PictureA World of Food | Photo Collage by: Andressa Niña V. Flores
By: Andressa Niña V. Flores

Sometimes, it’s not a question of where you’ve been, but rather what you’ve tasted.

A travel experience will remain dull, until one has sampled the best and most exotic local dishes of the country he visited.

I love feeling the authenticity of local food from the tips to the bases of my taste buds. Walking into different pubs, bars, and restaurants - wondering what I’d get and how I’d find it - gives me a sense of joy and surprise. And most of all, I think it's amazing how different one country’s cuisine is from another’s – different and yet delectable in their own unique way.

Indeed, food is identity.

Here are some taste bud-certified favorites from my most memorable trips:
PictureSingapore's Chilli Crab | Photo Courtesy of itoday.com

Chilli Crab

Although the Hainanese chicken rice is a more common and obvious option for tourists in Singapore, one couldn’t really say that he’s been to the Lion City without pigging out over a platter of chilli crab – Singapore’s signature seafood dish.

A wonderful play of spiciness, sweetness, and saltiness seeping through and absorbed in the crab’s soft and juicy meat, the chilli crab sure is the perfect package of a dish.

PictureEnglish Fish and Chips | Photo Courtesy of tripadvisor.co.uk
Fish and Chips

If you’ve listed London, Oxford, and Manchester in your ultimate English getaway, you better include Eastbourne in it as well. Why? Because they have the best fish and chips in the world!

Fish and chips are probably the most famous food in Britain. The ‘fish’ is usually made from cod, haddock, or plaice, dipped in a batter and deep-fried in hot fat, while the chips are thick deep-fried batons of potatoes.

The traditional fish and chips are served wrapped in paper, and best eaten straight out from it. Oh, the sweet cheap thrill of unwrapping the package of glorious fish and chips!

PictureCzech Smažený Sýr | Photo by Andressa Niña V. Flores

Smažený sýr

A gastronomic disaster to some, smažený sýr is more like a guilty pleasure to many.

Literally translated as “fried cheese”, smažený sýr is basically a slice of edam cheese dredged in flour, coated in egg and bread crumbs and fried into a crunchy-chewy treat that’s best dipped in tartar sauce (“tatarská omáčka”), best paired with chips or potato croquettes, and of course, Czech beer. 

PictureBryndzové Halušky of Slovakia | Photo by Andressa Niña V. Flores
Bryndzové Halušky

Considered as Slovakia’s national food, the halušky comes in different kinds, depending on its ingredients and on how it is prepared. There’s cabbage halušky (“strapačky”) and cream cheese halušky, but the most popular kind would be bryndzové halušky – tiny potato dumplings topped with the Slovak specialty “bryndza” or sheep cheese, and bits of bacon.

With its simple appearance, bryndzové halušky may look like a pretty easy dish to make, but a halušky-cooking session with a Slovak friend of mine proved me wrong.

From grating the potatoes to pushing the potato-and-flour batter through a sieve held over a pot of boiling water, cooking halušky is nothing close to easy. It’s grueling, and will require a lot of arm strength, and maybe, some endurance, too.

I may have tasted the authentic bryndzové halušky in Bratislava, but nothing compares with the one I made through sweat and pain. If anything, I would say that the effort could have even intensified its flavour and my hunger.

PicturePork Schnitzel | Photo Courtesy of deutschermann.wordpress.com


Because pork chops and steaks are too mainstream, why not order a good slab of schnitzel on a trip to Germany?

A piece of boneless meat hammered thin and deep-fried into perfection, the schnitzel is a popular dish that a lot of countries have modified into their own taste, but the German schnitzel stands out as the original and probably, the best-tasting too. 

PictureCheese and Bacon Pannenkoeken | Photo Courtesy of: Andressa Niña V. Flores
Pannenkoeken and Poffertjes

Slightly thicker than a regular crepe and could come up to a foot-long in diameter, the Dutch pannenkoeken isn’t your regular butter-and-maple-syrup pancake. Served with either sweet or savory ingredients, the pannenkoeken is a popular dish amongst the Dutch, and the best pancake diners all over the country could be pretty busy, bustling with patrons and first-time visitors everyday.

If you’re not a fan of oversized pancakes, go and try poffertjes instead. They are really tiny pancakes, about two inches in diameter, usually served for breakfast, sprinkled with powdered sugar and glazed with honey or maple syrup.

PictureBrussels Waffle with Tppings | Photo by Andressa Niña V. Flores
Brussels Waffles 

Whoever thought that a “Belgian waffle” is Belgian is technically wrong. It’s like calling a fortune cookie Chinese or French fries French. A Belgian waffle is actually a type of waffle popular in America, while the waffles in Belgium are a different story.

Belgium boasts of its wide varieties of waffles, and one of the most famous kinds (and one of the best, I must say) is the Brussels waffle.

Either you eat it in its own or with the toppings of your choice, it’s really, really good, which is why there’s no surprise that this is the favorite treat among tourists and locals alike.

Although restaurants across the city have the Brussels waffle in their menus, they could come pretty pricey, and you’ll end up paying more than what you’ve had. I would recommend getting those 1-Euro waffles sold in side-street shops instead, where you could pick as many toppings as your heart desires without burning a hole in your wallet

My favourite? Brussels waffles topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, laced with Belgian chocolate syrup.

A trip to the Belgian capital sure will never be complete without sampling this treat.

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