Five Favorite Foods I Discovered Abroad

During my travels abroad, I have come across some realllllllllyyyyy good food and some realllllllyyyy bad food. The following is my list of good food, because, frankly, my list of bad food would probably be too long to fit in one blog post. ;) I'm a picky eater.

1. Raclette

Photo courtesy of Kent Wang and nchenga via Creative Commons.
I had tasted raclette in the US before, but I'm not entirely sure it counted… Y'see, raclette in the US is (from my experience) served a bit differently than in France. Here's the gist (if you want to cook it yourself):

Sautée thinly sliced potatoes with butter. Remove the potatoes from the pan and place in a cast iron skillet. Then place chunks of raclette over the potatoes and heat in a 350º oven until melted.

So, yeah. That's cool and all. Very tasty. But it's not the way the French do it. :)

Buy here.

The French place a half round of cheese on a Bron Coucke (?) and heat until the cheese is melty. They serve raclette with cornichons (sweet pickles), bread, meat, and potatoes on the side. It can be very expensive to eat in Paris and most restaurants require that there be two or more people eating it. (I think you can see why!) However, despite the high price (which is actually even higher in the US, if you can believe that!), and the multiple people requirement, eating raclette cheese with a delicious glass of wine can take a so-so trip to Paris (or France, really) and elevate it to extraordinary. This dish is extremely good! And waiting on the cheese to melt makes the experience take even longer!

Our first experience with raclette was in a small restaurant that was well rated on yelp. We poked our head in and asked if the manager had any openings since most of the good (They are all good. Excellent, maybe? Or well rated on yelp?) restaurants in Paris require reservations. Apparently we were early enough that he did! He sat us down and gave us some of the best service we have ever had at a restaurant paying close attention to when we needed something and standing back when we were fine (very untypical of European restaurants!). Anyway, most people were ordering small dishes, but Justin wanted to go fancy. And thus, raclette it was. The whole dining experience was truly something I will never forget which is why raclette is at the top of my "favorite foods from abroad" list!

2. Brioche

Photo credit: snowpea&bokchoi via Visual Hunt / CC

Aren't all French pastries delicious? Yes, I hear what you are saying. They are indeed. But this, brioche, is very different from the American brioche loaf, which was my only experience with the bread before. I've had brioche as "French toast" which was meh, but when I saw brioche dressed up as Christmas trees and stars at my hotel in Strasbourg, I didn't have a choice but to try it! The call of the brioche was even louder than any of the other sweets that had available! (And they had a lot of sweets available!) The Alsace region of France went above and beyond all expectations for this bread, of which I didn't know the name of until after I had eaten it! Because I can tell you, had I known the name, I probably wouldn't have touched it, expecting it to be as bland and boring as what we have in the states. No, Alsatian brioche is the best. I have recipes for it in two of the French cookbooks I brought back from France; I just have to take the time to make it/try them!

3. Flammkuchen (German pizza)

Photo credit: Katrin Gilger via Visual Hunt / CC
I believe the first time I had Flammkuchen was in Paris (I know, right?!) with German friends. We had just finished watching the sunset over the eiffel tower from a tall building and they saw the restaurant and said "you have to try this!", so we did. As we walked in, our friends asked for German menus, which made ordering (for me, at least) all the more exciting. As I looked through the description of certain "pizzas" I would wonder if X ingredient was what I thought it was. Usually, it was. And then I'd wonder how do all these ingredients work together? They don't sound like they should go together! That's probably why I'm not a great cook. Either way, we ordered like 4 pizzas. One had ingredients I knew I liked, and the others were mixed bags. Mostly, I was unsure of the onions. Then, when the pizzas arrived, I was shocked to discover that the one pizza I knew I would like, I actually hated. And the pizzas I wasn't sure of? After picking off the onions, I loved them! (Yes, I was rude by picking off the onions, but the staff thought I was 12 anyway, so why not? Plus – no worries! The onions got eaten anyway! Just not by me.)

So, then when Justin and I went back to Europe for the second time in our lives, when we saw flammkuchen at the alsatian restaurant our hotel recommended to us, we jumped at the chance to try it again! This time, I did not pick off the onions! (And lived to tell the tale!) Flammkuchen is definitely a fun snack and worthwhile meal to have at least once while you are in Europe. It comes in a number of varieties from savory to sweet! Try ordering the Tarte flambée if you find yourself in pure France instead!

4. Trdelník

Photo credit: elPadawan via Visual Hunt / CC

A sweet pastry found in Czech Republic made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and walnut mix (wikipedia), this delicious sweet captured my attention as I researched all that there was to do in the big city of Prague. My first experience with the pastry was at a Christmas market on a cold January night. We bought our Trdelník from a street vendor; it was warm, sweet, and delicious. Perfect for the winter night!

5. Croque-Monsieur with Pineapple

Photo credit: magerleagues via Visual Hunt / CC

During our return to our friend's home from Dresden, Germany, we stopped at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on the side of the road for lunch. One look at the menu and I knew I was in trouble. Fleisch, fleisch, and more fleisch. (Meat, for those of you that don't know German.) Alternatively, I think I may have seen salat (salad) on there. But still, not what I was looking for. Didn't they have like warm vegetables that could be consumed on a cold winter day? … No? … :( I told Justin of my predicament – the only thing I wanted was eis (ice cream). (I know, that makes no sense – cold/cold, but I love ice cream and can eat it any time of day, any day of the year!) I asked Justin what should I order? He points out the Croque-Monsieur which I recognize as a French ham and cheese sandwich. But I have no idea what ananas are (pineapple). Or if they will be good with ham and cheese. Frankly, it sounds disgusting! Anyway, I order it despite my fears of grossness. Luckily, I am quite pleased when not only does my ham and cheese sandwich come with delicious, delicious pineapple (a fruit I could eat almost as often as ice cream!), but also with a maraschino cherry on top! (I swear they must have known that what I really wanted was an ice cream sundae!)

In case you are curious, fruit + ham and cheese is really good! Think about hawaiian pizza and how they serve ham, cheese, and pineapple together. Yeah, like that. So instead, this is kind of a Hawaiian ham and cheese sandwich! Or sandwich sundae! It is delicious. And I quickly got over my lack of desire for meat. How can you not when you are eating something so good? :)

So, what do you think? Have you had any of the delicious foods on my list? Will you be trying my recipe for raclette? What are some of your favorite foods you've had while traveling (whether abroad or not)?


  1. And here, I thought brioche was a knitting technique. (It is. Probably named after.)

    1. lol. I had no idea. That's funny. Thanks for sharing that tidbit with me. :)

  2. Oh my, they all look mouthwatering! Out of the five, I think I'd really like to taste the Raclette! Potatoes, butter and cheese -- all my favorites!

    1. If you like fondue, you'll like raclette.

      Then again, if you like cheese in general, you'll probably like raclette. :) You should definitely try it. Luckily I provided a recipe for you. :) The hardest part is finding the cheese. :-/

  3. I'm not into cheese but a serving of raclette is something I can't resist. Had my first taste of it here in Doha when there was a Swiss Gastronomic Week held, I fell in love with it instantly!

  4. I am very pleased to see one of Switzerland's national dishes on your list :-)
    Come back soon to enjoy some more!

    1. Which one?

      Of course! :) How could I not?


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