The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton


I'm a Malaysian-born Chinese Australian living in the heart of Hong Kong with my family. The blog's name Expat Gourmand is inspired by the fact that for the life of this blog, I have lived in three countries not my birth country. I am a qualified engineer with a couple of years of experience in Australia under my belt, and then we headed over to Japan where I spent 4 years teaching English. We then moved to Hong Kong in late 2010, six years after we first fell in love with the city on our honeymoon trip. I am a proud mum of a little boy who was born in Tokyo, and two little girls born in Hong Kong.

I love cooking AND eating, and am constantly on the lookout for new recipes to try out and great places to eat at. My online journal is about my encounters with food - full of recipes I've tried and reviews of restaurants I've eaten at - as well as miscellaneous entries on travelling and life in general. The recipes are mainly for my reference but I hope that others may find them useful and learn from my culinary research and mistakes.

If you would like to get in touch with me, I would love to hear from you! Please email me at expatfoodie[at]gmail[dot]com.

The following is an excerpt from an interview conducted by the lovely Stephanie of The Travelling Tastebuds in July 2011:

TT: You’ve had your blog since 2005. What inspired you to start a foodie blog?

EG: Well, my husband actually was the one who suggested that I start one. He knew I had a passion for food, and he said that I could write about our dining experiences. I didn’t even own a camera at the time, and photos on my entries in the first couple of months were either from a borrowed camera or the phone camera. I bought my dSLR in Sept ’05, just before it became affordable and fashionable to own one. The blog naturally progressed to encompass all my major interests – food, travel and photography.

TT: Why did you name your blog “Expat Gourmand”? What does that name mean to you?

EG: I was born in Malaysia but grew up in Australia, and the blog saw a brief glimpse into my final year of living in Australia, followed me for 4 years in two different parts of Japan, and saw us move into our new home in Hong Kong. I have lived most of my life as an expatriate, and food is my passion, and the name Expat Gourmand made perfect sense.

TT: Is Expat Gourmand a foodie blog, travel blog or both?

EG: It started out as a foodie blog but has progressed to become a bit of both because of all the travelling I have done especially after moving overseas. The blog is still more of a foodie blog because my travel itinerary is usually driven by pursuing dining experiences.


TT: Previously, you lived in Japan. FYI… we both have JET in common! How would you describe your experience?

EG: Japan is a beautiful country. Lovely people, unique culture and absolutely delicious food. Living in the countryside for 1 year on the JET program was definitely an experience of a lifetime, and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to live in Tokyo for 3 years for quite a different Japanese experience.


TT: How do you like living in HK {socially… emotionally… culturally… and economically}?

EG: HK is a great city. I first fell in love with this city when we came here as part of our honeymoon trip in ’04, and we wanted to live here. And we have ended up living in HK, but Japan (and my son) happened first. Everything is different when there’s a kid in the picture, so our experience of living in HK is quite different to what we’d envisioned when we were DINK-ing (double income no kids). I am always meeting other mums (and dads), and I realised lasts weekend while chatting to another Japanese mum that most of the friends I’ve made in HK are Japanese! The Chinese culture is vastly different from the Japanese culture, so it was a bit of a cultural shock moving here from Japan, as you’d expect. Economically, I think both Tokyo and Hong Kong are very expensive places to live in. I read somewhere that the three most expensive countries in the world to have babies in are Japan, Hong Kong and Germany. The economically smart thing to do would be to move back to Australia to have more kids, where mums get paid by the government to have babies (“baby bonus” is paid to Aussie residents only, so we won’t get that benefit as long as we are expats).

TT: What was the biggest surprise you came across while in HK?

EG: That I actually have more trouble communicating here than I did in Japan! I’d learnt enough Japanese during my few years in Japan to get by quite well, compared to my zero Cantonese ability. In addition, even though English is used more widely here, the locals don’t necessarily possess much English ability. The main difference between the way that the Japanese and the Chinese handle the language barrier is that the Japanese wouldn’t pretend to understand to know what you’re talking about, if you get what I mean. It’s a cultural thing, with the Chinese not wanting to “lose face”, which I think is the root of many problems experienced in the Chinese society.

TT: As an American-born Chinese, I am ashamed to admit that I do not know a stitch of Chinese. As an Australian-born Chinese… do you speak Chinese and if so… which dialect?

EG: I was actually born in Malaysia, but I grew up in Australia. My siblings and I were brought up speaking English, and although I picked up some Mandarin watching Chinese shows when I was still young in Malaysia, my ability was very limited. While I was in university, I also completed (and excelled in) an elective unit on beginners’ level Mandarin for a semester, but my focus at the time was completing my engineering degree. It’s sad to say, but currently my Japanese is better than my Chinese, and this is in spite of the fact that I knew no Japanese prior to moving to Japan.


TT: Do you have plans to settle down and raise your family in Australia, or are you looking forward to other world adventures?

EG: One part of me would love to settle down near our families in Australia so that I could have extra help when I need them. Yet another (bigger) part of me still has i†chy feet, eager to experience all there is to do, see and eat in the big world. I’ve already proven with my boy, who was born in Tokyo, that I don’t need to be in Australia to have babies, and we just might end up being a very international family. We’ll settle down when we’re ready, I guess

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