When travelling across Australia or overseas, it’s likely that you’ll encounter a few memorable dining experiences along the way. From strange and unusual settings through to truly unforgettable ingredients, there’s certainly no end to the unique options on offer when it comes to eating your way around the world!
We reached out to some of our favourite bloggers to discover some of their most memorable dining experiences. Find out what they had to say below:
Linda from Indie Travel Podcast
It’s difficult to pick just one memorable dining experience from the many we’ve had, but one that stands out is the Laotian Larvae.
We were travelling around Laos on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, and arrived in a small town that featured an open-air night market. There was a range of food on offer, and we were keen to try as much as possible, including some very unattractive white grubs. A cultural experience, right?
Seating was limited, so our table was hot property — and when the other people on our tour came over to ask if they could join us, I said “sure, just try one of these first.” To tell you the truth, I was trying to get rid of them, as the soft texture wasn’t much to my liking.
As the evening wound to a close, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was an elderly Lao woman, begging for food. She gestured to the bag of larvae on the table, and I passed it over, smiled, and turned away. When I glanced back, I saw a look of incredulity on her face — I guess she’d been hoping for a handful and got a full meal. As for me, I was happy to not have to eat them all myself!
Stuart and Eloise from Am I Nearly There Yet?
As memorable dining and culinary experiences go, China remains as one of the most challenging and hilarious destinations to get a meal!
We all know that dog and insects feature on some regional Chinese plates, but it’s the translations that are the most funny! We’ve see things like ‘Delicious Roast Husband’, ’Hang Law Speculation Crispy Gizzard’ and ‘Mushroom Thermal Explosion’ on the badly translated English menus!
Sitting on a child’s plastic chair trying to keep a straight face while ordering some delicious roast husband always gets a laugh!
But probably the craziest, and worst, things we ate there was Stinky Tofu in Beijing. You can smell it down the street! Think bin smell, mixed with sewer. We were convinced the stall owner was trying to poison us, but we carried on seeing it during our trip! Our advice, avoid Stinky Tofu!
Jim from Mr and Mrs Romance
Whenever someone asks us about the most memorable meal we’ve ever had, we find that our thoughts rarely go to the most expensive places or most lavish dishes. Even the simplest dish in the right place with the right people can grow to become one of those memories that stay with you forever.
We’ve been so lucky to have experienced lots of meals like this together. A restaurant in an ancient Tallinn monastery cellar that only sold cheese-based dishes, a three-course meal served as we went round the Ferris wheel overlooking Sydney Harbour, a strangely delicious hotdog in the middle of the Icelandic winter… food highlights travel and vise versa.
But the most memorable meal for me is sitting down to break bread with an ancient Mayan tribal leader in the middle of the Yucatan jungles of Mexico. That will always stay with me. Neither could speak the other’s language, but that didn’t matter.
Mrs Romance will always remember the lunch we had on the banks of the Danum River, which runs through the virgin rainforests of Sabah, Borneo. That was incredibly special.
Fairlie from Feet on Foreign Lands
I had no idea how much my appreciation of food depended on my sense of sight until I dined in the dark at Noir restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. And when I say ‘in the dark’, I mean ‘can’t-see-my-hand-in-front-of-my-face darkness’. Noir restaurant is staffed by blind and visually impaired wait staff trained to skillfully provide a fine dining experience. After we were led to our table in a human-train by our waitperson, dish after dish from the secret menu was placed in front of us. With no visual cues, we had to rely on our other senses to work out what we were eating. I confess, we didn’t always get it right.
It wasn’t until after our meal, when the host showed us photos of what we had been served, that we realised how wrong we had been in some cases. We were convinced we had been eating lobster, but in fact that dish was roast duck. A sweet vegetable puree taste that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, turned out to be carrot. It was a dinner which not only made us reflect on our own reliance on sight, it also highlighted the challenges that visually impaired people face in their lives every day. It’s a must-do Ho Chi Minh City experience!
Stefanie from A Modern Wayfarer
You know that episode of Bear Grylls where he slurped down a tuna eyeball and you almost vomited? Yeah, I’ve tasted something like that. Many things like that actually, on many different occasions. Although it’s never pretty, a particularly interesting experience comes to mind from when I was in Sardinia, Italy. I was on a cheese-tasting tour and determined to get my money’s worth, asked the guide if there was a cheese he deemed as “outrageously pungent”? I love my cheeses so generally speaking, the more pungent smelling the better. But what ended up in front of me that day was something resembling a shrivelled up sponge.
The substance was called Casu Marzu, which literally means ‘rotten cheese’. Apparently I was about to hoe into a traditional Sardinian specialty full of live maggots. Fun times. The pecorino-style sheep’s milk cheese, I was told rather smugly, was made by encouraging ‘cheese flies’ to lay eggs inside a tiny hole at the top, and letting the larvae devour the cheese from the inside, decomposing the fats through digestion and excreting the remains. Never one to baulk at a challenge, I resisted my urge to gag and had a taste. If I’m honest it wasn’t actually that bad. It tasted like a heavy gorgonzola with black pepper, but left a greasy film on my tongue. I probably would have had some more had I not known I was swallowing writhing live worms.
Feature Image Credit: star5512.