I’m not exactly a gourmet foodie, but I absolutely love trying new and different foods. Sampling new foods was one of our favorite things about traveling around the world. In fact, we started a segment called “Foodie Friday” to highlight all the different foods we were eating. Like all things in life, some were good, some were bad and others were just downright ugly. Looking back on it now, I’m surprised that Good, Bad and Ugly all come from Asia. Not that the food other places wasn’t good, bad or ugly, but these are the memories that stick out.
The Good – India
We arrived in Mumbai at 2:30am exhausted and greeted our couchsurfing hosts in a blur. The next morning we found out that not only were they interesting people, but they could also cook seriously delicious food. So good that I suggested that for their RTW she teach Indian cooking classes at hostels. Delicious. Fortunately this wasn’t a once in a country experience. Everywhere we went, everything we ate in India was downright delicious. From the chai to the dals, naans and everything in between we could hardly get enough. We almost always ordered the Thali platter, an assortment of small dishes on one big platter (think of a Mediterranean mezze) and no matter what came out it was always delicious and the plates cleaned. I’ll never forget eating at a restaurant in Delhi, turning over the menu and seeing their other worldwide locations- Edison, NJ and Manhattan!
The Bad – Central Asia
Shashlik is simply mutton meatballs on a stick. It’s grilled over a fire and usually served as street food. The meat is usually mixed with some chopped up onion and it’s generally served with a generous helping of flat white bread, vinegar and raw onions. I’ll get to why in a minute. We saw it all along the silk road, and for the most part it was pretty similarly spiced and presented.
Shashlik is generally made with the fattiest cuts of meat and more than once there were bits of bone in my shashlik. That’s not too bad though, I mean it happens, at least it’s a sign that it was real meat! The reason shashlik falls under the bad though, is layer of greasy fat it leaves in your mouth. Hence the vinegar and onions- to cut through the fat. It’s not disgusting by any means, but that fatty film just put me off. It coats your entire mouth and it reminds me of the rendered chicken fat my mom used to keep in the fridge. Gross. After a few days I wasn’t interested anymore.
The Ugly – Laos
I love home stays mostly for the company, but also for the delicious and authentic food. Unfortunately we had downright awful food at a home stay in Laos. So bad that it made me gag and vomit in my mouth. Pleasant details, I know. Some sort of ground up organ (you can tell by the texture) and what tasted like dirt. It was awful and for the first time in all of Asia I went to bed hungry. In the morning we had ramen noodles for breakfast, I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see instant noodlese before in my life! The rest of the food in Laos was fine, but this meal will always stick out in my head as the worst of the entire trip.
This column of ishouldlogoff.com aims to answer those questions that we always get asked. What was your favorite this, or your worst that. Every week we aim to highlight a new topic and will do so until we run out of ideas. If you have an idea for a Good-Bad-Ugly post, feel free to tell us in the comment section below or send us an email. To read all of them, click here.