I am a sucker for the travel quizzes that go round Facebook, Twitter… well pretty much anywhere on the internet. Its one of the few times my competitive side comes to the surface, I like to see if I can beat my well-travelled mother. 9/10 times I don’t come anywhere close, but on the Facebook Travel Food List challenge I beat her by two!
After I texted and emailed Mum to gloat, I went back over the list remembering all of the amazing places that I had eaten. What shocked me though was how many of them were had at home and not in an exotic destination.
Ultimately this is a testament to globalisation of the foodies who have been ensuring that good quality and relatively authentic cuisine can be found almost anywhere. You can now find chicken foot soup or Pho at any quality Vietnamese restaurant. Does this take out some of the romance of the travel experience? If I can have a spectacular Pad See Ew right here in Coogee is there much point in hoping on a plane to Thailand to taste the “real” thing?
Obviously the true travel foodie will tell you that there is so much more to the eating experience than just the taste (though of course that’s important) – you have the smells, the local atmosphere, the opportunity to try something completely different off the a menu written in another language (may not even be the thing you thought it would be – nothing beats a food surprise) and of course the closer you are to the birthplace of a dish the better it is.
And yet I am still dubious as some of the best food moments I have had have been at home (thanks mum)!
Meals I had at home (I have had some of these while travelling as well but my first bite was at home)
- Baba Ghanoush (local Thai and Turkish takeaway – you may think that’s a bad mix but it was oh so good!)
- Bagel and Lox
- Barbecue Ribs
- Black Pudding (I didn’t like it, which I think broke my Grandfathers heart)
- Bread Pudding
- Calamari (every time I go to the pub!)
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Crab Cakes (The Thai version are the best)
- Eel (Actually had this for the first time the other day at my favourite sushi/karaoke bar)
- Eggs Benedict
- Fresh Spring Rolls (can’t remember the first time I had these – or the first time I made them, but oh so delicious!)
- Goat – (My grandmother made me goat stew the other week – I loved it!)
- Goat’s Milk (Also good to add into a bath for a moisturising moment)
- Gumbo (My step father cooked this for me just a few weeks ago)
- Heirloom Tomatoes (can get them at most supermarkets… why are they on this list?)
- Honeycomb (What child who loves honey hasn’t tried honeycomb…?)
- Kangaroo (Eh…I’m Australian!)
- Kobe Beef
- Lobster (Sydney fish markets all the way)
- Pavlova (Is this an Australian thing – why is this on the list – I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had pavlova??)
- Pistachio Ice Cream (Messina’s anyone)
- Polenta (This is in other people’s supermarkets right?)
- Prickly Pear (Thanks mum)
- Rabbit Stew (my Grandmother tricked me with this one – she told me it was chicken)
- Raw Oysters
- Soft Shell Crab
- Sweet Potato Fries (Isn’t this a normal thing?)
- Zucchini Flowers
Meals I had while travelling
- Alligator (in a pub on the island of Langkawi where the expat owner convinced me to try his “Everything stew” which included alligator, ox tail, chickens feet… and some other things I would rather not know)
- Borscht (By a lake in Oregon with my friends family)
- Fish Tacos (At Fred’s Tacos in downtown SD – I have never looked back)
- Frogs’ Legs (In Hanoi – Vietnamese style with loads of garlic and chilli)
- Goulash (One of those perfect travel moments – in Prague old city as a two for one special)
- Paella (In Barcelona sitting in the sun… I didn’t like it much… still not the biggest fan)
- Pho (In Saigon actually – but I could have had it sooner if I hadn’t been such a fussy eater before my first trip to Vietnam)
- Snail (In Vietnam – with loads of garlic)
- Tom Yum (Langkawai – the ultimate tropical paradise)
So of the 42 delicious (and some not so delicious) items on the list most I had eaten at home. However this does mean that there are 58 items on the list that I will have to travel somewhere to eat. After all I have never heard of Umeboshi and I am not even sure where you would eat Squirrel. Spam and Sweetbreads… I think I will continue to pass on though.
Take the quiz and let me know how you go?