Photos, memorabilia and souvenirs are usually what one thinks of as a reminder of a place visited. I too tried to keep my own collection but grew bored after seeing that the photos would often be those of the same land marks and gifts and souvenirs would either be too expensive or for the really authentic ones, be simply too much hassle to get through customs – so I decided to use food to recall my experiences of different places. Too often have there been dishes that are widely known like the french (freedom) fries, taco, guacamole or my personal favorite, philly-cheese stake where any comment on how good these are would attract responses about where the best ones are made. In my experience, I know the best pizzas outside of Italy is at New York, the best philly-cheese stake is at Philadelphia and the best clam chowder is at Cape Cod, not to mention the best whiskey at 313 Pine Street, North Carolina and the best bond fire is at Kevin’ place.
It actually did not start as something I wanted to do but after seeing that there was always a specific dish in each of the places I’ve visited that I remembered well where I would make my goal of tasting again each time I got back, it became a hobby. I must make a point here that my experiences are not always good and some of these serve as reminders to myself on what I must avoid – like my famous tale of the Roach Fried Rice. So why would all of a sudden, I start talking about food? let’s just say i got my inspiration from Fiji’s Kuita vakalolo, cassava dalo – a Fijian dish of boiled octopus and vegetables in coconut cream served with taro as cassava.
What I really liked about this dish was that all the ingredients were local, but the presentation was very professional making me think back of home and how our many local dishes could be just as good if we just gave it a little more attention in presenting the food. It would be cheap, puts money back in the pockets lo local farmers and most importantly, gives the diner that unique PNG flavor. This is definitely going to be one of the dishes i comeback to the next time I am in Fiji.
em tasol, bula vinaka