Tasty Travel Food: Top 12 Meals

Classic_Spam_2I signed up for a 3-day ocean water kayaking trip around the fiords of New Zealand. I’m going in January — Cool, huh?!

That’s what I thought until I read that I have to carry my own food. Wha?! On my adventure travels, I expect sherpas to carry and cook my food. But apparently not this time. I’m on my own.

So I was going to do a taste comparison of the pre-packaged camping food on sale at REI. Tempting items like Kung-Pao Chicken and Beef Stroganoff. I couldn’t bring myself to buy the stuff though. Completely unappetizing.

When I travel rough, I like to have “real” food. (I use that term lightly.) Here’re my top 12 picks:


1) Let’s not over-think things here: Instant oatmeal. Done. You can throw in some of the dried cranberries from your trail mix if you want.

Served with a cup of instant a) General Foods International Coffee, b) Trader Joe’s Chai, or c) Hot Chocolate packets.


2) Salami, apples, cheese, and loaf of French bread (or crackers). Swank.

3) I also think those pre-seasoned packets of tuna are a pretty good option. Simple.

4) Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches rock in the fresh air. Classic.

5) Chunky soup in a can. I like the kind with meat patties. Also the chicken and rice. If you’re worried about the weight of the can, you can always transfer to a (very secure) zip-lock baggie. Hot option.


6) Trader Joe’s Tasty Bites. Pre-packaged Indian food that is pretty yummy. I was turned on to Tasty Bites eons ago by my friend Natasha while camping in Washington State’s Cascade Mountains. Favs include Kashmir Spinach, Channa Masala , Bengal Lentils.

7) Minute rice. Lives up to its name. Can then slop lots of stuff on it like canned chili, some fried Spam (yes, I grew up in Hawaii where we love our Spam), Tasty Bites, etc.

8) Boxed mac and cheese. Best with some butter and milk (even the powdered kind), but certainly do-able with water.

Mac_and_Cheese9) Spaghetti. Just transfer the contents of the glass jar into a baggie (see above), and garb some noodles. No need to heat the sauce separately, it’ll gain enough heat from the hot noodles if you mix it right away. Pre-grated parm on top is a bonus.

10) Veggies like an onion, zucchini, peppers, squash – travel well and are easy to kabob and place over a flame. If you have a drizzle of oil and sea salt – even better.

11) Chance of fresh fish? Be prepared. Just kill and gut the fish (yes, I can do this), wrap the fillet in some tin foil with a little onion, lemon, salt and pepper – a drizzle of olive oil wouldn’t hurt – a sprig of rosemary or thyme would be divine. Voila! A fabulous meal (served over the Minute Rice, of course).


12) Whiskey – Not a food group, you say? In my Irish eyes it is.

I don’t care how hungry and cold you are, the best “meal” around a campfire is passing a flask. Also a few swigs taste pretty good while snuggled in your sleeping bag. Just saying.

What’s your favorite travel rough meal?

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This entry was posted on Saturday, October 9th, 2010 and is filed under Food & Drink.

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