To me, Mark Wiens is the Professor of Gastronomy at the University of Migrationology. Like a modern day Indiana Jones of food, Mark takes us around the world to delve into the best of street food and culture, searching for those wonderful gems.
Cool. But why’s this on a hiking site?
I guess the Indiana Jones reference wasn’t enough, huh? Dang.
Adventure Strong is about hiking and traveling, seeing the world, pushing our comfort zone and living life. Experiencing local food is part of life’s great adventure.
In fact, I first found Mark’s work when I was doing research on Thailand. I watched some of his videos about Bangkok and local food and although I don’t consider myself a “foodie” I was found myself hooked.
Not only are the videos good but his blog posts are great too. I’ve listed a few at the end of the interview for you to check out.
Before we get started, I recommend watching this video about Mark’s background. He has one of the most interesting stories of any travel blogger.
Migrationology by the Numbers
2 free eBooks (1 on Migrationology & 1 on Eating Thai Food)
4 Travel and Food eBooks
29 countries visited (if I counted right)
54 months blogging
224 videos (mostly food but also travel)
5,027,357 views on YouTube
Interview with Mark Wiens
If it’s possible to narrow it down, what are your 3 favorite meals?
I can’t say these are my top three meal choices (there are way too many), but here’s what initially came to mind:
1. Southern Thai food – My wife is from the south of Thailand and a meal of fish curry, flaming spicy soup, and some shrimp paste chili sauce, a few plates of rice, and I’m very happy!
2. South Indian meal – A huge pile of rice accompanied by a diverse variety of both seafood and vegetarian curries, some mango chutney, all placed on a banana leaf and eaten with fingers is always satisfying.
3. Korean style BBQ – When it comes to barbecue, I love the way they do it in Korea. After ordering meat, you grill it all on the table top before you and garnish it with leaves of lettuce, garlic, and chili paste, and eat it along with a magnificent selection of banchan side dishes.
(I definitely agree with Mark’s choice of Korean BBQ.)
What are your favorite flavors or palates? (sweet, spicy, seafood, etc.)
Spicy and sour would be my ultimate duo of satisfying flavors. Combine that with any sort of seafood, like fish or shrimp, and I love it.
Do you have a go-to snack when you’re traveling?
Any and all kinds of nuts: peanuts, cashews, almonds, whatever is available locally.
How’d you like Ghorepani Poon Hill trek in Nepal?
I absolutely loved it. Being a lover, not only of food, but also of nature, the trek was one of the highlights of my visit to Nepal.
Have you gone trekking or hiking in other countries? If so, what has been the most memorable hike?
Yes, I’ve done some trekking in the US, mostly around Arizona, the Grand Canyon and around that area. Also, when I was in the Philippines I did some trekking in the North of Luzon to see some unbelievably beautiful rice terraces. Overall though, due to the magnitude and scale of the Himalayas, trekking in Nepal was probably most memorable.
You’ve been traveling since 2008, when did you realize you wanted to turn your interest (passion?) into a full-time lifestyle?
While traveling, I took a break to teach English for a year in Thailand, and while teaching and realizing it wasn’t the job for me (despite having a good experience), is when I decided to turn my passion into a full time lifestyle.
With all the choices, why did you choose Thailand to become your home base?
Well, the short of the story is that I was traveling around the Philippines when a friend of mine from the US wanted to join me. He asked, “where should I buy a ticket?” So not knowing where I was going, I said, “how about Bangkok?”
At that stage we both were low on finances so we both decided to teach English for a year in Thailand. During that year I met my Thai girlfriend, who I later married. So Thailand is home base!
That’s the way traveling is, things fit into place.
When you started out building your site you were living for less than $300 in Bangkok. Is it still possible to live in Bangkok and bootstrap a business like that?
Yes, it’s possible! It does take discipline and requires one to live outside of the center of Bangkok, eat locally, and take public bus transportation, but it’s possible if someone wants to save as much as possible while building an online business.
Can we expect to see some cooking videos or books?
I really hope so. It’s in my long-term plan to make some video recipes and possibly create a street food recipes ebook, but not sure exactly when that will happen.
Is there anything you’d like to mention?
As I write this I’m in Tanzania and on my way to Zanzibar, hopefully to research and write a travel guide and make lots of food videos. From Tanzania I’ll be traveling to Ethiopia, a country I’m really looking forward to visiting!
The best travel tip I have for any traveler is to be flexible and have patience. These two characteristics are extremely important wherever you choose to travel.
Great Posts by Mark
- 101 Things to do in Bangkok – This post shares a ridiculous amount of excellent information. If you plan on ever visiting Thailand’s #1 hot spot, read this post.
- 33 Foods Worth Traveling Across the World Just to Eat – From Hawaii to Vietnam, South Korea to Georgia, this post has a healthy dose of food pr0n.
- Khao Kluk Kapi (ข้าวคลุกกะปิ) – A Little Known, But Massively Flavorful Thai Dish – Get the low down on this delicious looking meal. Lots of eye-pleasing and stomach-teasing photography going on.
Thanks for reading and until next time – take a hike!