If you’ve ever had a conversation with me for more than 5 minutes, it would probably become very apparent that my passion for food is high up on my list. I love food, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I have planned entire holidays around cultured food experiences. It still surprises me that there are people in this world who eat purely to stay alive – not for pleasure. That may sound extremely naïve of me, however if you’re a foodie, then you may also have difficulty understanding the same thing.
In my opinion, food is the one thing that we all have in common – love it or hate it, we all must eat to stay alive. So my question is, why doesn’t everybody make it as pleasurable an experience as possible? I thought of a few reasons why this may be the case;
- Food can be a sensitive subject – the big reason is that not everybody can get their hands on food as easily as the rest of us can. Sometimes it’s extremely difficult for westernised people, with our 24 hour supermarkets and convenience cooking to fully understand how lucky we are. And when we are reminded that not everybody can enjoy food the way that we can, we may feel an underlying sense of guilt and helplessness.
- Additionally, we all have different ways of coping with stress and our mental health – food can play a huge part in our emotional experience, whether it’s overeating or undereating, we can very easily look to food as a way to take the edge off of whatever we might be going through.
- With plant based diets becoming increasingly popular, a strong divide in personal food choices has created a cultural shift. I believe there is now hesitation and reluctance for people to truly enjoy meat or dairy publicly out of fear of offending others.
Don’t worry, we’re not about to get into a huge debate about who should eat what and how to make food a positive experience for everyone. Preferences and choices are different for everybody. However, as a “self-certified foodie”, I wanted to pick out of few of my favourite dining experiences that I’ve had around the world and hopefully prove the point that food is not only about the taste, it’s so much more than that – it’s all about the experience.
🇺🇸America is a country that has my heart when it comes to the best greasy roadside cafes, homecooked southern food as well as glamourous restaurants with a view and a chance of spotting celebs. For that reason, I’m going to start with The Big Easy, The Birthplace of Jazz, The Voodoo Capital of the World, Paris of the South, The Home of Mardi Gras, N’awlins – or to translate, New Orleans. A mixing pot of southern charm, a disturbing past and natural disaster survival. This really was a place that I knew would be one of my favourite cities before I’d even booked a flight there.
I arrived, armed with a list of things to do and dishes to try and boy did that city deliver!!
Coops Place – The Taster Plate 😋
If you would like to experience the authentic taste of New Orleans all on one plate, I cannot recommend this dingy, hole in the wall enough. The chalkboards on the wall list everything from gator-on-a-stick, to real southern fried chicken, to the city’s famous dish – red beans and rice. To make it easier for you to decide, the taster plate has it all, and compresses what would be 6 individual meals into one incredible dining experience. Wash it down with an ice cold beer and you have passed your New Orleans initiation
My other personal favourites;
Café Du Monde’s sweet AF beignets
🇯🇵 Japan has been on my bucket list ever since I used to trade shiny Pokemon cards in the primary school playground. I am proud to say that it is one of my favourite places on earth and I do not say that lightly. Landing in Tokyo felt like a dream and so did the rest of my visit for the next 10 days. Everybody is so polite!! There, you will find the most eccentric outfits, incredible nature and some really unusual experiences.
Let’s take Maid Café’s for example; many tourists flock from near and far to visit these cafes that are so secretive, you are unable to take photos of anything other than your plate of food. (They are very strict about this.) We queued on a cramped staircase for almost an hour with a combination of tourists and locals. The queue was worth the wait as my curiosity to visit revealed that these maid cafés were even more incredible than I could have expected.
To cut to the chase, my Maid Café experience consisted of all the maids singing a Japanese welcome song as we were walked to our table, our waitress (maid) calling me Princess Sherilyn all the way through the meal, she turned the pages of the menu for us, we were summoned on stage for a photograph where we were made to pick out bunny costumes and props, and our food and desert was presented and decorated in the most hilarious and adorable way.
My other personal favourites;
Nakano Broadway Ice Cream
🇹🇷 My friend lives in Istanbul and she has told me time and time again that I would absolutely love it there. It just so happened that dates just didn’t seem to line up for the longest time and I’ve only just visited her there for the first time this year! My only regret is that I hadn’t visited sooner! It’s an incredible city to visit, full of culture, full of food and full of beauty. Honestly, I don’t even know where to start, because there was so much good food, but I’ll start right at the beginning with my very first Turkish meal – breakfast.
My friend, Yaprak, asked me what I would like for breakfast, I said “you choose” and she reeled off a 5-minute-long list to the waiter (who didn’t write it down). He just nodded repeatedly then disappeared. 15 minutes later, I was in foodie heaven!
My other personal favourites
Anything in the Grand Bazaar
The Wet Burger
🇦🇺 I spent a year backpacking around Australia and I knew that there were 3 things I definitely had to do during my visit; dive the great barrier reef, learn to surf and try the local Aussie delicacies. What I didn’t realise until arriving in Australia is that kangaroo meatballs are just casually stocked in supermarkets next to the chicken and beef. It really surprised me! If my non-foodies made it this far into the blog, they’re probably thinking that meat is meat and why should I be surprised that a particular animal is eaten there and not back home – honestly, I don’t know. I suppose it’s just local human conditioning. But I found it super weird. Although I knew that when I got a bit more settled I would do as the Romans do and give it a try.
That “try” came when me and some friends took a road trip up to the Cape Tribulation.
We stumbled across a little café called Masons, and it was like stepping onto an old movie set. A beaten down roadside café in the middle of the rainforest – what more could we ask for? On the menu featured the infamous “Roadkill Burger” This was basically a mixed burger that contained a combination of all different meats minced together and then BBQ’d on a grill. My only concern looking back is that I don’t think I ever got a clear answer about whether it really was roadkill or not. We all gave it a try, along with the mini sliders which featured the Aussie classic delicacies; Kangaroo, Crocodile and Emu. Surprisingly good, although it probably wouldn’t be my first choice on the menu.
My other personal favourites
The Queen Victoria Night Market
The Tramcar Restaurant
I guess the point I’m trying to make with this (super long) blog post is that food not only fuels our bodies, but it fuels our lives. Some of my most memorable life experiences have happened over a meal 😊 I want to inspire you not to limit your food experiences and to try new things when given the opportunity. I’m a strong believer that anything can be enjoyed in moderation, so use those taste buds and start your foodie adventure
Thanks for reading,