Do You Try To Eat Local Foods When You Travel?

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    Mar 16, 2015 1:13 AM GMT
    Both here in the US, which has many regional specialities, but also in other countries. Giving an RJer some Florida Keys travel advice today made me think about it. Here's some US examples I've eaten when I traveled or lived there, many of them fish, because I do like to experience the local foods. I mean, as long as you're there, why eat the same old foods as back home?

    - New England Coast: lobster, of course, and also North Atlantic fish like halibut.
    - NW Pacific Coast, especially Puget Sound area: Dungeness crab (I sometimes caught them myself).
    - Northern Minnesota: "walleye" (northern pike).
    - North Dakota: bison, especially bison burgers.
    - Red River of the North area, in North Dakota & Minnesota: local potatoes, best I've ever eaten.
    - Florida Keys: conch (pronounced "konk")
    - US Southern States: catfish, although much is farm grown, which some people reject.
    - New Orleans: crawfish (aka crayfish or crawdads).
    - Texas: beef, especially BBQ, or open pit.

    That's just a few. Do you have food favorites from places you've traveled?
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    Mar 16, 2015 4:38 AM GMT
    One of the most horrifying sights that I've seen is "Burger King" in Japan and "kfc" is the closest "restaurant" to El Prado. Good grief, we might as well launch nukes. icon_sad.gif
  • wesv

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    Mar 16, 2015 6:16 AM GMT
    Here in my area, we don't have to travel much to try various types of food. We have all sorts--I mean all sorts. I've even had some exotic stuff like Ethiopian.
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    Mar 16, 2015 7:06 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidOne of the most horrifying sights that I've seen is "Burger King" in Japan and "kfc" is the closest "restaurant" to El Prado. Good grief, we might as well launch nukes. icon_sad.gif

    I know. We have friends who sometimes come along with us to Key West, and they always go to a Denny's for breakfast. To order the same things they eat up in Fort Lauderdale.

    But Key West has some wonderfully unique restaurants, in the characteristic Key West style of architecture, some with great views. I suppose eggs are eggs, and coffee's coffee, but I wanna feel like I'm actually on a getaway from my routine here, a change of atmosphere and scenery. You can get look-alike Denny's anywhere. icon_razz.gif

    On our 3-day car trip to New Hampshire we naturally were stopping for gas & food at Interstate exits. But I did my best to avoid the restaurant chains and find the locally owned stuff, often for dinner with the help of the hotel staff, after we stopped for the night. Many smaller hotels at the Interstates don't have their own restaurants, so they don't mind giving advice.

    And we did very well, enjoyed many quaint places, met the locals and very often the owners. And would find unique specialities on the menu we hadn't had before, sometimes just a dessert item, or a way of doing a soup, but almost always at least some novelty that pleased us. We're both rather adventuresome when it comes to food.
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    Mar 16, 2015 8:15 AM GMT
    Here's some more from Northern Minnesota and North Dakota, based on that area's Scandinavian heritage from the immigration wave in the late 1800s. They are lefse (pronounced lef-seh), and lutefisk (lew-teh-fisk).

    Lefse are thin pancakes made from potatoes and flour, cooked in a griddle. Then you can butter them, often also sprinkled with granulated sugar, but lots of things can be used, roll them up and eat. It's fairly popular.

    Now lutefisk is a real acquired taste, and many of my Norwegian friends wouldn't touch it, and were surprised I just ate it down. You'll often find it included in church basement community dinners (invariably Lutheran), or Sons of Norway meeting hall dinners. Not too many people cook it in their own homes, to my experience.

    It's whitefish that's been dried and treated with salt and lye. The original intent was to prevent the fish from spoiling in pre-refrigeration times. The preservation process can take about 7 days. And then upwards of another 6 days to rinse the lye out of it.

    Many people can't stomach it, and don't even like to be in the same room because of the pungent odor, that can remain in your clothes, like food from India can. But if properly prepared and not rushed it's not too bad, and the secret for me is to smother it in melted butter on my plate.

    With modern refrigeration it's more of a holdover tradition rather than a diet staple, that some people feel gives them a connection with their Scandinavian roots. Sorta like the traditional food items found in the classic US Thanksgiving dinner.
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    Mar 16, 2015 10:11 AM GMT
    Oh yeah!
    Balut in the PI
    Wok fried scorpions, grasshoppers, and frogs in Thailand
    Fugu in Japan
    Roast whole duck in Hong Kong
    Vegemite in Australia
    Pepper crab in Singapore
    Variations of octopus in Korea
    Boiled peanuts in Georgia... The state not the country

    So yeah, I'm all about it.
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    Mar 16, 2015 11:45 AM GMT
    In the places I go there isn't much choice but to eat whatever is in the pot. But definitely, that is my first choice. Hate being in a little village somewhere and having someone pull out a decade old package of American something (biscuits, crackers) for me to eat cause they think I will like it. LOL.
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    Mar 16, 2015 11:58 AM GMT
    Your lutefisk reference brought up memories of all the pickled herring I ate as a small child thanks to my Scandanavian paternal side. Bleh just thinking about it now.
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    Mar 16, 2015 12:10 PM GMT
    I do. I think it's one of the reasons for travelling.
    There might be instances when due to lack of the local language, I had to stick to McD/KFC or other known fast food places. If I see a dish with familiar ingredients, and not very expensive, I would try it.
  • Destinharbor

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    Mar 16, 2015 1:39 PM GMT
    wesv saidHere in my area, we don't have to travel much to try various types of food. We have all sorts--I mean all sorts. I've even had some exotic stuff like Ethiopian.

    African food is all about the spice mix which is close to a lot of middle eastern spice combinations which even relates to Indian. Early trading routes dating back to 1,000 BC along the coasts spread the same spices. Surprisingly, the Asian love of hot spices is tracked to trade with What is now Mexico further back than the Euro settlements in North America. I've been experimenting with all of those linkages in my cooking. Helps me cut back on red meat.
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    Mar 17, 2015 10:39 PM GMT
    It really depends on the ingredient. Open arms to any unfamilar spices and veggies, but meat and fish on the other hand, I'll just stick to sea fish, beef and chicken.
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    Mar 17, 2015 11:00 PM GMT
    Definitely, and wherever I go. Yelp is a good source for local spots, and I always try to get the local specialties. Shrimp & grits in Charleston, whitefish in the UP, Mexican in the SW, Chinese in SF (the best in the country; take it from a 25-year resident!), beef in KS City, and fried chicken and other southern specialties in the Deep South. OTOH, I was reduced to eating almost exclusively at KFC when I traveled to Australia several decades ago; they cook[ed?] with "fry," a fat rendered from lamb, and it gives EVERYTHING a near-rancid flavor.
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    Mar 18, 2015 12:04 AM GMT
    Fast food in Portland:

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    There are hundreds of these things around, in clusters of a dozen or so. They come and go. There is always something different. They used to be kind of illegal, but... all the employees at the Health Department get their lunches at those places. And the Planning Department. And the Police Department. So now they're sort of legal.

    Dang it. Now I'm hungry.
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    Mar 18, 2015 12:33 AM GMT
    jeepbstrd saidYour lutefisk reference brought up memories of all the pickled herring I ate as a small child thanks to my Scandanavian paternal side. Bleh just thinking about it now.

    I LOVE pickled herring! My Father always ate it, too. You can get it in most large US supermarkets in glass jars. My favorite is Vita brand.

    Almost all my ancestry is northern European, except for a touch of French, so I love that kind of food. And today for St. Patrick's Day my husband & I, and several of our friends, all enjoyed corned beef & cabbage, with boiled whole red potatoes & carrots.

    It was wonderful! We all wore green shirts, and I wore one of my kilts. Not only do I love eating a wide variety of foods, best of all new things, but also making a fun occasion out of it.
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    Mar 18, 2015 1:51 AM GMT
    To answer the thread question....yes, most definitely! Nothing grates my nerves than going to a popular destination only to be littered with american chain restaurants. But they exist because those chains are restaurants that people are familiar with and those are the same people who refuse to expand their palate.
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    Mar 18, 2015 2:24 AM GMT
    Erik101 saidTo answer the thread question....yes, most definitely! Nothing grates my nerves than going to a popular destination only to be littered with american chain restaurants. But they exist because those chains are restaurants that people are familiar with and those are the same people who refuse to expand their palate.

    Yeah. Visiting a new place and not eating the local food is like staying shut up inside a hotel room there and never venturing outside to view the scenery and other attractions.
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    Mar 18, 2015 7:07 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    mindgarden saidOne of the most horrifying sights that I've seen is "Burger King" in Japan and "kfc" is the closest "restaurant" to El Prado. Good grief, we might as well launch nukes. icon_sad.gif

    I know. We have friends who sometimes come along with us to Key West, and they always go to a Denny's for breakfast. To order the same things they eat up in Fort Lauderdale.

    But Key West has some wonderfully unique restaurants, in the characteristic Key West style of architecture, some with great views. I suppose eggs are eggs, and coffee's coffee, but I wanna feel like I'm actually on a getaway from my routine here, a change of atmosphere and scenery. You can get look-alike Denny's anywhere. icon_razz.gif

    On our 3-day car trip to New Hampshire we naturally were stopping for gas & food at Interstate exits. But I did my best to avoid the restaurant chains and find the locally owned stuff, often for dinner with the help of the hotel staff, after we stopped for the night. Many smaller hotels at the Interstates don't have their own restaurants, so they don't mind giving advice.

    And we did very well, enjoyed many quaint places, met the locals and very often the owners. And would find unique specialities on the menu we hadn't had before, sometimes just a dessert item, or a way of doing a soup, but almost always at least some novelty that pleased us. We're both rather adventuresome when it comes to food.


    Huh, where in New Hampshire?
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    Mar 18, 2015 10:23 AM GMT
    I am trying really hard to think of a unique New Hampshire food. New England of course, like NE clam chowder . . . but what am I missing that is New Hampshire?
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    Mar 18, 2015 2:47 PM GMT
    strongbull saidI am trying really hard to think of a unique New Hampshire food. New England of course, like NE clam chowder . . . but what am I missing that is New Hampshire?


    Yeah, we're not like Vermont with maple syrup, or Mass with its cranberries (and roast beef). But hey, living in the woods (fine, right next to them) 5 mins north of the biggest city north of Boston is worth it. The lack of traffic alone!
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    Mar 18, 2015 6:51 PM GMT
    wesv saidHere in my area, we don't have to travel much to try various types of food. We have all sorts--I mean all sorts. I've even had some exotic stuff like Ethiopian.


    Damn California food snob! But how true! We DO eat extraordinarily well here, and living where America's food is grown, I actually think YOU live in the "hinterlands" in Southern Cal! lol
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    Mar 19, 2015 1:16 AM GMT
    1153red said
    strongbull saidI am trying really hard to think of a unique New Hampshire food. New England of course, like NE clam chowder . . . but what am I missing that is New Hampshire?


    Yeah, we're not like Vermont with maple syrup, or Mass with its cranberries (and roast beef). But hey, living in the woods (fine, right next to them) 5 mins north of the biggest city north of Boston is worth it. The lack of traffic alone!


    Hey I LOVE NH - Have done a lot of hiking in the Presidentials. Like the Flume. You can't beat the White Mtns for spectacular shorter hikes.
  • TheBaise

    Posts: 362

    Mar 19, 2015 6:51 PM GMT
    It's cool trying out new foods and drinks wherever you go. Much of it is good / tasty / interesting / but not all. Just like anything else / you have to pick & choose. What's pathetic is seeing some fat slob in a different country pounding on the table wanting service / and a hamburger. Those fuckers / with their front side fanny packs / give Americans a frickin' bad name. They waddle into a cool little bistro somewhere looking like shit in their dirty sneakers & mom and dad jeans, and want to bitch cause they're given a bad table / or none at all. Then they want mac 'n cheese and burgers and bitch if the joint doesn't make that kind of slop!
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    Mar 19, 2015 7:02 PM GMT
    1153red said
    Art_Deco said
    mindgarden saidOne of the most horrifying sights that I've seen is "Burger King" in Japan and "kfc" is the closest "restaurant" to El Prado. Good grief, we might as well launch nukes. icon_sad.gif

    I know. We have friends who sometimes come along with us to Key West, and they always go to a Denny's for breakfast. To order the same things they eat up in Fort Lauderdale.

    But Key West has some wonderfully unique restaurants, in the characteristic Key West style of architecture, some with great views. I suppose eggs are eggs, and coffee's coffee, but I wanna feel like I'm actually on a getaway from my routine here, a change of atmosphere and scenery. You can get look-alike Denny's anywhere. icon_razz.gif

    On our 3-day car trip to New Hampshire we naturally were stopping for gas & food at Interstate exits. But I did my best to avoid the restaurant chains and find the locally owned stuff, often for dinner with the help of the hotel staff, after we stopped for the night. Many smaller hotels at the Interstates don't have their own restaurants, so they don't mind giving advice.

    And we did very well, enjoyed many quaint places, met the locals and very often the owners. And would find unique specialities on the menu we hadn't had before, sometimes just a dessert item, or a way of doing a soup, but almost always at least some novelty that pleased us. We're both rather adventuresome when it comes to food.

    Huh, where in New Hampshire?

    In a galaxy far, far away.
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    Mar 19, 2015 7:08 PM GMT
    Some more:

    - Vermont: maple syrup, a number of whole gallon tins that my parents always got when visiting our summer cabin there.
    - New Hampshire: Scottish food, including haggis, right on the menu! Our friends took us to a little town, with a large Scottish population. I don't know their history. Nor did I order the haggis (offal boiled & served inside a sheep's stomach), that was a bit much for even my adventuresome eating. icon_razz.gif

    I think I had some lamb or something, I can't remember. But a nice place, all decked out with Scot stuff, very proud of that heritage. I wish I had worn my kilt!
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    Mar 19, 2015 8:40 PM GMT
    If by local food you mean 'local men' then yes. every chance I get!icon_lol.gif