“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.”
And what better way to enjoy your travels but to eat. Well, it’s one of the many ways to enjoy travel, along with seeing city views, street sights, museums, trying their coffeeshops. A how-to-enjoy-list is really subjective, individually and as a family, but really, eating is one thing we like to do when away from our home city.
Our older son did say he would like to learn how to cook professionally, but because of the pandemic and other things involved, it did not come to fruition. He is now working as a café manager, but still considering to take culinary courses in the future. For now, he’s learned about coffee a lot which is a very good thing! We can enjoy a good cup and of different flavours and aromas at home.
For the past two years of being at home, we got to try cooking a lot of different dishes. Some recreated from dishes we have tried during our travels, and others we saw on TV shows. Here’s some of those. Please note that these are our favorites, so you might not find your own preference listed.
Austrian cuisine is nothing short of meat. Beef, veal, pork, chicken, lamb, turkey and goose are regular meats one can buy in groceries and butcher’s shops. But venison, as well as meats of wild boars, roe deer, brown hares, pheasants, and ducks are common game offered on restaurant menus when in season.
The most popular dishes being Tafelspitz, beef boiled in broth (soup); Gulasch, a soup or stew of meat and vegetables seasoned with paprika and other spices. There’s also Saftgulasch, tender lean beef stew with lots of onions; and Stelze, roasted pork knuckle which is my go to on a lowcarb way of eating. And lastly, Wienerschnitzel or Viennese cutlet, a pan-fried veal cutlet that is regulated by law – as using a different meat requires that it should be stated on menu and called appropriately: pork schnitzel, turkey schnitzel and so on.
Meat dishes always comes with a side of either a salad, sauerkraut, bread, potato fries. There’s also Knödel (dumpling), which is made from dried wheat bread, milk, eggs, and parsley and not the usual dumpling wrapped in dough. Potato salad, cucumber-yogurt salad, and a mixture of arugula, lettuce, and other greens with a choice of dressing: pumpkin seed oil and vinegar, lemon vinaigrette, or just vinegar and salt are the usual refreshing side salads.
And as stereotyped, Austria has a lot of sausages that are considered street food and are abundant around kiosks along with kebabs, box noodles (that emerged in the recent years), Leberkäsesemmel (a loaf of corned beef, pork and bacon in a bread roll), and Schnitzelsemmel (schnitzel in a bread roll).
Japanese food will always be our comfort food. While we also grew up in an archipelago, and was under the Japanese regime for a few years, the Philippines’ food influence come mostly from Spanish and American cuisines (also colonized the country). There’s also a big Chinese influence on many Filipino dishes, the former being a trade partner long before the colonizers arrived. The most I would see similar with the Japanese though is kakigori and halo-halo…both are shaved ice desserts with different toppings (see photos on the first slide) – Kakigori has sweetened adzuki beans while halo-halo has sweetened red mung beans, which according to references are actually the same.
Some of our favorites: yakitori – grilled chicken skewers, takoyaki – octopus balls, sashimi – raw sliced fish and meat, yakiniku – grilled meat, tempura – deep-fried battered seafood, and of course, everything matcha!
Japanese cuisine was added to the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List in 2003 which says a lot about its significance.
For the 333 years that the Spaniards occupied most of the Philippines, the country has inherited a lot of words, cooking methods, and traditions that evolved to become its own.
Tapas, for one, are appetizers or snacks in Spain but is cured meat in the Philippines. Adobo in Spain, is the method of marinating meat in a sauce that enhances its flavor but in the Philippines, adobo is a meat dish (more on this later).
We have many to thank the Spaniards for regarding food. They were the first to add sugar to chocolate to remove its natural bitterness. And a global spice route from Manila in the Philippines (Asia) to Seville in Spain (Europe), via Acapulco in Mexico (North America) was created when navigator Juan Sebastian Elcano successfully circumnavigated the world. Spanish cuisine is flavorful and colorful, they aren’t short of herbs and spices, and vegetables grown locally.
For our favorites: Paella seems to be the most famous Spanish dish, but we like the Paella de marisco (seafood paella) that has seafood instead of the usual rabbit, chicken or duck meat in Paella valenciana.
If you get the chance
- Paella: a rice dish with seafood, chicken, or vegetables that is cooked with saffron and paprika.
- Tapas: small plates of food that are typically served with drinks, such as olives, cheese, and cured meats.
- Churros: fried dough pastry that is often served with chocolate sauce for dipping.
- Jamón ibérico: a type of cured ham made from the Iberian pig.
- Gazpacho: a cold soup made with tomatoes, peppers, and cucumber.
Cheese and wine? All the time!
In November 2010, French gastronomy listed on UNESCO’s world’s “intangible cultural heritage.”
- Croissants: flaky and buttery pastries that are a staple of French breakfasts.
- Baguette: a long and crusty bread that is a symbol of French cuisine.
- Coq au vin: a traditional French dish made with chicken cooked in red wine, mushrooms, and bacon.
- Ratatouille: a vegetable stew made with tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers.
- Crème brûlée: a creamy custard dessert with a caramelized sugar top.
Singapore is hubby’s second home…or third, depending which year if you ask him. He loves spicy food and can tolerate many levels of it. The kids somehow got that from him, thank goodness! As I burn my tongue easily with the smallest bit of chili.
- Hainanese chicken rice: poached chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth, chili sauce, and soy sauce.
- Laksa: a spicy noodle soup that is made with coconut milk and seafood or chicken.
- Char kway teow: stir-fried rice noodles with soy sauce, chili, shrimp, and Chinese sausage.
- Chili crab: a sweet and spicy crab dish that is cooked with tomato sauce and chili paste.
- Satay: skewered and grilled meat (usually chicken or beef) served with peanut sauce.
“Buon cibo. Buon vino. Buon amici.” literally translates to ”Good food. Good wine. Good friends.” Life in Italy is about experiencing the pasta-bilities. Italians are known for their zest and love of life, they are welcoming and accepting but pineapples on pizza would something they would not agree with. I recently asked some friends over lunch about it and they went no, no, no, no while shaking their heads.
Sure, pizza and pasta everyday is way too high-carb for an everyday diet, but Italy also has a lot of yummy fish, other seafood, and meat dishes. It’s of course home to the most cheese varieties in the world.
We also have to thank the Italians for the very first espresso machine, and for bringing Coffee and Café culture to the world. As history puts it, the first coffee house in Europe was in Venice’s St.Mark’s square in 1647.
For our favorites: Spaghetti allo scoglio (reef spaghetti) is seafood pasta with a lot of variants: spaghetti ai frutti di mare, spaghetti alla pescatora, and most of us are familiar with, spaghetti alla marinara which were named depending on the seafood in the mix. And while not a variant of allo scoglio, Spaghetti alle vongole, with clams, is one of our favorites.
Swordfish is not something you can see or have in Vienna but is a usual fare on Italian tables, and I would have it any day if it’s on the menu.
If you get to visit Italy, look for the very first pizza restaurant in Naples, get a taste of history! Neapolitan pizza-making was included on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage in 2017. We each have preferences for our pizza toppings, but really, any pizza you would offer us is more than alright! Had we the capacity, we would open a restaurant serving Italian dishes or a café serving different beans from all-over the world. For now, playing a game like that would suffice, like this pizza-café game that seems easy but as it would, running a restaurant isn’t so.
My love for Greece goes beyond mythology. Greek cuisine is timeless. Founded on the triad of wheat, olive oil, and wine fish, Greek dishes have a lot of meat which is mostly pork, poultry, veal and beef, lamb, rabbit, and goat along with cheeses, lemon juice, herbs, olives, and of course, yogurt.
- Moussaka: a traditional Greek dish made with layers of eggplant, potatoes, minced meat, and béchamel sauce.
- Souvlaki: grilled meat on a skewer, usually served with pita bread, tzatziki sauce, and fresh vegetables.
- Feta cheese: a crumbly and tangy cheese that is commonly used in Greek salads and other dishes.
- Baklava: a sweet pastry made with layers of phyllo dough, nuts, and honey syrup.
- Tzatziki: a refreshing yogurt and cucumber dip that is commonly served as a side dish or a topping for souvlaki.
Poke, which in Hawaiian means “to slice” or “cut crosswise into pieces” is diced raw fish served either as an appetizer or a main course and is one of their most popular dishes. Traditional ingredients are aku (skipjack tuna) and heʻe (octopus) and may may consist of cubed raw fish, maui onions, inamona (roasted, crushed and salted candlenut), green onions, and/or sesame oil. Modern servings now include other seasonings like soy sauce, yuzu, mayonnaise, cashew, zucchini and seaweed among others.
A poke bowl is a Hawaiian dish that typically consists of rice, raw fish, and vegetables. The word “poke” means “to cut” or “to slice” in Hawaiian, which refers to the way the fish is prepared. The dish is typically served in a bowl and can be customized with a variety of toppings and sauces.
Traditionally, poke bowls are made with raw ahi tuna that is cubed and marinated in a sauce made with soy sauce, sesame oil, and green onions. The fish is then served on top of a bed of rice, along with toppings such as avocado, seaweed, edamame, and cucumber. Other popular additions include spicy mayo, teriyaki sauce, and sriracha.
Today, poke bowls have become popular all around the world and can be found in many different variations. Some bowls may feature different types of fish, such as salmon or shrimp, while others may include tofu or other vegetarian options. The dish can be a healthy and delicious option, as it is high in protein and healthy fats, and can be customized to suit individual tastes and dietary needs.
For our favorites:
South Korean food leans to be lowcarb, with a lot of fermented side dishes.
- Kimchi: a spicy and sour fermented vegetable dish that is a staple of Korean cuisine.
- Bibimbap: a rice bowl dish that is topped with various vegetables, meat, and a fried egg.
- Bulgogi: thinly sliced marinated beef that is grilled or stir-fried.
- Jjajangmyeon: a popular Korean-Chinese dish made with noodles and a black bean sauce.
- Korean Fried Chicken: crispy and juicy chicken that is fried and coated with a sweet and spicy sauce.
Filipino cuisine is a fusion of many flavors, a mix of many cooking methods, be regionally unique and diverse.
We also have kinilaw which is raw fish in vinegar and a souring agent that’s somehow close to sushi, as the rice is prepared with rice vinegar, mirin, sugar, and salt.
- Adobo: a popular Filipino dish made with meat (usually chicken or pork) cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic.
- Lumpia: a Filipino version of a spring roll that is usually filled with vegetables and meat.
- Sinigang: a sour and savory soup that is made with tamarind and often includes seafood or meat.
- Lechon: a whole roasted pig that is a staple of Filipino celebrations and special occasions.
- Halo-halo: a popular Filipino dessert made with shaved ice, evaporated milk, fruits, and sweet beans.
- Pho: a noodle soup that is made with beef or chicken broth and flavored with spices and herbs.
- Banh mi: a French-inspired sandwich that is filled with various meats, pickled vegetables, and mayonnaise.
- Bun cha: a grilled pork dish that is served with vermicelli noodles, herbs, and dipping sauce.
- Goi cuon: fresh spring rolls filled with pork, shrimp, or vegetables and served with peanut dipping sauce.
- Banh xeo: a savory pancake that is made with rice flour, coconut milk, and filled with pork, shrimp, or vegetables.
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