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:

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

This is the third post in the series. See the prior culinary travel posts with dishes from The Americas and Europe. Our memories of culinary travel in Africa and Asia include dishes from Tanzania, the Canary Islands, Morocco, Malaysia, and the Maldives.
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Grilled Tuna Fillet in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Tuna fillet

Tuna fillet

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.

Klindi Resort in Zanzibar

Klindi Resort in Zanzibar

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.

Alison Abbott

Lamb Couscous in a Berber Home in Morocco

Moroccan Lamb Couscous

Moroccan Lamb Couscous

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!

A Berber Home in Morocco

A Berber Home in Morocco

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.

Mark and Elizabeth Rudd

Banana Leaf in at Sri Maju Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Banana Leaf Dinner

Banana Leaf Dinner (credit: Tourism 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.

The dish known as banana leaf originates from South India and has become a fixture in the Malaysian foodie scene. It typically contains white rice, three vegetable dishes, papadums and a choice of meat, fish or lentil curry, all served on an eco-friendly banana leaf.
Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur (credit: Pixabay)

Sri Maju Restaurant is a down-to-earth establishment nestled among European-style bars in the upscale neighborhood Bangsar. I returned to this impressive and understated restaurant for a second time because I was craving the deep-fried bitter gourd, one of the most popular vegetable dishes. It is a deep, fiery red color, crunchy on the outside and soft and savory on the inside. The vegetable dishes vary by season. Mine included cucumber raita and green beans, and I chose dhal, the lentil curry. The deep flavors and spices in the dhal juxtapose nicely against the fresh and light cucumber raita. Although traditionally eaten with your hands, cutlery is also available. Don’t forget to wash it all down with one of the fresh fruit juices or lassis.
Ann Nelson

A Really Fresh Catch in The Maldives, South Asia 

Culinary Travel in Africa; Barracuda

Barracuda (cc: Wikipedia)

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.

Kathy in the Maldives

Kathy in the Maldives

Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher

All photo credits by the respective authors unless otherwise noted.


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