A Taste of Something Different.
Enjoying local cuisine is a special part of traveling that shouldn’t be overlooked. Travelers who tend to dine on their creature comforts while otherwise being adventurous always perplex me. Why fly halfway around the globe only to eat at McDonalds? I travel specifically to sample the local flavors, explore the regions’ spices and cultural specialties. The cuisine says a lot about the culture and diving head first is how I travel.
Obviously there are restrictions that I usually follow, never drink the water in Central America, avoid extreme spices and be wary of some street food. I tend to eat too much street food, but I figure if the locals eat it, why shouldn’t I? Water in third world countries in general should be avoided due to parasites that your insides might not be used to. Eating extreme spices when on a road trip is another danger all together.
Countless times I’ve been unsure about tasting something only to be completely surprised and amazed by the new flavors. Eating live octopus in Japan sounded and looked insane but once I actually did it, well, it was pretty gross, to be honest. Not everything you try will be appetizing but at least I can say that I tried it. The memory is always with me and the experience was unforgettable. Had I decided not to push my boundaries and try the still alive octopus, I don’t think the memory would last.
My travel memories are constantly awakened by smells, tastes and textures. It’s amazing how the mind connects memory and experiences. I can’t walk past a gyro shop without being reminded of my time in Greece, the aromas are so overpowering and pleasurable. Gyros are now one of my favorite dishes and I have an afternoon in Athens to thank for that.
I have a few simple rules that I live by when I travel that apply to food. First, I always eat local my first meal. You won’t find me eating at an American chain restaurant anytime soon, even if it’s in Istanbul. Instead I’ll ask my cab driver or concierge at my hotel what food I NEED to try. You’d be amazed by how many suggestions you’ll receive.
I find that people are generally proud of where they are from and revel in the opportunity to share their favorite local spots. I know that when friends and family visit me in Los Angeles, I am a venerable fountain of information, just spewing restaurant names and my favorite dishes at anyone who will listen.
My second travel cuisine rule is simple… do not be afraid. Many of what you are about to eat may look, smell or even taste bad, but you cannot show fear. Instead be brave and just go for it, take a big bite, chew it up and savor the flavor. Granted, you may spit the food immediately out and that’s fine, I’ve done it. It’s a natural reaction of your body to reject some tastes, but at least you now know that whatever you just ate is bad.
My wife and I were traveling in the Philippines a few years ago and my cab driver said that we had to try balut, which if you don’t know is fermented bird embryo, and is a very acquired taste. When I first saw balut I was honestly scared, it does not look appetizing, in fact it doesn’t even look edible. The smell was horrendous and all the locals stared at me like I was about to do something real dumb, and I was. I followed my own rules and I took a bite, not a large bite, but a bite nonetheless and my reaction was violent and over the top. I spit out my bite, threw my arms into the air, yelled a primal scream and tossed some water down my throat. Was I overreacting? Sure, but with the added audience I figured a larger than life response was warranted. I got a loud boisterous reaction from the gathered crowd followed by applause. This was my favorite moment from our trip to Manila. A simple taste of local cuisine has stuck with me for years like it happened yesterday and to think, if I hadn’t been adventurous I wouldn’t have ever experienced this. Of course I remember the awful taste, but what I truly remember were the connections I made with a dozen locals that day.
My last rule of eating while traveling involves your intestinal fortitude. When I travel, I always try whatever on the menu scares me the most. In England, this was blood pudding. Just the idea of eating coagulated blood is so unappealing to me its no wonder I was terrified by this choice. But just like all my other food related travel memories, I can perfectly paint a picture of that day. I was visiting my good pal Simon, who was on weekend leave from the British Army. We met at a local pub and began drinking pints, as the locals were known to do. Who was I to shy away from local traditions?
Simon and his mates knew I was terrified of eating blood pudding, so they egged me on for hours. I finally caved to their taunts and ordered blood pudding. A horrid looking dish, much darker than I had ever imagined and the smell was similar to an old dumpster. They come in sausage casing, which is already a strike against them, and are cut into bite size pieces. All that build up and you know what… they weren’t half bad. They taste similar to liver, very irony and grainy. The texture is one I won’t soon forget, but you know what… that day was incredible. I’m honored to have spent it with young soldiers while we sampled their local cuisine.
Remember friends, travel with your senses and you will never forget.
Have You Tried Bottled Cocktails? Here’s Why You Should
Bottled cocktails, or ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages, are all the rage right now. Around 55% of average consumers consider them as a convenient way to have a cocktail.
While convenience is an attractive factor, there are plenty of other reasons why bottled cocktails are on the rise. Check out the benefits and options you have when it comes to this new trend.
What Is a Bottled Cocktail?
Bottled cocktails are pre-mixed alcoholic beverages. Some bottles are interesting artisanal blends; others are simple and straightforward drinks. These drinks require no effort on your part—just open, sip, and enjoy.
Beyond hard alcoholic beverages, you also have access to canned wine and hard seltzers. Additionally, some bottled cocktails come in the form of do-it-yourself kits. While these require a little bit of effort, they’re still much easier to handle than purchasing every cocktail ingredient yourself.
The Benefits of Bottled Cocktails
From bars to liquor stores, you have a lot of options when it comes to making cocktails. However, bottled cocktails provide significant perks and should be on your radar. If you’re skeptical about bottled cocktails, take a look at these fantastic benefits that cater to all sorts of situations and tastes.
Whether you’re going to the beach or a picnic, no one wants to lug around bottles of wine and liquor. That’s why bottled cocktails are an excellent choice for on-the-go activities.
By bringing ready-to-drink cocktails, you save yourself the hassle of mixing drinks yourself. After all, no one wants to go on bartender duty when they’d rather have fun.
Depending on if you choose a cocktail-making kit or a ready-to-drink cocktail, the main perk is simplicity. You no longer have to purchase several different bottles of liquor, mixers, and garnishes to create your ideal cocktail. Depending on the type of cocktail, you get all of the ingredients together without any effort on your part.
You Get Variety
Bottled cocktails are perfect for people who want variety in their alcoholic drinks. Kits and bottled cocktails allow you to explore interesting recipes with ease, such as hard seltzers. If you prefer the classics, like an old fashioned or a martini, you have access to those too.
Plus, whether you’re looking for a light afternoon sip or a stiff party, there are plenty of options for whatever you’re in the mood for. You can check out these bottled cocktails that are boxed and ready-to-ship, check out your local grocery store or even make your own.
Bottled cocktails prevent you from having to purchase entire liquor bottles. Plus, some cocktails require niche garnishes and odd additions that end up getting wasted if you only make one cocktail. The cost-savings are all part of what makes bottled cocktails worth your attention.
Opt for Bottled Brews
Bottled cocktails aren’t just a new trend. These types of cocktails provide great benefits and make happy hours a lot easier for everyone involved. With the wide variety of cocktails available, you’re guaranteed to find a blend you’ll love without the hassle of making it yourself.
If you loved this guide, check out the rest of our posts. We write helpful blogs about traveling, recipes, and more.
9 Subscription Boxes That Make the Perfect Gift
You know that frustrating feeling when you just can’t find the perfect gift for your friend or family member? It’s not that you don’t know what they like, but after years of gift-giving, you feel like you’ve run out of options.
So how do you keep your gifts meaningful and exciting, year after year? You gift them a subscription box.
Themed subscription boxes can have surprising items that you may not expect but your friend, sibling, or mom will undoubtedly love.
To prove how many options you have when gifting subscription boxes, here’s a list of a few of the most popular ones.
1. Bloombox Club
For the people in your life who have dreams of covering their home in plants, this is the subscription they need. Or, they may want to improve their outdoor garden.
Bloombox delivers seasonal boxes of plants, from perennials and trees to vegetables and tropicals. There’s also a whole section of indoor plants.
Or, this subscription gift box is a great option for those who have had more than a few plants die in their care. Every plant comes with clear care instructions to make it as easy as possible to keep them alive.
2. Brew Tea Co.
For the tea lovers of the world, this subscription box is perfect. You can order your friend’s favorite teas and even a teapot for loose leaf tea.
It’s an easy way to stay stocked up on a monthly basis so they never have to worry about running out.
It’ll also give them a chance to try out new brews and explore flavors they may not have considered before.
3. Rare Birds Book Club
With this book club subscription box, you can select from two mystery blurbs. All the books are recently published works by female authors, and the title of the book will be a secret until it’s delivered.
Your birthday gift recipient can participate in discussion chats about the book and plan on receiving the next read every 3, 6, or 12 months.
4. Bloom & Wild
For that special someone in your life who deserves fresh flowers all the time. Whether your love is romantic or platonic, this subscription box is a wonderful option for fans of bouquets.
When the flowers arrive, they’re ready to bloom. So the full breadth of their beauty can be enjoyed for days.
5. Wild Deodorant
Another one of the subscription box ideas that work to support the earth and fight climate change is Wild.
Once you order a case and your first deodorant scent, your subscription includes three refills for your case as frequently as you need them.
Plus, Wild offers some beautiful scents like jasmine and mandarin blossom, pina colada, and mint and eucalyptus. It’s hard not to want to try them all right away.
These deodorants are also aluminum-free and there are sensitive skin scent options.
6. Baker Boxx
If you have friends or family who got really into bread-baking during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, this box was made for them.
They can receive a new baking recipe every month, complete with all necessary ingredients and instructions. There are a few different themed options, including one that is exclusively bread recipes.
7. Seasonal Candle Subscription
Candles are one of the most popular gift ideas for your aunt who’s hard to buy gifts for, or your colleague who covers their desk in nice-smelling things.
These boxes come with eco-friendly soy candles in a variety of scents. They arrive seasonally and are packed with some extra mini-gifts to make the experience that much sweeter.
8. Smol for Cleaning
Everyone has a friend who is always looking for ways to make their life more earth-conscious. And that’s what makes this eco-friendly cleaning subscription a fantastic gift option.
From cleaning sprays to laundry detergents and dishwasher tablets, this subscription box has everything you might need to start cleaning for the earth.
Lastly, a snack subscription box. For your friend who just can’t get enough snacking in throughout their day, you know they need a lot of options.
These boxes, which you can find at https://snackperk.com, offer all the popular snack brands in one box. Or, you can opt for one of their other subscription boxes that includes more traditionally nutritious snacks.
No matter what kind of snacks they tend to eat, SnackPerk comes with granola bars, crackers, cookies, chips, and inevitably a few surprise items.
If you’re still not sure what kind of box your birthday recipient will enjoy, pick a subscription box like FabFitFun. It comes with a variety of fun products from skincare to fitness to lifestyle.
It’s an especially great option for your friend who never knows what they want or your mom who deserves to treat herself.
Subscribers can select what items they want to receive, and they will also receive a few surprise items. They can keep whatever items bring them joy and swap anything that doesn’t float their boat.
Subscription Boxes for Everyone
There truly is a subscription box for every person in your life. Plus, it takes out some of the guesswork when you’re trying to figure out what would make the best gift.
Let the subscription boxes do the work for you, and sit back while your gift becomes your friend or family member’s favorite gift every time.
If you’d rather treat yourself and your friend at the same time, check out these quality travel tips for every location worth visiting.
How Can I Choose the Best Chinese Restaurant in My Local Area?
Did you know that 1 out of 3 Americans is ordering Chinese food at least once a month?
Whether you’re moving to a new area or your go-to spot has been disappointing you, you might be wondering what you can do to find the absolute best restaurants near you.
Are you ready to enjoy your dining experiences to the fullest? Keep reading to learn 5 tips that will help you locate the best Chinese restaurant near you.
1. Set a Budget
Affordable and quick Chinese takeout is a staple for millions of busy Americans. If you’re on a tighter budget, then you need to look for fast-food restaurants that are known for offering great deals. If you’re on the hunt for Asian fine dining, then you can never go wrong with restaurants like Hiro88 Sushi Pan-Asian cuisine where you can treat your taste buds to the finest Eastern flavors.
2. Consider Your Favorite Dishes
Since the best Chinese food can be quite subjective, you should take some time to think about what your favorite dishes are. If orange chicken is your go-to meal, then your search should try to focus specifically on that dish. To narrow your search results a bit, you can try googling “best orange chicken near me” instead of “best Chinese restaurant near me” so you can weed out any restaurants that don’t serve this dish.
3. Look at Online Reviews
The internet has made it so easy for people to share their honest opinions and give businesses the spotlights they deserve. Whether you stick with a general search engine like Google or look at apps like Postmates, you can scroll through Chinese restaurants in your area and see which get positive reviews. You also have the option to narrow your search so you’re only showed restaurants with a high average rating.
4. Ask People You Know for Recommendations
It’s a lot easier to explore your local Asian cuisine when you get suggestions from friends, family members, neighbors, and even coworkers. Ask anyone you trust for restaurant recommendations and make a note of what they always order. Once you have a list of the top picks, you can look into each restaurant further to see if something is worth trying.
5. Check Out the Restaurant’s Atmosphere
Checking out a restaurant’s atmosphere will not only help you gauge if the place is sanitary, but you can also see if you can imagine yourself dining inside. If you don’t want to visit the place in person, then you should be able to get an inside and outside look at the establishment online from photos.
Are You Ready to Eat at the Best Chinese Restaurant?
If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to find the best Chinese restaurant near you. No matter what your unique tastes are, you’re guaranteed to discover your perfect match.
Did you enjoy this article on how to locate the best Asian cuisine in your area? If so, our site is the ultimate resource for foodies. Check out our blog so you can have access to more excellent culinary guides and news.
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