3 Foreign Meals You Should Try On Your Travels

Today’s post was written by Sophie Collard (@QunoSpotter).

Three favourite meals from my world travelsEating is such a huge part of every culture, which makes eating local food, especially with local people, one of the real joys of travelling. Just thinking about my favourite meals always gets me scouring Google for vacation deals, or at the very least heading hungrily to the foreign food aisle at my local supermarket!

Raclette in the Swiss mountains

 

For me, the ingredients of a memorable meal go way beyond the taste – it’s about the atmosphere & the culture you are able to share during the meal.  I’ll never forget my disappointment, as a 9 year old staying with family friends, at being given dandelion salad & fruit instead of the roast lamb I’d been hoping for on Easter Sunday! But as an adult, a raclette in the mountains with those same family friends stands out as an example of what hospitality ought to be.

The Raclette cheese is grilled until its top melts & then scraped over boiled baby potatoes. It may not sound like much, especially for a meal that can last about 4 hours, but as each person takes their turn & the bubbly cheese perfectly complements the wine, new potatoes, gherkins & salami, it’s a meal you hope will never end.

Sushi in Tokyo

 

My first dinner with my new boss remains one of most memorable culinary experiences in our two year stay in Japan. It was my second day in the country & I had read that it was rude to blow my nose in public, which was a constant worry since I had a terrible cold & wanted to make a good impression.

Luckily, it was not my discomfort or frequent nose-blowing toilet breaks that made the meal memorable: the sushi was out of this world. We tried so many types of fish, some of which I still can’t translate & each one was so different, with the flavours carefully balanced between wasabi, ginger & soy. We sat at the counter & the chef prepared each dish in front of us, placing piece after piece on our plates.

We tried three different types of tuna: akani (the lean meat from the sides of the fish), chutoro (fattier meat from the belly) & otoro (the fattiest type of tuna taken from the underside of the fish). Then we moved on to seaweed baskets of sea urchin, lightly grilled scallops, baby squid & mackerel with a wonderful sweet sauce.

DIY spring rolls in Hue, Vietnam

 

If the number of imitations is an indicator of quality, then Lac Thien’s is gold dust. Run by a delightful man & his family, the restaurant is flanked on either side by establishments of the same name, with numerous others on the same street. Some of the imitators even pretended to be deaf mute (like Mr Thien). But none could copy the wonderful food, nor the sheer joie de vivre of this delightful man & his family.

We ordered prawn spring rolls, & were a little surprised when thin eggy prawn omelettes arrived with rice papers, a plate of salad & a mountain of herbs. But Mr Thien & his sons were on hand to show us how to roll & eat them. The fresh herbs & lime were a highlight throughout Vietnam, but here the flavours were especially striking. Plus, the Hue festival was on that night, so as we ate, we watched the gathering revellers from our balcony seats, before descending to join the celebration.

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