Guerilla Food Photography: 10 Tips for Taking Great Food Photos

How do you get food to look like that? What kind of camera do you use? Do you use any special lenses?Go to a big food website and the food glistens, the light is perfect and everything is in its place. But let's say you are a traveler carrying a pocket or DSLR camera and you have a fascinating, colorful spread before you that you'd like to share with others … [Read more...]

Best Value Meals: Five Continents, Quotable Quotes, and a Winner

Last month, we asked readers to share their most satisfying value meal experience for a chance at a gift certificate.The resulting entries from five continents (Africa and Antarctica conspicuously absent) did not disappoint. Some of the entries made us laugh. Some even made us cry. And all of them made our mouths water. Here are a few representative quotes … [Read more...]

Guatemalan Pepian: Please Try This at Home

A Guatemalan cooking class? Aren't you supposed to be learning Spanish?Learning a new language is great, but doing so through the lens of food and markets strikes us as ideal. So when the topic of Guatemalan cuisine came up during our Spanish lessons (day two, as we steered each of our instructors there fairly quickly), we seized the opportunity and asked if … [Read more...]

Bouillabaisse in Beijing?

Think that Beijing is all about moo shu pork and Peking duck? Think again.Tapas, paninis, sushi - even all-you-can-eat massage parlors. If you can name it – and eat it - you can probably find it in Beijing.Have we abandoned our local street-food ways? Absolutely not. … [Read more...]

Golden Camel Awards, Part 1: Food and Markets

Camel Crossing

Welcome to the first and only Golden Camel Awards, a camel’s eye view of the best and worst that Central Asia and the Caucasus have to offer!While most people don’t travel to the Caucasus and Central Asia solely to explore the cuisine, we had our share of pleasant eating experiences there. We also occasionally felt the wrath of a post-Soviet culinary hangover. … [Read more...]

Central Asian Food: The Good, the Bad, and the Inedible

Smoke Break

Mystery vegetables are better than mystery meat. – the mantra we adopted after eating Central Asian meals for over three monthsAlthough we would not advise an exclusively culinary expedition to Central Asia, the region does have its appetizing moments. Surrounding those moments, you’ll primarily find a nomadic carnivore’s dream or a vegetarian’s nightmare. … [Read more...]

Video of the Central Asian Market Scene

Shall We Dance?

When we arrive in a new location, we usually seek out the local market. This is how we orient ourselves. Markets provide an easy way to meet real people in a friendly context. They also offer an insight into local food and culture. Central Asian markets proved no different. We found ourselves frequently sampling local fruits (OK, having fruit heaped upon us by the … [Read more...]

A Goat and Five Fingers: A Ramadan Experience in Kyrgyzstan

Staring Back at Us

Our travels in Kyrgyzstan overlapped with Ramadan this year (13 September - 12 October). For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a month of fasting, reflection and renewal. While the majority of Kyrgyzstan’s Muslims do not appear to strictly adhere to the fasting requirements of the holiday, it still plays an important role in the country’s social and cultural … [Read more...]

Kutabs and Kebabs: Azerbaijani Food

Colorful Kebabs

Given that Azerbaijani culture and language is Turkic in origin, it's not surprising that its cuisine also carries a strong Turkish influence. Doner kebabs are so prevalent on Baku's streets that you'd swear they were Azerbaijani by origin.One thing is certain though. Azerbaijanis like their meat, with shashlik (barbecue) as the style of choice. One meal took us … [Read more...]

Dreaming of Dinner

dinner paris

After surviving on more than three months of Soviet and nomad-inspired cuisine from the Caucasus to Central Asia, we've begun to have visions of our favorite foods and restaurants. Here's a taste of what we've been craving.Note: this fantasy interlude does not represent a "best of" and is in no particular order. Deprivation knows no logic or sequence! … [Read more...]