One of my favorite things about travel are the euphoric food experiences. Some of my strongest memories about a place often centers on some delicious dish that I had. Here’s five highlights from over the years.
Boston- Mike’s Pastry’s Chocolate-Covered Cannoli- I haven’t been to Italy, the home of the cannoli, but if there’s a better cannoli then this on this side of the Atlantic I haven’t found it yet. The creamy filling, the quality chocolate, the crispy pastry- it was heaven. Plus, the cannoli comes in a distinctive white box tied up with string for easy transportation.
North Carolina- BBQ- North Carolina has a unique style of barbeque. Most BBQ places there use a vinegar-based sauce that give the meat a nice tang. It was the first time I’d ever had vinegar-based bbq. I didn’t realize the stuff existed before I visited the state to do house repairs for a charity. Most of the bbq I had was made by neighbors living near the house that the team and I were repairing. Not only was the barbeque blissful, but it was also a welcome break from the hot work. The barbeque was almost always made with shredded pork and put between a bun. No condiments or extra sauce needed. The meat and the vinegar stood on its own. I haven’t found this style of barbeque outside of the state, so I need to make a return visit soon.
Paris- Prosciutto, goat cheese, and sun-dried tomato sandwich- I expected that Paris would have some good food. I picked up this sandwich at a local shop in my first hour in the city. The freshness and flavor of a simple ham and cheese sandwich did not disappoint.
Tokyo- Sushi on a conveyer belt- My first meal in Japan was at a traditional sushi bar where a conveyer belt ran around the perimeter of the bar. The sushi was priced based on the color of plate it was on. Every seat had a hot water tap embedded in the bar to make hot tea, and hot towels were handed out before the meal. The tea cups had pictures on the side explaining what type of fish was in each piece of sushi. The whole experience was a fun introduction to Japanese cuisine and dining traditions.
Parkishon, Kenya- Goat and cabbage- Before coming to Kenya, I never knew that goat was an animal that could be eaten. And I’m not a huge fan of cabbage. The goat was prepared simply- just chopped into cubes, seasoned and served with rice or pasta. The cabbage was also cooked and seasoned with a spice mix that’s only available in Kenya. But the sheer remoteness of the village and the fact that a group of three women worked most of the day to prepare the meal gave me a whole new appreciation for it. It became a new kind of comfort food for me.
I haven’t been back to any of these places, so I don’t know if I’d have the same experience again. In many cases, it would be impossible to go back. And I’m okay with that. The memories I have are unique and tied to the people I got to eat with. I’m just grateful I got to experience such culinary delights in the first place.