I met my friend Bianca in college. We were attending a meeting for future event planners and hit it off when we found out we both had Italian heritage. We laughed over our separate, yet strikingly similar, stories of being force fed at family holidays and of feeling lucky to have grown up using olive oil instead of butter. We reminisced about the spicy italian sausage her grandmother would make from scratch before passing away, and I realized how lucky I was to still be able to enjoy my grandmother’s cooking.
People bond over food every day. It’s a fact, and regional food is something we hold so close to our personal identity that fights have broken out all around the world about the “right” way to make a regional dish. If you think about ethnic insults, many involve food– we make fun of people for eating rice and beans, sushi, hamburgers, etc.
As I grow older, I appreciate food more and more. I especially love observing food’s role in society and what eating different foods can say about an individual in different cultures. I don’t travel as often as I’d like to, but when I do I try my best to completely immerse myself in the local cuisine. I scrounge Tripadvisor and Yelp, food blogs, and even hire local guides to make sure I’m not missing out on a local specialty. Some people love museums– I love food carts.
My goal is to travel the world trying local cuisine, but it can be difficult. Madrid alone has so much more to try and I’ve already lived here for a year! Don’t even get me started on the rest of Spain– you would need at least one year in Spain alone to try everything worth tasting.
Today I’d like to share five of the cuisines I am especially excited to explore one day. For some reason these ones especially shout out to me, begging me to come visit with a big appetite. I’m not sure when I’ll get to check these places off my list– hopefully soon!
Thai is one of my favorite cuisines– and I’ve never been to Thailand. I know that if I love the restaurants in Boston so much I’ll be blown away with the authentic stuff. I want to visit Thailand for many reasons, but food is number one. Just take a look at this incredible website about Thai food to see for yourself (don’t click if you’re hungry!).
We all dream about staying in a Maui Beach Hotel and spending our days sipping cocktails and working on our tan. But I dare to dream bigger. I want to visit Hawaii for the food. And I don’t mean the gorgeous buffets at the five star hotels… I mean real Hawaiian food. With a mix of influences such as Japanese, Chinese, Philippine, Korean, Puerto Rican and Portuguese, the Hawaiian kitchen is one of the best examples of a fusion cuisine that has become its own.
When I think of Colombia I imagine fresh fruit, colorful markets, and juice vendors lining the streets. I have no idea if this is anything like reality, but I’m willing to find out. In the meantime I keep myself busy reading the recipes found at My Colombian Recipes, and, when feeling adventurous, I create a little piece of Colombia in Spain!
4. Mexican (Puebla)
Mexican food is diverse and delicious (it’s a huge country!) and I was lucky enough to sample some fantastic foods last year on my Playa del Carmen honeymoon. But I want to try more, and I specifically want to try one particular dish in its place of origin: Chiles en Nogada in Puebla. Ever since reading the book Like Water for Chocolate, I’ve dreamed about Chiles en Nogada. Maybe I lived in Puebla in a past life? I have never eaten them (or anything similar) but I can already taste them when imagining my trip. When I do go, I’ll be sure to have my friend Lesley show me the best places to try them.
It has been really difficult to narrow down this list (I realize I actually want to travel and eat just about everywhere!) but I’ll conclude by talking about Turkish food. I’m dying to visit Turkey for the Baklava alone– but other dishes like dolma, lamb kebap, and humus are also big reasons. I’ve seen pictures of the markets and, as the market obsessed person I am, I know I would feel right at home there.
Well, that’s my list– what a difficult task! What five places are on your list for a culinary adventure?
Disclosure: This yummy post was brought to you in part by Aqua Hotels & Resorts.