What’s the best way to get to know a new culture? There’s probably no best way, but many will argue that the easiest way is to explore their food. This is true for celebrity chef and food traveler Andrew Zimmern, who tells the Travel Channel that, “Food is the simplest way for me to learn about another culture. Share a meal with folks and it will change your life as you see what real people are thinking and feeling.”
Of course, this would imply that you wouldn’t necessarily have to travel to be able to get to know a culture, as restaurants offering “authentic” cuisine from other places are already appearing everywhere. If you’re heading to a new place such as Malaysia, however, we’d recommend going for the real deal: trying authentic Malaysian street food from the major cities. Malaysian street food is so popular that Penang even features on the Top 10 Greatest Street Food Cities of CNN Travel! Of course, the task of experiencing all the different kinds of street food in Malaysia may seem quite overwhelming at first, but as with many other aspects of traveling, it pays to be prepared. By doing some research beforehand, you can construct a bingo game that will help you experience the most from your culinary travels.
Why bingo? Well, why not? Bingo is a versatile game that often lends itself to many different themes. The game is often played in Malaysia’s markets and carnivals, and its popularity has inspired many themed games, from the Coconut Island and Amazon-themed games on Gala Bingo to the UK’s Eatwell Bingo, which encourages healthy eating habits.
It’s also fairly simple to play, and all you would really need to do is to psych yourself up to start tasting some great food. Simply visit a website that lists the many delicacies you can find in Pengang’s streets, such as Buzzfeed or GoSEAsia on About.com, and pick out the food that you find most appetizing. Either list down their names or take their photos and arrange them in a 5×5 grid. This will serve as your bingo card.
Once you arrive in Penang, begin your quest for great food and try to hunt down the items in your bingo card. This is a great game to play against travel buddies as you go around and try to taste the food in your cards, aiming to be the first to mark off enough items to complete a bingo pattern. At the end of the day, you should have had your fill of great Malaysian food, and maybe even played a great game against your friends too!