Food Travels Around the World
Lunch at Boyle Heights Mexican Restaurant - Tio Pepe
Where in the World Do You Travel for the Best Food?
For years I was blessed to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. There was some of the best culinary treasures - from masters like Alice Water to stores of delights like Berkeley Bowl to treats like sourdough.
Beyond that there are so many amazing places for explorations in dining - from New York to London, Paris to Rome, and beyond. It's beyond the scope of one Hubpage to cover all of them.
But I wanted to launch my discussion here.
One of My Favorite Food Travel Series - David Chang's Mind of a Chef
Where Did Food Travels Begin?
With that in mind here we go. What do we mean by "food travels"?
Many tours and trips have different types of focus, from general tourism to such interests such as history or art. In our case we're talking about traveling to enjoy and even learn about food.
- How it expresses both art and culture
- How it connects a community
- How it is a way of life and part of our lifestyles
Growing up in this country, I remember cherishing the Chinese customs which center around gathering celebrate with food. At the same time it was amazing the melting pot that this country had to offer, especially living near New York City.
Almost every weekend, our family would travel to buy groceries for our native cuisine. Yet, just across Canal Street you could sample the trattoria fare of Little Italy.
Further Adventures in Food Travel
Later, when I went to college in Chicago, I was introduced to Southeast Asian food by my Laotian girlfriend. Again, it was amazing the mix of cultures that the Windy City had to offer. One block you could sample Polish, the next Lithuanian, then Vietnamese, and so on.
Serving in the Navy, I was fortunate enough to travel to Pusan in Korea; Hong Kong; Singapore; Sydney and Perth in Australia.
I'll never forget doing laundry there in Perth where an enterprising Malaysian lady opened up her kitchen to serve customers, as they waited for their clothes to be washed. Who knew that she would set my gold standard for laksa? To this day I have yet to enjoy another version of this curry noodle soup as much.
Was my experience colored by months of deprivation and shipboard living? That's one of those questions that may never be answered.
So, I'll conclude with the idea that while food travels open windows into learning about the world around us, sometimes these journeys can offer insight into not only our tastes but also understanding of who we are - as both individuals and part of the global community.
There is a lot of truth to the idea that the world is getting smaller. Curry is now just as much a part of the culinary vernacular in the UK as fish and chips. Depending on the time of year, fruit from Chile can be in season while it is winter produce here in the States.
For the first time chefs have access not only to ingredients from all over the world but traditions and techniques that were previously separated by not only geography but also national boundaries.
Since the Berlin wall came down and the rise of the Euro, differences are more and more a state of mind, rather than physical divides. Similarly, food are a matter of traditions - American Chinese, vs. traditional Chinese vs. English Chinese, etc.