Food can teach you a lot about the culture, traditions, and heritage of a country.
Trying new cuisine and exploring new tastes is the best way to know and travel a country.
It never fails to amaze me how food can bring people together. It connects all of us from different parts of the world. Food does not only nourish our body, but it also brings us wonderful knowledge that makes our mind wider as we venture a new way of cooking, a new flavor to taste, and new things to learn.
In this post, let me share with you these delicious dishes from all over the world that you should consider trying when you visit.
- Goulash Soup | Hungary
- New England Lobster Roll | United States of America
- Yorkshire Puddings | United Kingdom
- Alberta Steak | Canada
- Spätzle | Germany
- Meat Pie | Australia
- Haggis | Scotland
- Sardinian Fregola | Italy
- Tacos al Pastor | Mexico
- Koushary | Egypt
- Paella | Spain
- Patatas Bravas | Spain
- Swedish Meatballs | Sweden
- Gulab Jamun | India
- Syrnychky | Ukraine
- Afrikaner Koeksisters | South Africa
- Sinampalukang Manok | Philippines
- Wiener Schnitzel | Austria
Goulash Soup | Hungary
Goulash soup is one of the most popular and frequently consumed soups that locals and tourists both enjoy and highly recommend you to taste it as it is one of the traditional Hungarian dishes. The soup is traditionally made of beef, but other versions (for example, with chicken) are common too. Besides the meat, it contains a variety of vegetables, such as potato, parsnip, tomato, and carrot. The unique flavor of the dish comes from the combination of slowly simmered onions, garlic, pepper, and the sweet Hungarian paprika. Paprika is a commonly used spice in Hungarian cuisine that gives a unique taste to the dishes. We eat the soup with white bread or pinched pasta that is made by hand during the cooking. Another specialty of Goulash that it is often made on a campfire during family or friends gatherings.
– Katalin, ourlifeourtravel.com
New England Lobster Roll | United States of America
Nothing says New England like a lobster roll. This regional sandwich favorite of the northeastern United States is a luscious tribute to the seacoast. Visitors and locals in New England are in constant pursuit of the perfect lobster roll as they explore the beaches and rocky shores.
Since every lobster roll deserves an incredible view, the best place to eat one is on the dock of a Maine lobster pound. With ocean mist rolling in and the sounds of seals hauled out on a rock, the experience is as memorable as the delicious crustacean just pulled from the lobster trap. The lobster is steamed right there, so it doesn’t get any fresher.
What makes a fabulous lobster roll? First, the hot dog styled bun must be grilled to a golden brown. The big chunks of claw and tail meat of the lobster should spill over when you pick it up. A little mayonnaise holds the moist meat together, or better yet, a drizzle of melted butter.
In short, any visit to the storied seacoast of New England must include a stop at a lobster shack for this mouth-watering treat.
– Karen, ourdooradventuresampler.com
Yorkshire Puddings | United Kingdom
Despite what you might think, a Yorkshire Pudding is not a dessert! Though they are made with the same ingredients as pancakes (flour, eggs, and milk), Yorkshire Puddings are considered a savory food. However, this depends on what you serve it with. Most people will pair them with gravy and have them as a side on a Sunday Roast, although some will have Yorkshire Puddings as dessert! I know my Dad used to eat them with cream and jam when he was a child; it is less common now though.
Yorkshire Puddings come from the North of England in the county of Yorkshire, my hometown. If you’re lucky enough to visit, you should go to a pub and try a classic Sunday Dinner! They’re made with what essentially is pancake batter, however, you pour the mixture in hot oil in a muffin tin and watch them rise! The best part is filling them with gravy, like little buckets!
– Poppy, poppymaehiggins.wordpress.com
Alberta Steak | Canada
Alberta beef is one of the popular foods from the Canadian province of Alberta. This province is home to the Canadian Rockies, plus hidden gems and small towns in Alberta will win you over.
Alberta steak is ethically-raised and antibiotic-free beef. It is rated AA or higher, so it is of very high quality. If you prefer to eat lean meat, Alberta beef is best for you. It is 50% leaner than most beef and is packed with essential nutrients.
You can order Alberta steak at restaurants and grocery stores. My favorite way is medium-rare, or fully cooked is my favorite, served with mashed potatoes and fresh veggies. Order it with a glass of wine, or chilled beer.
We highly recommend trying our Alberta steak when you are headed for Banff Canada trip! I am sure you will love it!
– Mayuri, canadacrossroads.com
Spätzle | Germany
While Spätzle is known in many central European countries, they are traditionally served in Germany and one of the many national dishes. You simply cannot go to Germany without having tried this specialty. Spätzle are a thick egg noodle that is served with a cheesy sauce and onions. As a vegetarian, it’s the perfect thing to order in a country-side pub or even as a side dish for steaks or other meaty dishes. Spätzle might sound like a variation of Mac n’ Cheese to you but I promise they’re so much more. They are often hand-made with a very specific dough that is unlike any other pasta dish you have ever tasted. Even if you are not a vegetarian I encourage you to try them as a main dish and maybe even look up some recipes for when you return home. I promise you won’t forget this very special German specialty.
– Victoria, guideyourtravel.com
Meat Pie | Australia
The meat pie is easily one of Australia’s best local dishes and is a must-try for tourists visiting Australia. First hitting the shores of Australia at the same time as the First Fleet, meat pies have been a staple food in Australia ever since.
Usually, pies are created using a puff pastry with various fillings in the middle. Traditionally in Australia, the pies are filled with beef and sometimes other fillings, such as cheese, potato, and steak, however, you will find many variations of the pie in the country. The Topped with tomato sauce, it’s the perfect Aussie dish that can be eaten at street food style at the footy or a day at the beach, or you can opt for a fancier version of the dish by ordering a pie in a restaurant or café. I recommend trying both versions of the dish! You can’t beat a truly Aussie meat pie at the footy on a warm summer’s day, but restaurant versions of the dish are also amazing and are the perfect hearty meal. You simply can’t visit Australia without trying an iconic meat pie (or 5!).
– Emma, emmaadventures.com
Haggis | Scotland
Scotland is popular with tourists for her striking castles and beautiful, rugged hills. Not many people visit to sample the cuisine. However, the more adventurous are usually pleasantly surprised! Scotland’s national dish, and a great source of pride, is haggis.
So, what is this mysterious beastie? They are a shy, ginger critter that can sometimes be seen on the mountainside, playing the bagpipes and wearing a tartan bonnet. Well, that’s what we tell visitors.
In reality, haggis is a dish that was eaten by highlanders, in northern Scotland, where money was scarce and sheep were plentiful. The national dish is made up of the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep, mixed with onions, suet (fats), oats, and spices. The mixture is then boiled in the sheep’s stomach for around an hour. This method meant the food could be well preserved as highlanders drove their cattle south to market.
Haggis is traditionally served with mashed neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes) and washed down with a wee dram of Scotland’s national drink – whisky (uisge beatha in Scots Gaelic).
Scottish poet, Robert Burns, immortalized the haggis in his 1787 poem, Address to a Haggis. This is honored on 25th January every year for Burns Night – a celebration of our bard.
Don’t be too hasty in your decision! Haggis is a tasty dish that should be enjoyed by every visitor to Scotland. It also gives a small insight into the difficult life of highland Scots and how we survived.
– Katy, thebalkansandbeyond.com
Sardinian Fregola | Italy
“Lost in Between Europe and Africa, and belonging to nowhere”, with these words Lawrence described the Italian island of Sardinia in his book Sea and Sardinia.
The same principle could be applied to one of the most famous Sardinian dishes, La Fregola. Brought it in its original form from the Phoenicians, it has been transformed by the Sardinian people for centuries. Using both European and North African traditions, it is the ultimate Mediterranean dish.
La Fregola can be described as thick cous-cous pasta. It is created hand-rolling durum wheat semolina and water in a large bowl to obtain spherical thickness. Depending on the area, during its preparation, Fregola can be enriched in its taste by using one egg and saffron, the Sardinian Gold.
After getting its shape the crumbs of Fregola get toasted when it’s still raw to obtain a unique texture. When it’s ready it can be accompanied with many different ingredients. Meat, seafood, fish, or vegetables, you name it. It can be cooked as a soup or a risotto with a flavour to die for.
This dish is traditionally from the South of Sardinia, but it can be easily found anywhere on the island. Most restaurants proudly serve the dish and with all the ingredients on the island, you could even try cooking one yourself!
– Nicola, averagelives.com
Tacos al Pastor | Mexico
If you plan on visiting Mexico, you have to try the tacos al pastor! I’m sure tacos are one of the first foods that come to mind when you think of Mexico, but you might not realize just how many different types of delicious tacos can be found all across the country. One of my favorites is the taco al pastor and it is THE taco to try especially if you find yourself in Mexico City where this delicious taco was born. Lebanese immigrants introduced the method of cooking meat on a vertical, rotating trompo or spit against an open flame in and around Mexico City and it has become hugely popular ever since.
Today, Mexicans slow-roast thin pieces of marinated pork to juicy perfection and carve off slices fresh for every order. The trompo is the main attraction of every taqueria that sells tacos al pastor. You can watch as they assemble each taco with finesse. Your typical taco al pastor starts with a fresh corn tortilla. Then the meat is sliced directly off the trompo and onto the tortilla where finally it is garnished with cilantro, onion, and a slice of pineapple. They are small and oh so delicious, so go ahead and order at least four or five!
– Jessie, anearthlyparadise.com
Koushary | Egypt
A staple meal throughout Egypt, we present you with Koushary. A simple vegetarian dish made of lentils, rice, two types of pasta, a spicy tomato sauce, crispy slivers of onions, and chickpeas. Known locally as the poor man’s dish, this 6-layered bowl celebrates carbs, proteins, and hints of citrus and vinegar. It is Egypt’s historic national meal and one that is craved and devoured by everybody. Koushary is one of those dishes you can find throughout Egypt at the most luxurious of restaurants as well as served by humble street vendors that line Cairo’s streets.
Why should you give Koushary a try? One, who doesn’t love carbs? Two, this hearty meal brings a wondrous combination of flavor from cheap ingredients, all of which, typically, are probably already in your pantry! Koushary is extremely simple to put together and can accommodate your taste buds from mild to spicy. Give this all-in-one plate a go and let us know what you think.
– Yara, tayaramuse.com
Paella | Spain
Paella is a rice dish that comes from the east region of Spain known as Levante, more specifically, Valencia. There are many types of paella – mixed paella, seafood paella, or the infamous Valencian paella just to name a few. All of them share some basic ingredients: short-grain rice (we call it bomba or Calasparra in Spain), olive oil, chicken, rabbit, lima beans, flat green beans, fresh tomato, smoked Spanish paprika, a few saffron threads, and water.
The chances of finding an authentic paella outside of Spain are really low and I have oftentimes been disappointed. If you live overseas, you can try paella in a local Spanish or Mediterranean restaurant. I myself have ordered paella in many restaurants overseas because I am always curious and hopeful that they will offer a good paella. The reality is most chefs will take the liberty to change some ingredients and vary the method of cooking. This results typically in a yellow-colored rice dish that can’t be called paella anymore. Some dishes I have received looked like risottos, some were spicy and some even had chorizo. I recall a brunch paella that was almost the real deal only it had fried eggs on top.
If you like to cook, you may want to try to make your own paella at home. Speaking from personal experience, the task can become quite challenging for various reasons. First, you need the proper equipment. Have you ever heard of a paella pan? (Valencians say if you make paella in a normal pot, that’s not paella but yet another rice dish.) You’ll need to get one at a specialty shop and it doesn’t work with all kinds of stoves. Second, you may have a hard time finding the right ingredients. You will be okay if you can’t get rabbit meat but remember you cannot use that basmati rice packet you have at home. Finally, paella is a rather laborious dish to prepare and you need practice in order to get the sweet spot for the rice. Please, don’t feel like I am deterring you from trying to cook paella at home or ordering one at a restaurant. In fact, do it! Then go to Spain and compare it.
– Patricia, spanishnomad.com
Patatas Bravas | Spain
Spain is a country known for its amazing food and relaxed dining atmosphere. Many people think of Paella when they think of Spain, but there’s another dish you should be eating if you want the true Spanish experience. Patatas Bravas is a tapa that you will find on almost any bar or restaurant menu. When the locals go out for dinner or just a few drinks it’s always the number one tapa that everyone agrees to order.
Patatas Bravas is delicious. The base is made of crispy, golden potatoes cut into uneven chunks. The hot potatoes are then topped with creamy, thick aioli and a spicy tomato sauce (which being Spain is not very spicy). It is a dish made to be shared with friends in plazas or tiny cramped restaurants. They serve it with toothpicks, and you eat the potatoes hot and coated in sauce.
– Bliss, travelforbliss.com
Swedish Meatballs | Sweden
If you travel to Sweden, you HAVE to try Swedish meatballs. Surprisingly, Swedish meatballs aren’t originally Swedish. They are based on a recipe King Charles XII brought back from Turkey in the 18th century, and over the years, the Swedes have adapted the recipe to the Swedish meatballs we know and love today. Every meatball recipe is slightly different, but generally, they are made by combining ground beef, pork, onions, bread crumbs, white pepper, black pepper, salt, and the most important ingredient: allspice! Then they are fried to a perfectly browned crisp and served traditionally with potatoes but can be served with noodles and/or gravy on top. Locals eat Swedish meatballs on Christmas and during large family gatherings.
Once you have your first plate of Swedish meatballs, you won’t be able to eat anything else, so if you find yourself visiting Sweden, you might want to try a few other Swedish dishes BEFORE trying them.
– Marika, clumsygirltravels.com
Gulab Jamun | India
It is so difficult to recommend a dessert for international tourists in India. Every part of India has its own distinct dessert that the locals are proud of as it is traditional and has its roots of origin for many centuries. Dessert is called ‘mithai’ in India and most of them are milk-based.
Gulab Jamun is one of the most versatile Indian desserts due to its popular taste and availability in all parts of India whether you are in Jaipur, Kolkata, Leh, or Hyderabad. Jamun is brown-colored berry sized soft spheres which are dunked into a rose (Gulab) flavored sugar syrup making it juicy when one pops into the mouth. This melt in mouth mithai is served in almost every wedding, party, birthday, and festivals. So if you arrange an Indian party and plan to keep only one dessert, chances are it will be gulab jamun! It is available in sweet shops for take-aways, in restaurants as dessert, and even made at home by many residents for festivals.
Thankfully Gulab Jamun can be carried on international flights in check-in luggage in spite of its liquid content due to tin packaging. However, I recommend having it as fresh as possible.
– Ketki, explorewithecokats.com
Syrnychky | Ukraine
Syrnychky (also called syrniki by Russian-speaking population) are basically small pancakes made from farmer’s cheese. You will easily find it in every Ukrainian restaurant and any local housewife can surely make them at home.
The recipe is quite simple: you only need farmer’s cheese, a bit of flour, and an egg or two. There are variations of course, but this is the base of it. So you mix it all together, add whatever sweetener you prefer, form small pancakes, and fry until ready. Pretty quickly, filling, and so delicious! Make sure to try them in Ukraine to get to know the real taste. Sadly, there aren’t many places where you can find this dish outside of Slavic countries.
Classic syrnychky are served with sour cream, but honey and jam are commonly used as well. Depending on how many you eat, they may be either a main dish or a dessert after your meal.
– Juliet, liveyourdream.today
Afrikaner Koeksisters | South Africa
Of all the incredible desserts you could try in South Africa, you shouldn’t miss tasting a scrumptious Afrikaner koeksister.
The traditional confectionary has a distinctive shape – it’s a beautifully platted, golden, and crispy fried dough that’s slightly sticky. The mouth-watering taste of koeksisters is similar to honey but with crunchy bits in the texture.
It’s a big undertaking to make koeksisters. First, the dough is made, then it’s cut up into strips and platted to create individual koeksisters which are fried and eventually submerged in sugar syrup. Knowing the time and effort that goes into making koeksisters, one can’t help but appreciate them with every bite.
The recipes have been passed down through many generations, with its South African origins tracing back to 1652. That’s when the Dutch settlers from the Netherlands first brought it to the Cape.
As an Afrikaner, I have many fond memories of enjoying koeksisters with friends and family. It’s also my go-to dessert if I want to treat my Afrikaner husband with a romantic dinner or picnic. One thing is for sure – there is always love and joy where koeksisters are!
– Michelle, romanticexplorersdirectory.com
Sinampalukang Manok | Philippines
Sinampalukang manok (Chicken Soup with Tamarind Leaves) is a native dish commonly cooked in the Northern Region of Luzon in the Philippines. The ingredients mainly consist of the following:
- Garlic and onion
- Young tamarind leaves (light green in color)
It is soup-based usually served hot, perfectly paired with rice, or can be eaten as it is as well. It has a mixture of salty and sour taste but not overpowering each other. The soup was made from the chicken broth and tamarind leaves which has been boiled for a couple of minutes to an hour.
I would always recommend this dish to any visitor for its unique and bold taste. Also, you can only find this in certain parts of the Philippines being cooked at home and can not be bought elsewhere. It has been my comfort food whenever I’m coming home in the province.
– Carol, mytravelatte.com
Wiener Schnitzel | Austria
In its golden breadcrumb coating, the Wiener Schnitzel is the most beloved dish in Austria. If you can’t find it on the menu in an Austrian restaurant, it’s not a decent restaurant! Original Wiener Schnitzel is thinly sliced veal dipped in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs and fried in clarified butter.
Today, most Schnitzels served in Austrian restaurants are from pork and must be specified as such. For example, the menu will say Schnitzel from pork according to the Viennese style. This is because the term Wiener Schnitzel is protected by geographical indication.
Vienna is undoubtedly the home of the Wiener Schnitzel although the dish is popular throughout Austria. It’s best to do some research on where to find the best Wiener Schnitzel in Vienna before you visit. The dish should be served with either potato salad or French fries, with some lemon and cranberry jam on the side.
Linda de Beer
– Linda, traveltyrol.com
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What dish do you recommend for tourists to try in your country? Let me know on the comments below!