Foodie Throwbacks

A year has passed since I last posted. It’s astounding that 2021 is about to go into its last quarter yet the pandemic shown no signs yet of dying down. It’s getting harder to find reasons to be be optimistic but to me, at the least, travel memories and the drive to be able to do so again in the future somehow keeps me going.

One thing I really miss about travelling is getting to try local food. I wasn’t always a foodie but travelling and having friends that are foodies opened my eyes and taste buds to the beauty of trying local food. In our travel itineraries, we make it a goal to visit local and night markets and to eat only in fast food restaurants as a last resort. It’s especially wonderful to travel in Asian countries as there is so much variety in the food that can be tried. In this post, I will share some of the food I miss the most or found interesting, and I most definitely would love to eat again.

  1. South Korea

South Korea is the first country that I’ve been to aside from the the Philippines and it remains to be among my favorite destinations. Despite being a developed country, prices of food in Korea is relatively affordable, especially if you know where best to get or buy them—local markets and traditional Korean restaurants. Bibimbaps are now accessible in most countries, but it’s a joy to eat them in Korea especially with different sets of banchan. My favorite bibimbap dining experience would be when we tried the three (3) traditional bibimbaps Jeonju.

Korean fried chicken is also among my favorites. Apologies, Jollibee. I love the different flavors that Korean fried chicken are marinated into. My go to store would be Dang Dang Chicken when in Haeundae area in Busan. When we are in Seoul, it’s a go to food especially when going into noraebang or just having a shot or two of soju.

Every city or town in South Korea have its own local markets and such kind of market is a heaven of local cuisine and street food. Pictured below are some of my favorites…sannakji wrapped in perilla leaf, hotdogs, cheese hotteok and kimchi jigae.

2. Vietnam

Apart from Filipino food, I love Vietnamese food the most. The way their food is prepared is very light and it always gives the feeling that what you are eating is fresh. My top 1 would be spring rolls. I love every iteration of Vietnamese spring rolls. We got to experience how to prepare one when we were in a cruise in Halong Bay!

I hardly eat tofu dishes in the Philippines, but when I am in Vietnam it’s one of my go to food. I don’t why but I find tofu dishes in Vietnam very good.

I have not been able to try much soups, Cơm tấm and banh mi in the few times I’ve been to Nothern Vietnam, but thankfully I drowned in them when I was in Ho Chi Minh! It’s such joy to try these in the streets of Ho Chi Minh and sit in small chairs and tables while having them.

3. Japan

Budgeting for Japan is always challenge for me especially keeping food expenses within limit. As some of the must try food in Japan can be expensive, our food itinerary was a mix of local markets and some higher end restaurants. Some of my favorites are takoyaki, yakitori and Kobe beef (deeeeeeym!).

I am also lucky to have had trainings in Japan so I got to try some of the most beautiful bentos and ramen or got treated by friends to local food (e.g. ebi fry in Nagoya).

4. Thailand

I have a love-hate relationship with Thai food. Local vendors would tell you their food is not spicy only to find out it’s sprinkled with chilis. One dish which I don’t like before though that I got to appreciate when I tried it in Thailand is pad thai. I love them the most when bought in markets and served with Thai milk tea!

Not to be forgotten in my Thailand list of course are banana rotee, mango sticky rice and the variety of insects in Khaosan road in Bangkok (joke!).

5. Singapore

Much of the time I’ve spent in Singapore was for a training. I’ve been back there for leisure travel but only for 2 days so I did nor get to try many local dishes. But among the food I miss are kaya toast (I’m such a fan), bak kuh teh (ugggh very good pork dish) and the variety of rice dishes (I forgot their name) I tried in China town.

I’ve had chili crab but I was not so impressed. I’m not surprised though as Philippines has some of the best and freshest crabs.

6. Malaysia

Just as Thai food, I have a love-hate relationship with Malaysian food especially anything that uses turmeric or is almost curry like. I cannot find myself to like such ingredients. Among the few food that I’d love to have again in Malaysia are kaya toast and egg combination (of course), chicken biryani and a duck dish I had in Cameroon.

6. Taiwan

I’ve been to Taiwan two times now. Every time was a solo trip so I did not get to enjoy food tripping as much as in my other travels. It’s hard to buy so many food when you are alone. 😦 But what I love the most about Taiwan is their night markets! Every city has one and there’s so many kind of food and drinks to try.

My favorites are grilled beef, hotdog sandwiches, steamed buns, and beef noodles!

8. China

All of my three (3) trips to China have been for official travels or trainings so far so I did not get to roam around much yet. Some of the foods I love to try again are: 1) the beautiful cold noodle dish topped with tofu we got to eat in Kunming, Yunnan, 2) beef noodle soup I tried in Xiamen (they’re generally good anywhere in China I guess), 3) soybean milk and deep-fried dough sticks for breakfast and 4) the variety of steam buns. I regret not being able to take photos of the tons of red bean buns I had in Nanning and Guangzhou. 😦

I got hungry looking at all these photos! It will probably take another two years before international travel would normalize so I get sad just by that thought. Hopefully, local situation would improve so at least I get to try some of these food in restaurants in the Philippines.

I am thinking of coming up a version of this for places I’ve been to in the Philippines. Here’s to praying I’d have another burst of energy and here’s to sincerely, sincerely praying we get some form of normalcy back in our lives. I’d love to take friends to places I’ve been to, try new places and enjoy all of these food together. 🙂

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