All About Food

Memorable Meals

Bindama - Ishigaki, Japan

This was our last dinner before departing Japan.  Even though you probably can't tell from the name, it was an Italian restaurant.  The owner/cook/waiter was very friendly and prepared a special plate of appetizers when we couldn't find exactly what we wanted on the menu. The food was excellent - a wonderful way to say farewell to Japan.

We had:

appetizers: Ishigaki beef, cheese, marinated fish, vegetables,
spaghetti with garlic toast (topped with tomatoes)

The Peak - Hong Kong

As memorable for the view as for the food, this aptly named restaurant was on the peak overlooking Hong Kong on one side, and the ocean on the other.

We had:

spicy Indian chicken with rice,
angus beef fillet

Unknown Restaurant - Hong Kong

This was Kumiko's birthday dinner - and, no, she doesn't want me to tell you how old she was.  We took the Metro over to Hong Kong Island; then boarded a ferry bound for Lantau Island.  We found a seafood restaurant with harbor-style decor - which is to say not at all fancy (see photo) - and seafood so fresh it was swimming around in a tank only minutes before it was served to us piping hot.

We had:

shrimp (for me), squid (for Kumiko)

Xin Kai Yue Hotel Restaurant - Guilin, China

This was memorable not so much for the food, but because we were the only patrons.  We had at least a half-dozen people waiting on us - all of them curious about the foreigners.

(pay no attention to those other patrons
in the background; they came in later)

We had:

GuiLin fried noodles, grilled carp, shrimp and cashew nuts,
fried rice, Liquan (a local GuiLin beer), and shushinchu sake.

Cha Ca La Vong - Hanoi, Vietnam

This restaurant was popular with the locals and many of them stared openly at us - probably wondering how the foreigners found out about this particular eatery.

We had:

grilled fish and veggies (cooked at the table on an
earthen-ware grill) and rice noodles

Old China Cafe - Penang, Malaysia

Set in a 160 year-old building with high ceilings, arched windows, and hardwood floors, the ambiance couldn't be beat.  The host, after learning that Kumiko was a piano teacher, tried his best to get her to play the piano they had there - but she was too shy.

We had:

deep fried sea bass, garlic butter salmon,
spring rolls, and tiramisu for dessert

Oriental Express - Butterworth to Bangkok

All of the meals on the Oriental Express were great - gourmet-chef quality food and presentation - even breakfast...

Unfortunately, Kumiko started feeling ill shortly after we boarded (no doubt due to something she ate in Penang the day before) and was only able to enjoy lunch the first day.  For dinner, she ordered lobster and could only eat one bite.  I tried it and thought it was delicious - and that's from someone who doesn't like lobster.  She even had to skip dessert - but, don't worry, it didn't go to waste. ;-)  Here we are dressed appropriately (as required) for dinner - no easy task for backpackers...

High Tea at the Oriental Hotel - Bangkok, Thailand

Even if we couldn't afford to stay there, having High Tea at the luxurious Oriental Hotel was quite a treat.  In addition to the various teas available, they brought out several plates containing small sandwiches and an assortment of sweets.

Bayon Restaurant - Siem Reap, Cambodia

This restaurant was so good we ate there two of the three nights we were in Siem Reap.  One thing we found interesting: they had waiters, dressed in nice slacks and dress shirts, and several waitresses - one in a red uniform with a Tiger beer logo, and the others in blue uniforms with Angkor beer logos.  The waiters took our food order - and the waitresses took only beer orders.  Not only that, but if we wanted Tiger beer, we had to order from the Tiger beer waitress - and if we wanted Angkor beer, we would order from one of the other waitresses.  It seems that the waitresses worked for the beer companies and not for the restaurant.

We had:

1st night:
Doug - chicken curry in coconut (not just in coconut milk,
but actually served in a coconut)
Kumiko - fried noodles and spring rolls
2nd night:
garlic pepper shrimp, fish amok in coconut,
chicken/banana flower salad

Koh Tao Tropicana Restaurant - Koh Tao, Thailand

This restaurant was right on the beach, with tables arranged on an open deck offering views of the clear, blue waters of this tropical island paradise.  Our bungalow was about ten meters from the restaurant.  Most days, when we weren't lounging on the beach, we could be found on the shaded deck of the restaurant, lying on the cushions, munching on the popular local snack ostensibly called "noname".  And here's a shot of the view we enjoyed while eating...

Our bungalow is just off the left edge of this photo

We had several memorable dinners here - some were quite spicy.  But the dish that stands out most in my memory was the Thai-style fried fish (which I had three times over the course of a week).

Unknown Restaurant - Jaisalmer, India

This was one of the many rooftop restaurants - though on this particular evening it was quite windy.

We had:

tandoori chicken, mixed veggies (very spicy), and cheese nan

Newton's Guest House - Jodhpur, India

This was one of the private residences renting rooms to travelers - a common practice in India.  They had a set dinner menu and the food was delicious.  Kumiko and I were the only guests and ate together in their beautifully decorated dining room.

We had:

dal with rice, paneer (cheese), chicken, curd (pass),
okra (very tasty - and I don't usually like okra),
capsicum (I still don't know what that is) with grilled onion,
potatoes, chapati, and beer (which our driver bought for
us and they stored in the 'fridge until dinner time)

We also asked them to chill a couple of glasses for the beer, but it took several tries over a half-hour period to get them to understand what we wanted.

Priya Restaurant - Agra, India

This was memorable because it was our first time to wear our authentic Indian clothes - which were much dressier than the khakis and t-shirts we usually wore.  But the food was quite delicious as well.

We had:

double-spicy chicken curry (and it was double spicy - yum!),
vegetable kofta, fried rice, spring rolls,
and the oh-so-common-in-India, super-strong beer
(which wasn't really all that strong)

Zen Chinese Restaurant - Delhi, India

This was the spiciest non-Indian food we had in India.  Throughout our trip (especially in Thailand and India - both known for spicy dishes), we found it difficult to get really spicy food.  After this meal, however, we had to go get ice cream to cool our burning mouths.

We had:

chilly prawn, vegetable fried rice,
and spring rolls (with a very spicy sauce)

Gardenia Taverna - Athens, Greece

This was our first meal of authentic Greek food.  Instead of trying to explain the menu to us, our host invited us into the kitchen to peer into the pots and make our selections.

We had:

roasted chicken with "beans" (peas actually) and potatoes,
pork with spinach, and rice casserole;
Kumiko sampled the retsina wine

Aekapia - Delphi, Greece

Delphi is perched on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos, and this restaurant offered a wonderful view of the Gulf of Corinth.  Not to be outdone by the view, the food was superb.

We had:

grilled feta cheese with tomatoes and green peppers,
a Greek salad (with a heavy helping of feta cheese),
and spaghetti with garlic and cheese
[The Greek diet sure includes a lot of cheese!]

Picasso Mexican Bistro - Naxos, Greece

Yes, Mexican food in Greece!  But the chef was from Texas, so you know it had to be good.  And they brought out what I thought was the biggest jalapeno pepper I had ever seen.  However, the owner told us it was, in fact, a locally-grown pepper - the name of which escaped him at the time.  I didn't think to take a photo of it before I had eaten most of it, but you can get an idea of its size from this shot - there's less than a quarter of it left...

Happy Doug!

We had:

nachos (with local Naxos cheese) and salmon quesadilla
(a first for me and it was yummy!)

Mama's Cafe - Fira, Santorini, Greece

This is, without a doubt, the best place for breakfast in all of Greece.  In fact, it was the best breakfast we had in three months of travel through eleven countries.  And Mama is the friendliest, most personable woman you'd ever hope to meet.  As soon as you walk through the door you are instantly her friend - no, it's more like your a part of the family and have just returned home from a long trip.  She calls everyone "babies" and bestows compliments like there's no tomorrow.

We had:

For Doug:  Mama's Special - two eggs cooked to order,
two slices of extra-crispy bacon, two pancakes,
orange juice and tea
For Kumiko: French toast, two eggs, bacon, hash browns,
coffee and orange juice
Needless to say...  We were stuffed!

Kri Kri Taverna - Plakias, Crete, Greece

This wasn't the best meal we had - though the take-out pizza we had was delicious.  But it was memorable because it was in the midst of a violent storm.  We ran through torrential rain about a block to the restaurant - ordered our pizza - sprinkled red peppers all over it - and ran back to our hotel (forgetting to pay for the pizza in the process).  We sat in our room eating our pizza, drinking beer and wine (straight from the bottle) in the subdued lighting of our room - which wasn't from any kind of romantic inclination on our part, but because of a brown-out that seemed to be a regular evening occurrence and not a result of the storm.

We had:

tuna pizza with lots of red peppers, beer and wine
[Oh and, in case you're wondering, we did go
back the next day and pay for the pizza.]

Cocopazzo - Valletta, Malta

This was a quiet, neighborhood restaurant just down the street from our hotel.  It had a cozy, romantic atmosphere - and the food was delicious.

We had:

the house special pasta: seafood medley,
fettucini w/ a basil-tomato sauce and creamy Italian cheese,
great garlic bread, local wine (Delicata Green Label),
and local beer (Farson)

The Dragon - Marsalforn, Gozo, Malta

There weren't many restaurants to choose from in Marsalforn.  So, much to our surprise, the one we settled on was very good.  We were glad we happened to be in the mood for Chinese food at that particular moment.  And they had these great heated trays that they brought to the table and set the dishes of food on to keep them warm as we ate our dinner.

We had:

spring rolls, special fried rice, battered shrimp in Guon Bau sauce, local beer (Cisk), and one of the yummiest desserts of our entire trip: strawberry millefoglie(sp?), along with espresso and tea.  We also enjoyed some of the best service of our trip as well.

The River Bar - London, England

While in London, I wanted to eat fish and chips - and Kumiko had never had them, at least not "proper" fish and chips.  The problem was, we usually got hungry for lunch rather late by European standards - so most pubs and restaurants had stopped serving until the evening meal.  We finally found The River Bar and, as it turned out, they had great fish and chips - and a very friendly waitress with the same last name as me.

We had:

fish and chips (duh!) and beer

Barbie at Coogee Beach - Sydney, Australia

My dorm-mates at Wake-up hostel, Caroline, Olivia, Alyssa, Dave, Steve, and myself spent one beautiful sunny day at Bondi Beach near Sydney.  In the late afternoon, when we were all starving, we walked from Bondi to Coogee Beach - which took more than two hours.  Another friend of the guys, also named Steve, had been waiting since 4:30 - we arrived at 7:00.  Then we had to go shopping - not an easy task with such a large group.

Me, Caroline, Alyssa, Olivia, Steve, Dave

Finally, with all our assorted "barbie" food and accessories in hand, we made our way to the grills near the beach (provided at no charge, I might add).  While the food grilled, we drank, chatted, took photos and videos, and generally had a great time.  By the time the food was ready, the sun had set and a beautiful moon had risen in the clear night sky.  We finally sat down to an equally great meal.  It was a magical day.

We had:

grilled chicken fillets, spicy chicken and pork kebabs,
three kinds of sausages, potatoes, salad, bread,
chips, and various beverages

Tang-ka Restaurant - Phuket, Thailand

Most of my friends (and fellow-teachers) from the school I attended in Phuket went to this restaurant high up on a hill overlooking Phuket Town to celebrate my birthday.  The view was spectacular, especially at night, the food was excellent, and the company was, er, uh... did I mention the food was great?

I had:

grilled chicken kebabs (with a wonderfully spicy peanut sauce), split something equally tasty with Tina (the sexy Filipina to my right), washed it down with a coconut shake, and at the end of it all, was presented with a huge bowl of ice-cream in assorted flavors, topped with candles in honor of my birthday.

Another Happy Doug photo!

SOS Restaurant - Göreme, Turkey

My two good friends from Korea and I went to this place to try their specialty - chicken in pottery.  Here's how it works: they cook the chicken (with a mildly spicy sauce) in a small ceramic pot shaped more like a bottle (with a narrow neck).  They bring it to your table still in the pot so, to get to your food, you tap around it with a hammer to break it open.  The trick is to tap it just right so that it breaks along an indention around the middle, leaving you with a perfect bowl to eat from.  In practice, however, it doesn't usually work out that way.  At our table, Sujin did the best (see photo) though still not perfect.  We did get to see a man at another table produce not one, but TWO, perfect specimens.  He was rewarded with a big round of applause from all patrons.

The Happy Camel - Dahab, Egypt

All the meals I had at this place were great - which included breakfast almost everyday during my two visits to Dahab.  But afternoons would usually find me lounging on the plush, comfortable cushions drinking yet another ice-cold mango concoction, as I'm doing here with my new-found friend from Spain...

Fairview Park - Melbourne, Australia

Funny how most of my memorable meals in Australia seem to be when I cook out on the barbie.  This time it was with Pao and some of her friends from Laos.  After we ate, I taught them how to juggle and how to hurt themselves with poi.

Phung, Tou, Tui, Wat, Pao

We had:

sausage (four different kinds), steaks, burgers, salad, and various other snacks and drinks.