I’ve always been attracted to food – where it comes from, how it’s prepared, it’s presentation, and obviously, how delicious it is. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ll take photos of my food and hashtag #foodporn on my Instagram. I have no shame. My version of Netflix and chill is me (alone) binge watching Anthony Bourdain while stuffing my face with dumplings.
Travel has often been inspired by great sights and cultures – and what’s more defining of a culture than it’s food? If you’re stuck on where to go for your next trip, maybe these delicious cuisines will spark your appetite to travel – and this is just a sampling. These are the top travel destinations, by cuisine type.
Where to fly: Italy. duh.
What to order:
- Gelato – eat all of it. Everywhere. Go on a gelato crawl and get samples of all the great flavors…or an entire cone – no judgement here.
2. Secret bakery – this is specific to Florence, as far as I’m aware. Waking up to a delicious fresh croissant is glorious, but you know what’s even better? Snagging an even fresher pastry at 2am when the bakeries start their shift for the upcoming morning. If you’re lucky enough to (literally) sniff out their location, wander down the back alley, and find their unmarked door, you can knock and await a baker’s arrival. From there just hand them your 1 euro coin and order your [insert pastry here]. It will definitely make your late night walk home that much sweeter.
3. Porchetta – you can find this delicious pork roast in central Italy. Head into a central market for artisanal cuts, or stop at a panino and enjoy it on some delicious Italian bread.
Where to fly: Thailand, South Korea
What to order:
- Som tum (Thailand) – fresh, sweet, spicy, flavorful and addicting. It’s green papaya, tomatoes, carrots, garlic, hot peppers, lime, peanuts, and shrimp in a fish-based sauce – you can find it being mixed in a huge mortar and pes. Fair warning: Thai food is SPICY! (Especially if you’re off the tourist path. If you don’t think you can handle the heat, here’s some need-to-know Thai : “mai pet” not spicy.)
- Massaman curry – while I’ll inhale any curry you put in front of me, this quickly became a favorite of mine while living in Thailand. Massaman curry is a tamarind and coconut based curry filled with chicken, potatoes, onions and tomatoes. Pour it over white rice and you have yourself a meal!
- Yum Pla Dook Foo – fried catfish on top of a spicy and sour mango salad (similar to som tum). It’s really spicy and so incredibly delicious!
- Sannakji (산낙지) (South Korea) – we’re getting more adventurous now in our food-venture, but trust me – it’s worth it! Sannakji is essentially live octopus that you eat while it’s still wiggling around. Whimps need not apply! For this dish, you’ll want to scope out the local fish market (which is an adventure in itself). From there, locate octopus, and ask for Sannakji – the vendor will take your baby octopus, perform a little surgery, and hand it to you still wiggling. But you need to be quick! Find a restaurant (usually located in the market) and hand them your new pet…I mean meal. They’ll arrange a table for you with sauces and traditional Korean side dishes. Step one: attempt to grab the (still suctioning) tentacle from the plate with your chopstick. Step two: dip it into the sauce. Step three: play with your food; let it wiggle on your tongue for a while (If you’re so inclined to do so). If you require a little liquid courage, now would be a good time to order a bottle of Soju.
- Samgyeopsal (삼겹살) – this Korean BBQ dish involves thick fatty slices of pork that will just melt in your mouth. Served with traditional Korean side dishes, cook your pork at your table-side grill, and wrap it in a piece of lettuce with kimchi, rice, garlic, and some ssamjang dipping sauce. Soju also pairs well with this dish.
- Samgyetang (삼계탕) – this is a ginseng chicken soup that’s traditionally eaten in summer. A whole chicken is stuffed with ginger, garlic, rice and dates and bathed in a delish ginseng broth. Have I mentioned soju yet?
Where to fly: Israel, Spain, Greece
What to order:
- Shakshuka (Israel) – this breakfast dish will get you ready for a big day of exploring! While there are many twists on this dish, the classic style is eggs in a spiced (but not necessarily spicy) tomato sauce with some bread on the side to sop up all the deliciousness left on your plate!
- Shook (marketplace) – these markets bring together the diverse culture of Israel. The cuisine is both similar to what you know, but also so out of this world with wonderful marriage of flavors, spices, and cuisines. Check out the markets to sample pastries, fruits, veggies, and spices.
- Saganaki, Tirokroketes, Sfougata (Greece)- deep fried cheese, need I say more? And yes, you should eat all of them!
- Paella (Spain) – I’m not sure how you could go to Spain and skip this dish with a glass, pitcher of sangria on the side. Valencian paella is traditionally served with rabbit and a saffron infused rice in a paellera – a paella pan. And you guessed it, it’s from Valencia.
Where to fly: Taiwan, Israel, England
What to order:
1. Tiey ban fàn (steel cooked rice) (Taiwan) – with Taiwan being a heavily Buddhist country, vegetarian dishes are not hard to come by and this dish is too yummy to skip. White rice covered in veggies with a peppery sauce will leave you satisfied.
- Falafel (Israel) – bet you didn’t think Israel would make this list twice, huh? These little chickpea pieces of heaven are wrapped in pita with tons of veggies and spices. Yum-my.
- Fish and chips (England) – This is for our pescatarian friends and let’s be honest, England does this dish well. Really well. So cozy up in a pub and enjoy your flaky and delicious fish with your pint.
- Salads/Veggies (Israel) – before you roll your eyes at “salad” and think you can whip one up right now…you can’t! It’s not just lettuce smattered with a dressing higher in calories than a big mac, instead these salads have the freshest veggies with intricate flavors. Don’t be surprised if a beet shows up on your plate…they’re basically the tomatoes more exotic, sexy cousin and you’re going to be craving them after your trip.
Cuisine: Central-European Cuisine
What to order:
- Beer – these countries know their beer. So if you’re looking to do some tastings (and by tastings, I mean drinking a beer bigger than your head) this is the region for you. If you’re there in the winter, grab some glühwein to warm you up.
- Apfelstrudel (Austria) – apple strudel is perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack…enjoyed most when sipping on a traditional coffee at an Austrian cafe doing some much-needed people watching.
- Koleno (Czech Republic) – roasted pork knee is always a good choice.
- Wurst (Germany) – food on the go is a must when traveling, which makes wurst, the best! The native sausages are so good you’ll wonder why you even eat hot dogs.
- Sauerbraten (Germany) – while schnitzel may be a more recognizable dish in Germany, sauerbraten should not be missed! The marinated pot roast is perfect post-hangover, pre-hangover, while drinking a beer…
There’s so much amazing food to try when you travel and this is just a tiny portion of what you can hope to devour! Good luck on your next adventure and don’t forget to get lost in some good eats!