As I’ve talked about before, food is one the biggest reasons why I love to travel. Trying the local fare in each place is always a highlight for me. I’m always glad when people post pictures of the foods that they ate on their trips.
I’ve compiled a list of eight great foods that will make you want to travel. It seems like the food is never the same when you get home from your destination, but it can feed you the wanderlust.
- Pho. This is a Vietnamese staple. Even when the temperature reaches over 100degrees you will find all of the locals eating this meal. They don’t differentiate breakfast meals from lunch or dinner like we do in the US. They have this for all three meals everyday. Although it is simple, the dish is quite impressive. Almost always they load it with seafood, but sometimes you can find it made with chicken, beef, or pork. The broth is a not too complex, and is loaded with soft rice noodles. I’ve seen it in the states at Mongolian Grill Restaurants, Thai restaurants, and occasionally you can find them at a Vietnamese restaurant. They always have side plates of bean sprouts, cilantro, jalapenos, and more to put in once the soup has arrived. This is truly a local food, but I highly recommend it.
- Pad Thai. This is the most common type of Thai food found in America. It is usually at the top of the menu and is pretty easy to remember. The main part of this meal is rice noodles, but they usually include some type of meat. You can order with seafood, chicken, beef, or pork. It is usually garnished with cilantro, lime juice, and crushed peanuts (Love these). It is usually pretty affordable in Thai restaurants, but highly recommended. My wife loves this the most of all Thai foods, but my favorite is up next.
- Laab Moo(Pork) kai (Chicken) This is a salad that is my favorite Thai food ever. I will usually buy it and also purchase a bowl of rice. This ensures that I fill up, and helps kill some of the spice. This is a blend of deliciousness. My mouth is watering as I explain how good this is. They mince the meat and blend it with sliced up red onions. They also add spice, lemon juice, rice powder, sliced shallots, and much more. I HIGHLY recommend this food for anyone who wants to try something new. I’ve never been disappointed by this food
- Tikka Masala. This is an Indian Cuisine that was first introduced to me by my good friend Trevor. He was probably the one who got me wanderlusting in the first place. He fell in love with this dish and showed it to my wife and I. We found a great recipe and we have been making it ever since. I’m actually really sad that I never hit up my old neighbor Mandeep, who was from India, to ask him to make this for me when I was in high school. It is a blend of many spices, and isn’t easy to make. The result is absolutely amazing. You must purchase the naan bread to go with this dish. It is an essential part of the Indian cuisine as well. Cilantro is a common garnish, and is laid on a bed of long grained rice. The naan bread helps you to clean your plate when you are done as well. I’ve never been to India, but this food makes me want to take a trip there.
- Pikliz. People tell me that this is similar to the pickled cabbage that is eaten in Korea, but I feel like this stuff is different. I went to Haiti in April of 2010 to help out after the earthquake. What an amazing experience. I’ll write more about it later, but we had someone cook all of our meals. When she asked what we wanted to each at the beginning of the day, we would always respond that we wanted pikliz as a side dish to our main course. The main ingredients are cabbage, carrots, onions, spicy peppers, vinegar, garlic, and salt. It isn’t everyday that you get the chance to eat at a Haitian restaurant, and I’ve even seen some recipes online that can be replicated, but this stuff is good.
- Mangoes and Sticky Rice- I know that you are noticing a theme that many of
these foods are from Southeast Asia. The main reason for this is because there is an abundance of these restaurants in every town that you might not have ever tried. Everyone is used to Chinese, Mexican, etc. It is time to branch off and find a new food that inspires you to want to travel. That is the purpose of this post. Hopefully it is inspiring someone out there. This is actually a dessert, and it is horrifically expensive in the USA. They usually want about 6-10$ and it is usually a small amount of food. This delicacy is based on a bed of sticky rice that is warm. They then place chilled mangoes on top of the bed of rice and pour warm coconut milk on top. If the location is really legit then they will also put toasted sesame seeds on top as a garnish. My wife and I fell in love with this stuff on our trip to SE Asia, and after your first bite, I’ll almost guarantee that you will too.
- Foreign Made Coca Cola. I enjoy drinking Coke in the USA from time to time, yet my main preference is Mountain Dew. It does seem like the Coke in other countries has a sweeter taste. I’ve never been there, but supposedly in the Coke factory in Atlanta you can try different recipes of Coke from different countries all across the world. Although the main ingredients are similar, there is nothing like drinking a foreign Coca Cola. I’ve tried Pepsi, Sprite, and other types of soft drinks, but nothing is as good as Coke. I always look forward to sipping down a Coke after a delicious meal or as night falls on the beach. If you’re not a soft drink kind of person then this might not be a good recommendation. I always say that the Coke will kill any of the bad stuff that I might eat. My wife rolls her eyes, but I kinda believe it…..
- Gelato- Although the word is Italian, it is used in countries all across the world. My wife is an ice cream connoisseur and she knows when ice cream is good. She loves the Italian Gelato and it can be found in places across the USA, but you can also find it in Mexico, Argentina, Guatemala, and I’m sure almost everywhere else. This is usually a little bit softer than the ice cream that we have in the states. It can sometimes even be purchased on cruises. Look for this stuff and give it a try. You might still enjoy your normal ice cream, but this is worth a shot. Keep in mind that sometimes these will be laced with liquor and rum, so if it burns your mouth instead of freezing your brain then you might have gotten a flavor with some alcohol. Don’t let your kids get the wrong flavor either. Many other countries don’t have age restrictions for their children on when they can have alcohol.
I hope that I’ve inspired someone out there to give one of these new foods a try. Most of you have probably never tried any of these foods, but I encourage you to break the mold of pizza, Chinese, and Mexican. Try something new and it might inspire you to take a trip to one of these countries.
Wanderlusting for different foods can be exciting. You can always ask your server what the ingredients are for each dish. As long as it doesn’t have mushrooms then you will be fine. 🙂