We were fortunate enough to travel a lot within the last year: We went to France, Italy, Spain, Holland, Michigan, the Philippines, and Thailand. Whew! I know we will probably never be able to travel like that again, and I am so thankful we had that opportunity. Lately I’ve been dreaming about going back to Europe especially. I was making spaghetti the other day and dreaming about our picnic in Villa Borghese, Italy, and remembering going to the same amazing restaurant 3 nights in a row to try different pastas and pizzas… And this morning I was enchanted with this blog post showing a gorgeous apartment in France. I immediately wanted to return to Paris and enjoy croissants, crêpes and macaroons–and of course the amazing architecture and museums and history! (And can I please have that exact style in a house in Michigan!?) We learned so much through our travels, and tried many new things.
As you may have guessed, one of my favorite things about traveling is trying the food (I think I mentioned that before). Don’t get me wrong, the history and architecture are huge for me too, but food is so revealing of a culture. Here are ten (out of many more!) new foods I tried this year:
1. Pistachio Gelato (Rome)
2. Savory Empanadas (Barcelona)
3. Tortellini Stir Fry (Amsterdam)
This was an amazing Italian-Asian fusion, and I have yet to find a recipe like it. Please let me know if you have one!!
4. Dutch Apple Pie
Of course I had tried apple pie before, but not this apple pie. It was recommended to me by a Holland native, who just so happens to have a recipe on her lovely blog. The crust brings back a feeling of Windmill cookies from Michigan, paired with a thick apple-raisin filling. So. Good.
5. Halohalo (pronounced with a soft “a” sound, Manila)
Can you see the sweet red beans and the sweet potato ice cream?
6. Crickets (Koh Samui, Thailand)
Chad was more adventurous than me, and tried one of every kind of insect available.
7. Marshmellow “Tacos” with coconut shavings (Koh Samui)
We had the pleasure of trying many kinds of amazing street food in Thailand, and this was one of them!
8. Durian, the King of Fruit (Bangkok)
We didn’t have a chance to try Durian our first time in Thailand, so we had to try it the last time we went! The smell is so strong, and the texture feels like biting into the skin of an orange, but with the taste of old pineapple with a cheesy texture. It’s kind of hard to explain, but what I can say is I’m not missing it!
9. Fugu, or Blowfish (Ise, Japan)
We tried many different styles and were pleased to survive each bite! I thought it was pretty good, but Chad said it was his new favorite fish!
10. Blueberry Daifuku (Kobe, Japan)
I love the traditional ichigo daifuku, so I was excited to try this blueberry version. It is sweet blueberry-flavored mochi, or rice cake, with sweet bean paste flavored with blueberry and a strawberry in the middle. The juicy strawberry provides a bright contrast from the thicker mochi.
I can’t wait to see what’s in store for my taste buds next! The biggest challenge will be recreating some of the foods I loved. Here is a recipe for some other street food we tried in Thailand called Pakora:
And here’s another recipe we tried and liked for Falafels (reminding us of Amsterdam):
Also, here’s a link to a really interesting podcast episode of “The Splendid Table” in which British gastronaut Stephen Gates is interviewed about trying insects in Cambodia and Thailand, and about letting go of food preconceptions/the notion of disgust.
What have you tried recently, or what would you like to try?
This post was supposed to be a bonus edition of Friday Five, but I am posting it today because we went out for amazing ramen and then watched Elementary last night. These things happen.