What to Eat, Where

Over the last three years, I've had the privilege and joy of traveling to a number of different places and trying food combinations that were beyond my imagination. I've learned that just because you've had a certain food or tried a certain activity in one place doesn't mean you will dislike it another. In fact, food, for me, has been a way of breaking out of the mold and learning to try things that I otherwise might pass up. Luckily, my husband is a foodie and has very little that he won't try … which inevitably spurs me on.

Below, I have listed for you the foods and food combinations I have learned about through my travels. Maybe some foods you were already aware of? Maybe there are some new ones for you? Perhaps, you are currently planning to travel to one of these locations?

Whatever the case may be, let me take you away to food paradise … one city (and in some cases, country) at a time…

Pineapples are delicious in Hawai'i.

1. In Hawai'i…

Get fresh fruit. Maui pineapples, passion fruit, guava, coconut, mango, apple bananas. (Yes, apple bananas are a thing.) The fruit I had in Hawai'i was some of the best I've ever had. :)

Kona coffee. Every island has a different flavor, and, according to my husband, it's all delicious.

The Mauimosa is a fun take on the more traditional mimosa. It's made with pineapple wine.

Macadamia nuts grow on multiple islands in Hawai'i. You can get them without all of the additional preservatives, so that's nice. I'm kind of in love with the Hawaiian Host chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Add a bit of caramel and … mmm mm good! :)

Banana bread. Aunty Sandy's banana bread on the Road to Hana in Maui is pretty amazing especially right out of the oven.

The "plated lunch" in Hawai'i is pretty unique. You get a meat of your choosing + macaroni salad + rice. It sounds weird and makes you wonder where the vegetables are, but it's actually really good.

And for dessert be sure to grab some shaved ice. To do it right, you need it layered with vanilla ice cream on the bottom, sweetened condensed milk on top, and a handful of mochi. With the right syrup flavors covering the ice, on a hot, sunny day at the beach, this treat is delicious!

Go to New York City and not get a bagel? Hardly!

2. In NYC, New York…

Grab an egg cream soda. It comes in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors, though not all flavors are always available at the same place. And no, you won't get sick and die from drinking raw egg, because there isn't any in the drink!

Pizza is next. Just any street vendor will do.

And some people claim the bagels are the best. Something about the New York City water?

Is it a Boston Cream Cake or a Boston Cream Pie?
Photo credit: edwardkimuk via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

3. In Boston, Massachusetts…

A Boston cream pie/cake is a MUST. My preference? Mike's Pastry in Little Italy. Trust me: this treat served anywhere else in the world will never be the same.

Shrimp and grits is a southern staple!
Photo credit: greg.turner via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

4. In Charleston, South Carolina…

Shrimp and grits are a staple. I don't eat fish, but that's what they say, anyway.

Peaches are the Georgia state fruit.

5. In Atlanta, Georgia…

Try the fried chicken. Ideally with a lot of sides. Think mac and cheese, cornbread or drop biscuits, fried green tomatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, coleslaw, fried okra, baked beans, and collard greens. A new thing I've only recently been introduced to is red pepper jelly which goes great on a biscuit! The jelly is sweet and tastes nothing like you (or at least I) would expect.

For dessert, be sure to get a peach cobbler (also can be made with a variety of other fruits including blueberries, apples, and strawberries) or fried peach pie. Peaches are the Georgia state fruit.

A popular drink, one that would be served with your fried chicken at grandma's house is sweet tea. If you've never had sweet tea before, take it slow. Southerners tend to like their iced sweet tea made with ALL of the sugar. Another option is lemonade, which is almost completely different from the European style. In the US, we use still water, sugar, and (yellow) lemons. Obviously, you can substitute with (green) limes, if you want, for a completely different flavor.

You can't have Oktoberfest without German beer!

6. In southern Germany…

Käsespätzle is my thing. Minus the onions.

Currywurst is also a thing; it's one I didn't come to like until my husband made it at home… It's almost sweet tasting and doesn't remind me at all of the curry flavor found in Indian food.

Maß beer is also a standout. I don't drink it, but how can you not associate those large glasses of beer (especially during Oktoberfest) with Germany?

Sweet crepes are good any time of day!

7. In France…

You have crêpes and galettes. As much as I have tried to like savory galettes, I just don't. I prefer sweet crêpes instead.

The French omelet (not served as breakfast) is absolutely amazing and unlike any American omelette that I've ever had. It's more light and airy. And they serve it with fries!

My husband is a fan of the mussels served in a cream broth and served with fries like you find in the Brittany region of France. I dislike seafood, so … there's that. :)

Hot chocolate is a must, though. I cannot leave without having a cup of Angelina's, even in the heat of summer!

Another delicious sweet is the salted caramel found in the Brittany region of France which is also pretty amazing. I wouldn't go out of my way to get it, but if you happen to be there anyway, why not?

In Europe, you can have salami, bread, and wine picnics just about anywhere!

8. In northern Italy…

My favorite meal would be salami, a delicious baguette (I know – French!), cheese (even Parmigian Reggiano is acceptable!), and a glass of wine looking out over the ocean with friends as the sun goes down. #win! I'm also a huge fan of their balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Nothing I can buy in the states tastes anything like it!

Unfortunately, I found myself disappointed in most other foods I tried while there – gelato, pizza, spaghetti. Could it be my American taste buds interfering? … Or did we just choose all of the wrong restaurants?

Syrup tastes good on more than just waffles in Canada.

9. In the Québec region of Canada…

How can you not have poutine?

I'm also a HUGE fan of Michel Jodin's iced cider in the Québec region.

Then there is the Canadian syrup which is found in almost everything … from hot drinks to candy to breakfast "sauces". While the syrup itself is very good, I have to say you haven't really tried "Canadian syrup" until you are eating it served in a mug or spread out on snow as a sticky candy to be wrapped around a stick.

Good luck making Trdelník, a delicious pastry from Czech Republic.
Photo credit: akimapilot via VisualHunt / CC BY-ND

10. In Prague, Czech Republic…

Trdelník, a delicious street food pastry made with cinnamon and filled with Nutella. I hear in the summer you can add ice cream to it too! How fun would that be?!

Is Key Lime Pie really better in Key West, Florida?

11. In Key West, Florida…

To be determined.

In a few weeks, my husband and I will be making the drive to learn more about what foods are served there. They will be hosting a key lime festival (wherein they drop key lime pies from lighthouses and the person who keeps it most intact wins?), and you can bet I will be drinking a tropical drink and soaking up the sun. Am I crazy? Well, that too is to be determined. It's possible.

What are some foods and drinks you associate with different locations? Have you ever tried a food in one place only to discover that it tastes completely different elsewhere? Are there specific foods you have to get every time you visit a specific location or place?

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