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Best Fermented Foods from Around the World

Fermented foods have become popular again in recent years, largely due to health conscious individuals.

While Kimchi and Kombucha may have developed a new following in the west, fermented foods have been an integral part of communities across the globe.

Archeological evidence points out to fermentation being one of the oldest methods of food preservation. Its history dates back to the beginning of agriculture. From China and Fertile Crescent to Africa and Americas, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy, grains and fruits have been fermented into food and beverages.

Fermented processes were likely developed by women through trial and error. Food was not just preserved for winter, droughts or migration, but because these were considered as healing medicine beneficial to the body.

Fermented foods play an important role in gut health and growth of good bacteria. A study in Tanzania showed that gruel made with fermented grains reduced incidence of diarrhoea in children by 33%.

When you ferment grains and certain tubers, you reduce anti-nutrient compounds and increase absorption of vitamins. Active bacteria, yeast and mound cultures turn these foods into rich sources of Vitamin K, A, B12, thiamine, niacin, and protein-building acids like lysine and methionine.

Every region has at least one unique dish as a part of its cultural heritage. This food guide brings you unfamiliar foods other than yoghurts, sauces, pickles and cottage cheese.

(And if you want to learn how to make some of these foods yourself, check out The Art of Fermented Foods, the online course with the Chef Mirna Bamieh)

Fermented foods from Asia

1. Kimchi – Korea

A Korean meal is incomplete without kimchi. Considered a national heritage, this fermented food has been prepared by families from the 7th century. Cabbage and other vegetables are cultured in their own juices/brine along with spices for 4-15 days.

2. Cheonggukjang/Doenjang – Korea

Source: James

Fermented soybean is blended into paste which is used to add flavour to different dishes. Cheonggukjang is a thinner paste that contains whole soybean, while Doenjang is a thicker and smoother paste.

3. Natto – Japan

This popular Japanese fermented dish is made with soybean and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

4. Miso – Japan/Korea

When a fungus (koji) meets soybean, salt and brown rice/barley, you get miso. This is said to have anti-ageing properties. Drink up your miso soup next time you’re at an Asian restaurant.

5. Tempeh – Indonesia

When live mold is added to soybean and left to ferment for 1-2 days, the resultant food is the cake-like tempeh.

6. Nem Chua – Vietnam

Source: Ron Diggity

Add New

Parts of lean pork are finely ground or boiled. These are mixed with roasted and powdered rice, salt, spices and covered with herbs. The mixture is then tightly wrapped in banana leaves and allowed to ferment.

7. Douchi/ Doubanjiang/Mianchi – China

Source: Food Mayhem

Douchi is a culinary paste made with fermented black beans, while Mianchi is fermented white beans. Doubanjiang is widely used in Sichuan cuisine and is made from fermented broad beans. This spicy paste also contains soybean, rice, salt, spices and sometimes, red chili.

8. Bagoong – Philippines

Source: Helga Webber

The fish sauce is made by fermenting salted fish or shrimp. When salted anchovies are fermented, you get Bagoong monamon.

9. Puto – Philippines

Source: Krista

This is steamed cake is made with fermented glutinous rice. Rice is soaked in water for 1-3 days and blended to a smooth batter. There are many variations of Puto which is usually eaten with coconut and butter.

10. Chin Som Mok – Thailand

Source: Takeaway

Pork (with skin) is fermented with glutinous rice. This is then wrapped in banana leaves and grilled.

11. Idli – SriLanka/ India

Source: Sakurako Kista

This south Indian breakfast dish has become popular across India. Rice and black bean are ground into a smooth batter. Batter is fermented overnight, steamed in special plates, and served with chutneys and sambar.

12. Dhokla – India

Source: Deapesh

Another steamed dish made with fermented batter, Dhokla is an essential breakfast food in Gujarat. Fermented batter contains chickpea flour, salt, spices and rock salt. The steamed cakes are served with hot and sweet chutneys,

13. Cahgem Pomba – India

Source: E-Pao

This healthy and delicious curry from Manipur is made with greens like spinach, mustard, dill, fenugreek, herbs like cilantro, and fermented soybean.

14. Jalebi – Pakistan/Nepal/India

Source: Risabh Mathur

This deep-fried dessert is made with fermented wheat batter. The translucent jalebis have a sweet-sour taste thanks to the sugar and bacteria culture.

15. Kombucha – China/Russia/Ukraine/Vietnam/Korea/Japan

A fermented concoction originated in Russia and Ukraine and is made with black tea, sugar and bacteria and yeast cultures. Sugar sources include honey, cane sugar or fruits. Use the same Kombucha starter to create fresh batches. The longer you ferment, the better the beverage.


Fermented foods from Africa


16. Injera – Ethiopia/Eritea

Source: Serene Vannoy

This national dish is fermented bread made with an ancient grain and a gluten-free alternative – Teff. The spongy bread with a tangy flavour is dunked into stews and eaten.

17. Togwa/Mahewu/Mabundu – Tanzanian/Zimbbawe/Africa

This fermented beverage or watered-down gruel is made with sorghum (chimera), finger millet, maize and cooked cornmeal (sazda) in a clay pot. The porridge is covered and placed in the sun for 2-3 days to ferment. It is drunk plain or with a little sugar.

18. Furundu/Ogiri– Sudan/Nigeria/West Africa

Source: Chnez blog

Sesame seeds are fermented with salt and water and pressed into cakes with a texture similar to tofu or miso. In Sudan, red sorrel seeds and Kawal leaves are fermented in the same way.

19. Garri/Gari – Nigeria/Ghana/Cameroon/Sierra Leone/West Africa

Source: David Hdez

Peeled and cubed Cassava roots are crushed into a pulp and excess water is drained out. The dried pulp is cooked in a large pot without or without palm oil to become the granular Garri. This is also pounded into a flour

20. Kenkey/Koneke/Dorkinu- Ghana/Guyana/benin/Togo/Jamaica

Source: Juxtapose^esopatxuj

This staple dish is essentially a sourdough dumpling made with corn or maize. Flour is fermented for a few days before the dough is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. Other items like plantain, sweet potato, cassava, coconut or pumpkin are added to fermented dough in local variations of the recipe.

21. Dawadawa/Iru -Senegal/Uganda/Nigeria/West Africa

Source: Carsten ten Brink

Locust beans, fruit pulp and seeds, of the native tree, are fermented. These are pressed into balls or cakes (Dawadawa) and add to soups or a condiment. Iru is dried dawadawa flattened into discs.


Fermented foods from Americas


22. Sourdough Bread – Europe/ US

Different flours are mixed with wild yeast and water and baked into spongy breads with a distinct sour taste.

23. Poi – Hawaii/Polynesia

Source: Wikipedia

This fermented food is made from plant stems of taro. This is mashed and steamed or cooked into a thick liquid or dough-like paste.

24. Atole agrio – Mexico

Source: Marden Nolasco

A dough made with black maize is fermented for 4-5 days before becoming a tasty porridge. Bread is made from fermented maize dough in Peru(Tochos) and Brazil (Jamin-bang).

25. Curtido – El Salvador

Source: DLC

This is similar to kimchi and sauerkraut. This is a relish made with fermented cabbage, onions, carrots and, sometimes, lime juice.

Fermented foods from Europe


26. Kefir – Eastern Europe

Source: Wikipedia

A healthy beverage is obtained by adding kefir grains to milk and allowing it to ferment for 12 hours. Kefir grains are yeast and bacteria cultures that resemble clumps of cooked rice.

27. Sauerkraut –  Across  Europe

This fermented food, similar to Kimchi, is said to originate in China, but is a part of German and East European cuisine. One of the oldest traditional foods in which fresh cabbage pieces are left to ferment in its own juices or brine (salt water) for 3-4 weeks. The relish is added to many national dishes like Polish Bigos and Czech Vepřo-knedlo-zel.

28. Crème fraiche – France

Sour cream is obtained by fermenting with lactic acid bacteria. Crème fraiche is used in hot or dessert sauces, as salad and soup toppings, and in desserts.

29. Smetana – Central/Eastern Europe/Russia

Source: Iban

This sour cream is similar to crème fraiche. Milk cream is cultured by naturally occurring or introduced lactic acid bacteria. It is used as garnish in dishes like Borscht, Blini, salad and dumplings.

30. Kisela repa/ Sauer ruben – Croatia/Eastern Europe

Source: Chef Mema

Turnip shreds are fermented in a mixture of salt and water. This is eaten either as a side dish or added to soups and salads.

31. Kiviak – Greenland

Source: Orrazz

This Inuit food is made by fermenting auks (small birds). These birds are preserved in the hollowed out body of a dead seal and buried in the ground.

32. Hakarl – Iceland

Source: Audrey

This is a dish made with shark meat. The meat is fermented, hang up and left to dry. It is cubed and served with other food.

33. Kvass – Russia

Source: Bernt Rostad

This non-alcoholic beverage is made from rye bread that is stale. Loaves are added to a container with salt, water, yeast and sugar and left to ferment for 2-3 weeks. It is popular in Russia as a digestive tonic. In Ukraine this is made with beet and used in soups and vinaigrettes.

Fermented foods from Middle East


34. Kushuk/Tarkana/Tarhanas – Iran/America/Greece/Central Asia/Eastern Europe

Source: MRG90

The dried fermented food is made with cracked wheat flour, sour milk or yoghurt, salt, spices, tarhana herb, and groats. After fermentation, the mixture is dried and coarsely ground. Cooked vegetables are added in variations. Kushuk is turned into a nourishing soup with addition of water, stock or milk.

35. Torshi /Tursu – Iran/Turkey/Morrocco/Middle East

Source: Baha’i Views / Flitzy Phoebie

Vegetables are fermented in brine that also contains aromatic herbs, spices and vinegar. The ingredients include celery, carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, cabbage, aubergines and green tomatoes. This is then paced in glass jars and stored in a cool place for 2-3 months.

36. Doogh – Iran/Syria/Lebanon

Source: Jason Lam

This cold fermented drink is basically yogurt, salt and water. It is also a national drink of Turkey and called Ayran there. You’ll find variations of this beverage in Armenia, Afghanistan, Balkan regions, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

37. Shanklish/Surke – Syria, Lebanon, Egypt

Source: Charles Haynes

This fermented cheese is made from cow or sheep’s’ milk. It is turned into balls, covered with spices like aniseed, red chilli, Aleppo pepper and za’atar, and then dried and aged. The hardened cheese is eaten as a side dish, added to eggs, or as pita bread topping.


How many of these traditional fermented foods have your tried? Do you have a fermented food story to share with us?

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Top 28 Food and Travel Bloggers to Follow in 2017

Do you enjoy browsing through recipes online and swooning over enticing food images? Is it curiosity about other cultures or thrill of armchair exploration that finds you spending countless hours on travel sites?

Food and travel experiments enable you to see places, culinary traditions and culture from a vantage point – local point of view.

This immersive experience leaves you with a keen understanding of food, customs and people. We’ve attempted something similar with this top list of food-loving travel bloggers.

You’ll find bloggers who enjoy a variety of foods, experiment with local and exotic cuisine on their journey across the planet. The travel bloggers in our listicle showcase their adventures and experiences, while musing on food, dining spots and tourist activities.

1. Migrationology
Author – Mark Wiens

Probably the most famous food and travel blog out there, a creation (and passion) of Mark Wiens. More than through the blog itself, Mark became famous thanks to his You Tube Channel, that features food on camera from all over the world. It is an absolute must-follow for people who travel for food.

2. Legal Nomads
Author – Jodi Ettenberg

Jodi Ettenberg, a former lawyer, quit her job to travel and ended up creating a completely new career for herself, inspiring readers with her powerful story-telling. She shares her culinary adventures from places she visits, sprinkled with beautiful photography, resources and personal tips.

3. Bacon is Magic 
Author – Ayngelina Borgan

What started off a female solo-traveller’s chronicle has morphed into a culinary and travel blog about meals, people and places. With the contribution of her husband Dave, who is a professional chef, the blog features fascinating food guides and recipes – and don’t miss all the fantastic video food guides on their You Tube Channel!

4. Nomadic Boys
Authors – Stefan and Sebastian

The London-based gay couple has travelled to 25 countries so far. You’ll find an entire section on local food recipes, in addition to culture stories and travel advice on their site.

5. 2foodtrippers 
Authors – Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

This married couple combine their love for food and travel (over 30 countries all together and 38 States in the US) into a fact-filled website. You’ll find tips on cuisine, dining spots, accommodation and food festivals.
6. With Husband in Tow 
Authors – Eric and Amber

For this couple, adventure lies in food-related events from tasting local foods to exploring new cuisines, as they are experiencing the world through food and wine travel. Don’t forget to check out their delicious You Tube Channel.

7. Authentic Food Quest
Authors – Claire and Rosemary

Claire and Rosemary, who are both family, and business partners, set off on a mission through 32 countries and 29 US States to showcase authentic local food to the world. They want to inspire other travellers to experience other countries and cultures through culinary experiences.



8. Once in A Lifetime Journey
Author – Mar Pages

Having travelled to 90 countries so far, Mar reveals more about little-known places in the world, their cuisine, restaurants and her amazing experiences there.

9. Funnelogy Channel
Authors – Gabriella Zanzanaini and Nicolas Petit

These bloggers are foodies at heart searching for new recipes from local kitchens abroad – as they say, there is not better universal language than food! Their website has food and culture stories from their journey through Eurasia.

10. A Little Adrift
Author – Shannon O’Donnell

Shannon, who was named “Traveller of the Year” by National Geographic, has been exploring the planet from 2008. Her site has expanded to include guides on food, culture and sustainable tourism along with beautiful photography.

11. Eat Your World
Authors – Scott and Laura Rosen

Travel is all about immersing in new cultural and food experiences for this couple. Their blog documents and local foods and travel stories from 125+ cities, focusing on foods and drinks that are native and traditional.

12. Boy Eats World
Authors – Aleney and Raffles

A food-travel blog with a difference! Along with travel anecdotes, you’ll find restaurant reviews, food notes by mom, and special reviews by 8-year old Raffles.

13. A Table for Two
Author – Billy Law

This Masterchef Australia participant has been living his culinary travel dream. His posts cover tasty restaurant meals from around the world with drool worthy images.

14. Mrs. O Around the World
Author – Ana Silva O’Reilly

Do luxury settings figure in your travel essentials? This blog with travel tips, reviews and best lists of places, hotels and food will feel like home.

15. A Taste of Travel
Author – Jenny

Jenny’s love for new sights, delicious flavours and luxury travel spaces is evident from her food and travel stories – and it all started in Italy, but since then she’s been eating her way throughout the continents!



16. Food Travelist
Author – Sue Reddel, Diana Laskaris

Sue and Diana call themselves “ambassadors of food travel” and they’ve been touring the culinary world since 2011. They also specifically cover experiences that “offer welcoming comfort to the LGBTQ community”.

17. The Wandering Gourmand
Author – Bryan Richards

A stay-at-home dad, a craft beer and food blogger and a travel writer, Bryan takes you on a food and beer hunting journey across five continents.

18. Lonely Palate
Author – Jessica Rigg

Jessica shares food secrets gleamed from locals and chefs on her travels, along with details on food trends and eateries.

19. The Travel Bite
Author – Rachelle Lucas and Pete Wallace

Rachelle’s and Pete’s passion for exploring food and places is visible in there posts as they searches for tastiest meals on her travels. Through her writing and recipes collected from all around the world, she inspires people to explore the world of culinary vacations.

20. Cook Sister
Author – Jeanne Horak-Druiff

Jeanne, a South African food, wine and travel blogger, brings you restaurant reviews, travel tips and cuisine advice interspersed with gorgeous images of markets and delicious food.

21. Ever in Transit
Author – Cassie Kifer and Kevin Adams

California-based duo, Cassie and Kevin, takes you on a culinary journey across continents, featuring unusual foods, global recipes, beers and wine from all around the globe. Explore their (mostly) vegetarian foods and enjoy their travel tips!

22. Travel Bites Deep
Author – Jessica Colley

The bloggette takes you on a journey across Europe exploring food, luxury settings and locale, while sharing unique tips with readers.



23. A Cook Not Mad
Authors –Tim and Nat

When a photographer and a chef decide to share their travel stories, you’re sure to find tantalising tales of food and culture among the pages.

24. The Culinary Travel Guide
Author – Laura Goyer

This Culinary Travel Professional shares top food experiences with her readers. You’ll find news, reviews, and personal food reminiscences on this magazine-style website.

25. Travel This Earth
Authors – Mica and Mike

Mica and Mike have been living all around the world since 2007. When they’re not busy volunteering, this duo explore the rich culinary scene in their destinations and share them with their readers.

26. The Food Pornographer
Author – Cynthia Chew

This Australian food-and-travel aficionado showcases her culinary experiences, restaurant reviews and market tours with beautiful images.

27. Will Fly for Food
Authors – JB and Renee

The traveleaters, as they call themselves, talk about their culinary exploits on the road. Their website also provides guides on dining spots and local food.

28. Deliciously Directionless
Author – Prachi Joshi

This India-based traveller’s site is filled with restaurant reviews, food notes, interesting recipes, and travel anecdotes.

Bonus blog!

Food Perestroika
Author – Floran Pinel

Floran writes about authentic recipes from East European (Eastern bloc) cuisines and restaurants serving them. You’ll also find travelogues from countries like Armenia and Moldova.

Did you enjoy this round-up of food-based travel blogs? Ready to embark on your own culinary cum exploration trip?

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Unique Tea Ceremonies Around the World

Just one whiff of aromatic tea – black, green, oolong – and you feel better already.

Once used for its medicinal and healing properties, tea is now the second most popular drink in the world, after (you’d never have guessed this one) water!

Tea is much more than a warm drink. While most of us sip our cuppa tea without giving it much thought, some countries have built a culture around this beverage.

It comes as no surprise then that many tea drinking communities have unique ways of celebrating a shared love. This is a way of life; welcoming strangers and bonding with family and friends.

Here is a peek into ceremonies and traditions from select tea loving nations!




Photo credit: Rain Rannu

This North African country is a blend of different cultures and nothing symbolises this blending aspect better than its Maghrebi mint tea culture. The sugary, green mint tea is poured into delicate glasses and offered three times to each guest by their Moroccan hosts. The tea’s flavour changes with every new serving which signal life, love and death respectively. Your refusal, even a polite one, to drink any of the three-serves is considered extremely rude by the host.




Photo credit: Marshallhenrie

One small pot of herbal tea or yerba mate is shared by many as a means of bonding. The pot is constantly refilled to ensure there is enough for everyone. If Moroccans take offence at your refusing their tea, Argentinians feel offended when you thank them for sharing their pot with you. Worse still; they may kick you out of the group for stirring your tea with the straining straw – bombilla. As a guest, you neither thank your host or group for sharing, nor do you question their tea making ability.




Photo credit: Ivory Mamoth

The Russians love their samovar and so should you when you entertain friends from Russia. Water is constantly boiled in an internal chamber of this large metal urn, with thick, dark tea brewing on the top. Guests dilute this tea concentrate or zavarka with hot water before drinking it black. Hosts will offer you sugar or homemade jam to add to your tea. If you’re doing a traditional-style hosting, don’t forget to keep snacks handy, unless you want to be considered inconsiderate by your guests.




Photo credit: Liyster

The English afternoon tea is not something that can be easily replaced by the coffee rush, as tea still holds the prime spot among hot beverage lovers in England and United Kingdom. This tradition of tea and biscuits was started by the Seventh Duchess of Bedford in 19th century to serve as a mini meal before dinner and a new way to entertain friends. While many English homes, cafes and tea rooms have been keeping the afternoon tea and snacks tradition alive, it has become a thriving social practice in many Asian countries, including India.




Photo credit: Stinkie Pinkie

Like their Chinese and Japanese counterparts, Koreans have different tea ceremonies or formal gatherings depending on the event. The hosts and guests follow established customs and wear traditional clothes. The host is in charge of making and serving tea, and depending on the tea quality, guests may be offered 3-5 rounds per batch. The tea pot and individual bowls are rinsed twice with hot water, before tea leaves and more hot water are added to the pot. The brewed tea is then poured into drinking bowls. The guests are expected to hold their bowl with both hands, observe the colour, inhale the aroma, taste the six food flavours with each sip, before swallowing the tea.




Photo credit: Georges Seguin

The Japanese had elaborate tea drinking and tasting or Way of Life ceremonies.  Many of the elements are still being practised in a bid to preserve ancient traditions. This is more than a bonding over tea session. It is zen in action from the flower arrangement and guest seating to tea making process, equipment used, and gestures adopted by hosts and guests. The chanoyu ceremony involves the brewing of both thin and thick Matcha green tea by a skilled practitioner and served to a select group of people. The tea ceremony can take up to four hours and includes a light meal, and sometimes, a multi-course one.




Photo credit: neptunati

China discovered the magic of tea brewing and shared its knowledge with the rest of the world. It has its share of special tea ceremonies, including the meditative or Gung Fu method. What sets Gung Fu apart is the use of purple clay pots and miniature tea equipment. The emphasis is on the elegance and taste of oolong tea which is steeped many times by expert tea brewers. Other varieties of tea are used for other tasting ceremonies.

Special tea ceremonies are associated with weddings. In one such ceremony, couples offer tea to each other to show their respect and care. In another wedding related ceremony, the prospective groom’s parents offer tea as a bridal gift to the girl’s parents. To seal the marriage agreement, the girl’s parents accept this gift and send other gifts in return. 

Did you enjoy reading about these interesting tea traditions and ceremonies?  Have you come across a tea ceremony you’d like to share with us? 

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7 Tips for Photographing Busy Food Markets and Street Food

Booths overflowing with gorgeous foods of every kind, intoxicating aromas of spices and cheeses, merchants enthusiastically shouting over the crowds to sell their wares – these are just a few of the joys of visiting the food markets around the world.

As every food traveler knows, visiting the local market can be the highlight of a trip. Capturing stunning, savor-worthy photos of that market, however, can be quite a challenge. Even the smallest of food markets are typically chaotic, with vendors trying to get your attention, constant motion everywhere, and of course, other shoppers bumping into you and blocking your shots. With so much going on, getting even a single decent image can be frustrating enough to make you give up and head to the nearest pub.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to make the experience of photographing a busy market not only tolerable, but enjoyable. Whether you are a serious photographer or simply want to take a few Instagram worthy pics of your visit to the market, these simple and easy to implement tips will help you navigate the chaos and capture those drool worthy food market images.

1) Choose the right time of day

Do a bit of research to discover when the market is typically less crowded, but still well stocked with goods. In most locations, this is shortly after the market opens for the day. The booths are usually overflowing with the freshest, most beautiful foods, the vendors are still (hopefully) in good spirits, and the market won’t be swarming with mid-day shoppers blocking your shots or getting annoyed that you are in their way.

Bonus – if you are visiting the market in the morning, the natural morning light is likely to be at its most complimentary.

Food Market Photography from Julie Cockburn at TasteOfThePlace.com_skipping the crowds(Taking advantage of the lull in the market crowd.)

2) Take a few minutes to orient yourself

Whether you are visiting the market just to take photos, or you’re there to pick up lunch for the day and grab a few pics while you’re at it, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes to absorb the whole scene. Walk around, look at the booths, chit chat with a vendor or two, and get to know the place. When you do, you will get a quick feel for the where the best photos can be found, as well as where to find the tastiest looking goodies for your lunch. ) Focus on the details The busier it is, the harder it can be to get a good wide shot. So rather than trying to fight the crowds, focus on the little things right in front of you. Fortunately, so much of the beauty of a market can be found in the details – the individual stacks of cheese, the perfect pastry, the hands of the vendors tending their wares.

3) Focus on the details

The busier it is, the harder it can be to get a good wide shot. So rather than trying to fight the crowds, focus on the little things right in front of you. Fortunately, so much of the beauty of a market can be found in the details – the individual stacks of cheese, the perfect pastry, the hands of the vendors tending their wares.

Food Market Photography from Julie Cockburn at TasteOfThePlace.com_details(The interesting details on the basket of greens are eye catching and beautiful.)

4) Embrace the chaos

Markets are, by their very nature, chaotic. Elbows are flying, people are shouting, there is hustle and bustle everywhere. If you aren’t able to be there during the quietest time of day, and instead find yourself in the middle of the craziness, embrace it in your photos. Don’t be afraid to show the long lines, or capture images with lots hands reaching in for goods – it’s all part of the story. Bonus idea – If you have the ability to control the shutter speed on your camera and have a way to stabilize it (this would be a good scenario for a lightweight monopod), why not try taking a longer exposure shot. Focus on something interesting, and allow the motion of activity to blur all around it.

Food Market Photography from Julie Cockburn at TasteOfThePlace.com_show the crowd(The hands and people in the background tell an interesting story.)

5) Shoot then shop…

Trying to take photos while loaded down with stuff is not fun. Your arms get tired, you tend to drop things, and pretty soon you are so frustrated that you shove the camera away and say forget it. Do yourself a favor and shoot your photos first, then put the camera away and dive into some delicious shopping.

6) …OR, shop then shoot later

Sometimes shooting somewhere else is your best bet, especially if you want to compose a shot of particular items. Why not purchase a few beautiful (and tasty) goodies, head to a lovely location, and shoot there at your leisure. Big bonus – now you have a picnic to enjoy!

Food Market Photography from Julie Cockburn at TasteOfThePlace.com_shoot later(A few simple and tasty items arranged, photographed, and then enjoyed, after leaving the market for the day)

7) Non-techy camera tips for shooting hectic markets

• Whether you are using a smart phone or a high-end DSLR, make sure you are well acquainted with your camera before you go. When you are shooting at the market, you are going to feel pressured to move quickly. Before you go, at a minimum, make sure you know how to quickly set the focus and adjust the brightness.

• Make sure you check your photos as you go. Have you ever gotten home from an event, downloaded your photos, and discovered they were all blurry? No fun! Unfortunately, the displays on most cameras and smart phones are too small to really show if a photo is out of focus. To avoid this tragedy, take a few seconds from time to time to zoom in on your pics and ensure they’re looking good.

• Think about the light. Try to use natural, diffused light whenever possible. Look for booths that are bright and open. Keep in mind that food generally looks great when lit from the side. This means that while you are shooting, try to position yourself so the natural light is flowing from either your left or right, and across the food.

Food Market Photography from Julie Cockburn at TasteOfThePlace.com_side light(Natural side lighting brings out the shine of the berries and the texture in the scene.)

With just a bit of planning and thoughtfulness during your next trip to the food market, you can take away not only some delicious goodies, but some drool worthy photos to remember your experience!

This article is prepared by Julie Cockburn, a culinary travel specialist, cookbook author, and food photographer at Grab more culinary travel photography tips, plus download a free travel photography packing check list at .

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Big Fat List Of Steamed Dumplings Across The Globe

Travel across the planet and you’ll find one common dish — crunchy or delicate pockets with spicy or sweet goodness. There is nothing more pleasurable than biting into a delicious dumpling – the fillings and gooey juices combine to create unique flavours.

According to food researchers, most dumplings trace their origins to China and Silk Trade Route. Fillings come encased in different leavened and unleavened dough wraps, with diverse folding techniques, and cooked in varied ways. How do you choose dumplings for a list like this one?

We have focused on steamed dumplings from different countries. From purse to boat shaped dumplings, you’ll find a vegetarian or meaty delight that satisfies the most capricious of foodies! Let’s start our journey to the world of dumplings, and begin with their motherland:

1. China

Char Siu Bao

china dumpling-3

For a barbecue and dumpling hybrid, look no further than this dim sum from Canton province. Barbecued pork is stuffed into dough buns and steamed to create a unique dumpling combo.

Image source: Joyosity


china dumpling-4

Culinary art meets a hungry Chinese food fan in this boat shaped dumpling with rice dough wrapping. Fill them with cabbage, pork and/or veggies and savour them steamed, boiled or pan fried with some dark soy sauce or peanut sauce.

Image source: Hajime Nakano

Xiao Long Bao

china dumpling-2

Minced pork or pork-and-crab are covered with wheat dough wrappers. The dumpling edges are pleated in a swirled bun shape and steamed. The cooking process releases a savoury and rich broth for added flavour.

Image source: Haynes

Zheng Jiao

china dumpling-5

The delicate dumplings come in translucent wrappers which get their stretchy character from gelatin. The fillings can be anything from pork and cabbage to shrimp, chives and other vegetables.

Image source: Exilekiss

Har Gow

Chunks of shrimp encased in a thin wheat and tapioca based wrapper makes a Har Gow. Sometimes bits of pork are used for added effect.

china dumpling-1

Image source: RosieTulips

Chiu-Chao Fun Gor (Teochew)

These moon-shaped, steamed dumplings are a bit different from other Chinese varieties. The wheat and tapioca wrapper contains filling combos of mushroom, radish, pork, chives, shrimp, peanuts, jicama and cilantro.


Image source: boo_licious

Siu Mai


The wheat flour wrapper is open on the top in this version of juicy dim sum. Fillings include shrimp, pork and other meat. Siu Mai is often topped with grated carrot or fish roe.

Image source: eLjeProks

2. South Korea


steamed dumplings-3

These circular and crescent shaped dumplings are popular street foods. If you love kimchi (fermented vegetables), you’ll enjoy the steamed dumpling version as well. Other steamed and boiled versions use pork and different meat fillings.

Image source: Charles Haynes

3. Poland


polish dumpling

This sweet bun-like dumpling is made with unleavened dough that is steamed on a linen cloth over boiling water. Sweet ones are sometimes filled with melted butter, sugar and cinnamon. Savoury ones contain roasted pork or sweet-sour fried cabbage.

Image source: Nerel

4. Slovakia

Buchty na Pare


Parena Knedla is an egg and flour- based side dish. It is eaten like plain, steamed bun rather than as a stuffed pocket. But this changes with addition of stuffing like plum or other fruit jams. The resultant dish, Buchty na Pare, is served with a topping of ground walnuts, poppy seeds and sugar

Image source: Yidian Cheow

5. Trinidad and Tabago, Dominican Republic



The cornmeal dumpling is one of the few that aren’t round shaped. A close cousin of tamale, these spiced vegetable and meat (usually pork and beef) filled delicacies are steamed and served in banana leaves.

Image source: Checkmihlyrics

6. North India, Tibet, Nepal



Find inner peace and contentment with these dumplings from Nepal and Tibet. A good momo will have an ultra-thin cover with delicious juices from sauces, veggies and meat (buffalo, yak) dying to ooze out. Stuff anything from mushrooms and cabbage to pork and enjoy.

Image source: Areta Ekarafi

7. India



The teardrop or garlic pod-shaped dumpling is usually prepared for an Indian religious festival. The raw rice flour wrapper enhances the sweet taste of the jaggery and coconut filling.

Image source: Divya Kudua

(Tamil Nadu)


While the sweet version resembles Modak in shape and taste, the savoury version with a rice dough wrapper has a unique taste. The stuffing is usually cooked red beans/Azuki or black-eyed peas mixed with salt, sesame seeds, curry leaves and grated coconut.

Image source: Go Dakshin

8. Mexico, South and Central America



Tamale is to Mexicans what dim sum is to Chinese. Made with cornmeal wrappings, these steamed dumplings have meat, cheese, vegetable or tuber fillings.

Image source: Aaron

9. Hawaii



These steamed beef buns are a close cousin of the Chinese Baozi. Chicken mushroom, beef, ube or purple yam, pork hash are common fillings encased in a leavened dough wrap.

Image source: Grenade

10. Hong Kong


dumplings soup

Square or circular wrappers with vegetables, shrimp or meat are steamed or boiled before they are set in a tasty and spiced up broth soup. Some steamed wontons can be eaten on their own or with egg noodles.

Image source: Tom Eats

11. Thailand

Sticky Rice Dumpling


The oval or square shaped, chewy dumpling – khao tom mat has sticky rice serving as a wrap. The fillings can be sweet or savoury. Sweet ones contain coconut and sweet banana fillings. Spiced up dumplings with mung beans and lard are served with sauce and fried shallots.

Image source: Takeaway


12. Turkey, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan



A gift of Mongols and Turkish nomads, this dumpling is popular all over Central Asia. Each country has its own style of preparing mantu which is then steamed, boiled or baked. Turkey and Armenia are famous for boat-shaped baked manti while the Stan countries prefer round-shaped steamed ones.

The egg and flour-based wrapper contains lamb or beef meat filling enhanced with local spices. You have rare veggie versions with squash and potatoes. These are topped with tomato sauce or served with yoghurt, lentil sauce or chilli oil.

Image source: Rubber Slippers in Italy

13. Vietnam

Bahn Bot Loc


This chewy dumpling has shrimp and pork parts encased in thin tapioca wrapping. The wrapper is sometimes covered banana leaves or folded in a purse or crescent shape before steaming. Vietnam cuisine has other Bnah varieties including a tapioca –based dessert dumpling (Che Bot Loc).

Image source: Kirk K

Banh It Tran


The glutinous rice dough wrapper encases a savoury filling made with cooked mung beans, shrimp and spices. The crescent shaped dumpling is steamed before serving with spicy soy sauce and fried scallions.

Image source: Van’s Kitchen



stemaed dumplings 9

This popular street food is nothing but steamed fish dumpling with rice flour wrapping. It is often served with peanut sauce and vegetables.

Image source: Zoyachubby

15. Philippines



This Chinese-inspired steamed dumpling has a leavened, rice dough wrapper with a sweetish taste. Spiced chicken is the common filling but you’ll find shredded pork versions.

Image source: Mia

16. Mongolia



Mongolian steamed dumplings use wheat or a mix of flours like barley, buckwheat and barley as dough wrapper. Buuz is filled with mutton, other meats, garlic, onions and local herbs.

Image source: Marco Fieber


17. Nepal



These steamed sweet buns with a symbolic triangular shape are made on festive occasions. The wrap is made with rice flour and encloses a rich filling of sesame seeds, coconut, and chakku or molasses.

Image source: Ritesh Man Tamrakar

Which of these dumplings will you be trying next? Have we missed out on steamed dumplings in this list?

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