• Unique foods to experience abroad

    2012-06-12

    Whether you're participating in student travel or going on a family travel excursion, visiting new countries can be both exciting and scary, especially if you attempt to blend with the local culture. One of the best ways for travelers to fully immerse themselves into a new location is by trying the food, or items that have been part of an area's tradition for years. Those interested in adventure travel may be intrigued by the thought of trying more extreme offerings - such as still-beating snake hearts in Vietnam - but for the more reserved tourist just looking for some interesting food options, consider the following offerings abroad:

    Crunchy critters with your cereal
    Many cultures will serve and eat insects, whether they're smothered in chocolate or being presented raw. Once travelers overcome the ick factor, they can revel in knowing that insects are actually a great source of protein and - when served the right way - quite delicious. One chef, Meeru Dhalwala of Viji's and Rangoli restaurants in British Columbia, told USA Today that appearance is key when serving insect dishes. She explained to the source that her naan cricket pizza was not received well among customers.

    "People just weren't ready to eat whole crickets," Dhalwala said to the source. "With insects, the dishes need to look beautiful and not shocking."

    She added that another dish at her restaurant, roasted and ground cricket paranta, was very popular. 

    Poutine, please
    Visitors to Canada may want to drop by any local establishment and ask for a hot plate of Poutine, or a pile of potato fries covered in white cheddar curds and gravy. According to Montreal Poutine, the history of the dish - which has become a Canadian staple among locals - is debatable. The earliest recorded interaction involving the rich concoction was in 1957, when a customer decided he really wanted both French fries and cheese curds. After requesting the chef combine them, he responded that it would be a "poutine," or mess. Since then, the meal has gained in popularity among the provinces, with Poutine offerings around every corner and even a Poutine week for cooks to show off their best recipes. 

    You put what in my coffee?
    Part of the popular coffee chain Starbucks' appeal is that employees must make whichever drink a customer orders, whether its on the menu or not. Because of this, many reports have sprouted on the Internet about a "secret Starbucks menu" of which only a select few are aware. However, employees have stated that the secret menu is little more than a myth, as the fantasy drinks are not secret, just not prominently displayed on the board. Visitors to Japan, on the other hand, have access to drink options unavailable in other parts of the world, such as the Jelly Frappuccino. This frozen drink not only features coffee and ice, but also a pile of jelly that sits at the bottom of the cup.

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