Trevor eating food in an asian market
Food + Drink

Talking Travel With The Food Ranger

Host and founder of The Food Ranger Trevor James spends 250+ days of the year traveling the globe and indulging in the world's best street food. We sat down with the foodie itinerant to talk travel, mouthwatering dishes, and what he never leaves home without.

How did you get into food and travel? What was your inspiration?

I fell in love with exploring street food during my first trip overseas, when I traveled from Singapore to Beijing for four months. We took only trains and buses and ate only local food. It really changed my life. I chatted with so many vendors and sampled so many different dishes. When I came home, I knew I wanted to be in the travel industry but wasn’t sure how to go about it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it had to involve food. People everywhere are always so proud of their local cuisine and enjoy sharing it with travelers. My dad and I came up with “The Food Ranger,” which would allow me to combine delicious street food around the world and friendly people. 

How many days are you on the road per year, and how many cities have you visited so far?

We are always on the road. I would say about 250+ days per year. We’ve filmed in about 50+ major cities, with the list growing every week!

What are your favorite food cities? Any great, under-the-radar places you can recommend?

If I had to narrow it down to five, it would be Penang, Malaysia; Chengdu, China; Mumbai, India; Padang, Indonesia; and Tokyo, Japan. I think Penang is the best place to go for a condensed food trip with a huge variety of Chinese, Indian, and Malay cuisine—all within walking distance. The hawker culture alone is worth flying to Malaysia. All the locals are foodies and enjoy exploring new cuisine. Food is in everyone’s soul in Penang. 

Street food at Kimberly Street Food Night Market. George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
Hot pot korean meal in a table.
Street food at Kimberly Street Food Night Market. George Town, Penang, Malaysia.

kek lok si chinese paper lanterns with new year greeting during the chinese new year holidays in penang island malaysia

What’s been the biggest surprise in all your travels? 

Everywhere I go, I’m amazed by how generous the people are. They always exceed our expectations and make us feel at home and comfortable. When the people are this nice, traveling to a new place feels like traveling to a new home. It makes you realize how similar we all are. 

If you had to pick one food or dish to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Malaysian Nasi Lemak for lunch and a big Musang King durian for dessert. The combo is out of this world!

What’s the next great food destination you’re planning on visiting?

Pakistan. I can’t wait to explore around Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar. We’re also planning on revisiting Indonesia and going to the Philippines, too.

The Badshahi Mosque or "Imperial Mosque" is a Mughal era mosque in Lahore, capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab. The mosque is located west of Lahore Fort along the outskirts of the Walled City of Lahore. The mosque is widely considered to be one of Lahore's most iconic landmarks.

What always goes with you on the road?

Hand sanitizer and a great camera. Those are definitely the two most important things for me.

How to follow along: As he eats his way through the world, James is working on a series of street food guides for TripAdvisor and for his website thefoodranger.com

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