Nothing brings out the foodie in anyone more than a trip abroad. To truly experience a culture, you must experience its cuisine. Here are 10 places to travel and savor every bite along the way.
Everyone knows Japan for its sushi – in fact, the dish is now ubiquitous in many parts of the world. Sushi isn’t the only delicacy hailing from this Asian nation. Head to Osaka, home of takoyaki (balls of savory batter filled with diced octopus), or to Hiroshima for okonomiyaki, a savory pancake made with eggs, cabbage and other ingredients.
Singapore’s long history as a major trading port of Asia has influenced its palate, fusing the culinary styles of the Malay, Chinese and Indian traditions. It’s easy to sample it all at Singapore’s famed food hawker centers, found in many spots around the island city-state, serving everything from entry-level Hainanese chicken rice to spicy laksa noodles.
With roots in Malay tribes, the former Spanish-turned-American colony now has an independent identity that is influenced by its past – especially in its cuisine, where the flavor profiles are salty, savory and sour. Sisig – spiced minced pig head and liver served on a sizzling platter with a tangy splash of calamansi (Philippine lime) – is a culinary crowd-pleaser.
France meets North America by way of the Canadian province of Quebec, where the French influence on provincial cuisine is evident. However, the quintessential Montrealer dish is poutine, a platter of french fries smothered in brown gravy and topped with cheese curds. Some eateries even take this base recipe and add on another true Montreal delicacy: smoked meat.
Pasta is often associated with Italian cuisine, with so many varieties hailing from different regions. When in Rome, do as the Romans do: Eat bucatini all’amatriciana, a typical pasta dish of Italy’s capital city – with pecorino Romano cheese, of course. When in Piedmont, have agnolotti with white truffles. When in Tuscany, do gigli with a nice ragu.
Beyond the Valencia-born paella, there are many other must-try dishes when traveling through the 17 autonomous regions that comprise Spain. In Catalonia, sample the noodles of fideua de peix. Up north, try polbo a feira, an octopus recipe from Galicia. Want to sample a variety of dishes in one sitting? Order tapas – small plates intended to share.
Hungry in Hungary? There are delicious ways to satisfy your craving with classic dishes like chicken paprikash or goulash, a traditional stew of meat, potatoes and vegetables. If you’re a fan of all things fried, a real favorite is langos – a deep-fried bread typically smothered in a garlicky cream sauce and cheese. Add bacon, if you’d like.
France is synonymous with good food; so much so that the English word “gourmet” is borrowed from French. Each region of the country boasts a proud local cuisine, so you’re bound to find a great meal wherever you travel, from the fish bouillabaisse of Provence to the coq au vin of the Burgundy region. Bon appetit!
There’s spicy and then there’s Thai spicy, which is a whole other level of heat. If you’re keen on embracing it as the locals do, go beyond the trite orders of pad thai by dining on panang gai (chicken in a spicy red curry from the southern region) or yum jin gai (a spicy chicken soup from the north).
Peru’s dishes are as diverse as its landscapes. Citrusy ceviche, a popular seafood dish, hails from the shore, while papas a la huancaina (potatoes in a creamy yellow pepper sauce) are farmland fresh. Meat eaters on their way back from Machu Picchu will appreciate a tender steak of alpaca, a lean red meat similar to bison.
Now that you know what to order in these countries, make sure you show your manners. Check out our slideshows on the appropriate behavior when dining in some of these countries.
Have you tried any of these foods? Can you recommend other international dishes that others must taste? Tell us about it in the comments section below.