Bali

Skewered Delight: Musing on Food Photography and the Culture of Cuisine

It is hard to believe that 2018 is in the stretch run! As the year winds to a close, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite photos from 2018 and what they mean to me. A visual musings retrospective. So each week from Thanksgiving until the New Year, I will offer one of my favorite photos of 2018.

Episode One: Skewered Delight

Have you ever witnessed a master chef at work? His or her meticulous movements, precision, and thoughtful attention to detail. From prestigious Michelin chefs to grandma agelessly tending the simmering pot, it is wonderful culinary art. In particular, I love watching the hands as they carefully craft, shape and (in this case) skewer. During my Indonesian sojourn, I was greeted with a pleasant smile by this Balinese cook as he prepared my spicy chicken satay. The duration of my gaze, however, turned the smile into a concerned look of “why is this foreigner staring at me for so long?!?” Nonetheless, the photo is evidence that, in the end, it was worth it. [For me, at least!] I came away with a tasty treat, fun photo and glimpse into the culinary art of satay. Now that is some successful snacking.

Musings commenced as a food and wine blog and, although it has evolved into photojournalism, culinary topics are never far out of sight. The reason is simple: food is fascinating, and I really like eating it.

For this reason, food is always a priority in my travels [and perhaps just life generally]. Few things excite me more than unexplored flavors, aromas and ingredients. Why, you ask? Apart from being delicious, food is an expression of individual and cultural identity: it evidences who we are and the road we have traveled. I absolutely love the story food tells.

And, in my opinion, stories are best when you can eat them after.

More than just the artful capture of food preparation, this photo for me represents a new culture and cuisine previously unexplored: Indonesia. From push cart peddlers offering tasty street treats (including spicy satay) to the hospitality and warmth of a Muslim family kitchen, the people and cuisine of Indonesia are, quite simply, extraordinary.

[You can read about some of my Indonesian food adventures here, here, and here].

Favorite new food from 2018? Easy choice. Beef Rendang, a Sumatran dry curry dish packed with ginger, chili, kaffir lime and more spices than you can count. Extraordinarily complex in flavor, this dish will blow your mind.


Cheers!

The Balinese Road Less Traveled

The Balinese Road Less Traveled

Any reference to Bali typically conjures images of picturesque sunsets, stunning waterfalls, and world-class waves that would stoke any surfer. But while the natural beauty of Bali initially captures our attention, its people and culture add the richness and vibrancy that make this island stand apart from any other destination on earth.

This Photo Essay documents my recent travels to Bali, focusing on the roads less traveled and exploring the culture of this incredible island and the people that make it so uniquely special. 

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The Java Bean Catalyst: A Cat’s Tale of Kopi Luwak

The Java Bean Catalyst: A Cat’s Tale of Kopi Luwak

In my previous post, we set off on our caffeinated caravan by heading to Sumatra, where I enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of Long Coffee & Roastery and got an insider glimpse at the small farm enterprises that collectively make Indonesia a legendary coffee destination. 

In this post, we explore another coffee product that famously finds its home in the Indonesian archipelago: Kopi Luwak (or “luak”). No coffee has a more distinct methodology or cultish intrigue than Kopi Luwak. And with a price tag often surpassing hundreds of dollars per pound, it is often cited as the rarest and most expensive coffee in the world.

Why the fanatic fascination? Let’s find out … 

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Indonesia and the Portrait of a Thousand Faces

Indonesia and the Portrait of a Thousand Faces

We encounter countless strangers in our daily commutes to work, the gym, to restaurants and pubs. On most occasions, we pass them by without notice. We are too busy, too shy, or simply don't care. 

But what if we didn't? What if instead we made an effort to see, to smile, or even engage in conversation? What would we see, and would it change us?

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