5 Memorable Meals
We know what you’re thinking.
Life lessons are great and all, and maybe you even enjoyed a few of our most memorable photos – but we are aware that what you probably really want to know is which country has the best food. (It is the second most common question we get, other than where our fave places are.)
This might have been our toughest list yet. From trying llama at high altitudes in Bolivia to devouring pizza on the Amalfi Coast and everything in between, we’ve eaten very well and are sporting an extra flesh to show for it. (You’ll notice that most of these are not particularly healthy. Where are the countries that have celery as their national food?)
It’s a tough life, traveling to all these countries and sampling all these foods just to bring you lists such as these.
Dalene’s most memorable meals
1. Pasta in Favignana, Sicily, Italy
Yes. Of course, my first meal is pasta, and of course, it came from Italy. It was so simple with tomatoes and basil in a hot chili oil, yet so delicious I absolutely wanted to cry. I offered Pete one tiny sample then fought him off with my fork the rest of the time. It was far too good to share. (Sorry! I don’t remember the name of the restaurant. It was something like “Two Columns”. I think I might actually be able to smell my way there.)
2. A million-course meal in Amman, Jordan
I completely underestimated the number of amazing things that can be done with the chick pea. Coming off of our first three month stay in Turkey, where we were still raving about all we ate there, this one welcome dinner in Jordan immediately made me forget all about it. Not to mention the variety and amount of food served, we sampled so many dishes in one dinner and heard so many different names that it all became a delicious blur. For me, Jordanian and Italian food are neck-and-neck for the ultimate cuisine.
3. Homemade pierogi in Krakow, Poland
We arrived in Poland on a mission: to eat all the pierogi. And we did fairly well, rarely a day went by without sampling more, and by the time we got to our last stay in Krakow, we got to panicking about what we would do when we left. Happily a pierogi cooking class was arranged for us, and we spent the day learning how to make the little bundles of goodness from a master. Pierogi for posterity!
4. Pad Thai in Chiang Mai, Thailand
We found love, joy, perfection…all for $1. All of our dreams about finding a local hangout in order to acquire a daily fix of cheap and divine pad thai came true when we discovered the tiny dive of Mae Sunee’s – just a few feet away from our apartment. We spent nearly every lunch hour there, and I barely deviated off of my regular order. It was far too good.
5. Steak in Uruguay
I can note no specific restaurant, nor share any one photo (usually because I ate it faster than Pete could get his camera out). And it doesn’t matter. Go into any restaurant in that country, order it up jugoso and add some gorgonzola sauce on it. Then take out your spoon – not a knife, but a spoon – and cut it up with that. Because you can. Lick the plate clean, and use your napkin only to wipe the it’s-so-good-I-need-to-cry tears from your eyes.
Pete’s most memorable meals
1. All the pasta in Bologna, Italy
There are none more serious about their food than Italians. We quickly learned how each location across the country is defined by what they put on the plate in front of you. In Naples it’s pizza, braised goat in Campi (Tuscany), and In the north they eat more rice and polenta. But in Bologna, it’s all about the tagliatelle with bolognese and lasagne. We were fortunate guests for one afternoon in Mama’s kitchen and were spoiled with plate after plate of the best pasta I’ve ever had, while chatting with Mama about her fine restaurant and her own history. I’ll never forget the passion that Mama had for food, nor how absolutely spectacular each dish tasted.
2. Greek Salad in Lesvos, Greece
You’ve never tasted Greek salad until you’ve had it in Greece. The fresh juicy tomatoes and cucumbers mixed with red onions, green and black olives and olive oil straight from the source. And the brick of feta cheese that comes on top! There was no stinginess there, and every bite was a divine medley of everything on the plate.
3. Grandma’s Thai Recipes in Chiang Mai, Thailand
I love to cook. And when I have the chance to learn an authentic dish or skill I take advantage. We were invited to Grandma’s Thai Recipes cooking class while we were in Chiang Mai. We prepared eight dishes total that day but this one stood out. It was a spin off from a Spicy Papaya Salad (papaya’s were not in season) and instead we used carrots. The simplicity of the recipe coupled with the flavour made it a dish that I will be recreating again and again.
4. Home-cooked Turkish meal in Burhaniye, Turkey
Still to this day I am blown away by the kindness and compassion of the Turkish people. Numerous times we were invited as guests into people’s homes, picnics, football games in tea houses without any expectation in return. This particular meal was a farewell dinner arranged for us with a family who we had become very good friends with. Their daughter was the only one who could speak some English and so we would have to translate what we wanted to say through her. The dolma above would always be served before the meal as an appertif before the main course. The freshly squeezed lemon took away the bitterness of the grape leaves giving it an incredible fresh flavour. It was easily one of our favourite Turkish dishes.
5. Fried Tarantula in Spiderville, Cambodia
It certainly wasn’t my favourite food, but it was definitely a memorable one. As a tourist I was plastered with live tarantulas while being offered the chance to munch on some fried ones. I’m pretty sure the fella on my shirt was not pleased that I could have been sampling one of his family members. I also tried the spiders in a more fancy setting in Phnom Penh – it was prepared the same way, but dipped in a chili lime sauce (much better). It was here as well that I sampled the belly of the spider which was a lot better than I expected.
Editor’s note (Dalene): GROSS.
See more from our ‘Five Series’ – celebrating five years of travel!