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International cuisines: Eat like a Roman, when in Rome…

Ankita Vaidya
Written by Ankita Vaidya

And we are back! Last week we posted about some popular holiday destinations and what food adventures to look out for. When we visit our dream destinations, one of the important things we always look forward to is the local food. Be it in the mountains or at a warm sandy beach, every place has something unique to offer. And it’s better when we plan out our food activities. So, we have posted international cuisines per each country that you are looking forward to visiting. We asked you for some inputs and here we have a list of 7 countries suggested by our lovely readers!

Sweden:

Well, thanks to IKEA, we all know about the Swedish meatballs. Quite famous I must say, served with mashed potatoes, lingonberries and a creamy sauce. Besides that, Swedish culture is quite proud of its pickled herring and salmon gravlax.

Gravlax is a cured salmon dish where salt and sugar, sometimes aromatics, herbs and spices are used to cold cure the fish. Covered in salt-sugar mixture, the fish is left in the fridge for a few days. The salt starts to ‘cook’ the fish while the aromatics give a beautiful flavour. When the curing process is over, the fish is cleaned off of excess salt and sugar. Then thinly sliced and served with cheese, bread, crackers, dips etc. Another speciality would be the meat stew and crisp bread.

Germany:

Sausage is the first word that comes to mind when we talk about German food. Frankfurters and bratwurst are the popular ones, often served with Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) and kartoffelkloesse (potato dumplings). Cured meats are also quite popular, like salamis- aged and dry cured. Spaetzle is a pasta like dish which is made from flour, eggs and milk- extremely fluffy, soft and versatile. Christmas time you would definitely not want to miss out on the traditional Stollen cake. Every region in and around Germany has their own tradition with food. But one thing that remains common throughout is the beer. Oktoberfest is the time you really want to be in this country to savor some fine beer and food.

Israel:

Israel is that Mediterranean country where you shall find Jewish influence on the food culture. Just like other middle eastern countries, there are lots of dry fruits like apricots and dates, hummus, roasted eggplant dips, pitas, pickled veggies and beef kebabs marinated in a combination of spices. Good quality spices are available throughout the country. Za’atar is what you would not want to miss. Beautiful seafood dishes from pickled fish to fresh grilled or pan seared. Kunafa, Halwa, Zalabiya and luqmat-al-qadi are some of the desserts that you may get your hands on quite easily. Bourekas are savoury, soft, flaky, fluffy phyllo like pastries stuffed usually with spinach, cheese, onions, meat etc.

Sambusak is another pastry, half-moon shaped, stuffed with various fillings and deep fried. Mezze platters usually consist of a variety of olives, pickled vegetables, dips, breads and cheeses. Labneh is a yogurt based cheese that is quite popular. Another breakfast dish to look out for is Shakshuka- eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. For those who are looking to drink, Arak and Tubi60 is what you need to look for. Arak is essentially a homebrewed drink, made from grapes and anise. Licorice like flavour, it imitates Sambuca. When mixed with water, it turns milky. Definitely give it a try!

Lebanon:

Lebanese cuisine is a lot like our favorite middle eastern food. Shawarma, falafel, hummus, tahini, pickled turnips and cauliflower etc. Variety of potatoes preparations, heavy use of sumac and za’atar. Tabbouleh and fattoush are the salads that accompany mains. And mains are usually meat based- kabobs, grilled pieces of lamb or beef, skewered chicken. Toum is the famous garlic sauce is a common condiment at the table. Salad dressings are not too fancy- just some good quality olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Desserts consist of flaky phyllo pastries, dates, almonds, pistachios, rose water, orange blossoms etc

Thailand:

Do not miss out on the street food here. Some of the world’s best street food is served in Thailand. So much so, there is even a Michelin star street food restaurant/shack in Thailand. Pad Thai, Tom yam soup, spicy papaya salad, fresh spring rolls, noodle soups, fried chicken, Thai omelette… it’s endless. Thanks to tourism you will find various other cuisines merging into Thai style food like bao buns, chicken feet, cheesecakes etc. Coconut water and other cooling drinks made from it, coconut ice cream, and fried plantain are there to satisfy your sweet tooth. Also look up the best fried rice and Thai curry in your area.

Indonesia:

Indonesian food is quite diverse yet not as popular as its other south eastern cuisines. Some of the tastiest foods you shall ever eat- gado gado salad, rendang curry, lumpia dumplings, Sato ayam (chicken skewers), spicy chili sauce- sambal olek, peanut dressings, coconut based soups and stews, laksa stew, rice, cabbage slaw, fried fish and crab crackers… so much to offer. Pandan is a flavoring used in Indonesian desserts that comes from a plant and has a sweet, toasted marshmallow like flavour. You may call it the vanilla of Indonesia. Banana fritters and sweet rice cake pudding will conclude your meals in Indonesia.

Japan:

Sushi is the first food that will come to your mind when you think Japan. Quite obvious, isn’t it? Japan serves some of the freshest and tastiest dishes in the world. In form of sushi (fish on a rice dumpling) or sashimi (simply raw fish flesh on its own), you will gulp down these melt-in-your-mouth fishes within seconds. Organically brewed traditional soya sauce, pickled condiments, wasabi will make your experience worthwhile. Udon is a noodle dish that you do not want to miss. You can eat it as stir fried noodles or in a soup. Ramen will take your culinary experience onto another level completely. It will open up the non-existing dimension of your palate. Perfectly cooked, handmade ramen noodles, slow simmered broth, egg, crab, pork and so many other topping will make you crave ramen. Fermented dishes are also quite popular like a variety of kimchi, fermented egg, fermented chili sauce etc. Sake is the traditional drink served with any Japanese meal as well as Japanese plum wine.

So what’s your next destination? Mention below in comments.

If you think we forgot to consider your suggestion, let us know and we would love to talk about it. We all love food, don’t we.

So go ahead and explore other continents, take pictures, tag us, mention #metime in your stories and always keep smiling!

In case you are a foodie, you would also like to take up these culinary projects too!

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About the author

Ankita Vaidya

Ankita Vaidya

A computer engineer on paper, chef by profession! Being born in a gastronomically enthu household was sheer luck and definitely some good karma. I left India at the age of 22 with 3 suitcases full of parents’ love, passion and determination to chase my dreams.

A connoisseur of Indian cuisine, I enjoy sharing my love for traditional Indian cooking wherever I go. Nurtured with extreme affection, this ‘lil princess’ is all set to touch millions of hearts with her holistic zeal for food and cooking.

I believe life is like a box of spices- though some moments may seem overwhelming, a thoughtful use and correct application will definitely give you extraordinary results. Feel free to share food related anything with me ‘cause I am a student for life!

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