When traveling to a foreign country, you may be eager to see the iconic sights and shop for the perfect souvenir. When it is time to take a break and refuel, don’t go for the familiar or fast food, check out some of the unique foods and try something new. Here are a few tasty samplings of must try foods from around the world recommended by Linda of Tripping Blonde
BELGIUM – Mussels and Waffles
When sampling some of Belgium’s best food, you probably should leave the calorie counter at home. After all, you are on vacation, so why not indulge in the best waffles, mussels, fries, chocolate and beer you will ever have. Go for it!
Moules-frites is a staple on the menus in Belgium, and you’ll see specials advertised on menu boards for it all over Belgium’s cities. A simple steaming pot of mussels with a side of crisp potato fries is the perfect meal while visiting Belgium.
Photo credit: Dennis and Aimee Jonez Flickr.com
You’ll also spot Belgium waffle stands scattered about the cities. They come in two different styles, the Brussels style and Liege style. The two styles differ in appearance, texture, and taste. The Liege style, an uneven shaped waffle, is the most common waffle you’ll find in Belgium made with pearl sugar. It is sweet, chewy and dense. In comparison, the Brussels style is a perfect rectangular waffle often dusted with powdered sugar. It is made with a yeast-leavened batter giving it a light texture. Waffles are often served either dipped in chocolate or with whipped cream and fruit toppings.
JAPAN – Pancakes and Octopus Balls
Visiting Japan, you might think you’ll be eating nothing but sushi. Wrong! Granted, you can get great sushi in Japan, probably the best you’ll ever have, but there are so many other delicious foods to try while visiting this island nation. Don’t say sayonara to Japan until you’ve tried the okonomiyaki or the takoyaki.
Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake associated with Hiroshima but can be found in Osaka as well as other parts of the country. Depending on where you eat it, it may look a bit different (mixed vs. layered) but the recipe’s ingredients are pretty much the same. This filling dish is made with a pancake-type batter, cabbage, pork, shrimp, sprouts, and other optional items. It is then topped-off with your choice of noodle (yakisoba, udon), a fried egg and okonomiyaki sauce.
Takoyaki, also called octopus balls, is a snack food that you can usually find from a street food stall or at a Takoyaki specialty restaurant, usually in the cities of Kyoto and Osaka. A takoyaki is a deep fried ball of batter filled with diced or minced octopus, crispy pieces of tempura, pickled ginger, and green onions. The takoyaki is then brushed with takoyaki sauce, a sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce.
PERU – Guinea Pig and Pisco Sours
When visiting Peru, take a break from hiking the Inca Trail and be sure to try some of the unique foods including the cuy chactado washed down with a pisco sour.
Cuy chactado, or fried guinea pig, is a popular dish in the highlands of the Andes Mountain region in Peru. Although the more popular way to eat your guinea pig is fried (chactado), you can also order it broiled or roasted. You’ll be able to try this meal when visiting Cusco, a city that is a common stop for visits to Machu Picchu, but it is also available in some of the restaurants in Lima.
Originating in Lima in the 1920’s, the Pisco sour is Peru’s national drink. The Peruvian Pisco Sour is made with Peruvian pisco as the base liquor and lime juice, simple syrup, egg whites, Angostura bitters and ice.
Photo credit: Manuel Gonzalez Wikimedia.org