I think in a past life I must have been a Beagle. My love for sniffing out treasure has been with me since I can remember, and usually my nose leads me to goodness (or somewhere nearby, and that’s where the hunting begins!) To me, a trip somewhere is not right until I can experience the local produce and delicacies that place has to offer. I’m a sucker for sensory experiences. In Asia, I like to take myself to the wet market where there is usually the freshest and most ‘local’ treats. For instance, in Thailand wet markets are where I discover the regional curry pastes, nam priks (chilli pastes that are eaten with meals or as snacks), vegetables, and kanom (the Thai word for ‘sweets’ or ‘snacks’) that give me such joy and excitement to try.
In the West, I do my best to catch the local produce markets. Similar to their Asian cousins, these markets usually draw producers from around the area to come and showcase their goodies. Doing the week’s groceries at the weekend markets in Paris is something that I think every Parisian should be doing. It is where you can come into direct contact with the maker of your food: something I place a lot of value in. There is nothing more re-assuring than sourcing your food from it’s creator, and nothing more validating than knowing that your money is going straight back into their hands. I admire the French culture that appreciates good quality food, and things made properly. I find that the French also value tradition, foods that correspond with the seasons like saucisson de noel around Christmas time, as well as classic methods of preparation. In saying this, I do think that sometimes semantics can also get in the way of life when you’re too strict about sticking to tradition!