After my recent time in Malaysia was largely spent tracking down recommended eateries from travel food blogs, I finally looked up the definition of foodie (courtesy of wikipedia):
Foodie: A foodie is a gourmet, or a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger.
Nothing here about being pretentious. Good. I guess it’s time to admit that I’m a foodie.
Back in Toronto, I didn’t eat out very often, but I did enjoy the thrill of finding delicious, mouthwatering food in local restaurants. I also loved living beside St Lawrence market in downtown Toronto – recently named the best food market in the world by National Geographic. They have an amazing selection of meats, seafood, cheeses and produce not to mention fast food from a wide variety of nationalities that keeps me coming back for more.
Some of my favorite Toronto restaurants are Le Petit Dejeuner or Bonjour Brioche for brunch, Pizzeria Lebretto or Big Smoke for lunches, and Patria or Guu for dinner. I recommend the airy Belgian waffles at Le Petit Dejeuner, the rare roast beef sandwich at Bonjour Brioche, the anchovy and buffalo mozzarella pizza at Pizzeria Lebretto and the classic cheeseburger at Big Smoke. Patria and Guu are Spanish and Japanese tapas places respectfully and I recommend trying everything. When at work, I would always put the extra time in to walk to my favorite lunch spots and wait in their long lines cause it made my days that much brighter. One of my most memorable food experiences in Toronto was at The Black Hoof where I ate whole octopus, bone marrow, horse heart, horse tongue, and calf’s brains all in one sitting! That meal also introduced me to a delicious grapefruit, whiskey cocktail with salted rim. I prefer my whiskey neat now but that cocktail was the beginning of developing my love for it.
Great food has become a large part of my travels. Although I still enjoy visiting places like Cuba which have bad food reputations, I do love finding a country with local foods that really tickle my palette. In my quest for trying new and exotic things I’ve eaten horse’s heart, calf’s brains, lamb brains, whole octopus and squid, bone marrow, ox tongue, bison burgers, sheep’s cheese, a cricket (yes, just one), century egg, balut, cheese-flavored ice cream, whole fried fish, raw sea urchin, tripe (pictured above with the satay), black pudding, blood pudding and so much more.
In my recent travels, I was thrilled by the tangine dishes in Morocco, the stuffed falafel in Jordan, the street food (chaat) in Pakistan and India, the laksa in Singapore, the coconut jam toast and iced coffee in Malaysia, the avocado and bean salads and sichet in Myanmar and pretty much every local Thai dish. I’m on a constant search for good avocado juice wherever it’s available (for me that’s milk free and not too sweet). I’m heading to Vietnam soon and I can’t wait to try all the food – I’ve heard such good things!
Any tips on what foods I should try next? I’m heading to Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and New Zealand in the coming months.
Balut is a cooked, fertilized duck egg – the egg contains a duck fetus. It’s common in Vietnam and the Philippines and prepared slightly differently in both places. I had it in the Philippines thanks to some coworkers who were keen that I try it.
The menu at The Black Hoof has changed since I’ve been. It has a tendency to change.]