An Unlikely Food Encounter

Do you think that because of the crazy world we live in, the ease and relatively low cost of travel and the information available to us all, that random meetings are more common? Are you more likely to run into someone you know or that you have a connection with if you’re in a far away place? I don’t know the answer, I do know that travel has a freaking amazing way of creating random meetings. I will never forget a time in Namibia, atop a glistening sand dune, marvelling at the beauty of the world, and Husband ran into a friend of his from High School. Seriously. Can you believe that? So excuse the entry on my Singapore Foodie blog, that almost entirely relates to eating in Austria, but trust me, there is a link and you may even find yourself in Ischgl one day and be in need of some culinary recommendations.

You would think that with my slight food obsession that random encounters like these mightn’t happen so much in the food world. And perhaps if I was more diligent before going on holidays, and had done the research I intended about the gourmet delights in Ischgl, Austria, then I might have discovered that a famous chef was lurking behind the facade of a non-descript little ski-haus. And it’s entirely My Bad, I just assumed that a ski resort famed for its excessive nightlife, would not be a foodie haven. But for a moment there I forgot that food in Europe almost always rocks.

So there we were one evening, after a fairly hefty session in Trofana Alm singing, “Hey, wir wollen die Eisbaren sehen,” which means something like, “Hey, we want to see the Icebears so much.” And by around 8.30pm we were feeling pretty hungry. So we tootled off to a quaint little building we’d noticed on the way home another evening, and arrived to find it just recovering from its own Aprés Ski shenanigans. We were a group of five and were asked to wait a short while as a table was prepared for us. During this time a striking man named Michael, replete with tartan pants, started chatting with us. We were a group that had come from the UK, US, Ireland and Singapore so we probably sounded a bit weird. And when he heard that we were from Singapore he was delighted to reveal that the chef and owner had been in Singapore himself, he was none other than Armin Leitgeb, head chef Les Amis in Singapore, one of the most famous restaurants on our little island.

With that we were seated, at a fabulous table right by the kitchen, and we met with Armin, an Austrian by birth, very happy with his decision to return to his homeland and head up a restaurant specialising in warming and rich comfort foods; spare ribs, spätzle and pork belly to name a few. Our meal was simply superb. I’ve written a full account of it on my Austria page where I’ve deliciously described all the treats we enjoyed at Kitzloch and other great food and drink establishments in Ischgl.

Where have you had a chance meeting like this? On my Facebook page Stuart Dammery recounted a time driving near the Swiss/French border when his family ate a quaint ‘local’ restaurant, drank wine, enjoyed food and came to pay only to find out they had crashed a family get together, and it wasn’t even a restaurant, it was their house! How fabulous is that?

I’d love to hear your own stories of chance meetings in far away places so feel free to comment below.

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