When it comes to culinary travel in Africa and Asia and culinary travel, in general, our contributors have a lot to say. What was originally to be a single post boiled over into a delicious three-part series, Dishes That Linger on Our Tastebuds. Asked to share a favorite culinary memory from their travels, they dished about experiences from rustic fare to gourmet meals.
We learned that when it comes to culinary travel in Africa and Asia (or elsewhere), it’s not just just the taste that flavors the experience, but often the setting and story behind the food. Take a seat at our table and join us for the third in a three-part series, Dishes That Linger on Our Tastebuds, covering experiences in the Americas, Europe, and Africa & Asia.
Be sure to also read:
- Culinary Travel in The Americas: Dishes That Linger on Our Tastebuds
- Culinary Travel in Europe: Dishes That Linger on Our Tastebuds
Let us know what you think in the comments, and tell us about any “most delicious culinary moments” of your own!
Culinary Travel in Africa and Asia
Grilled Tuna Fillet in Zanzibar, Tanzania
The Spice Island of Zanzibar, located a short distance from the coast of Tanzania, conjures up fantasy island images without needing much assistance. Historically a trade destination for sailors from as far away as China, the island produced nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves known the world over. Visiting the luxurious Klindi Resort, part of the Elewana Collection, did not disappoint my long-held fantasies.
Set on 50 acres of tropical privacy, the resort is home to individual pods, each complete with its own butler. The main pavilion has a small open-air restaurant overlooking the turquoise waters a short walk away. In the background, an alfresco waterfall gently combines with the song of native birds. Could the food live up to the setting?
Many culinary memories from the stay come to mind, but there was one particular standout. The waters surrounding Klindi provide a wealth of ingredients for the chef. When seafood is this fresh, it needs little enhancement. Crusted with the lightest coating of local spices and sesame, the tender tuna fillet was barely touched by the grill. A perfect sear along the edge provided the initial crunch and gave way to melt in your mouth pleasure. Soba noodles with a squeeze of lime and some local vegetables danced on the palate with a delightful balance of spice and tuna essence.
In the distance, traditional dhows dotted the view, reflecting the distant past as Zanzibar moves towards the future. If I was looking for an island paradise to please all the senses, this culinary memory at Zanzibar’s Klindi Resort is the closest experience ever to come my way.
Lamb Couscous in a Berber Home in Morocco
A large part of our travels at Compass & Fork is exploring the food and culture. Many of our best memories involve the food and the people we meet.
One of my favorites was in Morocco. Our guide took us to his mother’s house for lunch. His family—brother, sisters, niece and mother were all there. We felt like honored guests.
The home was in a remote village. We were invited into the kitchen to watch the making of Moroccan lamb couscous and the tagine. Making couscous from scratch is a long process (nothing like the five-minute version many of us would make at home) and his mother had started at 5 am!
The “oven” in the home, consisted of a large, vented open area. His mother could stand upright in the oven!
When it was time to eat, we sat around the table (on the floor on beautiful Moroccan rugs made by his mother) and shared a communal meal.
It was a most enjoyable day and a wonderful experience.
Banana Leaf in at Sri Maju Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur (affectionately called KL by locals and visitors alike) is the capital of Malaysia and home to a variety of cultures. The presence of Indians has greatly influenced the culinary landscape.
A Really Fresh Catch in The Maldives, South Asia
Like so many fellow travel writers, we’ve been blessed with thousands of global dining experiences teaching us that circumstances are at the top of the menu, teamed with fresh ingredients, cooking staff and table mates.
Captain Hussein Ibrahim was instrumental in assisting Kathy’s landing a whopper red snapper in 2008 in the waters of our favorite destination so far in 25 years of world travels: The Maldives. The hand-line fishing excursion was arranged at our first visit to the extraordinary Beach House at Manafaru with amazing overwater bungalows. We also caught barracuda, a grouper, and reef fish, all cooked up with local vegetables that evening and served at our private table in their waterfront restaurant.
All photo credits by the respective authors unless otherwise noted.
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