Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Best and Worst Cuisines Abroad

Throughout my travels, I've tasted some truly incredible dishes... and some pretty terrible ones as well. There've been countries that have stood out as gastronomic superstars, and others that have flopped horribly. From the divine to the downright disgusting, here's what I've found to be the most impressive and disappointing cuisines abroad:

Best Cuisine: Greece

How could I not choose Greek food as my favorite international cuisine? No other country has so effortlessly seduced my taste buds. Between the fresh vegetables, rich feta, mouthwatering dolmades and flavorful tzatziki, Greece exemplifies foodie heaven.

Cretan salad with mizithra cheese
Baked eggplant at Roka - my favorite restaurant in Santorini
Read more about my favorite gluten free Greek dishes here!

Second Runner Up: Mexico

Do I feel a little guilty for not saying Spain? Maybe. But I mean... Mexican food.

The best meal I've ever had was at a roadside taco stand in Ensenada in 2007. Every year back in junior high and high school I went on volunteer trips to Mexico with my church - so on every trip, we got to try the amazing street food. The tacos al pastor I had at this particular stand blew my taste buds out of the water. Needless to say, it redefined what real  Mexican food should taste like... and I've been addicted ever since. 

The only photo I took of "the best meal I've ever had"... foodie blasphemy. Judge if you must.


Worst Cuisine: The UK

I'm hoping this doesn't get me any hate mail. So let it be known: I absolutely love the UK. I would go back to London and Edinburgh in a heartbeat. 

That said, some of the most abominable meals I've tried abroad were in the UK. Haggis, deep fried Mars bars, bangers and mash, English breakfasts, mystery meat pub food... the list goes on. I know that there are some really great modern/international/fusion options to be found, but if we're specifically talking about "traditional" dishes, then everything I tried made my stomach churn.

Savoring the only good meal I had in Scotland at the Elephant House Café. My enjoyment of this meal may or may not have been heavily influenced by the fact that JK Rowling wrote parts of Harry Potter here.

In other words, pub food is not my jam. Coffee > tea. And who in their right mind eats beans and tomatoes for breakfast?!?

Dear lovely readers in the UK, please don't hate me. And if you passionately disagree with me, then I will gladly take your recommendations for the next time I visit! I'm willing to be proven wrong!

Second Runner Up: Germany

Unless beer is a food group, the gastronomy of Germany did nothing to impress me. (But who am I kidding, I didn't even get to try the beer in Germany because I couldn't find any gluten free options. So I'm just trusting everyone else who says that the beer is actually good there.) 

The sausages, sauerkraut, cold cuts and salads I tried were bland, uninspiring and often less-than-appetizing. I've never been less enthused about trying the local grub. While I truly adored Bavaria, I found German food to be nothing special.


What are your favorite and least favorite cuisines you've tried abroad? 
Is there a country whose gastronomy stands out as the best or the worst?


Welcome to this week's Travel Tuesday Linkup with A Compass Rose!

Every week BonnieCynthiaYalanda and I will choose one post from the previous week's linkup to be featured. Make sure to check out their blogs to see who they chose!
This week I am featuring Sara of A Different Piece of Sky and her post on Gouda, The Netherlands. As an avid cheeseaholic, I was sold on visiting Gouda almost immediately upon reading her post! Sara's recap has undoubtedly inspired me to take a day trip to this darling town next time I visit Amsterdam.

Ready to link up?

1. Share a post about travel! 

2. Grab the lovely button below. If you run into any trouble, just make sure to mention BonnieCynthiaYalanda or me in a link.

3. Linkup goes live every Tuesday at 0800 GMT. Make sure to comment here, on the co-hosts blogs, and visit around!

Tips:

1. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups!

2. The last Tuesday of the month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!

3. Hop around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Check back to visit some of the newer travel posts! 


42 comments:

  1. Oh man, Mexico for sure! Some of my favorite meals in my life have happened there... or at least pretty close to the border cooked by Mexican chefs. They are so passionate about their food. I cannot wait to experience Greek cooking next year and will definitely be looking into all your recommendations when the time comes! Delicious.
    I do feel ya on British cooking.... it's not always the best, although of course there are delicious eats to be found, it can't be counted on like you can in Greece. And ugh, have you ever tried the Scottish soft-drink Irn Bru before? (What were they thinking?!!!)

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  2. I have to say that, though I love my host country, traditional Dutch food is no treat either :p Yes there are some good treats, and OF COURSE the cheese is excellent! But in general, we're talking meat, potatoes and veg boiled within an inch of existence - or mashed potatoes with things in it and sausage on the side - or thick pancakes with cheese and onion and tomato and, inexplicably, molasses :p (To be fair lots of people who visit NL love their pancakes, I just can't get behind it)
    I've also had some seriously stomach-churning food in Mexico! Strange.
    Ironically, some of the best food I've ever had was in London! But then again, it was never traditional British food :)

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  3. I've heard from all my family members who have traveled in the UK that they aren't fans of the food either. Honestly, for me, Indian and Malaysian food is the best there is. I won't even eat my own normal American food if there's a choice between it or some good Malaysian or Indian dishes!

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  4. Greek is hands down my absolute favorite as well! Yum!!

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  5. I agree! Indian is absolutely amazing here in the UK!

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  6. Ooooh you will have to come to London and I'll take you to some places that DO do great British food. But I agree one of the best things about food in England is all the fusion. My favourite food is so hard to narrow down, but I think it would have to be Vietnamese, so fresh and tasty. Or Spanish. Or Japanese! I've never been to Mexico but after your description I really want to go to try some really authentic Mexican food :)

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  7. Between your food post and Jessi's scenery post, I NEED to get to Greece! And as much as I love the UK ... you're right. We don't have the greatest food in the world...

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  8. You should give haggis another try. As long as you don't think about what it is made of, it is pretty tasty. They used to serve it in the canteen at the place I worked at in Scotland and I ate it on occasion. But I have to agree, Greek food is fantastic!

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  9. I think my favorite cuisine of this list would have to be Mexican food. Although I've never been to Greece, Germany or the U.K., so any of them could be my new future favorite! We will see...


    As far as yogurts, cheese and desserts go though, I'd have to say the French are doing a pretty amazing job. Living in France, I simply can't get enough!

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  10. That Greek food looks amazing! Greece is way up there on my "must see" destinations, and I would be all over the delicious food.

    Unfortunately German food isn't my favourite either! It is true that the beer is amazing though, so that kind of makes up for it. I don't think I've tried a bad German beer yet!

    Also, thanks so much for featuring my post! :)

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  11. I agree that the Greek food looks the best, but I am really excited to try German food this Christmas when I visit. Most of my families traditional foods in Wisconsin are German, so bratwurst, sauerkraut, and knackwurst are staples. It may not be the best, but here's to hoping it at least reminds me of home!

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  12. Oh my goodness, that Greek food looks like it should be in a food magazine. Yum!

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  13. I completely agree on the Greek food! It was surprising just how yummy everything was there - and oh the feta... Beautiful photos by the way - definitely rethinking my lunch options now :)

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  14. I Hate you - only joking! But I have to disagree about food in the UK, yeah there are some terrible places to go but there are some wonderful places that serve the most delicious traditional food. And stuff like Haggis and Batter Mars bars are the sort of thing that you either love or hate and mainly only eaten in Scotland! If you ever come to Yorkshire I would gladly take you to some great places to eat! x

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  15. Actually I thought the same about UK. Most of the places I went to eat were all pretty mediocre. We even went to a Michelin star restaurant and I thought it was ok. There was this Japanese ramen place (Bone Daddies) that was my favorite restaurant but that's just random haha. Although I have to say I love their afternoon tea with scones and clotted cream. Now nobody does it better than them on that! That taco stand reminds me of this taco stand I visited almost everyday in Puerto Vallarta that was located outside the resort we were standing at. The food was so good and much cheaper than in the resort!

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  16. I will be eating Mexican food in two weeks time, I can't wait!

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  17. I don't hate you! I have tried haggis and battered mars bars and such like and I do totally agree with you - if those foods represent British cuisine then yes, for sure they are rubbish!

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  18. I really liked your writing in this post :) And, hands-down, REAL Mexican food is completely unbeatable. I tried making tamales once (as in from cornmeal) with a friend's Mexican mom and it took hours. But it's worth it!

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  19. I wasn't wild about food in the UK, either. Mexican food is probably my all-time favorite.

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  20. You can seriously never go wrong with good Mexican food. I'm never *not* craving it!!

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  21. Oh for sure, French cheese is on an entirely different level! And the macarons. And wine. Now I'm wondering why I didn't write about France...

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  22. Thank you! I've never tried making tamales before, but that sounds AWESOME. I'd love to learn how to cook authentic Mexican food! But I can hardly even master cooking fajitas, hahaha. A girl can dream.

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  23. I'm sure food from the UK has much more to offer - and I am definitely more than willing to give English breakfasts another try :)

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  24. SO JEALOUS! The stuff here in Madrid is decent, but nowhere near the best quality. The things I would do for some real street tacos right now!

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  25. Street food always beats resort food! At least the resort food I had in Puerto Vallarta wasn't that impressive, and it was waaay too expensive for what it was!

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  26. Haha thanks :) I tried both of those things in Edinburgh, and while there are a million reasons why I'd want to go back there, those two dishes don't quite make the list! But I'm definitely willing to give food from the UK another shot!!

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  27. Thank you :) Greek food is so delicious it's unreal! Every single thing I tasted there was heavenly. And relatively healthy too! A win-win!

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  28. It doesn't take much skill to make Greek food look delicious :) If only I could eat like that for every meal!

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  29. Exactly - that's what's the most important during the holidays! I'm so jealous you get to see all of the pretty Christmas markets over there! The ones in Madrid sadly aren't that impressive.

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  30. Of course! Thanks for making me crave Gouda for over a week ;) For a long time, Greece was at the top of my list for many reasons, but surprisingly food was not one of them. Now, Greece is at the top of my "must return to" list, and food is probably like... reason number 2. Hahaha

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  31. I think once may be enough for me - but I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would! I'm sure there are chefs out there who can make it taste pretty delicious.

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  32. At least the UK has a plethora of other great things to offer :)

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  33. Oh man, what I would do for some quality Vietnamese food right now!! I've heard so much about London's foodie scene *after* I visited, so I really do need to go back and see for myself what all the fuss is about. I may just have to take you up on your offer!!

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  34. I've never tried Malaysian food, but I think that might have to change soon! I probably eat Indian food about once a week though... I'm constantly craving it. I may be an addict, but I'm okay with that. Although I've never actually been to India, so I can't say I've tasted the real deal! Something tells me I wouldn't enjoy it as much because I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to hot spices...

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  35. Adding Indian food to my UK bucket list!!

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  36. DUTCH CHEESE. Noms!!! I haven't tried many other traditional Dutch dishes though. (Do those green lollipops in Amsterdam count? Hahaha just kidding. Kind of.) A few of my good friends just did a food tour in Amsterdam and had some pretty good things to say about the traditional cuisine. But then again, it's totally different when you live somewhere and are faced with those dishes every day.

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  37. You're going to absolutely love the food in Greece! It's so light and fresh (and also, completely addicting). I'm going to have to live vicariously through your posts when the time comes, because my chances of finding good Greek food in the future are pretty slim :( Thankfully Madrid has a few decent Mexican options, but nothing close to what I've had in Mexico or California (or even some Seattle restaurants!) Can you find a lot of international food in the Czech Republic?

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  38. The international food scene outside of Prague is pretty dismal. Here in my town we have a fantastic Indian restaurant, a decent Japanese & Spanish place (Czechs love Spanish culture!) but that's as far as it goes. In the capital so much has been popping up in the past ten years that you can find pretty great versions of all the favorites. But I still haven't found any Mexican food there above "pretty good". I haven't given up though... still looking!

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  39. I couldn't agree with you more on Greece and Mexico. I would only add Italy! I still dream about eating a falafel on pita in Rhodes...

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