GASTRONOMIC TRAVELOGUE OF PETER DZINGEL
Where I was
History of the journeys
EXPEDITION HONG KONG + THAILAND
For the last 2 years we have simply been waiting for the world to open again so that we would be able to travel with my team to take photos for the book, shoot the materials for social media and the TV pilot – which was our greatest dream. So, we travelled around the Thai islands weighed down by all the technical equipment for three months – cooking, filming, editing, writing recipes, and then we had 14 beautiful days in Hong Kong, where we discovered Michelin Street food and other great tastes of Hong Kong. A truly amazing experience!
THE WORLD CHANGED AFTER THIS JOURNEY
HONG KONG + THAILAND
It was the beginning of January and we had spent two weeks in Hong Kong for shopping and traveling then my family and I and a few friends moved to Thailand. I decided to put myself through six weeks of training in a Muai Thai gym, so we all went to two-hour training sessions six days a week. It was a wonderful experience, I hit rock bottom, but I’ve improved physically tremendously. A week after returning home to the Czech Republic, my knee gave up the ghost and I had to have surgery. It served me right – I had trained hard and given it my all but I severely damaged my knee. But the world had other problems than my knee. It was the beginning of the year 2020 and the world had begun to change.
KOH SAMUI / THAILAND
In April, after my milestone birthday and before the summer festival season began, which is my main job, I had to go to the island of Samui for a few weeks – to recharge my batteries.
I had never been to Thailand before, and I experienced the island during its highest temperatures. It was so hot that even the locals did not want to leave their houses, and when they did, they wore scarves, hats and carried umbrellas to protect themselves. It was terribly hot, sometimes almost 45 degrees in the sun.
Whilst in Thailand I was fortunate enough to be part of the celebration of the Thai New Year Songkran. The locals have a very interesting way of celebrating, they stand in the roads, in the alleys in front of their houses and in front of the shops – they are simply everywhere, and as you pass them, they pour water on you and quite vigorously:) And because of this I had a crash on a motorcycle:)
SURE, THERE AGAIN
HONG KONG + THAILAND
I am often asked – why are you going there again? For me, Hong Kong is the centre of everything Asian – I can find products from dozens of Asian countries in the highest possible quality and Chinese teas from the hundreds of tea houses there. There are dishes from most Asian countries, so you can taste several regions of Chinese cuisine on one street, or there is a street full of Korean bistros, Japanese restaurants, fast food with stuffed Dim sum dumplings, Vietnamese, Thai, Filipino, Malaysian, Sri Lankan, and many other cuisines of the world. There are dozens of street bistros that have Michelin stars and even if I were to take a 2-week holiday in Hong Kong every year for the next 20 years, I still wouldn’t be able to try them all.
I'M NOT IN A HURRY – ANY MORE
HONG KONG + THAILAND
At this point I felt that it`s time for a change – I had become tired of frequent flights, I did not want to spend my time at the airports and transferring to other destinations, because I had been traveling from one destination to another for almost 25 years. When we were younger, we travelled through Europe and then Asia. I usually travel through Asia for 2 months and this year I didn`t want to just move from place to place anymore. I wanted to stop; stay somewhere for a month or more and get to know the locals. Only then would I be able to understand how people get by in that part of the world. From now on, I will stay in peace and quiet only and with the local biorhythm.
FIND OUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF GREEN TEA
HONG KONG, XIAMEN, SHANGHAI, MOUNT WUYI, THAILAND
This trip had been my dream for many years. I love green tea, so I wanted to discover one of the most famous areas for tea growing – the Chinese province of Fujian. I had 2 months to do it, so I took my time and travelled from Hong Kong to inner China to discover their most valuable treasure. I had the opportunity to taste the most expensive tea I have ever tried. It costs around 100 000 USD per kilo, it was awesome:) We also flew to Shanghai for a week to find out that we felt a bit better in the mountains… It was an unforgettable trip for our whole family.
I WANT TO KNOW HOW TO COOK MALAYSIAN RENDANG
THAILAND AND MALAYSIA
In Vienna, I tasted the Malaysian classic beef – rendang and I was immediately hooked. I had to learn how to cook it properly, so I went to Thailand and down across the border to the Malaysian island of Langkawi and from there to the beautiful Cameron Highlands full of tea plantations, where time had stopped and then I continued to the modern city of Kuala Lumpur.
OTHER BEAUTIES OF THAILAND
HONG KONG AND THAILAND
I could travel to Thailand every year; it is vast and diverse. It’s all about your point of view and what you want to see and experience. I explored Thailand, not only the islands, but I also travelled north to the mountains, walked among tea plantations, and wandered through rice fields to places where a different Thailand breathes on you and where you will find completely different tourists. The kind of freethinking tourist who is not interested in lounging on the beach all day and splurging on posh hotels.
SRI LANKA - WHAT WAS THAT?
It was a rainy evening, and I was sitting at home – bored. I took my laptop, opened the website of my favourite airlines, and all of a sudden, a special offer for Colombo jumped out at me. I had no idea where the place was. A few clicks later and I soon found out that it is the capital of Sri Lanka. I didn’t know anything about it. A few more clicks, pay and that’s it. The whole thing took less than 10 minutes and that’s how I got to Sri Lanka. Seriously! It’s these spontaneous acts that tend to yield the best results. I threw my backpack on my back; I didn’t stay anywhere more than two days and I was always on the move travelling through this amazing island.
Sri Lanka literally blew me away – I fell madly in love with it. After returning home, I bought flight tickets for the whole family, and we went back there for a month later that year.
I ALMOST FREAKED OUT IN THAT TINY PLANE IN A TROPICAL STORM OVER THE MEKONG DELTA
VIETNAM, SRI LANKA, CAMBODIA, THAILAND
I was going through a very difficult period at work. I was burnt out and on the verge of a breakdown. As a last resort to do something with myself, I saw a long trip to Asia. I had 2 months to do it, my beloved family around me and 4 wonderful countries in front of me. Honestly, it took quite a while, but I managed to get it together – the essence of the East, its culture, religion and philosophy, beautiful nature, and people… All this gave me one big realization. I cleaned myself up…
FROM A SMALL CZECH VILLAGE TO THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
We bought flight tickets and thought – what were we going to do there for one month? Yet it was really the most exciting experience. In one word Beijing was -unique. It is beautiful and yet so completely different from our world. We travelled to the countryside several times and lived among the local people; I consider this to be my greatest experience from China. All around were unspoiled people with their genuineness, dedication, and those sincere smiles, given willingly and for free… Oh Lord! Now, off the regular tourist track we took a small bus and we travelled for 3 hours out of Beijing with the locals. Monika and I were the last to get off pretty much in a field somewhere and walked alone for one hour through the mountainous landscape to get to the ubiquitous, monumental Great Wall. I wouldn’t swap anything in life for that experience.
HONG KONG AND THAILAND
I will never skip Hong Kong again on my way to Asia. Do you have a place in your heart where you feel at home? For me, it’s Hong Kong. I don’t understand it, but I feel good there.
I don’t know how it’s possible, maybe I’ll understand it someday… And when I was in Hong Kong, it was only a short distance to Thailand – so I flew there!
THAILAND - OH MY GOD!
Again, to Hong Kong to buy delicious tea and for the first time to Thailand.
Bangkok, Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Phi Phi and Bamboo islands. It was the first time I had visited a tropical paradise on earth. The kind of place I had previously only known from documentaries until now. When I was a small village boy from a poor family, I watched TV and was captivated by this completely different world, which was perhaps not even on the same planet as me. And then I got in there and I knew right away that I had a new dream and goal. I decided – come what may – to spend every winter on the islands of Asia and in a warm climate. I do not like winter…
FIRST TIME TO INNER CHINA
I returned to ultra-modern Hong Kong and then flew to the completely different Chinese city of Guilin. From here I took a boat down the Li River to the town of Yangshuo.
It’s hard to describe in words how you feel once you get there – unreal, wonderful, breath-taking, magical, romantic, and unforgettable… The Chinese themselves call this landscape the most beautiful place in the world. I consider this trip to be the peak of my experiences in the world. Try looking up these places on the Internet and find out for yourself.
A LOVE FOR ASIA IS BORN
I left the borders of Europe for the first time and heading to Hong Kong, China. It was a complete culture shock for all of us, everything was so different. I will never forget it, this three-week trip completely changed my life. Not only mine but also for my whole family.