Throughout my travels, I have experienced the most incredible dishes and drinks. Some things have stuck with me and I have tried to replicate at home or try to find the closest equivalent possible. All not being quite the same as when I first experienced them.
So here is my top 10 things that I have ate and drank on my adventures to date.
10. Ice Cream
Gelateria Giolitti, Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Whilst in Italy, this gelateria just beside the Pantheon was a great pit stop during my adventures in Rome. This was the first time I had a taste of Ice Cream in Italy and is still my best to date in the country. I opted for 2 scoops, one coconut and plain (milk) flavour. Sadly I don’t have a photograph of it as I was too busy enjoying it before it melted in the April Italian sun!
9. Coconut & Aubergine Mash
Spreegold, Budapester Str. 50, 10787 Berlin, Germany
A highlight of my trip to Berlin was having this unusual vegan mash. I never thought coconut would ever compliment mashed potatoes! As soon as I got back home, I had to try and replicate this dish. I got as close as I could by using a mix of roasted aubergine and potatoes with coconut milk and desiccated coconut but it still doesn’t compare to the exquisite side dish I had from this chic restaurant.
Introligatornia Smaku, Józefa 20, 33-332 Kraków, Poland
I had high expectations of Pierogi before I visited Kraków thanks to my Polish friends. However, these potato pierogi I had at Introligatornia Smaku totally lived up to the hype. One of friends when I returned back home told me to invest in a pierogi press so I could make them at home. I’ve still not mastered it the art of Polish dumpling making but I hope I am getting closer with every attempt!
7. Kakaós Csiga
Hold Utca Street Market and Downtown Market, Budapest, Hold u. 13, 1054 Hungary
I discovered this Hungarian delicacy, when I was in search of some breakfast at the Hold Utca Street Market before exploring Budapest. These yeasted pastry ‘snails’ can be filled with a variety of flavours, not just chocolate. I had countless flavours during my time in Budapest from chocolate, blueberry cream and Camembert. My bag at the end of my Danube trip was filled with flaky pastry shards thanks to me stocking up so I could enjoy them as I left Budapest.
6. Char Sui Bao
Harbour City, 46 Gerrard St, London W1D 5QH
This was one of my favourite restaurants in London. In the months that I lived in the city, I would always take my friends to this restaurant. I have never had Char Sui Bao like it! The list of dumplings and other tasty treats are endless and extremely affordable in comparison to London prices. My eyes were always bigger than my belly when it came to this restaurant so it is always better to go with a group. This restaurant was always filled with large groups of Chinese Londoners and the sound of excited chatter and the clatter or china and Lazy Susan’s turning. No dim sum session is complete without a nice glass of warm baiju!
5. Rohozec Višen
Prague Beer Museum, Smetanovo nábř. 205/22, 110 00 Praha-Staré Město-Staré Město, Czechia
As someone who doesn’t drink beer. This maybe a surprise that this Czech Cherry Beer has made it to my top 10. Having tried honey beer in Kraków and not particularly enjoying the hoppy aftertaste, I was reluctant to try beer again. When I arrived in Prague, beer in some cases was cheaper than water so after some badgering from Mr Ramblings who kept saying how amazing the beer was, I plucked up the courage to try one. At the Prague Beer Museum, the staff were super friendly and recommended Rohozec Višen, a cherry beer which tastes more like a sweet malty cider and gave me a small sample to try. It was that good I ended up having 2 pints in the bar and bought some at the supermarket to enjoy back at the hotel.
Mantu to Go, Downtown Gourmet Food Market, Eindhoven Smalle Haven 2-14, 5611 EJ Eindhoven, Netherlands
So when you think of Afghani Mantu, maybe a food market in a city in the Netherlands doesn’t spring to mind! These amazing beef dumplings topped with tomatoes, yoghurt and chives washed down with a chilled glass of Riesling was the perfect way to enjoy the surroundings of the food market and people watch.
3. Garlic Potatoes
Delacroix, 18A Buncrana Road, Derry BT48 8AB, Northern Ireland
Garlic Potatoes were one of the staple sides for every meal that I had Derry. I regularly visited the Delacroix over the years. To this day, I can still cannot get the balance of garlic right on their sumptuous ‘garlics’ Is it garlic oil? garlic paste? fresh garlic? A mix? Who knows?! For both garlic and potato lovers, this is the ultimate dish.
2. Hot Chocolate
Chocolate House, 20 Rue du Marché-aux-Herbes, 1728 Luxembourg
The Chocolate House of Luxembourg by Nathalie Bonn is a must-visit for any foodie who is exploring the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Across from the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg, this cafe is filled with all things chocolate: its famous Hot Chocolate Spoons, spreads, bars, truffles, cakes….
My biggest regret is not buying enough! I opted for a Chocolate Honey spoon to enjoy when I returned home. A few days after being home, I boiled a cup of milk and sunk the chocolate spoon in the steaming liquid and swirled it around until the chocolate slowly melted. It was the most luxurious and comforting drink I have ever had.
1. Yun Nan Guo Qiao Mi Xian (Crossing the bridge Noodles)
15 Dongzhimennei Dajie Dongcheng District, Beijing
This popular dish from the Yunnan Province of China was a highlight of my trip to Beijing and I am yet to find anything that tastes just as good at the one I had at this restaurant near Ghost Street. I was introduced to the dish and the restaurant by my friend and local Beijinger Elly, whilst we worked in Dongcheng and became a regular haunt during my month in the city. It’s is one of my favourite sharing dishes and find it more a communal experience than tapas or dim sum.
The dish is served with a large bowl of boiling hot broth and the soup ingredients separately in dishes which you select from the menu. The broth base is made by meat stock and various seasonings such as star anise and ginger. The soup is kept warm by oil in the soup which forms a layer on the top and with an electric stove top in the middle of the table.
The ingredients to put in the soup base are endless. From raw vegetables, lightly cooked meats, herbs and noodles…. We would go back to the same restaurant countless times and select various combinations over the weeks I was in the city. My favourites included ham, chicken skin, egg, chives, beansprouts and rice noodles. Once the ingredients were added into the broth, they would cook in a matter of minutes. The soupy mixture would then be spooned out into small bowls for us all to enjoy.
I would also like to note a special mention and thanks to all the friends who have made recommendations of what to eat and drink. Also a big hug, love and thanks those who I have visited in various cities and have fed me on my travels by either footing the bill at a restaurant or cooking in their own homes. Thank you all for your words of wisdom and generosity which has resulted in my expanding waistline and given me an education of new flavours and textures.
What have been your favourite finds whilst on your foodie adventures?
Note: These reviews are comments from my personal experiences, I aware some of these restaurants may have either relocated, closed or may vary in quality from when I first experienced them.