Food glorious food! On our 2013 trip around the world we saw incredible sights, met interesting people, and didn’t miss a chance to taste new food. See some of our favorite meals, snacks, sweets, and drinks.
Food Around the World
Sizzling Soup – Seoul, South Korea
On a cold, snowy night the second day of the trip, we randomly picked a restaurant near the hotel in the Insa Dong neighborhood. We were the only tourists – we don’t speak Korean and the waiter didn’t speak English. We did our best to order and ended up with this incredible giant pot of sizzling soup accompanied by several small bowls of unknown garnishes. Yum!
Wine Country Lunch – Franschhoek, South Africa
Hanging out in the wine country is always fun, especially the beautiful Western Cape. When I researched South Africa restaurants, I found that there is a growing list of innovative chefs and places for foodies. We tried a café in Franschhoek, Bread and Wine at Moreson Wine Farm. The photos say it all!
Crazy Spicy Cashews – Chiang Mai, Thailand
If you find yourself in Chiang Mai, head over to the night market and go crazy over the bags of dried fruits and flavored nuts. We found a favorite vendor and returned several times to try the different varieties. Michael’s favorite was the spicy cashews made with red chili, lemon leaves, and salt. They are super rich and super spicy. I liked the dried lemon slices.
Tapas – Madrid, Spain
We’ve been to Spain several times and love tapas. On this trip, we returned to a tapa place in Madrid that I frequented during my college summer study abroad – Meson del Champinon. Tapas are the perfect food for those who like to snack and sample instead of sitting down for a big meal. Some of our favorites include tortilla espanola, croquetas, pimientos de padron, and champinones.
Alfajore – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Holy decadent dessert batman! There was a cute bakery across the street from our flat in Buenos Aires. The name, Darma, always makes me think of the TV show Lost. When we stopped in Michael, the guy who is not into sweets, was drawn to the Alfajore like a magnet. We browsed the other cakes, pastries, and cookies, but his mind was made up. We had no idea what was inside; the swooping chocolate peaks on top got us. We got home, opened the box and stared at it for a while, wondering what we would find.
We took the plunge and cut into the gooey delight – even better. Next we had a taste – heaven! After wandering around Buenos Aires and doing some research, we realized that we had a giant version of an Alfajore. Wondering what an Alfajore is? There are different variations… Most have a shortbread- type cookie and dulce de leche covered in chocolate and other toppings. Yep, it is decadent, but not something you can eat regularly without outgrowing your clothes. Luckily, there is also a healthy version made with rice cakes.
Turkish Delight – Istanbul, Turkey
I could eat this stuff every day! I find it a bit challenging to describe the consistency of Turkish delight. It is soft and a little chewy, but not like taffy or gum drops, so it doesn’t stick to your teeth. There are a seemly endless number of varieties, ranging from the simple fruit flavored bite to decadent nut-filled chunks. All are super tasty. The pure, simple variety has a lemon, lime, rose, or spearmint flavor. We also dug the more elaborate pomegranate flavor packed with pistachios. If you visit Turkey, go to the Grand Bazaar and be ready to drool (tip: the prices are cheaper at grocery stores, but they may not have all the fancy varieties).
Wine and Chocolate – Stellenbosch, South Africa
This one applies to the drinks and sweets categories. Thanks to the founder of Waterford Estate for experimenting with wine and chocolate to come up with just the right complimentary flavors. We tasted several combinations that were truly yummy. My favorite was the Family Reserve Heatherleigh (muscat / semillon blend) with rose geranium milk chocolate.
Coca Tea – Cusco, Peru
A smooth, mild caffeine kick to start the day. When we checked into the JW Marriott in Cusco, the staff handed us a warm cup of coca tea with fresh coca leaves floating on top. They said it can help with altitude sickness. We started drinking coca tea each morning with breakfast and got hooked (figuratively). The tea is very mild – it has a light earthy flavor. The caffeine content also makes it a good alternative to coffee. When we got home, Michael searched for a place to buy coca tea and found that it is not easy to get in the U.S. But he did find a few websites, some in the U.S. and some in Peru; so now we enjoy coca tea at home too.