Asian Street Food

I am a picky eater, I don’t eat pork (I don’t believe ham is pork), I don’t eat beef, or lamb, I am not a fan of cheese, and the list goes on. On the hand, I am a fast food lover, there is a particular fast food franchise, I am known to be a connoisseur of. (No black people jokes please). I have had the pleasure of sampling their treats on every continent. I can report that South Africa has the best, hands down, in Hong Kong, they don’t serve fries at all. In Malaysia, most of the meals are paired with rice, as oppose to fries as is done, in the Western World, and in Barbados, they have lost their way. It’s just not good.

In the past when I travel, I would live off fast food and refuse to try local delicacies, it was too much effort. As I was embarking on the round the world trip, I made a conscious decision to be a little more adventurous with the food, plus, I was spending 3 month in South East Asia, and food is part of the culture. There are still some options I pass up on, like ostrich meat in London, and the fried insets in Thailand, but the for the most part I have allowed myself to be more indulge more in the local cuisine.

DSC_0385

South Asian Food

Asia, and street food go hand in hand. I am a fan of street food, I love being able to move from stall to stall and sample various foods, especially if they are prepared on the spot. On the first evening in Kuala Lumpur, I was guided to a big open market, where there was lots of street vending. Coming from Barbados, and the Caribbean, I saw some very familiar items, like gizzards, and chicken feet, even though they weren’t prepared the way we do, they were tasty. In Asia, I also got a chance to eat a lot of fruits I am familiar with that we hardly see at home now, or that are overly expensive, which were very popular when I was a child for the cheap.

DSC_0723

As a traveller, I spend a lot of time eating, it’s like I think of my first meal as soon as my eyes are open, and before long I am thinking of the next meal. Some of the food courts are culture shocks, as it seems there are no food/hygiene standards as in other countries. I can understand why persons refuse to eat street food in Asia, as some of the conditions where some of this food is being served leaves a lot to be desired. In some cases, prepared food is just there in the open while flies are zooming by. If it doesn’t look right or the conditions don’t look clean, by pass it, the last thing you need is a sick stomach on the road.

Cameron Highlands:  

In a little village called Tanah Rata in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia are a line of local eateries, nothing fancy, you sit, you eat, you go. I don’t usually go to the same place more than once, as I am either moving around are wanting to try some where else, but not while I was there.  I was hooked after the first meal. Not physically attractive, but very tasty. I was also intrigue with it being served on banana leaves as well. In Barbados, we use banana leaves for our local delicacy conkies which are usually done in November for our independence day. These meals also come with a gravy, but its taste and texture resembled more a soup than a gravy. I think that’s the icing on the cake that adds the extra flavour.

This one below was rice with the same gravy, curry veg – channa and okras and shrimp.

East Asian CuisineThis one was similar, but the vegetarian version. I had this one at Batu Caves in Malaysia, the first time I was served food on the banana leaf.

DSC_0550

 

This sign located in a restaurant in Bangkok is the truth. The food is good, I still remember the garlic and black pepper shrimp from that place. So impressed, I went back the next morning for breakfast, and took a few friends.

 

DSC_0711

 

The decor of this place kept me entertained too.

DSC_0710

Fat belly man

Fat belly man

There are some delicacies that I admit to by-passing. I was just not that adventurous. These fried insets can be found for sale on the streets in Thailand. No thank you.

Fried insects

DSC_0483

 

DSC_0485

I am not a noodle fan, but wanted to try the Japanese version, not from a can or the add water version, but freshly made. I was impress with the taste from such a simple looking bowl of noodles. I did use the chopsticks as well, I learnt to use them while living in Guernsey, but tend not to do it if I am eating with Asians, as I feel so self conscious of my non traditional technique.

Asian noodles

Conch, at a market in Hong Kong

DSC_0780

 

Best barbeque chicken in Bangkok

Street food

Vegetable Markets

Markets in Asia are some of the best and worst I have seen. The variety and the freshness of the produce are very good, but some of the conditions and smells make you want to run away. If you like cooking like me, you will enjoy these fresh produce markets, especially the fresh herbs and the fruit.

DSC_0380 DSC_0379

Fresh Herbs

 

Pink eggs

 

I love fruit, and Thailand offered me the opportunity to eat all the fruits I wanted to, many of which I was familiar with, but my favourite was rambutan. Just thinking about them, makes my mouth water. It has a texture similar to what we in Barbados call an ackee or what the rest of the Caribbean, call a quinep, but its more fleshly and sweeter.

Rambutan

Rambutan

 

Not all the images are appetizing, some make you turn away, and some of the food courts where you get to choose, the fish, shrimp, lobster etc you want for dinner will make you loose your appetite.

DSC_0386 DSC_0387 DSC_0374For the most part, eating in Asia whether at an established restaurant or street food is an adventure itself. Some of the time I had no idea what I had ordered. At the more traditional restaurants there are menus with photos and in some cases they will have the translation in English. I remember going to a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur with some other travellers one night, the menu did not have the English translation and the servers did not speak English. Half way through ordering we discovered it was a vegetarian restaurant, but it turned out to be an eventful night.

DSC_0021

To really enjoy the culture, you must enjoy the food. If you are wondering how to deal with the language barrier check out an earlier post for some tips.

How to survive the language barrier

http://www.bajannomad.com/how-to-survive-the-language-barrier/

 

This entry was posted in Adventure, Asia, Budget Travel, Food, Solo Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AlphaOmega Captcha Classica  –  Enter Security Code