The world on a plate

FOOD & FUN

Ever noticed that the best memories are sprinkled and perfumed with food? A freshly baked morning pie in Melbourne, sizzling pad Thai on a tropical island, or that perfect glass of crisp chardonnay with views of Victoria Falls. New flavours = new passions. Indulge your wanderlust – and your appetite – as you travel around the world. Here are just some of our favourite destinations.

Bangkok – Thailand

Bangkok is a foodie's dream, on every level. Get a taste for the locale with its world-famous street food, which can be as healthy or as indulgent as you like. Stay refreshed with tropical fruit. Dial up the spice levels with papaya salad. Or treat yourself to Thailand's very own take on fast food, pad krapow – a delicious fried basil dish, best eaten topped with a fried egg.

On the other end of the culinary spectrum are the city's lavish dining experiences. Head to Sukhumvit or the riverside for fancy dining options that celebrate all the flavours of the world. To really get the most of the experience, we recommend you opt for one of the Bangkok’s many rooftop restaurants.

Where to stay: Enjoy the best of both worlds at Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel. Wander the banks of the Chao Phraya River in search of tasty snacks. Check out local markets and try some things you definitely won’t find at home. Or treat yourself to a taste of the high life at SEEN restaurant and bar right upstairs, a multi-level rooftop venue that serves up glittering views of Bangkok’s riverside, delicious dining, chilled cocktails and smooth beats that last long into the night.

Victoria Falls – Zambia

An unusual choice, you say? A path less trodden, but certainly worth your time and appetite. Zambian cuisine, like in much of Africa, is a feast for all the senses. A traditional boma involves storytelling, music and dancing. Game is cooked on the bonfire – a mouthwatering aroma in the air – then shared along the communal table, served with home cooked relishes and love. Or get your afternoon fix with vitumbuwa, deep-fried fritter balls sold at the market. 

Where to stay: Avani Victoria Falls Resort is literally at the falls – you won’t find better views than this. Opt for a garden room and wake up to zebras and impalas grazing at your porch.

Melbourne – Australia

Pies, pav, toasties, barbies… and oh that wine! Australia is a gourmet paradise set against a sunny blue and welcoming backdrop. An eclectic mix of cultures means every cuisine you can imagine is represented, particularly the flavours of Asia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Throw in the riches of the surrounding ocean and food coma it is.

Melbourne itself is known for its haute coffee culture, so take the time to café-hop. There are at least half a dozen award-winning vineyards surrounding the city making for easy wine-tasting day trips. 

Where to stay: Smack bang in the middle of it all is Avani Melbourne Central Residences. Or to explore the Asian fresh markets and food festivals of Box Hill, Avani Melbourne Box Hill Residences is perfectly located.    

Koh Samui – Thailand

There’s a reason Thai is one of the world’s most beloved cuisines. It’s got everything – sweet, sour, salt and spice, and some of the best street food ever! Southern Thai cuisine, in particular, is known for its coconut milk richness, spices and fresh seafood. And what better setting for the freshest prawns and crab than on a tropical island? Try the slow-braised pork belly to up your cholesterol, or if you dare, go for the ultra-spicy but so-worth-it yellow curry with betel leaves and crabmeat.

Where to stay: For pool villa bliss, soft white sands, and stunning sunset views, head to Avani+ Samui Resort on the southwestern tip of the island. 

Bentota – Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka offers culture, history, nature and amazing flavours all on one island. A melting pot of Sinhalese, Tamil, Portuguese, Dutch and British influences is found in the variety of dishes on offer, all fresh, spicy and a whole new level of delicious. Think crab curry in a crisp hopper pancake accompanied by tangy sides of chutney and relish.

The southern half of the island is particularly rich in flavours, and with most towns located along the coast, fresh-off-the-boat seafood is everywhere. Cool or feed the fire of spice with coconut milk desserts, Ceylon tea and coconut nectar toddy.

Where to stay: Beach is best, and the laid back town of Bentota is just down the coast from the capital. Avani Bentota Resort is a classic choice, designed by the godfather of Tropical Modernism, Sir Geoffrey Bawa.

Luang Prabang – Laos

Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its laidback tranquillity, beautiful temples, welcoming smiles – and fresh, flavourful cuisine. Similar to Thai food of the northeast, but with the subtle influences of the French, think fresh baguettes and Lao coffee for breakfast, sticky rice and raw salads for lunch, and a grilled whole fish for dinner flavoured with fresh herbs and lemongrass. Don’t fill up too fast though, because the night market, with its colourful array of street food snacks, is also waiting.

Where to stay: Avani+ Luang Prabang Hotel is located right opposite the night market. The heritage hotel is boutique and intimate in feel, with only 53 rooms, befitting the small-town charm of Luang Prabang.