In the Land of Morning Sun, a.k.a South Korea, it’s customary to eat hot dishes on hot summer days. It is believed that as you sweat, your body cools itself. One particular dish that is enjoyed in summer is Samgyetang, or ginseng chicken soup. Chicken soup is believed to boost energy, so Korean always have chicken soup when they feel under the weather.
Eating something hot on a hot day? I was perplexed at first but after seeing a long queue forming outside a samgyetang restaurant, I decided to give it a try.
The impressive-looking soup comes in a piping black stone dol-sot pot. Although the samgyetang is hot, it is indeed refreshing. Each bowl holds a whole young chicken stuffed with a mixture of glutinous rice, garlic, scallions, chestnut, jujube, ginseng, and spices. The clear broth looks bland but all the aroma reveals itself once you start digging into the chicken.
I love this dish because you can eat it in two ways: either by eating the chicken first and then the porridge, or mix the shredded chicken with the porridge and savour everything at the same time.
I love samgyetang because it’s not only delicious but it’s also healthy.
Favourite World Food of Mayi of Secret Moona. Read her post What to Eat in Seoul.
Kroket, The Netherlands
The kroket is a local snack sold all over The Netherlands. It’s delicious to bite the crunchy exterior and then taste the soft ragout stuffing inside. I love it especially on a bun, called a ‘broodje kroket’. Every time we return from a road trip, it’s the first thing we stop for and get at a gas station. It’s just a comfort food snack.
A kroket is a thick ragout roll with meat, which is rolled through egg wash, flour and bread crumbs. It’s then fried in oil. The ragout on the inside is hot and has a crunchy crust. The meat used is usually beef. But there are lots of variations like veal, satay, gulash, asparagus, cheese, shrimp, potato and so on.
A kroket can be eaten dipped in mustard, on a bun (a ‘broodje kroket’), with slices of bread for lunch or with fries for dinner. You can get a kroket at a snackbar or in restaurants that have Dutch traditional foods on the menu.
The origins of the kroket lay in France, the first recipe is from 1705. The oldest Dutch recipe is from 1830. Some 300 million kroketten are eaten each year in The Netherlands.
Favourite World Food by Cosette, from KarsTravels
Ropa Vieja, Cuba
Ropa Vieja is one of Cuba’s most beloved national dishes, a savory shredded beef dish that is considered one of the jewels of Cuban cooking. While ropa vieja and variations of it are consumed throughout the Caribbean and in some Central and South American countries as well, it is best known for its role in Cuban cooking.
Ropa Vieja means “old clothes” in Spanish, a play on how the shredded flank steak or skirt steak that makes for the best ropa vieja looks like shredded rags when plated up. While ropa vieja originated from the Sephardic Jewish population in Spain, it didn’t take on its current form until it was brought to the Caribbean with colonization and new world ingredients were added. The addition of tomatoes, bell peppers, and sweet ají peppers that the Spanish came to love from the Americas transformed the dish and made it richer and saucier than earlier versions, as it remains today. Some varieties add capers and green olives to the dish, and some Cuban American version include sweet wine for a sweeter taste.
Often served with white rice and traditional Cuban black beans, ropa vieja is a staple that can be served with a variety of ingredients to complete the plate, including fried plantains or sweeter fried bananas, yuca, and avocado. Part of the appeal of this dish is how well it works with the rest of the Cuban staples, including beans and rice, and any of the popular variations of plantains or bananas that are so constant through the Caribbean.
Contributed by Carley Rojas Avila, creator of Home to Havana
Rocky Road, Australia
I first sampled Rocky Road in Australia when fruit-picking in the mid-1990s. It wasn’t as well known here in the UK then as it is now that even supermarkets sell it. As well as my local bakery. That first slice of Rocky Road was one of numerous edible treats provided for the morning tea break – or ‘smoko’ as it was locally known – by the farmers’ wives.
One of the things I love about making Rocky Road is that there is no baking required. My version of this sweet concoction consists of marshmallows, digestive biscuits (graham crackers), raisins and Rice Krispies. Since mastering the recipe I’ve dreamed up all kinds of similar no bake slices based on the same method of mixing ingredients up with melted chocolate and chilling to set. There are now over a dozen other tiffin recipes on my food blog.
Making a Rocky Road is so simple, and everyone loves it. Just gather the ingredients, chop some biscuits, melt the chocolate and mix it all together before pressing into a dish to chill. I’ve found that British and Australian tend to vary a little. UK recipes often contain digestives and raisins, while Antipodeans might add nuts, cherries and coconut.
Recommended by Susie Mackay from Quick and Easy Recipes. And here is her quick and easy recipe of Rocky Road.
Japan is home to so many delicious dishes, but one of my favorites to enjoy after a long day of exploring is a steaming hot bowl of ramen. In Japan, ramen is much different than the instant ramen that might have gotten you through your college years eating on a budget. Rather, traditional Japanese ramen is a freshly made noodle soup with a variety of toppings like pork belly or a soft boiled egg.
There are tons of different varieties of ramen and many regions of Japan have their own take on the dish. Sapporo is known for its miso ramen, made with a miso-based broth and typically topped with corn, pork, bean sprouts, butter, and sometimes fresh seafood from the region. Kyushu is known for being the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen, made with a pork bone broth and topped with chashu pork, scallions, and nori.
If you’re spending some time in Tokyo, a visit to Ramen Street should be added to your Tokyo bucket list. Located in the depths of Tokyo Station is a line of 8 ramen shops where you can try a variety of variations of ramen. One of the most popular spots here is Rokurinsha, known for tsukemen-style ramen, where noodles are served separately and are eaten by dipping them into the broth. Some of these shops are popular with both locals and tourists, so the lines to get inside can sometimes be quite long. To avoid long waits, get in line a bit before the shop opens.
One of my other favorite spots for ramen in Japan is Ichiran, which has locations all around the country. At Ichiran, which serves tonkotsu ramen, you order your ramen at a vending machine and customize it to your liking on a sheet – you can pick the spice level, richness of the broth, the softness of the noodles, your desired toppings, and more! You’re seated at an individual ramen booth with a curtain that separates you from the kitchen. This allows you to focus on the flavors of ramen while limiting distractions – it’s such a fun (and delicious!) experience!
Contributed by Sydney Richardson from A World in Reach.
Spaetzle (or Spätzle) is a traditional German pasta dish served with a cheesy sauce. The recipe could be considered similar to Mac and Cheese although the German Spaetzle are made with fresh eggs that give the pasta a unique taste. Späatzle can be traced back to the 18th century and are typical for Southern Germany. A variation of the dish can also be found in Polish, Swiss and Hungarian cuisine although each country puts a unique twist on it.
A majority of traditional German dishes are meat-based and it can be tricky to find vegetarian options when eating in a restaurant. Spaetzle are sometimes served with bacon but in the majority of cases you’ll be able to enjoy them meat-free. That makes them the perfect dish to try when you’re visiting Germany as a vegetarian and saves you from having to order a salad when eating out. But even if you’re not following a meat-free diet Spaetzle are an absolute must-try. They can be enjoyed as a main email or even a side-dish and are simple and easy to recreate at home.
In 2012 the dish was even awarded the EU quality seal for “Protected Geographical Indications” which makes them an official regional specialty across Europe.
To make them yourself at home simply combine flour, eggs, water and a bit of salt. Then they can be shaped and cooked in boiling water. Finally, served them with fried onion and cheese which creates the signature sauce. You don’t want to miss out on this delicious dish. Definitely keep an eye out for Spaetzle the next time you visit Southern Germany. You’ll find the best ones in traditional restaurants on the countryside.
For more travel adventures visit www.guideyourtravel.com
Poutine is a delicious blend of fries, cheese curds and gravy and is often seen as the unofficial dish of Canada. The amazing dish originated in the province of Quebec and has since spread across the country as a popular snack, appetizer and in some cases even a main meal.
While the classic poutine consists of only 3 ingredients, and is most often found in dive bars, pubs and fast-food chains, many restaurants have put their own spin on it, including other ingredients such as pulled pork, bacon, feta and even lobster.
The defining factor in most poutines is the cheese curds, which are essentially chunks of curdled milk. The fries come hot out of the fryer and the gravy is poured on top to coat the fries and cheese, the cheese curds warm and melt slightly giving it an elastic stringy consistency.
The poutine may not be the most picturesque dish, but this quintessential Canadian meal is not to be underestimated! It is the perfect guilty pleasure or comfort food and a must-try on any trip to Canada!
Contributed by Luke from Wild About BC.
Khinkali, the meat dumplings, is the national dish of Georgia, the country nestled in the Caucasus region. The meal looks like Asian steamed dumplings, but the Georgian version has a different preparation method, texture, and ingredients.
Khinkali originated in the mountainous regions of Georgia and spread across the country. The primary recipe called for lamb meat, but in lowlands, it changed to a mixture of beef and pork meat.
The process of Khinkali making calls for uncooked minced meat enhanced with onions, cumin, chili pepper, and salt. Depending on the area, the ingredients can change. For instance, restaurants in Tbilisi have Kalakuri type of Khinkali which additionally includes fresh parsley and cilantro. Then the meat mixture is wrapped in a dough and boiled in water. With this method, meat produces a small amount of broth inside the dough, making Khinkali juicy and quite tasty dumpling.
Furthermore, there’s a special way to eat Khinkali. First and foremost, you eat Khinkali with your hands, no knives or forks! Take the dumpling in both of your hands and make a small bite to drink the broth from it. Then continue eating the dumpling. The trick here is to not spill a single drop of the juice on your plate!
Leave the twisted top of the dough on your plate. It’s usually used to count how many Khinkali a person ate.
If you are a vegetarian, most of the restaurants all over the country also offer potato, cheese, and mushroom Khinkali.
Contributed by Baia from Red Fedora Diary.
Gallo Pinto, Costa Rica
Even four years after visiting Costa Rica, I often find myself craving Gallo Pinto when I wake up in the morning, wishing I could make it as good as Ticos (residents of Costa Rica).
Gallo Pinto seems simple at first glance: it’s rice and black beans. However, it is also so much more than that! The secret ingredient? Salsa Lizano!
Salsa Lizano can be found all over Costa Rica and it’s what gives Gallo Pinto its rich flavor. It is a slightly smoky sauce made with dried guajillo chiles, cumin, vinegar, molasses, and a few other ingredients. Cooking it in a mixture of white rice and black beans brings them to life!
Ticos eat Gallo Pinto for breakfast—it’s a staple meal in every hotel, home, and restaurant. Often Gallo Pinto is served with eggs, crema, fried plantains, avocado slices, and fresh juice or coffee. It’s the perfect way to start the morning, especially if you’re going to have a day full of adventures in the Costa Rican rainforest.
When visiting Costa Rica, it was easy for me to see why the country’s motto is “pura vida” or “pure life”. The land is green and diverse, the water sparkles in the sun, and the people are kind and fun-loving. But what really tops it all off is the Gallo Pinto. Salsa Lizano must be the secret ingredient to the pure life!
Contributed by McKenna Hurd of One More Step Travels.
Big dishes can be wonderful but sometimes, you can’t decide what to choose – you want a bit of everything. That’s why eating tapas in Spain is so perfect: you can have a taste of everything.
There are thousands of tapas. Some are traditional, like Spanish tortilla (potato omelette) or cured ham (jamón) or croquetas (croquettes – smooth creamy mixtures involving fillings of chicken or ham or tuna). You’ll find these all over Spain.
There are also more modern tapas, fusion bites involving anything from foie gras to peanut butter (preferably not together), concoctions that are anything but simple, with six or seven ingredients piled on top of each other.
In northern Spain, you’ll also find tapas but they’ll usually be called pintxos, the basic difference being that they usually sit on a small piece of bread and are sometimes together by a toothpick.
In most of Spain, tapas are eaten in bars, either standing with a drink in hand or at a table, chatting with friends and ordering plate after plate. You can order an individual tapa, a plateful of tapas, or a ración, which is a little bigger. Tapas can often be a substitute for a meal, but are a time-honoured tradition in Spain in the evening, after work, with friends.
Everyone has a favourite and that’s why they’re so perfect. You can have it all.
Contributed by Leyla of Women On The Road.
English Breakfast Fry-Up
When I first moved to England the hotel I stayed in served an English Breakfast every morning. Then I discovered that this was pretty much a normal breakfast for anyone at any time of the day. Some English people had an English Breakfast or variations of it for breakfast, lunch and dinner too. It soon became one of my favourite world foods I experienced as I travelled. It was always great to have such a breakfast because it was warming and gave me loads of energy to get through the day.
A typical English Breakfast consists of sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes all fried in a fry pan and served with toast. Sometimes baked beans were included and heated in the fry pan just before serving. Wash it down with a fresh orange juice or a cup of tea and you won’t need to eat again till later in the day!
Swiss Cheese Fondu, Switzerland
Winter is just around the corner here in Switzerland. And this means, it’s almost Fondue-season again. Finally! This is probably one of the things Swiss people look forward to the most when it comes to the colder months. Sure, we could eat Fondue all-year-round, but it’s just one of those typical winter dishes.
When I say Fondue, I mean cheese fondue, a melted cheese dish, served in a community pot called “Caquelon”. The first recipe for cheese fondue was published around 1875, and it has been a Swiss national dish ever since. It became really popular in the 1030s, when the Swiss Cheese Union started promoting it to increase the cheese consumption.
The classic ingredients for cheese fondue, besides cheese of course, are white wine, starch, garlic and nutmeg. However, creativity knows no boundaries when it comes to making Fondue. I’ve had delicious variations with bacon and beer, herbs, chili or sundried tomatoes and olives. As I mentioned earlier, the fondue is cooked in a community pot, which is then placed in the middle of the table on a special table grill.
Traditionally, we dip morsels of bread in the melted cheese. Some other popular options are potatoes or even fruit, like bananas or pears. But just like with the ingredients, there are no boundaries here either. And lastly, some people dip they bread into a little glass of Kirsch, a type of cherry Schnaps, before dunking it into their cheese.
But what makes Fondue so special to us? I think, when it comes to Fondue, the dish is almost secondary. Fondue dinners are a tradition amongst families or groups of friends here in Switzerland. It’s not a meal someone would eat alone or share between two, it’s more like a social event, all about spending time with our loved ones, sharing a meal, a laugh and a good glass of white wine.
Contributed by Sara Bernhard from www.sarafaraway.com.
Russian Salad/Insalata Russa from Piedmont, Italy
From Olivia Windsor
My pick is a typical salad that is part of the antipasto course in Piedmont but popular throughout many other regions in Italy as well as France. Known as Insalata Russa in Italian, it translates as Russian salad in English. Ask any Russian and they will tell you they’ve never heard of it. The origins of the dish dates back to the 1880s, when Belgian chef Lucien Olivier (the salad is also called by his name at times) created it in Russia. By the early 1900s it began to appear in Italy and to this day is still served with relish.
Russian salad is a cold, creamy salad made from tiny diced pieces of cooled boiled carrots, peas and potatoes mixed with cornichons and coated in a homemade mayonnaise. You can garnish it with boiled eggs and capers and add celery, anchovies, pickled onions and raw crunchy cucumber as per your tastes. Personally speaking, I love my Piemontese family’s version that is extra indulgent and appeals to my love of seafood…the addition of small cooked prawns!
Creamy and laden with vegetables, it’s not the first thing you’d run to when confronted with a spread of Italian cheese and meats. However, it reminds me that looks can be deceiving. The age old adage of ‘never trust a book by its cover’ remains true when it comes to this salad. Done correctly and with homemade mayonnaise, it is mouth smacking delicious and will quickly become one of the first things you run to at the buffet table! If you want my Italian family recipe, find it on my blog Livguine.
Is your mouth watering after discovering other travellers’ favourite foods from around the world? I know mine is and I am looking forward to trying some of these foods in the future. If you enjoyed finding out about these foods please leave a comment following.
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