Showing posts with label gourmet food festivals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gourmet food festivals. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

That Unforgettable Taste of Tahiti

Our favorite cruises are those in which the ship arrives early into a port and leaves late. . .you can experience much in a 12-hour time period. We had such a stop in Pape’ete, Tahiti and it afforded us a real taste of the town:


Our evening at Place Vaiete Roulottes – in the shadow of our cruise ship -- may have been one of the best experiences we had while sailing across the Pacific Ocean en route to Sydney, Australia from Honolulu last fall.


Place Vaiete Roulottes, is the most amazing collection of mobile food trucks and food stalls we’ve ever experienced (yes, even better than Portland, Oregon for you Northwest foodie fans out there). Roulotte is French for caravan – and what a culinary caravan circled up to serve an array of dishes. 

A couple dozen chefs rolled in as the sun dipped below the horizon (about 6 p.m.) and the once empty lot, known as Vaiete Square, near the cruise ship dock came to life as colorful tables, chairs and plastic stools stretched in every direction.


It was an aromatherapy treatment for foodies as smells from grills mixed with the pungent smells of spicy stir fry and the sweet scents of crepes.


We circled the area several times before we could get focused on just what we would eat – think children in a candy store – because that was what we were as we strolled, our heads swiveling back and forth, competing with each other to find the next temptation.


Even after we had selected the place where we would dine I couldn’t sit still and  had to watch my dinner being hand made by this culinary artist.


While The Scout dined on Steak Frites, I ate those delightful stuffed morsels you see on the right side of the above photo.  We could have been tempted to eat more, to sample the many more flavors that were seducing us with their scents – but it would have been, sadly, shear gluttony.


Now there are probably some of you reading this thinking, “But was it safe to eat at those places?” and the answer is a resounding, ‘YES!’  They are all licensed and everything was as spotlessly clean as it appears in this photo. (Sadly, we watched many fellow cruisers who walked past this culinary haven as they returned to the ship to ‘eat on board’ because they weren’t up to the adventure or they wanted to get that meal that came with the price of the cruise ticket.)

The food was so good and inexpensive that we could have eaten there every night for a week (or longer) and never have tired of it. It is one reason, we agreed, to put a return to Tahiti on our ‘bucket list’.


Should you find yourself in Tahiti – don’t miss this experience.  Do remember to bring cash – they don’t take credit cards.


The Food Fest on shore was still going strong as we pulled away from the dock at 9 p.m.  And they say that often times music plays on weekend nights – we were so on sensor overload that I can’t recall whether we heard music or not. . .I’ll have to ask The Scout what he remembers beyond the food. . .

That is it for today.  We thank you for the time you’ve spent with us and hope you will be back soon to share in our tips and tales.

We are linking up with:
Nancie McKinnon’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday
Marcia Mayne’s Inside Journey’s Foodie Tuesday
Kent Weakley’s Sweet Shot Tuesday

Saturday, June 29, 2013

WAWeekend: A Taste of Our Northern Neighbor

One of the many good things about Washington State is its proximity to Canada. In Seattle, we are about a two hour drive or 30-minute flight from British Columbia, our next-door neighbor to the north.

So when news from Richmond, BC, a suburb of Vancouver arrived in the inbox last week, it tickled our taste buds enough to make us think about heading north this summer. And here are but a few samples of why the temptation is great. . .

RS9411_Dining - Night Market - Asian 7

Sweetly flavored mini-donuts. Skewered seaweed.
Squid pancakes. Roasted yams. Fresh duck wraps.
Sweet mango and cream. Chinese dragon’s beard candy.
Swirly hurricane fries. Japanese takoyaki.
Spicy BBQ squid. Grilled beef or chicken skewers.
Vietnamese salad rolls. Burgers with sushi rice buns.
Japanese corn dogs. Smoked turkey legs. BBQ abalone.
Grilled lobster.Chinese noodles and dumplings.Butter chicken. Soba noodles with savory toppings. Stinky tofu. Shaved ice . . .

. . .are among the goodies found at:

Richmond’s two acclaimed Asian night markets -- The Richmond Night Market and the International Summer Night Market. The two markets combined offer nearly 150 food stalls, more than 400 retail vendors and a variety of entertainment to their more than 15,000 visitors each weekend.

Night Market 2013

Richmond Night Market
Open: May 17 until October 14, 7 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturday, 6 to 11 p.m. Sundays and holidays.
Location: 8351 River Road next to Bridgeport Station on the Canada Line.
Cost: Admission is $2 or, buy a transferable Zoom Pass - $10 for 7 tickets or $20 for 15. Seniors and children 10 and under are free. Parking is free.
Get there (by transit): Take the Canada Line to Bridgeport Station and then walk about 200 meters west along River Road to the market.
Get there (by car): Head north on No. 3 Road at Bridgeport Road and follow the signs.

RS9862_Entertainment - Night Market  15 

International Summer Night Market
Open: May 10 through September 8, 7 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturdays, 7 to 11 p.m. Saturdays and holidays.
Location: 12631 Vulcan Way just west of the Knight Street Bridge.
Cost: Admission is free. Parking is $4, or purchase a transferable parking pass – 5 for $15 or 10 for $25.
Get there (by transit): Take the Canada Line to Bridgeport Station and then catch a free five-minute shuttle ride to the market (starting June 8).
Get there (by car): Head north on No. 5 Road at Bridgeport Road, turn right on River Road and then follow the signs.
There’s a free shuttle between the two, so you can easily visit both in a single evening.

081608 - Richmond, BC
Chung Chow photo
Richmond Summer Night Market
Each weekend throughout the summer 300 vendors selling a wide assortment of products and food items.  The largest venues of its kind attract some 14,000 people.
James Chu cooking up satays for the masses.

Our friends at Richmond Tourism offer these tips for enjoying the markets to the max:
* Bring cash. Although some merchandise vendors accept debit cards and there are ATMs on site, it’s easier for everyone if you can pay with cash on the spot.
* Be prepared to haggle with the merchandise vendors, but not at the food stalls.
* To avoid the crowds, come on Fridays and Sundays and arrive early.
* For the most action-packed fun, come on Saturdays and stay late.
* For the best deals, come on Sundays, especially late in the evening when vendors are trying to sell as much stock as possible before the weekend is over.
* Don’t be daunted by the longest food lineups – they’re long because the food is good. Besides, they move more quickly than you think.
* Expect to spend between $2 and $8 on most food items.
* Note that pets (dogs and cats only) are welcome.
* Neither market is licensed, so no alcohol is sold on site.

If  You Go:

Drive time from Seattle: About two hours depending on International Border Crossing wait times. Passport/Citizenship documentation required:

Map picture


The two markets are near several hotels. The Richmond Night Market is steps from the River Rock Casino Resort Hotel or a short walk to the Westin Wall Centre.

The International Summer Night Market is a little further over from these two hotels – a 5 minute drive. Or, there is the Sandman Signature Hotel, a bit closer. All the hotels are 5-10 minutes from the markets.

For more accommodations and information:

Photos used in this post were provided to us by Tourism Richmond. And a reminder to all of you using Google Reader to read TravelnWrite. Time to find a new reader and we are on both BlogLovin' and Digg these days. Google Reader is being discontinued this weekend.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Waikiki’s SPAM® JAM Festival. . .no joke!


It's time to celebrate SPAM®. . . the kind you eat, not delete.

A conversation with two blogger buddies earlier this week found us in agreement on spam, those nuisance bulk emails that clog inboxes, but we had vastly differing opinions on SPAM®, the food. 

I’m the lone SPAM® fan in this trio.

Blogger Ann, who normally muses about life, mused about eating anything that slides out of the can in a wiggling gelatinous wrap.  Blogger Dick, whose focus is community and education, simply pondered SPAM® and its relationship to public education. 

SPAM®, we agreed, was a worthy blog topic for us all. Lucky for me, this announcement arrived in my inbox two days later:

10th Annual Waikiki SPAM® JAM Festival
is set for Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
on Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki, Honolulu

DSCF0080More SPAM®, according to one of the conference sponsors, is consumed per person in Hawaii than any other state in the United States, which makes it somewhat appropriate for their signature food festival.

SPAM® stands for ‘spiced ham’; a product introduced in 1937 by the Hormel Foods Corporation.  The food cube inside the can is a mix of ham and pork shoulder and now comes in low-salt, spicy and original (simply salty) versions.

Two key statistics in the news release caught my eye:

* nearly seven million cans of SPAM® are eaten every year in Hawaii. (Hawaii’s population was 1.375 in 2011 – that’s a lot of SPAM® per person!)

* in the decade since it began, the Waikiki SPAM® JAM, has become one of the most popular festivals in Hawaii. More than 20,000 are expected to attend this year’s festivities.

!cid_D0112F1spam photo3

Waikiki’s main beach front drag, Kalakaua Avenue, will be closed to vehicular traffic. You can see why in this photo from a previous SPAM® JAM.

Some of Hawaii’s favorite entertainers will perform on two stages, and a dozen restaurants are serving up some crazy ono grindz (that’s ‘really good’ in Hawaiian) SPAM® dishes. A sample of the dishes being created and served include:

!cid_C212A5D2-207F-41A1-A7CC-1CFE8BFDF2DD@hawaii_rrP.F. Chang’s: SPAM® Lettuce Wraps and SPAM® Lo Mein

Duke’s/Hula Grill: SPAM® Loco Moco with Shitake Mushroom Cream Gravy.

Cheeseburger Beachwalk: SPAM® Babies

Aqua CafĂ©: Ono Mac and Cheese with SPAM® and a SPAM® Bento.

Atlantis Seafood and Steak: SPAM® Mahi Carbonara.

Jimmy Buffett’s at the Beachcomber: Will have three dishes including Hormel’s Grand Prize Winning Recipe from the Great American SPAM® Championship. . .drum roll. . .Mini Maple SPAM® Doughnuts (created by Jason Munson, at the Puyallup Fair right here in Puget Sound)!

Admission is free.  But if you plan to attend keep in mind,The Hawaiian Food Bank will also have a booth at SPAM® JAM.  Since 2004, more than 10,000 pounds of SPAM® have been donated to the food bank thanks to this festival.

For more information, visit,   Ever been to the festival? Tell us about it, or tell your own SPAM® story by adding a comment below or drop us an email.

Note:  Thanks to Wiki Commons and photographer Matthew W. Jackson for use of the SPAM® photo at the top of the post and to SPAM® JAM organizers for the other two photos used in this post.


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