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hypothetical question

Posted by helen 
hypothetical question
August 31, 2017 03:07AM
I am working out where to take a food tour to next year and have got the list down to Mexico and China.
It will be one or the other and I can of course travel to the other country the year after.
If you were going with a group to a country with food travel (plus other things e.g. Great wall of China) in mind, would you be likely to pick China or Mexico?

thanks in anticipation of helping me get to a decision. smiling smiley
Re: hypothetical question
August 31, 2017 04:19AM
China for sure because...

1. I work with LOTS of Chinese students and parents.
2. LOVE Asian food
3. I think its a country people could be hesitant to do alone so in an organised group you get safety, travel plans organised and amazing foodie experiences that could be challenging alone.
4. It seems more exotic and less touristy

Re: hypothetical question
August 31, 2017 04:25PM
Thanks Vanessa, good points.
I also think that China is just that much easier to fly to.
Does anyone else have an opinion?
Re: hypothetical question
August 31, 2017 04:29PM
China would be my choice, I think for a foodie destination it has more to offer. To me it is more interesting and diverse. But then I prefer Asian food over Mexican.
Re: hypothetical question
August 31, 2017 06:54PM
If I had to choose it would be China.
I like Mexican food but not too hot, I've had a runny nose and tears running down my cheeks eating a dish my friend suggested. Then he laughed and said..... it's not real Mexican, it's been adapted for people who aren't used to the hotter style....smiling smiley I intend to get him back some day.
Re: hypothetical question
August 31, 2017 07:26PM
I've been to both. I was astonished at how fantastic the food was in Mexico - way beyond my expectations. And although it might seem like it's more familiar, there are things to try there that will be unfamiliar to most people, which is fun. We ate corn fungus, ants' eggs and crickets, all of which are delicious, and were taught to make tortillas, which was fun. The markets were amazing too. (This wasn't a foodie tour - I was actually there to see the monarch butterfly migration, but we did the odd food thing too.) The rest of the food is nothing like what's mostly labelled Mexican here but is mostly Tex-Mex. It's very vegetable-based, lots of avocado, and is just simply delicious.
Edited to add that Mexico itself was also a very pleasant surprise. I didn't expect to like it much but I loved it. It's such an unexpectedly interesting place to visit. The cemetaries are amazing (that sounds weird, but they're full of incredible little palace-like tombs) and everywhere you go there are outside eating places with tables and chairs under a shady canopy, usually run by a family and serving up fabulous food. And it's also beautiful - lush vegetation and quaint villages. It's not at all touristy outside of the beach resort areas.

As for China, I spent six weeks there and while it was fascinating it's also one of the most difficult countries to travel in I've been to (and I've been to a lot of places). I think Chinese cuisine is incredible, and I was expecting to really enjoy the food aspect of the trip, but the pollution I found really difficult and I ended up eating much less adventurously than I thought I would because I was nervous about the food quality. (When you see where it comes from, you are not so keen on eating it.) Getting the worst food poisoning I've ever had didn't help and was terrifying. So I stuck to tourist-hotel food after that which is boring but at least safe and resolved to instead seek out Chinese food here which is made with New Zealand ingredients. Also, many of things tourists go to have tourist-oriented food - for example, a famous place that did hotpots had not stock but water for foreigners. It would take a lot of local knowledge to be able to bypass those and seek out the real thing. So for me personally I can't recommend it as a foodie destination, despite the cuisine being absolutely wonderful.

Edited again for stupid mistakessmiling smiley.

Edited AGAIN - Helen, I've just seen your comment about flying. I found Mexico easier to get to than China - you fly to LA then it's 3 1/2 hours to Mexico City.

China undoubtedly has many more things to see than Mexico and would be better for the general travel side. If you have connections there who could take you to places off the tourist track, that would be great foodwise - the best meal we had there was at what's called a grandmother's restaurant which was family-run and only patronised by locals. Be prepared for extreme culture shock though - in every way, but in food too. We were offered donkey at one restaurant which we found a bit upsetting, for example (hypocritical, I know - cows are lovely too. But there you go).

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 08/31/2017 07:48PM by CarolynC.
Re: hypothetical question
August 31, 2017 11:59PM
I think from a food perspective, Mexico, but from a destination perspective, China is the obvious choice.
Re: hypothetical question
September 01, 2017 04:29AM
WoW CarolynC - what interesting stories you have! It makes me want to get out there and travel again. I did a lot when I was younger but having kids slowed that down in recent years. My time will come though and Id love to explore new places from a foodie perspective.

Donkey, LOL it reminds me of when I attempted to serve horse to VERY wealthy English guests in a ski chalet I was running in Meribel French Alps - They werent impressed at all!!!!

The Kiwis and Aussies working there didnt complain at one of our impromptu BBQS - horse burgers were a hit!


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/01/2017 04:30AM by Vanessa45.
Re: hypothetical question
September 01, 2017 09:17AM
Lol Vanessa, that reminds me of a story from a guy I did a food tour with in New York. He said one of his clients had lowered his voice confidentially and asked him whether he could score him some horse. The tour guy was shocked and said he wasn't a drug dealer. The guy who asked was shocked in his turn and said No, I really meant HORSE!smiling smiley. Yep, travel is my passion, my priority and the reason why I have a kitchen which was worn out in the 80s. Travel always seems like a better spending priority to me than just about anything else - my retirement plan is to hope I get eaten by a lion before I run out of moneysmiling smiley.
Re: hypothetical question
September 01, 2017 06:37PM
Carolyn thanks so much for all of your input.
We are considering a family holiday to Mexico next year, did you go to Mexico cit? Also what places were highlights for you?
Re: hypothetical question
September 01, 2017 10:47PM
Helen, I was only briefly in Mexico City so didn't see much of it. Because we were there to see the butterflies, we spent most of our time in the lovely village of Angangueo. We also loved Valle de Bravo, which is a beautiful colonial resort town, and Toluca, which has an indoor botanical garden with absolutely stunning stained glass and is a great example of a mid-sized town with main square and market. Just one note of caution - there's no doubt that Mexico is a dangerous country and getting more dangerous all the time. We felt safe being on a tour, but I don't think I would go in a smaller group. Valle de Bravo, for example, is normally considered a safe place because a lot of drug lords have holiday homes there, but even there there have been a string of kidnappings including of tourists. Tourists are sometimes stopped at fake police stops and kidnapped. And a friend of mine working in Mexico City narrowly escaped being shot in a drive-by. I'm normally not very alarmist when travelling, but Mexico is somewhere I think it really does pay to exercise caution.
Re: hypothetical question
September 02, 2017 04:48PM
Hmm I have been thinking the same regarding safety Carolyn.
The USA has travel alerts out for Mexico but that may be a political move as they do have the ability to cripple Mexico's tourist industry.
I thought places such as Player del Carmen and Cancun were considered safe, most of the deaths seem to be within the drug industry.
I certainly don't want to be somewhere that is considered high risk.
Re: hypothetical question
September 02, 2017 08:51PM
Cancun was quite safe and we felt fine wandering along the beach and down the street but it was also very touristy.
The sole reason for going was to visit Chichen Itza (which is worth doing) and having done that, wouldn't return.
Re: hypothetical question
September 03, 2017 03:00AM
Hi Lynette, why wouldn't you return? Did you not find it amazing?
I thought as a holiday that combined beach and culture - plus kids are studying Spanish at school - that it might be a rich holiday....
Am I wrong?
Re: hypothetical question
September 03, 2017 08:52AM
The US travel advisories are always so terrifying that if you followed them you wouldn't go anywhere at all. I don't know whether you've looked at the UK government's advisory - that tends to be more level-headed although at the moment they're warning of some problems that have been happening in Cancun.


Of course, when you're there it just seems like a normal, lovely country - really friendly people, just living their lives, and the most probable scenario is that you would have a completely trouble-free holiday as I did, but I'm just a bit hesitant esp as you're taking your family to 100% recommend it because of the upswing in violence. Acapulco used to be a major tourist destination, for example, but I've read some really hair-raising things about it recently and wouldn't go near it now. I used to think it was just the drug cartels where the violence happened but it does seem as if a lot of innocent people do get swept up in it too. However, as the UK travel advisory says some regions are much safer than others, so with good research (which I'm sure you would do!) it's probably perfectly fine.
Re: hypothetical question
September 04, 2017 06:42PM
It is a lovely destination and Chichen Itza is definitely worth visiting as were the cenotes and the food was fabulous! But I wouldn't return because there are plenty more fascinating places to visit so it was a matter of crossing that one off the list and glad I did it. I also found Cancun very much a tourist destination, e.g. high rise apartments along the beach and everyone spoke English, although there is plenty of opportunity to use the usual travelling phrases smiling smiley
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