The best way to get to know a destination is by trying the local cuisine. In addition to being authentic and tasty, it’s often also a cheaper option. These are our top 10 authentic food experiences;
Hot dogs in New York City
One thing that visitors to New York City should not miss is a chance to try their world-famous hot dogs. Whether you buy a hotdog from one of the numerous vending carts that are seen on many corners in New York City or go to one of the delicatessens or restaurants, hot dog aficionados will not be disappointed! These hot dogs are usually sold with mustard, peppers, or onions in a sweet tomato sauce or sauerkraut. You won’t see ketchup on these hot dogs!
Pad Thai in Bangkok
Bangkok foodies can enjoy a meal of Pad Thai, which is stir fried rice noodles mixed with eggs, fish sauce, chili pepper juice, tamarind juice and a mix of bean sprouts, chicken, shrimp, tofu or hot dogs. You can also get condiments like peanuts, garlic, tomatoes, chives, pickled turnips, limes, coriander, chili powder, vinegar, sugar or fish sauce. Head to the backstreets of the backpacking district, Banglamphu and in particular the Khao San Road where authentic pad Thai can be enjoyed for around one US dollar.
Meat Vindaloo in Goa
Vindaloo is an authentic Goan dish that was introduced during the time of Portuguese rule. Today the meat Vindaloo is a popular spicy curry. It is usually made with pork or other meats and then wine and garlic are added. True authentic local Vindaloo is different and is sweeter and is marinated in ginger, vinegar, sugar and other spices. It’s interesting to note that in the UK a ‘meat’ curry from an Indian restaurant or take away will almost certainly be made from mutton.
Fish and chips in London
The ubiquitous dish of fish and chips remains a popular meal in the UK that is traditionally served wrapped in newspaper. It is battered and deep fried white fish which is accompanied chips, much like ‘French fries’ except much fatter and more succulent. It is a very tasty on the go treat that can be bought at both restaurants and from street vendors in London and beyond. You can also get mushy peas or tartar sauce as an accompaniment. And the miniature wooden forks are option – fingers are preferred!
Snails in Paris
The curious dish of escargots, aka snails, are considered a delicacy in Paris. They are served cooked in butter and still in the shells. You are given a pair of special tongs to get them out of the shell. Be brave on your next visit to Paris and try some snails, it could become one of your favourites (at least until you encounter a piece of grit). And no they do not taste slimy – they are actually rather meaty!
Game Meats in South Africa
African food is becoming really popular with restaurants popping up all over the world. And for those that like a traditional dish of meats and vegetables, then game meats are the perfect next step. Meats such as kudu, ostrich, zebra and springbok are available. And South Africans are famed for their “braai”, which is the local barbeque and the world literally means ‘roasted meat’.
BBQ in Sydney
The ‘barbie’ is synonymous with Sydney and indeed all of Australia. And there are several kinds of BBQ, one popular one is called Churrasco, and the meat is slow cooked over a spit and using hot coals with several types of sauce, as well as several types of meat, to include beef, chicken, lamb, seafood, pork, and sausage.
Paella in Valencia, Spain
Traditional paella is rice cooked in a large flat pan along with various vegetables, meats and a rich sauce often containing saffron. The contents of paella vary in each Spanish region although there are three main kinds: seafood, Valencian, and mixed. Valencian is made of white rice, vegetables, beans, meat and seasonings. Mixed is made of several kinds of meat, vegetables, beans and seafood. And seafood patella is made of different seafood, vegetables, and rice. Most of the rice is bomba rice, plus this dish has saffron and olive oil in it.
Tortillas and tacos in Mexico
Traditional tacos can have various kinds of meat, vegetables and cheese, inside a taco shell of corn or flour. Found across Mexico, tacos are mixed with tomatoes, avocado, salsa, onions, lettuce, or guacamole. A tortilla is a kind of thin flatbread made of flour or corn and used to eat with meats or vegetables and ingredients to made burritos, tacos, or enchiladas.
Dim sum in Hong Kong
Traditionally served as a breakfast meal, dim sum are bite sized morsels served in individual portions inside steamer baskets or plates. Visit the local restaurants in downtown Kowloon where there are no English menus (just point to order) and where you watch the older generation enjoying a breakfast of chickens feet washed down with plenty of tea. For a more tourist-friendly experience there are plenty of restaurants serving dim sum up for lunch. My particular favourite is Maxims’ Palace in the central District where there is a fantastic view out over Victoria Harbour and the dim sum is ferried around at breakneck speed onboard traditional trollies and served by surly waitresses.