My family and I moved to Boston from Vietnam when I was 5, thus we had a very traditional upbringing in a city and school system made up of diverse minorities. The friends I encountered along the way taught me their culture through food, mainly from the West Indies and Caribbean, along with other countries in Asia and Africa. I remember trying tostones (fried green plantains) for the first time back in high school made by my Puerto Rican friend’s mother. Or Diri ak Djon Djon (Haitian black mushroom rice) made by a friend’s grandmother, and this just sparked an interest in learning the steps using ingredients I’m not familiar with. Although the chefs creating these dishes did not speak a word of English, we bonded over the plates shared and conversation made through them physically showing me what constituted that meal. Besides visiting the motherland, my first travels naturally led me south to the different countries in the Caribbean. Then more recently, I fell in love with Europe back in 2016 after traveling to Portugal as well as Madrid, and fell even harder the 2nd time last year in Rome and Florence. After a life lesson in Rome, I developed a “screw it” attitude and went for whatever my heart desired. I did not want to live a life regretting chances I didn’t take or opportunities I let pass me by. That inspired my month long first solo trip to Barcelona ending with a couple days in Paris.
This page is a snapshot of my travels and culinary adventure in those respective countries, along with recipes inspired by the memories experienced. Feel free to show me different variations on how you would create it, I’m always open to learning something new! Happy exploring!