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Getting to Know Taste Cadets: Food & Travel Enthusiasts

Image Source: Taste Cadets @ Instagram

If you’re a fan of street food like we are at The Status Life, you’ve probably heard of the Taste Cadets, who have become Instagram sensations with their fun-filled culinary journeys exploring some of the world’s best street food from London to Vietnam and beyond.

The Taste Cadets are a group of three food and travel enthusiasts – Kieran Cavanagh (formerly a chef), Marcus Adams (a tattoo artist), and Allan “Seapa” Mustafa (known as MC Grindah from People Just Do Nothing). They share their street food adventures through humorous and mouth-watering videos on Instagram. Recently, they’ve also ventured into YouTube. You can subscribe to their channel here and watch their debut video.

We had the opportunity to chat with Marcus, Kieran, and Seapa about their Taste Cadets project. They’ve already had some incredible food escapades and have many more planned. Here’s what they had to say:

Q: Can you give us some background on the Taste Cadets? How did you all meet and come up with the idea for Taste Cadets?

Seapa: Kieran and I have been friends since school, bonding over our love for food from our days of indulging in all kinds of cuisine. Kieran traveled the world for five years, exploring the culinary scenes of France, Thailand, and Argentina while I embarked on my own food-centric journeys. When Kieran returned to the UK, we decided to turn our shared passion into a project. Marcus, whom Seapa introduced me to, completed our trio with his enthusiasm for travel and food.

Marcus: I was thrilled to join the group and contribute my perspective, despite my limited professional experience in food.

Q: Do any of you have professional culinary experience or is it just a hobby?

Seapa: Kieran has worked in restaurant kitchens, gaining valuable skills and knowledge along the way.

Kieran: While I wouldn’t call myself a “professional,” I’ve had the opportunity to work under talented chefs in various countries. Cooking has always been a passion for Seapa and me, stemming from our shared love for creating dishes at home.

Marcus: My culinary talents lie more in enjoying food rather than preparing it, though I do have a knack for making a mean curry goat dish.

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Q: What is your favorite city for food?

Marcus: Paris stands out for its diverse food scene, especially the lesser-known Kurdish, Turkish, and Algerian eateries.

Seapa: Hoi An holds a special place in my heart for introducing me to the life-changing Banh mi sandwich.

Kieran: Mexico City tops my list with its vibrant taco culture, showcasing the diversity found in a seemingly simple dish.

Q: You’ve explored various street food options. Any memorable experiences to share?

Seapa: Our street food adventures in Mexico led to some stomach troubles, culminating in a memorable (for the wrong reasons) restroom visit.

Kieran: We’ve had our share of food-related mishaps during trips, including a memorable bout of food poisoning in Vietnam.

Q: Which country do you recommend for street food enthusiasts?

Seapa: Thailand and Vietnam are must-visits for their ubiquitous and delicious street food offerings.

Marcus: Vietnam, in particular, is a paradise for street food lovers.

Kieran: Vietnam’s culinary scene, especially its Bahn Mi sandwiches, makes it a standout destination for street food enthusiasts.

Q: London is prominently featured in your videos. What’s your favorite street food market in the city? Any hidden gems to share?

Kieran: We enjoy exploring Broadway Market and its varied food options in London.

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Ridley Road Market doesn’t focus on food market but features a captivating takeaway curry spot. They serve a Karahi dish on Saturdays.

In terms of street food, Old Spitalfields offers great options such as a dumpling shack and a vegan Ethiopian restaurant called Merkamo. For a favorite takeaway, Turkish mixed grill from Mangal 1 in East London is a top pick. Another notable spot is Sam’s Sandwiches in Shepherd’s Bush Market, known for their Algerian merguez sandwiches.

At Borough Market, visitors can enjoy Iraqi Kubba from Jumas Kitchen, or opt for a Lebanese chicken wrap with Tabulleh and hummus from a nearby restaurant called Sidra.

When asked about their videos, the trio mentioned that their content is about friendship, humor, and exploring new food experiences, inviting viewers along for the journey.

Regarding meal choices, the group shared that dinner is never skipped, and it’s the most anticipated mealtime for them, with a strong focus on enjoying a good meal before bedtime.

In terms of travel for food exploration, their destination choices are often inspired by food documentaries and personal desires to visit certain countries based on shared cultural influences and culinary interests.

When discussing underrated cuisines, suggestions included Iraqi Kurdish, Eastern European, and Jamaican cuisine, highlighting the need for more recognition and representation.

The team emphasizes that their adventures are a mix of exploring new cultures and enjoying diverse cuisines, with the overall experience being more important than merely critiquing the food.

As for future plans, the group hinted at the possibility of releasing a book documenting their Taste Cadets adventures, offering a humorous take on street food exploration.

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In closing, when asked about their favorite food countries and embracing food cultures during travels, the trio mentioned their desire to visit South Korea, India, Pakistan, and Kurdistan for unique culinary experiences, showcasing their passion for exploring global cuisines.

Ultimately, the Taste Cadets prioritize a blend of research, local recommendations, spontaneity, and openness to new food experiences when embarking on their culinary adventures.The primary motivation behind our actions. For example, we’ve had many instances where we’ve made tourist blunders and messed things up completely – like the time we were at a roadside BBQ meat spot in Vietnam. We wanted to know the name of the dish, so we kept urging Kieran to ask the locals next to us. He was too nervous, but eventually, he mustered up the courage, stood up tall at 6 feet, pointed at the dish, and asked, “NAME?” in broken English. The locals were shocked, one of them said their name, and he just said thanks and sat down, feeling like he nailed it. I couldn’t stop laughing, trying not to be rude in front of our neighbors.

In Japan, I was surprised by how taboo tattoos still are there when I was asked to wear a wetsuit at a spa.

M – We might consider exploring new avenues like beers in the future. It would be interesting to visit different breweries and have a good time.

M – Perhaps visiting some vineyards is on the horizon; we’re quite fond of natural wines.

K – We’ve delved into the world of natural wines. Collaborating with Juiced Wines was enjoyable, but mixing alcohol with three best mates can go either way. Visiting a natural wine producer in Italy sounds enticing.

S – Things can get a bit technical when we’re tipsy. Haha.

K – Seap recreated a Birria dish inspired by one we had in Mexico City, which was exceptional and really transported me back there. I’ve tried making tacos at home, but it didn’t compare to the real deal. We once made Chinese dumplings with guidance from a 70-year-old dumpling master on Zoom, which turned out incredible.

S – That Birria was absolutely divine.

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M – Cooking at home, for me, is all about experimenting.

S– Our doors are closed for now.

K – If you’ve been unemployed for 20 years, maybe then.

M – Only gang members are welcome.

K – We plan to enhance our productions, expand beyond just Instagram to other platforms, and continue our current trajectory in 2023.

S – It’s going to be our most monumental year yet, with a lot in store, including more full-length videos, merchandise, and everything you can think of. Our next destination is Vietnam – stay tuned!

M – Stay updated on all our adventures by following the grizzly and subscribing to our new YouTube channel.

Image Source: Taste Cadets @ Instagram

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