Take me to foodie heaven

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food" – George Bernard Shaw


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Miss Katie’s Crab Shack

After our little adventure at the Shrine of Rememberance and Royal Botanic Gardens, we decided to walk all the way to Miss Katie’s Crab Shack and to perhaps have a little wander around the Queen Victoria Markets after since it is right across the road from Miss Katie’s. It was a long walk up which took us around an hour, passing by many landmarks, shops and more eateries along the way until we finally arrived at our destination. We were so hungry and could not wait to indulge in some delicious American or Southern style food at Miss Katie’s.

We started off with Katie’s Fried Chicken ($17) which have been marinated well with a secret blend of herbs and spices. The chicken was deep fried until it was golden on the outside – it was crunchy, tender, full of flavour and finger licking good. The blue cheese sauce complements well with the fried chicken and it was not too strong and overpowering.  I may be very hungry at that time but I must admit that the fried chicken served up at Katie’s is super tasty and sinfully good – I haven’t had good fried chicken in a while!

IMG_6592Katie’s Fried Chicken with Blue Cheese Sauce

We also shared a Chesapeake Crab Burger ($15, add french fries for $5) which comprises of a 100g blue swimmer crab cake, fresh slaw, herb mayo, dill pickle and sesame bun. The blue swimmer crab cake was seasoned well and the fresh slaw and herb mayo gave a punch of acidity and sweetness to the burger. I loved how the sesame bun looked shiny and smooth in my photo – in terms of taste, it was soft, fluffy and buttery in texture. Apart from the burger, I enjoyed the french fries which was flavoursome as it was seasoned well with Old Bay Seasoning.

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Chesapeake Crab Burger

We ordered a Katie’s Low Country Boil ($25) which comprises of a traditional crab boil, Australian blue swimmer crab, cob corn and smoked kranski, Old Bay and Garlic Butter. We were also supplied with bibs, wet tissues and hammer. So here’s the fun part (or maybe tedious part?!) of eating crab – you can get your hands down and dirty and use the hammer to pound through the hard crab shell to obtain the tender and juicy crab meat. At Miss Katie’s, the crab was cooked to perfection, juicy and tender which complements well with the buttery texture of the crab boil. However, I only wished that there was more crab meat and it would be perfect!

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Katie’s Low Country Boil

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After fueling up with some food at Miss Katie’s, we were so full and were ready to embark on our next adventure to Queen Victoria Markets. Come during the summer days and you can indulge in an icy cold beer with fried chicken, a crab burger or a low country boil.

Man, it’s been a while but I am still thinking and dreaming of the fried chicken at Miss Katie’s Crab Shack.

 Mel’s Rating : mmmm (excellent)
Miss Katie's Crab Shack on Urbanspoon


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The Grain Store

Melbourne is famous for its many little cafes – some hidden and some well known. On our very first day in Melbourne before embarking on our adventure to the Shrine of Rememberance and Royal Botanic Gardens, my two travel buddies, Ruiqi and Val and I head over to The Grain Store for a hearty breakfast to pump some fuel and give a kickstart to the morning.

I had the the Chocolate French Toast with Pomegranate Puree ($20) from the Specials of the Day. The french toast was soft, fluffy and very light in chocolate flavour. The pomegranate puree was smooth and creamy, with an occasional crunch in between and was fresh in flavour, complementing well with the french toast. Overall, the dish had a good balance of sweetness together with a lovely balance of flavours.

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 Chocolate French Toast with Pomegranate Puree

Ruiqi had the Portobello Mushroom and Gruyere Potato Rosti ($19) which also consists of poached eggs, hazelnut hollandaise and root chips. According to Ruiqi, the mushrooms were cooked properly and the eggs were poached well to perfection. The dish also came with a generous portion of salad. Of all the elements, the highlight of the dish was the potato rosti – it was deliciously soft in the inside with a little crisp on the outside.

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Portobello Mushroom and Gruyere Potato Rosti

Val had the Smoked Salmon Omelette and Grilled Sourdough ($20) which also comprises of orange fennel, paprika piperade, mustard leaves and crispy quinoa. According to Val, the omelette was soft and tasty together with the freshness from the smoked salmon. The dish had a lovely punch of flavours which complements well with each element on the dish. Some of the highlights of the individual elements that made this dish a success was the tomato sauce giving a punch of acidity to the omelette, the crunchy quinoa and the sweet onions which marries well with the other flavours of the dish.

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Smoked Salmon Omelette and Grilled Sourdough

At the end we were very full and satisfied with our hearty breakfast at The Grain Store. Although it was a rainy morning in Melbourne, I am glad that we beat the rain to have an early breakfast at The Grain Store. The decor at The Grain Store is simple but the atmosphere is homely, bright and lively together with friendly service from the staff. With so much variety in the menu at The Grain Store, it’s definitely hard to choose what to order as everything looks good. Looks like The Grain Store will be a calling for my next visit to Melbourne!

Oh, and did I forget to mention that coffee is excellent here too?

Mel’s Rating : mmmm (excellent)

The Grain Store on Urbanspoon


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PappaRich Carousel

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Wasamedia to celebrate the opening of PappaRich Carousel, which followed after the opening of PappaRich Northbridge in September. I remembered Matt and I had a huge feast when we were at PappaRich Northbridge and went home feeling very full and satisfied after. During this event, I was joined with fellow bloggers and our celebrity host, Poh Ling Yeow from Masterchef Australia Season One and her own TV show, Poh’s Kitchen to celebrate the opening of PappaRich Carousel.

We started off with some drinks and I had the Matcha Rocks. I have been wanting to give this drink a try and I finally did during my visit at PappaRich Carousel. The Matcha Rocks was thick and creamy with a lovely matcha or green tea flavour in combination with the sweetness from the red beans. While having our drinks, we had an opportunity to have a chat each other and also, with the lovely Poh with some photographic opportunities too.

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 Matcha Rocks

To start off, we had some Deep Fried Chicken Skin and Satay Chicken. The Deep Fried Chicken Skin was crunchy and crispy with a touch of oil. I also had some of the Satay Chicken which was accompanied by cucumber, red onion and a chunky peanut sauce. The Satay Chicken was smoked well, tender and full of flavour.

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Deep Fried Chicken Skin

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Satay Chicken

We had more food brought to our long table – some of them were the Pappa Fried Mee, Pappa Special Nasi Lemak to Roti Canai with Beef Rendang. The Pappa Fried Mee was deliciously smokey with a great punch of flavours from the noodles and ingredients. My favourite dish in PappaRich will still be the one and only Pappa Special Nasi Lemak with Curry Chicken. It was consistent with the nasi lemak I had during my visit at PappaRich Northbridge where the rice was fragrant, the sambal was a good mix of sweet and spicy and the tender and juicy chicken lathered in delicious curry. I also enjoyed the Roti Canai with Beef Rendang which came with spicy chilli sauce and dhal as the accompaniments. The roti was soft and fluffy surrounded by crispy edges, complementing well with the accompaniments and the tenderness of the beef rendang.

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Pappa Fried Mee

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Pappa Special Nasi Lemak with Curry Chicken

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Roti Canai with Beef Rendang

For dessert, we had ABC with Ice Cream and Banana Fritters with Green Tea Ice Cream. The ABC (Ais Batu Campur/”Mixed Ice”) was a refreshing finish to our feast. It was presented with a mountain of ice topped with Vanilla Ice Cream and in the bowl, there were red beans, peanuts and black grass jelly at the bottom of the mountain – your usual ABC ingredients. I had a taste of the banana fritters and it was crunchy, with a light and fluffy batter on the outside.

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ABC (Air Batu Campur/”Mixed Ice”) with Ice Cream

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Banana Fritters with Green Tea Ice Cream

Apart from indulging in the delicious feast offered to us at PappaRich, we were also treated to a Lion Dance and drumming performance to celebrate PappaRich Carousel’s opening. It was a big celebration and there were so much liveliness around the restaurant. And yes, there was also a DJ outside and lots of balloons around too!

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PappaRich Carousel Perth Launch. Photo: Ze W/Event Photos Australia Pty Ltd.(Photo Credit : PappaRich/Wasamedia/Ze W/Event Photos Australia Pty Ltd.)

I really had a great time at PappaRich Carousel and I was so full after – we had lots of food! I would like to thank Wasamedia for the invitation to attend the opening of PappaRich Carousel and the team at PappaRich Carousel for hosting us and cooking up a feast. And also, thanks to the lovely Poh for being a great host and ambassador for PappaRich – it was lovely to meet you! :)

Papparich Carousel on Urbanspoon


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Darlings Supper Club

Located in the heart of Northbridge, Darlings Supper Club is an Asian fusion inspired restaurant and bar brought to you by the man behind Varnish on King and The Flour Factory, Andy Freeman and Sam Astbury. During the past few months, Darlings Supper Club has taken the feedback and reviews onboard to revamp and come back with some new additions to the kitchen. This also included firing five chefs in three months and bringing three new chefs with their amazing expertise and flair to the Supper Club. There’s Head Chef Joel Robert, ‘The Chopper’ joining the team fresh from Iron Chef Thailand and Sashimi King Youngwoo, hailing all the way from South Korea. The moment I received an invitation to attend this event, I replied with a Yes in a few seconds and brought along my childhood friend and foodie, Jess.

To start off, Jess had the Hello Kitty Spritz and I had the Hanzo Slipper. The Hello Kitty Spritz consists of Kizakura Sake, coconut and blueberry jam, fresh citrus, aromatic Peychauds bitters topped with prosecco and fresh mint. The Hanzo Slipper consists of J&B rare whiskey, Midori, lemon juice, absinthe, gomme syrup, finished with orange oil and dandelion bitters. I enjoyed the Hanzo Slipper and thought that it was very refreshing, making it the perfect drink for a Sunday afternoon to complement with great food coming our way. Apart from cocktails, we were also offered warm and cold sake and white wine too. While sipping on our drinks, we took this opportunity to catch up with some old friends and we did make some new friends too. :)

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Hello Kitty Spritz

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Hanzo Slipper

To start off, we had the crumbed quail egg, lap cheong sausage and micro red cabbage leaf. The crumbed quail egg is light and crisp on the outside while protecting the gooey and creamy texture of the oozing egg yolk in the middle with tobiko on top.  It was such a great start to our long Sunday lunch!

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Crumbed quail egg, lap cheong sausage and micro red cabbage leaf

Not long after, plates of Tasmanian Atlantic salmon sashimi, accompanied with fresh wakame salad arrived to the table. I love my sashimi – the fresher, the better. The salmon sashimi at Darling Supper Club was very fresh and makes a perfect complement with the soy sauce. It would be even better if there were some wasabi to go with it – I just like the kick from the wasabi which always brings flavours up another level. The salmon salad was creamy and fresh, making it a great side to the salmon sashimi.

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Tasmanian Atlantic salmon sashimi with wakame salad

Next up was the Rottnest scallops with coriander pistou, potato foam and Five Spice black pudding. All eyes were on the scallops and there were oohs, there were aahs. The potato foam was creamy and complements well with the freshness of the scallop. The coriander pistou gave a punch of acidity and freshness to the dish. It was a lovely dish which incorporates elements of east meets west and I wished we could have seconds for it!

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Rottnest scallops with coriander pistou, potato foam and Five Spice black pudding

We were also offered Fresh Vietnamese Rolls with Pork Belly and Prawn and Satay Sauce. The Vietnamese Rolls were wrapped perfectly, looking neat and presentable. The ingredients in the rolls were light and fresh in flavours. At Darlings Supper Club, the take on Vietnamese Rolls is a bit different where satay sauce is used as the dipping sauce instead of the usual hoisin sauce with crushed peanuts. I thought that this was really creative as the satay sauce gave a hint of spicy-ness and strong flavours to the dish, which actually balances well with the light flavours of the Vietnamese Rolls.

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Fresh Vietnamese Rolls with Pork Belly and Prawn and Satay Sauce

We also had the Teriyaki octopus and soba noodle salad with wasabi mayonnaise. The octopus was marinated and chargrilled well giving sweetness to the perfectly cooked octopus. However, I found the soba noodles salad to be a bit salty and could be better if the salt was reduced to balance out the stronger tastes.

Next up was the Fried Japanese tofu with pickled mushroom, asparagus and miso. I always think of Agedashi Tofu as the usual Fried Tofu drenched in light dashi based sauce. At Darlings Supper Club, Agedashi Tofu is taken to the next level and yes, it’s different to your average Agedashi Tofu. It was a splash of colours on the plate. The tofu was smooth and silky inside, crisp on the outside. The chilli spice mix gave a subtle hint of chilli kick to the tofu. I really love how the umami flavours from the miso complements well with the tofu, pickled mushroom and asparagus.

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Teriyaki octopus and soba noodle salad with wasabi mayonnaise

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Fried Japanese tofu with pickled mushroom, asparagus and miso

Plate after plate and the Crispy confit pork belly with chilli palm caramel arrived on the table. This was another one of my favourites. The pork belly was juicy and tender, topped with a thin layer of crispy, crunchy crackling that you can even hear the sound of it crunch when you sink your teeth in it. It was melt in your mouth delicious.

We also had the Braised black bean beef cheek on coriander pesto with red cabbage marmalade. I have heard about this dish from a friend and how amazing it was. It was truly amazing. The beef cheek was so soft and tender that it pulls apart easily, together with beautiful flavours which have been soaked through the beef cheek. It was so flavoursome.

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Crispy confit pork belly with chilli palm caramel

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Braised black bean beef cheek on coriander pesto with red cabbage marmalade

We were so full after all the food which have been served to us and it has been good so far. But, this is not the end. To finish off, we were offered Darlings Snickers and Macarons with flavours of white chocolate, peanut butter and lavender. The Darlings Snickers which consists of Valrhona chocolate brownie with caramelised peanuts and spiced condensed milk was rich with a nice balance of sweet and salty flavours. The macarons had the perfect crunch on its outer layers and a creamy middle layer. After desserts at The Flour Factory, I am impressed once again by the desserts at Darlings Supper Club.

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Macarons (White chocolate, peanut butter and lavender)

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Darlings Snickers

We were so full after the feast or I should perhaps say, the long Sunday lunch. Darlings Supper Club was one of the places on my wishlist that I would love to go to and I did hear some mixed reviews about it a few months back. After the tasty lunch event, I was impressed at the quality of food that they have put up after listening to what their customers have to say and working to improve based on the feedback that they received. As they say, the best way to improve is to always incorporate feedback. :)

Feeling a bit hungry after looking at this post at 12am? Don’t worry, it’s not too late. Darlings Supper Club is here to serve you late night Asian fusion whether it is dumplings or noodles for you to enjoy until 3am!

Once again, I would like to thank David Gardiner PR for the invitation and organising the event. I would also like to thank the team at Darlings Supper Club for having us and cooking up a storm of great food for us.

Darlings Supper Club on Urbanspoon


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Sprolo

After another round of BodyCombat team teaching with Liju at Goodlife Cannington, we decided to head out for brunch with our friends to Sprolo at South Perth. Sprolo is one new cafe which has just recently been opened a few months ago and yes, they do specialise by having good coffee as they have an in house roaster too. When we arrived there on a Saturday during lunch hour, the cafe was busy but we were lucky enough to get a table for 8 in the end. As they always say, the more, the merrier.

What exactly does Sprolo mean? Sprolo is a mash-up from ‘spro’ (barista abbreviation for espresso) and ‘yolo’ (acronym for you only live one; carpe diem). Put together and you get Sprolo!

To start, Liju had the Strawberry and Mint Iced Tea. I tried the iced tea and thought that it was very refreshing, which makes it a great thirst quencher after busting out a sweat-pumping BodyCombat class! A few of us also ordered some coffee to start off with and around the table, I did hear some positive responses about the coffee and how aromatic and flavoursome it was. Must be good coffee!

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Strawberry and Mint Iced Tea

Liju and a few others had the Pulled Beef Toastie ($11) with Chimichurri sauce, Triple-Cheese and Sourdough. The Pulled Beef Toastie was served warm with soft, tender and succulent pulled beef. The Chimichurri sauce gave a punch of acidity and freshness to the pulled beef and the triple-cheese was melt in your mouth delicious.

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Pulled Beef Toastie

I had the Singaporean Breakfast ($12) which comprises of Slow-Cooked Eggs, Sourdough and House-made Coconut Jam, also known commonly as Kaya. In an accompanying basket, there’s also white pepper and soya sauce to sprinkle and drizzle on the slow-cooked eggs. The slow cooked eggs were to die for – put your knife through and you get oozing yellow liquid flowing out. The House-made Coconut Jam or Kaya was executed well. It was smooth with lovely sweet flavours of coconut. Having the Singaporean Breakfast definitely brings back memories of waking up to Kaya Toasts and Half Boiled eggs when I was in Malaysia. Although, I do admit that I still do have half boiled eggs at home for breakfast somedays.

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Singaporean Breakfast

We also did share a few sweet treats, from Portuguese Tarts to Cakes. The Portuguese Tart was executed well – it was slightly crisp on the outside and the custard was smooth, creamy and silky. We also did have a few cakes to share which I unfortunately couldn’t remember what they were called! The cakes at Sprolo were also lovely. Although they were a bit dense, there was still a bit of moisture which balances out the dense textures of the cake.

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Overall, it was an enjoyable dining experience at Sprolo. The atmosphere and ambience at Sprolo is lovely making it a perfect place to catch up with friends over food and coffee. If I am ever craving for a Singaporean Breakfast, now I know where to go to!

Mel’s Rating : mmmm (excellent)

Sprolo on Urbanspoon


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Szechwan Zen

Szechwan Zen is a Chinese restaurant specialising in Szechuan style food, tucked away in one of the small shopping squares in Northbridge along William Street. If you spot a Big Red Crab sign, then you are at the spot on at the right place. This was my first time trying Szechuan food and I do hear that the Szechuan style of cooking uses chilli and lots of chilli and their dishes are mostly spicy. As I was offered $100 from the manager of Szechwan Zen, Merrick, to spend, I brought along three of my family friends and mum so we did have a large group to order a variety of dishes to share.

To start off, we had the Taro Toast Rolls (6 pieces for $9.80) and as cold starters, Duck Rolls with Egg Yolk ($15.80) and Spicy Chicken Salad ($12.80). The Taro Toast Rolls were deep fried to crisp on the outside while retaining the soft textures of taro on the inside. It was an instant favourite on the table as the Taro Toast Rolls disappeared in the blink of an eye. The Duck Rolls with Egg Yolk were lovely as the saltiness of the egg yolk complements the tender duck meat surrounding the egg yolk. Although we decided to go mild on our first visit with our dishes, we had the Spicy Chicken Salad which had a two chilli rating. For me, the dish was a bit spicy but it had a good chilli kick that I could tolerate.  The spicy-ness of the dish balances well with the cold, succulent, tender chicken meat.

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Taro Toast Rolls

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Duck rolls with egg yolk

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Special spicy chicken salad

For our mains, we had a Sweet and Sour Whole Fish ($33.80), Stir Fried Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms ($18.80) and  Golden Fried Garlic Spare Ribs ($11.80). We were told to enjoy the Sweet and Sour Whole Fish while it’s hot to be able to savour the crispy and crunchy outer layers. The sweet and sour sauce gave the fish a nice punch in acidity and a lovely flavour to the dish. For the Stir Fried Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms, the beef tenderloin was cooked perfectly and it was tender and the mushrooms gave the dish its earthy flavours.

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Sweet and Sour whole fish

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Stir Fried Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms

The Golden Fried Garlic Spare Ribs was another favourite on our table. It was cooked perfectly to crisp on the outside and spare ribs were succulent and seasoned well. It was so delicious that I secretly wished that I could have a whole plate of it to myself.

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Golden Fried Garlic Spare Ribs

Who says you have to have it spicy when you are at a restaurant selling Szechuan food? You can sure opt for going mild just like we did or if you really want a challenge and love your chilli kick, I recommend you to go for the chilli dishes.

I would like to thank Merrick for having us and to the team at Szechwan Zen for cooking up a storm for us. For something different, we will definitely be back to Szechwan Zen in the future to try other dishes and maybe if I am brave enough, to try some chili dishes with a three chili rating. Yep, because I know it will be worth it.

Szechwan Zen Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon


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VizEat

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Camille, the co-founder of VizEat. The philosophy of VizEat is to bring people from different cultures to try different food by hosts locally or at a foreign country. When I first heard about VizEat, I thought that this was a fantastic idea to bridge the gap and open our eyes to different cuisines from different cultures locally or in another country and perhaps to budding chefs out there, you can also show off your cooking skills too!

So what exactly is VizEat? VizEat is an online, global community for people to share and sample a great and authentic meal in a local’s home. Whether you are a tourist in a foreign country or a local wanting to try something new and different, VizEat brings and connects people together to share a convivial experience. From Europe to Asia, VizEat provides the opportunity for both the host and guest to discover a new meal, new culture or even make new friends under the concept of meal sharing. Did you know that meal sharing is more manageable than apartment sharing or couch surfing?

So if you say…I would definitely love to share a meal with others. What will I need? Simple. All you need is a dining table and a sprinkle of imagination! Breakfast, dinner, lunch, brunch or aperitif? It’s your choice – you decide!

VizEat comprises of a diverse and motivated community where members, whether host or guest, come from all walks of life with a passion for food, cooking, travelling, meeting new people and sharing their language and culture. The VizEat experiences are arranged between the host and the guests, personalised to the preferences of the host and needs of the guest. On the VizEat website, guests will be able to browse and find events, detailed profiles of hosts and ideas of meals.

Setting up a VizEat account is easy and secure. All you have to do is to create a profile and a meal and the price, date(s) and meals are set by the host. As a host, you get 100% of the price you set for your experience. Reservation is simple – if you are a guest interested in a meal, the host receives a booking request from the guest that he or she is free to accept or decline. All the formalities such as reservations, payments and insurance are taken care of by the VizEat team. Once reservation is confirmed, the host and guest are free to communicate to each other via private messaging. Dietary restrictions? Yes, they can be respected by some hosts. Insurance (from Lloyd’s) of up to 100,000 Euros is also included in case of damages or illness.

If you are planning to travel around the world, sharing an authentic meal will also help you to discover and learn about a new culture by meeting people and building friendships.

What are you waiting for? Create a profile now at the VizEat website and you will be ready to share a meal with others or perhaps try something new too!

 

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