Mark Wiens is a global celebrity known for his food videos and writings. He has traveled the globe and has become a phenomenal celebrity in a decade. Mark posts his experiences and suggestions on Migrantiology.com.
Mark’s journey from 2009 has taken him to various parts of the world. Also, he has garnered 1 million subscribers on YouTube recently. He lives in Bangkok with his wife Ying, mother-in-law, and baby boy Micah.
Kathmandu Tribune’s Arun Budhathoki had a talk with Mark Wiens about his journey so far and where he sees himself in the future.
Here are the excerpts:
- What’s the best memory you had about Nepal? Any particular food you liked?
Both my wife and I, traveling in Nepal was one of our most memorable experiences — especially for the people, food, and the incredible natural scenery. Dhal bhat was a meal I ate nearly every day, but I especially enjoyed trying things like dried yak and samay baji.
- When did you realize that you wanted to travel around the world for food and make videos?
- If you were stranded on an island—what would be the one food that you would want to have?
That’s a very tough question. But probably I’d choose some southern Thai curry cooked by my mother in law. There’s a dish called ‘pad phet’, which is a stir fried curry that’s loaded with spices, and very spicy, and can be made with any type of meat, and it’s a dish that I always love to eat.
- What’s your work process? Do you think social media and technologies have helped you to reach out to your fans?
All the time when I’m eating and creating blogs and videos, I’m learning about a food I’m trying for the first time, or about the culture that I’m in. And so I like to create content that has value – not just entertainment – but content that we all can learn from. My work in progress now is to create a video that tells a better story, about the food and the connection to the people that make it and eat it. Yes, social media and technology are huge and it’s been the main factor that’s allowed me to do what I do and connect with so many amazing food lovers around the world.
- Congratulations on getting 1 million subscribers on YouTube. Who is your inspiration? Can we expect a show from you in coming days?
Thank you very much! I get a lot of inspiration from traditional cooks and family style restaurants anywhere I travel. For instance, an Aunty in a village cooking traditional food in a humble setting, cooked with love — that’s the type of food I love so much, and that’s what keeps me so inspired. At the moment I really like producing everything with just myself and my wife because we don’t have pressure or stress like the main show.
- How do you manage to travel (eat without getting sick) safely? What’s your message to the citizens of the world?
That’s a good question. I think growing up in a variety of different places and eating street food from an early age, I had a little edge of street food eating from the start. However, you always have to be careful and use judgment. It’s best to stick to food that looks fresh and hasn’t been sitting around all day. Additionally, I love to go to street food stalls that are packed and busy with locals, when you know the food is fresh and the turnover rate is high.
- Your fans wonder how you stay fit and also manage to travel around the world. What’s the secret? How’s it like to live in Bangkok and do your work?
I love to walk from place to place and exercise as much as possible. When I’m home in Bangkok I do a 40-minute workout routine every day that includes sit-ups and pushups and running. But when I’m traveling sometimes it gets tough to do, and I try to just do pushups. To be honest, when I’m home in Bangkok, you can find me sitting in front of the computer editing videos the entire day, only moving to go eat and exercise in the afternoon.
- How did your head movement evolve? How has your wife, Ying, shaped you and your growth as a celebrity?
Eating is something that’s very emotional, and for many of us, when we taste something delicious, it’s pure joy and excitement. Also, if you ate something incredibly delicious, and just said, “that’s good,” with no emotion, it would be really boring to watch.
So I try to capture the excitement and emotion of delicious food, however, it comes.
My wife is my main support and she’s always there for me. I’m hugely thankful for her, not only her filming but also how she’s helped me to grow as a person.
- Your best and worst moments while traveling, eating food, making videos.
The best and most memorable experiences and meals I have had when I travel are the ones that immediately remind me that this meal would be worth traveling across the world just to eat. Most of the time, they are home-cooked meals, where it’s not just the food, but the love and passion that’s gone into the cooking. As for bad experiences, there have been many uncomfortable situations and frustrations during our travels. I have been robbed twice, luckily not hurt at all. And there have been times when it was freezing cold, and we had no heater – so we froze all night in the hostel. But these situations are all part of the travel experience.
- What’s your suggestion to budding food bloggers?
Always try to provide as much value to your viewers as possible, and if you’re making videos or writing, speak to your audience as an individual, as if you’re speaking to a friend.
Then just keep on producing honest content and don’t give up.
Mark Wiens (มาร์ค วีนส์)