To encourage readers to explore wine-travel, a topic short of specific coverage in newspapers,with plenty of Internet resources here.
To encourage readers who may visit travel agents to obtain advice and brochures to read the note from Gastrotourism 1 on travel agent visit here.
To encourage readers to evaluate whether brochures are better than the Internet when exploring where to go on their next holiday.
We begin with Kuoni and the pictures are from its Italy Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 brochure, p 72. See it and download it from here, first in the second row. FInd Sorrento traditional cookery lessons introduced on p 13 and the detail on p 72. Any other gastrotourism contenders? The pictures on this web page are from there.
The Travel Section of the UK Guardian, 18 02 2012, p 17 shows a whole-page advert. " An extraordinary journey around Myanmar.. 28 October 2012". With not much more to read on food than "After an early morning breakfast..", I phoned. No long wait. Nicole was clearly an expert. After explaining that our interest was local food, she said that it will be available. I explored further. After a lot of detail, my request was "Please send me an email.
Here is the link to view the itinerary for this trip.
As this is a new Itinerary for Reader Offers the itinerary is yet to be added to our website, but the below link will take you to the full itinerary in our monthly magazine Blue Horizons.
After researching the local cuisine, I have found a list of the top 15 dishes in Burma.
Looking at the itinerary you would be experiencing on this tour, there are many occasions where you would be able to sample these local dishes.
For example on the 29th October you will have dinner at your own leisure in Yangon where these dishes can be sampled.
Also when you stop at each port you will be able to sample the local way of the Burmese and there are a numerous occasions where dinner both onboard and ashore local dishes will be on the menu.
I hope this information helps answer your questions, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
Top 15 Eating Experiences in Burma (Myanmar)
1. Mohinga (or mohinka): The unofficial national dish of rice vermicelli in a fish-based broth of onions, garlic, ginger, and lemon grass – all topped with sliced banana blossom, boiled eggs and fritters (akyaw). Sounds like a strange choice for breakfast, doesn’t it? But after almost a month of fried egg breakfasts, this soup provided a welcome change. The best: at the family-run roadside stand in Meikthila near the bus stop to Bagan.
2. Chapatis and Curry in Mandalay: This chapati stand needs no name; everyone in Mandalay knows it. It’s difficult to decide which facet of the chapati production line impresses the most: the women rolling the dough or the guys tossing and frying the chapatis. And the taste is no slouch either. To give your chapati some company, opt for a dose of meat or veg curry from giant cauldrons. The veg curry and daal were both tasty – and bottomless. Between dips, scoops and swabs, enjoy life as it swirls on the street and tables around you. Location and Cost: Mandalay, 82nd and 27th Streets, 700 kyats (less than $1).
3. Barbecue Street in Rangoon (Yangon): Although barbecue usually implies meat, we went all vegetarian. Herbivores and carnivores alike will find an endless choice. Opt for food that looks fresh and select your desired atmosphere. The grilled okra, broccoli, mushrooms, and tofu all rocked, particularly when washed down with a cold draft beer. Location and cost: Rangoon’s Chinatown between Mahabandoola and Anawrahta Streets. Cheap, as in two people eat for less than $3.
4. All Samosas, all the time. Anywhere on the street, particularly in Rangoon. Sample them on the street corner, on the train platform, in the circle train. Try ‘em, try ‘em often. Some even feature hints of cinnamon and star anise. Try also the samosa soups (samusa thouk), where samosas are scissored into a light broth and topped with fresh herbs, onions and greens.
5. Burmese thali. Bus journeys in Burma often take twice as long as they should. As a consolation, your bus will usually stop along the way at a roadside restaurant or two dishing out vast multi-course thalis (rice, soup, vegetables, curry, chutneys) that run $1.00-2.00 for all you can eat. Quality varies. We enjoyed our best experience on the way from Meikthila to Bagan. Roadside Restaurant Rule of Thumb: if the food looks fresh, go for it. If the food looks tired, give it a pass.
6. Flan and coffee near Sule Pagoda (Rangoon): Wake up, walk down the street, and smell the coffee. Literally. We followed a strong coffee smell down the street to Let Ywe Sin, a hole-in-the-wall place that offers a lively local crowd, delicious coffee and flan. Audrey, not normally a fan of flan, is now a convert. Even better, a dish of flan and two coffees runs $0.80. Location: 128 Sule Paya Road (a few doors down from Aroma Cafe and Castle Internet Café) in Rangoon (Yangon).
7. Fish with green chili curry: Does the thought of green chili make your belly boil? If so, give this dish a try. It was surprisingly light – a fish filet high on taste and low on heat. And the best refined fish we tasted during our travels in Burma. Price was reasonable, too. For a companion dish, try the pumpkin curry. Location: Unique Superb Restaurant at Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake).
8. Kausuetho (khow suey): Burmese yellow rice noodles turned with an Indian-slanted spice masala, herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice (or vinegar). As our vendor prepared the dish with her bare hands, we wondered whether our stomachs would abide it. The taste: terrific. Toilet emergency factor (TEF): none. Location: Bago. From the main street hotel strip, cross the bridge and turn left into the local market. Look for the piles of the bright yellow noodles near the entrance.
9. Burmese lunch near Teak Monastery (Mandalay): The food was decent, but the women who work here made the experience. They start out shy, giggling and skeptical. Then they end up like this. Oh, and you get an all-you-can-eat (they will be shoveling you full) Burmese thali featuring mung beans, green beans and various vegetarian stews sided with hot sauce. We forgot to ask what the dishes were named because we enjoyed the company too much. Location and cost: Down the street from Teak Monastery in Mandalay, 700 kyats (less than $1).
10. Nepalese food and chutneys: Burma’s diversity also translates into a variety of available ethnic restaurants. No matter what you order – stuffed paratha (stuffed flat bread), curry, or rice, be sure to feast your eyes and mouth all over the accompanying chutneys. The Everest Café in Kalaw takes the prize for variety and quality of chutneys: radish, hot pepper, cabbage, mango pickle and tomato salsa. Also try the appropriately named Nepalese Restaurant in Mandalay (on 81st Street between 26th/27th) – great methi paratha (potato and fenugreek stuffed flat bread) and lassi.
11. Lahpet thouk: A salad of pickled tea leaves served with various crunchy bits and sauces (fried peas, peanuts and garlic; toasted sesame, fresh garlic, tomato, green chili, crushed dried shrimps, preserved ginger) and dressed with peanut oil, fish sauce and lime. Unique and delicious. Location: Green Elephant Restaurant in Mandalay (27th and 6th Streets).
12. Trekking food: Trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake with Sam’s treks, get a guide (ours was named Alex) and enjoy home made food three times a day. Dishes might include pumpkin and ginger soup, tomato slaw with lime juice and peanuts, pumpkin curry, and braised okra with sesame. Bonus treats include spicy salsa from the local village. Cost: Guide, accommodation and food = $8/day.
13. Guacamole and “Special Eggplant”: Guacamole in Burma? You better believe it. An American tourist taught the cooks at a local vegetarian restaurant how to churn out delicious guac with baked pappadums (paper-thin bread). A bit more local authentic: the candi mi po tho, a dish featuring roasted eggplant stir fried with spring onions, peanuts, garlic, sesame seeds and a dash of hot pepper. We returned and enjoyed a private lesson on how to make this flavorful dish. Location: Moon Vegetarian Restaurant just inside the gates of Old Bagan, north of Ananda temple.
14. Hinto (or, Hnyin htoe): A hearty favorite in the Burmese countryside. One night in the Burmese hills of Shan State, just after we brushed our teeth (a non-trivial production) and settled into bed, our host family delivered late night parcels of onion, leek, rice, and cabbage steamed in a banana leaf. Hnyin htoe tastes even better after the flavors have settled overnight and are fried up in the morning with turmeric and chili.
15. Gyin thouk: Grated ginger salad with sesame seeds. Our best experience came at the hands of the wife of a Burmese man who invited us to his house in New Bagan
Back to Nicole saying that brochure is not in a common format with ease of access to specific pages etc. I told her about this project.
Nicole's follow-up email is this:
The full itinerary is on page 22 of the Blue Horizons.
As advised in your email I have forwarded your emails onto our Management team.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
Wearing the mocassins of a member of the public, what is your next step?
As a future hospitality/tourism professional, comment on the management aspects of the interaction. It's not Nicole's fault that the website is a major part of the problem. She would still need to deal with the situation if the enquirer becomes irate.
The following morning (20 Feb) I received a phone call from Lisa within the management structure. She listened to more information I gave her and wished all concerned every success.
The caption tells you that the majestic staircase leads to Bon Jesus do Monte, above and the Praca da Republica, top left.
UK Sunday Telegaph 19 02 2012 Travel - p5
When you read the headline you are told it is a city known for its food, festivals and superb architecture. When you read all the newspaper text, consider whether you would sign up for its gastrotourism appeal. Read it here. There's a different picture from the one you see above which is in the hard copy brochure..
Sounds like a good place to go. However, it's a cheese. It's time for a bite, anyway.
Travel magazine of the year - for the third year running - quote. Website
Tourism cartography but more gastro-cartography needed.
February 2012 issue
Vicarious gastrotourism - Stella again
A few for immediate comparison with the brochures:
USA here Cycling gourmets go to France here. Satisfied customer from somewhere else coming back with souvenirs.
Active gourmet holidays here. Truffles again - here.
Caribbean foodies here. Mexico here A proper gastronomic tour? here
Our friend on the bicycle is OK if he is above the page links for this page. He is intended to block the other page links in the long horizontal navigation panel just on this occasion. If he is a problem on your screen, please let me know via here. I have tried on three computers and he does what he should. However, technocrats might click here.
You may be in the UK or anywhere. Forgive me for writing like a Dutch uncle (here not here), but we need to clear the ground.
You walk into a travel agent and ask a question. You are regaled with "You're the fifth person today asking for info on gastrotourism!". Wear a large student-badge! Perhaps link your enquiry to a TV ad or newspaper article. Clearly, thought and planning are required. It's better to say this now rather than just one thoughtless student bringing the establishment down. After you graduate, you realise how much you depend on good relationships.
I said earlier that thought and planning are required. Add being street-wise. If you are vague with no dates and destination etc you will be found out and, perhaps, thrown out. You will be aware of the probability within your own national context.
You could find yourself later as a mystery shopper as part of your marketing training in a company looking at SWOT. Practise now. This isn't an academic exercise just for the sake of it. One aspect of it is that you are finding out what average citizens are looking for and what results they might find. (An aspect of the T in SWOT.) Visit 1 and you are you. If Visit 2 takes place, you are enquiring for your parents etc. If you go as far as Visit 3, it's for your grandparents etc. Vary the occupations of your subjects. You are wearing the mocassins of whoever you are enacting.
Think like travel agent employees trying to sell you something. Read what they read starting here, here and this. What others exist? Make a mental note of the weeklies etc lying on the desks. If you get on well within the ten minutes, ask to skim through a trade magazine. Find it on the Internet later.
Where possible, return brochures after using them. Be mindful of droves of students returning home with large travel brochures which may not receive more than a cursory glance in the context here. Communicate between yourselves if there is a serious contingent about to descend on local TAs.