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 Ezra (Zuidgekruid). This travel foodie adores the Mediterranean kitchen and shares her favorite food tips and recipes on her blog “Zuidgekruid”. She is eager to try local food traditions, such as eating alligator in Vietnam! Find out why Ezra’s best food hotspot is in Spain and why she loves the Italian kitchen.
1. Hi Ezra! Tell us a little bit more about yourself?
Hi there! My name is Ezra, a proud member of the 30s club and passionate about food and travel. I live in a village close to Breda (The Netherlands). When it comes to food, the first memory that pops up is the big rice tables we used to have when I was little. My grandmother is from Indonesia. I remember her cooking for the family, in a too small, crowded and hectic but cozy kitchen. I associate food with a social occasion ever since. It brings people together.
I’ve always been curious about other countries and cultures. That’s why I love traveling and even decided to get my bachelor degree in International Tourism. In my opinion, the only way to experience the country you visit is to taste the culture. Literally! So that’s what my boyfriend and I did when we made a world trip in 2015. In eight months we traveled through Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and South America.
We’ve seen so much beauty and discovered so many flavors. But the longer and further I went away, the more I realized how special our European gastronomy and ambiance is and how much I actually love it. In particular the Mediterranean areas.
Then the idea for my Mediterranean food & travel blog “Zuidgekruid” was born. I love sharing my passion and inspiring other people with food and travel in the Mediterranean. Sometimes we tend to forget the beauty of our own continent. There are still so many hidden gems to be discovered! I’d like to add some Mediterranean magic to people’s lives by sharing tips for road trips, food spots, and recipes.
2. What kind of foodie are you?
“I don’t want to look back and think: I could have eaten that!” I love that expression and it fits me perfectly! I’m always curious about new food experiences and I would never refuse to try new things. At the same time, this is also my struggle. Trying different things also means making wrong choices sometimes.
Luckily, there’s a concept that helps to solve this problem: tapas! With all these lovely tiny dishes and platters with different kinds of snacks, chances are small I will make a wrong decision. And if it does happen, there’s no time to regret it because I can always pick new tapas from the menu.
3. Which country has the best food and why?
Italy! Besides the delicious food, special herbs, olive oil, and good wines I love the passion Italians have when it comes to their world-famous kitchen. And their hand gestures when preparing and trying their dish, of course. You can have pizza and pasta almost everywhere in the world, but it’s a real art to make it as delicate and refined as the Italians do. Ironically, the worst pizza I ever had was in San Gimignano, Italy. It seems that also the most passionate cooks in the world can make mistakes. Thank the lord they’re human too!
My favorite Italian dish is seafood pasta. I really enjoy the simplicity: fresh pasta dough and frutti di mare, garlic, salt, and olive oil is all you need. The dish looks stunning and the flavors are delicious! Combine it with a good glass of Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir. What else could you wish for?
4. Your best local food experience abroad?
Our latest road trip in Andalucia started in Malaga (Spain). We stayed in Pedregalejo, one of the authentic and idyllic fishing districts of Malaga. After a two hour flight, we arrived in the city at 9 p.m. Perfect timing to have a Spanish dinner! We strolled down the boulevard and settled down at one of the fish restaurants.
The real authentic Spanish feeling kicked in right away. We immediately bumped into the local Spanish life! I quickly learned this area is not about trendy touristy restaurants that serve overpriced food. You mostly find cute little local restaurants where you sit on simple plastic chairs. Spending time with your loved ones, having some fresh sardines from the barbecue and a bottle of white wine while gazing at the sea…That’s what life’s all about. What a precious experience!
5. The strangest thing you ever tasted during one of your travels?
I’ve seen and ate so many strange things in Vietnam. From egg coffee to jelly drinks and from stinky fruit to strange animals. We visited the impressive fishing village in Mui Ne. The place was hectic! Fish was laying everywhere, people were yelling, and it was very smelly. It didn’t really stimulate my appetite, so we decided not to have fish for lunch.
We left the smelly fishing village with our scooter, looking for some other food. That led us to a small local place where we saw an alligator skinned on a spit, waiting to be grilled. It was cruel to see such a strong and primal animal dead and powerless hanging on the spit.
However, we wanted to experience Vietnamese habits and do as locals do. I’d never eaten alligator before, but I expected the structure to be tough and fat at the same time. In the end, like every other weird piece of food, it just tasted like chicken. What was meant to be a weird experience, turned out to be nothing special at all. The image of the alligator is much more frightening than eating it!
6. Which food hotspot do we absolutely need to visit?
Earlier this year I visited the beautiful city of Seville (Spain). When you’re a foodie, the best thing to do here is eat tapas and drink sangria! Online I searched for some authentic Spanish tapas bars and saved these hotspots in Google maps. Later on we made our own little food tour, hopping from one tapas bar to another and ordered two or three tapas at each place. This is a perfect way to taste different kinds of food, to discover nice food spots, and to experience the real Spanish culture.
One of the addresses we stopped by was El Pasaje Santa María la Blanca, a modern Spanish tapas bar with one very type of special tapas. This famous mini dish was the winner of the Seville Tapas Week of 2016. Of course we wanted to taste the Torta Naranja! We ordered it together with some patatas bravas and two big glasses of Sangria.
The Torta Naranja has a crispy base covered with fresh avocado cream and marinated salmon with tomatoes and orange vinaigrette on top. A very special flavor combination where fresh, sweet, and salt are perfectly balanced. This place is a must taste when visiting Seville!
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!