I don’t know about you, but I LOVE food. Sprinkle in travel and food? I’m always 100% down for that. I’m in a lot of Facebook travel groups and one of the top questions everyone seems to ask other than “where do I go next” is “what foods should I try?”
While my lists aren’t comprehensive by any means, I’m going to attempt to pick the top 3 foods that each country is known for so we can all benefit and try them the next time we’re in town! Keep in mind that these dishes will all vary by region and may look a little or very different depending on what part of each country you visit!
- Anything with Maple Syrup — Growing up so close to Canada maple syrup is the number one thing I ALWAYS hear about our neighbors to the north. When I was in the 8th grade, I got to visit Canada and tasted syrup so fresh that I didn’t realize it was possible. If possible, put this on every breakfast meal or dessert you get. It’s worth the calories.
- Poutine — This dish originated in the region of Quebec in the 1950s. This dish is a delicious combo of french fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy. Loosen your waistbands and get excited for this dish.
- Bannock — No one can say no to bread, especially this traditional delicious specimen. Traditional oatmeal bannock originated in Scotland, but there’s also an argument that it is a traditional Native American dish made from maize. Either way, it is a flatter bread that is, nowadays, usually fried in a pan.
United States of America
- Barbecue — There is a fierce battle waged in the USA each and every day. Over what you may ask? Barbecue base. Vinegar or tomato? The choice is yours. Both are delicious, but many places will be fiercely opinionated on which one is better.
- Cheeseburgers — I wish my country wasn’t famous for cheeseburgers and something more refined but c’est la vie. All I ask is that you do not get them from fast food chains. Try any restaurant that uses fresh meat and gives you a big ole patty with lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, onions, and pickles.
- Apple Pie —This is more of a southern thing that morphed into a country-wide phenomenon that comes out for every holiday. If you love an overdose of sugar with your fruit with a side of diabetes, try this. It is delicious, but as a fitness professional I try to avoid this because I’ll never stop eating it. Pro tip: Add cinnamon, ice cream or whipped cream. Always get this fresh out of the oven.
- Tamales — This dish is so delicious that it has been around since 8,000-5,000 B.C.E. Yep, that’s almost 10,000 years. It’s made from a dough called masa which is basically a corn based dish. It is generally wrapped in corn husks or plantain leaves, filled with a sweet or savory filling, and steamed.
- Elote — In Central America, not including Panama, elote means an ear of corn. It is seasoned with a wide variety of condiments and spice depending on the region and is served on a stick for easy eating. Definitely don’t miss this incredibly flavorful version of corn on the cob.
- Posole — This traditional soup or stew that is made from hominy (corn-based) and served with meat and spices such as lettuce, chili peppers, onion, garlic, radishes, salsa, avocados, or lime.
- Conch — It’s not surprising that an island in the Caribbean is famous for its seafood. By far the most popular and unique to the Bahamas is conch. It is served in as many ways as you can imagine: soup, baked, fried, steamed, boiled, sandwich, etc. Conch is the national dish of the country and there are recipes that date back to the Arawak before European contact.
- Peas and Rice — This is a staple of Bahamian cooking, but don’t confuse it with anything you’ve had before. This is usually served as a side dish and the peas in question are pigeon peas, a legume that is seasoned and cooked to perfection with rice, tomatoes, onions, salt pork, and many spices.
- Fresh Fish–Snapper & Grouper — Fresh fish is caught daily and you can even go out on excursions, catch your own fish, and have it cooked for you later that night. While these are certainly not the only fish found in the island’s cuisine, they are the most common.
- Sopa de Caracol — Calling this conch and coconut soup does not do this dish justice. Conch is the main protein of the dish but other primary ingredients include coconut milk, yuca, and green bananas. Other ingredients finding their way into this medley are garlic, onions, carrots, cilantro, black pepper, and other spices make this one of a kind meal a real show stopper.
- Carneada — This meal is so delicious that it is considered one of Honduras’s national dishes. It consists of meat, roasted plantains, chorizo, cheese, tortillas, refried beans, and salsa topped with chopped tomatoes, onion, and garlic and lemon. This is eaten more often at big social events.
- Baleada — If you love street food, you cannot miss this. In its simplest form, a flour tortilla is folded and filled with refried beans, cheese, sour cream, and meat. Many locals choose to add plantains, avocado, and scrambled eggs.