Mumbai Street Food Tour – Eating in India

Mumbai Street Food Tour – Eating in India

As much as I wanted to explore India in comfort, I did, honestly, plan on exploring more of the local food scene. I wanted to land in India and be ready to explore the Mumbai street food scene, and attempt to eat like a local. I did not want to eat all of our meals in the hotel, in a contained environment. I wanted to be the person who could claim to have explored the street food in India, or having ate with the locals, when traveling in India. Once we arrived in Mumbai, though, I became a lot more skeptical of this notion. Mumbai is like a smack upside the head, after a good shaking, while sleep deprived. I’ve seen movies and TV shows about India, but nothing prepared me for Mumbai. The traffic, the noise, the makeshift homes, the trash, the poverty. It was truly like nothing I’d seen before. I know people eat street food in India. And I am a proponent of eating street food all over the world. But, there was something different about India. Even the people we met in India talked about how they get sick too. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to slow down our travel over our 10 days in India, by being laid up in the hotel sick. I had too much to see and do in a short amount of time. I wanted to explore Mumbai street food, but I had no idea where to start. I felt uncomfortable walking down the street, with my head turning from side to side, trying to take it all in....
Exploring Hanoi Street Food

Exploring Hanoi Street Food

After a half dozen trips to Vietnam, and as many or more visits to Hanoi, I thought I had a good understanding of what to eat in the city.  We had spent countless days and evenings exploring Hanoi street food prior to this trip. The problem was we found ourselves going back to the same places, the same street corners, and eating the same foods that top every top 10 list of foods to eat in Hanoi.  We’ve eaten our share of pho and bun cha, and I love them both dearly.  I just wanted to know a little more.  I posed the challenge to Buffalo Tours in Vietnam when we signed up for their Hanoi street food tour in the Old Quarter. I figured the challenge would be exceedingly difficult for them as the Old Quarter is certainly one of the more touristy area of town. Our guide, Tuan, took us to a small bia hoi, or fresh beer stand on the edge of the Old Quarter.  We have drank our share of bia hoi before, but did not mind sitting down to chat with Tuan.  It was just before Tet, the lunar new year, and the city was energetic.  We were able to ask Tuan all sorts of questions about Hanoi, and about celebrating Tet.  It was then and there that I decided the tour would be worth our time.  Tuan then ordered a plate of nem chua ran, or fried fermented pork.  It was our first dish of the night and one that we had never had before.  Eric wondered aloud, how have we never known about...
Top 10 Foods to Eat in Langkawi Malaysia

Top 10 Foods to Eat in Langkawi Malaysia

I like Malaysian food, probably because of the diversity of the cuisine throughout the country.  With influences from India and China, mixed into traditional Malay dishes, it is not difficult to come up with a list of the top 10 foods to eat in Langkawi.  In fact, my original list had 13 items, but 13 is bad luck, right? The most obvious choices for where to eat in Langkawi are of course the large hotel properties, or the beach front restaurants along Pantai Cendang, the main beach area of Langkawi.  But, looking beyond the obvious, we were able to find pretty good foods to eat in Langkawi, all over the island.  The Top 10 Foods to Eat in Langkawi 1. Nasi Campur Nasi Campur is a staple all over Malaysia as well as Indonesia, and we ate a lot of it when living in Bali.  Nasi is rice, and campur is mix in Malay.  The dish is literally a mix of stuff with rice.  In this case, at Seashells Restaurant in Pantai Cendang, it was served on a humongous plate, with chicken, tofu, vegetable soup and more.  It was easily the largest nasi campur I have ever experienced! 2. Sambal Nasi campur would not be complete without sambal, the spicy chili sauce served on the side.  Although there are many different varieties of sambal, the bright red one is my favorite.  This is sambal belecan and is made with a fish paste.  Unlike some of the other types of sambal, this one is actually not too fishy.  It can pack a punch though.  I actually learned how to make...
Midnight Tuk Tuk Tour With Bangkok Food Tours

Midnight Tuk Tuk Tour With Bangkok Food Tours

I was recently asked, by two different people, what is my favorite restaurant in Bangkok.  It’s a stumper, really.  This is not only because there is still part of me that is intimidated by Bangkok, and its food scene.  It is mostly because we have focused so much on eating nothing but street food in Bangkok, easily one of the best cities in the world for cheap street eats.  That’s why we jumped at the chance to take a midnight tuk tuk tour with Bangkok Food Tours, to explore the city at night through some of its most famous street eats in a famous form of transportation. Heading Out For a Midnight Tuk Tuk Tour We met our midnight food tour group at the Chidlom BTS station just before 8pm. Within minutes we were down on the main road, and hopping into the back of our assigned tuk tuk, a makeshift cart pulled on the back of a motorbike.  Our driver was pleasant, and although we sat in some traffic at the start, he soon began to pick up speed, taking corners on a rail, where at times I thought I would fall out the side.  Luckily, there was a net up to prevent that from happening.  I did not care, I was excited to be exploring the city in a new way. The goal of the midnight tuk tuk tour was two fold: 1) explore Bangkok at night; and 2) to track down the best local eats, and that is just what we got from Bangkok Food Tours.  I was not sure which part I was most excited...
Taste of Thailand Bangkok Food Tour

Taste of Thailand Bangkok Food Tour

Although we have been to Thailand numerous times before, I still feel like such a novice with the Bangkok food scene.  I love my Pad Thai and my mango sticky rice, and can recognize a few more dishes beyond those, but I still find Bangkok intimating.  It is a street food mecca and I often find myself paralyzed by indecision when looking at the variety of foods on offer. During this trip to Bangkok, though, I wanted to explore more, I wanted to learn more, about the neighborhoods, and about the food. I wanted to get over this intimidation I felt. We therefore spent four hours on a Bangkok food tour with Taste of Thailand Food Tours in order to remedy this deficiency.  Exploring Thailand Through a Bangkok Food Tour Our small group explored the Bang Rak neighborhood, which lies just to the east of the Chao Phraya river.  Referred to as the village of love, I certainly fell in love with the city all over again on this Bangkok food tour. We started just under the Saphan Taksin BTS station, where we learned a little about Bangkok and Thai history, before making our first pitstop, just around the corner.  We stopped at a street stall selling curry puffs, called kalipap, in all different flavors.  I really wanted to go with an old standby, like curry potato, but actually chose the black sesame seed puff, trying to be more adventurous.  It was amazing, with a sweetness to the sesame seeds offset by the savory flavor of the crust. Already I was pleased with the tour for offering me foods...
Cleanliness Abroad – You Have to Eat a Pound of Dirt Before You Die

Cleanliness Abroad – You Have to Eat a Pound of Dirt Before You Die

My mother in law always says, you have to eat a pound of dirt before you die.  Now, I am not grabbing a spoon and walking into the rice paddies to dig up some dirt, but it is a maxim that I have learned to live by, particularly through our travels.  After all, cleanliness abroad takes some work. During our very first trip to Asia in 2006, as novice travelers, I read all the warnings and spent our 16 day trip concerned and worried.  I refused to eat ice, avoided street food, wouldn’t eat fresh fruit or vegetables, and brushed my teeth only with bottled water.  I had three countries to see in about two weeks and the last thing I wanted was to get sick and miss something.   As we travel the world, though, our definition of cleanliness continues to evolve.  When traveling for a year, or permanently, you can take more risks.  If you lose a day or two, no big deal.   In the past, my discussion of cleanliness focused on how often we showered, how many wears we could get from a t-shirt, and how we cleaned our clothes.  After posting the guest blog from Lolabees on 7 Tips for the Germaphobic Traveler, though, I reflected on some of my more recent experiences with cleanliness.  Boy, have I pushed the envelope. My goal has been to slowly introduce the local germs into my system, to build up a tolerance.  After all, you have to eat a pound of dirt before you die.  I always interpreted this as you can’t wrap yourself in a bubble...
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