After returning home from a vacation, perhaps other than the weather and the accommodation, one of the overriding memories people seem to preserve is of the food. For many prospective travellers cuisine can be an element that is awarded little consideration when it comes to organising a luxury holiday and with more pressing matters to consider like dates, flights and lodgings, this assumption might not seem unreasonable.
Food is however something that we all tend to spend a lot of time thinking about and (depending upon how hungry we are) eating it too. When we actually arrive at our holiday destination it is quite amusing to note how quickly our attention returns to gastronomy and what an overriding influence it has upon our travel experience. With this in mind I thought I might discuss some of my own most memorable and delicious food experiences in this article. It is surprising how much a national dish can both symbolise and convey the identity of a country, its history and its culture and I believe that the following dishes really say a lot about the communities they represent...
Tom Yum Goong, Thailand- Thailand is one of my favourite countries in Asia, an eclectic nation that boasts a heady cocktail of fascinating culture, stunning natural geography and a long and proud history. I first tried Tom Yum Goong in a small restaurant on Soi Rambuttri Road in Rattanakosin, the historic centre of Bangkok. This area is alive with noise and colour and only a short walk from the renowned (or infamous) Khao San Rd which bustles with tourists and backpackers exploring the maze of streets, littered as they are with market stalls and street sellers. Tom Yum Goong is a broth renowned for its spicy and sour flavours and for anyone who enjoys a ‘kick’ in their food this is a must try. Thai food as a whole is quickly gaining momentum in the west where for so long Chinese, Indian and Japanese cuisine has dominated the Asian market. Whenever I visit a Thai restaurant at home and encounter that unmistakable aroma I am immediately transported back to Bangkok.
Hangi, New Zealand- Aotearoa as it is known amongst the Maori culture is considered as one of the most idyllic and popular tourist destinations on Earth. With filming for Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’ entering the initial phases and the IRB Rugby World Cup set to touch down in September there has never been a better time to visit this beautiful and diverse land. Hangi, unlike the other dishes that are discussed in this post, actually refers more to the method of cooking than the actual ingredients themselves. A hangi is a traditional earth pit that has for centuries been used by the Maori people as a way of preparing a vast banquet usually intended for special occasions. The pit is excavated and a large fire is allowed to burn until the flames die down; stones are placed within the fire and the food, usually meat such as beef or lamb along with a selection of vegetables, is balanced on top of the stones in baskets. The baskets are covered and then the entire pit is filled over with earth and then left for several hours to slowly cook. Being invited to a hangi is a privilege for those outside of the Maori culture but today cultural tours organise these events to give travellers an insight to Maori life. Not only a tribute to ancient ancestors a hangi produces some of the most succulent and tasty food you will taste.
Paella, Spain- As a lover of Spanish food I could not in all good consciousness exclude paella from the list. The dish originates from the Valencia region of the country and with every family in the area guarding their own ‘perfected’ recipe, paella really is a dish that brings a community together. Made for sharing it is served directly from the pan, the distinctive flat and round paellera, with friends and family eagerly gathering around to get the first spoonful. Variations of paella exist all around the country, the original Valencian dish differing in several respects from the mixed seafood version that is perhaps more widely known outside of Spain. From more modest traditional recipes, modern day paella can feature a delicious combination of rice, meats (including rabbit, snail, chicken, duck or chorizo sausage) as well as seafood, vegetables, stock and spices. A trip to any region in Spain, but Valencia in particular is not complete without sampling some of this delectable and iconic cuisine.
Barbados, Cou Cou and flying fish- Originally I considered including that most archetypal of English specialities, fish and chips, but instead I have selected this appetizing and considerably more exotic Barbadian alternative. The flying fish is a symbol of this beautiful island and its image appears everywhere, from coins to the seal of the national tourism agency and traditional island art. This dish is served up all over the island from more refined examples in restaurants and expensive eateries to hearty platefuls enjoyed in the home. Cou-cou is a food which comprises of cornmeal added to an okra based broth which when mixed together forms a thick and filling mixture. The flying fish is lightly fried and served with the cou-cou and a delicious stock made from tomatoes, okra, spices and the heads of the fish. You could try cou-cou and flying fish for breakfast which will give you all the energy you need to explore the stunning Barbadian landscape, from the heights of Mount Hillaby to the white sands of Crane Beach.
Author Bio: Mark is an experienced travel writer and an associate of The Turquoise Holiday Company, experts in luxury travel
Other articles you may be interested in
- Blogengage, a great site for promoting your blog
- New spin on guest posts
- Excellent beginners guide to SEO
- Don´t be such a stingy git
- Maximise responses when asking for content exchanges
- The Safest World Cities for Tourists
- Support Passports With Purpose
- Quick Guide to Lanzarote
- Anyone can go caving
- Top world surf holiday destina...
I really appreciated this article! Surf holidays a... More...
- Top 10 Holiday Spots in India
I'd love to visit India and found your article rea... More...
- Live Performance Shows in NYC ...
Spring is the month for jazz festivals – the River... More...
- Autumn Travel Ideas
I think Dubai is a place where you can visit in Au... More...
- Top 10 Holiday Spots in India
This is a great article here. India always looked ... More...