Do you try new foods when traveling?

Old Jan 18th, 2023, 09:55 AM
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Do you try new foods when traveling?

Or do you seek out comfort food?

Or at least go for familiar things like beef or chicken as opposed to things like goose liver or blood sausage?

Or does your culinary tastes not change at all?


One thing I've noticed over the decades of travel is that burgers are now everywhere. Used to be that you had to go to fast-food chains or you might find the occasional restaurant offering an American style fare.

Not only are there more places that offer burgers, there are regular restaurants which offer it as a main course along with more traditional dishes.

And often, these places specializing in burgers have high ratings -- TA, Google, etc. Often the ratings are reflecting value as burgers can be 10-15 Euro versus say a steak being 25 Euro or more, way more.

That's not to say burgers don't have any merit as a meal, just that the much higher popularity and availability may reflect travelers seeking the comfortable and the familiar rather than risk the unknown. Or they may have dined a lot of the local cuisine but wanted to take a break and have a simpler meal.

Also seeing that there's more internationalization or globalization of a lot of menus. They all offer beef, chicken and fish of some kind, usually prepared with accompaniments which are similar to what you'd find in most industrialized countries.

I was looking at restaurants in Stockholm in Google Maps and only a few in central Stockholm offered the infamous pickled herring. Otherwise a lot of Japanese and Asian fusion restaurants, a large number of Mexican fast food or fast casual chains (I remember tacos seeming to be popular in Oslo as well so maybe it's a Scandinavian thing). Of course a lot of burger places.

About the only thing that stood out was one or two places offered moose dishes and deer (or maybe it was reindeer) dishes.

I guess tourism as it exists today, a lot of people may try the local cuisine but a lot of them go for foods that are sold everywhere in the world. That's not to underplay the fact that a lot of locals like this internationalized food too. It's not just tourists packing into McDonalds and Starbucks stores in Europe. I would assume that's the case for other internationalized foods.

A lot of it isn't an accident. I heard that the Thais had a strategy to spread their cuisine all over the world but they wanted to make sure a lot of the signature dishes all looked and tasted the same, would be prepared in similar ways. If there weren't such deliberate strategies, well business people who invest in and run restaurants would simply copy what they see working in other places.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 10:11 AM
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I like to try local foods. I never order hamburgers when traveling in other countries.
My favorite place to travel as far as local food is Asia.

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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 10:11 AM
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Great idea for a thread SCRB! In our case, I am more interested in pursuing new foods than Mrs Z.
And yes, its a mission each time to try and scout out something new.

Last trip was Montreal, where we shopped at markets with eyes open for new stuff.
Found pickled/candied hibiscus root. Expensive and not really worth it.
Can't win 'em all.
I am done. the tongue
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 10:18 AM
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I like to try new things and I have a dull palate so I can eat most flavorings (e.g., very spicy) without problem. But I do not try new things if they fall under certain categories such as blood, organ meat, pork, octopus, dog.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 10:47 AM
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Yes! I like to try new things and I like old favorites too.
Just got home from a great trip to the Holy Land. Lunches were planned to give us new taste experiences. On the last day (yesterday) we ate at a monastery and "hamburger" was the third add-on option. I rarely eat them at home but was ready for a taste of the familiar. They served a plain hamburger patty. I asked about a bun. I was told that bread was over there (nodding at the end of the serving line. So I had a hamburger patty in pita bread. No condiments offered. LOL
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 10:48 AM
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I don't try new foods just to try new foods. But if something sounds appealing, I will try it. I haven't really been to any uber exotic places so I can't say I've ventured too much off the beaten food path.

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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 10:55 AM
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Trying new foods is a huge focus of travel for us, and one big reason we rent places with a kitchen is to cook unfamiliar foods too. If I found myself eating hamburgers Iíd be disappointed in a trip.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 10:57 AM
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I enjoy trying new foods while traveling, but have no problem eating familiar food if itís convenient or Iím in the mood for it. I finally tried haggis on our last trip to Scotland and discovered that I like it! I tried the fermented mareís milk and salted butter tea in Mongolia and canít say the same about those.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 11:03 AM
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Trying new foods is one of my favorite parts of traveling. Although, I tend to steer more towards fish and vegetable dishes than meat. When I travel with my husband and daughter, we always order different menu items so that we can try more items.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 11:06 AM
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I don't eat hamburger while traveling but I do eat familiar things prepared "their" way. I don't eat organ meats, blood, etc. and I don't eat fish because I can't stand the smell. When we visited Ukraine a couple of years ago with my nephew and his Ukrainian wife, I tried some of their foods for her, such as the dreaded pickled herring. Once was enough, thank you. I skipped the pigs' ears. They did have liquor called "tinctures" and one was red chili pepper and honey, which was fabulous. There were other specialty drinks in Italy - an Amaro called Branca Menta - and Storica Grappa, that was quite good. And then there was the whisky sauce in Scotland which we have been attempting to duplicate without much success.

Last edited by Trophywife007; Jan 18th, 2023 at 11:29 AM. Reason: finally remembered...
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 11:15 AM
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Great idea for a thread, scrb11. Hub (Rhody) usually fetched a McD burger if we were wiped out and one was convenient, but trying new foods was an integral part of travel for us. The idea of making a national dish consistently made me think about the different moussakas and stuffed grape leaves we tried in Greece.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 11:20 AM
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We had delicious, very thin crust, best ever pizza in Oslo. Found that mint sauce for lamb in Scotland is nothing like mint jelly. Hamburgers are best at home. YMMV.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by jubilada View Post
Trying new foods is a huge focus of travel for us, and one big reason we rent places with a kitchen is to cook unfamiliar foods too. If I found myself eating hamburgers Iíd be disappointed in a trip.
One of my fondest travel memories is sitting in an elevated outodoor restaurant in Lahaina overlooking the ocean, eating a cheeseburger and drinking a beer. It was heaven. But I get your point. I rarely order burgers for dinner when on vacation. Besides, the few times I have ordered burgers outside the US, they just aren't right.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 11:30 AM
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I didn't know anything about Japanese food the first time I went to Japan. I just did not recognize what was in it, even when they have the realistic-looking plastic/wax displayes. I did see one of those displays in Kamakura and thought it looked good but then I realized it was a Chinese restaurant.

MOS Burger in Japan is pretty good, inexpensive and quick. And you get to be surrounded young Japanese looking at their phones and doing silly things.

It was my third or fourth trip to Japan before I even tried the local food. That was on the flight over, in first class, where I chose the J-food knowing that I could always get something else if I didn't like. So, airplane food was my introduction to Japanese cuisine. I loved it, all of it, esp. the chawanmushi.

Yes, Japanese food is available in big cities around the world, including Oslo, but you are guaranteed to get the real thing in Japan.I had sushi in St Petersburg that was good, but i suppose Russians are not into fish in a big way and there was no raw fish sushi.

The thing about eating local is having many options in one place (like sushi, okonomiyaki, shabu shubu, ..., places all on one block in Tokyo).




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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by tom42 View Post
... Besides, the few times I have ordered burgers outside the US, they just aren't right.
True... or even steak, sometimes. We had lots of Chinese food in China obviously, although they said it was tweaked to American tastes, less greasy they said, but the one time they did steak for us, it was pretty ho-hummy. How do you mess up steak?
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 11:40 AM
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I always try new food. Although I would not try seaweed or some other local dishes but I have never ordered a hamburger in my limited travels.
Only once did I order steak (non USA) and was very disappointed (Paris). I was definently stereotyped as the steak was well done when I ordered med rare and it came with a bottle of ketchup plopped down on the table with the steak.

Even in the USA I try to order local specialties and always food I do not get to experience at home.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 11:55 AM
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Trying new foods is one of the joys of travel. Added to that are local versions of foods I am familiar with at home. I always make it it a point to try local versions of "Chinese" food. DW is vegetarian and it is so much easier finding vegetarian menus outside of the USA. The best veggie restaurant we have ever found is in Edinburgh. There is also an excellent veggie haggis at an Edinburgh restaurant called Urban Angel in New Town.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ziggypop View Post
Only once did I order steak (non USA) and was very disappointed (Paris). I was definently stereotyped as the steak was well done when I ordered med rare and it came with a bottle of ketchup plopped down on the table with the steak.
I had a delicious steak frites in Berlin.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 12:17 PM
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I love to try new foods, but also avoid organ meat. There are just some things that turn me off.
I do not order hamburgers when traveling. I remember when we were in Haifa, two people traveling with us were excited because there was a McDonald's. We thought they were crazy, but they loved their Big Macs.
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Old Jan 18th, 2023, 12:20 PM
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Yes I try new strange food both at home and when I travel. One of the worst things I ever ate was at a Korean restaurant in Orange County (sea squirts). I like most fish and seafood raw or cooked (what is wrong with pickled herring?). Most animal flesh but not really into the squishy organ bits (most don't taste that great to my palate) although the Peruvian anticuchos are good. No dogs horses etc. but yes to bunnies , lambs and octopus. I rarely eat beef burgers so wouldn't likely waste a meal while traveling on one. The only fruit or veg I would pass up trying is durian. I am running out of things that are new. Maybe I should have tried the chapulines in Mexico after all.

I am not sure that all of the new international variety is catering to tourists. Maybe the residents like to try something different when they go out to eat, they can make "local" at home. I had a pretty bad meal at a "Mexican" restaurant once in Costa Rica. But who can blame them for wanting something other than a standard plate of meat, rice and beans with some cabbage salad.

Last edited by mlgb; Jan 18th, 2023 at 12:24 PM.
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