Posts Tagged With: Tapas

“Do you have a menu with pictures please?”

We’ve explored the beautiful world of international markets, so lets now venture into the restaurant scene. As a backpacker, I’m conscious of when and where I splurge, especially when it comes to food, drink and entertainment. With that said, when friends meet up abroad or a group of other travelers are heading out for dinner, sometimes I’ll spoil myself and join them!

Unfortunately I’m not going to post about every country, but here are some memorable meals and unique bites from around the world.

I’m going to start off with a very colorful, protein packed salad in a cafe near Nice, France. Since the extent of my French is “Parlez-vous anglais?” (Do you speak english?) and “merci” (thank you), this was ordered by pointing at a tiny picture and a huge smile.


This accidental order in Paris came from my eagerness to try “carpaccio”, a plate of thinly sliced raw meat or fish. My innocent mistake was trusting the waiter and agreeing to a similar dish called “Tartare”. This however, is a meat dish made from finely minced raw beef or horse served with onions, caper, seasonings and sometimes a raw egg. Not the same my friends, not…the…same!



In Spain, I usually find myself nibbling around town due to the ever so popular tapas or pinxtos. Clarification, “tapas” isn’t necessarily a particular type of food, rather a small portion of anything ranging with paella, croquettes, fish and peppers on toast, and so on. Pintxos’ are bites you pick up off the bar and bring back to your table to enjoy. Then, depending on how many sticks you have on your plate tells them how much to charge for at the end. Here are some of my favorite scrumptious snacks in Spain.





The course pictured below describes my opinion of the country it came from, Switzerland – clean, tasteful and proper.




Moving on to the hearty land of Germany, specifically the state of Bavaria. Even though I struggle to find lean and light meals there, I can still enjoy a plate of solid comfort food. My favorite is the warm red (or blue or purple depending on which German you ask) cabbage side dish. My not so favorites seen below are the flour and potato dumplings and pretty much anything that may have the word “wurst” in it.






Before I move on from Germany, I’d like to dedicate a short description and a few photos to the wonderful world of Oktoberfest! Continue reading if you’re up for a story or skip to the pictures to see a few options you may get during the traditional festivities.

The day I learned that the Bavarian language differs from the rest of Germany, goes as follows. My dear friend Carina, you all should know her by now, was attempting to help me order soup. She said she’d do her best since she doesn’t fully understand Bavarian. I asked for anything with vegetables “something that grows or is green” was my request and considering we had been at the festival since sunrise with nothing but a liter of beer, I was excited to consume anything! That was until… until we realized I had ordered liver dumpling soup.







Other appetizing dishes to coat the stomach while celebrating the largest people’s fair in the world!






Since I’m usually visiting my friends in Holland, I rarely explore and sit down at a legit Dutch restaurant. I have however, enjoyed the best falafel wrap while in The Netherlands!


Hungry in Hungary? (Curtesy laugh goes here) Expect meat, potatoes, salad and bread. Not to shabby!


Sword fish, greens, garlic butter and bread was the choice in Crete, Greece. Naturally complimented by the traditional Greek dessert of Baklava, Ouzo and fruit!



Heading southeast to Malaysia, I’m going to show you two different ways they can serve up the same meal. First we have the over portioned, grease covered greens aside fried fish.


After being served the plate above, I mentioned my disappointment to a new local friend who then invited me to a different location to show me how it’s “supposed” to be done.


My favorite meal in Malyasia wasn’t due to the taste, but the story that comes with it. If your remember the post of volunteering in Malaysia, then you’ll understand that this surprise dish was given and received with much gratitude. Thank you Marcel!



Jumping over major seas, I’m now bringing you to Central and South America. With several countries, many amazing dishes and unique treats, I’m going to narrow it down to just a few.

First up, Pupusas! These light corn or rice tortilla type patties are stuffed with your filling of choice, then topped with a spicy coleslaw! We were introduced to this savory snack while being treated by a few locals in El Salvador!



Costa Rica was easy. Just show me to the greens with a bit of fish and whatever drink comes blended, fresh and colorful. Pura vida!



Jumping down to Ecuador presents some of the tastiest soups and flavorful ceviche I’ve ever experienced! The rich spices, fresh fish and crunchy toppings make for an amazing treat for your taste buds.





Peru allowed me to feel joy when items like quinoa and sweet potato overruled the usual carbohydrates of pasta, corn and wheat. I love the ingredients of this country so much that I actually took a Peruvian cooking class!





I’m going to bring Argentina into the mix due to the impressive meal we were served last year in Buenos Aires. I’m generally not a huge meat eater, so for this steak to hit my tops picks says a lot for the quality at hand. Take a look at those veggies too!


In the waters northeast of South America sits one of my favorite islands called Barbados. Bajan cuisine includes a vibrant blend of foods with African, Indian and British influences. Not to forget one of my favorites, the amazing Roti from Trinidad!




Australia and New Zealand (I apologize for bulking you two together, but only for the sake of this post), brought many home cooked meals. Mostly fresh from the farms I was volunteering on or hand picked from the gardens that I helped harvest. No complaints here with the abundance of fresh vegetables and local organic meat!




Last but not least is the large island of noodles, fish, rice and other objects I don’t really know about (simply because my Japanese is as good as my French). Considering I’m wiring this post from Japan, there’s definitely more to come soon! For now, take a look at these mouth watering dishes!





Ill leave you with an advertisement that isn’t tempting, but certainly entertaining as it’s a bit different than the usual Big Mac add.


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Feed me Spain!

The number one most typical Spanish dish is Paella. For those of you who love it, you’d be bright eyed and tempted all of the time. To the ones who could do without would probably get sick of the menus, promotions and pictures advertising this local cuisine.The portions of paella served at restaurants are generally for 2-3 people or a teenage boy, so you can imagine my hesitation to order it. Instead, I cheated and took some photos of the menu pictures and a few from my friends plate. Judging from their responses and the people scraping every last crusted piece of rice from the edges, it’s a tasty choice!





Tapas and Pinchos. Another typical Spanish treat that is absolutely a delight for me! Small portions, sometimes for sharing and always the perfect snack to compliment a cold beer or glass of Sangría. To clarify: a tapa is a small plate ranging from fish, veggies and meats to olives, omlettes and anything you can fry. Pinchos are those adroarble little temptations in the windows that include a creative combination of flavors placed on a piece of fresh toasted bread.








This is Ted, a traveler we met at a hostel. I plan on reconnecting with him in Amsterdam and that’s when I’ll share his incredible story with you. For now, check out the plate in front of him. That’s Patatas bravas, roasted potatoes with an Aoli cream and hot sauce drizzles over top. An item on almost every menu.


Im not a huge fan of pig, unless I’m playing with them on a farm or reading about them talking to spiders in children’s books. This was a challenge for me due to the popularity of specialty pork products. Sometimes the judgement I felt from the locals after declining the ham was as if I had kidnapped their first born or sent a personal insult to their family. They would just kind of stare, as if to wait for me to realize what they were offering and then change my mind. “Oh BACON… Im sorry, Of course I’ll indulge!”
So for you pork lovers, here are the few pics I snagged for your delight.


Really…Next to the ice cream?


They love their desserts! Cakes, cookies, marshmallow, candy, Gelato, ice cream, pastries, pop cycles, and now growing in polarity… Drum roll please… plain frozen yogurt! (I type this while secretly jumping up and down in my head).



Ooh, just my size! (And it comes with a tourist on top!)



Now for my indulgence, Las frutas y Venduras!
It was around every corner in every city. Sometimes more than others, some with larger varieties and many offering nuts and seeds as well. They were everywhere and it made me happy!






Did I mention the fresh fish?




To sum up eating in Spain here are just some random pics that will give you an idea of the scrumptious sights that are so inviting in this beautiful country!














The boys tried to offer me their meat… Clearly I declined. Instead I got a tuna sandwich that came with hot sauce and green olives. (Side note, these were taken at a tomato festival that I'll show in detail later).





I dedicate these to my mom. This is the bar she occupied during her visit to Spain almost 20 years ago! She sent me with the printed photo to find the exact street… success! Love you




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Scratching the surface of Madrid

I’ve been having a bit of trouble with my photo uploads (good ol’ technology) so once I get it sorted I’ll be flooding the blog with striking shots and info of what Spain so far. Here is just a taste…

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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I loved the color contrast between the flowers and buildings.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I wasn’t surprised to see Mickey and Minnie wandering the streets, by all means they rank in popularity up there with Coca Cola and Oprah. I did however do a double take at his choice of costume… an American Flag? 
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This group of people have been out here in the same spot all day, everyday since I’ve arrived. Surrounded by suitcases and umbrellas, they sit and speak amongst themselves.
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If you were to close your eyes and walk past this book store, you’d hear an enthusiastic elderly man explaining something (that I couldn’t understand) to a young fellow who you wouldn’t be able to hear due to his intent on grasping every word being shared with him. It was lovely.
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Random shots:
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

These statues are placed around the city, I think they’re kind of comforting in a way.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

“Yes son, that’s what Bam Bam carries around.”
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I actually think I’m going to have an entire post dedicated to the food that has left a special place in my heart(and gut). These are just the a few pics that I was able to load… Dozens more to come!
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

This is “Plaza Mayor”, the view from the first hostel room Madrid. I’ll be describing the different hostels I’ve experienced in Spain in the future as they range quite a bit and deserve their own post, (as well as the people I met during my stay).
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