Travelling is filled with so many joys… New experiences, exciting (global) destinations and the chance to explore our humanity. But, perhaps above all else, food plays a vital role in travel.
It forms part of our adventures, often enhancing the travel experience. Food introduces us to new people, cultures, cuisine – and above all, unexpected friends.
I invited some fellow travellers to share their best meal abroad with us. For this post, I asked them to take into account things like the company, the tastes, the textures and colours, the smells, sights and sounds… all of which combine to create our most memorable food experiences.
International Food (and Company) Close to Home
Location: Trieste, Italy
My most recent best meal abroad was hardly abroad, as I live just 20 minutes away from Trieste, the first proper city you encounter when you drive from my hometown, Koper, and cross the Slovenian border with Italy.
I went there with my Spanish boyfriend, my Slovenian friend and her Italian boyfriend, so we were quite international company.
After visiting the Miramare Castle (which I highly recommend), we felt peckish, so we decided to go to a Neapolitan restaurant called Trattoria Caprese. I’ve never been to Naples, so I have no idea what the food tastes like there but I can confirm that it’s amazing in Trattoria Caprese – as far from Naples as it is.
It’s close to Piazza Unità (d’Italia), the main square, which is right next to the sea. The restaurant itself is quite big and the theme seems to be the sea – at least, that’s what the decoration is saying.
I went for pizza marinara, which consisted of pizza crust (wonderful), marinara sauce (usually just tomatoes, garlic, onion and herbs), more garlic and oregano seasoning. The beautiful thing about pizza marinara is that it’s originally plant-based.
As a vegan, I usually go for pizza without cheese. But because pizza marinara originally contains none, it tastes perfect and complete just as it is! My friends loved the non-vegan pizzas and pastas, which they ordered too.
The restaurant also offers a great deal of traditional Neapolitan desserts, as well as colourful liquors, which they bring to you at the end of your meal.
By: Nika Grizila
Liquid Cheese(Gold) to Warm Winter Nights
The best meal I had when abroad was in a place I now call home but which is technically still ‘abroad’. I am living as a student in Switzerland – and cheese fondue is unarguably the most iconic dish from Swiss cuisine.
Fondue is a dish to be had on cold winter nights in warm company… Luckily, most of my flatmates are Swiss and they started planning a fondue night as soon as evenings started getting chillier. (A Swiss apartment, of course, has fondue sets.)
The evening started out with putting tons of cheese in a vessel specially designed for cooking fondue. Some pepper, garlic, a little wine and flour – and fifteen minutes later, our fondue was ready. And fifteen minutes is all it takes to cook up a basic cheese fondue!
A fondue meal is accompanied by copious amounts of white wine – and jokes about the person losing bread in the molten cheese, having to clean up the cheesy mess.
Conversation flowed and we were soon at the end of our pot of liquid cheese. The amount of fat in cheese ensures that not much is required to make you full and lazy… No wonder we spent another hour debating over who should clean!
Dinner with Family and New Friends in the Taiwanese Countryside
Bustling Taipei with its towering skyscraper (once the tallest in the world); the peace and quiet found in Yangmingshan National Park; or the night markets, where culture thrives – all this makes Taiwan a very unique place in the world. Even more unique for us was that we had the chance to dine in a restaurant based on Zen and health in the countryside of Taiwan.
Imagine yourself in an old temple that’s been converted to a restaurant: you have a view of the valley below and the smell of pines coming through the window on the tail of a cool breeze… The setting itself was enough to make this a memorable experience.
Luckily for us, a family member of ours in the States works with a woman who’s originally from Taiwan. Her niece kindly welcomed us – and some of Darah’s visiting family – to her city, Hsinchu, and then drove us to her uncle’s relaxation restaurant in the mountains.
Each course (there were many) was made to perfection and every dish complemented one another. This is no accident, as this menu-less restaurant serves food with medicinal properties, based on the research of the chef and a local doctor.
With our new Taiwanese friend as a translator, we conversed with her uncle while sampling everything that came our way. We had never tried any of these dishes before and can hardly tell you what they were, so this was truly an amazing experience.
Not only did the food appear exquisite and taste delicious – but the warm welcome and hospitality we received was unmatched… Without a doubt, we will remember this meal for the rest of our lives.
All these meals are special for different reasons. New dishes sampled, unique settings and tempting food courses one after another – but a beautifully common thread, which I see among these snippets, is that these were shared food memories abroad, enjoyed with loved ones and friends, both new and old alike.
Thank you to each of the above travellers for sharing these special food experiences with us! 🙂
Author: Tamlyn Ryan
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.
Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.