15 Foods for 15 Cities
What to eat when you’re abroad
By Jessica Hwang, Colgate University
Food is great. If there’s one thing you have to do anywhere you go, it’s eat. You’ll find tons of different foods spread across the globe, from wonderfully sweet to deliciously savory to weird mixes of the two. Some foods are better than others, some are fancier than others, and some are a lot scarier than others.
Here are some can’t miss eats that’ll fuel your future travels.
1. Beijing: Peking Duck
You can’t go to Beijing without tasting some Beijing (Peking) Duck. This dish features an aromatic roast duck with juicy meat and crisp skin. Eat it alone or wrapped in a flour tortilla with sweet hoisin sauce and moo shu pork. Finish it all off with a hot soup made from the carcass—it’s not as gross as it sounds.
2. Tokyo: Fatty tuna sushi
Stop by the Tsukiji Fish Market and find more fish than you ever expected to see in your life. Famous for being the largest wholesale fish market, Tsukiji has a range of fresh fish and prepared food for you to take away. If you can’t do the raw fish, opt for some other Japanese snacks like an egg rolled omelet.
3. Amsterdam: Frites with mayo
Otherwise known as: French fries. With mayonnaise. These are the traditional, deep-fried, toasty warm potato snacks we all know and love, only with a twist. Also worth a try are bitterballen, stroopwafel, and cheese. Visit a cheese factory and roll in the free samples.
4. Paris: Pastries and croissants
Find a café in the city of love and sit yourself down with desserts you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Try chocolate fruit pastries, tarts, and croissants. There are endless possibilities when it comes to croissants; eat them with chocolate, fruits, coffee, tea, chocolate spreads, or even with meats and cheeses as a sandwich.
5. Belgium: Schmaltz
Something that sounds yuckier than it actually is, schmaltz is rendered animal fat, usually chicken or duck, which is spread on warm bread. Kind of like a fancy yet scary version of butter, you can get schmaltz with added extras like bacon or mushroom for even more of a kick.
6. London: Fish and chips
These are what you’re looking for when you’re craving something salty, greasy, and perfectly delicious. These battered strips of fried fish are served with a side of chips, or as some people might call them—fries.
7. Singapore: Hainan chicken rice
The simple looking chicken on rice dish might look boring, but is actually full of secrets. Or flavor. The chicken is steamed to keep it juicy and tender while the oils, juices, and stock are gradually collected. The juice is cooked with the rice until the rice soaks up all the savory-but-still-light flavors. Yum.
8. Seoul: Korean BBQ
Your waiter will lead you to a booth in which you’ll find a table. On this table you’ll find a raised cylinder or a round metal pizza pan looking thing. If you look inside, you’ll find fire. You or your server cooks thin strips of marinated meat on this deceptively hot tabletop. Little dishes of condiments like kimchi, bean paste, or chili paste will be by your plate waiting to be wrapped in a piece of lettuce with meat and rice. The result: a tiny green finger food wrap. Not only is this food delicious, but it’s also a whole lot of fun.
9. Brussels: Frites and waffles
Brussels does it big. If you’ve seen a Belgian waffle, you know how much bigger they are than your average freezer waffle. The fries are the same. Just as Belgian waffles get fancy with different kinds of fruits, syrups, and whipped cream, the frites step it up with sides ranging from ketchup to mayo to tarter sauce to sometimes, mussels.
10. New York: Dirty water dogs and pizza
People might tell you nasty things about hot dogs sold on the street, but when a hot dog has been sitting in the water of a hundred other hot dogs all day, what you really get is delicious. And of course, New York is where to go if you want the perfect slice of thin crusted, saucy but not too saucy, oven baked pizza. Get one on the street for a dollar a slice, or in a sit down restaurant for something fancier. Either way, your taste buds will be satisfied.
11. LA: Fish tacos
A light and zesty version of your typically beef filled and cheese covered finger food. Try your taco with avocado, cabbage, lime, or even fruits like pineapple or mango.
12. Hawaii: Luau roasts
This might be the one time watching someone cook is more fun than eating the food. A Hawaiian roast pig is cooked whole over a 5-foot deep pit of rocks, wood, and banana leaves. Cooked for hours with the steam from banana leaves, this pig comes out super flavorful and super tender.
13. Zurich: Chocolate
Tasting Swiss chocolate should be on everyone’s to-do-before-I-die list. Drink it, eat is, try it milk, dark, or filled with fruits or caramels or hazelnuts and cream. Fancy Duty Free chocolates are just the beginning.
14. Munich: Pretzels and schweinshaxe (roast pork knuckle) and wursts
What is schweinshaxe, you ask? Schweinshaxe is a marinated pork knuckle roasted til the meat is juicy and the skin is crispy and brown. Eat it with horseradish, mustard or potatoes. Think ham. Eat wursts, a German sausage, the same way. And for your starch: a pretzel. You can never go wrong with a pretzel.
15. Shanghai: Tea eggs
Imagine an Easter egg, but with less colors and more salt. Hard-boiled eggs are rolled and tapped until their shells are crackled, and then simmered in a broth of soy sauce, spices, and tealeaves. Shell the egg hours later and you’ll find a pretty marbled egg hiding inside that tastes just faintly of tea. You can find these dirt-cheap in street stalls and carts and they make great snacks.