Have you ever traveled to another country or state and discovered…THE FOOD! As many of you know, I LOVE FOOD! I am often asked what is my favorite thing about traveling, I always have a hard time answering that because I love EVERYTHING. But one of the top reasons is the food! So I decided to write a blog to tell you about six countries you’ll fall in love with for the food alone! Let’s dig in!
My husband and I talk about how much we miss Fijian food, and it has been almost two years since our trip to Fiji. I love how the food always felt very indulgent and yet was pretty healthy for you. Traditional Fijian food is sourced from the land and the sea (obvious, I know) but very little is sourced from other countries because it is so expensive to get it to Fiji that they have continued to cook their traditional foods.
These traditional foods include tavioka (cassava) and dalo (taro) roots, boiled or baked fish, and seafood in lolo (coconut cream). Meat is usually fried and accompanied with dalo and rourou (boiled dalo leaves in lolo). Rich, creamy and delicious are just a few words I’d use to describe the local cuisine.
First things that come to mind when you are referencing Italy to food, pizza, spaghetti and gelato…well you aren’t wrong but there is WAY more to traditional Italian cooking than just those things. Like did you know about Polenta? This is a cornmeal porridge that was masterminded in northern Italy but can now be found throughout Italy. Often you find it topped with a ragù style sauce and cheese.
Or the warming and delicious Ribolitta, this is Tuscany’s version of a traditional “Scraps” soup, which means that “anything can happen” with this soup. Last honorable mention, Risotto, The short grain rice is slowly stirred with the broth over low heat until thick and creamy. Parmigiano reggiano cheese is sometimes added, or saffron, maybe mushrooms or fresh herbs. It all depends on what the dish is accompanying.
Oh Greece you have my heart…and my stomach! There are a million reasons why I love Greece and dying to go back as soon as humanly possible. I attempted to make Baklava once…it wasn’t the same. Greek food has always had a close place in my heart. I grew up with adopted siblings that are Greek and my first job was next to a little Greek restaurant called Souvlaki’s where I had lunch basically everyday. So, when I went to Greece for the first time I was in heaven!
Did you know that Calamari is actually Greek? I didn’t know that for YEARS! Some of the top Greek foods that you MUST try Souvlaki, which is a grilled meat on a skewer and can be everything from pork, chicken, lamb, beef, and vegetables. Another favorite of mine is Moussaka, a traditional recipe combines sauteed eggplant, tomato, ground lamb, a layer of potatoes, and a final fluffy topping of cheese and béchamel sauce. And of course the most well-known Greek dishes, Gyro. If you aren’t familiar with what a Gyro is pork, fries, tzatziki, tomatoes, cucumber which are being wrapped in a pita bread.
Honorable mentions for dishes that you desperately need to try pastitsio, stifado, spanakopita, feta cheese, tzatziki, and of course calamari.
This is a country I was surprised by, though I had had Moroccan food before it was a whole different world when I was able to finally visit Morocco and try the food locally! There are only a few countries my mouth starts to involuntarily water when thinking of and Moroccan food is one of them.
One of the more quintessential dishes is the Tagine. This isn’t just the food but it more describes what the food is cooked in and how it is cooked. A tajine or tagine is a Maghrebi dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked, but inside the pot is an array of vegetables, meats and spices. Also, be ready for fruit! They serve fruit with every meal. When I was in Morocco for my Luxury Desert Tour, that was one thing I noticed. Every single meal was served with fruit!
With most meals you will also find on a plate or in a basket a flat bread named Msemen. I LOVE THIS BREAD! You can eat it alone or with cream cheese, honey, fill it with fruit or meats. It is the most diverse flat bread I’ve ever eaten…and that is saying something!
If you are a lover of hummus then you will love Israel! This is where hummus was invented. I love Mediterranean food, but for me Israeli food possibly might top it all!
There is an extremely long list of top foods that you MUST try, I have an entire recipe book…however, to start the list is of course hummus. A traditional Levantine spread usually prepared of mashed chickpeas. Sometimes hummus is made of other beans too. Mashed beans are blended with tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and garlic.
The next one you must try is falafel balls. These are made of deeply fried chickpeas, fava beans or both. Falafel is generally wrapped in a pita sandwich or eaten alone as a part of the meze. Another dining much is Israeli Salad, it is simple 5 ingredient salad is a wonderful way to start a meal. Light and zesty, what I also love is you can eat it alone or as a base for another meal.
The next absolute must Challah bread, I have a lot of memories tied to Challah bread. My family used to make it every year for special holidays to be shared with the family! The big finale – Lox. Lox in Yiddish means salmon. But as a popular Jewish food, lox refers to salt-cured salmon on a bagel with cream cheese, typically served with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and capers. This traditional Jewish food has been brought to Israel by Ashkenazi Jews.
When I visited Vietnam I was so blown away by the food! I was first a little nervous about the food because I was traveling with my 11-month old daughter and my father. But I was amazed by the quality of food and oh my gosh so delicious! The first food I’m going to highlight is the White Rose dumplings, one you’d find as a local dish from Hoi An. They fill the translucent white dough with spicy mince shrimp or pork and gently steam the dumplings.
You’re day can’t start your day without coffee…if you are like me. Then you will love egg coffee is a unique coffee treat from Hanoi that’s sweet and super delicious. “Cà phê trúng” is a rich Vietnamese coffee base with frothy egg yolk and condensed milk on top.
Now, to highlight the most popular of Vietnamese food, Pho. Basically this dish is a steaming noodle soup dish and is actually traditionally eaten for breakfast. It’s made with rice noodles, bone broth and plenty of fresh herbs. You can also add meats for lunch or dinner options.
And lastly, Banh Xeo! I discovered this dish while we were in Huế. This famous street food is a crispy Vietnamese take on a savory pancake. The batter is made from rice flour and coconut milk with turmeric. It is filled with pork strips, shrimp, bean sprouts and spring onion and fry it to perfection. One thing to know before ordering, there is a way to eat ban xeo: you place a piece of it on a rice paper roll, add fresh veggies and dip it into sauce after each bite.
I hope that you enjoy these notes from a few of the countries I’ve visited! I also desire is that you break out of your comfort zone when you are ordering – not just while you are traveling but always! Challenge yourself, break outside of your bubble and try something different!