When it comes to travel, there’s more about the experience than just sights and sounds, finding a cheap hotel or packing the most into your days. There’s one element of every trip that can make it or break it and that’s the food. New flavours, sensational dishes… these are 5 destinations no foodie should pass up.
Discovering new foods just comes hand in hand with travelling, or is it the other way around? If trying new things is at the forefront of your taste-bud’s itinerary, then make sure you choose a destination that is not only going to satisfy your wanderlust but leave your stomach full, and craving more!
From Brazil’s lush forests come tropical fruits and foods you’ve never even dreamt of before. If you think mango is exotic, think again! This former Portuguese colony packs in a lot of flavour in their simple dishes. The food has European roots but is spiced up by the indigenous influence. Quench your thirst with fresh coconut, açaí and guava juices. To eat, how about caruru? Okra, shrimp alfavaca and chicory, flour and dendê (palm oil). Served with rice and beans and a helping of chicken croquettes called coxinha.
French food is famed around the world, and it’s no wonder why. Meat is their masterpiece… lamb, beef and poultry are like the holy trinity in a traditional dinner. Served alongside plenty of wine and cheese, add in some fresh baguettes and you’ve god yourself a meal fit for the Last Supper. Dinners can take literally hours! One course after the other but it’s all about taking it slow, enjoying the company and letting the flavours and the dishes each make their own statement on your palette. Foie gras, quiche Lorraine, scallops from Normandy, Black Périgord truffles, wild boar… is your mouth salivating yet?
When it comes to cooking in Vietnam, it all goes into the pot: fish sauce, soy sauce, fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs. Add in some rice and you’re golden. With flavours like basil, lemon grass, mint and coriander, Vietnamese food is balanced (according to the ying, yang and the 5 elements) and totally satisfying. For something sweet try xôi, sticky rice with coconut milk. Dumplings, pastries, wraps and rolls… pretty much anything goes in Vietnamese cuisine.
It seems like Mongolia is at the top of every backpacker’s must-visit list this year, but a foodie destination? Yes, Mongolia has some surprising cuisine and while it doesn’t have the reputation for flavours like its other Asian neighbour countries do, you won’t taste anything like Mongolian cuisine. Mongolians pool their local resources to craft some surprisingly delicious choices. Mutton, yak milk and cheese, boiled dumplings stuffed with meat, salty milk soup with rice… Remember, if you enter a family’s yurt you will always be offered at least a little something to eat and it is the worst cultural taboo to refuse. If you empty your bowl, it will be refilled immediately, so just a few bites will satisfy your host.
What’s not to love about the Mediterranean flavours of Turkish cuisine? Olives, vine-ripened tomatoes, kaymak (milk which has been boiled into cream), fresh breads… Turkey, being the gateway from Europe to Asia, is a meeting place for cultures from all over the world, each bringing their own unique flavour to create a fusion of dishes unlike anywhere else in the world. The best way to get a taste of everything is to order a meze, served usually as an appetizer but features a huge assortment of foods and dips.
Which country’s cuisine do you love best? Which country most surprised you with their food choices?