If you’re a foodie like me, you plan almost every day around what you’ll be eating and traveling is no different. I love to try new things and experience the cuisine and culture of a new place.
I’ve collected the most popular, must-try dishes from around the world so you can taste your way through your travels. There’s something for everyone; whether you have a sweet tooth, prefer savory dishes, are a breakfast food fan or live the street food life.
PSA: you will definitely be hungry after reading this article, so prepare accordingly.
1. Pastel de Nata - Portugal
Photo by Jpatokal
This pastry is hands down one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. The Pastel de Nata is an egg yolk custard centered in a mouthwateringly crisp pastry. It’s about the size of your palm, sweet and the perfect combination of crisp and soft. Monks originated this pastry back in the 18th century. They used egg whites for starching clothes and had a lot of leftover egg yolks which they turned into delicious pastries.
2. Squeaky Cheese aka Leipäjuusto - Finland
Photo by: Teemu Rajala
If you’re a cheese lover, you’ll go crazy for this Finnish treat. I won’t go into the details of how it’s made, but suffice to say it’s a rich, fresh, cow cheese that has been baked or grilled. The name comes from the way that the cheese “squeaks” against the teeth when bitten into. The cheese is served warm, so it’s a bit gooey and is usually topped with some sort of fruit jam.
3. Nasi Lemak - Malaysia
Nasi Lemak is the national dish of Malaysia. It is a rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf. The rice is paired with traditional anchovies, cucumber and chilli paste. You’ll find it served as a breakfast food, but there are quite a few variations that can be served at any time of day. Keep in mind that this dish can be spicy, so make sure you’re prepared for the kick.
4. Poutine - Canada
Photo by Jonathunder
Poutine is a dish served in Canada and the Northern US that’s made up of cheese curds, gravy and french fries. It's fabulously unhealthy and beyond delicious. Sometimes it’s even served with meat on top - I’m a fan of adding brisket! Originally, poutine was looked down on as a “poor man’s food”, but it is now quite a popular treat with several festivals dedicated to the cheesy dish.
5. Arepas - Venezuela
Photo by: Popo le Chien
Arepas are flat, unleavened patties made of maize that can be grilled, fried or baked. They're eaten almost daily in Venezuela. You can find a variety of different filling types ranging from avocado to beef to cheese. Arepas make a delicious snack or meal and are a huge part of the culture in this small country. You’ll find these easily accessible on the street and it’s the perfect snack to grab and go while you’re exploring the city.
6. Spanakopita - Greece
Photo by Alpha
Here’s a pastry for our savory food lovers. The Spanakopita is a “spinach pie” or pastry filled with chopped spinach, feta cheese, onions, eggs and seasoning. Originated over 400 years ago, this dish was brought into Greece by the Turks and has become known as a traditional part of Greek culture and history.
7. Ramen - Japan
Photo by STRONGlk7
This one isn’t a surprise to anyone, but it definitely had to make the list. Made up of wheat noodles served in broth with miso, sliced meats, seaweed and onions, ramen is definitely a comfort food. According to ramen expert Hiroshi Osaki, the first specialized ramen shop opened inYokohama in 1910. Since then Americans have been introduced to instant ramen, which, in my opinion, is nothing like the ramen in Japan. Don't be misled by the instant packet ramen you ate in college, Japanese ramen is a filling and delicious meal.
8. Champ - Ireland
Photo by Glane23
Staying on the comfort food trend, Champ is an Irish dish made from mashed potatoes, chopped scallion, butter, milk, cheese and sometimes served with sausage. Perfect for cozying up on a chilly day with a warm, filling meal. Champ is considered an “everyday” dish in Ireland, and is by no means a delicacy. That said, it’s satisfying, easy to find and will give you a taste of what it's like to live like the Irish.
9. Masala Dosa - India
Photo by: Mike Linksvayer
Popular in South India, Masala Dosa is made from rice, lentils, potatoes, methi and curry leaves. Traditional dosa is a sort of pancake, or crepe made of rice and lentils. The Masala portion of this dish refers to the stuffing which can be anything from potatoes and red chillis, or onion and garlic. A popular street cart dish, many establishments allow you to choose your own filling.
10. Apfelstrudel - Austria
Photo by Burkhard Mücke
The great aunt of American apple pie, Apfelstrudel or apple strudel is a popular and delicious treat made from unleavened dough. The dough is aggressively kneaded, stretched thin and filled with sugar, apple and cinnamon. Often lightly dusted with powdered sugar, strudel is usually accompanied by coffee, tea, or champagne. Cheers!
11. Pho - Vietnam
Photo By Codename5281
This popular Vietnamese soup is made of broth, rice noodles, banh pho, herbs and some form of meat. Pho's history is widely disputed; some say that the French brought Pho when they unified Vietnam. Regardless of it's beginnings, the noodle soup began to gain Vietnamese popularity in the 1920’s and then expanded globally after the Vietnam war when refugees moved to new cities.
12. Meat Pies - Australia
Photo by: fir0002
Depending on whether you’re an Australian or a New Zealander, you might have differing opinions about who this dish belongs to. One thing is for sure, meat pies are a staple in life down under. About the size of your hand, this pie is often filled with minced meat and gravy. Both Australia and New Zealand have meat pie contests pretty regularly, so if you’re a fan, that’s definitely worth attending.
13. Pudim - Brazil
Photo by: S.Moraes Jurema Oliveira
Similar to Flan, this caramel custard is a delicious dessert that’s not to be missed when visiting Brazil. It’s relatively difficult to get right, as the cooking process can be finicky. Pudim is made of milk, eggs and sugar with caramel and then baked in a water bath. If you’re a texture person, you may not be crazy about this dessert, but the sweet caramel flavor more than makes up for the slippery texture.
14. Dim Sum - China
Prepared in bite sized portions, this Chinese cuisine began when ancient travelers of the Silk Road needed a rest. They would stop for tea and snacks to relax along the way. Dim Sum can be fried or steamed. The small buns are filled with anything from beef to prawn to veggies. I love that it’s served family style, so you’ll be able to try a variety of types as you eat.
15. Bulgogi - South Korea
Literally translating to “fire meat” bulgogi is a thin, marinated slices of beef often stir fried or grilled. It can be served on sandwiches or as a main course with side dishes. Once I discovered this delicious meat, I pretty much ate nothing else for days. The flavor is delicious and you can mix and match it to work for a variety of meals.
Track your tasty travels as you eat around the world with our Travel Tracker World Map. You'll be able to mark off your memories as you adventure and eat your way across this great big world of ours.
No matter where you are in the world, there are always delicious foods to be discovered and tasted.What's your favorite dish from a trip abroad? Share anything we missed in the comments below!
Comments will be approved before showing up.