Mushroom Tikka: marinated with yogurt and spices and cooked in the tandoor (traditional Indian clay oven)

मम Nepali Momos (chicken dumpling), at a Nepalese restaurant in Goa.

मम Nepali Momos (chicken dumplings), at a Nepalese restaurant in Goa.

 

Lounging by the beach, fresh fruits and drinks are ideal to beat the heat!

Enjoying freshly cut pineapple from a beach vendor in Vagator Beach, Goa

Enjoying freshly cut pineapple from a walking vendor in Vagator Beach, Goa

Drinks in Goa: fresh ginger ale, squeezed sugar cane juice, Indian beer and Goan chashew feni with soda

Drinks in Goa: fresh ginger ale, squeezed sugar cane juice, Indian beer and Goan chashew feni with soda

 

 

Hong Kong & Macao

We “escaped” Delhi’s smog and pre-wedding stress with a quick visit to Hong Kong this February. For Asian food lovers, Hong Kong is a super hot spot, where you can dig in world class Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian and pretty much any major cuisine from around the world too:

Ashray eating garlic fried eggplant at a night market in Kow Loong

Ashray eating garlic fried eggplant at a night market in Kow Loong

Pan fried leek gyoza: if this is what fas food is all about in HK, them i'm in!

Pan fried leek gyoza: if this is what fas food is all about in HK, them i'm in!

Beef stoup with prawn dumplings and pak choi

Beef stoup with prawn dumplings and pak choi

Sushi rolls and miso soup: how to eat well and cheap in HK 101

Sushi rolls and miso soup: how to eat well and cheap in HK 101

Vinegary egg noodles with pork dumplings and fish balls: probably an acquired state, but you've gotta start somewhere..

Vinegary egg noodles with pork dumplings and fish balls: probably an acquired state, but you've gotta start somewhere..

Ebi tempura crispy rolls

Ebi tempura crispy rolls

Passion fruit & raspberry tart. Midnight craving? Call room-service...

Passion fruit & raspberry tart. Midnight craving? Call room-service…

 

We stayed in a fancy hotel some of the days we were in Hong Kong. And here’s how I rate top hotels: at least 50% of the importance goes towards breakfast (and it better be included in the room rate!). In this case, I was not disappointed and indulged in a 4 course breakfast marathon every single morning:

Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and mango with lusciously thick yogurt

Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and mango with lusciously thick yogurt

Smoked salmon with fresh baguette and a little salad

Smoked salmon with fresh baguette and a little salad

Crispy bacon, smoked turkey breast, prosciutto, sautéed mushrooms and potato hash-browns. Awesome, but this breakfast still needs a sweet ending...

Crispy bacon, smoked turkey breast, prosciutto, sautéed mushrooms and potato hash-browns. Awesome, but this breakfast still needs a sweet ending…

Waffle with berries, cherries, dark chocolate and whipped cream - and the first meal of the day is officially over!

Waffle with berries, cherries, dark chocolate and whipped cream – and the first meal of the day is officially over!

 

Eating dim sum soon became my favorite sport in Hong Kong. And the night that we visited one of the most affordable Michelin starred restaurants in the world, One Dim Sum, is one historical indulgent moment for the foodie in me:

Prawns and greens steamed dim sum - one of my favorites at One Dim Sum

Prawns and greens steamed dim sum – one of my favorites at One Dim Sum

Deep fried dumplings with sweet & sour sauce. The waiter called them "Chinese Ravioli" :D

Deep fried dumplings with sweet & sour sauce. The waiter called them "Chinese Ravioli" :D

Baked pork buns: sweet dough with a filling of caramelized pork and onions.

Baked pork buns: sweet dough with a filling of caramelized pork and onions.

燒賣 Siumai: a classic dumpling of minced pork and prawn

燒賣 Siumai: a classic dumpling of minced pork and prawn

Classic spring rolls: crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside

Classic spring rolls: crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside

蝦餃: steamed dim sum with chopped prawns filling

蝦餃: steamed dim sum with chopped prawns filling

煎堆: fried sesame balls with sweet black sesame filling

煎堆: fried sesame balls with sweet black sesame filling

 

We love Chinese food. But we’re not always in a place where we get to go out and satiate a specific craving. That’s why we took a Chinese Cooking Class, to learn how to be self sufficient! We first went grocery shopping at a wet market and then hit the kitchen:

Some of the fruits being sold at the wet market

Some of the fruits being sold at the wet market

Sweet & sour fish with pineapple and assorted bell peppers

Sweet & sour fish with pineapple and assorted bell peppers

Bean curd and celery salad, dressed with sesame oil

Bean curd and celery salad, dressed with sesame oil

Glutinous rice with dark chocolate filling, immersed in sweet ginger tea

Glutinous rice with dark chocolate filling, immersed in sweet ginger tea

 

Macao was quite surreal for me. Being from Portugal, it felt like I was strolling around Lisbon and somehow ended up in China. The fact that there were egg tarts (some of my favorite treats in Portugal) all over the place helped to make that feeling sweeter.

Macau's take on Portuguese Egg Tarts

Macau's take on Portuguese Egg Tarts

 

 

U.S.A.

I didn’t have the greatest expectations on the foodie side of things during our travels around the United States. I have written more extensively about it here.

But one thing that I did like in the US was the fact that breakfast is indeed a meal. Not a “grab & go” quickie…

Waffles, scrambled eggs, breakfast meat patty, grapes, OJ and coffee in Flagstaff, Arizona

Waffles, scrambled eggs, breakfast meat patty, grapes, OJ and coffee in Flagstaff, Arizona

Farmer's omelette in Groveland, made juice by tomatoes, onions and a little spinach for a healthier start of the day!

Farmer's omelette in Groveland, made juicier with tomatoes, onions and a little spinach for a healthier start of the day!

Eggs Benedict on crab cakes at Sonoma County, California - borderline luxurious for breakfast.

Eggs Benedict on crab cakes at Sonoma County, California – borderline luxurious for breakfast.

Smoked Salmon Bagel has "this is going to be a GREAT day" written all over it!

This Smoked Salmon Bagel has "this is going to be a GREAT day" written all over it!

A B&B breakfast as it should be: raspberries in yogurt, egg au gratin, prosciutto, smoked salmon, croissant, fresh orange juice and coffee latte. With love, in Seattle.

A B&B breakfast as it should be: raspberries in yogurt, egg au gratin, prosciutto, smoked salmon, croissant, fresh orange juice and coffee latte. With love, in Seattle.

Assorted berries and red fruits bought straight at the farm in the countryside of California

Assorted berries and red fruits bought straight at the farm in the countryside of California

 

Traveling in America, one will almost invariably eat a mix of what can be considered “traditional” American food and other dishes from around the world that have become popular as immigrants from all over the place have settled in this country.

God bless America… and its burgers!

If there is something the USA does a lot and well that is BEEF BURGERS!

If there is something the USA does a lot and well that is BEEF BURGERS!

Turkey burgers also work, to pretend you're keeping it healthy!..

Turkey burgers also work, to pretend you're keeping it healthy!..

A chunky hot dog with a bowl of chili, fries and pickle - at a typical American diner in San Francisco.

A chunky hot dog with a bowl of chili, fries and pickle – at a typical American diner in San Francisco.

Chicken & Waffles: one of those food combinations that has "USA" written all over it!

Chicken & Waffles: one of those food combinations that has "USA" written all over it!

Pepperoni and veggies pizza in Spokane. The US rules at pizza making! (Italians, don't go hate on me now..)

Pepperoni and veggies pizza in Spokane. The US rules at pizza making! (Italians, don't go hate on me now..)

Oregon's Clam Chowder at the popular restaurant Mo's. Best when it's raining outside, just like the day we had it..

Oregon's Clam Chowder at the popular restaurant Mo's. Best when it's raining outside, just like the day we had it in Florence..

Seafood salad at the sea-side town of Bandon, Oregon.

Seafood salad at the sea-side town of Bandon, Oregon.

Southern style chicken & mash - our Disneyland lunch!

Southern style chicken & mash – our Disneyland lunch!

Wendy's grilled chicken and berries salad: one of the most decent fast food options we had in the USA

Wendy's grilled chicken and berries salad: one of the most decent fast food options we had in the USA

Keeping in Vegan in Morro Bay, with salad burritos, grilled tempeh and steamed brown rice.

Keeping in Vegan in Morro Bay, with salad burritos, grilled tempeh and steamed brown rice.

 

And Dios bless all the immigrants that brought their hopes and dreams to the US, and thankfully didn’t forget the good taste for food back home.

Awesome Mexican in Phoenix, Arizona: beef barbacoa, refried beans, roasted pimientos and corn tortillas

Awesome Mexican in Phoenix, Arizona: beef barbacoa, refried beans, roasted pimientos, Mexican rice and corn tortillas

Japanese bento box in Santa Cruz, California: prawn tempura, salmon nigiri, maki rolls, steamed rice (a bit redundant with the rolls, true..) and salad

Japanese bento box in Santa Cruz, California: prawn tempura, salmon nigiri, maki rolls, steamed rice (a bit redundant with the rolls, true..) and salad

Middle Eastern lunch in San Francisco: Arabic bread, hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, chicken shish tawook and tabbouleh salad. For a meal, I almost felt like I was back in Dubai...

Middle Eastern lunch in San Francisco: Arabic bread, hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, chicken shish tawook and tabbouleh salad. For a meal, I almost felt like I was back in Dubai…

Vietnamese Dinner: fragrant poo soup and rice with pork. In Seattle, where we didn't see Macklemore, but where we did eat a lot of yummy Asian food!

Vietnamese Dinner: fragrant noodle soup and rice with pork. In Seattle, where we didn't see Macklemore, but where we did eat a lot of yummy Asian food!

Chinese in San Diego: chicken and mixed vegetables. So simple, yet so good!

Chinese in San Diego: chicken and mixed vegetables. So simple, yet so good!

Sushi rolls in San Francisco, with seaweed salad and miso soup: one of my ideal lunch sets!

Sushi rolls in San Francisco, with seaweed salad and miso soup: one of my ideal lunch sets!

Ashray's maki roll creation: prawn, avocado, mango and spinach, prepared at How Do You Roll, a fast food restaurant where you create your own sushi

Ashray's maki roll creation: prawn, avocado, mango and spinach, prepared at How Do You Roll, a fast food restaurant where you create your own sushi

Peruvian mixed seafood ceviche, enjoyed with nostalgia at the Mission District, the part of San Francisco that almost feels like Latin America!..

Peruvian mixed seafood ceviche, enjoyed with nostalgia at the Mission District, the part of San Francisco that almost feels like Latin America!..

 

And of course, life has a sweeter side to it too in the USA…

The biggest portion of carrot cake on earth!

The biggest portion of carrot cake on earth!

Disney's candy apples: sweets porn!

Disney's candy apples: sweets porn!

 
 

An European Summer

 

Portugal & Spain

As my Mom’s house in Portugal is right at the border and we’re half Portuguese and half Spanish, I almost see both countries as one land. At least food wise, thinking about the things I grew up eating, there is no distinction as such.

I had some of my favorites back home this summer, both at home and eating out.

Pimientos de Padron: slightly fried and salted. Best with country-side style bread and red wine from Galicia!

Pimientos de Padron: slightly fried and salted. Best with country-side style bread and red wine from Galicia!

 

But I also decided to try something new this time! Just because I lived in Portugal most of my life, it doesn’t mean that I’ve tasted it all before. So, with an adventurous spirit pumped by friends one fine evening out in Lisbon, Ashray and I both tried SNAILS for the first time… not as slimy as one would think (I had pictured the texture to be like gummy bears, but it was not).

Caracois: buttery snails cooked with butter and herbs. In Lisbon!

Caracois: buttery snails cooked with garlic and herbs. In Lisbon!

 

We also had some of the best sushi ever this summer, in Cascais (Portugal):

Amazingly fresh sushi at Sushi Fashion, Cascais. Enjoyed with red fruits sparkling white wine sangria and a view towards the Atlantic Ocean, this was such a treat!

Amazingly fresh sushi at Sushi Fashion, Cascais. Enjoyed with red fruits sparkling white wine sangria and a view towards the Atlantic Ocean, this was such a treat!

 

Summer is the ideal time to get together with friends and share great food outdoors. And that’s what we did with the Faria Family and friends, who were kind enough to invite us for a feast that included one of the finest cuts of meat in Portugal:

Posta Mirandesa: one of the most loved beef cuts in Portugal, prepared by Agente Faria in Lisbon's South Bank. We also got to try his home-made spirits... but as he is a traffic cop himself, we couldn't drive back home and had to take a ride with someone else!

Posta Mirandesa: one of the most loved beef cuts in Portugal, prepared by Agent Faria in Lisbon's South Bank. We also got to try his home-made spirits… but as he is a traffic cop himself, we couldn't drive back home and had to take a ride with someone else!

 

And because we’re citizens of the world now, we cooked an Indian meal using the closest ingredients we could find in Portugal.

Pairing Indian food with Portuguese rose wine... IT WORKS! :D

Pairing Indian food with Portuguese rose wine… IT WORKS! :D

 

Some days, after holiday time feasting, we kept it simple and healthy too:

Summer seasonal fruit salad - in Lisbon.

Summer seasonal fruit salad – in Lisbon.

 

France

One doesn’t come to France and ignore all the foodie possibilities this country offers!

Spending a few days in Paris we spoiled ourselves with fresh pastries and baguettes everyday – hands down, my favorite thing about France!

The Parisian life-style, that involves freshly baked baguette, croque madame & cafe creme... and strolls by the Siene and the Eiffel Tower, best enjoyed with ice-cream!..

The Parisian life-style, that involves freshly baked baguette, croque madame & cafe creme… and strolls by the Seine and the Eiffel Tower, best enjoyed with ice-cream!..

Some of the most popular French pastries, including: millefeuille, macaron and fruit tarts.

Some of the most popular French pastries, including: millefeuille, macaron and fruit tarts.

 

Food tastes better with friends, that is no secret. And in little French bistros around Paris, that is no exception.

Bistro in Paris: grilled beef steak and Gratin Dauphinois. A tasty oh la la moment with some Indian friends!

Bistro in Paris: grilled beef steak and Gratin Dauphinois. A tasty oh la la moment with some Indian friends!

 

Hitting the coast of Normandy (in Etretat), we geared towards seafood.

Moules at Frites, aka, steamed mussels and french fries. With a "compulsory" cup of apple side, because this is Normandy mes amis!

Moules et Frites, aka, steamed mussels and french fries. With a "compulsory" cup of apple side, because this is Normandy mes amis!

 

 

Czech Republic

I knew little about Czech Republic before we visited this July and that meant a food discovery from the very ground level.

It doesn’t take more than a glance at the menu of any restaurant serving local specialities to realize this country LOVES meat. Grilled, stewed, fried.. it doesn’t matter!  But pretty much always served with chunky dumplings (made of flour or potatoes) and a lot of pickled cabbage, known as sauerkraut.

Refreshing ginger lemon iced tea in Ostrava

Refreshing ginger lemon iced tea in Ostrava

Beer marinated pork with dumplings and sauerkraut. Tasty and oh-so-fullfilling!

Beer marinated pork with dumplings and sauerkraut. Tasty and oh-so-fullfilling!

Beef Goulash with bread dumplings: one of the beast meals I had in Czech Republic!

Beef Goulash with bread dumplings: one of the best meals I had in Czech Republic!

Meat Pelmeni: Russian dumplings stuffed with me. In a little Russian restaurant in the city of Brno.

Meat Pelmeni: Russian dumplings stuffed with pork. In a little Russian restaurant in the city of Brno.

Not a Czech thing as such, but a nevertheless delicious breakfast of spinach, cheese and egg crepe.

Not a Czech thing as such, but a nevertheless delicious breakfast of spinach, cheese and egg crepe in Prague.

Mixed grill - Czech style!

Mixed grill – Czech style!

Trdelnik (also known as Trdlo): thin pastries sprinkled with sugar, roasted after the dough is placed around a stick. Follow the smell in Prague's old town... watch how they do it... and eat up!

Trdelnik (also known as Trdlo): thin pastries sprinkled with sugar, roasted after the dough is placed around a stick. Follow the smell in Prague's old town… watch how they do it… and eat up!

 

Germany

A brief stay in Berlin and an even briefer stop-over in Munich allowed us a quick intro to German cuisine and, of course, a never-ending world of sausages!

I must say that nothing beats a currywurst or a simple proper hot dog out of a road-side vending cart in Berlin in the middle of a night out:

I won't attempt to share the exact name of these sausages because I know Germans are very particular about their sausages and I could mess up. Let's just say these were mighty fine hot dogs! In Berlin.

I won't attempt to share the exact name of these sausages because I know Germans are very particular about their sausages and I could mess up. Let's just say these were mighty fine hot dogs! In Berlin.

Sausage platter in Munich: variety of sausages, pork meatballs, creamy mashed potatoes, cabbage and crispy fried onions. Not for those on a weight-loss diet...

Sausage platter in Munich: variety of sausages, pork meatballs, creamy mashed potatoes, cabbage and crispy fried onions. Not for those on a weight-loss diet…

In the land of sausages, even croissants are stuffed with wurst!

In the land of sausages, even croissants are stuffed with wurst!

 

I was very impressed with the variety of restaurants in Berlin: we had the chance to go out for fusion vegan food, Sudanese falafel, Japanese fast food and Korean traditional dishes – and it’s a shame that we couldn’t eat more, but we literally didn’t have more meals during the 2 days we spent there! Thumbs up for the amazing prices of food in Berlin too! We couldn’t believe we were indeed in Germany….

비빔밥 Bibimbap: a popular Korean dish with rice, vegetables, meats and fried egg. A bowl of delicious comfort food!

비빔밥 Bibimbap: a popular Korean dish with rice, vegetables, meats and fried egg. A bowl of delicious comfort food!

Mandoo Soup: Korean vegetable dumplings in broth, topped with seaweed

Mandoo Soup: Korean vegetable dumplings in broth, topped with seaweed

Gimbap: the Korean take on sushi

Gimbap: the Korean take on sushi

Vegan lunch: a much needed break from the meaty days both in Germany and Czech Republic

Vegan lunch: a much needed break from the meaty days both in Germany and Czech Republic

 

Netherlands

We were supposed to fly from Germany back to Portugal but decided to instead do so after a few days in Amsterdam. The price of flights from Amsterdam to Lisbon helped us create a great excuse to add a new country to the European itinerary and discover some more food in the process too.

We rented an Airbnb apartment in the same street as the Dappermarkt, one of the most multicultural street markets I have ever visited in my life. There, one can buy things such as Indian samosas, Belgian style fries, Dutch fried fish, Vietnamese steamed buns and Middle Eastern hummus all being sold by people originating from those parts of the world. I love multicultural places and when this influences what people eat too, we can easily observe how food brings us all together!

International lunch bought at Dappermarkt: Dutch fried fish, Indian samosas, Vietnamese dim sum and roasted corn on the cob from a Guianese vendor - served with home-made salad

International lunch bought at Dappermarkt: Dutch fried fish, Indian samosas, Vietnamese dim sum and roasted corn on the cob from a Guianese vendor – served with home-made salad

For breakfast or lunch, smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches with capers are ALWAYS welcome!

For breakfast or lunch, smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches with capers are ALWAYS welcome!

 

There was a lot of cheese involved in our Amsterdam stay too… Hey, we LOVE Gouda!

Cheese shop in Amsterdam - my Gouda dreams come true!

Cheese shop: Gouda is my favorite drug while in Amsterdam! ;)

 
 

South-East Asia

Our most recent travels have brought us to South-East Asia. We’re based in Thailand (Chiang Mai) right now for a few weeks and this is one fine city for those who plan their travels around food too. But before Chiang Mai we were in…

 

Cambodia

I have read how a lot of the traditional Khmer cuisine has been lost with the devastation that the country has suffered in recent history. The lack of preservation of culinary tradition and the shortage of ingredients didn’t help carrying recipes from generation to generation. But things are changing now.

We even went for a cooking class in Siem Reap that aims to spread the word about Cambodian cuisine with new people, so that the world realizes Cambodia knows a thing or two about food too!

Fresh spring rolls: a healthier alternative than the fried ones, stuffed with grilled chicken, rice vermicelli, shredded carrots and a bunch of herbs. Dipped in sweet sauce with chunky peanuts.

Fresh spring rolls: a healthier alternative than the fried ones, stuffed with grilled chicken, rice vermicelli, shredded carrots and a bunch of herbs. Dipped in sweet sauce with chunky peanuts.

Cambodian chicken curry with sweet potatoes, served with steamed rice

Cambodian chicken curry with sweet potatoes, served with steamed rice

Somlor Machou Kroeung - Cambodian beef soup, served with white rice

Somlor Machou Kroeung – Cambodian beef soup, served with white rice

Nom Tong Nuyen, a typical desert from Cambodia, resembling a waffle cone, but crispier and made with coconut milk.

Nom Tong Nuyen, a typical desert from Cambodia, resembling a waffle cone, but crispier and made with coconut milk.

The best thirst quencher in Cambodia and South East Asia in general: chilled young coconut - best enjoyed with wonderful views like those at Angkor Wat

The best thirst quencher in Cambodia and South East Asia in general: chilled young coconut – best enjoyed with wonderful views like those at Angkor Wat

 

Thailand

Thailand is, quite probably, one of the best countries out there to eat on a budget. It’s borderline ridiculous how much good food there is available, the incredible variety, the omnipresence of food stalls.. and the fact that prices are the greatest ever. I mean it: EVER!

Thai breakfast was a new discovery for us. Rice was never a part of my first meal of the day, unless it was in the shape of Rice Krispies, but things have changed around here…

Thai Breakfast: rice congee with pork meatballs and veggies, seasonal fruits and coffee

Thai Breakfast: rice congee with pork meatballs and veggies, seasonal fruits and coffee

โจ๊ก Jok: Thai style rice porridge with pork. One of Thailand's most popular breakfast dishes.

โจ๊ก Jok: Thai style rice porridge with pork. One of Thailand's most popular breakfast dishes.

 

If you know anything about eating in Thailand you’ve probably heard praise regarding the street food. Not only you’ll never get hungry around Thailand, you won’t also need to be rich to enjoy wholesome preparations made from scratch in front of you.

Generally clean, safe to eat, cheap and even cute, Thai street food is proof that almost anything can be put on a skewer – well, maybe not little insects, but those taste better by the handful anyway!

Grilled prawns in Phuket - bought from a street vendor by the sea at night

Grilled prawns in Phuket – bought from a street vendor by the sea at night

Various satays: marinated meat on skewers, charcoal grilled to tenderness

Various satays: marinated meat on skewers, charcoal grilled to tenderness

There's plenty of snacks served on skewers in Thailand: sausages, meat balls and fish balls are amongst the most popular in street markets

There's plenty of snacks served on skewers in Thailand: sausages, meat balls and fish balls are amongst the most popular in street markets

Fried worms and assorted creatures: not for the easy impressionable, but definitely a good source of protein!

Fried worms and assorted creatures: not for the easy impressionable, but definitely a good source of protein!

 

Curries and rice are to Thailand what burgers are to the US, what pasta is to Italy or what bacalhau (salted cod fish) is to Portugal.

There is no such thing as “Thai curry” because in reality the recipes vary according to the region of the country, but coconut milk seems to be a staple ingredient.

Rice comes as a side for curry (like steamed Jasmine rice) or fried with a little bit of it all.

Tom Kha Goong: curry-like soup with chicken, galanga root and coconut.

Tom Kha Goong: curry-like soup with chicken, galanga root and coconut.

แกงมัสมั่น Chicken Massaman curry with potatoes: a dish of muslim origin from Southern Thailand

แกงมัสมั่น Chicken Massaman curry with potatoes: a dish of muslim origin from Southern Thailand

Fish in black pepper sauce, in Phuket.

Fish in black pepper sauce, in Phuket.

Prawn and pineapple fried rice, served with cashew nuts inside a pineapple shell - in the paradisiac island of Ko Phi Phi!

Prawn and pineapple fried rice, served with cashew nuts inside a pineapple shell – in the paradisiac island of Ko Phi Phi!

Chicken green curry rice with the almost mandatory fried egg > in Thailand, they love adding a fried egg to most rice meals. In restaurants and food courts, you often have the options of adding an egg to your dish of choice, for about 10 Bhat.

Chicken green curry rice with the almost mandatory fried egg > in Thailand, they love adding a fried egg to most rice meals. In restaurants and food courts, you often have the options of adding an egg to your dish of choice, for about 10 Bhat.

 

Yet my preferred staple in Thailand are noodles, particularly swimming in broth.

Pad Thai. Stir-fried rice noodle with chopped tofu, sprouts, egg, tamarind and fish sauce. For a $1 or less all over Thailand - gotta love this country!!

Pad Thai. Stir-fried rice noodle with chopped tofu, sprouts, egg, tamarind and fish sauce. For a $1 or less all over Thailand – gotta love this country!!

ผัดซีอิ๊ว Pad See Ew: stir-fried broad flat rice noodles in soy sauce

ผัดซีอิ๊ว Pad See Ew: stir-fried broad flat rice noodles in soy sauce

Glass noodle soup with chicken and veggies: Thai people sure know how to make a heart-warming soup!

Glass noodle soup with chicken and veggies: Thai people sure know how to make a heart-warming soup!

BBQ pork and egg noodle soup, topped with plenty of spring onions

BBQ pork and egg noodle soup, topped with plenty of spring onions

Rice noodles and pork soup - yep, that's a pork artery you're seeing there!.. If you're going to kill an animal for food, you better use all of it!

Rice noodles and pork soup – yep, that's a pork artery you're seeing there!.. If you're going to kill an animal for food, you better use all of it!

Rice noodle soup with assorted sea food, in the island of Koh Lanta, for little over $1. PARADISE!

Rice noodle soup with assorted sea food, in the island of Koh Lanta, for little over $1. PARADISE!

Noodle soup with pork meatballs and slices processed pork balls. Crispy fried batter on the side, to dip in and enjoy!

Noodle soup with pork meatballs and slices of processed pork roll. Crispy fried batter on the side, to dip in and enjoy!

 

 

The food-courts in Thai cities are great to get acquainted with Thai food too. Apart from offering local dishes, they are some of the most appealing places to try other Asian foods too. As everything is on display, even if you don’t know what the items are or don’t know how to order from a menu in Thai, you can just point your finger and take a pick!

Hainanese chicken with rice, pak choi in soy sauce, a cup of chicken broth and plenty of topping to season it all

Hainanese chicken with rice, pak choi in soy sauce, a cup of chicken broth and plenty of toppings to season it all

The spiciest thing we have EVER eaten: Schezwan Pork. 20% meat, 80% chillies. FIRE!

The spiciest thing we have EVER eaten: Schezwan Pork. 20% meat, 80% chillies. FIRE!

Z likes to dim sum... and Bangkok's food courts are a kick-ass place to do so on a budget!

Z likes to dim sum… and Bangkok's food courts are a kick-ass place to do so on a budget!

 

We’ve been spending some solid time in Thailand, which means we’ve been less nomadic than usual and sometimes even have our own kitchen to cook. This has lead to some mild experimentation of European dishes with a few Thai ingredients. It hasn’t actually been half bad, you know?

Gazpacho soup with Thai herbs. 'Cause I like mixin' it up!

Gazpacho soup with Thai herbs. 'Cause I like mixin' it up!

Another Euro-Thai experiment: spaghetti in olive oil and soy sauce topped with garlic assorted Asian mushrooms

Another Euro-Thai experiment: spaghetti in olive oil and soy sauce topped with assorted Asian mushrooms sautéed in garlic

 

When it comes to dessert in Thailand, I’d rather go for the fruits – exotic, refreshing and abundant!

Seasonal fruit platter in Ko Phi Phi: banana, dragon fruit, watermelon and pineapple

Seasonal fruit platter in Ko Phi Phi: banana, dragon fruit, watermelon and pineapple

Thanks to the tropical weather, food in Thailand is incredibly flavorful

Thanks to the tropical weather, fruit in Thailand is incredibly flavorful

Mango and Sticky Rice Sushi: the popular Thai desert of slices mangoes served with sticky rice and coconut milk, served as a sushi roll with seaweed. Odd, very odd...

Mango and Sticky Rice Sushi: the popular Thai desert of sliced mangoes served with sticky rice and coconut milk, shaped as a sushi roll with seaweed.

Bua Loi: glutinous colored rice flour balls in coconut milk. Thai desserts often involve coconut milk.

Bua Loi: glutinous colored rice flour balls in coconut milk. Thai desserts often involve coconut milk.

 

If last year our hearts were stuck in Mexico and Peru, it seems that lately our palates are all over Asia. If there was a “best country for food award” we’d surely give it to Thailand: for variety, richness of flavor, freshness and affordability.

 

What is your favorite country for food?

 

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32 Comments

  • Franca Says

    So much food, wow! Trying new and local dishes is one of my favorite thing to do. I see you also had some vegan food too in Morro Bay, how was it? Did you enjoy it?

    • Zara Says

      The vegan food in Morro Bay was actually really good!
      Traveling around the US (specially in smaller towns / countryside) it’s easy to get tired of meat: most diner menus will feature burgers, hot dogs, steaks, etc.. and, as for vegetables, mostly boring non fulfilling salads. So that vegan meal really hit the spot and helped us feel a little lighter… even if just for 1 day!

  • I am currently in Madrid and after traveling thru Spain for a few weeks the food was becoming rather boring. I am glad to be in a big city now because I am trying out all the cuisines I like. Thai food has to be my all time favorite. I love Tandori Chicken, Lamb Vindaloo, and don´t forget those Samosas. Vietnamese Pho is a great one too.

    • Zara Says

      We were doing a road trip in Spain a couple of years ago and I confess I also got a little tired of the food. Too many bocadillos at times! My favorite food in Spain is from Galicia – amazingly fresh seafood, wholesome meaty preparations.. Europe in general is more homogenous when it comes to food and Asia is the opposite: each country has SO MUCH to offer! I’m with you regarding Thai and India food!!
      We’re going to Vietnam soon.. so let’s see how things go over there in the foodie department! ;)

  • Anita Catita Says

    I’m glad to see the snails feature there! Brave A&Z eheheh! And my dad will be very proud to his beef stakes featured on your post! Maybe the next culinary adventure for A&Z should involve Tras-os-Montes, where that stake comes from… It would be a tasty and certainly meat filled experience, for sure.

    • Zara Says

      There’s a whole article dedicated to the snails’ experience coming up soon… stay tuned!! ;)
      And please do share this post with your Dad – he’ll be happy to see his home-made booze and awesome steaks here. Hopefully half as a happy as I was indulging on them! :D

  • Agness Says

    Oh my God! That’s a lot of food. Let me tell you everything looks so yummy, seriously! I would probably go for the momos (I simply love them!), exotic fruits (my favourite dragon fruit yeah!) and Czech trdelnik (I tried it when in Prague, soooooooooooo sugary) and of course Korea sushi rolls!! How do you manage to stay fit and slim? Share the secret!

    • Zara Says

      I love momos too! :)
      “How do you manage to stay fit and slim?”.. hahaha, don’t make me blush!! ;)
      We try to stay active and when you travel it’s actually easier than when you live in a place permanently: walking, hiking in new places.. Ashray does exercise when we stay in a place we gym. But I suck at it – instead, I stay indoors writing posts about food! :P

  • I’m a great lover of food porn, although I think I put on weight just looking at the photos.
    What a great idea for a post! I might just have to borrow it for an end of the year post. If I do, I’ll be sure to link back here to the post that inspired me!

    • Zara Says

      I’d love to see your post and everything you ate during the year, Kathryn!
      Do keep me posted when you publish it! :)

  • Noelfy Says

    Where is the disclaimer about reading this post with empty stomach? Now I am craving for many of the food!
    I like the Indian one, I always had the impression that Indian food can be less hygienic, however when I was in Malaysia I ate in many Indian Malay restaurants and they were excellent! Great Post!

    • Zara Says

      Noelfy, Indian food is hygienic by default – just like any other food. But when it comes to street food in India you must be cautious as the standards aren’t always great. If the place looks bad(ish), just avoid things with water or meat. Deep fried vegetarian things (like samosas, for example) tend to be fine – I eat them all the time and never got sick! But I wouldn’t eat a meat kebab or a juice with added water/ice in just any street place, for instance. Gotta be street smart but also don’t miss out! ;)

  • This all looks so, so, SO delicious! Well, maybe minus the bugs….I’m not too sure about those. The Thai noodles look especially incredible.

    I agree with Noelfy, it should definitely come with a disclaimer about reading on an empty stomach.

    • Zara Says

      I love the Thai noodles too – specially in soup!
      Next time I won’t forget the disclaimer.. but it’ll take me another year or so to gather this many food photos again! ;)

  • Sam Says

    That masala dosa is obscene! Those Hong Kong hotel breakfasts courses look great – I love multiple course breakfast (my favourite course is breakfast dessert!) and I definitely also rate hotels on their breakfast. Wow, all in all looks like it was a fantastic year for food for your guys!

    • Zara Says

      Masala dosa is one of my absolute favorite things to eat when we go to India.

      It’s been a fantastic year food wise indeed – I don’t think I’ll ever be able to settle down in one place and be as satisfied in the food department as I am when we travel!

  • I’ve just woke up and after reading this post I feel so hungry… but milk and cereal won’t be enough now… I want a samosa or some grilled prawns now.
    By the way, great photos!

  • Aaaaaaand now I’m hungry! Eating and trying new food is one of my favourite parts about travelling. I’ve never seen so many delicious photos in one post! NOM!

    ~S

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  • Love this, looks like it was a satisfying year!

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  • Hi Zara,

    I do not know where to begin, except for saying that I am so hungry now, I could eat everything that is on the photos. How amazing is that you have collected all these meals and how sharp your taste buds must be! Love these kind of posts and keep up the amazing work!

    • Zara Says

      Thanks Nelson!
      We love eating.. what can I say?!
      A major part of our travels is based on food appreciation and great meals always taste better when in good company.. that’s why we published this post! :)

  • I officially hate you guys!! I want to eat all of these dishes (I might consider against the fried worms, or not). I am overjoyed with happiness that I have stumbled upon your blog.

    • Zara Says

      We’ll take that hate as a compliment! ;)
      And, of course, we’re also very happy that you’ve stumbled upon our blog!

  • Kat Says

    Awesome! I loved reading this, with alot of envy I might add. This made me really hungry :)

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