Personal Stuff

5 Reasons Why You Should Eat at McDonald’s in Every Country

by Drew on November 25, 2014 33 comments

Hi, my name is Drew and I Love McDonald’s.

I bet that many of you read the title of this post and think that I am crazy.  

Especially coming from a guy like me, who obsesses with eating the most local and authentic cuisines around the world.  Why on earth would anyone want to eat at McDonald’s when traveling?

But please just wait and see what I have to say, and then maybe you’ll consider my humble opinions. 

Before I dive into this post, let’s first discuss how big of an impact that McDonald’s has on the world.  As of right now (March 2015), there are over 33,200 locations in 119 countries.   The United States is home to about half of all the restaurants in the world.

Here are some more fun facts about McDonald’s:
– They sell over 75 hamburgers every SECOND worldwide
– Its $24 Billion revenue makes it the 90th largest economy in the world
– McDonald’s serves about 1% of the world’s population everyday
– For the next 3 years, McDonald’s is going to open up a new restaurant in China every day
– McDonald’s delivers in 18 countries!

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As you probably already know, McDonald’s is notorious for serving greasy and unhealthy food in the U.S.A., which is the reason why so many people are turned off by it.   But the reality is that most McDonald’s restaurants around the world don’t have such a greasy menu.  As a matter of fact, McDonald’s is considered as a fancy restaurant in some countries, with luxurious interior decorations.  

How do I know all of this?  

I’ve eaten at McDonald’s in 24 countries since 2012.   

Unless you normally travel to countries like North Korea or Palau, then it’s pretty much impossible not to recognize the golden arches when you are traveling.  In fact, The Golden Arches are the most recognized symbol in the world.

Also, if you’re a traveler, backpacker, or digital nomad, then you’ll probably know that most McDonald’s offers FREE Wifi inside!

The following 5 reasons will explain why you should dine at a McDonald’s, wherever in the world you may be:

*Disclaimer: if you only have 48 hours or less in any destination, then you should probably enjoy the local foods as much as possible (i.e. don’t eat McDonald’s.) However, if you have more than a few days, then you can travel McHappy style.  

1) Different Menu Options

This is the #1 reason that draws me into McDonald’s every time I am on the road.  I am always curious to see what they put on their menu!

Different regions of the world have their own local specialties dishes on the menu.  In addition, some places just have wacky and unheard of food items that will make you laugh when you read them. 

In a way, I can learn something about which dishes a specific country takes the “most pride in,” because they’ve put it on the McDonald’s Menu!

Some of my favorite (and most bizarre) McDonald’s dishes around the world are:
–       BubbleGum Squash McFlurry- Australia and New Zealand
–       McShrimp- Russia
–       McRice Burger- Singapore
–       McSpaghetti- Philippines
–       McFalafel- Israel
–       Bulgogi Burger – Korea
–       Samurai Pork Burger- Thailand

Click this link to read some more of the crazy food options that you can order at McDonald’s around the world!

2) The “Experience” of eating at a Foreign McDonald’s

Every time I step into a McDonald’s in a foreign country, it’s a different cultural experience.

As I previously mentioned, some countries really think that McDonald’s is a fancy restaurant.  For example, at my current home in Korea, many Koreans do not think of McDonald’s as fast-food option, but rather a sit down restaurant with their family.

The interior design and decorations always vary from country to country.  It is interesting to see which McDonald’s has the newest technology (TV’s, ordering systems, etc.), as opposed to which locations have been left untouched since the 80s.

And people watching is the best! Sometimes, I walk into the McDonald’s near my house in Korea, just to watch all the Koreans obsess over eating McDonald’s.  It is so funny.

I’m sure you noticed this picture already, but Koreans really do love their french fries…

3) Sometimes, it’s the Cheapest Option 

Dining at McDonald’s has probably saved me hundreds of dollars over the years. Specifically, in extremely expensive countries like NorwaySwitzerland, Finland and Denmark.

When I went to these countries, a local meal at a restaurant is upwards of $20USD, so I just resorted to a McDonald’s to fulfill my hunger.   I don’t want you to think that I do this all the time, but just on the occasions where I have eaten the local foods for 6 consecutive meals and I want a change!

Some form of the dollar menu exists in almost every McDonald’s that I’ve been in.  For about $5USD, you can pretty much get a meal that will fill up your stomach.  And better yet, you can try a local specialty dish!

4) Awesome Delivery Service

Wake up world, McDonald’s delivers.

Yep, that’s right.  In 18 Asian countries, you can pick up the phone, dial a number, and have a Big Mac and fries delivered to your door within minutes.

Some of the countries with top-notch delivery service include Egypt, India, Japan, China and my home country of Korea

I am telling you that I see McDonald’s delivery guys EVERY DAY on the streets in my neighborhood.  They drive a little scooter around with the McDonald’s logo on the back and they are out and about all day long. I’ve also seen a McDonald’s delivery van (for big orders) and delivery bicycles (for smaller orders).   They have the whole system down to a science.

It’s hilarious whenever I go into a McDonald’s, to see the delivery guy working his ass off in the back of the store.  Scramming to get burgers and fries to loud up his little scooter and hit the road.  And their little fancy decorated helmets are priceless!

In Malaysia, McDonald’s has a 24 hour delivery service.  Watch this television advertisement to see what I am talking about.

Can you even imagine if the U.S.A. adopted this delivery service?  We would have even more of an overweight problem…

5) A Nice Change of Pace

Let’s be honest, it’s just nice to have a change of pace from all the local foods that you eat on the road.  

Just like you see below, at McDonald’s in India, they don’t serve meat (I went vegetarian in India due to the poor quality of meat).

In Istanbul, I got pretty sick of eating Kebabs everyday and I wanted a change.  So, I ordered a nice Quarter Pounder with cheese and it hit the spot.   In Korea, I frequently get sick of eating Korean food 24/7 and I crave some greasy French fries.  From time to time, you just gotta do it!

Sometimes, you just need that change of pace that will boost your level of happiness for the day.  McDonald’s is the answer 🙂

Which specialty dishes have I eaten at McDonald’s around the world?

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My Jr. Nacho Cheeseburger in Helsinki

* This is the list of the meals that I can remember.  I forgot what I ordered in many other places…

– Samurai Pork Burger- Bangkok, Thailand
– McSpaghetti- Cebu, Philippines
– McFalafel- Jerusalem, Israel
– Jr. Nacho Cheeseburger- Helsinki, Finland
– Veg McPuff – Mumbai, India
– Fried Cheese Sandwich- Prague, Czech Republic
– McArabia Chicken- Dubai, UAE
– Durian Crunch McFlurry- Singapore, Singapore
– Wild Shrimp Burger- Seoul, Korea

… But my undisputed all-time favorite is (drum roll….)

-A Quarter Pounder with Cheese in the USA.  I’ve eaten it too many times… (ewwww)

I’m lovin it.

What is your favorite McDonald’s dish around the world?

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Drew5 Reasons Why You Should Eat at McDonald’s in Every Country

My Trips

by Drew on July 4, 2014 7 comments

 

Countries Visited (73)

North America: USA, Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, Haiti, Virgin Islands

Central America: Costa Rica, Nicaragua

Europe: Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Vatican City, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine

Middle East: Israel, United Arab Emirates

Asia: Japan, China, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea, *North Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, Taiwan, India, Myanmar

Australia: Just Sydney 🙂

Africa: Egypt

**Other Notes**
– layover in Kiev, Ukraine
– layover in Riga, Latvia
– layover in Reykjavik, Iceland
– layover in Doha, Qatar
– Stepped over the border into North Korea at the DMZ

U.S. States Visited (45)

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois,
Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota,
Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New, Mexico, New York,
North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia,
Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Places I’ve Lived

USA: Dallas, Texas – Las Vegas, Nevada – Scottsdale, Arizona – Madison Wisconsin

Europe: Prague, Czech Republic

Asia: Seoul, South Korea

All of My Trips

In this next part, I will lay out all the trips that I have taken in a timeline.

My 2 qualifications for what I consider a “trip” are:
– It must have been at least 14 days long
– I must have visited at least 10 new destinations

May 2009- Road Trip from AZ to Canada

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 10.12.44 AMThis was the trip that really kicked everything off for me.

The day after I graduated from high school, my best friend Shon and I got in a car and drove across the USA.  We started from our home in Phoenix, Arizona and only destination that we had in mind was Vancouver, Canada.  We just packed up my mom’s Honda Pilot and went off!  (Thanks mom for letting us use your car 🙂

The trip was 14 days and we went to all of these places (in order)
– Phoenix, Arizona
– Las Vegas, Nevada
– Salt Lake City, Utah
– Idaho Falls, Idaho
– Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
– Helena, Montana
– Calgary, Albetra, Canada
– Banff National Forest, Canada
– Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada,
– Seattle, Washington
– Portland & Sisters, Oregon
– San Francisco, California
– Los Angeles, California

In total, we hit up over 9 new U.S. states,  2 provinces in Canada and over 20 cities.  I wish I could go back in time and do this trip again!

January 2010- 16 Day trip around Israel

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 10.17.10 AMMy freshman year at the University of Wisconsin, I went on a program called “Birthright.”  In a nutshell, Birthright gives all Jewish people an opportunity to travel to Israel on a group tour… FOR FREE.  Yes, it was completely free.  I didn’t pay a penny for anything (food, transportation, accommodation).

This was my first ever flight overseas, and I loved everything about it. The trip is organized on a tight schedule, where they take your group (about 40 people) on a bus all over the entire country of Israel.

I got to see nearly every notable city in Israel   It was a very eye opening experience, and I learned a lot about the history of Israel and the Jewish people.

I also met some of my best friends on this trip that I still keep in touch with to this day!  I am itching to get back to Israel someday soon.

April 2012- Spring Break in Europe

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 10.19.36 AMThis was during my study abroad semester in Prague.  A few friends and I went on a crazy 10 day adventure around Eastern Europe.  To date, this is still the most insane, quick moving, party hard, sleep deprived, insane trip that I’ve ever taken.  I have lots of good stories from this trip…

We started in Prague and then:
– Took a train to Munich
– Flew to Belgrade (Check out this bizarre story in the Belgrade Airport)
– Flew to Tivat, Montenegro
– Took a taxi to Dubrovnik, Croatia
– Took a bus to Mostar, Bosnia
– Got stranded on the border of Bosnia & Croatia, so we hitchhiked to Sarajevo.  This is my best travel story.. check it out here!..
– Took a bus from Sarajevo to Split, Croatia
– Flew to Prague

I can’t even tell you how much fun I had during these 10 days.  It was absolutely insane, and I will never forget this one.

May 2012- 4 Week Europe Backpacking Trip

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 10.22.16 AMWhen my semester abroad finished, 2 friends and I took a 4-week backpacking trip throughout Europe and the Middle East.

We began in Prague and then:
– Flew to Dubai, UAE
– Flew to Istanbul. Turkey
– Flew to Athens, Greece
– Took ferries to Santorini, Naxos and Mykonos-
– Flew to Lisbon, Portugal
– Took a train to Lagos, Portugal
– Flew to Barcelona, Spain
– Took a train to Nice and Southern France
– Took a train to Interlaken, Switzerland– where I went bungee jumping from 150 meters high!
– Took a train to Milan, Italy
– Took a train to Venice, Italy- Find out why I hated Venice
– Flew back to Prague

NOW THE TRAVEL BUG WAS REALLY WITH ME!

January 2013- Costa Rica/Nicaragua

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 10.23.56 AMWinter Vacation during senior year of University, my friend Shon (the same one from the road trip to Canada) and I went on a 2 week trip throughout Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

We decided to rent a car and drive everywhere ourselves.  This was the best decision ever!  We had SO much freedom and we had the option to do anything on our own clock.  We drove around most of the country. If you are going to Costa Rica, then I highly recommend renting a car.  It’s very affordable and totally worth it.

This trip was filled with all sorts of outdoorsy activities like Kayaking,  zip lining, hiking and more.  It was awesome and I can’t wait to go back there someday soon!

April 2013- Spring Break trip Thru the South

For spring break vacation, my college roommate and I decided to take an epic road through the Southern States of the USA.

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 10.25.25 AMWe started the trip in Madison, Wisconsin and went to:

– Chicago, Illinois
– Memphis, Tennessee
– Some random city, Arkansas
– Starkville, Mississippi
– Gulf Shores & Montgomery, Alabama
– Atlanta, Georgia
– Greenville, South Carolina
– Charlotte, North Carolina
– Random city, Virginia
– Charleston, West Virginia
– Dayton, Ohio
– Indianapolis, Indiana

We visited college friends in almost every main city along the way.  We literally partied every single night in a different Southern city and ate the BEST food ever.  It was one hell of a trip!

June 2013- Scandinavian Tour

So, I graduated from University and can you guess what I decided to do with my money that was given to me?  Take a trip!

My old roommate from studying abroad in Prague, who is one of my best friends, and I took a trip all throughout Scandinavia.

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 10.26.46 AMFirst, I flew to New York to visit his home and see some friends on the East Coast.  And then from New York, we:

– Flew to Copenhagen, Denmark- where I discovered the magical wonders of Christiania
– Took a train to Malmo, Sweden
– Flew to Bergen, Norway
– Flew to Stockholm, Sweden
– Flew to Helsinki, Finland
– Took a boat to Tallinn, Estonia
– Flew to Prague (I had to visit my favorite city again!)
– Flew to Warsaw, Poland
– Flew back home to the USA

Although not so budget-friendly, Scandinavian is one of the most beautiful regions on our planet.  This trip was more fun that I imagined, and I have lots of good memories.  We partied nearly every night, ate amazing food, met some great people and didn’t sleep.

It is absolutely worth taking a trip out there when you get a chance!

Jan 2014- SouthEast Asia: Part 1

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 10.29.16 AMAt this point, I have been living and teaching English in Korea for about 5 months.  My school gave me a rally generous summer vacation, and I had more or less 5-6 weeks to travel (paid vacation ;)).

So, I traveled with one friend and from Seoul, we went to:
Cebu, Philippines
– 3 other islands in the Philippines – where I had the craziest travel day of my life
– Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Singapore, Singapore
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sri Lanka– we toured around the entire country!

That was my first taste of SouthEast Asia and I instantly fell in love with the culture and people.  I did so many awesome things during this trip that I was just itching to get back to SouthEast Asia.

and that’s exactly what I did… 2 weeks later.

Feb-March 2014- SouthEast Asia: Part 2

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 10.30.07 AM2 weeks after I came home, I went back to SouthEast Asia. This time, I went with my 2 good friends from University.

We started again in Seoul and went to:
– Koh Panghan, Thailand – Where I went to the Full Moon Party (AKA Craziest party in the world)
Koh Samui, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
– Beijing, China – Where we had the most epic 24 hour layover!

Those 5-6 weeks that I was traveling around SouthEast Asia are unforgettable.  Check out my blog post entitled “5 things I learned from backpacking around SouthEast Asia.”

August 2014- Taipei, Bali & Sydney

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 1.36.31 PMI had a 3 week summer vacation in August, so I decided to go to Taipei, Bali and Sydney.  Although I traveled alone, I visited friends in each place that I went.  It was one of the best trips of my life!

I spent the first 5 days in Taipei, visiting two college friends who are teaching English there.  They let me sleep at their house and they gave me an awesome tour of Taipei.  It’s such a cool city!

Then, I flew down to Bali to meet my other 2 friends.  We did lots of nature stuff, and partied a lot during the 6 days that I was there.  Bali is probably my favorite place in Asia- I can’t wait to go back!

Lastly, I spent the last week or so in Sydney.  I visited my 2 high school friends who are living down there.  It was absolutely incredible (but so expensive).  I wish to go back soon!

January 2015 – Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar was always on my radar after talking to so many people who had recently been.  The country had recently opened up it’s doors to tourism, so the country wasn’t mass publicized or mainstream (yet).

I went to Burma for 2 weeks on my first solo trip, and it was one of the best trips of my life.  The culture is virtually untouched, authentic and real (there were no McDonald’s or Coca Cola).  The people were so friendly and welcoming.  And the food was so good — a mixture of Indian and Thai.   Myanmar, at the time that I went, was very affordable and not touristy, but this is going to change rapidly in the coming years as tourism is bound to explode.

I visited 3 places — Yangon, Bagan and Inle Lake.  If you want to read more about my experiences in Myanmar, then please check out this blog post.

March-May 2015 – India

After my teaching English job finished in Korea, I decided to go on an adventured of a lifetime.  I packed my 40 liter backpack, and booked a flight to India by myself.  I didn’t have any idea where I was going, where I was sleeping, or who I’d be meeting.  I just went.

Traveling in India was a challenge.  It throws you in situations that you never thought you’d be in your life.  It tests you to make choices.  It is a rollercoaster of both ups and downs, highs and lows.

But looking back, I can confidently say that I grew more from my trip in India than any previous trip I’d taken in my life.  As they say, “If you can travel India, you can travel anywhere in the world.”

For a complete look at my trip to India, please see this blog post.

July-Oct 2015 – Eurotrip

As I write this, I’m currently on a 3-month solo backpacking trip around Europe.  I am planning to visit every country in Europe that I haven’t been to yet, and along the way, attend music festivals, meet friends and have as much fun as possible.

Stay tuned for blog posts coming soon about my Eurotrip!

Next trip?

From October- February, I’m going back to Asia!

 

 

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DrewMy Trips

About Me

by Drew on June 17, 2014 63 comments

Hi There!

I’m Drew and I’m addicted to having fun.

My Background

I was born in Texas, raised in Arizona, and attended The University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Choosing to attend college at Wisconsin was the single best decision of my life, and I wouldn’t be anywhere on my journey today if I had picked any other school.  I received degrees in both economics and entrepreneurship in May of 2013.

In the Spring of 2012, I studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, when I unknowingly developed the travel bug.  During my semester abroad, I traveled to 20+ countries in Europe, including a 4-week backpacking trip after my program ended.  

Little did I know, that was just the beginning.

A few months after I graduated college, I made a risky move that none of my friends did —  I moved to Seoul, South Korea to teach English.

Living and teaching in Korea was a life-changing experience, and I recommend it to everyone (check out this guide to learn more).  By taking this teaching job at age 22, I neglected the corporate world and decided to carve a life path of my own.  

From day 1 when I moved to Seoul, I had the idea to start a travel blog to document all of my experiences.  I put all of my free time and energy into building up this blog, and it quickly turned into my full-time job.   My success from blogging has been a result of thousands of hours of hard work.  I simply never gave up.

On my blog, I generally write about my crazy adventures, nightlife guides and extensive city guides with a focus on one thing — having maximal fun around the world.

I also provide travel tips/advice, and I try to be an inspiration to others to get out there and see the world.  In a way, my blog is also a reflection of the things I’ve seen, learned, and experienced through traveling the world.

My teaching contract in Korea ended in February 2015, and since then, I have been traveling and blogging full-time.  I went to India for 2 months, then a 3 month Eurotrip and now I’m traveling around Asia until 2016.

To date, I have been to 74 Countries, 55 UNESCO Sites, 44 U.S. States and I can speak English, Korean, Spanish, Czech and Russian (in order of fluency).

Click here to get answers to my most common FAQs!

Getting to Know Me More…

My whole life is about sharing experiences, whether it be with a stranger or with my best friend.   I am obsessed with finding ways to have fun, no matter the circumstance.  And I just can’t sit still. 

I am an extrovert and an optimist, who is open-minded and thrives on stepping out of my comfort zone in everyday situations.   I am a people person, always looking to make new friends everywhere I go.  I’m also a city person, and I find it much more enjoyable to explore around a big city than spend time in the countryside (although I do like hiking and camping).  

As you probably noticed by my blog’s name, I really like to party and I make it a point to experience the nightlife in each new place I visit.   

I love listening and dancing to EDM.  I love raging in nightclubs until sunrise, and I enjoy attending music festivals around the world (I’ve been to over 20).  On any given Friday or Saturday night, you’ll probably find me in a night club somewhere around the world, or blasting EDM music with a beer in my hand and new faces around me. 

I’ve also been using Snapchat to host my own Travel TV (@drewbinsky), and I’ve been putting a lot of time and energy into building a global following.  Each snap I take is currently getting viewed by over 6,000 people around the world.

My hobbies include sports (I’m a hockey player turned into a golfer), staying physically fit, taking advantage of opportunities that come my way, and getting involved in as many activities as possible (I trained to be a black belt in Korea).  My friends in college used to call me Activities Man, because I couldn’t stop doing fun things.   

My (un)official trademarks when I travel are doing handstands (in 40+ countries) and eating at McDonald’s (in 32+ countries).

Handstands

It may sound like I live this crazy life to travel all over the world and do so many things.  But I am just a normal dude who took advantage of opportunities that came his way (teaching in Korea, starting a blog, etc….) I am NOT living the dream, and if you’re reading this, then you can do it too if you take advantage of all the opportunities around you.

Here are answers to the most common FAQs that I get

And Finally…

–> My #1 goal is to inspire all of you to travel! <–

Traveling is so much easier than it may seem, and life is way too short to spend in one place. If you want more inspiration, then check out my 12 Favorite Inspirational Travel Quotes.

Have any questions or want to chat? Let’s connect! I love giving out travel advice and helping you make the most of your adventures.

The best way to get in touch is to visit my Contact Page, or find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Google+.  And the best way to follow my daily travels is on Snapchat (@drewbinsky) where I post live photos and videos!

Do you need some blogging or social media advice? Please see my Blogging and SM page.

Want to work with me?  I offer many services like writing product reviews, guest posts, and Social Media consulting.  I am also open to partnerships and sponsorships.  Please see my work with me page for more. 

Thanks for reading, and please leave aa comment below to say hello and introduce yourself!

Happy travels 🙂

Drew

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DrewAbout Me

12 Inspirational Travel Quotes

by Drew on May 20, 2014 11 comments

I have been writing down my favorite travel quotes for over a year now, and I have chosen my top 12 to share with you all.

Carefully give all of these a read, and let each message sink in to your brain.  These are the reasons why I will never stop traveling!

 

1. “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled.” – Mohammed

2. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

3. “The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” – G.K. Chesterton

4. “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

5. “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley

6. “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” – James Michener

7. “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

8. “I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.” –James Baldwin

9. “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends… The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

10. “People don’t take trips . . . trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

11. “Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aristotle

12. “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman

What is your favorite travel quote?

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Drew12 Inspirational Travel Quotes

Top 8 NightClubs Around the World

by Drew on April 6, 2014 2 comments

No matter which city I am in, I always seek to find the best nightclub around town.   That’s where all the real fun is at!

Sure, bar hopping around town and find the best local dive bars can be a great time!  But, to me, it’s all about dancing for 6 straight hours to my favorite EDM songs at the biggest nightclub in town.

I’ve been to over 50 different clubs in over 40 cities around the world (mostly Europe and Asia).  I will continue to rave and have fun until I physically can’t go anymore!

I’ll admit that I am slightly obsessed with EDM (electronic dance music), which definitely has turned me into a clubber.  I’ve been to countless EDM music festivals (EDC, Ultra, Bonnaroo, etc.) and they have been some of the best times of my life. However, the music scene is only a small piece to the puzzle for why I think clubbing is so epic.  It’s a combination of the people, the sexiness, the light shows, the production, the all-night partying, the energy, the good vibes that are the other contributing factors.

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve walked about of a club when it is already light outside in the morning, and just thought to myself “that was the best night of my life.”  Life just keeps getting better and better!

So, without further talk, here is my list of the Top 8 clubs that I’ve been to around the world (in order).  I have visited each of these clubs within the last 2 years.

*Note:  These clubs may have changed names, locations or even possibly shut down since I’ve been.  Additionally, this list will be added to on in the near future, as I continue to rage around the world!

1) Ellui (Seoul, Korea)

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 6.53.03 PMEllui is absolutely massive.  It’s not only the biggest club in Seoul, but it’s one of the largest in Asia.

This club recently opened up in 2011 and has dominated the clubbing scene as one of the major hotspots for electronic music lovers in Seoul.   Nearly every weekend features an international DJ or a top-notch Korean act that gets the people rowdy.   Ellui features multiple levels with dance floors that becomes crazier as the night progresses into early morning.  At some point during the night, the staff will stand on top of the bar and pour shots of vodka unto everyone’s mouth.

The high-energy crowd is mostly mid-20s to 30s and the vibe is cool-but-casual.  The dance floor has huge bouncing balls and the light show/blasting speaker combination is mesmerizing.

Ellui is so big that you can probably expect to get lost at some point into a sea of Koreans (not always a bad thing!)  Every time I go here, I constantly get shocked by how epic and amazing the people and production is around me.  I promise you that you’ll never want to leave Ellui from the second you walk in the door.  The last time I was there, I left the club at 6AM and it was still packed with people.

For more, check out my Ultimate Guide to Clubbing in Seoul!

2) Opium (Barcelona, Spain)

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 6.53.43 PMLocated directly on the beach, Opium has thousands of ravers that will stay out all night until the sun rises over the Mediterranean Sea.

This club is HUGE.  Inside, there are a many rooms with separate bars and a huge dance floor.  Outside, there is a swanky patio right on the beach, with big comfortable couches (shown in pic). The night I was there, there was an awesome house DJ’s playing some tunes and everyone in the club was dancing.  There is a good mix of locals and international people all forming a unique bond together at Opium, so it’s easy to make some new friends.  It was one of the most incredible nights of my life!

When people ask me what is the coolest/most awesome club I’ve been to in the world, my answer is always Club Opium.

To see what else Barcelona has to offer, check out my Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Barcelona.

3) Sasazu (Prague, Czech Republic)

Picture 3Sasazu is Prague’s newest and biggest club for partiers who like raves and house music.

Since its opening in 2009, Sasazu has held a wide range of international DJS’s and performers such as Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk, One Republic and Fedde Le Grand.  As one of the largest entertainment facilities in Prague, this club can hold up to an incredible 2500+ people.  I went to Sasazu about 5 times, ane every time, I met some awesome new people.

The interior is a giant room with a dance floor in the center, with bars surrounding every corner.  There is a sweet upper deck with many tables and a balcony overlooking the club, making it a perfect to take a break from dancing.  If I had to choose one club to go to on a Saturday night around the world, I would most definitely be Sasazu. The fun never ends here.

To learn more, read up on my Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Prague!

4) Space Electronic (Florence, Italy)

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 6.55.16 PMClub Space is your place for all-night dancing to your favorite EDM tunes until the night turns to morning.

This club has two main areas. Downstairs is a swanky lounge and bar area, where you can grab a drink and schmooze with your friends before the action goes down.  Upstairs is where the enormous dance floor with endless speakers and a DJ that gets the party going all night long.

Space Electronic gives off a ‘warehouse party vibe’ that is packed with young music lovers.  The crowd is a mix of locals and study abroad students, which makes it ideal for meeting people.  Dress to impress or else you won’t be let in the door.  I think that I was at Space for 6 hours the night I was there, and it felt like 30 minutes because I was having so much fun!

Check out my Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Florence.

5) Flex (Vienna, Austria)

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 6.55.58 PMFlex is the granddaddy of Vienna clubs and has been among the best nightclubs in Europe for years.

In the late 90s, Club Flex hosted many DJs of the newly introduced underground electronic music scene.  Nowadays, you will find themed events during the week and well-known international DJ’s playing awesome shows on the weekends.  As you can probably already assume, Club Flex is all about the music!  All kinds of techno, house, drum n’ bass, dubstep and trance can be heard here at the best sound system in Vienna.

The sound system consists of 4 large subwoofers underneath the stage for maximum bass output, 2 six-foot large speakers which hang parallel to each other, 6 more speakers on the stage, and another 12 speakers placed all around the club.  The crowd is a good mix of young locals and international kids all looking to have fun. If you only have one night in Vienna, then Club Flex is your place!

Read my Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Vienna for more!

6) Razzmatazz (Barcelona, Spain)

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 6.58.09 PMRazzmatazz is literally FIVE clubs in ONE!

Each floor has a different theme, each with it’s own DJ, dance floor and numerous bars.  You will find all different kinds of electronic music, from modern to 80s disco to electro-pop.  I would argue that if you only have one night in Barcelona, spend it at Razzmatazz.

When I was there, I remember constantly getting lost and stumbling into different rooms- and it was awesome!  This club seems to be the go-to for Barcelona’s young hipsters who are ready to party all night long.  You will absolutely have an incredible night that you will never forget (hopefully) at Razzmatazz.

Check out my Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Barcelona and learn about the other crazy clubs!

7) Studio (Budapest, Hungary) 

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 6.58.45 PMRumor has it that Studio is the 3rd biggest club in the world, but I highly doubt it’s a rumor because this place is gigantic.   On any given weekend, over 8,000 young partiers come through the dorrs of this 5-star club.

Located on the mini island of Sziget in the Danube River, Club Studio always hosts top-notch DJ’s spinnin’ on stage behind some professional dancers and acrobats swinging on trapezes (seriously).   When I was there, I saw topless professional dancers and acrobats swinging way up high up from side to side.  On the upper deck, there are balconies all around looking down at the enormous dance floor and entertainment.   The light show and production is some of the best I’ve seen, and is not worth missing.  Oh, and I forgot to mention the young and beautiful crowd that Club Studio attracts.  You have never seen so many attractive young adults until you’ve stepped foot into this magical Hungarian club.  Don’t miss out on the fun at Studio!

Learn more by reading my Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Budapest.

8) Octagon (Seoul, Korea)

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 7.02.21 PMOctagon is hands down my favorite club in Seoul.   It has everything you can possibly imagine a club to have and MORE!

The first floor spreads out from the DJ stage to the VIP tables and the bar in the back.   The upper level is only accessible for VIP tables, and there is a nice balcony that looks over the entire club.  The DJ stage is massive and it has one of the best LED TV monitors I’ve ever seen, with the lights and the sound both coordinating together.

Every time I go here, I literally feel like I am raging in the year 2020- it feels that futuristic.  There are frequently big-name international DJs that play here on weekends.  I have seen Laidback Luke, Deniz Koyu, and many of Korea’s biggest DJ’s perform shows at Otagon.  All of the music is EDM.  No matter which night you go, you will definitely hear all of your favorite electronic music tunes mixed together.  It is impossible not to dance and have fun!

Check out my Ultimate Guide to Clubbing in Seoul!

What are your favorites places to party the world?

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Top 7 Party Cities in the World

by Drew on April 1, 2014 9 comments

When I am traveling in a new territory, there’s nothing more satisfying than spending night out partying with the locals.

I want to fully explore the nightlife scene, make new local friends, dance all night at the best club in the city, and become best friends with the bartender in the coolest dive bar around town.  If I don’t already have a local friend to show me around the city, then I will make one so I don’t miss out on the best spots to party.  Essentially, I strive to get the full experience to see what a “night on the town” is all about.

This is one of the major reasons why I love to travel so much.

You might notice that my list of the best party cities are only cities in Europe and Asia, because that has been the extent of my travels so far.  I know that there are some awesome party cities in South America, Australia and South Africa, but those are still uncovered territory on my journey.  Eventually, I will make it there and i’ll be sure to share my experiences with you all!

You’ll also notice that my #1 and #2 cities are the two cities that I have lived in for a significant amount of time.  This is not a coincidence, or me being too biased (…maybe just slightly).  I truly think that these cities are the most fun to party in around the world, and I know the complete scenes in both places.  I guess I just got lucky where I decided to live!

The following is my list of the top 7 cities with the best all-around nightlife around the world (in order).  Please comment and share you thoughts and opinions with me!

1) Seoul, Korea

IMG_0702Seoul is insane.  I’ve been living here for 7 months and I’ve never seen or experienced anything on its level.

The first reason why Seoul is so crazy is the fact that Koreans all share a unifying cultural thread for drinking liquor. Boozing is more or less a national pastime in Korea.  On a daily basis, many Koreans heavily consume Soju, a traditional Korean rice liquor, that is the #1 most sold alcoholic beverage in the world (by a long shot).  Over 62 million cases are sold every single year.

The next thing to know about Koreans is that they love to dance to EDM (electronic dance music). The scene is so big here that many international DJs make their way to Seoul, as well as huge electronic music festivals like Sensation, Global Gathering and Ultra Korea. Almost all Koreans have this unique way of dancing, where they move their body up and down in a similar rhythmic dance move and bob their heads like a chicken. It’s amazing.

All venues-  bars and clubs-  around Seoul stay open until sunrise, and most people stay out all the way thru the night to eat some delicious late-night munchies.

There are 3 main areas for nightlife: Itaewon is the foreign district, Gangnam is the Vegas-style clubbing district, and Hongdae/Sinchon is the hipster, young college-student area with a bunch of cool bars.   Gangnam is by far my favorite area.  The clubs are on par (if not better) than any club I’ve been to in Las Vegas and around the world.

The fun just never ends in this city.  For more a list of the best clubs in town, visit my Ultimate Guide to Clubbing in Seoul.

2) Prague, Czech Republic

IMG_0739Prague is amazing.  I was fortunate enough to study abroad there during my college years (Spring of 2012), and I partied at least 5-6 nights every week.  I don’t even know how I survived.

The nightlife in Prague is young, lively and incredible.  It’s rapidly growing in popularity, as people are realizing how cheap and fun this city is.

The thing that sets the Czechs apart from the rest of the world is their love for drinking beer.  In fact, the Czech Republic consumes more beer per capita than any other place in the world.   You can get a liter of beer for $2-3USD, and the beer is locally made to perfection!  Beer is literally cheaper than water in this magical city.

Prague has it all.  Insane nightclubs, hundreds of pubs, underground cave bars, rooftop terraces, dive bars, and my favorite of them all, beer gardens.

There are several beer gardens located around the city, each one with long wooden tables, lots of rowdy people and an unlimited supply of beer.  In the summertime, beer gardens are best places to drink beer during the day.  My favorite beer garden is called Riegrovy Sady, which was just a few blocks away from my house (Namesti Miru station).  You need to check it out if the weather is nice!

There are at least a dozen big room, EDM dance clubs that stay open until the sun rises.  Prague is also home to the biggest club in Central Europe, the 5 story Karlovy Lazne club.  No matter which night of the week, people will be out drinking until 5AM. It’s just that crazy.

The underground dive bar scene is grungy and fabulous as well.  There are some excellent spots around town to have some beers with your friends before the night gets rowdy.

If you want to know the best bars and clubs in Prague, then read up on my Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Prague.

3) Barcelona, Spain

DSC03905This is the city that actually never sleeps.

The locals are known to take siestas or long naps after dinner, so the bars/clubs don’t get started until at least 1AM.  If you are going clubbing, it’s not even worth it to show up earlier than 1:30-2 because you will be out until sunrise!

The clubs in Barcelona are incredible, and arguably the best in the world.  Many of the top-notch clubs are lined up in one designated area on the same beach.  No matter which club you go to, it’s pretty awesome that you can stumble out onto the beach and watch the sunrise in the morning.  I’ve never experienced this in any other city other than Barcelona.

One thing to keep in mind is that you must dress to impress!  No hats, gym shoes, jeans, scrappy shirts, etc.  The bouncers will deny your entry in a second if you don’t look nice and/or if you are being obnoxious.

I hope you like techno music because that’s all they party to!  Chances are that a big name international DJ will be playing a show the weekend you are there 😀

To learn about the hottest clubs in town, check out my Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Barcelona.

4) Stockholm, Sweden

IMG_4314Stockholm- the city where dance music comes alive.

As you may or may not know, Stockholm is home to many of the world’s most famous house music DJ’s (Avicii, Alesso, Swedish House Mafia, etc.), so many of these DJs will play shows whenever they are home.   Everything is EDM, from the random coffee shops to the world-famous nightclubs.  It’s crazy awesome.

The clubs in Stockholm are enormous.   All of the best clubs are located in the Stureplan district, which is a big public square in Central Stockholm.  The only downside is that many of the big nightclubs in this district close at 3AM (with the exception of a few).

It is my obligation to say a thing or two about how attractive the crowd is in Stockholm City.  They are most beautiful people in the world, hands down. Tall, blonde, skinny, and stunningly gorgeous faces.  It doesn’t do any justice explaining it to you in words, but all I can say is that having the most beautiful people in the world makes the nightlife THAT much better.

The bouncers are also notoriously picky in Stockholm, so many sure to dress nice and don’t do anything stupid or you will be denied entry.  Try to make a local friend, or somehow get girls in your group, so you have a better chance to be let inside.

If you are in Stockholm during the summer months (like I was), then it will be light outside 24/7 because the city are so high in Latitude.  This is the best time of the year to party!

Check out my Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Stockholm for more!

5) Belgrade, Serbia

DSC02298The party scene in Belgrade caught be off guard.  It was shockingly incredible. Not only are Serbians the most attractive bunch in Eastern Europe, but they also really like to drink.

The clubs that I went to were absolutely insane.  The DJ was blasting house music, girls were half naked dancing on tables and pouring shots of vodka into people’s mouths.  Everyone was so attractive (like perfect 10s) and just loving life.

If you are in Belgrade during the summer, then you must party on the “club boats” that are literally floating on the river!  Yes, actual boats with a huge club inside and floating on the Danube River.  It makes Belgrade have one of the most unique nightlife scenes in the world.

There are also scattered bars throughout the city that are fun to pregame at (which are always a good time), but the clubbing scene is where all the fun is at in Belgrade.

Check my Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Belgrade to discover the best Summer and Winter clubs!

6) Berlin, Germany

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 3.42.41 PMWith the young and lively crowd, there’s no questions that Berlin is one of the most exciting places to party in Europe.

One thing that I realized about the scene in Berlin is that they stay out really late.  It’s not even worth it to show up to a club until after 1AM, and the peak hours are somewhere between 2-4AM.

Most of the clubs have cover charges, but it’s nothing too expensive (compared to Barcelona or London).

Beer has never tasted better than when I was in Berlin.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, drinks beer (not just in Berlin, but all over Germany).  It’s sort of like Germany’s pastime or something like that.  So, expect to drink a few liters of beer everyday.

There are three main districts for the nightlife, and they are:
– Mitte
– Prenzlauer Berg
– Friedrichshain

All three of them are fun and they are all located in the eastern part of the city.  You’ll find many hipster bars, double-decker bars and huge nightclubs.  Make a local friend and you can follow him around to the best spots in town!

Read my Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Berlin for more!

7) Bangkok, Thailand

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 3.43.24 PMThe nightlife in Bangkok is easily one of the best in Asia.

There are many fun streets and districts to go out.  Whether you like to go clubbing or sip on a beer with some friends, there’s something for everyone.

The 4 main areas for the best nightlife around Bangkok are:

Khao Son Road– This is the backpackers district, so many of the bars are clubs are packed with people from all over the world.  This street never closes and is a blast if you are looking to get rowdy.   The music is always blasting on the street and the masses begin to take over the streets as a dance zone.

Ratchadapisek (RCA)– This long road (Royal City Avenue) is a popular scene for young partiers and is actually a designated nightlife zone by the government.  This basically means that you can party here 7 nights a week at some of the best clubs in Bangkok.

Soi Cowboy– Sow Cowboy is the red light district of Bangkok.  It is bizarre, and words don’t do justice until you’ve seen this street with your own eyes.  Strip clubs, lady boys, and more booze than you can imagine.  Enough said about this place…

Sukhumvit–  This is one of the most exciting areas with an evolving, cosmopolitan scene.  People are out drinking and dancing at some of the coolest bars in Bangkok.   Check out the area of Soi 11, which was my personal favorite area, and you’ll find lots of massive clubs and funky bars.  It’s electric.

*Note* Watch out for lady boys, or men that are cross dressed as women, because they are everywhere! Especially around Soi Cowboy!

Have you partied in any of these cities before?
What do YOU think is the best party city in the world?

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DrewTop 7 Party Cities in the World

My 4 Favorite Cuisines Around the World

by Drew on March 31, 2014 No comments

I am writing this blog post by request, as several people have recently asked me what my favorite local cuisine is in the world. With the name of “The Hungry Partier,” I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to share my favorite cuisines with you all!

Though, I must admit that it was tough to choose 4 because I am obsessed with dozens of cuisines from all corners of the globe.

But these 4… I just can’t get enough of.  It is these 4 that I crave every day when I am hungry.   It is these 4 that I dream about eating on the regular.

Before I continue to ramble on, here are the magical 4 cuisines (in order):

*This list is subject to change, because I am confident that I will discover new amazing foods during my future travels!

1) Singaporean

IMG_8663Alright, I said it.  Singapore has the best food in the world!

Singaporeans culture is obsessed with food. Eating is considered a national pastime and a unifying cultural thread in Singapore. Furthermore, Singaporean literature even declared food as a national obsession.

But what exactly is Singaporean Food?

Well, first, lets talk about the ethnic diversion of the country so you can understand where the food comes from.  You might be surprised to hear that Singapore’s inhabitants are made up of 75% Chinese, 10% Indian, and 15% is a mix of Malay and other cultures.  Over the years, Singapore has adopted these neighboring cuisines and fused them together to create it’s own unique specialty dishes.  But almost everything revolves around Chinese and Indian foods being the main dishes.  The combinations of these two are insane (like adding Indian spices to a Chinese dish).

The best parts about eating in Singapore are Hawker Centers, which are found all over the city and the places where I ate all of my meals in Singapore.  I know, the name “Hawker center” sounds more like a professional Basketball Arena, but really they are giant outdoor food courts with dozens and dozens of food vendors.  I am telling you it’s like heaven on earth.  My taste buds and stomach has NEVER been more satisfied that it was at a hawker center!

The dishes that you will discover in hawker centers are unique to Singapore- you can’t get them anywhere else and the prices are super affordable! My favorite Singaporean dishes are Chili Crab and Char Kway Teow.

Before you book your plane ticket to Singapore, make sure that you arrive with an empty stomach.

Click to read about the Best Singaporean foods to try!

2) Korean

IMG_7311Ahhh, where do I even begin with Korean food.

There is no doubt that I have eaten more Korean food than any other cuisine around the world (except American), because I have been living and teaching English in Korea for the last 7 months.

During the week, I eat noting but fresh Korean food, because I eat lunch in my school cafeteria school everyday.   I can’t even tell you how amazing our lunches are (I never remember American cafeteria food being good in my childhood, do you?).  Every single day I count down the minutes until lunchtime, beacyse I know that it will be something tasty!

Korean food has evolved over the years, but the roots have been tightly held together with cooking traditions from Southern Manchuria and the Korean Peninsula.

Traditional Korean food is based upon rice, vegetables and meats.  Mostmeals are served with a large number of side dishes (called banchan) and spices.  Kimchi, a spicy fermented cabbage, is the most classic Korean side dish that is served with literally every single meal.

But above all, and the pure reason why Korea tops my list, is none other than Korean BBQ.  If you have never had it before in your life, then stop reading this post and locate the nearest Korean BBQ restaurant to your house.   At a Korean BBQ restaurant (which are extremely common around Korea), you will sit down at a large table and there will be a grill in the center.  The server will bring you meat (usually marinated beef) that YOU grill yourself and share with the people at the dinner table.  And the side dishes keep on flowing in like the is no tomorrow.

Do me a favor and give it a try 😀 Learn more about the best local Korean foods HERE!

3) Israeli

DSC00838If there is one thing to remember about Israeli culture, it is Their LOVE for Food!

I have been to Israel twice and I am obsessed with this fusion of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean tastes.

Growing up Jewish and raised in a Jewish family, I must admit that I have a few cultural ties to the food in Israel.  But, I am not being biased in any way, shape or form for why Israeli cuisine tops #2 on my list.   Israeli food is just that damn good.

Traditional Israeli food incorporates the Arab, Sephardic and Askenazi cooking styles, which includes hummus, schwarma, falafel, couscous, and many others.  Vegetables are often served in a delicious salad that includes cucumer, avocado, tomato and olive oil.  Pita bread is often served alongside many meals with an obnoxious amount of fresh hummus for dipping.

Fresh seafood is readily available, given Israel’s close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea.  The most common fish are trout, halibut and gefilte fish.

I strongly recommend getting a taste inside a Jewish kitchen if you haven’t before.  You will thank me later!

See some other awesome Israeli Dishes by clicking this link!

4) Thai

IMG_9660I’m sure you’ve all tried Thai Food at some point in your life, because it is increasingly becoming more mainstream.  All corners of the globe are discovering the exotic flavors and fragrances that make Thai food one of the most unique and delicious in the world.  Thai restaurants are good and all, but I can’t even describe to you how much better it tastes when you are in Thailand.

Thai Food is well-known for it’s balance of these 4 fundamental taste senses in each dish: sour, sweet, salty and bitter.  Every dish has simple ingredients, but they are made to perfection.

Rice is served with every meal (Thailand is actually the world’s #1 rice exporter) and a variety of curry dishes are found on every menu.   However, the curry in Thailand is much different than Indian-style curry that you might be used to.  Thai curry is more liquidy (as opposed to creamy), and it always includes coconut milk, which gives it a distinct flavor.   Coconut milk is the distinct ingreadient that is used in lots of Thai food which makes it taste so amazing!

Pad Thai is my favorite Thai dish, which is a stir-fry noodle dish with chicken, eggs, chopped tofu, roasted peanuts and other spices.  Nearly every dish that you get in Thailand is $1-3USD, so you can get as much food as you want!

I am itching to get back to the wonderful country of Thailand, so I can shamelessly stuff my face with all the food I can handle.

Discover more of the best authentic Thai foods HERE!

What are your favorite cuisines around the world?

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DrewMy 4 Favorite Cuisines Around the World

My 8 Favorite Local Dishes of All-Time

by Drew on March 31, 2014 2 comments

As you probably already known by now, I am obsessed with eating local foods.  I think it is the best part about traveling.  It’s no coincidence that the word “Hungry” comes before “Partier” in my blog name.

No matter which city, state, or country that I am, it’s my obligation to eat the foods that the local inhabitants have been enjoying for thousands of years.  I want to dine at the best local ma-and-pa restaurants, and I want the chef to cook me the finest local dish that he can make.  I want to eat the tastiest home cooked meals from the old couple who has been preparing the same recipe for centuries.

Food just doesn’t taste the same unless you eat it where it is suppose to be eaten.  Fresh pasta tastes a hell of a lot better in Italy, just like sushi is on a whole new level in Japan.  Furthermore, you just can’t get the same quality kebabs anywhere in the world other than its home city of Istanbul.  I don’t care who you are, these are basic facts of mankind.

I just want you all to know how incredibly difficult it was to narrow this list down to my favorite 8 dishes.   Almost all of the foods that I have eaten on the road over the past 2.5 years have sent my taste buds to heaven.

So, here it is, my top 8 local meals that I’ve eaten of all time (in no particular order).

*Warning:  If you are currently hungry or haven’t eaten in the last few hours, then prepare your mouth to be salivating and your stomach to be starving by the time you are done reading this post.

1) Chili Crab (Singapore, Singapore)

IMG_8589 2In my eyes, Singapore is home to the best cuisine in the world.  I won’t go into too much detail here, but eating is actually considered a national pastime and a unifying cultural thread in Singapore. It’s just that crazy.

The #1 dish that takes the crown around Singapore is the world-famous chili crab.  This dish is exactly what it sounds like, a fresh crab doused in a sweet and savory chili sauce.  I simply can’t put into words how amazing the taste was of this dish.  The contrast of flavors with the fresh crab and the spicy, tomato injected chili was like something I could only dream about.  But it wasn’t a dream, it was real life, and it only exists in Singapore.

Learn about the other delicious foods in Singapore here.

2) Gusta Pizza (Florence, Italy)

IMG_0908I was really hoping that I’d find the perfect, most delicious pizza place in Italy.  Look no further, because I found it when I was in Florence.

Gusta Pizza is a small pizza restaurant that has a lot of character. From the second I walked into the door, I knew it was going to be good because of the giant wood-fired oven in the back.  The menu was small, and precise, which means they specialize in only a few kinds of pizza.  I ordered the famous ‘Gusta Pizza’ which came with cherry tomatoes, ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella.  It was served uncut in a giant circle of happiness.  Each bite was better than the one I took before.  Eating this pizza was like my 10 minutes in heaven.  Damn, I am craving it right about now.

For more of the best Italian foods to try, check out this post.

3) Fresh Grilled Salmon (Bergen, Norway)

IMG_4165Before I went to Norway, all I read online was that I must try the fresh Norwegian cod fish.  Nobody said anything about the salmon. Well, I tried the cod, and it was pretty good, but it was nothing compared to the fresh grilled salmon that I completely demolished off my plate.

I’ve had salmon in many parts of the world (including Alaska), and I am telling you that Norway had the highest quality of them all.  Maybe it’s Norway’s long coastline of cold, clean water that attracts those special salmon, or possibly even the giant fjords that trap in the fresh ocean water.  Whatever the reason is, I am completely diggin’ it.

When I was in Bergen, Norway, I actually got to choose my fish from the tank and the chef grilled it in front of my eyes (check the picture).  It wasn’t cheap, because nothing is cheap in Norway, but you can’t even put a price on something this tasty.  It was so soft that it melted in my mouth and I didn’t need to add a hint of lemon or flavor.  The salmon in Norway set the bar really damn high for the rest of the salmon that I will eat in my lifetime.

Learn about the other tasty Norwegian dishes by clicking this link!

4) Green Curry (Bangkok, Thailand)

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 6.38.45 PMThai Food is one of my all-time favorites.  The unique combination of flavors and spices are to die for.  During my trip to Thailand, I found my favorite dish.  That dish was Green Curry, and I literally ate it twice a day every single day I was in the country.

The key ingredient that gives it such amazing flavor (along with many other Thai dishes) is the coconut milk.  Blend it together with the fresh basil leaves, green chilies, eggplant, and fish sauce and you’ve got one of the tastiest dishes that heaven gave to mankind.  The spices alone opened up my taste buds to a new world of ecstasy.  This dish is always served with rice on the side, but I like to throw it inside the bowl to make it one giant party.  Green curry doesn’t taste nearly as good unless it is cooked in a Thai kitchen, so you’ve gotta go to Thailand to see what it’s all about!

Seriously though, it is that damn good.

Find out more delicious Thai Foods here!

5) Sushi (Tokyo, Japan)

IMG_6433Whether you love it or hate it, you’ve all tried sushi at some point in your life.  Most people that enjoy it (like myself), are extremely addicted and obsessed with it.  I wouldn’t mind eating sushi every single day if I had the chance (and it wasn’t so damn expensive).

Regardless from how tasty your favorite sushi restaurants in LA or NYC are, I am here to confirm that sushi in Japan is absolutely, positively, 100% THAT legit.   All the hype is true.  The best sushi that I ate was at a small restaurant just outside of the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.  As the food was being prepared, I was in a daze as I was watching the chef’s amazingly fast hands.  One bite in, and I knew it was game-over.  I think that I ate the entire meal with my eyes closed because I was enjoying it that much.  The crab and sashimi were so fresh that they was caught that morning, and the ingredients were bursting in flavor.

It made me never want to eat sushi again because I know that it won’t get any better than that.

For more of the best Japanese Foods, check out this Blog post.

6) Korean BBQ (Seoul, Korea)

IMG_7785If you’ve never had Korean BBQ, or you aren’t quite sure what it’s about, then all you need to know is that you cook the meat yourself (beef or pork) on a big grill in the middle of the dinner table.  The meal is accompanied with loads of fresh side dishes that consist of locally grown vegetables and hot soups.

I have been living in Korea for 7 months now, so it’s hard to choose what my “favorite” Korean BBQ restaurant is.  I’ve literally eaten at dozens and dozens of them and each one is just as good as the next.

Give or take, all restaurants serve the same cut of meat.  The waiter/waitress will hand you scissors that you use to cut the marinated beef into thin slices before you throw it on the grill (funny, right?).  Then, you cook the beef until perfection and dip it into an amazing spicy red pepper sauce called sam-jjang.  The flavor is beyond imaginable until you’ve tried it in Seoul.

I eat BBQ at least 4 times a week and it never gets old.  In fact, I am on my way to way it when I am done writing this blog post 😉

Find out more of the best Korean Foods here!

7) Pho Noodle Soup (Saigon, Vietnam)

IMG_0269Pho noodles (pronounced fuh) is the new up and coming trendy dish to eat around the world.  It consists of rice noodles, herbs, meat and a mouth-watering broth.

I ate Pho from many street vendors for $1USD and it was PHO-nomenal.  The spices and fresh ingredients really gave this dish an astonishingly burst of flavor.  It did more than satisfy my hunger.  It kept me satisfied for hours and hours after.  Each vendor/restaurant prepares this soup a little differently, so make sure that you try a few different types to find your favorite!

My ‘local foods’ theory stands true:  No Pho around the world is as good as it is in Vietnam. It’s all about the local ingredients to give it that special taste!

Here are more of the best Vietnamese Foods.

8) Dhal Curry (Kandy, Sri Lanka)

IMG_8878I wasn’t really expecting Sri Lankan cuisine to be anything special, but I was particularly shocked by this classic dish.

Dhal curry is a local favorite.  It is a preparation of dried peas and beans, which were stripped from their shells and split into tiny pieces.  Mix it all together with coconut milk and other local spices and you’ve got one of the most unique curry dishes on the planet.  The spices are really what puts this dish on another level.  It was so good that I ordered it at least once every single day during my 9 day trip in Sri Lanka.

Dhal Curry is always served with rice and sometimes roti (flat-baked bread) on the side.  In either case, dump the rice on top, or pour the curry on the roti for some extra good flavor.  I want some Dhal curry right now!

What are YOUR favorite local dishes?

 

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