When in Mexico you should try a burrito and, for example, a Mexican hot chocolate, which differs from the standard hot, sweet drink that we are used to. In Argentina, meat lovers will find the kingdom of beef steaks. In England, you can start with a favourite among locals, fish and chips. Foreign trips are not only about different views, monuments and tourist attractions, but also, and for some people above all, different tastes.
You don’t have to go to France to eat onion soup or roasted chestnuts. Practically the whole world, including the culinary one, is within reach. Today, themed restaurants, shelves full of goods, books, blogs and cooking programmes allow our palate to take a trip without us actually going anywhere.
However, when we go on holiday to another country, it is definitely worth experimenting and finding out how it all tastes for real. The similar menus of chain restaurants or classic hotel cuisine all over the world can greatly differ from a cosy restaurant that serves local specialities based on regional produce.
Even in the limited space of one country, food can dramatically differ from region to region. The further you go in the world, the more fascinating it should be, especially as food is not only a source of energy, but also of pleasure.
From potato cakes to Francesinha
The richness of flavours and diversity do not have to be sought in the direction of the orient. A journey through Europe is also full of surprises.
“More and more U.S. citizens are choosing to travel in this way. Last year, nearly 16 million Americans visited the Old Continent, while in Asia less than 6 million and Africa not even half a million. The percentage increase in the number of U.S. residents who choose Europe was also the highest of all world destinations at 16%,” according to Bartosz Grejner, Conotoxia.com Analyst.
If you start your culinary adventure from the east, e.g. in Lithuania, you should order ‘kugelis’, in other words a potato cake with extras (mostly meat). Generally speaking, Lithuania is the land of potatoes. There are more countries in the continent where potatoes also play a dominant role. Moving from Lithuania to the west, you can pass through Poland, allegedly the homeland of potato pancakes. Silesia is considered to be the birthplace of the small fried discs of grated raw potatoes, onions and seasonings. Just a stone’s throw away is Slovakia, the delicacy there is known as ‘bryndza halluszki’, i.e. potato noodles with a specific cheese made from sheep’s milk, topped with pork scratchings. In the Czech Republic, potato dumplings are added to many dishes. In Germany, on the other hand, small square dumplings stuffed with meat and spinach are considered a speciality.
In southern and western Europe you will find other products that dominate. In Spain, ‘gazpacho’, a cold soup based on cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers, relieves the heat. In Greece and Cyprus, although you can also count on a heat wave, ‘fasolada’ is one of the most popular dishes, again a soup, but generally served warm. To prepare it all you need is beans (white), oil and a selection of vegetables; celery, tomatoes, carrots, peppers or onions.
In slight contrast to vegetables and seafood, ‘francesinha’ is very popular in the western part of Europe, i.e. Portugal. It is a real calorie bomb, a combination of various types of meat, sausages and bread. ‘Francesinha’ is often served with a beer sauce under a layer of melted yellow cheese.
If European delicacies do not sweep you off your feet, then there’s more to discover in the rest of the world. A thrill on many continents comes from Japanese sushi, in other words, cooked rice accompanied with raw seafood. While visiting one of the four main Japanese islands, you should not miss the opportunity to compare whether and by how much the original differs from the imitation. In Cambodia, delicacies include fried worms, spiders and insect larvae. In Brazil, ‘feijoada’ has become a national dish, made from black beans (mostly) and meat.
Ask the locals, look online
Searching for the dishes characteristic of countries and regions is well worth the time. A restaurant on the promenade of a popular holiday resort may not divulge the whole truth about local flavours. There is a good chance that the owner is geared towards dishes that flatter common tastes and are simply prepared quickly. Respect for traditions and the choice of regional products may suffer.
That is why it is worth making some effort and relying on the kindness and opinions of local residents. They will recommend places that are off the beaten track. Sometimes such establishments highly value their services and serve delicious local alcoholic beverages for their meals.
Today, the internet also serves as an excellent guide to eateries and dishes from all over the world. Opinions, guides and mobile apps make it much easier to find the best restaurants. The web not only offers an abundance of opinions and ratings of recommended places, but also gives an indication of which places should be avoided. In addition to extensive descriptions, you can count on apps with images of dishes. This is not an insignificant point for those who start their meal with their eyes.