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Fantasy Chow trips?

I'm sure there's been a thread about this, but I found ones that were a little more specific (i.e. domestic trips, honeymoons, etc.). What's your fantasy trip? Cost, transportation, and other issues not at all withstanding and no special occasion necessary... if you could go anywhere you wanted solely for the food, where would you go?

I ask because of this conversation I had yesterday with my BF...

Told him that I'd love to take a trip to the south of France. Fly to Paris, stay a few days, rent a car, head south, and drive from town to town, munching on whatever was good. A leisurely vacation driving through lovely countryside dining on fabulous cheese, bread, wine, and a whole lot more. When I had my fill, I'd turn east and follow the Alps through Switzerland, Northern Italy, Bavaria, and end up in Munich, where I'd fly back to the States. Naturally, I'd eat my way through the Alps, too.

His response? "I'm sorry, sweetie, but that doesn't really appeal to me."

Guess I'm stuck fantasizing for now. Join me!

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  1. For me, it would have to be a visit to the Pajottenland region of Belgium, so I could observe the open-air fermentation process for true Lambic. And, so I could drink some, of course. :)

    My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: sirregular

      Not long ago, I learned that friends of a good friend were beer geeks. They talked about their beer trip through Europe and spent a lot of time sampling and studying the fermentation of true Lambic. I learned a lot from them and it sounded like an incredible trip!

    2. Street food in Bangkok. Check out this mouthwatering NYT article: http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/...

      1 Reply
      1. re: hungry100

        Yum! I was in Bangkok when I was around nine or so... too young to care about the food. I remember taking a boat ride through a floating market and seeing noodle vendors serve right out of their boats.

      2. After seeing Anthony Bourdain in Singapore I am dying to go!

        6 Replies
        1. re: charlottecooks

          I love me some laksa (soup noodle dish from Singapore and Malaysia) and I've managed to have some in LA. Asian supermarkets will sell the mixes and until I go back, it's the closest I'll get.


          1. re: geekyfoodie

            Oh, yes, I read Calvin Trillin's account of eating in Singapore in the most recent New Yorker Food Issue and I was ready to buy a plane ticket right then and there. Too bad about that whole money thing (or lack of it, I guess).

            Here's the link to abstract:


          2. re: charlottecooks

            Yes, food courts in Singapore sound amazing!

            Hong Kong sounds great.

            A road trip of fried chicken and BBQ places in the U.S. would be awesome.

            And I have been enamoured of the idea of travelling to different places to eat fresh fruit in season off the tree/plant. Ah the mangosteen...

            1. re: moh

              Hong Kong! The motherland! Ok, I immigrated here when I was two, but Cantonese food (whether in LA or in Hong Kong) means home.

              Bring your stomach and stamina. Like New York, Hong Kong has restaurants, food stalls, etc. on every corner and you really will have a ball going through it. My favorite places are the noodle stands where it's basically a counter, a table or two, and stools. The soup is hot, the purveyors surly, and the meal completely satisfying. The last time I was there, I had three meals before noon. My BF was not the happiest camper and cried uncle long before they were over.

              My parents have been saying LA's dim sum is on par with Hong Kong's nowadays (a viewpoint that I'm sure would bring on lots of debate), but they went to a place in Shenzhen (on the Hong Kong border with mainland China) where the dim sum was amazing and incredibly cheap.

              1. re: moh

                Hong Kong is amazing. I would definitely recommend visiting. A Chow's paradise.

              2. re: charlottecooks

                I've been TiVo-ing No Reservations and finally saw the Singapore episode. I can see what you mean!

                It's great that he started the episode with Hainanese chicken and rice. It's a specialty in my family and I grew up eating the stuff. It's true, indeed, that everyone has a passionate opinion about it.

              3. When my wife and I first started travelling, it was more about the destination than anything else. You know, old churches, museums, the scenery, etc. Over the years it has gotten to be more and more about the food. I mean, how many old churches can you see! We are now at the point where I would say the food experience comes first. Not that the destination itself is irrelevant; it isn't - but I spend much more time researching our food options than our museum options. This year we visited New Orleans for the first time. To me it is a great city to visit with much to see and do, but the food...

                We are spending two weeks in Italy this spring, eating our way down from Venice to Rome with plenty in between. Good luck to you in converting your BF into a foodgeek as well.

                2 Replies
                1. re: bnemes3343

                  Exactly! I totally agree... no matter where we go, I'm always on the lookout for good eats. We'll still do the sights, but the food is a very high priority.

                  Several friends have been to New Orleans in the past year and they're talking about all the fabulous meals they've had. With Southwest flying there, I think I'll have an opportunity to use a free ticket and fly down there. More money left for food!

                  I would love to tour Italy, too. I visited Rome and Florence for very short periods of time and had no time to sample anything. Do you plan on any cooking classes while you're there?

                  1. re: geekyfoodie

                    I would love to do a cooking vacation in Italy, but as with your BF, I would have to be on my own. My wife loves to eat as much as I do, but if I suggested she and/or I spend our vacation time in a kitchen she would leave me for sure. I know there are those types of vacations out there, but not in my future. I manage to squeeze in a recreational class or two every year at the ICE here in NY (We had Batali's Iron Chef sous chef (Ann) as an instructor one time - what a hoot!

                2. In general european, expecially the meditteranean food, is very tempting to me - we travel a lot around Europe and local food is as important as sightseeing to us. But over the last few summers we discovered middle eastern food and now all we want to do is visit these countries. Sad, that due to security issues we can't go everywhere, but we try to stick with semi-safe places like Egypt, Israel, Turkey and Morocco. Next summer I hope to go to Jordan and eat my way from Aqaba to Petra!

                  1. Viet Nam by bicycle (gotta burn those calories off somehow).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      REI offers a bike tour of Vietnam and I was very tempted to go. If you do visit, make sure you have a bowl of bun bo hue in Hue. I hear it's almost a religious experience, but then again, eating one's way through Vietnam is probably going to be a religious experience all around.

                    2. Just curious if anyone on this post is aware of any 'food' vacations (other than cooking)? Specifically Italy (we haven't planned our itinerary yet) where they literally go from place to place,city to city, sampling really good, authentic food? Sort of like a guided tour, but with the focus on great food. I know it's possible to do this on your own, with advice from sites like this one, but it's also easy to screw that up, so something more 'off the shelf' might be nice.

                      1. Definitely Greece. The cuisine is so fresh and local and delicious. And lots of variety among areas/ islands of Greece. I did a cooking class on the island of Kea the last time I was there. http://www.keartisanal.com/ They offer summer "internships" where they provide room and board in exchange for helping with cooking classes. TEMPTING!

                        I did organize a trip to Chile a few years ago with the express purpose of visiting as many vineyards as possible. Highly recommended.

                        I totally agree with food vs. sites when traveling. I think I've seen enough Gothic churches to last a lifetime. And I'm good with Caravaggio and Rubens. I always describe my vacations as "stuff I did between eating." I'm heading to Austria and Hungary this September, and I'm researching food first, sites second.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jennywinker

                          Haha! "stuff I did between eating" - perfect description! Indeed, one had to find a way to pass the time while digesting one's last meal! I am loving this thread!

                          I also agree heartily that biking and travelling/eating is the way to go! So much easier to increase your intake! We once biked from Montreal to the Auberge Hatley (sadly now defunct, that place was incredible) in North Hatley. Took us 3 days on the bike path (we're eaters, not athletes). We biked for 7 hours on the final day, getting lost on the trails in Mount Orford (yup: lots of uphill). When we finally got to the auberge in time for our dinner reservation, we were famished. We got the 5 course tasting menu, added on a fois gras option, added a cheese plate, and ate a crazy number of buns, and had to request more butter. At the end, we looked at each other and said "I could eat more." Guilt free eating and travelling! I love it!

                          1. re: moh

                            Oh I miss Hatley. I did my undergrad at Bishops and a friend's folks own(ed) Le Coeur D'Or. I've travelled the number 10 a lot, I am not a bit surprised you could eat with abandon once you got to North Hatley that was indeed a lot of hill climbing.

                            Thanks for sharing :)

                        2. I always wanted to provide a fantasy chow trip. In the Mekong Delta, one of the most fantastic water worlds on the plantet, boat builders make huge, beautiful hand made wooden boats. I would get one, fit it out with amenities and a Honda motor. Four days and three nights cruising the delta, eating everywhere while familiarizing people with the Delta region, rice-based agriculture, food production and consumption, and local life and customs.

                          1. Finland's been taking a bit of a beating (and defending) on another thread, so I'm going to pop up here and say a Midsummer sojourn in Finland would be my ultimate eating vacation. The berries, the remarkable fish, the delicious sausages, the even more remarkable and delicious rye breads, the quality of the dairy, and the delectability of the cloudberry liquers. Oh, and the mushrooms! Mix all that with a sun that barely dips below the horizon, then rises again for yet more feasting. Enjoy spcetacular nature all day, foraging. Take a sauna, dip in the lake, eat some more wonderfully indigenous food, then drift into a happy coma until the next meal. Perfection for me. Miss it every Midsummer.


                            1. The only places I have currently on my list for Chowtrips are New Orleans, & Hong Kong

                              1. I want your fantasy food trip, geekyfoody! Only change the details of the Germany portion of the trip so that instead of focusing on food, it focuses on wine-tasting in Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region, and add a stint in Belgium involving copious amounts of chocolate. The France part of the fantasy is perfect as is. :)

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Nicole

                                  How can I possibly forget chocolate? There's lots of reasons to detour to Belgium, but chocolate's the best of all. Speaking of chocolate, I've always wanted to visit Bariloche, Argentina, which is famed for its chocolate. Argentine wine, chocolate, and steak. Can't go wrong there.

                                  1. re: geekyfoodie

                                    We actually ate a lot of delicious chocolate, bread, and cheese when we visited western Europe...basically because that was all we could afford to eat! My chow-dream is to return to those places and eat in actual restaurants. But the wonderful thing about Europe is that you can eat quite well on a budget...delicious bread and cheese is inexpensive, and while chocolate is more pricey you get a lot of satisfaction out of a little...the money goes far. Well, this was before the dollar got so low...maybe not anymore.

                                    Your Argentina idea sounds wonderful, too!

                                    1. re: Nicole

                                      Like Nicole, I agree one can travel around Western Europe and eat very well on a budget. The AOC butter is so good in France, I remember having several wonderful breakfasts of baguette and butter and nothing else. Yet I was satisfied because it was sooo delicious. Still, a nice restaurant once in a while is very pleasant.

                                2. Provence in France. Tuscany in Italy (only went to Tuscany briefly and it was amazing.) Both for wine and food tasting. Italy and Greece to me are both Chowhounders nirvanas for the freshness of ingredients, the wonderful olive oils and the endless tavernas and cafes where you can dine in the sunshine. I loved both. Also, I loved places like Hong Kong, for the wonderful array of cuisines, and just the beautiful city scenes, especially at night. I would also like to visit Turkey. The whole 'east meets west' thing really appeals to me.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: FoodieKat

                                    I would like to be teleported--teleported, mind you--to the center of either Chengdu or Chongqing in Sichuan, stuff my face for a couple of days, and then get zapped the hell out before the air pollution began to get to me in a debilitating way. On second thought, if it were only one day I wouldn't have to pay for a hotel.

                                    1. re: Barry Foy

                                      I've never been to Sichuan Province, unfortunately, but from my experience the pollution in the big cities (Beijing, Xian, Guangzhou and Hong Kong respectively) the pollution didn't bother me too much. It was so worth it for the experience, not just of the chow, but of everything.

                                  2. I would go to Singapore and take cooking lessons and gain 20 lbs by eating 5000 calories per day on all the of different local cuisines. Especially the Chinese. Mmmmh.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: luckyfatima

                                      Lol, that definitely sounds like my kind of trip. One of the things I was most excited about from spending three weeks in Asia was the prospect of eating noodles every day (my favorite food, hands down). :-0

                                      1. re: piccola

                                        That sounds wonderful. I'm so there!

                                      2. San Sebastian, Spain and going to tapas bars until I'm broke.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Captainspirou

                                          take me with you! I need jamon iberico bad....

                                          1. re: Captainspirou

                                            Same here, I've got to go back! Was there for four glorious days a few months ago.

                                            Waiting out a food coma on that beach isn't too bad either.

                                          2. "...His response? "I'm sorry, sweetie, but that doesn't really appeal to me."

                                            wow! talk about a raining on someone's parade!

                                            Still, it's sometimes better to travel and eat alone than to do so with someone who's not into it.

                                            Taiwan is the only place on earth I know that puts the address and names of little eateries on their subway map. My last visit there was only 3 days, (after a 20 year absence from there) and that was when I told myself that the next time I come back, I will eat my way through all the different subway lines.....

                                            1. I'd love to go to Greece...eat my way around. Stay in a hotel near the sea..yep.

                                              It would be Greece.

                                              1. Hong Kong - Hainan Island - Shanghai - Beijing - Singapur - Saigon - Canh Thu - Hue - Hanoi - Vientiane - Chiang Mai- Bangkok - Jakarta - Padang - Rangoon - Mandalay - Calcutta - Cuttack - Delhi - Lahore -