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Yummy, Yummier, Yummiest

A Trip of the Taste

by Magdalena Łukaszek

Every time I have an opportunity to

travel, I bring back home a bunch of memories, lots of photos, some souvenirs and something else – a fresh flavor of the cuisine of the country I visited, and even more, actually, the particular taste of the place I have visited.

Food is an everyday part of our lives and sometimes becomes so prosaic that we do not attach much importance to it. However, a journey to foreign places makes us aware of not only how other countries differ from ours in terms of sights, culture or history, but also in terms of local cuisine.

The photograph above was taken in Spain, when I was exploring the city of Granada with my friends. Looking at this picture reminds me of the taste of these mules garnished with some fresh vegetables. But then a whole cascade of memories connected with the small market square where these tapas[1] were served come to mind: the small cobblestones under my feet, a gust of the wind on my face, the white walls of the buildings, the stramineous color of the wine and the friendly smile of the wrinkly owner of that tapas bar.

What is more, I have learned that eating or preparing food with locals can bring one more interesting information about the country than a guided tour!

Besides, eating cuisine specialties fulfills the whole journey!

How else can you tell if you have really visited Italy without having tried some pasta, Spain without having tasted paella, or Japan without having tasted sushi?


[1] Tapas – is the name of a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine

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Filed under: ■ Food & Travel, ■ Travel

79 Responses

  1. Iza B. says:

    There’s a lot of truth in this essay. When I think about the countries I visited, my memories are always connected to some kind of food. This goes not only for the taste, but also for the traditional ways of eating and the whole atmosphere surrounding the eating habits in a foreign country.

  2. karol says:

    Some of my friends always try to eat the same things in different countries, for example, try a Big Mac, or drink coffee at Starbucks.
    I do the same. I buy the cheapest sausage in market, and in that way I get to know the traditional taste of the country.

    • Alina Alens says:

      Hi, Karol!

      Your comment brought to mind a funny saying I once read:
      Every dog loves you as long as you’re dressed as a sausage! 😀

      It is interesting to choose the sausage as “the great leveler” in terms of cuisine. I never thought of it. I personally like to try out bakery products specific to certain countries, but I can’t really say that they are a staple in worldwide cuisine for me.
      Hmm… You got me thinking 🙂

  3. Ada says:

    Delicious…

    It is always about food! I remember once a friend of mine made me try dry octopus, a traditional Japanese snack. (It was a little bit disgusting). It was far from sushi… In spite of this, I totally recommend trying the yucky local cuisine 😀

  4. Mariusz says:

    The matter of eating or not eating something is often determined by cultural factors. For example we don’t eat dogs, while Chinese people do. What about you all ? Would you try dog meat if you had such a possibility?

    • Alina Alens says:

      Hmm… I don’t think so.

      In one version of The Cube one character is holding on to his shirt button, in other desperate cases people cut up straps of leather boots to chew on.
      I believe extreme cases lead to extreme measures. Hopefully we won’t need to find out…

      • Mariusz says:

        Eating the dog isn’t as extreme as that scene from The Cube. I prefer the chicken or the beef than the dog, of course, but in the future I would like to try some unusual meals. Here’s the link to the gallery containing the photos of weird things which people used to eat (unfortunately descriptions are in Polish).

      • Mariusz says:

        There are also pickled cucumbers or black pudding sometimes called blood sausage, because it consists of the blood and ground innards of pigs. What’s more, most of Poles find cow guts quite tasty. I think this could also seem weird to foreigners.

    • Ada says:

      Think of Polish cabbage, some visitors may think that this traditional meal of ours is rotten. I believe weird food is everywhere.

      • Alina Alens says:

        😀 Mariusz,

        I believe your previous comment has been invaded by this crazy little thing called “the.” Literally flooded!

        I would like to ask you what dog are you referring to? Which chicken and which particular beef?

        You probably mean:
        “Eating dog isn’t as extreme as that scene from The Cube. I prefer chicken or beef to dog, of course, but in the future I would like to try some unusual meals.”

        As for your bracketed sentence, it really deserves a “the“:
        (unfortunately the descriptions are in Polish)
        By the way, that is perfectly fine!
        I like to test my knowledge of Polish. 🙂

        Ada,
        I don’t find Polish cabbage meal rotten. In Romania we have a traditional dish in which we use cabbage leaves to wrap meat filling. The resulting stuffed cabbage rolls are called “sarmale” and they are delicious!!! Yummy

      • Mariusz says:

        Yes, you are completely right. Forgive my ignorance about articles.

      • Przemek says:

        You’re definitely right. I’d also add pickled cucumber to our little list 😉 However, from my own experience I can say that almost every CS traveller who comes to Kraków wants to try it…

      • Magdalena G. says:

        As far as I know, the Japanese for example pickle waaaay more types of food than we do. Including fruits (like umeboshi, pickled fruits of ume – a type of apricot, but often called plum – which can be bought in Poland in some shops, although it’s rather expensive). This is because of the warm climate, which causes food to become rotten really quickly unless it is preserved – for example, by pickling. I remember eating sushi with pickled gourd at least once. Delicious.
        By the way, this reminded me about a short comic which was a bonus chapter of a manga “Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle“. In this story, the four main characters went to a sushi bar. While three of them (supposedly Asians) just loved sushi, the fourth one (who was supposed to be European of sorts) didn’t want even to try it, because it has some raw fish and smelled “sour and rotten”… (A modified version of that scene is also present in the TV adaptation of the manga… don’t remember which episode it was, only that it was at the beginning of second season. It was aired on Hyper some time ago, so some of you might have seen it.)

  5. Agnieszka Kow. says:

    When I’m abroad I do not only try the food there. I also buy it: olive oil and some spices in Greece, wine or grappa in Italy, apple tea in Turkey, etc.; all of these help me to feel like I’m on holiday a bit longer. 😉

  6. mike says:

    The word “cobblestone” reminded me of an interesting thing about cycling. Namely, there is a very famous cycling race Paris-Roubaix in France. It is well known and quite hard particularly because of its long cobblestone sections.
    What’s more, the trophy for the race is, apart from the money, a cobblestone on a base.
    Beside, riding on a bike may be an interesting way to lose the kilograms we gained after such an enjoyable trip, full of delicious dishes.

    • Mariusz says:

      You’re right, Mike. Cycling has a good influence on human health, but you have to pay attention to the time you’re spending on the bicycle seat. There is scientific research that proves that cycling might cause erectile dysfunction.
      Here you can find an article concerning this problem.

  7. NataliaB says:

    It’s true, eating is a very important part of travelling. And the best way to eat abroad is to avoid the tourist-oriented restaurants and bars in city centers, and eat with the locals. During my latest trip to Morocco, my wonderful hosts in Agadir cooked a delicious tajine every night. Tajine is a meal prepared in traditional, cone-shaped pots; it can consist of meat or fish and various vegetables, and it’s eaten with traditional Moroccan bread. I really liked the meal, so once, while in Marrakesh, I decided to order it in a restaurant. And I was shocked! It was so different from what I was used to, that I could hardly recognize the taste. That was the worst tajine of my life, and from then on, I don’t trust restaurants that cook “traditional” food for tourists.

    • Alina Alens says:

      Great recommendation, Natalia!

      I’m on a comma quest at the moment, so I couldn’t help noticing that you wrote:
      It was so different from what I was used to, that I could hardly recognize the taste.
      I recommend no comma between to and that.
      I believe you see what I mean 🙂
      If you do, mission accomplished!

  8. swistak says:

    When I was in high school I visited Germany for a month. There were other students form Poland and Germany. One of our meetings was some kind of a festival of Polish food. I cooked bigos, more or less successfully. We also ate schabowy, kapusta and pierogi
    My little experience showed me, that there is indeed so, that the phrase “to meet other country” means also “to meet its cuisine” 🙂

    • Alina Alens says:

      Sounds tasty. 🙂
      Did you try anything from the German cuisine you liked?

      Rephrasing the last sentence, I agree with you that, as our limited experience shows, there is some truth in saying that we meet another country by tasting its cuisine.

  9. Rafał G. says:

    “Every time I have an opportunity to travel, I bring back home a bunch of memories, lots of photos, some souvenirs and something else – a fresh flavor of the cuisine of the country I visited, and even more, actually, the particular taste of the place I have visited.”
    I agree with the author of this text. I think that a taste of the local cuisine after coming back home brings back memories even better than photos. I brought back from Greece some frappe – the local version of ice-coffee. I like to make it by myself, especially when there is hot outside. When I feel the taste of frappe in my mouth, it immediately brings back the view of the beautiful blue sky and the azure see.
    I recommend this drink to everyone.

    • Magda Łukaszek says:

      Yeah, frappe! I also have this taste in my memory – automatically I can hear in my mind the voice and melody of some sellers yelling on the beach ‘ice-coffee, frappe, something something’ 😉

  10. Patryk-Filip says:

    I have the same thing with smells. The old fragrances remind me of the beautiful holiday time.
    As far as eating is concerned I would like to find somewhere in Krakow a real Greek gyros.
    Last time I had a gyro, it was very tasty. Unfortunately it is impossible to prepare it on my own.

  11. Rafał G. says:

    In Kraków you can only find some kebabs 😉 However, if you ask typical people on the street what the difference between gyros and kebab is, they won’t know.

    • Alina Alens says:

      First, a question: typical or common people?
      What is the difference and which one do you mean?

      Second, two dictionary observations:

      Gyros
      is the plural for gyro, which means meat, usually lamb, roasted on a vertical spit, then thinly sliced, topped with onions, and usually served in a sandwich of pita bread.
      Origin: 1970–75; < ModGk gŷros < lit. turn, revolution; see gyre.

      Kebab
      1. Usually, kabobs. Small pieces of meat or seafood seasoned or marinated and broiled, often with tomatoes, green peppers, onions, or other vegetables, usually on a skewer.
      2.(in Anglo-Indian use) roast meat.
      Also known as cabob, kebab, kebob, kabab.

      Origin: 1665–75; < Ar, Hindi kabāb < Turk kebap roast meat.

  12. Rafał G says:

    By “typical” I mean: plain, ordinary, usual, simple, who just consume fast-food and can’t see any difference between dishes.
    Gyros is a kind of Greek national dish and I think that both names (gyros and gyro) are correct in English. In Greek there is just Γύρος (Gyros).

    • Alina Alens says:

      That’s precisely what I thought by reading this term in the context of your answer!

      However, “typical,” all by itself, does not convey the complex meaning you had in mind to other readers(unless they possess mind-reading abilities like mine 😀 ). You could replace “typical person” with phrases like the “typical Polish consumer” or the “average person/ man or woman,” or with many other versions. “Typical” in this case is simply not explicit enough.

  13. Rafał G. says:

    “The omission of the “s” at the end of gyros is a common form of hypercorrection in the English language, as seen with the word biceps(s) muscle.” – from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyros

    • Alina Alens says:

      Accurate observation, Rafal!

      There are times when we want to be hypercorrect, and times when being correct is enough. It’s up to us, the speakers, to choose between these attitudes.

  14. Matylda says:

    When I was in the USA, I seldom ate fast food. It was cheap,of course, but I was happy when I could taste sushi (not only in Chinese restaurants ;)). American people can buy sushi (also) in supermarkets and it is fresh. 🙂
    In Poland… I have doubts whether the sushi from supermarkets will be edible… 😉

  15. Rafał G. says:

    I thought that sushi was Japanese food. Do the Chinese also eat it?
    Fast food of course is junk food. It is sold only to make money by big concerns…

  16. Aga P. says:

    Sometimes fast food is sold in small bars by people who have nothing in common with the big concerns. 🙂
    According to sushi it is true that if you want to eat good sushi it is better not to buy it in a supermarket. You should go to a good restaurant, unfortunately pay a lot, and then enjoy your sushi. 😀

    • Alina Alens says:

      Now, according to Sushi, 😉 an interesting person I know, summer time has already settled in Japan.
      Of course Sushi’s favourite dish is, as you may have guessed, … sushi.
      Regarding this dish, I can assure you that the best sushi I had was made by my very own friend, Mr Sushi, a true expert! And that’s according to me, as I have personally tried it.:)

    • Magda Ł says:

      When it comes to sushi I think that a great idea is to prepare it yourself. It will not be very expensive. Maybe it won’t be as sophisticated as in a restaurant, but in my opinion it can be as tasty as the professionally made one. And what fun making it! 🙂

  17. mike says:

    I agree with Magda 🙂 I make sushi from time to time and I must say that it’s easy, especially when you’ll gain a bit of experience… When I went some time ago to a sushi restaurant, I realized with satisfaction that my own tastes better 😉 And there is so much space for experiments because you can put inside everything you like and enjoy the unique taste of your “personal” sushi:)

  18. Patryk-Filip says:

    @ Where did you have that tasty, truly Greek gyro?

    In Greece I was on holidays there in 2006 and 2007.

    The national Greek food apart from gyros is musaka – quite tasty.

  19. Rafał G. says:

    Apart from gyros and musaka, you should also try tzatziki and gavros. I think that in general, the Greek cousine is very good – not so fatty and with a lot of vegetables.
    How about trying ouzo?

  20. Aga P. says:

    Ouzo is very good with Sprite.

  21. Patryk-Filip says:

    Ohhh tzatziki is great. unfortunately I have never tried gavros. What is it, and how does it taste?

    Aga Ouso is awful! 😉 However I tried Retzina and I’m lovin’ it 😉

  22. Rafał G. says:

    First of all: not “ouso” but ouzo (ούζο).
    Gavros is just European sprat which tastes really good.

  23. mike says:

    I have never tasted ouzo with sprite… I only enjoyed it in the way we drink vodka. I don’t know if this is the right way, but it tasted ok. More like a syrup from a pharmacy.

  24. Aga P. says:

    Ouzo with sprite doesn’t taste like syrup, but it is very sweet. Really good!

    • Rafał G. says:

      Greeks drink ouzo with … water 🙂 I have never tasted ouzo with sprite, but it seems interesting.
      How about frappe? Do you have any experiences?

      • Alina Alens says:

        Enjoy it with a friend, on a terrace, in the shade, on a warm, sunny day! With the beach close, a paradise!

      • Magda Ł says:

        When I was in Greece I was under age so I had to enjoy a frappe instead of an Ouzo (but my father claims it was as good as retzina 😉 ).
        But the taste of the frappe in the shade, the azure sky, the hot sun and the melting ice cubes in my glass are definitely one of the ‘tastes of Greece’ for me.

  25. KasiaU2 says:

    It seems to me that discovering new tastes in a country we visit is one of the most pleasant parts of our journey. Everybody likes tasting new dishes.

  26. Łukasz G. says:

    How can you tell that you visited Poland without having tried Pierogi or Bigos? 😉
    I love recalling my memories by the tasting some delicious cuisine.

  27. Justyna French Accent says:

    mmm what a tasty essay. I’m so happy that summer is close. I get hungry when I think about new tastes coming. Argentine beef this year, yum 😉

    • Mr A says:

      Well, great! Now you’ve got me hungry again 😦

    • Magda Ł says:

      Argentine beef? Take me with you! Yummy! 😀

      • Justyna French Accent says:

        No problem! The only sad aspect is that it will be winter in august, if we can call it winter in Argentina. But it will be pretty cold and I’m affraid I will not get a tan 😦 so I will spend my time in the restaurants! 😉

      • Magda Ł says:

        I don’t mind the winter! I have been in a mood for a tasty bloody steak for a looong time. And as Argentina is famous for its beef I’m sure my caprice would be fulfilled there 😉

  28. Matylda says:

    In Łódź there is a very good Jewish restaurant called “Anatewka“. I ate Galician style Trout there last time. It was delicious 🙂

  29. Laska says:

    For those who look for a special taste and flavour I recommend our local restaurant, “Nawojka“. 😀

    • KasiaU2 says:

      I haven’t eaten in “Nawojka” for a long time. I don’t like the fact that the food is almost the same every day though. 😛

  30. Matylda says:

    If you like eating fish, you should fish 😀 Easily and cheaply 😉

  31. Patryk-Filip says:

    Polish beef is quite different than for example English or American beef. This difference is caused by the way of dressing. In Poland it is rather impossible to buy a typical American rare steak.

    Argentinian beef was available on Kazimierz – I don’t remember the name of the restaurant – but now this place is closed, due to high prices.

    • Alina Alens says:

      😀
      Let’s see, so I should be careful about what my beef wears and I may warn my friends:
      Be sure that when you order an American cheeseburger it comes wearing GAP jeans… for authenticity’s sake.
      Very funny!
      The options my “hidden meaning” radar identifies might be:
      the way of dressing” could stand for =
      1. “the way of cooking”
      2. “the sauces used”
      3. “the spices used”
      The question is: which option do you mean?
      Puzzling, but very, very funny!!!
      😀
      PS “in Kazimierz“, that should be where the restaurant was.

    • Justyna French Accent says:

      There is Pimiento Argentino Grill in Kazimierz, I will go there soon and tell you how yummy it was 😉

      http://www.pimiento.pl/index.html

      • Magda Ł says:

        Also in Kazimierz there is another half-Argentinean resto-pub “Diego & Bohumil” – actually it’s a weird mix of Argentinean-Czech cuisine. Wish to go there – anyone visited it yet?

  32. Piotrek says:

    And if u want to eat something light but you are really hungry – you should visit chimera on Św. Anna street (in a middle). Great place especially for really hot days…

    • Justyna French Accent says:

      Of course, I agree and recommend Chimera. It’s a lovely place. I eat there very often, but I think that a few years ago their quality was higher.

  33. Patryk-Filip says:

    @The question is: which option do you mean?

    Dressing beef is dressing. 🙂

    1. “the way of cooking”- No
    2. “the sauces used” -No
    3. “the spices used”- No

    The way of dressing is the way of cutting the meat by the butcher.

    • Alina Alens says:

      I see, so it’s option 4!
      Edifying! Thanks!

    • Alina Alens says:

      So you say “dressing” is the way of cutting the meat? That clarifies the meaning of your sentence.

      My research, however, did not confirm your answer.
      Here’s a link
      to what butchers call beef cuts, so I stick with my initial view:
      (1)the way people dress = the way of dressing
      and
      (2) the dressing = the sauce for food (salad etc)
      My suggestion is to use “meat cuts” and “the way of cutting the meat” and everyone is safe. LOL 😀

  34. Patryk-Filip says:

    My English – English dictionary says:

    To dress meat, poultry, or fish means to prepare it for selling and cooking by cleaning it and removing bits that you cannot eat”

    but maybe – cutting the meat – is more suitable

    • Alina Alens says:

      Yes, “cutting the meat” makes sense for lay butchers like myself. 🙂
      Your dictionary is, however right, therefore they are both possible.
      Another curious case is “curing the meat,” but that’s another story altogether.
      Curing the meat is the act or a method of preserving meat, fish, etc., by smoking, salting, or the like.
      Imagine curing the meat with aspirin and cough syrup!!!

      • atma says:

        in my family, grandma’s cure for meat was aspirin, cough syrup and a good night’s sleep. not to mention that she would always say “in case of meat, remember to dress warmly”…

  35. Chrisco says:

    hmmmmmmm. Last weekend I visited Zakopane for the first time. I knew some tastes from the south of Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia) and I was truly astonished by such delicious Polish cuisine in the mountain’s area. I had mutton (prepared in a variety of ways) and original goat and sheep cheese… Believe me or not – that was a real jam!!!

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