How did Girl Eat World get started?
I have always enjoyed telling stories and have grown up blogging. When I went on my first backpacking trip to Europe by myself, I didn’t feel like asking strangers to take pictures of me and I’m not too fond of selfies, but I am always eating so I took pictures of food at whatever memorable site I was in.
I posted these pictures to my personal Facebook where I received plenty of positive feedback from friends so I kept on taking one at every city I visited, for my own personal amusement. Eventually, a friend convinced me to create a dedicated Instagram for my food pictures, and @girleatworld was born.
What sort of food did you grow up with?
I am Indonesian, so I grew up with Indonesian home-cooked food. Indonesian food tends to be full of flavour and spicy, so when I moved to the States it was kind of difficult for me to adjust to the food over there. I ended up having to add chilli to everything I ate!
How important do you think food is when you travel?
Very! The food that locals eat tells you a lot about the history of that place. For example, in Jordan there was a lot of food that came from Lebanon, Syria, and other surrounding places, even Turkey. It’s very interesting to see how food has moved like this throughout the world.
What’s been your favourite food experience so far?
Definitely Japan and Korea. There are just so many tasty and good looking dishes on offer in these countries. If I had to pick one though, it would have to be the street eats in Korea. Although less photogenic than Japan, it’s more suited to my taste buds due to the spice level!
Which country’s food was a pleasant surprise?
Jordan. I didn’t have much exposure to Middle Eastern cuisine aside of the usual falafel wraps or shawarma, but once I got to Jordan I was introduced to a ton of new tastes and dishes. It was amazing! I also discovered my love of olives during this trip.
Where’s your favourite place you’ve travelled to?
Japan will always be my favourite place. Hands down!
You’re practically a local in Hong Kong — what do you love about the city?
I used to visit Hong Kong a lot for business trips, but I do love the city aside from that. I think Hong Kong is the epitome of east meets west, even more so than Singapore. While it’s very modern, when you walk around the city, especially on the Kowloon side, you really feel that you are in Asia. It’s also very photogenic and the perfect place for urban photography due to the old high rises that are crammed together.
Food wise, there is so much to love about Hong Kong — from the classic favourites like Mak’s noodles and Kowloon Dairy, to the new dessert places that provides a twist to old favourites like Oddies Foodies.
Which cuisine haven’t you tried much of yet but are interested in?
I haven’t tried much African cuisine, so would love to try that. I’ve only tried Ethiopian cuisine once, and Moroccan when I visited Morocco a few years ago.
You’ve got other people contributing to the Girl Eat World Instagram now — do you use their photos as inspiration on where to go next?
Definitely! I created the #WeEatWorld hashtag so others could join in on the Girl Eat World Instagram. It’s been a great way to gain travel inspiration of places to go and food to eat.
Where’s somewhere you’ve been that many people wouldn’t have visited, but is a must-see?
Jordan for Petra and Botswana for the safari.
Which countries or places are you interested in visiting?
I haven’t been to New Zealand yet. Also, Iceland, the Nordic region and South America are on my list.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
The freshly chopped octopus in Korea. It’s very weird to be eating something that’s still moving (though not alive).
Have you ever had to eat something just to be polite?
So far, no. Thank god.
Where are you off to next?
I’m about to go off to Europe, where I will be going to Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Ukraine. I’m really looking forward to sharing stories and cuisines from these places.
Explore the map above to see Girl Eat World’s recommendations for a perfect weekend in Hong Kong.
Map of Melissa’s experience in Hong Kong made with Alpaca.