The best way to really learn the secrets of a destination is through its food. When you sample authentic tastes and flavours of a country, you’ll never think about burgers and fries again. From Morocco to Myanmar, savour the gastronomic goodness of a lovingly prepared meal – your taste buds will thank you. Whether losing yourself in colorful Asian spice markets or sipping an Argentinian wine is you thing, we reveal some of the most unforgettable foodie experiences in the world.
Couscous in the Souks, Morocco
Marrakesh – known as the Red City – has hues of blush splashed on its architecture at every turn. Its colourful souks, bazaars and boulevards add to Marrakesh’s vivacious charm, the labyrinthine alleyways exude a thrilling sense of adventure. In this melting pot of culture and cosmopolitanism, the famous Djemaa el Fna square is the bustling heart of the Moroccan city. Acrobats, drummers, musicians, dancers add to the atmospheric backdrop and the aroma of food is omnipotent.
Moroccan food is fragrant, exquisitely spiced and rich in flavors and texture. Tajine, the conical clay cooking pot, has already made its way across the world. The stew of meat and vegetable with spices, sometimes served with lemon and olives is a treat for the senses. Couscous, the most famous Moroccan dish, is traditionally eaten with your hands. How better to savour a big bowl of steamed semolina heaped high with vegetables, chickpeas and more?
The best way to get a taste of the city is to take a tour of the souks with a local and then try your hand at cooking some authentic Moroccan fare. The reward? The best homemade Moroccan cooking you’ll ever taste (and one that you made!).
Tropical Treats in Thailand
Thailand is such a popular destination that you’re probably looking for an island getaway where people aren’t falling off a banana boat with alarming regularity. Ko Lanta is the answer and not just for its pristine white sand beaches, secret emerald lagoons and swaying palm trees. The food is sinful – think spicy coconut curries, fresh papaya salads, pad thai and crispy spring rolls.
The great thing about cooking in Ko Lanta is that the food is a lot more authentic than the meals in the tourist traps. Fresh herbs like cilantro, lemon grass, basil and mint lend a unique zest to the local dishes often accompanied by Jasmine rice or noodles. Mastering the art of delicately balancing the sweet, sour and spicy is easy when a local shares the secrets. Thai food back home will never taste the same again!
Discover the Real Taste of China
Almost everyone can claim to have tried Chinese food, but very few have had the pleasure of trying the authentic classic cuisine of Dali. On the shores of Erhai Lake, the bohemian city of Dali is a picturesque old town with a laid-back vibe. With a backdrop of Cangshan Mountain rising above, this ancient city is a gorgeous setting for a culinary break.
Home of the Bai tribe, Dali is well-known for dishes historically cooked by the Bai. But being a hippie melting pot of cultures, it offers a variety of foods from around Yunnan Province and other Chinese delicacies.
Take a trip to the local market with your guide, pick up ingredients and learn about local specialties. Try your hand at preparing classic Chinese dishes like tofu salads or Gong Bao chicken, dumplings or steam tender chicken in a pot. These delectable dishes with traditional Chinese herbs are said to also have medicinal qualities. After slaving over your hot wok, you’ll finally have that authentic Chinese cooking cred!
Currying Flavours in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is hot, hot, hot – a must-see destination on any traveller’s list for its glorious sunny beaches, warm people and fiery food. A hot tip is to choose a homestay to experience Sri Lanka like a local.
Sri Lankan cuisine is bursting with intense flavours and generous portions of coconut in some inventive form or the other. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried a Sri Lankan curry – where coconut milk, curry leaves and chillies come together in divine harmony. Fish and jackfruit are a staple of the island nation and a sour fish curry is a must-try for some real tangy goodness. The markets just outside Kandy are brimming with fresh, local produce and colourful spices just waiting to be taken home. What better than a cooking class in your homestay for discovering the secrets of Sri Lankan cooking?
Toast the Andes in Argentina
Argentina’s wine capital, Mendoza, is a perfect setting for an intoxicating food and drink getaway. Its bustling plazas and cosmopolitan cafes reel you in with their charm. With a breathtaking backdrop of the snowy Andes, a relaxing Malbec in hand and endless rows of sun-kissed vineyards – you simply can’t go wrong.
Cycle between wine bodegas and sample the finest of what the region offers. Explore nearby villages with cobbled streets and shady colonial plazas. Whether sipping the local wine at a pavement café or at a wine tasting paired with a three course meal – with empanadas, exquisitely grilled steak and a wide range of salads and desserts – this is a culinary experience that’s sure to heighten your senses. Sweet or tart, with Mendoza’s famous reds tingling your taste buds, get ready to fall under Argentina’s spell.
Silk and Spice in Myanmar
Focusing mostly on rich and savory flavors, the sheer variety of Myanmar cuisine involves unique ingredients like kaffir lime, long bean, pickled tea leaves and fish paste. Stalls in Myanmar tend to specialize in a single dish or style of food including the Burmese curry, their unofficial national dish – Mohinga, the fermented tea leaf salad – Lephet and the renowned Shan Cuisine.
You’ll find Shan Cuisine around Inle Lake, part of the Southern Shan State. Myanmar’s cultural delight, Inle Lake, abounds with natural beauty and foodie treats. Stop by and spend some time with the locals over a home-cooked bowl of the famous Shan noodles. Inle promises an authentic food experience that will sweep you off your feet.
Spanning an impressive 13 miles, dotted along this serene highland lake are enchanting villages with stilted houses along the water’s edge. Take a boat trip from the town of NyaungShwe, and explore the surreal Floating Gardens and colorful Markets. Marvel at the iconic Intha fishermen, renowned for their leg rowing, in action on their traditional boats. Visit a local cheroot factory and grab some Burmese Cigars. Talk about instant nirvana!
Learn to chop, stir and sizzle… the local way… with Rickshaw Travel’s range of authentic foodie travel experiences.