What’s Your Most Surprising Food Discovery While Traveling?

What's Your Most Surprising Food Discovery While Traveling?

What’s Your Most Surprising Food Discovery While Traveling?

Embark on a culinary journey as we explore eight surprising and memorable food discoveries from around the world. From the serendipitous discovery of Tortellini in Bologna to the adventurous taste of fried tarantulas in Cambodia, our travel experts and business owners share their most unforgettable gastronomic experiences. Prepare to be inspired and perhaps find your next food adventure.

  • Serendipitous Discovery of Tortellini in Bologna
  • Unforgettable Banh Mi Experience in Vietnam
  • Simple Parisian Meal After Tourist Fatigue
  • Handmade Dumplings in a Beijing Hideaway
  • Surprising Delight of Phirni in Northern India
  • Interactive Okonomiyaki Cooking in Osaka
  • Romantic Hot Chocolate Experience in Lake Como
  • Adventurous Taste of Fried Tarantulas in Cambodia

Serendipitous Discovery of Tortellini in Bologna

During one of my explorations in Italy, I stumbled upon a hidden gem in the heart of Bologna—a quaint, unassuming restaurant that served tortellini in Brodo, an authentic Italian dish. This was not the typical tomato-sauce-laden pasta one might expect.

Instead, it was delicate, meat-filled tortellini swimming in a clear, savory broth. The moment I took the first bite, I was enveloped in a burst of flavors that were both comforting and exotic. It was like tasting home and adventure at the same time. The simplicity of the dish, coupled with its depth of flavor, left an indelible mark on my culinary journey. It was a serendipitous encounter—a delicious secret hidden in plain sight.

Nadia PodrabinekNadia Podrabinek
Travel Expert, Mother, Why This Place

Unforgettable Banh Mi Experience in Vietnam

One unforgettable culinary adventure I had was in Vietnam, where I had the pleasure of tasting the renowned banh mi sandwich. Picture this: a bustling street stall in Hoi An, locals eagerly lining up, the irresistible smell of grilled pork luring you in. That’s where the magic happened.

Banh Mi is a symphony of flavors packed in a crispy baguette – succulent grilled pork, pate, pickled veggies, cilantro, and mayo. Each bite was a revelation, the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and savory.

But the real cherry on top was the interaction with the vendor. A warm smile, enthusiastic gestures, and an undeniable language barrier didn’t hinder the charm and authenticity of the experience. It’s these moments of connection that make travel truly memorable.

John WhiteJohn White
MBA – Owner, White Fox Cleaning Services

Simple Parisian Meal After Tourist Fatigue

After a long day of being a tourist in Paris, I stumbled towards my hotel and realized that all the places to eat along my path were closed. When I got to my last hope, a cafe across from the hotel, the owner was bringing the last of his chairs inside. Seeing me stop and slump my shoulders in defeat, he motioned for me to wait, then brought a chair outside and set it next to a table.

A few minutes later, he came out with a roasted chicken, frites, a glass of wine, and a bottle of Perrier. Rain started to fall, and I sat under his awning as he cleaned the kitchen inside. I watched people scurry back and forth under umbrellas and jacket hoods. The meal was simple, uncomplicated, and incredibly flavorful. The when and the where were the most important ingredients.

Eric MillerEric Miller
Co-Owner and Principal, PADT, Inc

Handmade Dumplings in a Beijing Hideaway

When I traveled to Beijing with my dad, we went into a small restaurant. The restaurant was owned by a man from Dongbei, a province known for dumplings as a staple. He handmade the dumpling dough and stuffing while we ate. I ate an entire plate of dumplings, and they were the best dumplings I ever tasted!

An orange cat sat on a chair across the room, looking at us the whole time. It’s an experience I’ll never forget. Never underestimate small, lesser-known restaurants.

Yanling SiddersYanling Sidders
Co-Founder, Scott & Yanling Media Inc.

Surprising Delight of Phirni in Northern India

On my trip through Northern India, I was eager to try the famous dishes I’d heard about. But in Amritsar, I was caught off guard by a local recommendation: a dessert called phirni. Served in a clay pot, it looked unassuming, like a plain rice pudding.

But my first spoonful was a revelation! Silky smooth with hints of saffron, rose, and cardamom, it was unlike any dessert I’d tasted before. I learned it was made from ground rice, milk, and sugar, but its simplicity belied its rich flavor. As I savored it under the Amritsar sun, it was a beautiful reminder that sometimes the most surprising delights can be found in the simplest of dishes.

Vishakha SinghVishakha Singh
SEO Manager, Quicklly

Interactive Okonomiyaki Cooking in Osaka

My most memorable food discovery happened in Osaka, Japan. It’s called okonomiyaki, often described as a Japanese savory pancake. This dish is a delightful mishmash of ingredients—usually cabbage, a variety of meats or seafood, and a batter—all grilled to perfection on a teppan, or iron griddle.

The experience was not just about the dish, but also the interactive cooking process. At the restaurant, we were seated around a large teppan and given the freedom to cook our own okonomiyaki with guidance from the cheerful chefs.

The final touch was a generous drizzle of a sweet-savory sauce and a sprinkle of seaweed flakes. It was a flavor explosion—crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, with a delightful umami taste. It wasn’t just a meal; it was a culinary adventure that epitomized the vibrant spirit of Osaka.

Joe KrukJoe Kruk
Founder, Vision Detection Systems LLC

Romantic Hot Chocolate Experience in Lake Como

My husband and I went to Lake Como, Italy, for our honeymoon. We went in December; it was snowing, and the whole town was decked out in Christmas cheer. We took the gondola to the top of the mountain and went to a quiet restaurant for a drink.

The roads were icy, and we were chilled to the bone, but we were in jolly spirits trying to skate uphill to the restaurant. Neither of us was drinking, so we both ordered hot chocolates. We were one of two couples in the whole place while soft jazz music played in the background. We sat by the frosted windows where all you could see was the thick fog and twinkling Christmas lights that peeked through every now and then.

The hot chocolate arrived, and we both took sips, and our faces lit up. This hot chocolate blew me away. It was so thick and creamy, like drinking melted milk chocolate from Willy Wonka’s river. With the picturesque Christmas backdrop, it was the perfect drink for a winter night in Lake Como.

Mika KinneyMika Kinney
Owner, Joy to the Food, LLC

Adventurous Taste of Fried Tarantulas in Cambodia

Fried tarantulas in Cambodia are a surprising and memorable food discovery. These crispy spiders are seasoned with garlic, chili, and salt, offering a unique and adventurous culinary experience. Overcoming the initial hesitation, I tried a fried tarantula while traveling in Cambodia.

The delicate crunch and flavorsome seasoning provided an unexpectedly enjoyable taste. The subtlety of the spices balanced the inherent richness of the tarantula, creating a surprising combination that stays in your memory. This uncommon dish challenges preconceived notions and offers a truly unforgettable food adventure.

Roy LauRoy Lau
Co-Founder, 28 Mortgage

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