So, I finally opened my pack of palm sugar covered banana chips. Yes, you read correctly. Banana chips. But not just any old kind. The ones that I bought whilst travelling in Thailand. Now don’t worry, this isn’t just a post about me and a love for banana chips (well, not completely) but it is about the relevance of food to a country and the travellers within it.
As we had been preparing for our final day in Bangkok, I had been searching for something that I would be allowed to pack in my suitcase to take home. Right now, as I munch through the pack, I am so happy with my decision.
Now, being a bit of a foodie and traveller combined, I love when a particular food, seasoning or recipe immediately takes me on a journey of the senses. So often I speak with friends that have travelled or ex-pats within the UK and food is always a subject of interest. I always recall my Aunt from Jamaica visiting the UK and craving fish and chips. As we travelled from the airport, she was desperate to try the dish that she had heard so much about, newspaper wrappings and all. I have an Australian friend that regularly discusses ‘Tim Tams’ and her difficulty with finding these in the UK – and no, these are apparently nothing like the Penguin chocolate bars that we have here.
These are just two examples that represent the influence of food, my Aunt associated fish and chips with British culture. For her, she wouldn’t have had a complete experience had she not sampled the dish which is perfected in the UK and is difficult to authentically recreate. In the case of my friend, she associates ‘Tim Tams’ with her home – Australia. Something as simple as a chocolate bar reminds her of home and has an immediate connection, especially if there is a mention of the ‘Tim Tam Slam’ – a popular way to drink a hot drink through the chocolate bar thus melting it into a lovely, warm, chocolatey treat. 🙂
So, I put together a list of my top fives foods and each country that I am reminded of – just for the sake of it.
- Jerk Chicken – being of Jamaican descent I naturally seek to touch base with Jamaica in any way possible. When seasoned and prepared well (and best served from a road-side stall) it is undeniably tasty.
- Pad Thai – I love Thailand. It’s a beautiful country and I constantly want to revisit and explore it further. Eating an original tasting Pad Thai does the trick, although it is pretty hard to find outside of the country.
- Almond croissants – Now, I discovered these beauties through my partner, an ex-chef with a passion for delightful food. We had tried them in the UK but when we visited Paris, well, we experienced the real deal and there was no going back. Also known as Croissant aux amandes, these croissants are scattered with almonds and filled with an almond marzipan filling which seeps into the pastry whilst being baked – very more-ish and completely responsible for my weight gain whilst in the country!
- Lamb Tagine – Now this delicious dish always reminds me of Morocco and is something that I have recreated many times upon my return. Well seasoned lamb and cous-cous with vegetables all cooked together in a tagine to create a harmony of taste. Delightful and a fantastic reminder of Djemma El Fna with every single mouthful.
- Spätzle – A type of soft egg noodle particularly delicious when served with cheese and onions. This always takes me back to Schwabisch Hall in South Germany where I first tried this dish whilst sitting in the sunshine outside Der Adelsof (which also happens to be a fabulous hotel).
@BlkGirlBigWorld Any tea makes me think of Indian chai! The yummiest 5 rupees you could ever spend. Also, baguettes, cheese, tomato, and olive oil all make me think of Barcelona ❤ @BahSun Maple syrup & Poutine from Canada; Ackee & Saltfish in Jamaica; Cobbler & Apple pie from USA. @MariaSurcel Almond flakes, spices, chicken and rice from Morocco or Mint, yoghurt, cucumber in Greece. Always reminds me of my first trip there, I thought it was a refreshing twist to their amazing food. @Young_Sifu Pomelo from Thailand, a cross between grapefruit and orange, with large juicy segments, sweet and very tropical tasting – delish! @naomiprioleau Green olives always remind me of Spain….they’re practically a religion over there! Or of course a loaf of French bread and Nutella reminds me of London, probably because that where I was introduced to it.
Food plays such a large part in shaping the culture of a country, not only this but the food can often precede a travellers experience. In the UK we eat pizza all the time and naturally associate it with Italy. We enjoy a samosa and make the association with India. Culture surrounds us and can influence our daily choices without a second thought. The greater world around us is always reaching out, drawing us in and allowing us to sample a part of the country… from home.
Do you have favourite foods from around the world?