As a food and travel writer I am often asked to specify my favourite national cuisine, which usually stumps me. I shift nervously, feeling an urge and obligation to cite a particular region, as though it would be a disappointment to the expectant quiz master should I fail to mention a cuisine that is at once both delicious and exotic. Is it perhaps Italian food, which has great seasonality and variety of produce? French? Whilst classic French cookery is the cornerstone of many a chef’s repertoire, it would almost be too obvious to offer in answer to such a question. Lately here in the UK, national cuisines that have taken off include Vietnamese, American (deep South), Chilean, Japanese and Korean. One hardly knows which way to point one’s precious culinary compass. So, I usually lie and say Khmer, or Cambodian as it’s otherwise known, perhaps in the hopes of appearing worldly, and stopping the quiz master in their tracks. When asked to describe Khmer cuisine, I tend to describe it as like a cross between Vietnamese, Thai and French, often featuring pork, freshwater fish, lotus root and fresh herbs, with an emphasis on rice.
What the eating habits of Italians, Japanese and Cambodians have in common is the art of grazing. Lots of small dishes are eaten in slow succession, allowing for a more in-depth culinary experience. With the advent of global travel and the resultant cultural collisions, cuisines have fused and melded, and whilst the term fusion cuisine may be abhorrent to some, it is fair to say that you can often tell which nation has infiltrated another, by simple observance of their culinary influences. Culinary World Touring is a method of mapping geography and culture by cuisine, charting the gastronomic voyage with texts, image and any other means available.
The truthful answer to the question of a favourite cuisine is that I don’t have one, and the beauty of being a Culinary World Tourist is having the ability to dip one’s chopsticks or cutlery into whichever regional speciality you see fit.
Another question that comes up is that of a favourite destination to visit, which is equally as difficult to answer, as every destination has it’s own merits, and equally there are places that present various challenges to the traveller, not least of all from a culinary perspective. I hope that as Culinary World Tour evolves, it will continue to provide insight into the best places in the world to experience nature, culture and cuisine, including advice on travel as well as food and drink highlights. More than a basic travel guide and certainly a step above the generic restaurant-finder, the aim of this website is to provide inspiration to those of us who wish to seek out places of gastronomic worth on our travels, be that a street food stall in Guadalajara, a fish market in Tokyo or a five star hotel restaurant in a New York skyscraper. The journey is as important as the final destination, and CWT will serve as a route map to gastronomic hotspots the world over. As the site evolves, there will be more posts from food and travel bloggers and writers who wish to share their experiences, along with travel advice to enable the reader to plot their course to gourmet heaven.
If you are a food or travel blogger, writer or journalist and would like your work to feature on Culinary World Tour, or a hotelier, food producer or tour operator who wishes to feature on CWT, I would be delighted to hear from you.
Contact me here