Travel Foodies: Eating Habits

Helena Smit

Meet the Travel Foodies

One of the best experiences I have whenever I travel to a new destination? Visiting all the local food hotspots, restaurants, and food markets! This brought me to the idea of creating the Travel Foodies series. In this series, you will meet other traveling foodies revealing their best food/drink spots and tasty tips.

In this blog post, you will get to know Helena (Eating Habits). Helena is a half Dutch and half Indonesian travel foodie who loves trying out adventurous food, such as eating snake! She enjoys street food and you can make her very happy with a traditional Indonesian plate of rice in the morning.

1. Hi Helena! Tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Hi! My name is Helena Smit. I’m 35 years old and I live in Rotterdam (The Netherlands). My blog’s name is Eating Habits and it’s about food habits and experiences in Europe and Asia.

As long as I can remember I have been interested in food. Maybe because of my Indonesian background (my father is Dutch and my mother is Indonesian)? Indonesians love food! I studied Nutrition and Dietetics in The Hague, but soon I found out I wasn’t really into helping people with their nutrition. I was more interested in their food habits and creating recipes.

Trying out Roti Jala in Penang
Trying out Roti Jala in Penang

I like to travel a lot and when I travel I like to explore local food cultures and dishes. To keep my food and travel pictures organized and my memories alive, I started a blog. Initially, my blog was called IndoRotterdammert but a year ago I renamed it to Eating Habits.

2. What kind of foodie are you?

I’m quite an adventurous eater and I enjoy tasting new dishes. I’m a big fan of street food and I always pay attention to which stand has the longest queue (which probably means it’s tasty!).

I’m not a big meat lover but when I’m traveling I tend to put my principles aside. In a lot of countries it’s not possible to change the traditional recipe. If a dish contains meat, it contains meat. Take it or leave it, haha. I especially ate a lot of meat in Krakow (Poland) but I loved every dish there!

Meat Dish Krakow Polen
One of the delicious meat dishes in Krakow

I love fish or shellfish but I don’t like to prepare it. So when I’m dining out, I almost always order fish. Mussel season is the best! Especially mussels covered in a blue cheese sauce is a real treat.

My travel bucket list is based on the local food I would like to try out. Taiwan and Hong Kong are high on the list because I adore East-Asian food. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of high temperatures so that can be a challenge. I tend to feel very slow and my appetite sinks below zero. Luckily, some places have air conditioning!

3. Which country has the best food and why?

Without a doubt: Indonesia! I love trying out their local street food! And I like the dishes my mother prepares: bubur ayam, pempek salem, terong pedas, sayur nangka, kangkung…Do I need to go on?

Too bad there aren’t a lot of real Indonesian restaurants in The Netherlands! It’s mostly Indisch which is also tasty by the way. My favorite Indonesian restaurants in The Hague are Trio Eethuis and D’Javas.

And, as I mentioned previously, I would love to visit Taiwan and Hong Kong. Those are the food capitals of Asia. I’ve already created an entire list of tasty dishes I would like to try out!

Creating Pempek Salem
The creation of Pempek Salem

4. Your best local food experience abroad? 

When I was a little kid, visiting Indonesia, I had to eat Indonesian bread every morning at my family’s house. The bread (back then) wasn’t very tasty. It was a combo of sweet and savory and the texture tasted like a sponge. To complement it they give me salty margarine and chocolate sprinkles.

My Indonesian family even went to the other side of the village to get it for me! Why? Well, they believed Dutch people eat bread every morning and no rice or bami. My parents said it was ungrateful to refuse so breakfast used to be a nightmare. I would have loved eating a plate of rice in the morning but that was not negotiable.

Later on my parents and I went to Bandung on the island of Java where we don’t have family and we stayed in a hotel for one night. There was a ‘kaki lima’ (food stall) in front of the hotel that served bubur ayam, a savory rice porridge with a lot of toppings. It was the best breakfast I have ever had! I ended up eating three (!) portions of it that morning.

I also loved all the food in Bologna, the culinary capital of Italy. Everything I ate there was absolutely delicious!

Tortellini and tortelloni Bologna
Tortellini and tortelloni in Bologna

5. The strangest thing you ever tasted during one of your travels?

That must be snake which I tasted in China. Before we starting eating the snake was shown to us alive. After that, it was processed into three different dishes. The blood from the snake was served in a glass, for example. It is supposed to increase your potency. However, no one at my table tried it out.

Snake meat tastes pretty normal, a little like chicken. However, I didn’t enjoy trying to avoid all the tiny snake bones. Hmm, in the future I think I would rather eat chicken instead!

6. Which food hotspot do we absolutely need to visit? 

The Japanese food court in the Aeon Mall in Jakarta is just amazing. There is delicious sushi and sashimi, tasty kawaii ice creams and drinks, and all kinds of cookies and cakes. Besides that, the atmosphere is very relaxed. If heaven has a food court it has to look like this!

Aeon Mall in Jakarta
The amazing Aeon mall in Jakarta

Want to know more about Helena?

Instagram: @eating_habits_nl
Facebook: Eating Habits
Pinterest: Eating Habits
Twitter: @helenarotterdam

Would you like to be featured?

Do you have a passion for food and want to share your most epic experiences that will make our mouths water? Feel free to send me an email including the name of your (food) blog!

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