Today is Thanksgiving in the US, but here in Germany it’s just Thursday. While it is a holiday to celebrate being thankful for all the good things in your life and a time to be with friends and family, the food is also a big deal. This year Andy and I are having a German friend over to make a mini Thanksgiving dinner. We probably wouldn’t have bothered, but when our friend asked me how to make stuffing because he wanted to try a Thanksgiving dinner himself, I decided we should just do something at our apartment. But it also got me thinking about all the great (and not so great) food I’ve eaten around the world while traveling, and how big a role food plays in our memories of holidays and travels.
Cuy (guinea pig) in Quito, Ecuador
Two years ago when I signed up for a Spanish class in Quito for a week, I knew I had to try cuy. Sure, it sounds weird to eat a guinea pig, and my best friend even had one as a pet when we were younger. But it’s something Ecuador is known for, and I couldn’t say no. The tiny bones made it difficult to get much meat off of it, and three of us split one. And you know what? It tasted like chicken.
Ambuyat in Brunei
Brunei is well known for having great food, and my friend Amanda and I certainly ate well during our short stay there. I had some amazing sweet and sour chicken, and even fish and chips. But the one dish they’re known for that didn’t appeal to us was ambuyat. It’s this thick, gooey, almost tasteless stuff served with all kinds of other sides. There’s no sugar coating this one, it was disgusting.
Brussels – so much good food!
Bali cooking class
I love the idea of taking cooking classes when I travel, but I don’t always have the opportunity. While in Bali, we found a restaurant that had space available in their class, and signed up. Nearly everything we made was delicious, and we left feeling completely full from eating way too much.
Gili Islands – food by the ocean
Sometimes a meal doesn’t have to be spectacular to be delicious, and having a relaxing view of the ocean goes a long way towards making that meal wonderful. The food we ate in the Gili Islands was simple but really good, and you just can’t beat the atmosphere.
Pizza in Auckland
When I was in Auckland, I somehow managed to book a hostel across the street from the most amazing pizza outside of New York City. This was New York style pizza that truly lived up to its claim. It was so delicious I ended up eating there for almost every meal. I liked Auckland a lot, but that pizza is reason enough to return. If you visit Auckland, be sure to check out Sal’s Pizza on K Road, you won’t be disappointed.
Food isn’t the only reason to travel, and there’s a lot more to the Thanksgiving holiday than eating. But food certainly does make travel and the holidays a lot more enjoyable. And since food ties heavily to memories, it makes sense that we make a big deal about food.
Americans, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving today. For everyone else, happy Thursday!