Blogger Spotlight: Eating Asia
July 15th, 2010
02:30 PM ET
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Every weekday, we're highlighting a local or regional blogger we think you ought to know about. We can’t be everywhere at once, so we look to these passionate eaters, cooks and writers to keep us tapped into every facet of the food world. Consider this a way to get to know a blog’s taste buds, because, well, you should.

Meet today's featured bloggers and blog:
Who: Robyn Eckhardt and David Hagerman, of EatingAsia
Where: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Twitter: @EatingAsia

Dave and I both grew up in Michigan. Not too long after our first date at a (bad) Chinese restaurant, we were eating the real thing in Sichuan, China, where we taught English for a year. That was in the mid-eighties. In 1994 we moved to Hong Kong. Aside from a 3-year break in the Bay Area, we’ve been eating our way around Asia ever since.

We started EatingAsia in 2005 right after we moved to Kuala Lumpur from Saigon. Dave was working in business but had been photographing for eons, and I’d been writing for a long time, mostly as an academic. We wondered - “Could we make careers of this?”

Publishing a blog together was a way to force ourselves to work on our respective skills. Kuala Lumpur was an ideal "test venue": Malaysian cuisine is varied, beautiful, and delicious. We just hit the streets, tried everything, talked to people, and blogged all about it.

Fairly quickly the blog changed the way we travel. No more beach resorts! You can only blog grilled fish so many times. We’re curious – about regional cuisines and ingredients, culinary traditions, and the people who grow, sell, and make food – and that pushes us to travel beyond our comfort zone. Over the last five years, food has been an entrance to tiny villages, markets, and home kitchens, and a vehicle by which to meet amazing people and learn from them.

We have a thing for markets. Our first stop anywhere is the market, and if we find a great one, we’ll hang out photographing and taking notes all day, even days in a row. And we’re keen on street food. Eating on the street is such a great way to meet all kinds of people. In much of Asia,there are street vendors who’ve been cooking up one or two dishes day after day, for decades. We respect and admire the skill and hard work that goes into that and we try to honor it with our words and photos.

For us, EatingAsia is a creative outlet. It's a place where we can do what we want and share what really excites us. It has been a means of meeting like-minded obsessives. Dave and I joke that we have a "cult" blog - it's definitely not for every foodie. But we're quietly proud that after 4-years-plus of blogging in relative obscurity, notice came unbidden.

The blog has led us in interesting directions. We both freelance full-time now - not always to do with food - sometimes working together, often not. We recently started leading street food "walks," and it's a real kick to introduce other food lovers to our favorite markets, dishes and vendors in person.

We have some other irons in the fire, and EatingAsia will evolve as we do, but we'll be blogging for the forseeable future. We'll keep doing what we do for the pure enjoyment of it.

Do you read a local blog that you'd like to see featured? Send 'em our way for a chance in the spotlight.

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Filed under: Blog Spotlight • Blogs • Think

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. tony

    it's my favorite blog. hopefully when my wife and i make it back to kl to visit her fam we can take them out for portugeuse devil curry in chinatown

    July 24, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
  2. Fuji Mama

    Love seeing one of my favorite blogs spotlighted! I've been reading EatingAsia for several years now, and never get tired of Robyn's and David's outlook and approach to Asian cuisine.

    July 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  3. Zekeriya S. Sen

    I like the post especially about Turkey. The photos by dave are gem!!! If you ever think of Turkey I would also suggest a local foodie just check it out especially the "sorry but no" section is so bold.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:56 am |
  4. Robyn and Dave

    Thanks everyone, for the kind words.

    July 16, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
  5. Rasa Malaysia

    Eating Asia is one of my most respected food blogs. I loooooooove Robyn's and Dave's work–they are beautiful, and their passion shines through Robyn's words and Dave's photography. And I am glad that they are both my friends. :)

    July 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  6. Vicky Go

    I'm an expat Filipina living in NJ for 40 years or so.

    To keep in touch with the food scene in Manila Philippines, I check on this blog periodically:

    Great photos – nostalgic for a lot of expats – and we're legion here in the USA>

    July 16, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  7. psy

    Dave still takes pictures in slide film, hence the awesome feel. At least to my knowledge

    July 16, 2010 at 4:36 am |
  8. e_ting

    One of my favourite blogs of all time, not just in the Asian blogosphere. It's my go-to for food trips around South East Asia, especially Malaysia. No one does it like Robyn and Dave!

    July 16, 2010 at 1:15 am |
  9. ourman

    Just a quick note to say – I'm a huge fan. No one does it like EatingAsia does it. I've been reading the site off and on since it started. If it was just words then it would be impressive enough. Again, if it was merely a photo gallery it would be unmissable. But together it is genuinely something special.

    As regards pics I keep trying to work out how he does it because David takes photos like no one else. They seem to be almost 3D. Unmissable.

    July 16, 2010 at 12:48 am |
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