A Taste of Asia

It’s probably obvious by now, that we love Asia. We heart it with all our might; especially the people, the cultures and the foods!

I was feeling terrible yesterday; homesick for Asia, and as such, just ‘happened’ to end up at the Asian grocery store in the CBD.

Strolling through the isles, familiar smells filled my nostrils and the sight of some of the products made me feel really nostalgic.
I ended up walking out with just a bottle of ‘Oishi Green Tea’, and felt a lot better instantly. This tea had been a staple for us during or Asia trip, and when I fell violently ill for several days, Oishi was the only thing I could keep down. Ever since, I hae had cravings for it.
That, and Yakkult…

All this nostalgia got me thinking about the miriad of different foods (common and not so common) that we fell in love with while abroad.

…In Laos, ‘Laughing Cow’ cheese, baguettes and fruit shakes fast became ‘the usual’, replaced further North with hawker style foods and lots of rice. Oreos – they were our staple snack throughout Laos; cheap cheap and readily available no matter how remote we were. Larp filled with fresh herbs and sticky rice was a dream dish, and warm Lao bread is a must eat if you happen to stumble across it on a menu! (Hard to find!)…
We had delicious smokey grilled chicken on bamboo skewers, and lots of noodle-y dishes, which always left our stomachs satisfied. Often, we washed down our meals with either a yakkult, a cup of bitter, strong black coffee, or a big Beer Lao.

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…In Thailand, we ate copious amounts of cut fruit, whole pineapples and freshly squeezed pommegranate juices. Yakkult, Bubble Cup and fresh Thai iced coffee/tea were our daily drinks.
Insects were a nice experience, but mango and sticky rice was a real treat. Most of our other meals came from hawker stalls, where we stood eating, surrounded by smoke and BBQ smells.

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…In Cambodia, Em fell inlove with a vegetarian hawker food – spinach, garlic and ginger wrapped in a pummelled rice dough and fried until golden brown, and the inside veggies cooked through. The plump stall owner promised, in broken English, he would be in the same spot each night, but unfortunately, was never to be seen again. Crushing.
We came across fresh sun-dried bananas, fresh banana candies, and fresh BBQ’d banana – all were eaten almost as quickly as they were discovered.
Jake salivated over some salty doughnut thing (really, any sort of doughnut), and we found delicious treats and delacacies and random foods on every street corner and at every second market stall.
We gorged on mounds of fresh Kep crab, and still grind our Kampot-grown (and bought) pepper onto our meals.

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…In Singapore and Malaysia; dahl, roti, naan and teh tarik were readily available, and were a daily feast for us. Nasi Lemnak saw Em devour blue coloured rice, and the pineapple cookies were so delicious!
Chendol and Ice Kechung were savoured treats, with joy in every spoon of the grass jelly and weird beans.
Banana-leaf meals were a real experience, and downtown China Town and Little India let us explore more of what the countries big cities had to offer.

…In Japan, everything we ate was a piece of art and tasted as such; amazing – it’s impossible to say what the best meal there was; there were too many to count!
But, it was those little things – the egg cubes on a stick, the sushi rice triangle-shaped snack things, the interesting flavoured ice creams, conveyor belt sushi and sheets of sea weed that were our ‘go-to snacks.’
Green tea and Royal Milk Tea from a can, hot or cold, were the drinks of choice.
The tempura melted in our mouths, we drooled over the okonomiyaki frying on hotplates infront of us, the takoyaki balls were incredible, and the ramen left us slopping and slurping….

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…Come to think of it, really we have had hardly any mediocre or ‘bad’ meals whilst travelling in Asia. Food was, and is a rich experience for us, and something we really enjoy exploring. It is important to us to see and taste  local flavours and traditions; to eat what the locals eat (within reason – no beating snake hearts for us, thank you). Meals bring people together. Many times, eating and sharing a meal was an unforgettable experience: from simple grilled street food skewers to a Japanese banquet.

We honestly can not wait to see and taste more of the foods of Asia.

We’d love to hear from you: What were your favourite foods and ‘go-to’ snacks, drinks, sweets and meals whilst you were travelling the globe? What foods and drinks would/wouldn’t you reccomend?

Happy eating. 

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Incredible, Exciting, Overwhelming, Terrifying India

India.

It’s a place I often try to imagine, but I doubt very much my imagination will prepare me for what India will throw at us in reality.

The thought of India is overwhelming for me – so much comes to mind. Where do I start?

India seems tantalising on every sensory level. It’s enticing and repulsive at the same time, and just so endlessly fascinating for me… I imagine exotic markets and bazars selling everything and anything, goats and cows wandering through busy alleyways, pots of spices, noise and beeping horns, lethal traffic and jaw-droppin architecture, bare feet and sweating skin, the smell of foods, spices and chai mixes with offensive and pungent scents, smoke and insence, light, smells, and oh so much colour…

India does so much for me, without even so much as stepping into the country. It feeds my thoughts with colour and light and life and sound, and it fills my nostrils with scents and smells; burning insence and the smells of smoke, curry and chillies. It delights my tastebuds with new culinary discoveries, and sets my mouth on fire with spices. It surrounds me with millions of people, and takes my breath away with its beauty and spirituality. It humbles me and challenges my perspectives, and it changes my view of the world…

It also terrifies me.

The idea of travelling in India is overwhelmingly frightening. With all that colour and light, people and smiles, beauty and grace, sounds and smells…there is an unknown that scares me.

I worry about our travels there; our safety and our health…I worry about our security, transport, and how we can keep our health Dheli-belly free…

We plan on being in India for three months; almost half of our travels will be in the one country. We want to see as much as we can – see the diversity of the land, and what each part has to offer. We want to see the different natural landscapes, and taste the different styles of food in the South and the North. We want to experience the different weather conditions, the different people, the cities and the towns… We want to experience India; not just tourist India, but real India.

Jake and I are scared about India, yes; no doubts. But also so unbelievably excited. We look forward to everything; this whole new world – the good, the not so good, the challenges, and sometimes…even the frightening. We’ll go with open minds and open hearts, and hopefully leave with them full. I guess thats what travel is about… and why I love it so much.

We’re not quite ready yet, but with a little bit of planning and more research, I think we’ll be almost as ready as you can be for India…

And if not… then at least we’ve got 3 weeks in Sri Lanka before hand to ‘warm us up.’

What are your thoughts on India?