One of the great joys of travel is the chance to eat and learn about the food and cuisine in all the different places. Not only are the ingredients different (bushrat anyone?) but also, there are often vastly different styles of cooking that sometimes come as a surprise and sometimes come as a shock. Take Bulgarian cuisine for example…
In general, I just like to eat very delicious food made from fresh ingredients like my recent meals in Marseille but then, I also love to learn how to make new foods so I’m a big fan of taking cooking courses when I travel. I particularly enjoyed my cooking course in Italy where we learned to make Tagliatella and my more recent Turkish cooking class in Istanbul where we stuffed figs and eggplant both.
Hard to say what the best meal of the year was, but it just might have been our dinner at Seraser in Antalya. Not every great restaurant has a Michelin star…but of course, those that do tend to keep their focus on wonderful cuisine.
So, what are some other wonderful meals to be had around the world? This week, I once again turned to the travel bloggers with my question….here’s what they had to say.
Europe: Not surprisingly, Europe was a favorite eating continent among foodie travel bloggers.
Diana Edelman of D Travels Round write a great roundup of her favorite meals. Tops for her in terms of gastronomy – Spain. She loves her some paella.
“I ate at an amazing restaurant in Alicante run by famous Chef Maria Jose San Ramon (known as the Saffron Queen and taught Obama’s White House chef how to make paella) — Monastrell. The entire experience was blissful. “
DJ Yabis of DreamEuroTrip found Mustafa’s doner kebab in Berlin. All organic ingredients topped with feta cheese and a squeeze of lemon. Super duper yum for 4 euros!
Christy and Scott of Ordinary traveler learned to make pasta in Italy.
“The hosts of this cooking class had us laughing and joking all day while learning recipes that had been passed down from generation to generation of Italians. That evening, we gorged ourselves on tagliatelle Mal Tagliate (egg pasta), raviolis, slow-cooked beef wrapped in prosciutto, apple strudel, vegetable rolls, fresh salad from the garden and hoards of delicious Italian wine.”
Annette Slowik White is also a big fan of Spanish food as she demonstrates in this article on pintxos.
“Pintxos (or pinchos) are small snacks typically served in Spanish bars, particularly popular in Basque country. These finger foods have an array of toppings placed on crunchy bread, spiked with a toothpick and displayed buffet style.”
Two travel bloggers wrote about Guernsey. Heather Cowper shared a video story about the fabulous fresh lobster and Zoe Dawes wrote about the best crab sandwich in the world.
“ It’s lunch time and we stop at Cobo Bay Tea Rooms for possibly – no, in my view, definitely – the best crab sandwich in the world. It’s served with a friendliness and old-world charm I will find all over Guernsey. Whilst we shelter from a speedy squall which is only dropping by before heading off to nearby Jersey, Sylvia tells more stories of island life and I slowly relax into another world of slower pace and natural beauty in harmony with man’s modern needs.”
But of course, no listing of food would be complete without a big fat Greek Feast replete with goat organs. Thanks to Brandy Bell of It’s One World Travel for that one…
“For two weeks before Easter there is no meat or animal (that has blood) byproduct eaten. No milk, no cheese, no butter, no meat, no LAMB, no eggs. This is hard, especially for the Greeks! At 1am Sunday morning, it is time to rejoice in their carnivorous delights once again. The table is set with tzatsiki, cheese, horiatiki, wine, bread, olives- and that’s just the place setting! Then comes the first course: a “Butcher Stew” of sorts- Magiritsa. Swampy green with stringy leafy vegetables is the chosen soup of the meal. Liver, bones, neck, and intestines of the lamb are the REAL stars of the show, however. Mind you, I informed my hostess earlier in the day that I was a vegetarian, but she assured my there was no “meat” in this dish.”
Perennial fan favorite Alexandra Kovacova of Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler wrote about the joys of Slovak Cuisine
“I have to admit one thing about Slovak cuisine, it’s not very healthy, we use white flour a lot. But let’s be honest, usually all the forbidden things taste the best, right?”
“I LOVE fish and chips (and haven’t found any in the US that are up to my standards.) The way that the grease seeps through the paper wrapper, and that slightly too full feeling that you get at the end are the highlights of a good fish and chip experience. ”
Peter Parkorr shared Croatia’s national dish of Rabbit, served with fig sauce and almond-satay potatoes + roast garlic veggies on Hvar island, and followed by some incredibly strong fig brandy to finish.
Sounds good to me! But of course, world cuisine is about more than Europe.
Theodora Sutcliffe takes us straight to the coconut milk and kaffir lime delights of Thailand.
The food, even before we head to the south and the north, is phenomenal, and Z is asking ominous questions about Cambodian cuisine.
“He is developing an addiction to Tom Yam soup, made here with coconut milk fresh from the tree, which brings the flavour much closer to the dairy than the heavy candied coconut sweetness you get with packaged products, and experience at restaurants closer to home.The lemongrass and ginger are infinitely fresher, and fresh kaffir lime much more of an accent than the oily, heavy aged variety. Thai basil and mint wraps it all up far more elegantly than the metallic lemon overdose of fresh coriander you get in the UK.”
Chris Wotton of The World & His Tuktuk takes us on a glorious whistlestop foodie tour of Banglamphu (Bangkok)
“If there’s one Thai dish that gets me going, it is khao mok gai. Literally translating as ‘chicken buried in a mountain of rice’ and often compared to a chicken biryani, this Indian-influenced southern Thai medley of turmeric-infused yellow rice and a chicken thigh (always on the bone) cooked in a rich blend of herbs and spices is a treat for the senses.”
Jim O’Donnel of Around the World in Eighty Years does a mouth watering tour of Indian Street Food
“After deftly peeling and dicing a mango, he pulled yogurt and milk from a blue and white cooler. He measured both into a large glass blender container, sprinkled sugar on top and stuffed in a pinch of mint and poured in some ice. The blender went right to work and he handed over my drink. It was exactly like a smoothie but exceedingly sweet. The nerves in my jaw tingled. Delicious.”
Then we have this Chinese Kung Fu and Nail Polish photo essay from Wanderplex
“In a country where you generally have to holler and flail your arms as if you’re drowning to get the attention of wait staff, Hai Di Lao provides surprisingly over the top service – from the subtle (supplying hair elastics to female diners who are struggling to keep their hair out of the broth) to the dramatic (cooks who will turn a piece of dough into meters of hand-pulled noodles as they twist and twirl it dramatically in the air – right by your table – before dropping it into your broth). Known as gongfu mian (kung-fu noodles), it’s art, cooking, and martial arts all in one. Scroll down to see the video of gongfu mian in the making! ”
“We go to their favorite places when we don’t have customers. The staff get very confused. I think they think we are crap at business! I just can’t get enough pho ga and steamed clams with lemongrass. Not at the same time, though.”
Bret Love of Green Global Travel wrote about the Mansaf in Jordan - he even included the recipe.
“Mary and I love lamb, so the combination of lamb, rice, almonds and fermented yogurt sounded incredibly appetizing.”
Of course, in Africa there were numerous mentions of Moroccan cuisine but Andy Higgs of Grown-up Travel gave my favorite quote of the entire Vagobond Travel Museum:
“For the all-round experience I’d probably say breakfast at a ‘cafeman’ roadside stand in one of the French-speaking countries of West Africa (Togo and Benin) are especially great. You get a fresh baguette and this unbelievably sweet coffee made with Nescafe instant (bear with me here) mixed with sweet condensed milk. All that under the African sunrise with the noises of the city waking up around you?”
And then there are Australia, the Pacific, and the Americas….but actually, I’m going to save them for next week~