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pavfec Sep 1st, 2006 12:05 PM

Traditional cuisine or variety when you travel?
A little bored this Friday afternoon, so I thought I'd throw this question out there.

When you travel, do you stick with traditional cuisine of the country you're visiting, eat mostly traditional but throw in a little variety, or always eat a variety, including traditional?

As an example, we visited Spain and Portugal for the first time last year. At home, we eat varied, from Indian to Thai to Italian to Greek, etc. I was excited about having Spanish food often.

By the end of our first week, after an extremely oily lunch in Granada that left me with digestion problems for the entire day, I realized the importance of continuing to eat a variety of cuisines. So dinner at a Japanese restaurant helped me get back on track after that awful meal. We also had the best vegetable korma ever at an Indian restaurant in Lagos, Portugal. We also had fantastic tapas in Seville and a great seafood rice stew in Lagos.

So, what do you do?

JoanneH Sep 1st, 2006 02:44 PM

Slow and dead here today at work so I also am reading the list.
I try everthing that sounds intersting
thats part of the fun of a trip.

pavfec Sep 2nd, 2006 05:27 AM


seetheworld Sep 2nd, 2006 05:57 AM

A variety of Traditional foods :D

When we were in Portugal (Algarve), we enjoyed the Cataplana, which is a native seafood dish. Fish is served everywhere (since we stayed in a fishing village) and it's part of the traditional cuisine - difficult to pass up.

We also enjoyed "Churrasqueira Frango" or BBQ chicken which was outstanding!! So much so that we had it twice (cheap too 5 Euros). I'd consider this dish native to the area because it was prepared in a way unlike any other BBQ chicken we've tasted.

But we also found many foods had a Mediterranean influence. We even had delicious brick-oven pizza using traditional ingredients.

nytraveler Sep 2nd, 2006 07:38 AM

It depends on how long we're in each country or region.

Usually we stick with the food of the country (except my once a week giant diet cokes from MickeyD's - but we don't eat there) - because generally there is quite a variety to choose from.

However, in a couple of places we have deliberatly gone looking for something different - with some very odd results.

Being from New York we are used to Chinese food that is really chinese, Italian that is really italian etc. We have found that in many of these counries you have to pick very carefully - since they often offer a watered down version of the cuisine adapted to local tastes.

In Spain - we did try one Chinese - in Puerto Banus - which was authentic and quite good. And one Italian in Madrid - ditto. (The reason was that I could not look at one single more olive. I do like Spanish food - and you can usually get good variety - but sometimes not in the lesat expensive places - but I often felt that if I sat down on a park bench someone would rush over and put a dish of olives next to me. And I HATE olives.)

And after 3 weeks in Scandinavia I couldn;t look at one more dish of herring of any variety - not that I ate any - I also hate herring - but I didn;t even want to be in the same room with it. We tried a highly recommended Chinese in Stockholm - that was truly awful - but at least there was no herring.

Carrybean Sep 2nd, 2006 08:17 AM

A little of both. I don't do McDonald's except occasionally at home.

Clifton Sep 2nd, 2006 08:30 AM

I always like trying out local cuisine, although I can't say I'm foodie (are people still calling themselves foodies?). I do try to read up on what is considered traditional dishes. At home I like trying out different ethnic restaurants too.

That said, I don't mind mixing it up. Maybe because in my travels, to Europe in particular, I haven't yet hit the major destinations known for their food. If and when we ever make it to Italy or France, I may not jump ship. As much as I liked some of the Romanian dishes, I did fall back to pasta for instance. In Ireland, pub grub meat and potatoes gave way to a good little Asian restaurant in Clifden. It was a welcome change. But I could eat local food in Thailand for months without looking for a steak. Khmer food in Cambodia was wonderful, but limited in variety and eventually a pizza caught our eye. I guess it depends on what's available and how I feel at the moment that I get hungry.

Clifton Sep 2nd, 2006 08:42 AM

Hit post and was thinking about the connection this thread had to Spain references - especially in nytravelers' post.

We're going to be in Andalusia next year if all goes well, for a few days at the end of a trip. From my reading, olives do seem to feature heavily, don't they. I can't stand them either. First time I've started wondering if I'm going to end up looking like a picky eater. I think I need to do more studying after we get back from Mex. At least I know I love Poblano cuisine where we're going (Puebla, MX). We have no place here in Memphis to do tapas or other Spanish food for a trial run.

stardust Sep 2nd, 2006 09:01 AM

I generally try to eat local foods, but when I'm there a long time I mix with other international cuisine.

As for McD, I never have it at home, but I've done it on very few occasions:
- In Stockholm, because it seemed like the only thing affordable in that neighbourhood. I did have a McViking though :-)
- In Prague, because we arrived on a Sunday afternoon and near where we were nothing seemd to be open and we were really hungry.
- In Croatia, because we had been to a student conference for 4 days where they served nothing but old white bread and an oily broth, and the first thing we found when we got out was a McD.
- In Venice, because back from 2 weeks on a student conference in Slovenia where they served us almost nothing but pizza, the only available cheap snack around the Piazza San Marco except for pizza was McD. And you can't believe how many people came to ask us where we got that (the McD was in a little side street).

aeiger Sep 2nd, 2006 09:12 PM

We usually have some traditional cuisine. Then we go for pizza. We also like to try Chinese food. Had some good chinese, Thai food last year in Berlin and Dresden. Have eaten chinese food in Hungarywhich was bad in one town and very good in another. close to NY style. The funniest though was the Chinese restaurant in Istanbul. It was owned by a Korean man who spoke no English, but we muddled through. Love the donars or other Turkish food in Germany. An excellent Greek meal in Hungary. Yes, after 20 yrs. of travel, we love to mix our cuisines.

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