Tuesday, 31 July 2018

International foodie treats - its not all about the golf!

Whislt travelling for golf, I have to eat- right?  Why not make the golf trip about more than golf and take in some of these delicious delicacies on your travels?

To be honest, I don’t know if I’m a foodie, just appreciate good food, or maybe just a good old fashioned pig - but is there really much of a difference - I love food!

Lisbon, Portugal

Pastel de Nata - Made in the old traditional way in the middle of Belèm, Lisbon’s tourist area; you will find this family run bakery and cafe Antiga Confeitaria de Belém. Using the traditional secret family recipe for this up-market egg tart with thousands being sold daily to tourists and locals alike.  This sweet little egg tart packs a punch in flavour requiring all diets to be long forgotten and reaching for more to savour.  There is usually a queue to stand in, but take the time to watch the locals buy and devour these little sweet treats before settling yourself down in the refectory style café on wood and metal school-like chairs and formica table tops - you’re not there for the decor!

Hainan Island, China

Chinese dumplings - Sandwiched between two glass walls you can view the chefs at Mission Hills, Haikou prepare these fresh little dumplings from scratch - grappling with a long length of dough to the freshly chopped and prepared fillings of these little finger food snacks became a daily treat whilst there.  Served with an onion pancake, soy sauce and vinegar, despite my sweet tooth I was entirely satisfied with not only the display on show of the production but the end result itself. 

Angus, Scotland

Cranachan - to be honest you can get this dessert in most places in Scotland, but as my first time was in Angus, they are getting the credit. An incredibly sweet dish consisting of Raspberries, oatmeal - that is where the healthy ingredients stop and the not so healthy starts as the next ingredients are cream, honey and whisky - what else in Scotland!  Certainly not to be eaten as big bowls but definitely worth finishing the bowl you’re given.  Both filling and light at the same time, this tasty after dinner treat is one to savour in cafe’s and posh hotels alike across Scotland.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Empanada - a small and sometimes not so small little Cornish pasty type pastry with a combination of fillings to suit your taste.  A totally different taste to that of the humble Cornish pasty whose origins are tied into the tin mining in Cornwall, and typically used as a hard case to carry the filling, but like the cornish pasty the empanada has evolved into a tasty little savoury snack or meal.  Originally from Spain (or Portugal)  the filling is usually  meat, cheese or corn. The whole thing is then fried or baked to produce little burst of taste as you bite into these packages.  Empana in Spanish means to wrap or coat in bread.

Ireland - Scotland or England?

Black Pudding - the debate continues, with each claiming to be the originator of Black Pudding, but there is no getting away from the distinctive taste of Black Pudding.  Not a pudding at all, but a blood sausage, but see that on the menu and it doesn’t exactly scream buy me.  A savoury ‘sausage’ usually made from pigs blood and a whole host of other carefully tried and tested ingredients and often served as part of a cooked breakfast the perfect accompaniment is a poached eggs.  Don’t be put off by the name and don’t event think to serve it with custard, ice cream or cream - it is not a pudding at all, despite some places adding apple!

Dominican Republic

Ceviche - a light uncooked fish dish which cleanses the pallet in a way only citrus fruit can achieve.  The marinating of the fish in usually limes but sometimes lemons gives the appearance of it being cooked.  Whilst my first taste was in Dominican Republic, the roots of ceviche are taken back to Peru although arguably there are Spanish and Morrish influences in the modern dish.  Peruvians claim this as their national dish to this day.  Usually a starter which is sure to set the tone for an amazing meal ahead, but can also be served as a snack.
The Bush, South Africa

Biltong - Good quality meat is cured by air drying to produce usually long strips of meat to munch on.  Depending on how long it has been dried depends on the amount of chewing required.  The drier the longer it lasts in the mouth and weirdly rarely without loosing its flavour as you munch seemingly forever.  Biltong is usually made from good beef but I have also had antelope, kudu and other game biltong too.  Don’t be tempted to buy the pre-packed biltong from the supermarket shelves, instead buy the biltong which you can scoop and and get carried away with by buying way too much as you cram it into the brown paper bag to pay by the kilo.  In my opinion Biltong is superior to jerky hailing from America as it appears to have a more natural earthy taste.  Great for game drives in the bush just before you returning home for your braai!


Prosciutto - what foodie article would be worth it salt (excuse the pun) without the addition of this salty little thinly sliced meat offering.  Made from the hind leg of a pig which has been salted for 2 plus months before being washed in fresh water many times, pressed and hung to dry.  I have actually made air dried hams, hung them in the trees under a rain proof canopy over winter, and hey presto a delicious little snack the family can marvel over before Christmas dinner takes hold and the lovely air dried ham is nudged aside by the oversized turkey to take pride of place on the plate.  But don’t worry it wins out in the end when everyone is fed up with turkey and just needs a little tasty small meat snack served with melon.

Cascais, Portugal 

Seriously who ever thought to even try this as a food they much have been mad or starving hungry, just looking at these barnacles conjure up images of dead mans fingers, complete with finger nails!  And why on earth would you pluck something out of the sea that looks this ugly when it is happily growing on the crashing sea rocks?  But someone did, and I am so pleased they braved the 'tasting' process before I came along, most likely years ago!  Gross as it may sound, but break off the 'fingers' from the 'hand' and break off the 'finger nail' and squeeze the rubber textured outer black lining to reveal a succulent tasty salty little flesh not too dissimilar to lobster. One eaten never forgotten!

As I continue my travels I relish tasting even more worldwide delicacies synonymous to the country or area I am visiting and those which have crossed borders to take on slightly different twist in this evolving artistic world of no holds barred food.
I will not mention the monkey brain curry I had in Singapore though!

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