Travel Tales: Fouad Kassab
Name: Fouad Kassab
Occupation: Cook/Writer/Blogger/Software Engineer
Favourite travel destination?: France. Paris is an incredible city – unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been and I’d love to go back there. But my heart belongs to Provence. I stayed in a small ochre-hued village called Roussillon in the Luberon region. Life takes on a different pace when you’re surrounded by that much beauty and perceptible contentment. Add to that an unlimited supply of goat cheese and wine and you’d be heartbroken when the time comes to leave.
Best meal you’ve ever had while travelling?: We ran out of water once while hiking in NSW and were severely dehydrated. We kept going by sharing a boiled cup of a moss-green brew we coerced out of a stagnant puddle. During the night it rained. We woke up the next morning and the water had gathered on the sides of our tent. We regressed to a primal state, drinking off the ground while on all fours. Nothing has ever tasted sweeter than that rainwater. But I guess that isn’t really a meal, is it? On my most recent trip to Turkey, we ended up in Gaziantep, a city in southeastern Anatolia, where we had brilliant pistachio kebabs with smoked eggplants, yoghurt and burnt butter, followed by a dessert of charcoal-baked burmali kadayif (kataifi pastry wrapped around pistachios) – that’s been the most memorable so far. I wrote a story about that for the(sydney)magazine recently. Here’s a link.
Best kiss?: Has to be this one, right?
No, but seriously. Mhhm. Kissing my daughter when she wakes up in the morning, warm and soft like gently-risen dough. A great kiss.
Best/scariest/funniest drive?: Lebanon 2006, Israel is bombing the shit out of Lebanon and I’m driving with my friend in Kaslik, an area we thought the Israelis would never attack. All of a sudden, we hear a large explosion around 20 meters away from us. We turn around to see the side of a building collapsing and 2 Israeli helicopters hovering nearby. If they had missed by an inch, I wouldn’t be writing this today. For some reason, my friend and I broke into a hysterical laugh… That was pretty funny…
Where is the best/weirdest/worst place you’ve ever stayed?: Istanbul, Melbourne and Tokyo are amazing. The Gold Coast during Indie is the weirdest. As for worst, hmm, nothing comes to mind, though I did live in Granville for a few months when I first came to Australia…
What has been the big ‘wow’ moment of your travelling life?: Seeing Istanbul. That city is crazy. Western infrastructure with Middle-Eastern grit. Ottoman architecture is incredible and the mishmash of cultural influences is dumbfounding. It’s just brilliant.
What is your number one travel tip?: Don’t hold on to travel guides. Get to know the locals and even if for a day, try to live like they do. Be open-minded and adventurous.
Fouad writes The Food Blog. Check it out here.