Food Travel – A touch of spice with a sweet finish

After a recent trip eating my way around South Korea, I wanted to share a little about my insights into the local food culture and the lessons it reinforced from food travel.

Food travel is all about travelling specifically for the food, not the sights. It is something that is becoming especially popular and is no surprise when you consider how many food tour companies are popping up all over the world (just like Delectable Tours.) There is also a proliferation of food bloggers and culinary experiences to indulge our tastes, and people are lapping it up. This South Korean trip for us was all about the food travel with a touch of sightseeing thrown in.

South Korea’s food culture has evolved through its natural environment and cultural trends with an influence from its neighbouring countries, Japan and China. Overall, the Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, vegetables, and meats, as well as seafood in certain parts. The traditional meals are noted for the number of side dishes that accompany the main dish and certainly contribute to the flavour profile. Like anywhere in the world, dishes vary by province and some provincial dishes have grown into popular national dishes.

You can learn a lot about a country and even a city or town by its traditional cuisine and overall food culture. When you continue to come across recurring flavours it becomes evident of the key ingredients in any cuisine. Whether these ingredients are extremely fresh, dried or otherwise also tells you whether or not it may be seasonal or grown/produced locally. The type of ingredients, whether, meat, seafood, dairy, vegetable, or otherwise also gives another good insight into the food culture and local diet.

Another great insight is whether there are a lot of shared or individually plated dishes. It gives an indication into the importance of a mealtime as a chance to socialise and enjoy each other’s company over a meal, or if it is more or a necessity in our daily lives.

In South Korea, we found that many menus leant towards share dishes, which is no surprise when you think of the infamous Korean BBQ. Locals shared meals amongst family and friends and made the most of the chance to enjoy a few different dishes.

Like the saying when in Rome…we ate as much of the local cuisine as we could. After all, I really wanted to not only experience the local food culture but also as much of the local produce as possible. With everything from hot pot dishes, noodle soups, Korean BBQ, fresh local seafood, black pork, pork cutlets and kimchi, we tried it.

Food Travel Bbq

Perhaps we tried a little too many at once on this occasion!

 

Out of all of these delicious dishes, it was a spicy beef noodle soup that was a clear winner for me. The blend of spicy, sour, salty and a touch of sweetness came together to create a deliciously warming meal that also helped to battle the cold.

Food Travel Spicy Beef Soup

I must admit it doesn’t look like much, but looks can be deceiving.


However, with the good, comes the bad, and I must admit that I didn’t enjoy all aspects of the Korean cuisine. One thing that really stood out to me was that everything, especially anything packaged or slightly processed, was quite sweet. I can definitely see why sweet bread shops do well there.

We also tried a variety of cuisines and occasionally opted for whatever the highest rated restaurants were in the area, no matter the cuisine. This, with anything where you rely on a handful of ratings and basic reviews, produced mixed results. It reinforced a few key beliefs I have when it comes to relying on restaurant reviews.

Have you ever eaten somewhere based on the recommendation of someone who had a great dining experience, to end up not really enjoying the place or your meal? (Maybe you look to Yelp or Zomato, or even have been given a recommendation by someone who it turns out was getting a commission for sending customers to the restaurant, and if so, I know you know what I’m talking about!)

There can be many reasons for this, but generally, it comes down to your own tastes. And what you order…But even if you were to know what to order where it really only takes you halfway there to having a great dining experience because the venue and specific dishes matter too.
Who the recommendation is from also impacts on how useful the review is. Are the reviews by locals or other visitors that have certain expectations or preconceived ideas of specific flavours, quality, and value? It really is hard to know, but sometimes you just have to try things for yourself or employ the services of a local food guide, which I highly recommend.

On the plus side, it introduced us to a few fusion cuisines. I think one of the most interesting aspects of eating abroad is trying fusion cuisines and even a country’s take on another cuisine altogether. After all, different base ingredients, locally grown produce and the chef’s exposure to the authentic cuisine will vary greatly.

One fusion cuisine I did particularly enjoy in South Korea was what they like to call Ko-Mex – Korean-Mexican. It was full of fresh flavours, not too unlike Mexican we had tried elsewhere, but with some interesting additions that worked really well like kimchi. I would say that it was more like the Californian style of Mexican, and dishes such as fajita bowls and burritos were extra tasty with all the fresh herbs that were available in the region.


Food Travel Margarita

The margaritas were pretty good too!

To sum up my take on the cuisine, it was a whole lot of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty, which was mostly pretty enjoyable. This food travel experience gave me insight into the importance of spending time with friends and family, key local ingredients, and reinforced my beliefs that you can’t always rely on reviews when it comes to finding somewhere to eat.

10 Delicious New Year’s Resolutions Every Foodie Should Make

New Year's Resolutions

Another new year is here and with so many people making new year’s resolutions, we thought you’d appreciate some inspiration.

It’s a twist between resolutions, goals to do, and a couple of trends thrown into the mix as well. So, without further ado here are our top 10 delicious resolutions we believe every foodie should make this year.

 

1. Visit a new cafe or restaurant every month

New Year's Resolutions

Image credit: http://www.pexels.com

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of new restaurant and cafes opening every year so we really are spoilt for choice. We all love to dine at the best places and of course, we all have our favourites, but these places were all once unknown to you. So do yourself a favour and do some more culinary and dining exploring this year.

2. Plan a trip specifically around a food experience

New Year's Resolutions Soneva Kiri Treepod Dining

Image credit: http://www.soneva.com

Since stumbling across an article that featured this Treepod dining experience at Soneva Kiri I have been dreaming of visiting this amazing looking resort just to try out this experience. This year I’ve decided to stop dreaming and make specific holidays around experiences like this that I really want to try.

The unique Treepod experience allows you to comfortably sit in a bamboo pod while gazing out the tropical foliage of Koh Kood’s ancient rainforest. And of course, be showered with gourmet delights and your chosen wines, delivered via the zip-line acrobatics of your personal waiter. Amazing!

 

3. Make picnics a regular outing

New Year's Resolutions Picnics

Image credit: http://www.stylemepretty.com

Picnics are making a revival and are such a fun way to spend an afternoon. From packing your favourite food and drinks to getting a completely catered picnic, including the gorgeous cushions and rugs, you can create the perfect picnic outing.   

This year, I plan to make these a regular occurrence and tie it in with trying some great produce and take away from different cafes. 

4. Visit the local food markets at least once a fortnight

New Year's Resolutions

Image credit: http://www.pexels.com

How amazing does a fresh apple taste when you bite into it? I love supporting local farmers and getting to know where my food comes from. When you think about how long fruit and vegetables, in particular, are kept for plus transportation times, they’re not exactly fresh by the time they make it to our kitchens.

Farmers Markets are also a great spot to try up and coming cafes or restaurants as well. They are a great place of discovery and if you go towards the end of the opening hours, you’re sure to get a number of great bargains too. 

5. Make weekday brunch a regular occurrence

New Year's Resolutions Brunch

Image credit: http://www.pexels.com

I know if you’re a 9 – 5’er this can be a little difficult. Perhaps it will be a little less brunch and a little more breakfast, but either way, there are so many great cafes to check out during the week without the crowds.

Brunch or going out for breakfast on the weekend is one of my all-time favourite things to do, so this year I want to bring even more enjoyment to my weekdays and do it more regularly.

 

6. Dine on an Observation Wheel

New Year's Resolutions

Image credit: http://www.pexels.com

Obviously, the London Eye is one of the more iconic observation wheels, but Australia has some great ones too. On most of the scenic rides, you can also dine in a VIP carriage whilst sipping champagne.

In Brisbane, you can enjoy a gourmet dessert platter with wine.

7. Host a dessert dinner party

New Year's Resolutions Dessert

Image credit: http://www.pexels.com

So this is a bit of a silly new year’s resolution, but people are continuously asking for dessert tours, which got me thinking about how many dessert options there really are. There is so much from healthy to sickly sweet and a lot of different options in between that you can really make a few courses to suit a number of different taste buds.

It is something I’m still putting together in my mind, but when I get a clearer idea of what dishes I will do, I’ll be sure to share them with you.

8. Attend an event(s) as part of the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

New Year's Resolutions Worlds 50 Best

Image credit: http://www.theworlds50best.com/ 

The 50 Best programme will coincide with Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, now in its 25th year, over a week of foodie events from 31st March to 9th April.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards event on 5th April will see the elite of the culinary world – chefs, media, VIPs and even some fortunate food-lovers – descend on Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building for the ultimate gastronomic party. There’ll be a host of other events you can take part in, whether in person or via our social media channels. 

For more details check out their official site

 

9. Take a cooking class in your favourite cuisine

New Year's Resolutions Cooking

Image credit: http://www.pexels.com

I love doing cooking classes, especially when travelling. It’s a great way to experience local ingredients and dishes and getting a better understanding of the food culture.

Funnily enough, my favourite cuisine is Indian, however, I have never done an Indian cooking class, so it is something I definitely want to do this year.

Simply Google cooking classes or schools in your area and there are bound to be a number of great options.

 

10. Have breakfast in bed every week

New Year's Resolutions Breakfast In Bed

Image credit: http://www.pexels.com

So this might be something I love doing, but for some reason never seem to do it that often. Obviously, it’s really nice to have someone bring you breakfast in bed, but if that’s not an option there is certainly no harm in doing it for yourself.

Breakfast in bed means there are very little distractions and it gives you a chance to just sit back, relax and enjoy your food perhaps with a good book. Pure bliss!

 


We’d love to hear about your foodie new year’s resolutions in the comments below. Do any of these inspire you?

Free Email Updates
Get the latest content first.
We respect your privacy.