Every millennial's dream: YouTuber couple find fame noshing on street food abroad

A couple from southern New Brunswick have turned their video blog about living in Taiwan into a YouTube sensation.

Sabrina Davidson, Luke Martin will take their channel, Chopstick Travel, to the Winter Olympics in South Korea

Luke Martin and Sabrina Davidson said the know 'absolutely zero' about video production before starting their vlog. (Chopstick Travel)

What started as an informal travel blog a young couple created for their family back home in New Brunswick has exploded into a YouTube sensation.

Sabrina Davidson from Saint John and Luke Martin from Hampton recently returned home from a year of teaching overseas in Taiwan.

While in that country, they began highlighting some of the local cuisine they were enjoying on their travels around the country.

It wasn't long before they started getting noticed on the street.

"Some people in Taiwan would come up to us, and do their best to speak English to us because they recognized us from our videos," Martin told Information Morning Saint John.

"It was amazing to see that happening, especially because we were living in a small, rural area, so to see it spread beyond just there was really awesome."

Sabrina Davidson said the two are now able to live and travel on the money they make from their YouTube videos. (Chopstick Travel)

Their channel, called Chopstick Travel, takes viewers on a walk-through of busy Taiwanese street markets and the foods that catch their eye.

A seafood tour from June, that's racked up almost 900,000 views, samples steamed and stir-fried crab, sashimi, fried fish cakes, and fish floss.

"It's something people in the Western world would find strange or unique, even in Taiwan, some of these foods, Taiwanese people tell us they've never seen them, so we're looking for unique and different food," said Martin.

"We're not critiquing it, but we're reviewing it and telling you what we think."

Luke Martin said they tend to sample a lot of street food for its ease with filming, and luckily they have only gotten sick once. (Chopstick Travel)

Martin tastes most of the foods, while Davidson does much of the work behind the camera.

It has a professional quality, which has evolved from Davidson's "absolutely zero" knowledge of video production.

"We've learned through experience and people's comments, their suggestions," she said. "We took that and implemented it and people really liked it."

The channel combines their love of travel and trying out new food.

"We're very open-minded," Martin said. "There's a lot of weird textures to get used to in Asian cuisine, so that was a big hurdle for us.

"There's a particular food in Taiwan they call stinky Tofu, it's fermented in things like milk, it's almost like a compost. But it's actually a delicacy. A lot of people don't mind it, but it really surprised us.

"It's sort of like cheese, you need to get used to it."

Martin said performing in front of the camera took some getting used to. (Chopstick Travel)

The couple are able to live and travel on the money they make from their videos, including some that are sponsored.

Their channel has received 10 million views overall, and about 1.2 million viewers monthly.

They've even been commissioned by a promotional agency to feature foods in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"They want us to show the local small markets they have there," Davidson said.

"With the influx of tourists from the Olympics, they want us to [help get] some of these tourists to these markets."

While the money, delicious food and international travel doesn't hurt, the couple say that best of all, their online fame has allowed them to connect with people around the world.

"People who want to travel, but maybe they're too intimidated to try the foods, especially in local spots, if they watch our videos they say, 'Now that I know what they have, maybe I'll try that,' which is very nice," said Davidson.

Martin said it's his favourite part about the channel.

"A lot of comments on our videos are from people who talk about problems where they can't travel," he said.

"They're kind of living through our videos, and it warms our hearts."

About the Author

Sarah Trainor


Sarah Trainor is a reporter, and news reader for Information Morning Saint John. She has worked for the CBC since 2005.

With files from Information Morning Saint John