The Food for Thought series, now entering its second year, continues to explore the intersection of food, travel and culture. Many travelers see food as a natural and enjoyable way to gain insight into a new destination. Exploring local markets and chatting with local residents about what they like to eat and why paves the way toward deeper conversations. This week we chat with Karolina of the blog KarolinaPatryk.com.
“Karolina and Patryk are a young travelling couple who decided to follow their hearts and live a free life. They opened a company and started travelling around the world. On their blog, they inspire other people to fulfill their dreams and give best travel, relationship and making money online tips.”
Food for Thought
The underlying idea of the “Food for Thought” series is that to truly experience a culture you must taste it. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
Of course! Food is always a huge part of the whole culture. A wise man said: “you are what you eat.” Ingredients, meals, and spices constitute the entire culture of the country. Food is also smells. For us, the sense of smell is one of the most important senses. When you are abroad, you just need to try traditional dishes to understand locals.
What food do you identify with “home?” Does it reflect something about your own culture or upbringing? Do you crave it while you’re away?
Definitely pierogi and schabowy z kapusta. We are from Poland so we are accustomed to fat, unhealthy and high-calorie food. Pierogi ruskie are dumplings filled with potato, cottage cheese and onion. Schabowy z kapusta is breaded fried pork with hot sauerkraut and potato.
We always miss these dishes when we abroad. What’s funny is that when we are in Poland, we rarely eat this kind of food! Only when we are far away from home do we miss our native flavors.
How has travel affected the way you think about food?
We understood that eating is a big part of every culture when we started travelling. It’s not only about eating- it’s also preparing dishes and spending time together.
It’s different in every country. For example, in China people spend hours in the restaurant. They order plenty of dishes and lay them the middle of the table, so that everyone can try everything. It’s completely different from Europe. On the Old Continent, people eat fast, healthy and often alone. Eating is not celebrated like it is in Asia.
Do you have a technique to try and understand local cuisine? (ie: Attending cooking classes or food tours? Hunting the best street food?)
We always choose places where locals eat. We avoid ‘western’ restaurants and famous fast foods. The principle is simple: the less foreigners in the eatery, the better local food will be.
It happens very often that we are only foreigners in the restaurant. We have no idea how it works, but in a few minutes other Europeans or Americans come. Maybe because people subconsciously choose a place where there are already other foreigners?
Tell us about a memorable meal that was so special it is forever ingrained in your memory. Where was it and what set it apart? What was served, and who shared it with you?
Definitely street food in Thailand! We absolutely LOVED it. At first we were a little afraid that we might get sick after eating it (it is not very hygienic to eat on the street). But all the worries disappeared with the first bite :). We most enjoyed the grilled meat and fish balls on a stick. Mmmm. yummy!
What food have you tried in your travels that some might find shocking or surprising? Would you eat it again?
Scorpion. We tried it in Thailand and it was surprisingly… good! It tasted like chips ;).
We’ll definitely eat it again. We are going to Thailand in 3 weeks and we are planning to eat locust and other fried insects.
And just for fun, if you had to choose one country’s cuisine to eat for the rest of your life what would it be?
Asian cuisine. It’s really difficult to choose one but we’ll go for Thai or Vietnamese food.
Pad Thai, Tom Yum (spicy coconut soup) and Pho soup are our favourite dishes :).