Bali had been at the top of my travel bucket list for many years, so it was exciting to finally make the trip in February. While people had told me that Bali was a Mecca for plant-based food, I was not prepared for the incredible quality and variety of healthy vegan restaurants to be found. Even after exploring a number of these eateries during my stay, I only scratched the surface of all that was available! Overall, the meals I enjoyed were consistently fresh, delicious, nutritious, and inspiringly creative. I appreciated the attention to detail that was given to everything from the beautiful restaurant interiors, to the carefully plated dishes. For many, food plays a major role in the travel experience, and as a food-curious person, I am especially interested in the different cuisines of the places I visit. Travelling can be challenging as a plant-based eater, as many parts of the world are not so veggie-friendly. That said, my Bali experience was all the more special, seeing how easy it was to access incredible plant-based food!
I spent the last month travelling in Nicaragua and had the opportunity to learn about the local cuisine and food culture. On the gorgeous island of Ometepe, I stayed at Hacienda Merida, an amazing place offering accommodations and a sustainably-constructed English school. Their lovely staff generously guided me through the day-long process of making nacatamales. From harvesting the banana (plantain) leaves, to grinding the maize, I enjoyed participating in the creation of this special traditional dish. After the day of prep, the final result was memorably delicious! the creamy, polenta-like maize, spiced mixed root vegetables, sweet/acidic tomato and aromatic mint all wrapped in banana leaf made for a perfect mouthful. While I may not be able to reproduce this recipe exactly the same here in Canada, I am grateful for having had the experience of making and eating this beautiful dish in Nicaragua!