This month, we sat down with Nathan Aguilera of the food focused travel blog, Foodie Flashpacker. Nathan told us all about his experiences with trying and finding different foods while traveling and how to best capture these meals with food photography. Read on for this and all that Nathan shared with us.
1. Can you talk about a few cultural meals you’ve tried that incorporate pasta?
The most obvious answer would be anything from Italy but do you think of Egypt when you think of pasta? A traditional Egyptian dish known as kushari is made up of rice, macaroni, and lentils combined with a tomato sauce and finished with chickpeas and fried onions.
My local friends in Egypt were amazed that as a foodie I loved kushari so much- it’s considered a very simple dish and is served on the streets. I loved it!
2. As the “Foodie Flashpacker” you get to try incredible dishes every day. Do you ever get a chance to recreate these meals yourself or do you rely on the restaurants to do the cooking?
I love to cook but I have to admit that living in Thailand I don’t do a lot of cooking. Many apartments here don’t even have kitchens, as it’s just as affordable to go out to eat. Also, I’m always interested to try local dishes when I’m in a new area so that usually means I’m not doing the cooking. However, when I do get the chance to cook I jump on it. I spend the summers in Europe and I tend to do a lot more cooking then.
3. You have a really beautiful food Instagram! Do you have any advice for our readers on how to take beautiful food photos?
Thank you! I appreciate you saying that. For me, I like super close up shots so that you can see a lot of detail in the dishes. Make sure you have either a very neutral background or one that the color complements the dish. And don’t over edit. You want to edit just to the point where the dish looks like how you actually saw it, as some detail is always lost in photography.
4. What are some of your favorite ways to prepare pasta?
In the summer I love cold pasta salad. I feel it always tastes better the second day so whenever I’m grilling out I’ll prepare extra chicken or fish on the grill and throw it in a pasta salad the next day for lunch.
In the winter I love hearty dishes such as the wild boar ragu that I had on my last visit to Italy. The sauce was so dense but it paired really well with a heavy red.
5. You mentioned in your bio that you’re a wine fanatic. What wines do you like to pair with pasta?
I usually love meaty sauces with bold reds. You can be sure that the wild boar ragu I just mentioned was washed down with several glasses of a local wine.
In the summer crisp whites pair really well with light or cold pasta dishes, especially any grilled fish dish. I love grilled salmon and pasta with a pesto sauce.
6. What advice can you give for someone traveling to a new country to try new foods? How do you find the best places and hidden gems?
Skip Tripadvisor and ask the locals where they eat. Or, pay attention to places that are full of locals when you’re out exploring a new city. Steer clear of the main tourist drags or the “must see” spots in town. These are almost always going to have tourist prices on lower quality meals. Find neighborhood spots buzzing with locals if you want the best meals at fair prices.
About Nathan Aguilera:
Nathan Aguilera left his home in Oklahoma City three years ago on what he thought was going to be a six-month trip around SE Asia. In that time he’s managed to explore and eat his way across more than fifty countries over four continents and he has no plans of stopping anytime soon. Follow along calorie for calorie at www.foodieflashpacker.com
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