When traveling, I find it imporant to find the right balance between staying true to your food philosophy whilst allowing yourself to discover the local food culture.
It’s not always easy, but it’s doable. Remember that being vegan/vegetarian (or whatever it is that you are) is adventurous, and so is travel – your sense of exploration coupled with an open mind and the willingness to learn new things will take you around the world with no problem at all!
I know there is plenty of information out there arlready, but I would like to give you an insight into my own personal healthy travel hotspots in the different countries that I have/will travel to. So get ready for some more wholesome travel guides à la Stef!
First up on this hopefully soon expanding series (when are the next holidays coming up, hello ?) is Hong Kong and Phuket. Feel free to comment if you have any other wholesome healthy suggestions for these two beautiful locations!
First off I have to say that I was positively surprised as to how easy it was to get my daily dose of juice and smoothies. There even was a juice bar at the airport in Amsterdam (we flew from Paris to Amsterdam to HK) called Juicy Details! Airport food and drinks can be a challenge, so this was the perfect boost of vitamins, enzymes and energy that we needed before our long flight to HK.
Having worked for Fit 'n' Tasty, a detox company in Lausanne (where I currently live), I get super exited to scout for juice places abroad, talk to the owners and try new flavours. And HK certainly didn't disappoint. We visited both Genie Juicery at the IFC mall and Pressed Juices HK in Central and had a lovely chat with the staff. At Genie Juicery they even sell Pana Chocolate, which got me super exited as I had never tried them before but had been yearning to for a while. Detox juice and chocolate is a contradiction, you say? Pschhhht...
My friend Coco who is from HK showed us around the city and introduced us both to the local and international cuisine. We tried everything from typical Shanghainese dishes to Wontons, Chinese cabbage, XO sauce, soy beverages and more. Whenever we were in a local restaurant, I tried to stick to vegetarian options, soups and different types of salad. I know that I didn't eat the "cleanest" on those occasions, but for me this is part of exploring the country and discovering it's culture. With me at all times were my digestive enzymes (which I get at my local pharmacy), which I took whenever I knew I was going to eat something that my stomach would most likely disapprove of.
After several local meals, I was ready to go back to a more Western meal again, which we had at Mana Fast Slow Food. They have an extensive list of vegetarian, vegan, organic, local, raw and gluten - free options, not to mention their mouth watering desserts. We opted for several types of gluten - free wraps + a "self mixed" salad with kale, quinoa, lentils, pumpkin, spinach and co. We also tried their homemade fries (they come with both homemade ketchup and mayo), juices, smoothies and of course we couldn't leave the place without trying their raw and vegan coconut cheesecake. If anyone has a recipe recommendation for such a cheesecake, please come forward and save the day! I have since been looking for a similar one, so far unsuccessfully...
We then flew to Phuket, where we spent the rest of our holidays. We were really unlucky with the weather and couldn't really discover the island as much as we had hoped to. But the food certainly didn't disappoint. Phuket has beautiful and authentic night food markets that invite for a little stroll and tasting session. And not to mention the amazing island fruits that you can find everywhere! On the day of our arrival we went straight for a fruit market and loaded up on every tropical fruit that we could get our hands on. My personal favourite is Mangosteen; I had never tried it before and totally fell in love with it. You can crack it open with your hand and the inside looks like a bunch of gooey garlic cloves, but the taste just is soooo sweet and soothing.
We lived right by this little raw/vegan restaurant called Atsumi Raw Cafe. Of course I couldn't leave the island without having gone to test their menu at least once! We ordered a bunch of different stuff, like these vegan "sushi rolls" with cucumber and almond cheese inside or glutenfree veggie wraps and pizza (the dough is made entirely out of dehydrated seeds and nuts, how cool is that?) and, last but not least, a raw cheesecake. If you are planning on going to Phuket, this place is definitely worth a visit.
Oh, did I mention how obsessed I am with hot yoga? I have tried it a couple times back home, but there is no hot yoga studio in Lausanne yet, so I was thrilled when I discovered Kata Yoga in Phuket. The class was run in English by Govert and you join no matter what your level of yoga is.
If you are looking for any more healthy travel tips for Phuket, take a look at FreshlySnapped's IG and blog. She works at a local detox retreat called Phuket Cleanse and knows everything there is to know about the island. Unfortunately we didn't have the chance to take her up on her offer to come visit the retreat, but who knows, maybe I'll be back soon...