We’ve always recommended that you eat local cuisine when traveling. It is another way of experiencing a culture and understanding the way that they live. In order to do so, we’ve always gotten recommendations from locals and not just people at the hotel. We have tried such a wide variety of foods over the years, some of them pretty normal, and a few that have stretched our gastronomic limits. Here are a few of our more memorable eating experiences.
- Cuy in Ecuador – We had read about this local dish before we went to Ecuador, but we were apprehensive about actually trying it. Cuy is actually a Guinea Pig, so it is hard to wrap our heads around trying it, but when we finally decided to give it a try, we actually liked it.
- Cow Stomach in Germany – That is what it said on the menu, but it was really a cow’s intestine stuffed with pork, vegetables, and potatoes to create a kind of large sausage. If it wasn’t for the translation on the menu, we wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but it was definitely delicious.
- Eating Fish in Banana Leaves in Panama – When we visited the Embera village in Panama, we were treated with a local meal of fish and plantains cooked and served in a banana leaf. We also had something similar during our trip to Ecuador when visiting an indigenous village in the Amazon. That is definitely eating like a local.
- Crawfish Etouffee in New Orleans – We had so many amazing meals in New Orleans from turtle soup, jambalaya, fried oyster po’boys, etc., but one of our favorite was the crawfish etouffee.
- Pique Macho in Bolivia – Considered a local favorite in Bolivia, it is a mix of rice, fried potatoes, hot dogs, tomatoes, beef, onion, and peppers (and sometimes egg). It is a LOT of food. We shared a half-order and still couldn’t come close to finishing it.
- Whole Squid in Southern Spain – We’ve had squid plenty of times, usually fried as calimari and on occasion grilled, but we’d never had it served whole. We went to a local restaurant where they didn’t speak English and the owner just pointed us to the meal of the day, which turned out to be grilled squid. It was amazing.
- Interesting Shellfish in Amsterdam – We ordered a tower of seafood when we were in Amsterdam and we were served a variety of shellfish. Some of the them were pretty normal, but there were a few things on there that we had no idea what they were. We gave them all a try, but we didn’t care for everything.
- Stuffed Cabbage and Grape Leaves in Romania – It was definitely a little different than any stuffed cabbage that we’ve eaten at home. Served with polenta and a spicy pepper, it was very much a local experience.
Needless to say, these are just a few of the things that we have tried during our travels, but they definitely stand out in our memories. The only thing that we have refused to eat was puffin in Iceland. It wasn’t because we were afraid that it wouldn’t taste good, we just believed that serving puffin was depleting the species and we didn’t want to contribute to that. We will continue to try different dishes and look forward to finding that surprising meal that we never expected to eat.