Culture Trip staff members recall the feelings and flavours associated with noteworthy dishes from destinations around the world.
Picture this: a small restaurant on a Cornish beach in England that you can only access by foot. Reviews speak of salt-washed surroundings, seafood fresh from the ocean and onto your plate, and a hut nestled in the hills above the beach.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
This little gem of a restaurant, called Hidden Hut, has provided a memorable dining experience for many. Its dazzling combination of spectacular scenery, the soundtrack of the ocean and fresh fish cooked steps from the shore are seared in my memory, and I return to this dream now, as the desire to explore feels stronger than ever. Food has become a major part of travelling, and destination restaurants and bars are now as integral to a good itinerary as historical landmarks or cultural hotspots. For those obsessed with food, the prospect of a once-in-a-lifetime meal is the major driving force behind picking specific travel destinations.
Hours on end can be spent researching restaurants and drooling over photos of homemade ravioli or enormous platters of paella accompanied by cool glasses of wine. However, some of the best dining experiences happen by chance. The might come about as a recommendation from a local, or are just a place that’s stumbled across, which turns out to serve the best meal of an entire trip. Therein lies the beauty of travel.
Here Culture Trip foodies dream about past food adventures, mining their memories for inspiration during this lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps you too will find something in these stories that triggers your own experience, or sends you back to your own scene in paradise, wherever that may be.
Jessica Dellow – Branded Content Producer
We were en route to Ella in Sri Lanka and were getting rather hungry. Our local tour guide took us to this roadside jackfruit taco stall in Badula, and I still think about that meal to this day. The tacos were incredible and made inside this tiny hut that we would’ve easily missed otherwise. A lady cooked them over an open fire and served them with a chilli sambal sauce, and we wolfed them down while precariously perched on the side of the road with tuk-tuks whizzing past. All definitely part of the experience.
Sofia Vyas – Commercial Editor
On a family holiday to LA, my dad insisted on a meal at C & O Trattoria in Marina del Rey – an Italian restaurant with singing waiters where he had been years before. We all rolled our eyes at the thought and tried everything to convince him to eat elsewhere, but he wouldn’t budge. After a few plates of forgettable but comforting pasta, laminated song sheets appeared in front of us (cue more exasperated eye rolls). Within minutes, waiters were whirling around the kitschy little trattoria, raucously bellowing Dean Martin’s ‘That’s Amore’ and clinking glasses with the guests. After several pitchers of red wine, it was impossible not to be swept up in the whole giddy scene. It was hilariously unexpected – and accompanied by more than one gleeful “I told you so”.
Annelise Carling – Creative Services Manager
I’ll never forget this meal. It was a small restaurant round the corner from our hostel in Hiroshima, Japan, called Okonomiyaki Teppanyaki Tampopo. We had heard we needed to try the okonomiyaki there but were feeling lazy so went to the closest place we could find – and were so lucky this was the place we stumbled upon. It’s a tiny restaurant run by an elderly couple and their daughter. They were so friendly, even through the language barrier; I think they were what really made it special. They cook the pancakes in front of you on a hot griddle and you use a kind of shovel to, well, shovel into your face! The pancakes are topped with sizzling pork, noodles, eggs, leek, okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese mayo, and all washed down with local sake. I could have cried, it was that good.
James Williams – Director of Sales
Mine would have to be a farm-to-table restaurant called Jazamango in Baja California. It was the most stunning setting among the herb gardens in an open-air restaurant, where they cooked on an open fire using ingredients all grown on site. You could smell the sizzling meat before you got there. The food was either picked from the gardens around the restaurant, or from animals reared on the farm itself, and you could walk around the gardens with the staff as they pointed out various vegetables. It had the freshest tomatoes and salads, and the most amazing beef I’ve ever eaten – all in a secret garden-style setting hidden in the hinterland.
Anne Stevens – Director of UX Research
We had a very memorable meal in Rome. The restaurant was in a tiny courtyard down a side street where we sat outside; the whole space was lit by candles and set around a bubbling fountain. We ate delicious fresh pasta and an amazing peppery rocket salad. It was so atmospheric and just summed up the magic of Rome. We just happened to stumble upon it while looking for a dinner destination and I’m sure I could never find it again.
Renee Tsielepi – Head of Agile
The best meal I’ve ever had was at a restaurant called Vaisko in Luosto – a small town within the Arctic Circle in Lapland (Finland). The dishes were typically Finnish – including reindeer. As every course came out I kept announcing it was the best thing I had ever eaten, and then the next would come and I would say it again! The food was melt-in-your-mouth, and the atmosphere was very log cabin-like – warm and cosy with metres and metres of snow outside. To think I’d brought oat bars with me in case I couldn’t find any places to eat in deepest darkest Lapland and I found the best restaurant of my life. My daughter and I also went in the wrong entrance and literally fell into chest-deep snow. We were laughing so hard we could barely get out of the snow and around to the front entrance. The memories of the restaurant, the meal, the snow, the igloos… will last a lifetime.
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