I think there are two types of travellers, those who eat so they have the energy to go to museums and stuff, and those who plan their trips around their meals, snacks, and cocktails.
I bet you can guess which one I am. Sure, I enjoy a good piece of art or impressive monument as much as the next traveller, but experiencing different places and cultures through food and drink is pretty much my favourite thing ever. Naturally, I have some questions for you.
- How do you plan your vacation meals? Do you plan everything beforehand and look up online reviews? Or do you wait until you get there, wander around, and ask the locals? I usually pick one or two "must go" places, and leave the remainder unplanned, so I can ask for suggestions and act impulsively.
- What is the most impressive meal you've ever had abroad? I did a semester in Italy when I was in college, and some friends and I ended up in a small town in Sicily one weekend. (We thought we were in Palermo; we were not.) After asking around in our not-so-great Italian, we were told to have dinner at this restaurant a few doors down from the bar we were hanging out in. There were no menus, they somehow knew we were coming, and they proceeded to bring course after course of the best seafood I've ever had, and bottle after bottle of some really good wine. The whole thing somehow costs us 30 euros each.
- Which city has your favourite street food? I am absolutely in love with Borough Market in London, where I had a very good duck confit sandwich and an excellent sausage roll.
- What was the best cocktail you've ever had while travelling? The USA arguably has the best cocktails, but the martini I had at Satan's Whiskers in London was technically perfect in every way. I was not, however, super impressed with the famed American Bar. (They put an ice cube in a coupe drink! It did not improve it!)
- Do you like museum cafes? Do you have a favourite? I love them! I don't have a favourite, but there is something very pleasant about taking a wine break in between exhibits.
- Which city or country poured your favourite glass of wine? This was not a single glass, but I lived above a little wine shop when I was studying in Florence, and I used to grab bottles on my way up to my apartment. The old man who ran it would give me grapes sometimes. My favourite thing I ever bought from him was a bottle of prosecco; my least favourite was a bottle of "fruity" grappa, which was real rough, and had not detectable fruit flavour.
- How do you deal with eating on planes? Do you pack snacks or buy stuff at the airport? I pack snacks and I get them at Trader Joe's.
- What is your favourite foreign snack food? I am obsessed with Tesco brand strawberry laces and prawn cocktail Pringles. I also like these peanut butter puffy corn snacks I had in Israel, but I can't remember what they're called.
- Do you ever eat fast food when you're in a different country? I have always wanted to try KFC in Japan.
- Have any of you eaten at Noma or Sukiyabashi Jiro? I haven't, and I don't know anyone who has. I just want to know if either really is as transcendent as they say.
Per usual, feel free to comment or rant about anything even remotely related to eating and drinking abroad. Experiencing new food is, after all, at least half the reason you should travel.