Savoring Travel Through Food

I Wein
4 min readMar 22, 2022

“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”

- Anthony Bourdain

Hello, my name is Isaac and I’m a fat-ass. I’m the type of eater that asks for bread to scoop up the extra sauce on my plate.

I’ve been wanting to write again, so why not write about my most anticipated daily activity…eating.

People reveal a lot about themselves based on their love and appreciation for food. One’s approach towards food is a great measurement of happiness. Trying new dishes in different countries has strengthened my gratitude towards food while teaching a few life lessons.


I love food because it reinforces moments of my travels. Unique eating experiences create an association with certain smells, tastes, locations, and people.

Eating and experiences. They go together, yet are both temporary. They fade away into memories until new ones are created. I’m selective about where I eat because I want to create an everlasting memory.

While traveling, food may determine how much I like a city or town. Some dishes are so delicious, they’ve caused me to spend extended periods of time in places. Such as in Cao Bang, the little Northern Vietnamese town where I ate Co Lan’s Banh Cuon every day. Or in Oaxaca, Mexico where I obsessed over Doña Vale’s Memelas and her special salsa.

Eating Banh Cuon at Co Lan’s food stall in Cao Bang. I ate here every day for 2 weeks.
Doña Vale’s Memelas in Oaxaca. She said I have nice eyes haha!

Proof of Work

Through eating, I learn lots about a location and culture. Such as regional foods harvested, cooking styles, or even manners at the table.

My appreciation for meals is amplified by realizing the process of getting food on my plate. Think about all tinkering done to perfect a family’s recipe. I get to be the beneficiary of cooking methods and ingredients used for hundreds of years. What a pleasure!

Outside of Da Nang, Vietnam. A farmer prepared me lemongrass chicken.
Eating Chontaduro in Cali, Colombia. Most Westerners don’t like them…
Eating Ramen in Hiroshima, Japan. I happened to stay with this family who has been running this ramen shop for over 50 years.


If we are talking memories, what better way to eat than to eat with great company. Having locals take me to restaurants I wouldn’t have discovered changes my entire outlook on a place.

I love connecting with locals by telling them how delicious their food is. Nothing makes someone feel better than telling them how happy their food made you. We all speak different languages but when I “mmmmmm” after a bite, the understanding is universal.

Chilling with the Hmong people in Northern Vietnam.
Eating fried snapper with new friends at the beaches of La Guajira, Colombia
Endless food during Tet holiday celebrations in Phan Rang, Vietnam.
More celebrations in Cao Bang.

Parting rules to live by…

  • Try not to say no to anything. Being a picky eater makes you miss out on things you never realized. It’s also a turnoff (for me).
  • “Can I have the cheeseburger without cheese or bread?” Yo…Stop altering a chef’s dish and eat it as intended.
  • Learn the word “delicious” in whatever language the area speaks. Connections get strengthened and the gratitude is reciprocal!
  • Be hungry before eating. Your taste buds are magnified when you’re hungry.
  • Stay away from touristy areas with promoters begging you to eat at their restaurant. If the food was so good, they wouldn’t be begging you to come in.
Latte art made for me in Higashi-Hiroshima. I felt the love!



I Wein

Professional hammock sitter who loves doing nothing in different places of the world.