Feijoada anyone? What about Pancit Bihon? You should really try the Kukura Bhutawa…………..
Many of us come across exotic and unknown dishes and ingredients when we travel abroad but how many of us actually take the plunge and choose something different to eat?
This is a headline from the Daily Mail newspaper from November 2014:
“HALF of British tourists choose fast food over local cuisine… and 20% say it’s because they don’t understand the menu”
This is a headline from the same newspaper 3 years later in July 2017:
“Forget the beach! Brits now choose where to go on holiday based on the FOOD instead of the weather (as the top gastronomic cities in the world are revealed)
Whatever the truth of it, over the last few years as the variety of restaurants in Britain increases and the proliferation of TV cooking programs show us how to cook more exotic dishes using previously unknown ingredients we are getting better at staying away from the ‘all-day English breakfast’ cafes and fast food restaurants – at least for a couple of days during our holidays. Many of us are trying the local dishes and indeed bringing the ideas back home with us for our next dinner party!
Of course, the other worry for us is food hygiene. Will the food make us ill? I remember travelling to Tunisia a few years ago and staying in a pristine, marble lined hotel with a bright, ultra clean food hall and dining room. However, when strolling through the local market the following day I saw a meat stall which had carcasses and joints of meat hanging up in the open with no cover, no refrigeration and swarms of flies. I did think twice for the rest of the holiday about choosing the meat choices from the menu!
Food premises in the UK are governed by the UK Government Food Safety Act and here as in Europe, they must abide by the European Food Law Regulation (EC) 178/200.
Outside of Europe you can expect stringent food safety laws in developed countries such as America or Australia but what about further afield? No country that relies on tourism would want to get a reputation for poisoning it’s visitors with dodgy food and standards can vary enormously between hotels and say, a street trader. But even in countries with strict regulation there is no guarantee that any particular kitchen will abide by the rules 100% of the time.
I think we all use our instincts when choosing which place looks the best to eat and hope that “Delhi Belly” will not inflict us the next day!
A great way to get in the holiday groove is after all the last minute things like buying travel money are done, do some research on the food for the area you are visiting and make a note of what you are going to try that is new, you never know it could be on the menu at your next dinner party!
And for the curious foodies amongst you, Feijoada is a national dish of Brazil but variations can be found around the world in Spain, Portugal and Asia. Pancit Bihon is a lovely noodle dish from the Philippines and Kukura Bhutuwa is a delicious chicken curry from Nepal.