Feasting with my eyes over Bizarre Foods

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Travel is good for the soul. We all know this, and when I get away I feel it more than ever. Though I’m yet to make it to my coveted destinations of Europe and South America, I have rigorously adventured throughout Asia – which has included munching my way across different countries and cities. 

Driven By Food airs Wednesdays at 8.30pm from 12 July – 23 August on Food Network, free-to-air Channel 33
Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations is available to catch up via the Food Network page on SBS On Demand.

After all, if we can’t experience it ourselves right now, a little eye candy inspiration (or foodspiration as I like to think of it) is definitely in order. For myself, it helps me find out about new places to visit, or dishes I need to try when I tick those cities and towns off my bucket list.

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Both Bizarre Foods and Driven by Food are hosted by Andrew Zimmern, a food advocate who has a dedicated screen following. We all tune in to watch him try local delicacies, learn about cooking customs and the stories behind international dishes that we have grown to love. 

Most travellers want to experience local favourites, whether it’s classic cheesecake in Philadelphia, authentic satay in Singapore or traditional falafel in Tel Aviv. But how many really know the origins of these iconic foods, how they are made and the right way to eat them? Destinations explored in the new season of Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations include Seattle, Honolulu, Louisville, Portugal, Sicily, Puerto Rico and Manila.

Whereas Driven by Food things are shaken up with Andrew discovering off the grid dives and insider only secret eats. With a different guide (the likes of a shikara driver in Kashmir, a gondolier in Venice, or a cabbie in the deep south) he gets to be part of a locals-only experience, discovering the uniqueness of every destination. Never staying in the back seat for long Andrew and his driver take viewers on an entertaining behind the scenes adventure, exploring food and culture form a whole new perspective.

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Thinking about my own travels, I know there’s a favourite dish from each – and often they’re not as well known as the others.

From Singapore’s Tian Tian chicken rice at Maxwell Hawker Centre (thank you for that tip from Anthony Bourdain’s shows) to cong you bing in Taipei, my mouth is just watering at the thought of travel feasting. I have my haunts, but I’m always ready to grow that list and try new things – especially at the recommendation of others. Word of mouth always means so much when it comes to food… and often that’s how I’ve stumbled across some of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten. 

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Peking duck on the riverfront in Hong Kong, sushi and ramen in Japan, bao and more. Yes travel is good for the soul, but so is food – and together they make a powerful duo.

And with my next holiday only weeks away (bring on Bali!) and Jeremy and I planning a trip either to parts of Europe or America next year, these shows are right up my alley. I’ll be taking note… and yes, probably drooling at the same time. 

Tune in to Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations on SBS Food Network 7-11 July and Driven by Food 12 July-23 August. 

Disclaimer: This is sponsored content by SBS Food Network.

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