Have you ever been to your favourite holiday destination and had some great local food and thought “I must do this when I get home”? Maybe you did and possibly some recipes have become firm family favourites. Many of us though soon get back in to our routines after a holiday and possibly this is the same with food, we forget all about those lovely restaurants and the great meals as our lives get busy again.
A lot of countries do have an established cuisine, an array of dishes that tell you were you are. As we can’t travel at the moment we thought it would be good to have a little reminder of what you may have eaten in certain countries you have visited on holiday. It might take you back, to reminisce, you may even decide to make that recipe after all!
In Spain you think Tapas and Paella. The Spanish have made Tapas their own and you will find firm favourites like Patatas Bravas, Ensalada rusa and Croquetas de jamón plus many, many others. A lot of Tapas restaurants will bring trays to your table with an array of small mouth watering little dishes which you can choose from and you can spend the whole evening eating a variety of great food. With a glass of wine and warm sunshine does it get any better?
You will find Paella all over Spain and in many different forms. The Valencians will tell you proudly that true Paella comes from there. In fact they even produce their own type of round grain Bomba rice which is perfect for Paella. There is a specific way of making it and you can get the proper cooking pan (from which the dish gets it’s name) but a shallow frying pan will do just fine. By the way, true Paella does not have chorizo or peppers in! (Although the meat version ‘con carne’ does have Rabbit and Snails).
Another firm favourite holiday destination where you might have some tasty, inexpensive local food that you will want to make when you get home. In Britain we don’t seem to have the same love affair with fish as they do in other countries. This is certainly true of Greece. Many of you may have eaten a great fish dish on holiday but not thought about it since you got home. It’s probably fair to say though, that Octopus may not be at the top of your list on a weekly shop!
Greece is also home to Gyros and Moussaka. Most of us who have visited Greece would’ve had that wonderful spicy chicken or lamb Gyros served in a flatbread with salad and yoghurt dip, usually with chips – Yum! Greece is also a land of olives and stuffed vine leaves and who can resist a colourful, fresh, piquant Greek salad?
Morocco is a very popular holiday destination for brits and the cuisine is world famous. Think cumin and coriander, slow cooked lamb, lentils and of course cous-cous. Think Morocco, think Tagine. Again like Paella, Tagine is named after the cooking vessel. You will find many varieties all over the country and there is probably no true version. However, there are some common ingredients particularly the spices and even if you don’t have a tagine for cooking in at home then a saucepan or better a slow-cooker will do just fine.
Another fantastic dish you may have come across in Morocco is called Harira. It’s like a very chunky soup and is regularly called the best soup in the world. It has lamb, chick peas, lentils, tomatoes and some common herbs and spices. In some cases it will include a type of fermented butter called smen but is equally good without.
Malaysia and the Philippines
The south Asian countries are very popular for holidaymakers and back-packers alike. Asia is home to many great cuisines, not least the mighty China. However, most of the smaller south Asian countries including Vietnam, Malaysia, The Philippines and Indonesia will have distinctive dishes and sometimes these have been derived from colonial countries that have one time or another occupied those lands. You could not have missed the famous Adobo if you have visited the Philippines. An easy to make very tasty meal usually made with chicken but can be seen with Pork and sometimes seafood as well. Noodles in many shapes or forms will be served in Philippine restaurants and is a popular street food. Pancit Bihon is one great example.
In Malaysia you may have come across Rendang or Laksa curries; distinctive and delicious. Rice will play a big part in all these cuisines and you would certainly have seen at least one version of Nasi Lemak in restaurants in downtown Kuala Lumpur.
Austria and the Bavarian region of southern Germany which includes Munich, share many great dishes. Think Sausages. Bratwurst, Knockwurst, Weisswurst, Brockwurst and so on. There are many types of German sausage usually just eaten with bread (simmel) and mustard or fermented cabbage (sauerkraut). A real treat on a cold evening walking around a Viennese Christmas market is a Käsekrainer, a sort of hot dog filled with little chunks of cheese, usually put inside a large chunk of bread. Fortunately, most of these sausage are available now in the UK so you can easily relive your happiest sausage memories!
If you have visited Austria for Skiing in the Alps or culture in Vienna or Salzburg you will almost certainly have come across knodel (dumplings). These are not the suet kind we are used to in our beef stew but are made from stale bread and are very easy to do. The most common ones usually have a type of smoked bacon in called Speck and fresh parsley but you will find many different varieties.
Probably the most famous dish in Austria though is Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese steak) traditionally made with veal but made nowadays with pork as well. You will find this dish everywhere from humble cafes to expensive restaurants and at varying different prices. It’s usually served quite simply with parsley potatoes and salad.
Time to cook?
Ok, so if you’ve got this far you should be hungry! All the recipes mentioned in the article can be found from a simple internet search. Why not relive your last great holiday food memory wherever that was? If you can’t visit the restaurants of the world at the moment then bring them to your own kitchen and look forward to the time we can all travel freely again and experience it as it should be.
If you have a favourite recipe or meal from a past holiday abroad then we’d love to know and we may pass it on!