Pressing “reset”

One of the things that friends (and even strangers) often ask me and my wife S about is if we get jaded or bored when dining out. I guess the assumption here is that since we’ve eaten so widely and so well, there has to be some point at which we would become disenchanted with food and cooking. And some times, we do. Especially when we go to a dozen restaurants over the course of the month or two and see the same 3 or 4 items on every single menu. It’s even worse when one of those items is a molten chocolate cake and the others all have some element of espuma in them.

But the truth is, because we’re able to travel, and because we make a point to save up for gourmet-centric holidays, we’re able to continuously re-awaken our love for great food, be it simple or spectacular. Trips to places like Japan or France can easily cancel out any sense of culinary ennui. Simply said, eating abroad is the best possible way to press “reset”.

What is especially wonderful is visiting a place that has fantastic extremes of cooking. This recent visit to Catalonia, for example, has really renewed our love for and outlook on food. It’s been really quite amazing to experience the extremes that make Spain one of the world’s top culinary destinations. What we loved most about this trip (which I will cover in-depth in a couple of up-coming posts) was witnessing the respect and appreciation for traditional classic cuisine (and tasting these dishes of course) contrasted with the extraordinary innovations in cooking that are pushing the boundaries of gastronomy.

(Of course, many of you who follow the food world know about the storm now brewing between Santi Santamaria and Ferran Adria. But I think these two different — I hate to use the term “opposing” — perspectives on food are what make Spain, for an outsider like me, particularly exciting.)

Eating here the past week has been amazing. Tasting freshly grilled, sweet, succulent prawns in Costa Brava; slurping down a hot plate of fried eggs topped with baby squid in La Boqueria in Barcelona; tucking into an addictively delicious (and my first ever) fideua negro; tasting a truly artistic dessert inspired by a perfume at El Celler de Can Roca; and the entire meal at El Bulli were all things that I won’t forget anytime soon. All were experiences I wouldn’t want to give up and wouldn’t have missed for the world. Individually, they were all superb. Together, they have helped renew my love for food and have, perhaps more importantly, also opened my eyes to new ways to look at this thing I love so much.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his two kids!


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  1. r 23 May 2008

    La boqueria is amazing. In fact, all the food markets in Barcelona were (Mercat de Santa Caterina etc), Europian and Asian cultures (most of them, gross generalisation i know) have such innate appreciation for food which is infectious. Gastronomy/food appreciation is somewhat of a niche market in Australia and feels laboured over rather than something inherent. But it has its moments 🙂

  2. Grace 23 May 2008

    my dream is to go to el builli but…. how much do i need to save up for a meal there (assuming that i did get a reservation) and how long does a meal there take!?!?!?!?

  3. Peech 24 May 2008

    I think my trp to northern Spain 2 years ago was the best culinary trip I have ever taken, surpassing any trips to France or the trip when I went to both per se and the French Laundry.

    The range of food from La Boqueria to pintxos in San Sebastien to El Bulli…was just amazing. I am hoping to do another trip next year!

  4. Natty 24 May 2008

    What a great post! It’s like the more you see of the world, the more you realize how little you’ve seen. As far as hitting reset state-side, I think New Orleans does a very good job! Forgive my ignorance but what’s the top shot of?

  5. edamame 24 May 2008

    All dishes look very delicious! I am interested in the food culture of your country. And I support your site. If there is time, please come in my site. From Japan

  6. Serene 25 May 2008

    What serendipity! I will be visiting Spain this August, and was just wondering what I can do with my mother (who is old and not so active). Culinary explorations seem the perfect idea! I actually never knew Spain was noted for its food.

    Maybe you can write more about Santi Santamaria and Ferran Adria… that would be interesting to hear.

    Arrived at your site from a friend. Hope it’s ok.

  7. Cheryl 26 May 2008

    Hello there Aun, it was a spontaneous delight to come across your blog, and then realising you’re a fellow Singaporean. Thumbs up for the professional site!

    I’m also wondering where you source for ingredients in Singapore, especially for non-asian dishes…?

    I’ve left some 8 years ago for the UK and that’s left me out of touch with the nitty gritties of life in Singapore somewhat. I may return at some point!

  8. Vivian 27 May 2008

    Wow, I can’t believe you went to El Bulli. I’ve been wanting to get in for a few years now. Can you please do a write up on your visit?

  9. Chubby Hubby 27 May 2008

    r: Yah, the markets in Spain were outstanding. La Boqueria was just awesome. We also had a lovely lunch at a restaurant at Mercat de Santa Caterina.

    Grace: Well, prices have risen over the years but given the experience, food and service, it’s a bargain. Per person, the menu is currently E200. Our meal started at 830pm with drinks and canapes, and ended at 1am with tea on the terrace. That said, we were one of the first to arrive and second last to leave.

    Peech: I can’t wait to go back. I am still dreaming of the food.

    Natty: It is something from El Bulli. All will be revealed by end of the week when I put up the El Bulli post.

    Edamame: Thanks for visiting.

    Serene: Well, I don’t really want to comment on the Santi – Ferran thing too much. But I do think Santi is in the wrong.

    Cheryl: We end up going to several places. You would be amazed at the range of ingredients now available here since you left.

    Vivian: End of the week. 😉

  10. char 27 May 2008

    I’ve always been a fan of your blog and your entry on Spain has been a thoroughly enjoyable read. Can’t wait to see what happens next between Santi Santamaria and Ferran Adria…

  11. jane 27 May 2008

    Ohhh what a treat! A meal at El Bulli! Would love have a meal there! Waiting in anticipation for your El Bulli post! 😉

  12. Vanessa 30 May 2008

    ooo…..envious! I have always wanted to visit Spain! Looks like you guys had a fab time!

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