It occurred to me recently that this year, marks the 5th year I’ve been running food tours, and also the 8th year I’ve been food blogging. I immensely enjoy doing both, and am supported by the most wonderful team, but it felt like there was a link missing that could connect everything. Thus a few months ago, I set up I Ate My Way Through on MeetUp.com and thought nothing more of it.
The concept brewed in my mind for a little longer, then I finally pitched the idea to the team, and here we are. The idea behind I Ate My Way Through Meet-Ups is to create a series of casual events where an active community of blog readers, followers, past tour attendees and like-minded food lovers can come together, hang out with the I Ate My Way Through team, share food/travel tips and eat. I see it as an extension of leaving a comment on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or a blog post… You’re not just responding to our commentary, but you’re becoming a part of the story. To me, this completes the loop, enabling I Ate My Way Through to be more interactive and ‘real’.
It’s no secret that I love a good food crawl, so while the I Ate My Way Through food tours are scheduled recurring events that guide Sydneysiders and tourists to visit a specific suburb for its local cuisine, I Ate My Way Through meet-ups will take a less structured and more social approach.
Korean Fried Chicken Crawl
The first meetup was held recently and the theme was to re-live one of our most popular blog posts – The search for the best Korean Fried Chicken in Sydney.
I thought we’d start with my most favourite place for Korean fried chicken – it’s hard to beat NaruOne’s crunch – and then see how everyone was feeling. To my delight, we had a group of eager participants and we quickly agreed that we should take it easy at at NaruOne so we’d have the stomach for Korean fried chicken at another restaurant.
Arriving as strangers, we all bonded over beers, haemul pajeon (seafood pancakes), mul naeng myeon (cold soba noodles) and KFC, two ways.
By the time we left, no one would’ve ever guessed that we’d only just met a few hours ago!
N2 Extreme Gelato
While waiting for a table at Arisun for the next round of Korean fried chicken, we decided that the time could be more wisely spent eating ice cream. And not just any ice cream, but N2 Extreme Gelato which was just a few stalls up the street. Now, I’ve eaten here many times before, but the flavours have never been as epic as this Black edition of Dirty banana splits ($8). What was it? Salted caramel filled syringe, granulated peanuts, Oreo crumbs, cocoa nibs, salted peanuts, banana gelato, choc drizzle and glacé cherries.
N2 Extreme Gelato
43/1 Dixon Street, Sydney NSW
At Arisun, everybody’s inner-food-blogger was unleashed when the salt and pepper silverfish and chilli chicken with cheese were served. The spicyness of the chilli chicken took several by surprise but to have it smothered in melted cheese… Oh my!
We also had the soy glazed fried chicken ($30) and several bottles of soju may or may not have been shared 😉
Kanzi Fashion Cafe
To continue the Korean themed food crawl, we moved onto Kanzi Fashion Cafe which operates as a fashion outlet as well as a cafe. The large rustic table outside suited our group perfectly and I was finally united with the melon bing-soo I’d long been stalking on Instagram.
The magnificent creation consisted of a half cut honeydew filled with shaved ice, balls of melon, ice cream, condensed milk and a Melona ice-block. Equally refreshing but not quite as photogenic were the pat bing soo (red beans with shaved ice and fruit) and honey toast.
Funnily enough, word got out that someone knew the owners of Emporer’s Puffs so before we knew it, a warm batch of custard puffs were being passed around. The waffle-like aroma was pure comfort against the chilly breeze.
I Ate My Way Through on MeetUp.com
We all parted ways that night with some new friends and some new restaurants ticked off the bucket list.
The easy part about being an organiser is having a vision, however, the meetup wouldn’t have been a success without the people. I’m so excited that we already have 120 people in the I Ate My Way Through Meetup group!
A big thank you goes out to those who attended this first one. (You can see more photos from the meetup via the hashtag #IAteMyWayThroughMeetUp) I thought we were only going to hit up 1 or 2 restaurants as part of the Korean Fried Chicken crawl, but to have done 5 eateries, wow! You were such fantastic company and a great group of enablers! I couldn’t have asked for a better MeetUp! Thank you for bringing I Ate My Way Through to life! I can’t wait til the next time we meet!
If you missed out and want to join future I Ate My Way Through meetups, join here: meetup.com/IAteMyWayThrough