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AJ
United States

General Travel

What has been your favorite food experience while traveling?

Sure, if loved your meal at Noma, or other famous restaurant, feel free to add to the list, but I'm particularly curious about any meal that brings up only the best memories for you.  So whether it's a private kitchen in someone's apartment in Hong Kong, ice fishing in Sweden, or grilling on a beach in Bali...tell me about it!

One of my favorite meal experiences was at Sideria Zelaia in Basque country just outside of San Sebastian. The cider house only opens from Mid-Jan to late April, but when it does, they crack open barrels of freshly fermented cider and cook an amazing meal of dishes specific to the celebration.  While you eat standing up, you constantly travel back and forth to a new barrel of cider being tapped to grab a drink.  Definitely a party the whole time, and really gives you a sense of what the Basque culture of food feels like.


32 Answers

top answer by
Rob from Branson

I have a few food experiences that come to mind--all are very different! In Israel, we ate at a place called Decks Restaurant, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Essentially, it was a restaurant built on a small pier, but the fresh fish, live regional music and dancing (that was a blast), the sea breeze, and beautiful scenery made it a fun experience to eat, party and entertain good company. I returned to Israel 3 years later and had to visit the Decks again!

BamendaCameroon, we were invited into a home to enjoy some boiled fish, carrots/green bean mix, a kind of rice-like patty and palm wine (a kind of fermented wine produced from local palm trees). The wine had a SERIOUSLY strong taste, but was exceptional. We sat on the dirt floor, ate with our hands and had long conversation about life and our vastly different experiences and lifestyles. 

Finally, there's a taco stand in Jerez de García Salinas that is absolutely to die for. Not literally, but you understand. It's on the west side of downtown, on the main highway. The meat is finely chopped on a tree trunk, vegetables/toppings grown fresh, and the seasoning, topped off with lime, enriched the flavor so much. If you're feeling adventurous, ask for corn on the cob with mayo and lime for dessert!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Decks Restaurant (restaurant)
  2. Bamenda (city)
  3. Jerez de García Salinas (metro area)
9 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Katrina from South Australia

We’ve travelled a fair bit and to my own surprise INDIA absolutely blew me away with its magical dining experiences and on more than one occasion! They really go to all lengths to ensure a full experience is offered, from the food and service through to creating the most magical of ambiences. A lot of resorts will offer different dining experiences, usually in remote areas, however a couple of my highlights would be:

  1. Rawla Narlai - Being led into the darkness of the night on the back of an ox cart we were led to an old step well that had been lit by literally 1000’s of oil lanterns. With just 3 other couples it was an incredibly intimate and exciting experience. Led only by candle light along dirt roads that were very unfamiliar, it was a tad spooky, but in a very awesome way! We arrived to what felt to be the middle of nowhere and were greeted by live traditional music, a huge roaring fire and all of which was enjoyed while being served a simple yet beautiful and traditional thali meal.

  2. Jaisalmer – While staying at the beautifully remote Suryagarh (accommodation in the middle of the desert built to resemble an old fort), we organised the private sunset dinner in the sand dunes. Sure, we may have all ridden a camel, but the pink sunset and remoteness was really something as there wasn’t another person to be seen. We trekked to an area which had been prepared for our private dinner and as we came over a hill, we were greeted with a magnificent site!  We were seated under a beautiful canopy, draped with orange material and our seating was formed by intricately detailed pillows scattered on top of a rug. Two chefs manned their cooking stations, and a clarinet player was perched on the hill directly in front of us. The sun set and the sky then twinkled with 1000’s of stars. We really had to pinch ourselves to believe it. We were told to stay as long as we had wanted and that many couples actually spent the night under the stars and we can completely understand why – romantic plus!

  3. Roof top dining - India is filled with amazing roof top restaurants. I am a real sucker for beautifully presented spaces - the more candles, the more intricate details the better and India offers this in an abundance.

After India I would have to say Le Sirenuse Hotel in Positano on the Amalfi Coast - just Google image this place and you will see - an absolute fairy-tale from its view to the way this place is decorated to its 5 star service and food. Truly magical.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rawla Narlai (hotel)
  2. Suryagarh (hotel)
  3. Le Sirenuse Hotel (hotel)
  4. Positano (city)
8 thanks


answered by
Justin from Phoenix

Eating hakarl in Iceland has been my favorite food experience - for many reasons.

Hakarl (pronounced howker) is Icelandic for "shark." It's made from the flesh of a Greenland shark, which is not normally fit for humans because of its high ammonia content (this acts as antifreeze for the shark's blood in super-cold waters).

Iceland's early inhabitants were pretty desperate to survive, so they came up with a way to get rid of the ammonia. They buried the shark raw for months, pressing down on it with weight and sometimes even urine to press the ammonia out.

This is still served today in Iceland. I love eating things like this to gross people out. It's just a fun thing I do nearly everywhere I go. If you want to see some video and read about my little incident in disposing of the portion I didn't eat, I have a blog post all about it.


8 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Rachael from Cleveland, Georgia

My favorite meal abroad is the one I ate at a home stay after 4 hours of trekking through rice paddies in the rain in Sa Pa, Vietnam. The wonderful ladies who guided us to their tribe's village bought fresh ingredients from the market and then cooked handmade spring rolls over an open fire in their home. We sat at a low table with the family and shared the spring rolls and "happy water" (rice wine) with the adults. Nothing has given me that same content, exhausted feeling you used to get as a kid playing outside all day.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sa Pa (city)
6 thanks


answered by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

It's definitely influenced by time and place, but on our honeymoon, we had a private beach dinner while staying at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.  Not only was it spectacular for the romance and the setting, but the food was amazing as well.  We had a lovely time teasing and bantering with our waiter and even had a bit of a dance on the beach to the music they were playing.

Quite frankly, we had several memorable meals here...they had an underwater restaurant-we dined among the fish!  And we would order room service and eat on our deck-felt like we were all alone in the middle of nowhere.  They had the best mojitos I've ever had (wish I knew how they did that) and all the food was so incredibly fresh.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island (hotel)
5 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Chad from Los Angeles

Super tough question to answer. There's so many amazing food experiences and a lot of those experiences depend on what you're currently doing at the time. Nothing beats eating chicken pad thai from street vendors for like $2 in Thailand, then there's my hometown favorite of Swenson's (Stow/Kent) Drive-In Restaurants with family and friends 1x per year, but then you've got all the small shops I stopped at during a 14 day bike ride from Brisbane to Sydney where I had "Everything" burgers that were stacked with carrots, egg, beets, 1/2 pound of beef, seasoned fries and much more. I don't know if I'll ever have a favorite, I think it comes back to what you're doing wherever you are that determines the "best food experience." But that's exactly why I love to travel....for these experiences and those unique food experiences because of where you are and what you're doing.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Thailand (country)
  2. Swenson's (Stow/Kent) Drive-In Restaurants (restaurant)
  3. Brisbane (city)
  4. Sydney (city)
5 thanks


answered first by
Missy from Newport

Hi, I had a very memorable meal at Restaurant Nostromo in Split.  This restaurant is right next to the ruins of Diocletian's Palace, but more importantly right in front of the open air fish marketplace, owned by the Owners of this restaurant.  The Chef, Zlatko Marinovic, has many fishermen that simply bring him directly the best of the best each morning, and he creates surprises each day depending on the fishermen's daily catch.  For the best experience, I suggest leaving your menu choices in the hands of the waiter and Chef Zlatko, perhaps giving a price range that you would like to stay within. This restaurant is not inexpensive, but well worth it, I think for what comes out of this kitchen.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Restaurant Nostromo (restaurant)
  2. Split (city)
  3. Diocletian's Palace (attraction)
5 thanks


answered by
Brooke from Lynnwood

I would consider a layover in Brussels to be able to eat at Rugbyman n°Two again. A few years ago, on a Christmas market trip, we stopped by and experienced great food (wonderful seafood and sauces!) and jovial, friendly service. We had to go back the second night, and usually, we like trying a variety of places!

On the other side of the globe: it's a hole in the wall, but English is spoken at Sabor Tico in Santa Elena. Nothing fancy inside, but it's a locals hangout where the food is consistently outstanding. Take me back to that ceviche--I could eat it every night!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Brussels (city)
  2. Rugbyman n°Two (restaurant)
  3. Sabor Tico (attraction)
  4. Santa Elena (city)
4 thanks


answered by
Spencer from Los Angeles

It'd have to be El Celler de Can Roca. Doesn't hurt that it's one of the top ranked restaurants. An amazing vibe giving off a history like no place in North America can. And every single food I had was better than similar food I had had anywhere else in the world. And what an experience. That's why I gravitate to much of the cuisine and meal experiences I've had in Europe (especially Spain and Italy). It's really an experience and more than just eating a meal quickly and being done with it. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. El Celler de Can Roca (restaurant)
4 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Ashley from Calgary

Although not really answering the question I must say, we are notoriously bad for wandering into places without knowing what they're called loving the food and essentially having no idea where we ate. When we're at home it's a different story, we remember everything. These posts about where to eat and great travel food experiences are really making me wish we paid more attention on the road!! 


4 thankscomments (4)


answered by
Linda from Abington

Even though it's a bit touristy (and not inexpensive), one of our favorite places to go in Bangkok, Thailand is The   You go in with a shopping cart and pick out the fish and/or seafood you want (all raw) as well as vegetables.  Once you pay for it, you go back to your table and discuss how you would like each prepared.

Best to go with a group so that you can try many different choices and combinations.

We've been there are least three or four times and love it every time!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bangkok (city)
3 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Karen from Dallas

Just spent an evening at Eat Street Markets in Brisbane. Fantastic food, great atmosphere and great company with some locals. There are a huge number of vendors with a wide variety of international foods to choose from, along with non-food vendors and live music. It's not inexpensive, but if you were to eat out once a week, you could go here for months and never have the same thing twice. Just fabulous!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Eat Street Markets (attraction)
3 thanks


answered by
Juli from Salem (Massachusetts)

We just came back from a long weekend in Montreal. We are dedicated people who travel for food. Here were the highlights of our trip. We started off on a “light” foot with a lovely vegetarian lunch at Propulsion Cantine Végétalienne Even if you are not a vegetarian, you are going to love this place. Funky, fun, and delicious!

That light lunch was in preparation for an exact “opposite” dinner that night, Restaurant au Pied de Cochon— the main reason for our trip to Montreal from Salem, Massachusetts. No sign, and you better have reservations, this place specializes in all things “pig” and foie gras. Put yourself in the hands of one of the great servers, and you won’t go wrong.

The next day we went in search of great smoked meat sandwiches. A visitor to Salem who was from Montreal recommended we go to Smoke Meat Pete which is about a 25 minute drive out of downtown Montreal but oh-so-worth the trip. We had eaten at Schwartz's a number of times, but sorry guys, Pete has you beat to pieces, and we used to think you were the tops. Just be sure to bring lots of cash because they don’t take credit cards. Try their combo plate with their own, made fresh fries — amazing!

On the way out of town on Sunday morning we stopped for bagels at St-Viateur Bagel. Be sure to bring cash here as well. Don’t miss their just-out-of-the-oven bagels, of course, but also their sesame matzoh. OMG!!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Propulsion Cantine Végétalienne (restaurant)
  2. Restaurant au Pied de Cochon (restaurant)
  3. Smoke Meat Pete (restaurant)
  4. Montreal (city)
  5. Schwartz's (restaurant)
  6. St-Viateur Bagel (attraction)
3 thanks


answered by
Roberto from Rio de Janeiro

One of the best restaurant experiences I've had was in Paris in a small bistro in the Latin Quarter. We arrived in Paris after a very tiring journey and instead of going to rest, we went to dinner at this bistro. They had a tasting menu and the first entrée was escargot, the second course was a filet with Béarnaise sauce and potatoes au gratin. It was delicious. We took two bottles of good Bordeaux, dated, laughed and walked back to the hotel, stumbling on a beautiful paris night. We had a hard time finding the hotel in the end but it all worked out. It was unforgettable. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Paris (city)
  2. Latin Quarter (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Thomas from Vancouver

If you are ever in the Netherlands go to Haarlem (15 train ride from Amsterdam) and find a place called Friethuis De Vlaminck 

Here you can order the best Flemish fries you'll ever have. My favorite became what is know as the "friet oorlog" (fry war) which is mayonnaise with hot satay and onions on top.  

Especially delicious on a cold winter day or after a few Belgian beers


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Netherlands (country)
  2. Haarlem (city)
  3. Amsterdam (city)
  4. Friethuis De Vlaminck (restaurant)
3 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Sindi

I had the most wonderful tasting lunch 5 years ago Banana Leaf in Vancouver BC. This was my first experience with Malaysian food. I had a chicken and rice lunch. My only regret is that this restaurant or any Malaysian restaurant is not located in Phoenix AZ. :(

This restaurant is very small and it was packed for lunch.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Banana Leaf (restaurant)
2 thanks


answered by
Peter from Bloomington (Indiana)

I imagine this is a fairly clichéd response, but seppiale -- squid in its own ink (ok, actually cuttlefish) -- in Venice was delightful. Also, these artichokes in Florence.While we're at this, a shout-out to the brisket at the Buckeye Roadhouse in Mill Valley.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Venice (city)
  2. Florence (city)
  3. Buckeye Roadhouse (restaurant)
2 thanks


answered by
Christopher from Tampa, Florida

We were visiting Isla de las Mujeres, Mexico on a day trip and stopped at a little place call Cockteleria Justicia Social for lunch.  It is a waterfront restaurant just south of the business district on the west shore.  We ordered fish tacos for four and some tequilla and beers.  The staff immediately got on the radio and made a call out to fishermen to see what catch was available.  A small boat pulled up to the little dock out back in about 15-minutes with a giant Amberjack and the proper "negocios" were transacted.  The cook cleaned the fish, spiced it with a rub and some olive oil and lime and threw it, scored skin side down, onto a grill with red hot coals.  They served the fish with fresh homemade tortillas, pico de gallo, guacamole, diced onions, salsa verde and your usual sides.  The tab was super reasonable and it was the best fish tacos we ever ate.  If you ever visit, rent a scooter to tour the island and get away from downtown.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Isla de las Mujeres (attraction)
  2. Cockteleria Justicia Social (restaurant)
1 thanks


answered by
Laura

About 15 years ago, I happened to be staying at the Ramada Inn in Baton Rouge.  As luck would have it, I was there on a Tuesday night, which was their All You Can Eat Crawfish Boil night.  Only $3.00 per person! (Drinks not included.) People came from all over the area every Tuesday. A local family let me sit with them that evening, which was great because a) it was the only empty chair and b) they showed me the correct technique for eating crawfish.  Twisting and pinching were involved, as I recall.  I must have been there for hours!  Proof once again that an amazing dining experience doesn't have to cost mega bucks in a fancy restaurant.  :-)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Baton Rouge (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Brian from Philadelphia

Tons of amazing answers here thanks everyone.

With so many incredible experiences in Europe it surprises even me that my favorite meal was in Las Vegas at Bouchon to celebrate my best friend getting married. The four of us guys were fortunate enough to get a reservation thanks to a friend calling in a favor to the host, so to say thanks we purchased a nice bottle of scotch for the host. This, coupled with an amazing waitress led to endless food and drinks for about three hours. Sitting outside in the beautiful courtyard with best friends and nowhere to go and endless conversation; this is the common theme for all my favorite meals. Long meals with friends (new and old) might just be the most fantastic thing in the world.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bouchon (restaurant)
1 thanks


answered by
Allison from Houston

I took this awesome food tour in Jordaan area of Amsterdam. http://www.eatingamsterdamtours.com/

The tour guide was awesome and so was the food!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jordaan (neighborhood)
1 thanks


answered by
Joanne

I enjoyed having HIGH TEA in Bath, England. Especially the "Clotted Cream". The atmosphere was delightful. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bath (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Alfredo from Winterthur, Switzerland

One of the best Restaurants in Cebu or all over the Philippines is Swiss Italian Restaurant Cebu (Swiss Italian Restaurant Cordova Cebuwhich serves authentic Swiss and traditional authentic Italian specialties.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Swiss Italian Restaurant Cebu (restaurant)
1 thanks


answered by
Lauren from Toronto

Eating homemade seafood pasta while overlooking the mediterranean sea in the Cinque Terre, Italy. SOOOOO delicious.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cinque Terre (region)
1 thanks


answered by
Mike from Knoxville

Passions on the Beach at Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort in Aruba was absolutely awesome! Feet in the sand at sunset and served the absolute best Sea Bass I've ever had in my life!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort (hotel)
  2. Aruba (country)
1 thanks


answered by
Mimi from Los Osos

What a coinkidink.  Best food experience was Arzak in San Sebastian.  Walked in totally unaware that it was a 3 star Michelin rated restaurant.  Tasting menu of 3 courses but both of us were encouraged to order two 1/2 orders for each, which meant it was a 6 course tasting menu!  Yes it was expensive.  But by far the best meal ever ever.  


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Arzak (attraction)
  2. San Sebastian (city)
1 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Keith from Bowness-on-Windermere

'The 'Famous Montville Pie' ... a meat pie with mushy peas ... and a bottle of Bundaberg ginger beer at Montville, Queensland.

(Also, a Jordanian restaurant near Jerash ... I can't remember the name ... but the owner had four brothers; all farmers, so all the food was fresh and organic)

And, when I'm in the Netherlands, the first place I head for is a satay stall.


1 thanks


answered by
Ernst from Long Island (New York)

A recent and very memorable food experience for me was in Kakadu National Park.  A few friends and I went on a day trip with http://www.animaltracks.com.au/tour-highlights/bush-tucker-gathering.html where you are encouraged to participate in collecting bush food and helping to prepare it for your dinner. It can be as hands-on as you want. It's a very interesting experience, and the food is quite good, but it's not for everyone. There are no luxuries and it's not fine dining, but this is probably the most authentic Aboriginal culture experience you can have. Food is prepared in a fire pit at the edge of a billabong that's filled with thousands of magpie geese and other birds. Sunset while eating dinner is amazing!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Kakadu National Park (amusement park)


answered by
Adina from Bucharest

My best experience was in Transylvania. There was a very welcoming lady, named Marcela, that cooked for us. Her house was an old inn rich in history and at her age ( around 60) she was speaking fluent German, English and Romanian.

She had a garden full of fruits and vegetables and she asked us to pick the herbs she needed for our dinner. She made a delicious polenta, goat cheese with basil and tomatoes, blueberry cheesecake and more. Everything was so natural and delicious. Then she stayed with us and we shared our story for hours while drinking wine and listening to jazz. 

You can find her experience here: https://familyvacation.com/vacations/romania/gourmet-vacation-in-transylvania


I totally recommend her. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Transylvania (region)


answered by
Arnette from Los Angeles

#1 would be befriending a chef in San Sebastian who then went on to stage at Mugaritz Restaurante. He was my personal guide for eating in Donostia for 3 weeks. Nothing can top eating this way in the Basque country. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Sebastian (city)
  2. Mugaritz Restaurante (restaurant)


answered by
Will from On The Road

Just last week on my blog I reflected on ten of the most unforgettable food experiences I had during a decade on the road. The dishes came from Spain, Vietnam, Turks and Caicos, Iceland, Slovenia, and beyond! At http://www.worldleap.co/10-unforgettable-foods-from-a-decade-on-the-road/ you’ll find all of the specifics. Bon Appétit!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Spain (country)
  2. Vietnam (country)
  3. Turks and Caicos (country)
  4. Iceland (country)
  5. Slovenia (country)


answered by
Ben from London

Sooooo many but right now in this cold I'm thinking back to Summer and the Octopus Salad at East-West in Dubrovnik has to be one of the best dishes I've ever tasted.  Perfection in Summer! 

I've also written a blog about foodie experiences coming up with a dream 3 course menu consisting of meals from travelling.  Check it out here & make a menu of your own!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. East-West (attraction)




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