What is a Foodwalker?

You just may not be the triathlete type like many of your trailing-male brethren here,” my wife pointed out as delicately as she could one morning as I stepped out of the shower. A lugubrious look in the mirror confirmed her theory. When I first came to Singapore I expected to lose weight. I thought those errant, unbidden pounds would simply melt off me in the hot tropical sun. That was before I discovered the food. Truth is my passions are more closely tied to food than to triathlons; my interests more about what is in the cups they thrust at the passing racers than the race itself. Not a wining formula in the world of weight loss and fitness. So, what to do?
Do what you love; love what you do,” read the slogan on one of my tee shirts, and it struck a chord that day. And so was born the concept of foodwalking; where you walk to your food, get good exercise and eat guilt-free. Now I spend my time combing the streets, seeing the sights and enjoying the flavors that make Singapore famous. My wife was right: I am not a triathlete; I am a Foodwalker.
It’s about food; it’s about walking. It’s the activity that is both good for you and tastes good. The tools of the trade: comfortable shoes, a bottle of water and a sweat rag. Maybe bring a food guide. Beyond that it’s up to you; walk where you want, eat what you want, see what you want to see. You can chart your course, follow an itinerary or just freestyle it, starting anywhere and just seeing where your feet—and your stomach—take you. Either way you’ll walk briskly in the hot, Singaporean sun while the sweat pours and your heart pounds. Make it as easy or challenging as you want because foodwalking is not about getting from point A to B, but rather the journey in getting there. It is geographic and gastronomic travel on a local level; exploration on a well-worn path. And it’s good for anyone old enough to strap on their own shoes and carry a water bottle. 
There are those of us, of course, who take foodwalking to a professional level. We head out in the morning and finish after dinner. We walk far, sweat liters, and eat lots. Recently a fellow foodwalker and I started the day tasting kaya toast in Tiong Bahru, had five lunches between Chinatown and Arab Street, and finished with a pre-dinner comparison of thosai in Little India. Along the way we witnessed life in HDB housing estates, wandered solemnly around temples and took shelter from a malevolent storm in an historic landmark. We explored hawker centers and eating houses, cut through malls and strolled down narrow streets and small parks which we never knew existed. We sat with strangers—colorful personalities who spoke of old Singapore—and drank warm kopi and cold beer. It was a day of discovery and culture in the place we call home. It was a foodwalking day.

Best of all—and here’s the real secret—is that in addition to the obvious physical benefits, foodwalking sneaks in some psychological perks. A strange thing happens when you wander down unfamiliar streets or into buildings that you have passed so many times but never ventured into: you discover riches all around you. You smirk with wonderment and scratch your head in surprise at the fascinating places and people who live all around you. You fall in love with Singapore all over again. 

So if you are feeling a little too deep in that rut of everyday existence, do yourself a favor and take a foodwalk. Go somewhere different; eat something new. Get lost for a while. And rediscover the magic of this special place where you live.