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Valery Shanin: food in travel

A traveler who does not use the services of travel companies and prefers to travel the world on his own should take care of his “daily bread”.

The main thing is that the food was tasty, safe for health and affordable.

How not to die of hunger abroad, we were told by a famous traveler and writer Valery Shanin.

At one time he became famous for unprecedented traveling around the world with 280 dollars in your pocket.

Gastronom.ru: Valery, in many of your books you state that the real journey should be a break from everyday habits.

Including in the gastronomic plan.

V. Sh.: I’m generally surprised by tourists who are already so attached to three meals a day that they literally become hostages of their usual way of life. To be afraid to skip breakfast or lunch is rather strange for a person traveling around the world.

If you eat abroad the same way you eat at home, you should not leave the house at all.

Travel is an opportunity to break away from everyday life., Travel back to the world of real adventure. When you truly feel the spirit of travel, you can even forget to have dinner on time, and then, feeling hungry, you will try to catch up.

Believe me: there is nothing terrible.

It is better, on the contrary, to abandon the usual ideas and adapt to the local concepts of food.

Then you will have something to remember.

For example, in Australia, lunch from 12 to 14 hours. And if you came in at one minute of the third, then everything is closed: there is no food at all. Either you have dinner until two, or you just endure it before dinner: until five o’clock there will be nothing anywhere, many places are simply closed.

Now imagine that you are accustomed to dinner at three.

This habit will have to be abandoned.

You come to a new country — you must immediately navigate, adapt to the concepts of this country.

Gastronom.ru: You are not afraid of local cuisine?

Any unfamiliar dishes in China or Southeast Asia.

V. Sh.: Not.

Quite the contrary.

I believe that from a health point of view it is more beneficial to eat exactly where the locals eat.

Because people have lived there for centuries, and during this time they have already understood well what to eat, what to eat and how to cook their own food.

When foreigners come to the locals and start ordering something special, all their wishes are fulfilled as it will turn out — and there are already no guarantees.

The most striking example is South-East Asia: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. Locals never cook any salads from raw vegetables and fruits: they simply have nothing to wash, since there is almost no clean water in these countries.

Therefore, they found a simpler way out — slightly let in vegetables over high heat for disinfection.

However, many tourists are unable to understand why this is necessary.

They come and ask for «healthy» salads from fresh vegetables.

And for the sake of the dear guests, the locals are ready for everything: they will wash you vegetables and fruits with river water (since there is no other) and serve them on the table. Only the protom do not have to complain of problems with the stomach.

Fried, boiled, steamed — all this can be eaten in Asia without problems; raw, unknown than washed — in any case.

Conclusion: do not demand what you are accustomed to at home. I am sincerely surprised by tourists who, being in Thailand or India, order ice cream for themselves.

Of course, it will be brought to you, melted a hundred times and frozen again.

Do you need it?

Imagine a village babusyu who bakes all her life and sells cakes.

She has been doing this all her life; her ancestors, up to the fifth generation, made these cakes.

She may have five classes of education, but in pies she is like a sapper: she can have only one mistake in her life. If she once poison someone, then her shop should be closed forever, because all potential customers live nearby, they are fellow villagers, you just can’t hide from them.

Everyone will say at once: “What is it?


You can not eat her pies.

That is why Grandma is never wrong.

Now imagine some hotel where tourists always change each other. One batch of tourists poisoned — do not worry, we will accept new ones, and no one will know what happened to the previous ones.

After all, the chef who cooks in the kitchen is the real local chef who makes excellent home-made pies for his family, and for foreigners — fancy “western” dishes that they really can’t cook.

He doesn’t have a very good idea of ​​how properly it should be done, because he never eats this himself.

In Laos, we stayed in a more or less decent hotel (five dollars a day).

In the morning we are served bread and butter in special packages. Open — it is there as melted. He ate — then two days suffered with the stomach.

Note: if they made fried cockroaches, I wouldn’t be poisoned because they know how to make these cockroaches and make them for themselves. But the oil for them is an exotic product, like cockroaches for us.

Can you cook cockroaches well for guests from Asia?

Gastronom.ru: Often the locals themselves have the conviction that homemade food is too unpretentious, guests need something special.

V. Sh.: You said that exactly.

I remember the situation in which I repeatedly got into Iran. There are very emotional people there: it’s worth nothing to visit the Iranian house.

You are invited to the table, which is just breaking from the chic local dishes.

And they specifically send some kid to a nearby village where Mcdonalds, and he brings you a huge disgusting big mac.

This is amazing: they quite seriously believe that we Europeans do not have enough of their pilaf with lamb!

Gastronom.ru: And to refuse a big maca, of course, is impossible?


Sh.: It is impossible — this is the greatest insult. And I can not insult the person who invited me to his dinner.

So you want — you do not want, but eat.

And only then you start to swim.

Gastronom.ru: How do you treat fast food?

V. Sh.: When you come to China and see how the Chinese are bursting into Mcdonalds, it is amazing. Chinese cuisine is one of the most original, what kind of fast food can we talk about?

The cost of globalization!

In Europe or in the USA, you will not get poisoned in fast-food chains; in eastern countries in institutions like Mcdonalds and Burger King better not to go.

In addition, institutions with hamburgers can always find a suitable replacement.

When I was in Australia, I regularly chewed “fish and chips” — fish with french fries, an English dish that got accustomed there.

You find yourself in some hole where you don’t have to choose, you go to any institution and say: “Fish and chips”.

This they have always.

Or, for example, pancakes, pancakes, which are popular around the world — in Canada, they are served with maple syrup, and, for example, in Southeast Asia (in Thailand, Laos) — with a banana.

Gastronom.ru: How can a traveler protect himself from germs?

How to eat so as not to poison?

V. Sh.: I always take a boiler with me.

This thing never fails. I am not afraid to stay hungry on the journey (although I never stayed), but the water balance should be maintained.

If you are not sure about the quality of the water — boil it. Reliable, universal survival advice. I tried to take with me the filter — and the advertisement promised that with this filter you can even drink water from the swamp.

But honestly I will say: filtered, and then still boiled.

Local water should always beware: it is not known from where.

Or ice: I saw in Southeast Asia how this ice is made — actually from swamp water, then chopped, transported in pieces in rather dirty conditions.

In particular, the glass will be dirty, but dry than clean, but wet.

Water is the most dangerous.

Freshly squeezed juice is more reliable than water, but only if it is made before your eyes (if not, it can be diluted with water — that’s what you should be wary of).

Gastronom.ruHave you ever been hurt on a journey?

V. Sh.: No local food, God spared.

In China, by the way, they taught me how to avoid poisoning, although I don’t know how effective it is. Before eating, if you eat in an unknown place, you need to consume 50 grams of vodka on an empty stomach as a medicine. And the best thing to drink is Chinese vodka, the cheapest, because it is nasty in taste and smell, 55 degrees — more than 50 grams and you will not drink.

But exactly as a medicine is excellent.

Gastronom.ru: What else could you warn travelers from?


Sh.: Do not believe the signs.

They can write anything. I remember when I was in Hampi (the ancient city of India), then at every step I met a cafe with the inscription «recommended Lonely planet«. Strange: can not Lonely planet so much to recommend!

Above one sign peered: recommended Lonely planet in 1980. And, judging by the appearance of this institution, since 1980, when Lonely planet He was allegedly recommended, he was not only not repaired, but not even washed.

The owners of a state institution may shout about any recommendations, but this is often not true.

Read more.

Gastronom.ru: Some exotic dishes when they first met can cause shock to a European.

Have you ever come across this problem?

V. Sh.: You know, the experience of an inveterate traveler affects me: I am completely at ease with baked brains, ground worms and cat-made dishes.

The main thing that I was sure that it is in principle edible, that the locals eat it. I recall a bright case in Thailand.

I was invited to visit the big old house.

It was lit by a single light bulb, it didn’t even illuminate how much, let’s say, dispersed the darkness.

They put me at the table, served a bowl of rice and a bowl of soup. I begin to eat soup and see: some kind of bug floating in the water (what to take from them is the village!).

I threw it out of the bowl, I start eating again. And here I understand that I have the whole plate in bugs, some bugs, small worms — I have never seen such a hodgepodge either before or after.

I realized that they cooked without frills: what runs and crawls around, then gets into the soup.

Gastronom.ru: From all this it turns out a kind of «protein» broth?


Sh.A: Something like broth, by the way, is quite rich. I ate it because I saw that they themselves eat it. Just convinced myself that it was good.

And at a certain moment I felt that the broth was really not that scary.

Gastronom.ru: So it’s hard to surprise you with exotic food?

V. Sh.: Although, it would seem, I was in more than eighty countries, I got used to everything, but something is amazing.

Seen how Laos fried rats.

Did not try, but photographed.

Or, for example, soup, which is cooked on low heat for a whole day.

They put him in the morning, he boils the whole day — and during the day they pour it to everyone. It tastes very good.

But at the same time the pieces of pork do not look too appetizing: from morning to evening they literally dissolve in this broth.

Gastronom.ru: You in one of your books told about Australian Aborigines who tried to feed you.

V. Sh.: There are many uninhabited, completely deserted territories in Australia.

If you wander not through the cities, but from one village to another, then there are big problems with food.

You will not take a lot of food, much less water, so the traveler has a hard time.

The solution to this problem, I tried to tell the Aborigines.

At first they wanted to catch a lizard — they promised a world snack.

Chasing her, chasing, but never caught. Then they climbed into some thorny bushes, from which, having scratched all their hands, they tore off local fruit — some kind of solid gray balls. Scratching them, you can get to the tiny jelly-like kernel, completely tasteless.

Then the aborigines showed me how to get water: they found a muddy puddle, dug a hole in the sand next to it and waited for the water from the puddle to seep through the sand into another hole. They stand and show me signs that you can drink from this pit.

Of course, I did not drink: he said that I believe so.

Then I told them in response showed my way of getting water.

There was a road close by, I went to the side of the road, waved an empty plastic bottle to the very first passing car.

Everyone understands — around the desert, how not to give water?

Most motorists will feed and feed.

Gastronom.ru: And what exotic meat have you ever tried?

Kenguryatin, alligators, for example?


Sh.: I tried keguryatin, alligator — not yet. Kenguryatina — beef like beef.

Nothing fancy, exotic.

In South America, by the way, we caught piranha. And then cooked. There is such an Indian way: to strengthen the gutted piranha vertically on two sticks near the fire.

Excellent such piranha, very tasty it turns out.

Gastronom.ru: What other exotic cooking techniques have you seen?

V. Sh.: One tramp-latinos told me an interesting way of cooking fish (I haven’t had a chance to check his words in practice). If there is nothing to cook, there is only fish, you must do so.

You take a thick newspaper, drench it in water. You wrap the fish in this fat newspaper and put it on the coals.

When the newspaper dries (does not burn, but it dries), the fish is ready.

The main thing — do not miss that the newspaper is not burned.

In New Zealand, there is such a way of cooking — hangi. Initially, human flesh was prepared in this way, but now times have changed a little, and so they cook everything that they do not.

They take an iron barrel, put stones there, and heat it for eight hours to make a hardened stone.

Then dig a hole. They put these stones there, and on them are iron trellis boxes. The meat and vegetables are cut into large pieces, wrapped in wet rags and put on iron.

Then all this is covered with sacking and covered with earth.

Meat is cooked in its own juice — thanks to these hot stones.

Very tasty.

Gastronom.ru: It happens that, let’s say, you eat some local dish — and only then you learn what it is cooked from, and you are very surprised?


Sh.: I often had what I ate without knowing what it was cooked from.

Especially in China.

You go to a restaurant, you see a menu — only hieroglyphs. Sometimes there is a translation into Uygur nearby — it also slightly helps.

Although there is a suspicion that if there was an English translation, it would not clarify the situation either: many Chinese dishes have vague poetic names that do not say anything about the ingredients.

In fact, in this country I never knew what I was eating.

Gastronom.ru: You probably have to meet the most incredible dishes and cutlery.

V. Sh.: Well what does «incredible» mean? Banana leaves in Southeast Asia, for example.

In them, in general, there is nothing unusual, it is quite ordinary banana leaves.

They usually put rice on them.

In many countries, simply poor dishes — plastic cups, plastic plates, which are used many times.

But natural wooden or clay spoons or bowls — it is now, unfortunately, much more difficult to find.

As for some Chinese sticks, it is now impossible to call them exotic. By the way, they have one interesting feature: the degree of ability to work with chopsticks depends on how hungry you are. When you really want to eat, you work very quickly with chopsticks, and if you have no appetite, they are just annoying.

You can check.

There is another subtlety.

Even if the locals eat with chopsticks, wooden spoons or hands, for foreigners they still try to get ordinary spoons and forks from the bins.

They eat around with their hands, but they still give me a spoon with a fork — as a distinguished guest.

No matter how much you would like to touch the exotic, in this case it is impossible to refuse the plug: it is disrespect for the owners (about how to go to a Christian mosque in a Muslim and start to bow before bowing — just as unnatural).

You found the only plug in the house — thank.

A terrible sandwich was brought to you from the store — say: “I eat your food too, I do not refuse.

But thank you for making a sandwich for me. ”

Read more.

How not to die of hunger, or the hospitality of the locals

Gastronom.ru: You often eat at the locals.

Do they always show cordiality?

V. Sh.: If you know how to communicate with the locals, and not with the attendants, you are lucky: in all countries people are equally hospitable. When you have a guest at home, you also start to feed him, to treat him?

So it is in other countries, and, the farther you are from your own home, the better people treat you, try to drink tea, and there, word for word, business for dinner, they will feed you with dinner.

Then the neighbors are sure to come, they are also dragging something to the table.

Especially wonderful in Asia: the guest is a holiday, an outstanding event.

Experienced travelers have this technique — “showy rice.”

You show to the locals that you should cook rice. Answer: “No problem; sit by the table while we are cooking. ”

Take rice. It seems to them that it is not enough, they add, they cook.

While rice is cooked, give soup, chicken, something else. And you sit, eat, enjoy the hospitality of the owners, tell them about their travels. Already ate — bang, you bring this rice.

And you already can not! Often, even on the road, three kilograms give: “Here, take rice with you.

You love». Although I personally always discourage attempts to impose food with me on the road.

This method — show rice — works very well.

Gastronom.ru: Only in Asia?

V. Sh.: And in Europe too. A friend of mine in Europe has repeatedly cunning this way.

However, there is another problem: you get stuck with this rice, and then they give you another 10, 20, 50 euros — something like beer. They think that a person has no money at all, therefore, he walks with rice, so let him at least eat normally.

Inconveniently it turns out.

Gastronom.ru: The most famous of your books is called «Around the World for $ 280».

What is your main secret travel for a little money?

V. Sh.: The main secret is communication with people.

Having stayed once in another country without a penny in my pocket, I realized that it is very difficult to travel with absolutely no money, because. you suffer from overeating and get fat fast! And where to go?

I am an honest person and I prefer to speak honestly: “The money ran out three months ago, and I still have some time to go, half the globe. And immediately the reaction: it is necessary to feed. At first, when I first encountered this, I thought: you never know, one such good person came across.

Therefore, you are treated to breakfast, fed to the whole day ahead. Then you get to someone for lunch — and you’re fed up again.

Soon you begin to understand that you should not eat for the future, because you will definitely get to people for breakfast, for lunch, and for dinner.

One more problem. You say honestly that you have no money, and you are invited to dinner three times in a row on the same day. And for the third time it would be necessary to refuse, but you cannot, because a contradiction is obtained.

If you refuse, the owners begin to suspect you of dishonesty. When I made my trip for $ 280, I realized that you can always find food anywhere. I even dreamed of some kind of unloading day.

And somehow, I remember, in New Zealand I think: “Oh!

Today it seems like a fasting day is scheduled for the first time in three years! ” I stand, I don’t touch anyone, near one house, a woman comes out of it and treats with oranges that grew there.

And in the late afternoon — talking with one farmer, he brought me to his home for a festive dinner.

There is another good way to eat. The principle is simple: when many people come together to eat, you can always join and participate. These are weddings, commemorations, holidays.


Only there is one subtlety: in no case can not act cheekily and be greedy. You choose the most good-natured person by sight, approach him, explain that you are a traveler, and ask if they can eat.

The answer is unchanged: «Yes, of course, eat.»

And you are already a dear guest: you come and eat.

Gastronom.ru: Even if he is not the master?


Sh.: Of course.

Even if he is not the master.

When many people take part in the feast, it is not clear who is who.

In Australia, in Adelaide, once on the central square of the city celebrated the Day of Forgiveness. Australians feel guilty for the fact that the Aborigines have long been treated like animals (until 1964 they were copied along with animals).

Now every year they arrange such a holiday — to ask for forgiveness.

And there, too, was a lot of food, they fed everyone, including me, without disassembling — the aborigine, not the aborigine.

When I was in Malaysia, I also got on some Sikh holiday.

Accidentally passed by the Sikh temple, looked.

And there they cook something, some kind of Sikh food.

Come in, please, feed you right there.

Gastronom.ru: Despite the fact that you are not a Sikh?


Sh.: It does not matter.

Traveling through the East, I accidentally discovered that you can eat and spend the night in a Buddhist temple or monastery.

The principle is very simple: come in, but only for one night. The second stay is very difficult — it is easier to find another temple.

If you want to eat, then it should be asked separately.

If he didn’t ask about food, he came without dinner, spent the night and left in the morning without breakfast.

This is the Buddhist attitude towards life — what I asked for, I received it.

When I traveled around Thai and Indian monasteries, I had a unique opportunity to try what the local people eat.

Because there the monks themselves do not cook, they usually eat what the locals bring.

In the morning the monks go to all the houses and collect what the locals have done.

Therefore, in each plate — different dishes.

Once I tried a meal from several plates for the sake of interest.

And everyone was equally tasteless.

Gastronom.ru: What about other religions?

V. Sh.: Once I had the opportunity to live for three days in a Sufi monastery — khanaka. Actually, it can be called a monastery only conditionally, since Muslims do not have a vow of celibacy — Sufis live in the monastery directly with their families.

Not being Muslims, we dined more than once in the house of the sheikh, the head of the monastery.

I must say, there is a very simple food, almost hiking, soldierly, somewhat ascetic.

I did not hide the fact that the Orthodox: to lie in such cases is impossible.

Therefore, I honestly say that the Taoists, Catholics, and Muslims are Orthodox.

If in Buddhist monasteries the likelihood that you are allowed to sleep and feed is 95%, then in the Christian church it is about 60%. Very good attitude to wanderers in the Catholic Church: in the temple there are usually many people, and the priest lives nearby. In the Protestant church, most often everything is closed and it is very difficult to find a pastor.

And the main difference from the Buddhist temples: if you were allowed to stay in the church, then you can say nothing further — dinner and breakfast are already included. Automatically. When you come to the monastery, the reaction is the same at first: at first you are not welcome, and you have to spend some time trying to convince them.

But after you made a good impression about yourself, it’s hard to leave the monastery, they don’t want to let you out: “Live here with us, stay for a year”.

Somehow I happened to spend a day in Monastery of St. Catherine on Sinai. Thanks to our photographer, who knew a little Greek, we talked to the priest, and we talked so thoroughly that we missed the bus — we realized it when he was already driving off.

They had to leave us for the night — at first they agreed reluctantly, then they thawed out as if they were acquainted with all the monks, climbed the whole monastery, thoroughly refreshed themselves in the refectory (then, by the way, there was a fast, and the food in the monastery was fast, but with red wine) .

And in the Russian monastery in Australia, where I lived for a week, we were generally trying to overfeed: these were the last weeks before the beginning of the fast and the monks asked for more, because the products would not remain for seven weeks and would disappear anyway. We, in fact, lived near the monastery in a special small hotel for pilgrims and constantly came to the monastery.

I felt like we were freeloaders.

Once we did not go to the table, and in the evening one monk brought us a basket with food to the hotel. That is, it was inconvenient to come to a meal, but here it was even more inconvenient.

We realized that nowhere not to get to: we must walk.

Gastronom.ru: I also want to ask you about eastern bazaars. How to find a common language with local merchants?

Give a couple of tips?

V. Sh.: I remember the first encounter with the eastern market.

You come up, say to the owner: «How much is a kilogram of apples?» He says: «Two rubles.»

Me: «And how much does one apple cost?»

He: «Take it.»

What I like about eastern markets is that prices, of course, you never know. You buy for the price you buy. Relatively speaking, they can sell you three times as much as they sell to local people.

But if you have already agreed on this price, you will weigh exactly one kilogram.

Even a kilo and a hundred grams.

Gastronom.ru: In the eastern bazaars do not hang?


Sh.: In no case. No, you already swindled three times.

There is a peculiar idea of ​​honesty. The merchant believes that you have agreed honestly, you are not against this price. But if it is assumed that you take a kilogram, it will be just a kilogram.

To sell cheap apples at an exorbitant price is an honest bargaining, and putting you 900 grams instead of a kilogram is a fraud.

Gastronom.ru: Australia, Iran, Thailand — all this is interesting and beautiful.

BUT how not to stay hungry in Russia?


Sh.: Oddly enough, traveling around Russia is much more difficult than traveling to Iran or Thailand. Not long ago, I visited the Kaliningrad region and the Krasnodar Territory. I was shocked to what extent we have a wild and backward country in relation to tourism.

Everything is expensive, stupid, inconvenient and inaccessible, the service is missing as such.

From tourists strive to rip off at exorbitant prices.

You’d be surprised, but, sadly, it is much cheaper and easier to travel to other countries.

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