travel to taste: around the world

There is nothing that excites me more than the thought of travelling around the world and stuffing my gob with amazing foods. Thankfully, I have had several opportunities to do just that in the past five years, and look forward to adding to that list in the years to come.

In my last Travel to Taste blog posting, I shared with you my Canadian favourites. Now, I’m going to go beyond the borders and share with you the delightful bites that I’ve had abroad.

In the weeks that I travelled around the United Kingdom, I had many great meals. Along with my hobo-style park bench smorgasbords of olives, bread, wine, rhubarb yogurt and prawn cocktail Pringles, I also had some wonderful meals at restaurants. Of course, I did the traditional fare: fish and chips, haggis balls, bangers and mash and English breakfasts, but I also had some memorable treats:

Conwy, Wales

“Indian Style”Mussels at Chrissie’s Kitchen

 With local mussels hand-raked from River Conwy, the spicy mussels that I had at Chrissie’s were the best I’ve had in my life. They had a delicious curry broth, with enough heat to  make my nose run, and meaty perfectly cooked mussels.

Dunkeld, Scotland

Parma ham, Gorgonzola and fig sandwich at The Scottish Deli

On a tour to the Isle of Skye, I stopped in a tiny town to grab a picnic lunch to eat at Ruthven Barracks. I would have been quite content to send the bus along without me, give up my passport, and stay in Dunkeld, working at that deli for the rest of my days. It was adorable. The people were so friendly. And the sandwich. My god, the sandwich! I can’t even explain to you in words the beauty of this thing. 


London, England

Black Pudding Scotch Egg at Brook Green Hotel 

Not only did I have my first meal in London here (cream of carrot soup), and was provided fantastic accommodations (which have since been renovated and they look gorgeous!), I also tried my first Scotch Egg here. It partnered my new found love for both black pudding and runny yolks into one delicious meal.


Home of the 40 shades of green, Guinness, Jamieson and my ancestors, I’m glad to have gotten some time to explore and take in the sights, history and tastes of Ireland. I did spend my weekends at festivals, so that means festival-style food. Think pogos, hot dogs, and fries. I also had my fair share of cupcakes, fish cakes and Irish Breakfasts 🙂 But here were my faves:

Dublin

BLT Baguette at Fitzsimons

A BLT will never satisfy me the same since having this one, complete with rasher bacon.

Rashers, tomato, lettuce and garlic mayo on a baguette. Need I say more?

Galway

Curry Cheese Chips at Vinny’s Takeaway

After a night of fun at Roisín Dubh, Vinny’s is the place to go. It is a wild place, filled with the after-pub crowd, so it’s perfect to get your fill of chips and people watching. Whatever you do, when you’re in Ireland make sure you get curry cheese chips somewhere. They are a (superior? is that blasphemy?) Irish version of the classic Canadian poutine… you won’t regret it. Esepcially if you get them at Vinny’s. And have a friend get the garlic ones, so you can share.

Disclaimer: these are NOT the chips from Vinny's. They were from a vendor at Castlepalooza (and were delicious, too)

Disclaimer: these are NOT the chips from Vinny’s. They were from a vendor at Castlepalooza (and were delicious, too)


While in the UAE I tried lots of traditional foods, most of them home-cooked, since it was Ramadan and daily iftar was eaten as a family (and the restaurants weren’t open during the day to serve me anyways). Besides that, my sustenance consisted mostly of croissants with labneh, bakery sweets, and fast foods – McDonald’s, shawarma joints, Nordsee. I did try an amazing cup of traditional karak sweet-tea, and was introduced to the delicious thing that is Bateel gourmet dates. Surprisingly enough, just today I received a package of dates in the mail from a friend who is currently living in Abu Dhabi. They are just SO GOOD. I also thoroughly enjoy a breakfast feast at Emirates Palace. Besides that, here are two things that I would totally have again, if I were ever to be in the neighbourhood:

Abu Dhabi 

Chicken Bechamel Pasta at Fresh Chicken King

Chicken, creamy bechamel sauce, penne pasta all covered with a thick layer of bubbly, baked mozzarella. This was carb heaven for me. 

Mixed Fruit Cocktail at Maroosh

It may have been the Maroosh Cocktail, or the Fruit Cocktail – no matter what it was, it was delicious! It was a thick drink, with tones of fresh fruit in the bottom. I’ve been trying to find a recipe to duplicate the taste at home, and came across one for Lebanese Fruit Cocktail. It’s pretty labour and ingredient intensive, but if it tastes like the cocktail from Maroosh, it would be totally worth it.


As I mentioned before, I’m off to Cuba in a little over 6 weeks. Although Cuba seems to be known for it’s bland food, I fell in love with what I called “mystery meat logs” (they turned out to be croquettes de jamon) the last time I was there. I’m hoping that I find a few more Cuban favourites while this time around – especially since I’ll be at a 5-star resort this time!

Do you have any must-try meals from the cities that I’ve been to? What about from your hometown?

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