Food and travel often go hand in hand. So, we thought we would take you on a little trip around the world. Read on to discover some of our favorite destinations (which we get to travel to with international schools from across the globe) and their respective local dishes.
Warning: A feeling of hunger may arise during or after reading this blog post.
Bhutan – Ema Datshi
Traditional Bhutanese food has been influenced by its neighbors, especially China, Tibet, and India. But like the country itself, the local cuisine has been able to maintain its unique character. We would consider it less oily than Chinese or Indian food, but definitely spicier than most Tibetan dishes. If there is one national dish of Bhutan, then it is ema datshi.
It is so ubiquitous that some say if you have not eaten ema datshi, you have not been to Bhutan. The locals eat the stew, which is similar to a curry, daily alongside red rice. It is made of green, yellow or red chilies, yak or cow’s milk cheese, onions and tomatoes. We must add a warning: Taste with caution – it will be spicy!
Berlin – Currywurst
What has become an integral part of Berlin’s beloved street food scene has a much deeper history than you might initially think. It is more than a grab-and-go-kinda-thing; it is part of Berlin’s post-war resilience. Some of you might have become acquainted with this delicious must-eat, whether it be as a tourist treat or a late-night necessity.
Currywurst is a fried pork sausage, typically cut into bite-sized chunks and seasoned with curry ketchup, a blend of spiced ketchup or tomato paste, and topped with curry powder. Best served with: fries!
China – Jiaozi
Jiaozi, also known as the dumpling, is a broad classification of dough that wraps around a protein or vegetable. It is one of the major staple foods or local specialties in north China and enjoyed by many Chinese locals.
Dumplings were first introduced by a healer named Zhang Zhongjing, who created little dough-wrappers filled with lamb, chili, and herbs to feed the freezing and ill members of his community. Warmed by the tasty boiled treats in flavorful broth, many were “healed” of their frostbite and other maladies. We definitely enjoy any type of dumpling – our favorite: Chinese Pork Dumplings with extra soy sauce!
Colombia – Bandeja Paisa
This popular meal in Colombian cuisine consists of a generous amount and variety of food: red beans cooked with pork, white rice, carne molida (ground meat), chicharrón, fried egg, plantain, chorizo, arepa, hogao sauce, black pudding (morcilla), avocado and lemon. Everything is served on ONE single platter or tray. And yes, sharing is allowed and even advised!
But why so much food on one platter? The answer takes us back to the roots of the dish, which originated in Antioquia, where peasant field workers would consume a high calorie bandeja paisa as a means of providing them a full day’s worth of energy to keep them going throughout the entire day.
Edinburgh – Haggis
Love it or loathe it, haggis is firmly established as Scotland’s national dish – to the extent that it has become an indelible part of the nation’s cultural identity, along with whisky, bagpipes and shortbread.
Haggis is a savory pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver, and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and cooked while traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach. For some of us might sound like a no-go but without tasting a Haggis you have not embraced the Scottish culture.
Geneva – Rösti
Rösti, pronounced: “roeeschtiii” is a dish consisting primarily of potatoes, in the style of a fritter. Originally, it was a breakfast dish, commonly eaten by farmers in the canton of Bern, but is now eaten all over Switzerland. Rather than considering it a complete breakfast, it is more commonly served to accompany other dishes such as spinach, sunny-side fried egg, Fleischkäse, sausages, and much more.
Even though Rösti is predominantly eaten in German-speaking regions, it can easily be found elsewhere in the country, including in Geneva. Fun fact: The geographic border separating the French- and German-speaking parts of the country is often referred to as the Röstigraben: literally the “rösti ditch”.
Krakow – Pierogies
Polish food is perfect for those who crave comfort foods. What you need to know about polish food is: big portions, extra add-ons like sour cream, butter, and roux (to almost every meal), a lot of meat dishes with vegetables, mushrooms, and groats, surprising connections of seemingly mismatched ingredients (like herring and cream), ingredients are usually fried or stewed, so dishes are full of deep, delicious taste!
Our favorite dish: Pierogies – basically a Polish version of dumplings. Normally the dough is prepared by mixing flour, water, and salt. Then they are stuffed with all sorts of yummy stuff – our go-to is the minced meat version.
New York – Bagels
It is believed that bagels made their way to New York with the migration of Eastern European Jewish immigrants in the late 1800s. Their production began in small, privately owned bakeries, where they were hand rolled, boiled, and baked.
These amazing treats can be enjoyed for breakfast or lunch. Our favorite is definitely the traditional cream cheese. Though we do sometimes crave either salmon or pastrami with extra pickles!
Peru – Lomo Saltado
Peruvian lomo saltado is a typical Peruvian dish. Records of it date back to the late nineteenth century, when it was known as lomito de vaca, lomito saltado or lomito de chorrillana. It embodies a mixture of Peruvian Creole and oriental cuisine.
The dish is normally prepared by marinating sirloin strips in vinegar, soy sauce and spices, and stir frying these with red onions, parsley, tomatoes, and possibly other ingredients. The use of both potatoes (which originated in Peru) and rice (which originated in Asia) as starches are typical of the cultural blending that the dish represents.
Prague – Guláš
This dish may have originated in Hungary, but it has been adapted to become a staple food item in Czech cuisine. Unlike the Hungarian goulash, the Czech guláš, a beef and vegetable stew, is prepared with fewer vegetables and contains greater portions of meat – great for meat lovers!
Typically, guláš is made from beef, yet chicken or pork are sometimes used as alternative ingredients to prepare the dish. The meat is stewed, topped with a generous portion of gravy and served alongside bread dumplings. Trust us: It is delicious and our Prague Spring travelers can vouch for that!
Hungry to discover the world? Check out our destinations for your next school trip here.