If there is one thing I love more than travelling, it's food. A common joke that flies around the office about me is my ability to eat just about anything and a lot of it. I will usually graze throughout the day, but I find that eating the same old sandwich from the corner shop can get a bit tiresome.
My love of food comes with not being picky and that's what every foodie should be like. I've never heard of a restaurant critic that doesn't like sea food or only likes their steaks well-done. This means that I'm always open to taste new things and, to be honest; this should be everyone's outlook in life. Trying new and unfamiliar dishes is an exciting discovery and this is where it goes hand in hand with travel.
The prospect of seeing new sites while travelling is always high on the agenda, but another reason for a lot of travellers to visit destinations is to try new smells and taste new foods. It gives people a chance to break away from the sensory routine of their everyday lives and expose themselves to a sensory barrage of unfamiliar scents, sounds and palettes. So, which destinations can provide the best culinary delights?
Walking through the warrens of the souks and the infamous night market, visitors are instantly drawn in to try the local dishes. A popular refreshment is mint tea, which can be quite relaxing and should be savoured over a long, lazy afternoon or evening.
The most popular dish here is the tagine which is usually meat cooked in a clay pot, providing a rich flavour as the herbs and spices marinate. You can find these dishes in any restaurant, but the best can usually be found in riads, small boutique hotels, within the old walled city.
During one evening, I found myself relaxing in the courtyard of the riad I was staying in, a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It was here I had the best lamb tagine I had ever tasted, complimented with apricot cous cous. For one evening during a stay in Morocco, it is recommended to stay at least one night, relaxing in the hotel and trying their dishes, because it might just be the best you have during your entire stay.
The Americans love their food and the like it big. Travelling through North America and visiting the various local eateries feels more like an accomplishment than a discovery. On most menus, you can find a culinary challenge that only the most experience foodies should take part in.
The US doesn't really have a national dish, but instead take bits and pieces from other nations and make it their own. Take the hamburger for example. The humble burger is originally German, as is the hotdog, but has now become synonymise with the American culture.
However, if it's one thing I will always remember eating in America, it's the pulled pork, slowly roasted, allowing it to fall apart in your mouth. During my stay in the south, venturing on all the Florida attractions like a little kid, I was lucky enough to try a local pulled pork sandwich with BBQ sauce and I will never forget it. Not the most nouveau cuisine, but we all have our guilty pleasures.
The Mediterranean, the sun and the sea. What could be more relaxing for a summer holiday than chilling out in the south of Spain?
The array of dishes that come with Tapas has become so popular that it has found its way over to many restaurants here in the UK. We're obviously a sharing nation if we're happy to sit down on a big table with our friends and eat patatas bravas and albidongas together. We usually find that the small dishes weren't so small after all however and collectively they defeat us time and again.
Regardless, there is nothing better than settling down for the evening with a bottle of white wine and the most famous of all Spanish dishes, Paella. You can get this recipe anywhere and try it in most restaurants, but you have to go to Spain to get a taste of the real thing. Simmering away in a huge pot with an assortment of chicken, chorizo and shellfish, a traditional paella will be creamy and bursting with flavour from the prawns, muscles and calamari.
I wasn't going to finish this article without being patriotic. The UK has had a bad rap in the past for our inability to produce tasty food. Well, it looks like the last laugh belongs to us as we turn into a nation of foodies, inspired by TV cooking shows and competitions to encourage us to try new things and even cook it for ourselves.
Admittedly, we take other recipes and adapt it, experimenting and coming up with new creations all the time. However, there is one dish that will stand the test of time and is often overlooked.
A Sunday just wouldn't be complete without a roast dinner. Whether it's beef, turkey or lamb, a good roast dinner is a reason to look forward to the weekend. It's almost become a sort of unspoken competition within families as fiery discussions of how to cook the best roast shoot back and forth.
Personally, I believe my grandma cooked the best roast, from the homemade gravy and Yorkshire puddings, right down to the roast potatoes in goose fat. It's something that I aspire to, but unfortunately can never meet the standard no matter how hard I try. Therefore, a good old fashioned roast dinner has to make to the list.