If you’re feeling a little blue, then travelling to Bolivia could be the cure. Intrepid’s Jacqueline Donaldson discovered a drink made from corn that’s a curious colour but a great local treat…
“Maize is a food with endless permutations; fresh, popped, ground into flour for bread, as a syrup, or an oil. Travelling through Latin America you will find so many delicious foods with maize as the main ingredient. Travelling in Bolivia you will find something extra special. A blue maize drink called api.
One of the greatest joys of travel is discovering the local food specialties and eating out in different styles. This can be doubly terrific when you know your dining is helping to support and benefit formerly disadvantaged people. Intrepid makes a point of seeking out truly fair trade restaurants and cafes, and in all the following wonderful examples the food and friendly service will not disappoint!
Where’s the best food in Asia? You’d be hard pressed to top the great choices in Cambodia:
Your Trans-Siberian highlight could be the excitement of getting on in Asia and disembarking in Europe, or it could be thrill of actually being aboard the iconic train journey. For Intrepid’s Rebecca Willis it was what happened on the platforms that she loved most, and it was all about trying the local treats…
“My favourite part about the Trans-Siberian train ride is the platform food! When the train stops for a short break you can jump off and search out the babushka, Russian grandmothers, selling hot, fresh, homemade goodies. It’s a carbohydrate addict’s utopia! There’s fresh bread, peroshki (bread pies filled with veggies or potatoes), boiled potatoes with carrots and onions, trubochki (rolled waffles filled with sweetened condensed milk) and my personal favourite, vareniki.
In Mongolia many things are different to what we are used to at home, but especially the food. Trying fermented mare’s milk, dried curd, sour yoghurt and other traditional dishes is all part of the fun, and Intrepid’s Denis Sobnakov explains why a Mongolian barbecue gives you a special taste of the local lifestyle…
“We finally reached our remote destination, where we were warmly met by our hosts, Bat and Tsetseg. Our Mongolian friends invited us to their ger and Tsetseg gave us each a cup of salted milk tea and put a bucket of small breads, that looked like donuts, in the centre of our table. We talked for a while and our hosts told us that for dinner they will cook a meat dish and we’ll eat it in the traditional way.
Think of movies and most know Morocco for the famous Hollywood film Casablanca, even though in that case production never left the Los Angeles studios! But since then there have been 100s of movies made locally and Intrepid’s Summer Davis explains how Intrepid travellers get to dine with a Moroccan film ‘star’…
“In a small mud brick house on the wadi bank opposite Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, lights and laughter warm the cool interior. Joking his way through a cooking demonstration, Hussein Boulkil enlivens the onlookers intently learning to cook couscous and tagine. A self-proclaimed actor, Hussein has been an extra in 14 movies filmed in Ait Benhaddou and ‘met’ such prestigious actors as Harrison Ford, Russell Crowe and Brad Pitt.
There’s no better way to get a real taste of China than to learn to cook the local cuisine. You might think you know Chinese dishes, but dumbed down Sweet and Sour Pork or Chop Suey that you get at home doesn’t really cut it, as Rebecca Webb discovered in Yangshuo…
“Located in a farmhouse, set amidst the famous and spectacular scenery of the Guilin region, the Yangshuo Cooking School was a fantastic experience. The day started with a trip to the local market, where our teacher walked us through the aisles of different vegetables and spices that are common in Chinese cuisine.
A word of caution, don’t come between an Intrepid traveller and their food! Intrepid’s Ella Benjamin not only loves trying new dishes when she’s travelling, but she plans her itinerary around the best local food and beverages…
“For me, like so many other travellers, food is one of the top priorities when visiting a new country. I remember reacting in horror when a friend of mine casually mentioned that several times on her Italy trip she had been so busy that she had forgotten to eat lunch. How can you possibly FORGET to eat, in Italy of all places?
There is something about eating a dish at home, and then getting to enjoy it in its country of origin that is truly delicious. Having the golden opportunity to dine with locals was what made Mirra Fine’s food experiences special and that led to an incredible short film, A Taste of Vietnam…
“I first tried Vietnamese food while living in New York City a few years back. There was a modest Pho shop around the corner from my apartment, and I would stop in twice a week to get my fill of the delicious beef broth, long rice noodles and fresh basil. The dish is beautiful in its simple complexity. On the surface, it appears to be noodle soup, but the herbs create a freshness that offsets the richness of the liquid on which it is floating. The squeeze of a ripe lime adds a subtle sweetness, and the bottles of brown and red sauces lining the table next to you, are the secrets behind the depth and color.
One of the great joys of travelling is getting to indulge in delicious local treats. Sure, they might be heavy on the calories that you’re trying to avoid at home, but as Intrepid’s Summer Davis can attest, it’s so hard to resist a heavenly sweet that’s still baked from a secret 19th century recipe…
“It’s true. They’re amazing. As a Portuguese man on a bench told me, they’re so good he could eat ten, or fifteen, without any shame! Warm, freshly baked mini custard tarts, known in Portugal as pastéis de nata or Pastéis de Belem.