Almost everyone know this about me: I LOVE FOOD! Good eating, cooking and trying different recipes of all cultures is a big thing for me. And you might say: “UGH! Another food blogger. Let’s just scroll down to the recipe part”. Well no, you won’t find it. I’m not going to share my recipes with you because most, if not all of them, aren’t mine. Instead, I’ll share stories with you.
Here’s something not a lot of people would know about me: I love stories and storytelling. In my travels, most of my learning and personal growth was through listening to the stories people were sharing with me, most of the time, over dinner. Although I was learning about the country’s culture while enjoying delicious local food, I never realize how much the culture and history of the country reflected in the food, in how the dish was prepared, why those specific ingredients were selected, how it was served and what it says about the social norms of that country.
As a kid, whenever I had a school project on some country, the first thing I always looked up was the food: it was tangible and easy to understand, unlike the history or nuances of the culture. But I have never tried to understand the country’s history through their food and have always treated those two as separate aspects of their culture. How naïve and simple-minded was I?
It wasn’t until a recent trip to Cape Town that I realized how interconnected all those cultural aspects are. I was hosted by two amazing Couchsurfing hosts who also happen to be food lovers like me. We shared our respective knowledge of Asia and of South Africa and when telling them about Vietnam and Vietnamese food, I realized that the French and Chinese influences reflected in the dishes I made for them. I thought I understood my culture since I grew up in it but that moment made me see my culture in a different way.
I started reflecting on my previous travels to the Philippines, Mexico and India: the food I ate all had stories to them and I learned so much without even realizing it. I was just a careless traveler only looking to do sightseeing; I didn’t pay enough attention to these things and I wasn’t curious enough to ask and learn more. Such wasted experiences!
So I’ve decided to start this blog: not only to share with you stories through food, and hopefully some life-lessons, but also to keep reminding myself to not be such a careless traveler. Not sure if I fall under the category of a food blogger or a travel blogger, but I’d like to think I’m just another story-teller looking to share something with the rest of the world. I’m not a historian so this blog will be more of my own interpretation and understanding of the world I see. Here’s to journeying with a more critical and curious mind!