Do you believe you have an international palette when it comes to food? Over the years, many foods from different regions have become commonplace in our daily lives. Whether it’s Mexican, Italian, Chinese or plain old American cuisine, we’ve become used to these tastes. But this is just the tip of the iceberg (pardon the pun). Here are some remarkable cuisines from around the world:
Spain: While you may think Spanish and Mexican food would be quite similar, you would actually be mistaken. Spain is one of the best food (and wine) destinations in the world. Most popular are tapas -cold or hot small plates/appetizers – that can be sweet or savory. Whether it’s a tortilla espanola (Spanish omelet made with egg and potatoes), jamon iberico (cured ham) and manchego cheese, or crema catalana (Spain’s version of crème brulee), tapas are an integral part of Spanish culture and food. Other popular dishes are paella, a combination of meats, seafood and vegetables with rice, gazpacho or cold tomato soup, and chorizo, a sweet and spicy pork sausage.
Vietnam: Usually two things come to mind when it comes to Vietnamese food: pho (noodles) and banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches). But there is so much more to Vietnamese cuisine. Bun Cha Hanoi is very popular, and consists of mini ground pork patties steeped in a diluted sweet and savory fish sauce accompanied by rice vermicelli and a simple lettuce salad. Banh Beo Chen is another fun dish – essentially a steamed rice cake topped with pork fat/skin, minced shrimp and fried shallots and served with a mild, sweet and savory fish sauce. If you are more in the mood for a fish dish, then try Bun Rieu, a rice vermicelli noodle soup made with tomato and crabs. The crabs are pounded into a paste then cooked with tomatoes until small crab patties form and float to the top. More crab is added to this easy dish to make it one of the most recognizable throughout Vietnam.
India: By far, India is at the top of the list for best cuisine in the world. While dishes vary from place to place, Indian food is known for its spices and flavors and goes well beyond the curries we mostly associate with Indian cuisine. Biryani, a flavorful blend of spices, rice, meat and vegetables, is popular across the country, with many variations depending on the region. Of course, any Tandoori dish is a must-try. Tandoori refers to the charcoal/clay oven that meats, vegetables and breads are cooked in. The dishes take on the charred and smokey flavor of the fire. Some of the best Tandoori dishes include Tandoori Chicken, Tandoori Roti, Butter Naans, Kulchas, Tandoori Gobi and Aloo. You’ll also want to sample some Samosas, which is a simple snack consisting of a fried dough stuffed with potatoes, lentils and peas or minced meat and onions. And if you are looking for street fare, Chaats may fit the bill. Chaat usually includes crispy fried dough chips, called Papadis, boiled potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, tamarind chutney, green chili and mint chutney, dried mango powder, puffed rice, yogurt and onions – all mixed in various combinations to produce some very interesting – and flavorful – dishes.
South Africa: South Africa may not be on your radar, but the food there is delicious. A melting pot of indigenous cuisine mixed with influences from the Dutch, French, Indian, Malaysian cultures makes South African food unique. Consider Boerewors, a South African sausage made with beef, pork or lamb and a mixture of spices and barbecued. The dish comes from Afrikaans boer (farmer) and Dutch wors (sausage). Another dish to try is Cape Malay Curry, which is a combines cinnamon, saffron, turmeric and chili to create fragrant stews and curries. For a bit of street food, try Bunny Chow - a flavorful South African dish made of hollowed-out bread stuffed with spicy curry. Another Dutch import and favorite dessert is Malva Pudding - sweet and sticky baked sponge pudding made with apricot jam and served smothered in a hot cream sauce.
Turkey: Turkey is also a melting pot of cultures that comes through in their cuisine. More than just kebabs and koftas, Turkish food runs the gamut in taste and texture. Menemen is a simple egg dish consisting of scrambled eggs cooked softly with onions, peppers, paprika, and oregano. A Döner is great for lunch – a pita sandwich prepared with slow cooked chicken, lamb, or beef meat served with vegetables, spices, and garlic yogurt. Manti is another popular dish made of boiled or fried beef/lamb dumplings accompanied by a various range of spices (think miniature ravioli). Served with yogurt or butter, this dish is as traditional as it gets!
The world is full of a wonderful variety of cuisines. Are you ready to try some in person? Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437 to start planning your food (and fun) filled vacation!
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