Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Top 10 Eats of 2015

Another year is coming to a close and 2015 has been filled with some seriously epic adventures! I've travelled extensively on three continents and my year has been filled with more fun times than I can count. It's without a doubt been a life changing kinda year, I always feel that I grow as a person as each year rolls on by (that's the point right?!) but I don't think I've had a year that's changed my perspectives and outlooks more than this one in a very long time. Despite missing having a home base on occasions I'm still loving my new travel lifestyle, the excitement of exploring a new place is still one of my driving forces and I can't wait to keep adventuring next year. Having eaten around 80% of my meals at restaurants, cafes, food trucks and street stalls this year my top 10 list was the hardest I've ever compiled... How do you choose just 10 things when you've eaten so much amazing food? Well, you make lists, delete lists, trawl through your iPhoto library, contemplate booking flights back to Vietnam to eat more, remember that there's a whole lot of amazing vegan food in the world and then you sit the fuck down, start writing, and take a break once you're almost done because item number one on the list is only 15 minutes away and you need to eat it RIGHT NOW!

The food featured on the list is in the order in which I devoured them rather than ranking them from 1 - 10, that would've been too hard and also silly because on any given day I could be craving something different. Who am I to say that waffles are better than pierogis?! Putting this list together is always challenging but I love using it as a way to reflect on my experiences and adventures - whilst searching for food photos I'm reminded of fantastic hikes, time spent with friends and the many beautiful beaches I've been lucky enough to explore among other things. As always only new-to-me dishes make the list so I've ruthlessly discounted things like the The Del Ray from The Vegan Nom as well as Veganista's amazing ice creams, check out my Top Ten Eats of 2014 list for more awesome Austin eats as well as favourites from Brighton, New York, Tokyo and Kyoto.
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1 - Chocolate Banana Waffles from Veganerie in Bangkok


I visited Veganerie for the first time back in February and I've lost count of how many times I've returned.
The Chocolate Banana Waffle Plate is my go-to because it's the perfect food combo of chocolate with more chocolate on top. I usually triple chocolate it up with a scoop of chocolate ice cream but sometimes I branch out and go with something more adventurous like matcha. Whatever ice cream you pick will be excellent though so don't stress if you only have one chance! The whipped cream served with this dish is one of the dreamiest things I've ever eaten, it's like a puffy cloud of deliciousness and I could probably eat a whole bowlful.

Veganerie 4th Floor MercuryVille Mall, Chit Lom BTS, Bangkok, Thailand

2 - Green Thai Curry from the May Kaidee cooking class in Chiang Mai


As someone with an allergy to peppers I knew that travelling in Thailand was going to be a challenge. Chilli is a mainstay in Thai cooking so I went into my travels knowing that I'd have to skip the curries and papaya salads even when dining at vegan restaurants. I decided to e-mail May Kaidee on the off chance that they would be willing to modify a cooking class to be chilli free and I hit the jackpot. They were happy to switch things up and to use fresh green and red peppercorns instead of chillies meaning that I was able to try Massaman Curry, Green Papaya Salad, Tom Ya and Tom Kha soups alongside the flavourful, creamy, pumpkin filled Thai Green Curry which was, in my opinion, the star of the show. This was such a special experience and it was so great to be able to try dishes that I'd otherwise never have been able to eat.

May Kaidee 29/4 Chang Moi Kao Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand

3 - Mushroom Hot Pot from An Nhu Quan Chay in Hoi An


I fell in love with bubbling, steamy, cook-at-the-table hot pots as soon as I arrived in Vietnam and my love affair continued until the moment I left the country. The best of the best is to be found at An Nhu Quan Chay in Hoi An which is a place worth travelling to for a whole heap of other reasons - spoiler alert: It's freaking beautiful. This hot pot was filled to the brim with mushrooms, tomatoes, silken tofu, greens and herbs and served with a side of fermented tofu which is one of the best foods in the whole world ever.

An Nhu Quan Chay 516 Hai Bà Trung, Hoi An, Vietnam

4 - Bahn Mi from Chay Bahn Mi in Nha Trang


I'm pretty sure that this is the best sandwich in the world. I'm not being hyperbolic it's just really that good. The bread was perfectly light and crisp and the sandwich is spread with some kinda epic sauce before being stuffed with lettuce, crisp pickled veggies, fresh coriander, cucumber strips, sliced tomatoes and four kinds of mock meat / tofu. There was a wheaty faux pork, a wheaty faux chicken, some kinda baked soy loaf (I'd guess ham style) and the pièce de résistance, a handful of crispy sweet marinated sesame soy protein. This was my first ever banh mi experience and I'm pretty sure that it ruined all future sandwiches for me because I don't think it can get any better than this. Oh yeah and it costs 10,000 VND / .31p / 46¢. Street food at it's finest.

Chay Banh Mi Hung Vuong Street, Nha Trang, Vietnam

5 - Conenut from Sweet Ritual in Austin


Ice cream cone. Doughnut. Conenut. Genius! As soon as this appeared in my Instagram feed one morning I was making plans to meet Stephanie at Sweet Ritual to eat the hell outa it. I knew that you couldn't go wrong with soft serve topped with a doughnut topped with more soft serve but even I hadn't imagined that it'd be SO right. The doughnut was vanilla lavender and I topped the whole thing off with rainbow sprinkles. Yes it was messy to eat and yes it was totally worth it. Dessert perfection. 'Nuff said.

Sweet Ritual 4500 Duval Street, Austin, TX, USA

6 - Everything from Lagusta's Luscious in New Paltz / Online


I genuinely believe that you couldn't go wrong with anything from Lagusta's Luscious. Anywhere that puts so much care and effort into their chocolate making couldn't create something terrible if they tried and, if they did, they wouldn't actually sell it! I took advantage of my time staying at an Air B&B in Austin earlier this year to order some LL chocolates and I am 100% sure that it's the best chocolate in the world. If I was being forced to pick a favourite I'd choose the Peanut Caramel Bar but the Rosemary Sea Salt Truffles were like a dream come true and their S'mores bar made me wanna pack up and move to New Paltz. My #lifegoals for 2016 include visiting the mothership and trying the Yuzu Creams.

Lagusta's Luscious 25 North Front Street, New Paltz, NY, USA

7 - Pierogies from Glonojad in Krakow


Like with my Vietnamese banh mi adventure I'd never tried a pierogi before visiting Poland. I know!! Finding a vegan version was harder than I'd imagined but I hit the jackpot at Glonojad. The pierogis were stuffed with lentils and served with an appropriate trio of salads that included beetroot, carrot and raisin and cabbage. I enjoyed this as much for the experience as for the food itself and I'd recommend this dish to anyone with plans to check out Krakow in 2016.

Glonojad Plac Matejki 2, Krakow, Poland

8 - Bistek from Hotel Am Brilliantengrund in Vienna


I love it when you find exceptional vegan food in unexpected places. This hotel restaurant is situated in and around a courtyard in Vienna's 1070 district and specialises in Pinoy dishes. Almost everything on the menu can be veganised and I ordered the Bistek which utilises thinly cut seitan instead of animal protein in the veg option. The tender seitan is marinated in a soya citrus dressing and is perfectly complimented by the crisp fried onions and peppery rocket said that accompany it. I tried a few other dishes from the menu and whilst they were all delicious this was the stand out for me.

Hotel Am Brilliantengrund Bandgasse 4, Vienna, Austria

9 - The Vegano from Gelatoteca SuSo in Venice


Gelatoteca SuSo's veganised white with black cherry ice cream easily made the top ten list. No deliberating required. It's easily the fluffiest, creamiest ice cream I've ever eaten (vegan or not) and getting to partake in this traditional flavour from a traditional ice cream spot right in the centre of Venice was one of my favourite travel experiences to date.

Gelatoteca SuSo Calle De La Bissa 5453A, Venice, Italy 

10 - Wedding Day Dip from Chamkar in Siem Reap


If you're looking for something to sustain you during your Angkor explorations look no further than this dip. Made from creamy coconut, peanuts and mushrooms it's more than the sum of it's parts for sure. Served with perfectly soft French bread it's so delightful that I ordered it on numerous occasions during my short stay in the city and would happily buy and eat it by the jar.

Chamkar The Passage, Old Market, Siem Reap, Cambodia

And the honourable mention goes to... Alpro Creamoso Lemon Pie Yoghurt


How can yoghurt be this good? This is the perfect combo of tangy and creamy and I made sure that the van was stocked up with these as often as possible whilst road tripping around Europe this summer. Soy yoghurts were one of the cornerstones of my breakfast game back in the UK and have been something that I've missed a lot whilst travelling this year. I definitely made the most of easily accessible and delicious yoghurts this summer as anyone who follows me on Instagram can attest to!

My travels will soon be crossing into their second year and 2016 is going to be taking me to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and who knows where else after that... as I'm discovering even the super organised and planning obsessed can't possibly know where they'll want to be in July when it isn't even January yet.

25 comments:

  1. I can't tell you just how hungry, envious, and inspired you've made me in the space of 15 minutes. Wow, what a delicious journey! Hope 2016 is every bit as satisfying.

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    1. Yay! Glad to be providing some foodie travel inspiration. I suspect that 2016 will be an equally delicious year.

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  2. Loved reading this and wishing you all the best for your 2016 travels. You've even made me want to try that yoghurt and I'm not much of a yoghurt fan!

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    1. Thanks Caroline! I hope that I can get back to Manchester if I'm in the UK next summer.

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  3. Uhhhh. This post is SUPERB. It is glorious, but also maddening, because I am so happy for you and so sad for myself that I haven't eaten any of these things -- and that eating them would (in every case except Lagusta's!) require an intercontinental vacation! ha ha. I can't even get my hands on that damned Alpro yogurt over here. Oh well, I'll go hang out and eat some of the Lagusta's chocolates I recently ordered for myself and pout. :)

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    1. Awww, thank you Amey. You'll have to swing by Europe next summer so that I can take you on a yoghurt tour! Haha! Also, now I'm jealous that you have Lagusta's within reach!!

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  4. Omg, these all looks SO amazing! Those waffles look so amazing! So does everything else.

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    1. Everything was pretty amazing!! Narrowing my list down was tough this year.

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  5. I love your lists! I remember your 2014 list informed some of my Austin eating plans for this year!
    Of course, how can I be sure that the food is that good, unless I go there and try it myself? I can dream. :)

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    1. Oh yay! This is totally one of my favourite posts to put together and I'm glad my 2014 list helped you make some informed meal choices in Austin!

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  6. Oh my goodness. I am so jealous of the many amazing photos of unctuous banh mi. I need to go to Vietnam STAT!

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    1. OMG Yes! Go to Vietnam! I am 110% convinced that you would love it.

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  7. *Nha Trang ;) haha TWO Vietnamese dishes made it to the list teehee!

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  8. And it should be "Hai Ba Trung", not "Hai Ba Trunk" haha

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    1. Haha, god damn it spellcheck! And hell yeah two Vietnamese dishes made it onto the list, y'all have awesome food!

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  9. All looks fab, but yeah I'd pick the bahn mi sandwich if I had to choose, maybe followed by the donut cone thingy...

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  10. Wow, what a year you've had! so jealous of all the good eating in faraway places. :-) Best wishes for your 2016 travels!

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    1. Thank you! I'm excited to eat my way around Tokyo again in 2016!

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  11. I will be in Bangkok soon so guess what I will binge on :). Yes, of course it will be Chocolate Banana Waffles from Veganerie in Bangkok hihihi :) Thanks for a great recommendation!

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  12. Now that is an awesome eating year. If 2016 is even half as good, it's going to be pretty damn amazing. Pierogis for me please!

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  13. I want to travel around the world and eat all that food! I didn't know May Kaidee was in Chiang Mai. I thought the restaurant/class was only in Bangkok.

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    1. May Kaidee has a sister restaurant in Chiang Mai which is actually run by May Kaidee's sister!!

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