What’s the difference between Pad Thai in the US and Pad Thai in Thailand? Well, a lot actually. Dishes not only provide nourishment when you’re traveling, but when prepared in their native countries, they help to define a place and their people. The following dishes are influenced by a country’s culture, people, politics, geography and climate.
What foods should you try in your travels? See below a list of seven foods you should eat if you are ever in these countries.
This is a crispy crepe filled with spicy potatoes and traditionally dipped in a variety of sauces from chutney to tomato and lentil sauces. Though it can be found all over India, it’s a traditional South Indian dish and is a common breakfast food.
This is recognized as the national dish of Spain, with its roots in Valencia and comes in a variety of preparations. There are three types of paella, Valencian, Seafood and Mixed. Seafood paella is a rice and seafood based dish containing a variety of seafood from cuttlefish to mussels.
At its core, it’s a dish of French fries (also a beloved American dish), covered in brown gravy and cheese curds. It’s a fast food you can find in diners, pubs and elsewhere. It’s also rumored to be a hangover cure. (Try to avoid the hangover in the first place!)
USA – Texas (“It’s a Whole Other Country”)
Each cook has his or her special recipe, but nothing hits the spot better than smoked brisket, sausage, ribs and sides like fried okra. There’s plenty of debate about whose BBQ is best – Texas Monthly even has an annual issue devoted to BBQ and lists the best in the state. You might be in line for hours at some of these joints, but it’s worth the wait.
A food that is on the verge of extinction because of overfishing, this dish is Monkfish liver with grated Daikon radish. It’s prized among fans of sushi and is considered a delicacy in Japan.
Americans may be familiar with this dish (or its Americanized version), a staple in Vietnamese cooking. It consists of broth, rice noodles, spices and meat. It’s a popular food in Vietnam. In the south, they eat it for breakfast, while in the north they eat it any time of day. It was made popular in the rest of the world by refugees from the Vietnam War.
Britain & Ireland
Also called Cottage Pie, it’s a simple dish found served in most pubs. Shepherd’s Pie is simply minced meat topped with mashed potatoes. There are many variations that can be made with any meat, but the staple is generally mashed potato. You can also find St. Stephen’s Day Pie made with turkey and ham or Cumberland Pie made with breadcrumbs on top.
Wherever you travel, seek out local cuisine. It’s the best way to get your taste buds in touch with the land you’re exploring.
Contributed by William Pate