Memorable Meals: How a Plate of Food Can Inspire an Adventure

Hidden Hut at Porthcurnick Beach in Cornwall offers a truly authentic seaside experience
Hidden Hut at Porthcurnick Beach in Cornwall offers a truly authentic seaside experience | © Mark Mercer / Alamy Stock Photo
Molly Codyre

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.

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.

The Hidden Hut in Cornwall is sure to provide a memorable dining experience

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.

Roadside tacos were a highlight in Sri Lanka

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.

Okonomiyaki was the dish of the day in Hiroshima

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.

The magic of Rome was captured in a tiny side street restaurant

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.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

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All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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