Next week, blogger Christina Soong will be heading off to Turkey and Abu Dhabi for the trip of a lifetime. Christina was the winner of the Australian Writers’ Centre’s Best Australian Blogs Competition for 2014. And thanks to our competition sponsors at Trafalgar, Christina’s prize included an amazing trip to Turkey. We are so jealous! And we can’t wait to hear all about her adventures when she comes back.
2014 has already been a wild ride for the Adelaide-based food blogger since being awarded ‘Best Australian Blog’ for her blog, The Hungry Australian. Christina says that when she heard the news she was “stunned and grateful”. In 2013, Christina had managed to make the finals – but missed out on the top gong. “I had no expectation that I would even be a finalist again this year. So winning the competition was a shock, but a very nice one.”
The hungry traveller
With Turkey as her next adventure, she is keen to visit a part of the world she has never been to before. “I can’t wait. We’ll be visiting Istanbul, Canakkale, Gallipoli, Troy, Pergamum, Izmir, and Ephesus. I’m really forward to exploring the markets and trying as much of the local cuisine as I can. I’m also doing an add-on trip to Cappadocia, which sounds like a fascinating place.”
In true foodie style, Christina is already thinking about the cuisine. “I hope to come away with a good understanding of common Turkish ingredients, flavours and dishes from this trip. When I’m travelling I always note down dishes and flavour combinations that I want to try to recreate at home. Travelling to a new country is always so inspiring so I will definitely be sharing my experiences and my tips on The Hungry Australian. I’ll also be also writing a couple of articles for local monthly The Adelaide Review on Turkey and Abu Dhabi, where I have a 24-hour stopover.”
Food, photography, and then some more food
“I’m a food and travel photographer so I’ll be taking a lot of photos on this trip! I especially love shooting food markets – I find them endlessly fascinating. I like shooting food in natural light for best results – anything from cheap-and-cheerful street food eaten kerb-side to an immaculately plated work of art in a fine dining restaurant.”
However, Christina says that she does plan to look up from her plate to experience the magic that is Turkey. “I can’t wait to see (and shoot) the Blue Mosque, the Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar. Visiting historical sites like Gallipoli and Troy should be really interesting. I’m also going to try a Turkish bath – I’ve heard too many good stories not to!”
Life after winning the Best Australian Blogs Competition
The trip to Turkey caps off an exciting six months since being announced as the winner of the competition. “Life is good. I’m working with lots of new clients this year. I receive regular interview requests with Australian and overseas media and more invitations to events and media trips (famils) than I can cope with.
“One of the most satisfying things to come out of my Best Australian Blogs win is that my family now sees the value in what I’m doing. I think it’s sometimes hard for an outsider – a non-blogger – to understand why we blog. I started blogging because I thought it would help me become a better writer and it has. So The Hungry Australian came about because of my passion for food and writing. But blogging has taken me on an entirely new journey – it has enriched my life in countless ways and opened up so many new doors for me. Blogging was an unexpected gift and I’m extremely grateful for it.”