Food and Travel II

How much is food a part of your travel? What’s your most notable food exploration amongst all your travels?
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Some people would say, “What is travel without food”. I say it’s still a travel. My blog shows evidences that food is not a big part of my travels. Being a very spontaneous, shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy I just let the chips fall where they may. I don’t plan on what I was going to eat when I travel. I’m actually stingy with food when I travel. I sometimes just bring a lunch box before I head out. I am no epicurean. I even buy those taquitos, hotdog or small burger at gas stations because they’re filling for such small price. If you eat near your travel destination, you expect the cost to be higher than regular. I sure can sacrifice food in replacement to other travel expenses.

There’s an exception to every rule, of course. That means, there must also be an exception to the rule that every rule has an exception. Unless the food exploration is the travel destination itself, then I’m all for it!

Itadakimasu! (Let’s eat!) This is Food and Travel, Japanese version. ;)

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One of the most well-known festival food here in Okinawa is takoyaki or octopus balls. Don’t get excited. These are not actually “crown jewels”. :D They are just octopus meat in a shape of a ball. These balls don’t dribble either. However, these balls do come in a very satisfying package. :lol: Not my liking, but definitely worth the try when in Okinawa. The takoyaki, that is. :D

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Most festival stalls also sell churros (better believe it, although it’s more like a snack junk food) grilled meat on a stick, fries, corn, and this delicious noodles …

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Moving on…

One of the biggest surprises for me coming here in Japan is their sushi. Apparently, I don’t pay too much attention to details when I watch Japanese movies or movies set in Japan. When I first ordered sushi here in Okinawa, I was expecting the typical traditional sushi roll. Instead, they served me this…

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… A nigiri-zushi. To me that is sashimi (raw meat), which I didn’t really eat, up to that point. The only thing that separates sashimi and sushi is that sushi has rice with it. One thing you must know about me is that my biggest pet peeves is wasting food, so it was a big challenge for me to eat that plate. It even has wasabi in between the raw fish and the rice.

I shamefully didn’t finish that set because of the raw fish. Although, after a few more sushi places I’ve grown to love this kind of sushi.

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That’s my shrimp sushi on a boat. When one sushi jumped out, I called out “Sushi Overboard!”. :D

I love sushi but they are expensive in the US. Over here, it’s cheaper, and they offer more combinations in one order.

Last one…

Mochi! (Rice Balls!) It’s a traditional food usually served during New Year. The first time I tried it, we actually made it from scratch. It was so much fun. We pounded it, dipped it in kinako (grains of soy beans), formed it into balls, stuffed it with anko (sweet beans), and then we served it to Japanese school children. ;) I took home some for me…

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That day, some Japanese men also offered me to eat sweet azuki bean soup with mochi balls in it. It’s a familiar warming soup for the winter breeze. :D I rubbed my belly to show how I’m loving the food and how full I was, but they immediately freaked a little and pointed me the direction to the restroom. :lol:

Last Call…

Just my girly dessert from a buffet…

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All images are taken with Samsung S3.

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49 thoughts on “Food and Travel II

  1. I think Japanese food is always carefully prepared and beautifully presented. Mochi is my favorite! There is a Japanese restaurant in Austin, you have to wait 45 minutes… Enjoyed reading the food and travel post! Thank you, Rommel!

  2. I love food and I love travel. Often it’s a problem for me because I don’t eat meat, I eat fish but don’t like it to be looking back at me! The places i prefer to go don’t usually cater for non meat eaters very well. I like to taste different things but often travel means losing weight, either for the lack of choice or because I often throw it back up :-) what’s a good holiday without getting sick eh???

  3. I eat to live not live to eat. Anyway, when somebody is writing and making nice pictures about delicate food it looks like an art and provoke me to try it. Everything what you showed is promising and looking tasty.

  4. well, that girly dessert looks so much better than the nigiri-zushi…almost a whole fish on the rice. eeelovely…not.
    i think it’s wonderful to travel and try the local cuisine. we can’t like all the dishes but at least we can have a memory to cherish and share with others. another great write up on Okinawa, Rommel. thanks. :P

    • I was gagging when I was eating those sushi. But after couple more try to other restaurants, I’ve gotten the acquired taste for it. Sometimes, it isn’t more about the food anymore, it’s the experience of trying out food.

  5. A fun post, Rommel. I’m not a Sushi kinda gal, but am just getting used to California Rolls only, and I know that’s not real Sushi. Travel and eating local food is what makes a trip interesting.

  6. That is such a funny story about being directed to the bathroom. Such a humorous misinterpretation. I’m afraid I’m not very adventurous when it comes to food, and the octopus balls and raw fish would be a little hard for me to take, I think. But the rice balls look delicious, and the girly dessert is just perfect! :-) And churros seem to be a part of so many cultures. We must all enjoy some junk food from time to time!

    • That girly dessert, even I just want to jump on that picture and eat it again. :D I could see it in their eyes, and I love how appreciative those Japanese seem when they see me and the others tried their culture food.

    • I pounded it for just a little bit. Suddenly, it became an experience off the bucket list. It was fulfilling to serve it to cute Japanese school children as well.

  7. I think food is a very important part of traveling and exploring a new country. It says so much about the people and the culture – not just the food, but how they eat, prepare etc… but exploring doesn’t have to be expensive. Sometimes the most authentic food experience while traveling is at the street food carts and markets. By the way – that sushi looks amaaaazing!! Now you have to go to Tokyo and eat atTsujiki at 5AM. ;)

    • I think that’s it. Make food a part of a travel when it gives you more perspectives about the destination… or if you’re really hungry. :D But yeah, it doesn’t have to be expensive.

  8. MOCHI!!!! I still dream of the soft, delicious, sweet mochi I ate when I lived in Okinawa. All of the kids in my class would be ravenous for it.

    I have actually always preferred sashimi to “regular” sushi. I think this is mostly because I don’t like cucummeber and sushi is, for me, all about the tender, raw fish! Great post, lots of yummy food memories :)

    • … and I know I’ll dream and remember about those school kids’ smiles when I leave here.
      My food preference has always been variety, different flavors in one bite. :D Different folks, different strokes. :D

  9. Food isn’t a big part of my travel at all, but sometimes it’s nice to try the country’s specialities, For example, Belgian waffles and chocolate, and English fish ‘n’ chips. I like sushi, but not the big Sashimi slabs of raw fish. Those rice balls sound delicious. Love the look of your “girly dessert.” :)

  10. I could pass on the sushi Rommel and I would say food is not top priority for me on travelling either . Having said all that I wouldn’t say no to your ‘girly dessert’ :-)

  11. I’m like you, I hate wasting food. I’m slowly trying more sushi but it would be hard for me to eat that whole plate at the moment. I would give it a go though. Might need a lot of sake.

  12. The time and care the Japanese seem to put into their food creations would make it difficult at times to eat it I would think. I happen to love sushi and sashimi so I would be in heaven. :)

    • Yes, even food in travel can make you feel so blessed having that experience. Octopus balls is not for me, to be honest. Mas masarap yung squid balls at fish balls sa kalye. :lol:

    • We went to a sushi go round, carousel, or revolving sushi, whatever they call it, I swear to whoever I can not get it out off my head. It was sooooo goooood, and quite a different experience.

  13. I didn’t mind sushi by the end of our trip either, but it still isn’t my favourite food. Japan was the hardest place food wise, mostly because it was harder to decipher the ingredients! Great post as always :-)

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