Exploring the world one meal at a time sounds like a fabulous way to travel. Macca Sherifi, gapyear.com travel editor, loves letting his stomach decide where to next and he enjoyed getting a local taste of Vietnam with Intrepid…
“One of the things that I love about backpacking and travelling is the food. There are so many tastes and smells that I associate with countries around the world, and many of my memories from my gap year involve food and drink somehow. There’s nothing quite like having dim sum for breakfast in China, a creamy and sweet curry for lunch in India, or a fresh and sour Som Tam salad for dinner in Thailand. If you’ve been to any of these countries you’ll know exactly what I’m on about; you’ll also know that they’re infinitely better than having a take-away at home.
Not only that, but I think you can learn just as much about a country through the food you eat as to the sights and attractions that you see, and all of a sudden an unremarkable village can be transformed in to a ‘must see place’ by a signature dish or restaurant.
Vietnam is famous for its food – after all, it has well over a thousand different dishes to choose from. That’s why when I found out that I was going to Vietnam with the Intrepid Travel crew I knew that I had to eat as many different dishes as I possibly could.
What I love about Vietnamese food is it’s so simple and so fresh – take a look at the main national dish pho as an example. It’s a soup that all the locals have for breakfast (though you can see them eating it at all the hours of the day), and it’s made up of broth and noodles. Add fresh chillies, lime, Asian basil, coriander, bean sprouts and a bit of cabbage and you’ve just about made pho. In my eyes there’s no better way to start the day in Vietnam – the soup really wakes you up; the lime cuts through your senses and the chillies sweat out any remnants of a hangover. It also represents local living – simple with no hassles.
One thing that I noticed about the Intrepid tour was that we always ate somewhere unusual – more often than not we ate at small restaurants that only the locals would go to, or at homestays, really hammering home Intrepid’s selling point of “real life experiences.” If you really want to eat like a local, my advice is eat with the locals.”
Does different food bring back travel memories for you too?
Photo: © Macca Sherifi, gapyear.com.