Culinary Travel by Foodie Travel Writers
Yes, I am a foodie travel blogger, there I admit my obsession and my secret is no out in the world. I can’t pass by a farmer’s market without dropping in. A food truck is my happy place, and I can’t resist trying new food. Food travel is our idea of heaven and we wish we could do more of it. Food and travel go hand in hand and most travel writers I know are obsessed with trying new foods and even weird food that no-one else will try.
Most travel bloggers will go out of their way to taste new foods and this collaboration is proof of that. Travelling for food is a key theme in many travel blogs and most travellers are foodies on the hunt for new international food favourites.
A favourite saying is “I travel for food” and compiling lists of their favourite world foods keeps many travellers drooling at the thought of trying something new. This post is for foodies who travel to eat and experience new and different world foods.
I have wonderful memories of all the foods I have tried whilst travelling. From elotes, the Street Food of the Yucatan, a full Irish breakfast, Doolin crab on the Wild Atlantic Way tapas in Andalucia the list could go on forever. There are so many international foods that I haven’t yet tried in their home countries and some intriguing foods that I never would have suspected would be so good.
I travel for food
1 My personal favourite is boxty. A simple Irish pancake of a sort boxty is a dish that has been around in Ireland for hundreds of years. It has many names including, boxty, farls, poundies, potato pancakes, fadge and is often confused with potato bread but it is simply not the same. Boxty is made with freshly grated potatoes soaked to remove some of the starch or with leftover mash. Flour, water and salt are added with no leavening agents and then the resulting dough is flattened into a round and cooked on the griddle. These rounds are then cut into 4’s and served with a full Irish breakfast. The boxty soaks up the flavours of the bacon, sausage and beans and is perfect for mopping up your egg yolks.
Since I am a true foodie at heart I decided I wanted to hear from my fellow travel bloggers about their food favourites that they had encountered around the world. Some of them found deep food contentment in dishes at home and others tried things new to them and as a result, have added them to their food favourites.
More travel food favourites
2 Thai: Laab by WhatKateandKrisDid
Move over Pad Thai. We have no idea why people are so obsessed with you when there is so much more incredible Thai food around. Trying to narrow it down to one is nearly impossible, but high up there in our list of amazing Thai food is laab. We had only tried Thai food once before we moved to Thailand in 2006, and looking back, it wasn’t at all authentic. Trying it in Bangkok when we first arrived was mind-blowing. What flavours! What range of food.
We first tried laab in Luang Prabang in Laos, in a traditional restaurant on the main street. The dish is usually made with pork or chicken mince, mixed with dried rice powder to give it a crunch, fish sauce, lime juice, thinly sliced shallots and fresh herbs, usually mint. It’s served with a selection of fresh vegetables including cabbage, cucumber and baby aubergines. It also often comes with sticky rice. It’s so simple yet so delicious.
We were delighted to discover when we returned to Thailand, that laab is a popular dish there too, due to the link between north-eastern Thailand and Laos. Since then we eat it both in Thailand and when we go to Thai restaurants abroad. We’ve even learned to cook it in Chiang Mai so we can make it at home.
So next time you go to a Thai restaurant, give the pad thai a miss and try laab.
3 Thai Sausages from Juliana Loh of Chicken Scrawlings
4 Turkish Food: Çılbır – by Maydi Diaz of flyinggalleon
As I’m sure many of us agree on, the travel experience is never complete without culinary indulgences. One thing I always find interesting, besides local food, of course, is trying my favourite types of cuisine in different cities and countries. One of the countries that I hunt down when it comes to food is Turkey. (Partially because I can never get enough of fresh yoghurt and paprika!)
While I have a few favourite Turkish restaurants around the world, one quickly got bumped because of one dish: Çılbır (pronounced almost like “chill-bor”). This is essentially made of poached eggs placed on a bed of classic, soft, plain yoghurt with melted butter. It is then enhanced with various spices, paprika being a prominent one.
On the side, you get freshly baked bread to dip in the bowl of dairy deliciousness. This was love at first bite, just the kind of flavour I like for breakfast, which typically includes dairy and spices. While it sounds like a fairly simple dish to make, the combination of flavours left me wanting more. For bonus points, I mentioned it to one of my Turkish friends and apparently by doing so reminded him of his mother’s cooking, so I’ll take that as a sign of Çılbır being a dish worth trying out during my future hunts of Turkish restaurants.
You can find Maydi here: Instagram
5 Swiss Food: Fondue by Raghav Modi at tickereatsworld
There’s a childish pleasure in eating Fondue; gooey hot melted cheese, the option to dip various condiments in it, and then that cheesy taste which if done right will leave just a subtle hint of wine as an aftertaste.
The first time I had Fondue was on a cold, snowy, gloomy winter afternoon in a small restaurant somewhere in the Swiss Alps. Even though my love for cheese has no bounds I didn’t like it much, primarily because of the excessive wine content in it.
Over the years I’ve had Fondue at various places around the world, but it wasn’t till last summer when I had it once again, in Switzerland, at the home of a friend, that I appreciated the very nuances of this devilishly tasty Swiss offering.
The perfect texture and consistency so it sticks to whatever it is that you dip into it, the right temperature – not too hot or cold – and of course the taste – more cheesy than winey – and the charm of Fondue is a dish that brings together friends and family for you just cannot have it on your own, makes this one of my favourite food experiences ever.
Oh! And before I go, a word of caution; it is advised to either drink something warm or bubbly after consuming Fondue for at least a couple of hours afterwards to avoid it solidifying in your stomach. So remember no cold water with Fondue!
6 Finland: Burger – by Alexander EngineeronTour
Oh well! If I think of an actual best food experience, there is one thing that definitely stands out. There have been so many awesome places and different food I tired during my trips. But surprisingly, the best one happened to be a not an expensive restaurant, but a small food truck owned by a Venezuelan guy in Helsinki, Finland.
I was returning from a trip, which I have spent together with a couple of vegetarians. I needed the nastiest burger I could find, when I saw the food truck. I have found out that Venezuelans don’t have any problem with putting all kinds of meat in one burger. In this bad boy, there is beef, chicken, chorizo sausage, bacon, and eggs. After almost two weeks of the vegetarian diet, this was the best thing I have ever tested!
Later, I talked to the owner. He told that his beef patties are made from minced meat with his special spices and garlic. For chicken, there is a real chicken breast marinated with spices. And there is a lot of stuff added: tomatoes, fried onions, small fries, cabbage and melted cheese. It is XXf***gXL size and is the only food sold at late night Helsinki, that can make a big man like me full!
PS: it may not look large for the US but here in Nordic countries, this burger really stands out.
Find Alexander here
Twitter – @alexanderpopkov
7 Iceland: Black Rye Bread – by Isa ofPenguinsandElephants
Iceland is known for its waterfalls, impressive landscapes and hot springs. When we visited the island in February, the lava fields and the enchanted atmosphere blew our minds. But there was something else that I loved: BREAD!
After I got this juicy black bread in several restaurants as a side dish, I was speechless. I made my boyfriend Chris stop at the next supermarket to fill up our snacks with Icelandic Rúgbrauð and ate it all the way around Iceland.
The Icelandic Rúgbrauð is dark, crustless rye bread with a slightly sweet taste. And since Iceland is full of hot springs due to its geothermal activity, Icelanders use the ground to bake their delicious bread. We had the chance to experience this baking method in person, so here is what they did:
First, the dough is safely packed into a closed pod. After digging a small hole into the steaming ground, they put the pod into the ground and covered it with mud. As the ground temperature is only around 100° Celsius / 212° Fahrenheit, the baking process takes about 24 hours. The mild temperature is the reason why the bread will turn out crustless, which is good for me, as I don’t really like crust.
If you have the chance to taste warm Icelandic Rúgbrauð next time you are in Iceland, do so with some fresh salmon or salted butter, which I liked the best. And don’t forget to stock up on Rúgbrauð before heading back home – as the bread is made in the geothermal active ground, you probably won’t have the chance to bake one yourself.
As I have eaten all of mine, I definitely need to visit Iceland again soon. It’s truly magical!
You can find Isa on Pinterest
8 Japan: The best Ramen in Japan (no,…in the world) – by Wiebke Siemering MissAbroad
The Japanese love their ramen. Not the $0.25 instant ramen you get in any supermarket. I am talking about real ramen! Never had real ramen before? Picture fresh-cooked noodles, rich, savoury broth, the perfect amount of spice, and if you want, a few slices of pork and a half-cooked egg.
After 7 weeks in Japan, I can say I found my absolute favourite ramen place. It’s the ramen at Ichiran.
Ichiran is a popular ramen chain that specializes in Tonkotsu ramen, which is a pork-based broth. It is not a fancy restaurant as orders are made at a ticket machine and your seating is a chair in a little booth with little dividers. No joke.
But in the end it’s all about the food, right? And the ramen is utterly delicious. What makes Ichiran so special is that you get to customize the ramen to be exactly how you like it. Want a richer broth or softer noodles, no problem. Want it mild or spicy, extra garlic or green onions – go for it. They make their own flour-based noodles and their own signature red spicy which adds a special flavour to the broth (the recipe has been a top secret since the ’60s).
How do I customize my Ichiran ramen? I like a rich, creamy broth, firm noodles, extra red sauce and spring onions. The final product is highly addictive and totally warms you from inside. Ramen I could have every single day and never get tired of. Ramen I don’t mind waiting in line for an hour for.
You can find Wiebke here
9 Turkey: Islak Burger – by Michael of mscgerber
When you go to Istanbul it’s a logical step to try some of the delicious food bore up by the Ottoman Empire. That’s what I did – and many other tourists will do. After trying a different kind of Kebab, Börek and Pide my Turkish friend suggested eating some “wet hamburgers”. “Yes sure, let’s eat some…. What?”
Never have I heard of something like this to eat before. Still surprised we went to the Taksim square where they sell the “Islak Burger”. The place is called Kızılkayalar and is surprisingly famous in Turkey. Now it was too late to run away – the pressure was on me. One burger only costs two Turkish lira, so I even bought three of them. To be honest the burger made an awful first impression: A wet bun and something that looked like meat. One bite later my opinion had changed drastically.
Yes, the bun is wet! However, it is delicious with its garlic-tomato sauce. I would love to tell you why exactly I liked it, but I can’t. You can imagine that you try a burger that looks disgusting and is wet – and in the end, you still like it. It’s kind of like Istanbul itself: magic.
Admittedly the “Islak Burger” is fast food and not a gourmet dish. Yet this is what it’s made for. Most natives of Istanbul love to eat some wet burgers after going to a party as it is opened 24/7 and offers a great taste for the cheap price. If you visit Istanbul you definitely have to try it out.
You can find Michael here
10 Indonesia: Nasi Goreng – by Shannon and Adam ourtasteoftravel
Eat as the locals eat, and you’ll never spend more than a couple of dollars per feed. While in Yogyakarta, the creative heartland of Java, we were on a major money-saving mission. We stayed in a homestay about 15 minutes from the centre of Jogja. There wasn’t much around aside from a little family-run food cart at the end of the street. The set-up was humble; a wooden cart with a small worktop for preparation and a giant wok set atop an open flame. A small pink, the plastic fan kept the fire alive. The food stall offered a small menu – all in Indonesian.
On our first visit, we ordered the most popular Indonesian dish of Nasi Goreng – fried rice. Watching Agus whip up two delicious meals in less than ten minutes was mesmerising. Throwing together eggs, rice, soy sauce and a few secret ingredients, he made meal after meal as hungry locals arrived to place their orders. The rice was soft and salty and fulfilling. Agus and his wife sprinkled each dish with fried onions and a side salad, adding texture and a coolness to the meal. We ate in Mas Agus night after night after night. At less than $3 for two hearty and delicious meals, you just can’t go wrong – especially when it’s combined with an awesome yet humble display of culinary prowess.
You can find Shannon and Adam here
11 Maylasia: Laksa – By Shelley from Finding Beyond
Out of all the countries, we’ve travelled (over 30), our favourite cuisine has to come from Malaysia. The South East Asian nation not only has some of the tastiest dishes in the world but also offers them at an incredibly low cost. On the streets of Malaysia, you can eat from as little as $1 a meal!
Our favourite Malaysian dish is Laksa, a spicy (sometimes) coconut milk soup dish which consists of rice noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish. It has a curry-like flavour but with a soup consistency. The soup is rich, fragrant and a bit spicy, and loaded with all the essential classic Laksa toppings such as boiled egg, bean sprouts, chilli and coriander. One eatery even threw in some pineapple for some added sweetness but that’s not the usual thing to do.
You can find Laksa pretty much anywhere in Malaysia from street stalls and shopping mall food courts to proper restaurants. The best place to try Laksa is in Malaysia’s foodie capital, Penang Island. The number of dishes originating from this region of Malaysia is overwhelming and the streets of George Town old town are filled with food stalls serving Laksa and many other local treats. Visiting George Town on Penang Island is a real highlight of a trip to Malaysia.
You can find Shelley here
12 Hong Kong: Chau Dau Foo – by Mary at thelifelongadventures
Take a stroll down Burrows Street, a narrow lane in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, and you will encounter a small unobtrusive stand selling an array of Cantonese snacks. What makes this stand unique is that it is one of the last places in Hong Kong to sell Chau Dau Foo or ‘smelly’ bean curd which is a fried, fermented, bean curd that has a strong, slightly pungent smell and it is absolutely delicious. Its deep fried, crunchy outer shell surrounds an almost impossibly moist centre.
The sweet sauce generously poured on top is made from a mixture of soy and hoisin. There is a meme that it’s incredibly smelly and sadly many avoid trying it for this reason. In reality, the smell is minimal (certainly not as strong durian) and is never so strong that locals don’t want to eat it.
The first time I tried Chau Dau Foo I purchased it from a street vendor in Victoria Park (Hong Kong Island’s large urban park in Causeway Bay). Families with small children were strolling past and I watched as many of them held their nose and exclaimed at the smells emanating from the cart. Never one to not try something because of how it looks or smells, I approached the cart curiously and ordered. What I received was a savoury, crunchy, moist piece of happiness on a stick.
12 South America: Patacones by Scott and Hayley of InternationalHotDish
Patacones, also known as tostones, tachinos, or Fritos Verdes – we just call them delicious – are green plantains which have been peeled, sliced, squashed, and twice fried in vegetable oil. Long considered a staple food in many Latin American countries, patacones can be compared to french fries.
If you eat food in South America, Central America, or the Caribbean, sooner or later you will eat patacones. They’re affordable, easy to make, and, most importantly, tasty! It’s no wonder they can accompany almost any dish: fish, pork, beef, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free.
To make patacones, you first must buy the correct plantains. Whether you visit the supermarket or the outdoor market, you want to be on the lookout for green plantains, not yellow ones. I made the mistake of trying to make patacones from yellow plantains and it was a disaster. Yellow plantains are much riper than their green counterparts and thus sweeter, making them wonderful for baking and other sweet treats. To make patacones, you need the starchy, green plantains.
Got your green plantains? Good. Use a paring knife to slice shallow slits along the ridges. This allows for easier peeling since plantains don’t peel as easily as your average banana. In a pan of your choosing, pour about an inch (roughly 26mm) of oil and heat it up.
Once the plantains are peeled, slice them in 1 inch (roughly, 26mm) thick slices. Fry them in the oil for about 3 minutes or until they turn golden. Once they’re golden, remove them from the oil and place them on paper towels to remove excess oil. Keep the oil in the pan hot.
Using wax paper and a solid base, flatten the golden disks with the bottom of a firm glass to about ¼ inch. Once they’re all flattened, place them back in the hot oil until both sides are golden brown (2 minutes or so). Season with salt and serve immediately. Lime wedges on the side add a nice taste.
You can find Scott and Hayley here
13 Malaysia: Nyonya Laksa by Noel of tenthousandstrangers
I hate to sound overly enthusiastic but this bowl of Nyonya Laksa is literally bursting with flavours. The creamy and rich coconut milk blending with the distinct taste of red curry paste, the citrus punch of lemongrass, plus a little bit of spicy kick, and your taste buds enjoy a glorious feast.
I discovered Nyonya Laksa during a long layover at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The humidity I subjected myself with while exploring the popular Jungle Boardwalk made me really hungry and I was craving for a hot bowl of Asian noodle soup. It so happened that Old Malaya Kopitiam was situated at the mezzanine right next to the boardwalk so I went there to peruse the menu. The curry and coconut description for the Nyonya Laksa was all it took for me to order a bowl of this Malaysian dish and it didn’t disappoint.
It turns out that Nyonya Laksa is a dish that transcends a very interesting history of a marital union between two regions.
History has it that during the Ming Dynasty, the Emperor of China betrothed her daughter to the Sultan of Malacca as a form of strategic ties between the two regions. The couple settled in the Malayan Peninsula and eventually, the royal entourage wed the locals and formed the first permanent settlement and the first generation of mixed Chinese-Malay race. During the settlement, the Nyonyas developed their unique cuisine which combines the Chinese traditional cooking and the local Malay ingredients.
Nyonya Laksa is the signature dish of the Nyonyas or the female descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malayan archipelago between the 15th and 17th centuries.
You can find Noel here
So there you have it from Laksa two ways to Swiss fondue travelling for food is a great way to see the world. If you are a foodie at heart you may like these posts. Interested in more foodie travel favourites?
What are some of your favourite foods from around the world?
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