Phil Lees - Food Warrior

According to the Melbourne Age

FOUR days spent steering a motorbike north from Chiang Mai along the Burmese border along dangerously snaking roads must have made food blogger Phil Lees challenge his actions. Surely, he questioned the madness of making a white-knuckle, eight-day return trip through bamboo-covered mountains to slurp one bowl of khao soi soup? In a word, no.

"I think, at some point, in the trip it just tipped over the edge," explains Lees, creator of Cambodia's first street food blog,

After three years in Asia, he recently returned to Melbourne and now writes a food blog, Mouthful, for SBS online. "Suddenly, we weren't going to see anything any more. We were just going to eat."

So when a Cambodian friend tipped him off that some of the tastiest khao soi came from a nondescript joint near the entrance to Mae Hong Son's market "a few lazy days on a motorcycle away", well, what choice did a culinary crusader have?

To this day, Lees says, that bowl of coconut creamy curry served over flat egg noodles and melting-off-the-bone-tender beef, with a tart complement of pickled cabbage, stands uncontested as the best bowl of noodle soup he's eaten. Welcome to the world of the food warrior. No dish too abstract, no taste too challenging and no geography too impassable, these obsessives hunt out the best of the regional, the seasonal and the unusual in their journey to uncover the heart of foreign cuisines. Leave the guide books to the masses, they say, donning their metaphoric khakis - there's a whole world of food experience out there and we're going to hunt down every delicious bite.

I wonder if this is the same as Hock dragging me half way across town to eat a crappy diner breakfast at Joe Juniors in NYC just cause he's read about it being good by some hack on the intertubes....does half an hour on the subway and digesting half a pound of pure fried American fat at 9 am in the morning count as hardcore? Can we join the food warrior club too?




    that breakfast looks as evil as Scottish fried slice!


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