Each week we profile a different Canadian Food Blogger who is part of the FBC community. This week we meet Raymond from Travelling Foodie. He calls Toronto home but you're more likely to find him traveling the globe looking for delicious things to eat!
Name: Raymond Cua
Blog name: Travelling Foodie
Where were you born? Quezon City, Philippines
Where are you living now? Toronto, Ontario
Why did you start your blog?
I travel and eat a lot. Even before I started the blog, I was travelling at least three times a year for personal vacation, and I typically eat out multiple times a week. I was already taking photos even back then.
I started Travelling Foodie to start documenting them since I already had all the content – kind of like a snapshot of where I went and my thoughts at that time. In fact, I was in the USA on a 2-week road trip with my siblings when I started posting because I was seeing all these beautiful things and thought why not share them to people who might be interested/inspired by them.
How did you decide on your blog name?
Food is an integral part of my life from my ethnic background and upbringing, to parent’s running a food business and to our yearly family vacations abroad as a kid. I learned at a young age how culinary is an integral part of travel, and you can learn so much about a destination’s culture and history just based on food, the universal language.
With my love for food and how much I eat (and can eat) during my travels, I found my itinerary focused on trying certain local dishes or specific restaurants first then filling the rest after.
This is why the name Travelling Foodie came about. I travel to eat, and eat to travel.
What do you blog about?
I blog about all things food and travel, and everything in between.
On the food side, I blog about food products, recipes and cooking, and restaurants and local cuisine.
On the travel side, I blog about things to do, where to eat and stay all around the world.
On everything in between, I blog about lifestyle products related to both. This can be anything that helps the travel and food lifestyle including gadgets, software, apparel, accessories, etc.
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
Travelling Foodie started as a passion hobby in 2014, but is now my full-time business since 2017.
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
I find my post on 4 Day Trip in Kerala, India encapsulates me and what Travelling Foodie is all about. It was my first time visiting India, and it shows I am open to new experiences and cultures when travelling. I also travelled alone even though I had a private driver that took me to places in the itinerary.
The post also showcases what a Travelling Foodie is all about. There is a focus on local cuisine, but at the same time still exploring the destination’s attractions and learning about the people and culture.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
I wish my post on the 7 Days in Colorado had more love because this travel guide is a beast! It’s actually my second longest blog post at 7.5K words, and is a very complete guide including things you should know about Colorado, what to pack, fun facts, on top of a detailed itinerary for a 7 day trip to Colorado.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
The success of my post on Best Restaurants in Halifax surprised me the most because it was the first time one of my blog posts went viral. In fact, it is my most successful blog post in terms of page views. On top of that, it got a lot of buzz:
- It was featured in Global News Halifax. My first time getting TV coverage.
- It was shared by Explore Canada (Canada Tourism), Visit Nova Scotia and Discover Halifax in social media.
- I also had a lot of emails about the post from people visiting Halifax and from locals who agree or disagree about the post.
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
My biggest challenge as a blogger is keeping up with all the existing platforms and learning about new ones on top of all the changes in the existing ones.
Currently, I have a blog, 2 Instagram accounts, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and now I’m also learning TikTok. Each of these platforms takes content differently. It’s a challenge and a time consuming process to streamline the content creation process for all of them.
While all this is happening, you still need to adapt to all the changes to existing platforms like algorithm changes (remember how Instagram used to be chronological?), SEO, content, etc…
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a blogger is knowing my value and learning to say no. This honestly became so much easier for me once I started doing this full-time because I had to learn how to make a living.
It can be easy to get caught in thinking “free” is good. But one has to realize that, first, it’s not free because you are working for it too. Second, is it really worth my time and the opportunity cost I’m giving up to use that time on other things?
What has been your biggest success as a blogger so far?
The biggest success for me right now is the passive income I am starting to grow in ad revenue from the blog and YouTube. I have been trying to focus on this since last year and am very happy with the growth and results. This allows me to be less financially stressed and less reliant on sponsored work.
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
I’ve always loved Japanese food, and it’s among my favourite cuisine (my default if I’m not craving something else). I finally went on a trip to Japan last year in 2019, and I LOVED IT.
I was literally in food heaven and wanted to try as much food as I can. Obviously, I made a guide on where to eat in Tokyo.
What are you working on next for your blog?
Aside from producing more content, a lot of my goals for the blog are the boring parts:
- Now that I’ve been blogging for a while, I’ve learned a lot and also come to realize a certain style on how I want my posts. So I’m going back to all my old posts to update them to apply my learnings to fit the style.
- I also want to update the theme on my blog
- I’m also starting to do more video content for my overall brand instead of photos
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
Some of the things people are most surprised to learn about me is that:
- I have no background in marketing and journalism. I studied Computer Science in the University of Waterloo. All this was a passion hobby for all the food and travel I do that became a dream come true.
- I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to eating as I want to try things I’ve never tried. Some of the most exotic ones I’ve had are: bear heart, tamilok (woodworm), balut (duck embryo), haggis, lamb brain, grasshoppers, agave worms.
What makes your blog unique?
I think what makes my blog unique is all the years of experiences and knowledge in travel and food that got me to where I am today:
I don't claim to be a food expert nor have the culinary training, but I eat and travel A LOT, more than normal. I've been travelling since I was a kid. I've been to 4 continents, more than 25 countries, and have explored half of the states in the USA as well as half the Canada provinces.
My range of food is very wide from junk food and cheap eats to Michelin-starred restaurants and World's 50 Best restaurants. In fact, back in 2008 when I was just a 2nd-year university student and before I was even blogging, I went to Chicago to dine at Alinea which was No. 17 in the World's 50 Best Restaurants at that time, and is a 3 Michelin-star restaurant. Imagine a student going all the way for a USD150++ meal (at that time). It didn't seem normal to most, but it was for me.
I’m not a #ForTheGram foodie. I would pretty much try any cuisine and any dish, even exotic ones like I mentioned in the previous question. So my content becomes unique too. I may not get the same amount of likes as a #ForTheGram foodie, but it’s different and interesting, and you might learn something. 🙂
On the non-culinary aspect, aside from the touristy things, I'm usually down to try anything that's unique and fun, having done skydiving, paragliding and parasailing.
I also have two dedicated Instagram accounts: one for food (@TravellinFoodie) and one for travel (@JourneyTraveler) so the content are very targeted to those niches.
How do you cultivate a sense of community around your blog?
I try to add a personal touch to my writing, and I also reply to everyone who messages and comments on my posts despite there being a “like” button nowadays.
When travelling, I try to be a bit “real-time” in social media especially Instagram Stories. It’s funny how being “insta” on Instagram is uncommon nowadays. I would typically share my day on my Instagram stories, whereas other bloggers post all the content post-trip. I get quite a bit of interaction from both my followers and the locals (who sometimes end up being followers).
A great example was when I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and had a local commenting on my Instagram post saying “I think we saw you dancing yesterday in the Art Walk just in front! Welcome to this beautiful city. Such a good vibe you all bring to the street.” It’s not a comment you’d typically get if you post after the trip.
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
The Blogger Resources is the most useful part for me since I find it has relevant content at different stages of your blogging journey plus it covers a wide range of topics you can think of.
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