I would walk 500 miles,
And I would walk 500 more,
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
In the hope I eat some more.
I’ve been pretty lucky. As a kid my parents dragged my two siblings and I around the world — forcing us to taste the food, further piquing our interest in different cultures.
Having grown up for much of my life in South East Asia I’ve had hoarde of friends and family visit me over the years.
The one thing they always ask — what should I eat?
Seriously. Everyone that visits has the same questions. “Where should I go?”. “Where’s the best chicken rice in Singapore?”. “I heard Mr. Prata is delicious, can we go?”.
You’re probably thinking, “Alright Dan, big deal. You’re not that special”, and you’re right. The fact is, these days eating food is more often than not at the top of everyone’s to-do list when traveling.
It’s all about access.
Walk down the road of any major city in the world and you’ll see restaurants offering an array of global flavours. We’re always hearing about people getting the travel bug, but what about getting the food bug? Sorry, terrible choice of words. What about we call it getting “Dish Desire”.
Sample a bit of jamón at your local butcher and you’ll be hard pressed to not want to jump on the next flight to Madrid.
However it’s not just our own experiences that lead to this newly named “Dish Desire”. A lot of the credit goes to the internet and what it’s done for food tourism. The explosion of delicious dish pics posted by food travel bloggers, at home or abroad, are a constant sight on every social media network. If ever there was a time when the term “We eat with our eyes” rang truer, it was now.
At the time of writing this the hashtag #food returned 286,041,954 search results on Instagram alone. That’s a lot of food to be desired and our exposure to foreign foods is greater than ever before.
Further aiding this trend are the various other forms of food related media.
The growing prevalence of food-centric TV shows and food travel personalities such as the late Anthony Bourdain have rumbled the stomachs of those seeking something new.
Blogs such as Migrationology, and LegalNomads as well as YouTube channels like Best Ever Food Review Show and The Food Ranger are convincing many to seek out dishes from the furthest corners of the world, whether that be a bánh xèo in the markets of Saigon or a gözleme in the alleyways of Istanbul.
There are countless websites where you can find recipes from a multitude of countries, but for some people pretty pictures aren’t enough.
People are hankering for authentic culinary experiences and they’ll often travel far to get them. After all, food is a great way to learn about a new culture.
A recent Food Travel Monitor report found that a huge 75 per cent of travellers said they had been motivated to visit a destination because of culinary activity.
Much like museums, food teaches us about a country’s past. Although it is the conversations we have over such food that teaches us about the present.
My advice for you — get out there. Explore, eat, and discover a world of delicious dishes and beautiful stories.