Saturday, December 11, 2010

Food and Travelling

Sometimes, my family and I joke, it seems that our travels are less about seeing places, and more about eating our way across the world. If you were to ask my parents about visiting Hiroshima, they'd talk about the okonomiyaki they ate there (unlike the okonomiyaki from the Chubu region, Hiroshima is famous for its layered okonomiyaki involving ramen noodles). Heck, I have no idea what their other highlights were there. All over Japan, my Dad was a HUGE fan of the vending machine coffee "shooters".

For me, memories of a place and what I ate are intrinsically linked.

Japan: I still dream about the fried chicken (karaage) from Senri (2004-2006) in Sakashita (My then-boyfriend, now-husband and I wrote most of the Tono section for this guide back in 2005. That "highly recommended bit about Senri's chicken? Yeah. That was me, half a decade ago), a local restaurant in my village. Eating fugu (2005) in Osaka and udon noodles on Shikoku (2006). Yakiniku in Ena (2004-2006). Fresh tofu in Kyoto (2006).

Thailand: A whole deep fried fish with a sweet chili sauce eaten beachside at a restaurant with four tables. The other three were occupied by white guys meeting erm... well... prostitutes. I can understand why they chose that place for their dates (do you call it that if it's really a business transaction?). Awesome location. Great food. Green curry bought from a 7/11 that burned my mouth. Eating fresh rambutan out on our balcony while watching the waves of the Bay of Bengal crash in. (2005)

England: Marks and Spencer's sweets (2006). The worst sandwich ever at Harrod's (1998). Chicken Kiev in Covent Garden (1998). Scrumpy Jack (2003). Real McCoy's Cheese and Onion crisps (2005). My search for the Lion bar (1994), which was problematic because I couldn't remember what it was called and resulting in me buying the better part of 20 + chocolate bars in an effort to find it. Thornton's Fruit and Nut Toffee (2003)

Wales: My first ploughman's lunch with Stone Soup (Avebury, The Circle Restaurant, 1994). It's a vegetarian restaurant, and I didn't eat veggies back in the day. It was my first foray into meatless meals. It was surprising to realize that I wasn't going to keel over and die.

Germany: when I was 7, I remember my uncle Steve ordering for my mother, and she ended up with fried bologna. She was not amused (1987).

Hawaii: the crispy sushi roll from Roy's (2007) and the butter poached lobster at Alan Wong's (2009). Our passion fruit mousse filled wedding cake (2009). Big Island Candies Chocolate Covered Coconut Brownies (2005)

St. John, NB: Saltwater Taffy (1986) and Pete's Frootique (1986-1989)

Calgary, AB: Skor Fudge (1994) from this little spot in Stony Creek. On a day trip from there, we also had the best ice cream ever.

Salt Spring Island, BC: Blackberry port (2007), the Fishery's Smoked Salmon Mousse (2007).

Victoria, BC: The Sunday brunch at the Empress (1984), the smell of my Nana's bread baking in the oven (1984-1994), Dolly Mixture (also courtesy of my grandparents)

Church Point, NS: The lobster dinner at Université Sainte-Anne (2003). Pure carnage. Red lobster carcasses everywhere.

What about you? Is there a food you strongly associate with a place?


Angela said...

We are the same way! I think part of the reason we chose the Greek Islands for our honeymoon was because we loved the Greek food from our first trip. One of my favorite memories from Romania was the mititei. Traveling and food go hand in hand, glad I'm not the only one that thinks that way!

Alyson said...

Oh, I love it! That's awesome. What's mititei? Was there one thing in particular you loved that you ate in Greece?

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

For me, Japan and Atom Boy sushi in Toki are inseparable. More specifically, the ebi tempura with both sauces.

Hawaii makes me think of ahi poke bought from a supermarket.

And nothing says "Victoria (BC) food" to me like Ali Baba 2 for 1 pizza (with lactose-free cheese).

Alyson said...

Mmm. Atom boy sushi. That place was awesome. Our Sunday-night-returned-from-somewhere-awesome dinner spot.

I can't believe I forgot about Ali Baba soy cheese pizza! Crazy.

Ringy said...

Um, YES.

Rome - I stayed at a campground and had really bad cafeteria risotto for a few days before discovering the nearby pizza joint. OMG.

New Orleans - where do I even begin? Oysters, fried alligator, po'boy sandwiches, beignets. We stayed at a place right around the corner from Cafe du Monde and beat the crowds every morning!

Alaska - fresh pacific salmon, king crab and generally amazing cruise food

Maritimes - PEI potato salad, lobster, chowder, and one of the B&Bs we stayed at had the most amazing rhubarb parfait for breakfast

Columbus OH - salted caramel ice cream, and goat cheese/fig ice cream

Mexico City - tacos al pastor and hibiscus juice

Cuba - the resort food wasn't great, but for some reason they had the most amazing blue cheese. And fresh papaya.

This was a good trip down memory lane. Thank you.

Alyson said...

Ooh, hibiscus juice? That sounds really neat, as does the goat cheese and fig ice cream. Killer!

Angela said...

Mititei are little sausages that are amazing! In Greece we loved the lamb, the goat cheese, the tomatoes, just about everything that we ate. I don't think we had one bad dish on any of the islands. The vegetables, spices and meats are incredible. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Alyson said...

Oh Angela, you had me at sausages! Now I want to research them and see if I can find them here somewhere. I'm going to ask one of the teachers at my school who's Romanian...

I would LOVE to eat my way across Europe. That's like my ideal vacation.

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