Travelling Foodie captures flavour of the Haliburton Highlands
By Jenn Watt
Aug 8, 2017
Crispy calamari, crab cake, escargot, bison striploin with blue cheese – is your mouth watering yet? Raymond Cua, the “travelling foodie” dined on these dishes and many more as he made his way around the Haliburton Highlands on a four-day feast for his blog and social media accounts.
Cua, 30, has recently made culinary tourism his trade, quitting his job with Scotiabank where he was a software development manager, to follow his passion for food and travel.
“My background has nothing to do with this,” said Cua, sitting in the newspaper office on his last day in Haliburton. “This is passion that became something. My background and what I studied was computer science.”
Cua grew up in the Philippines, where his parents own a fastfood restaurant, and moved to Canada in 2006 to attend the University of Waterloo.
Although he has only recently dedicated himself full-time to being the Travelling Foodie, he’s been eating and blogging about food for the last three years with increasing success.
“I started Instagram in mid-2014 to post pictures of my travel and that’s when it [gained] traction on its own and eventually I branched out to blogs and social media channels,” he explained.
Throughout his life he’s been taking photos of the things he eats and the adventures he has, so doing the same thing for social media made sense to him. Cua said he’s been to “at least” 20 countries, half the states in the U.S. and half the provinces in Canada.
This year he’s either already been or intends to travel to Halifax, British Columbia, Texas, Stratford, Ont., and Kingston, Ont.
His trip to Haliburton from July 24 to 27 came at the request of Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, a non-profit group.
Cua makes his money through multiple streams. There are advertisements on his blog and he also partners with brands and other companies.
Although OCTA asked Cua to come to the Highlands, they did not tell him where to go or what to write. He said he took a list of available restaurants and then did some online research about them to determine which ones would suit the trip. He wanted to visit restaurants that gave a wide range of food experiences from diners to fine dining. During his four days, he went to Molly’s Bistro in Minden, Rhubarb and Boshkung Brewing in Carnarvon, Maple Avenue Tap and Grill, La Luna Del Nordo and Baked and Battered in Haliburton and finished it off at the Millpond in Carnarvon.
At each location he would order many dishes to try, which he then photographed and posted as he went.
Aside from the Instagram and Twitter posts, he has also done a full blog post about the Highlands, which can be viewed here. His blog posts are usually more thorough, providing a guide to a place, including accommodations and things to do.
“I’m trying to make it [the blog] a one-stop destination for people. If they visit my site and read the guide then they don’t have to go anywhere else,” he said.
Other food bloggers write about food, but not places, he said. He tries to include both.
Cua was somewhat familiar with the Highlands because his aunt used to have a cottage east of the county and he would drive through on his way to visit. However, in general, he said visiting rural areas offered a chance to try more original restaurants.
“One thing I love about cottage country food is ... you’ll only find it here,” he said.
You can catch up with the Travelling Foodie wherever he is in the world by following him on social media or his blog: travellingfoodie.net.