Your recent/most desirable food destination... Did you make it and how was it?

Where did you really want to visit just to eat/drink (mostly)? Did you finally go? And how was it? (We want to hear about disappointments, too.)

Me: Japan. I did it. Six weeks long eating nothing but Japanese food. Never had sashimi, ramen, tofu, sake etc so good! Craft beers were mostly good as well. Everything else was a nice bonus, especially the smelly natural hot springs, and seeing Geishas in person (an enthralling experience!).

(02:40m preview in photos here)


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Cambodia and Laos.

We went for a number of reasons but the food was one of them.
Their food was mostly developed before the chili pepper was introduced so it’s not as hot as Thai. It relies on contrasting flavours like bitter, sweet, sour and salty. Standout dishes were Fish Amok which is a fish curry steamed in a banana leaf, stir fried morning glory leaves, banana flower salad and the BBQ. We went to one place where the BBQ was so good we ordered a whole second meal. Some beer was involved in that decision. Beer choices are slim but Beer Lao is famous and available almost everywhere. It’s a very good version of the typical light lager you get in tropical countries.

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Yeah, not only the mind-blowing food but also the craft beer scene. I want to visit someday and just stay put for 2 weeks just for that! I think Okinawa will come first, however.

Sadly I was in Vientian for only 2 days (year 2000 me thinks). I did very much enjoy my 2 weeks in Cambodia. Regretfully (or not really?) it didn’t occur to me to search the web for recs “in the old days”. I just tried what looked good and checked out where I saw lots of locals. And that’s also exactly what I did on my 3 trips to China, where I ate well and cheaply.

Hope to get back to (S.E.) Asia in the future. I thought Taiwan, Hong Kong (and even Macau) were incredible.

For me it was Malaysia. I used to work near the Malaysian embassy in London and there were 4 or 5 Malaysian restaurants close by me. I went for lunch about twice a week and really got into the food.Then I saw No Reservations in Penang and I had to go. I was luckily enough to spend 3 weeks in Malaysia in March. Some of my favourite dishes like nasi lemak were only on a par with the versions I’d had in London but other ones I’d not had like the otak otak in Penang were fantastic. The main thing was the sheer breadth and volume of food options everywhere and the proper street food culture. I got chatting to a chef in a bar in Penang about my love of Malaysian food and he seemed genuinely touch by my interest and told me of a few of his favourite places. He even picked me up one morning from my hostel on his motorbike and took me for breakfast of roti cani which was definitely a highlight of the trip.


Loved the street food culture in Malaysia. When I arrived there via Thailand I thought why the hell did I go to Thailand for the second time?! It became clear, pretty much straight away I liked Malaysia a lot more. Didn’t keep any record of what I ate but I do remember eating laksa all the time, and nasi goreng, and roti. It was 2 years before I got my first digital camera.

Would be nice to visit the less touristy regions for real regional dishes. Has all of Malaysia become very touristy now?

I discovered (real) Sichuan food when I was in Waterstone browsing the cookery book section. I was flipping through Dunlop’s first Sichuan book and couldn’t put it down so I bought it. Shortly after the book I went to Chengdu just to eat! And then I went back 2 other times. Miss Dunlop never knew her book made a personal impact. That was 10 years ago. We saw no other foreign tourists for the entire week then. The other 2 times things were a lot different, plus loads and loads of (food) tourists.

Not that recently, but the only itinerary planned just for cuisine: San Sebastian for two days. The most fragragnt strawberries everywhere; Basque jamon and cidre; regrets not having a lodging with a kitchen; very lengthy pintxos crawls; and a lunch and a dinner totalling six Michelin stars.

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Apart from Langkawi which was very touristy I didn’t find it overly touristy. Even in famous places like Nancy’s in Melaka most of the clientele were Malaysian many were probably tourists themselves. I suppose it depends on your definition of touristy. Besides I mainly ate at stalls.

I see from your photos you went to Takayama. Did you try the Hida beef while you were there? It was a food highlight of my month in Japan. Not just for the food but also watching the chef work. He was on his own but his calmness and the economy of movement has stayed with me.

By “touristy” I meant the kind of place where you see mostly foreign tourists and the menu is all in English, food is probably adapted to the tourists’ taste etc. I have eaten in many restaurants full of domestic tourists and not a word of English is spoken or seen on the menu. I would rather eat there any day.

Hida beef, yes, of course. I think I ate it every day during my 3 day visit. First try was grade B premium Hida beef (sear it yourself on a hot grill), then for the last dinner I had to try the top grade just to compare. The latter was much too much. Crazy marbling, maddeningly rich.

Want to post the photos of the beef but they are on another laptop. The grade A beef is nearly white. Nearly!

I really enjoyed tasting sakes from different breweries all over the centre in Takayama. The small photo of the cloudy sake in the collage above is one of the many cloudy sakes I tasted.

Lucky you! Sounds awesome!

It’s been on my list for ages. I have actually been to San Sebastian before, in 1997, crossing the border from Hendaye in France. Had some time to kill in San Sebastian whilst waiting for my next long distance train so my partner and I did wander round for a while in the rain no less. Those were my youthful wreckless ignorant days, I got an inter-rail pass and just took off. I know better now, though, and I’m going to do it all again and a lot better!

Indeed it is a lot better to have a kitchen in the lodging. I went to the Costa Blanca area last year and wish I had a kitchen to cook the beautiful seafood I saw at the market. It seems harder to find and more expensive to rent just a small flat with a useable kitchen. They usually want to rent the entire house.

Sigh… so many places to eat and drink, not enough cash and holidays.

Bon Bo Hue at Quan Com in Hue, Vietnam. Read about it on someone’s blog. Got there at 8AM and she closes when she sells it all. I agree with Bourdain. This is the best soup on the planet. (I had several more pix of the various ingredients but don’t want to bore y’all.)


I stopped in Hue for a few hours (on the way to the north) just to eat this soup! (It was after leaving Nha Trang sometime in mid January 2005. Don’t think I knew who Bourdain was back then. Have seen that episode since, though. Much too late.)

Love any soup that has those congeal pig’s/duck’s blood thing. Also, in Bun Rieu Cua. The soup sellers always omit it because we are tourists, and I always have to say I like it and want it in my soup.

There were no tourists at this place and we weren’t asked :slight_smile:

Good place. And yes, in Asia you do need to get to popular breakfast places early or before it is sold out.

Hope you made it to Ha Noi, too. I had some very nice food there.

Ha Noi was where it finally cooled off and rained!!! What a relief. I loved eating at the sidewalk places where you sit on those really short plastic stools and the food is cooked right there.

India. I’ve been in love with Indian food since my first taste, and my love for Indian food has morphed into an interest in the country, it’s history, and the culture.

Last November, I took a food tour to Delhi, Agra (where chaat was born!), Karauli, Jaipur, Bijapur, Udaipur, Mumbai, and Goa. I learned how to make several flatbreads, chai masala, and other regional dishes. The most interesting cooking class was one that I scheduled myself (so, not with the tour): a Parsi cooking class in Mumbai with an 80-year-old woman who has been teaching cooking classes since she was 19. I want to take more cooking classes in India, perhaps later this year, in the south.

Most of the time, I travel somewhere because I’m interested in learning more about the food. My most interesting food destinations are Vietnam (from Hanoi, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City), Sri Lanka, Germany (Munich), France (Alsace region and Paris), Czech Republic, Belgium, and Thailand.

On the radar is Malaysia and Italy.

I’m very much the same but for me it’s Spain, Portugal and Germany. Learning about local specialities (their history and culture) during the planning stages through dilligent research is just as much fun and important as travelling.

It seems many of us food tourists have been to Vietnam (and Thailand etc). I hope to explore the foods of Turkey, Slovenia and Mauritius in a near future.

Forgot to mention my disappointment: Singapore. To be fair it must have been the weather, mostly. I had a really hard time coping with the heat and humidity.

In a one horse town somewhere in Rongjiang. My lodging is across the street from the breakfast place.

Common to see a bowl of MSG on the table.

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Wow, that looks pretty fancy :slight_smile: Wood! I have MSG that I’ll use occasionally to give things a boost.

Shoulder pole mobile rig. (from a French magazine about gastronomic holidays. Of course they have to include a photo of baguettes.)

As for having available kitchen, still have Basil Street apartments in Knightsbridge on the radar.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr