My Top 11 Mouthwatering Bites of 2012

Happy New Year 2013!

Thank you for being a part of

2012 was a great year, and while I did less traveling than some years, I was able to get a lot accomplished, and I managed to eat quite a few tasty meals (all of which I’m thankful for).

In 2012 I visited my family in the United States, spent a few weeks in South Korea, took an eating trip to Malaysia, and spent the majority of my time in Bangkok where I filmed a Bangkok video and published a Bangkok travel guide.

Thank you for all your support!

Now on to the top 10 bites I enjoyed in 2012 – and all of them were worthy of a food pilgrimage.

Let me know what you think, and also I would love to hear what delicious food you ate this year, leave me a comment below!

Poke (Hawaii)

Poke (Hawaii)

1. Poke (Hawaii)

In 2012 I had the opportunity to visit my family in Hawaii. We did a lot of eating.

Poke, Hawaiian style cubes of raw tuna marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil and combined with sweet onions, is one of my all time favorite things to consume.

The poke bowl from Kahuku Superette was nothing short of magical.

Carne Asada Burrito (Phoenix, Arizona)

Carne Asada Burrito (Phoenix, Arizona)

2. Carne Asada Burrito (Phoenix, Arizona)

Also in the United States I visited more family in Phoenix, Arizona.

Being near the border of Mexico, I was excited to finally get some good Mexican food, a cuisine that’s not well represented in Asia. This beautiful styrofoam box was filled with absolute deliciousness.

Kimchi Ice Noodles (South Korea)

Kimchi Ice Noodles (South Korea)

3. Kimchi Ice Noodles (South Korea)

After the United States it was on to South Korea where the food was indeed the highlight.

I was pretty happy eating a steady diet of just kimchi and rice, but this unique bowl of noodles sitting in a broth of ice water took me by surprise.

It was like eating a kimchi popsicle, and paired with the slippery fresh noodles, thin slices of cucumber, and a half of an egg, I loved it. It was unique and something I’ve never had before.

Korean Barbecue (South Korea)

Korean Barbecue (South Korea)

4. Korean Barbecue (South Korea)

It would be pure tragedy to visit Seoul without indulging in a Korean barbecue feast a number of times.

There’s nothing quite as fun as cooking your own meal from the comfort of your own seat and eating bites of hot meat straight off the coals.

There are many Korean barbecue restaurants in Seoul (video), but my most memorable one was at a place called New Village where I enjoyed the delightful pork bulgogi (Daeji Bulgogi 불고기).

Watch the video of the meal.

Nasi Lemak (Malaysia)

Nasi Lemak (Malaysia)

5. Nasi Lemak (Malaysia)

There’s nothing more comforting to a Malaysian than a plate of nasi lemak, and after you demolish it, you will know why.

It’s just about all the flavors you could ever want piled onto a single plate.

When I was in Kuala Lumpur, I searched out RA Nasi Lemak and had a meal that literally made me shrivel up in my chair as the flavors exploded with glory in my mouth.

Watch the video of the meal.

Ikan Bakar (Malaysia)

Ikan Bakar (Malaysia)

6. Ikan Bakar (Malaysia)

Grilled seafood is something I actively search for, so when I read about Ikan Bakar Medan in Kuala Lumpur (video), I had to go there.

It was more spectacular than I had imagined; A hot mess of sizzling seafood bubbling in sambal chili sauce greeted me at the restaurant and I was immediately elevated into a state of happiness.

The hunk of grilled stingray, dipped into the chili sauce, and paired with rice, was a feast I would have gladly handed over my entire wallet for.

Watch the video of the meal.

Banana Leaf (Malaysia)

Banana Leaf (Malaysia)

7. Banana Leaf (Malaysia)

Malaysian food includes not only marvelous Malay and Chinese food, but also authentic and drool worthy Indian food as well.

This banana leaf meal from Vishalatchi food and catering was so good I literally ate three meals in a row there. The first meal included their tender mutton biryani that slid off the bone effortlessly.

From there I enjoyed just plain white rice topped with a variety of insanely amazing curries.

Watch the video of the meal.

Stink Beans (Thailand)

Stink Beans (Thailand)

8. Stink Beans (Thailand)

One thing I just simply can’t get enough of is Southeast Asian stink beans. I have a love affair with the stink beans!

This plate of homemade stink beans stir fried in a pungent blend of garlic, chillies, and turmeric, never gets old for me. I could eat a plate of southern Thai style pad sataw (ผัดสะตอ) everyday of my life.

And, not only are stink beans tasty, they are massively healthy too!

Burmese Laphet Thohk (Thailand)

Burmese Laphet Thohk (Thailand)

9. Burmese Laphet Thohk (Thailand)

I’ve been a big fan of Burmese food ever since spending a few weeks in Yangon a couple years ago.

There are many Burmese living in Bangkok, but there’s aren’t as many Burmese restaurants. Wandering around Phra Khanong Market, I stumbled into Mona’s kitchen, a little market stall where Mona cooks up some Burmese Nepalese specialities.

Her laphet thohk tea leaf salad was outstanding, as were all her other dishes.

Watch the video of the meal.

Minced Quail (Thailand)

Minced Quail (Thailand)

10. Minced Quail (Thailand)

Minced quail almost tastes like hamburger, just with a little extra crunch.

Stir fried with heaps of chillies, generous amounts of garlic, basil, and krachai (rhizome similar to ginger), this was one of the top plates of edible food I ate in 2012.

In fact my entire meal at Ran Gaeng Pa Sriyan (ร้านแกงป่า ศรีย่าน) was shockingly amazing to the point where I wanted to move into the restaurant and wake each morning for the same feast.

Watch the video of the meal.

Durian Ice Cream (Thailand)

Durian Ice Cream (Thailand)

11. Durian Ice Cream (Thailand)

Hands down, this was the best durian ice cream topped with durian sticky rice I’ve ever had in my life.

The homemade mixture of cream, sugar, and most importantly pungent durian of Kobe beef quality, was impressively good. The durian was strong to point where it went up my nose just a little, similar to eating a bunch of wasabi.

The remarkable flavor of durian made this one of the best scoops of ice cream I’ve ever consumed – so good that I immediately ordered a second after licking the first clean.

Fruit Buffet (Thailand)

Fruit Buffet (Thailand)

BONUS: Fruit Buffet (Thailand)

The only thing that’s better than fresh tropical fruit is a buffet of fresh tropical fruit.

Suan Supatra Land is a farm located about 2 hours or so from Bangkok. A one time fee allows you to devour as much fruit as possible, and the day I went, they had about 15 different fruits to choose from.

Mango, santol, jackfruit, mangosteen, rambutan, and NOT forgetting durian, were the main fruits I packed into my bulging stomach!

Wishing you a blessed 2013 with lots of mouthwatering food to come!

What delicious food did you eat in 2012?

Do you love food and travel too?

If so, I'd love to give you my FREE street food guide, "41 Irresistible Meals You'll Travel to Eat," plus you'll receive exclusive street food updates (it's free)!


  1. Frank Shang says

    All these mouthwatering meals look delicious! Thank you for sharing these experiences with us and a Happy New Year! 😀

  2. says

    One thing I didn’t eat this year is Kimchi, which is one of my favorites, and one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Did you know that most Koreans have a separate refrigerator dedicated only to Kimchi?

    • says

      Hey Mike, glad to hear you also love kimchi! Yes, I have a coule of good Korean friends and I was always amused to see their entire mini fridge dedicated to the wondrous condiment!

  3. Kaboom says

    wow 3 selection from malaysia. have u considered to move to KL permanently? anyway sa wae dee bi mai happy new year mark. looking forward for your post in 2013

  4. MarkG says

    Sounds like a durian shake/smoothie with Tabasco sauce would suit your palate!

    Glad to see you have gone to India. My favorite destination.

    If you get down to Kerala I can recommend Addy’s Restaurant in Cochin/Kochi for a great eating experience.

    Bon appetite for 2013!

  5. M2theK says

    Great read Mark. Happy new year. All the treats mentioned are delicious. have had 6 of the 11 and hope to accomplish the other 5 in 2013 :) Continued peace. prosperity & happiness in your travels/all endeavors of life. With gratitude–Mo

  6. says

    I didn’t know that Thailand has fruit buffet — I will definitely try this out – what season or month did you go where you get can those fruits that you ate.


  7. says

    What a great year to eat 2012 was for you, Mark! Of all the sumptuous dishes in this post, poke is the highest on my list! By the way, that minced quail reminds me of laab which I tried in Laos. I have no idea how similar they taste, though.

    • says

      Hey Bama, glad to hear you want some poke, I know you’d love it too. The spices are quite a bit different and this was more of a stir fried dish while larb is more of a mixed salad, but both are fantastic!

  8. says

    Everything but the durian ice cream looks good – well the photo of the ice cream looks good – but I don’t like durian in any form!

  9. Poome says

    Why can Sataw be on the chart?! Haha I just ate it today here Vancouver.
    I also love durian too!

    I am surprised how u can deal with spicy food!

    Happy new year!

  10. says

    YUM! Although Stink beans? The name is not very appealing! :-) Am currently in Laos munching on Luang Prabang sausage (delicious), noodle soups, baguettes and all things yum.

    • says

      Hey Rebecca, great to hear you’re enjoying the food in Laos, those baguette sandwiches are wonderful. I know, stink beans are not the most attractive name, but they are so attractive when you taste them!!

  11. says

    I keep promising myself a visit to the fruit buffet, it’s only half hour drive for me, I fear my wife may want to visit on a daily basis so I haven’t mentioned it to her, yet.
    Thai food in one form or another seems to be on everyone’s favourite food list, I must admit I haven’t tried even half of what I should, I tend to stick with my favourites, Nam Tok, Pad Krapow, and Green Curry. Stink Beans sound like they might be to my taste, so I must thank you for the suggestion.

  12. Nico says

    Sme great food on the list. A lot of the Malaysian dishes overlap with the Indonesian ones. The ikan bakar Medan, sounds especially Indonesian given that it’s named after one of their cities 😉

  13. DK says

    Oh no i shouldn’t have come here! Such a torture > <
    How much i rave for ice-cream with sticky rice and some peanuts!
    Wish to be back home soon…

    Anyway thank you for interesting youtube videos. I will use these as materials for my French students who are learning Thai.

    Happy New Year too!

  14. Lin Wong says

    I love a good quality durian ice cream! Have you ever had Shwe Yin Aye? Add durian ice cream and substitute the sticky rice with durian sticky rice – and you have heaven!

  15. says

    We just returned from Lana’i, were we enjoyed a feast at the ‘Ohana Poke Market. What a treat! Three different types of ahi poke (spicy, shoyu and plain with maui onion) as well as a tempura shrimp roll topped with spicy ahi poke. As if that wasn’t enough, we also had beef teriyaki.

    All of this was unusually well priced for an island known to be tough on the wallet.


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