Food and travel go hand in hand. Whenever I travel, I spend some time researching the cuisines and familiarising myself with country’s must -try foods. International and local cities are known for their tantalising foods, paired with some of the best wines and cocktails to satisfy any appetite. But often not knowing some of the best places to visit can ruin what has a potential to be a great food experience. So I enlisted the services of seasoned travellers who can’t stop raving about their favourite meals.
Inside the Savoy Hotel in London is the : Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill where they serve the best pork belly.
Traveller: Chia Kougianos
Where: Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill at the Savoy Hotel
Address: Strand, London WC2R 0EU, UK
Chia Kougianos visited London for the first time during summer last year. During an afternoon at the Savoy Hotel, she had lunch at Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill, which overlooks the River Thames. She enjoyed the crab and prawn cannelloni and the braised pork belly.
“I loved everything about the place and the cuisine was up to par with my expectations,” she said. Kougianos suggests that if you visiting the UK for the first time there’s nothing that says ‘British Food’ like fish and chips.
“You must indulge in their fish and chips. It is best eaten on the seaside in Brighton. Other must do dishes include a traditional Sunday Roast with Yorkshire pudding and I’d recommend the Sir Richard Steele pub in Belsize Park. It’s a true classic and the vibe and décor of the little gastropub is unrivalled. When it comes to pudding I’d highly recommend trying their homemade sticky toffee pudding. What else is there to say? Delicious!”
For hot Indian dishes, a visit to Chandni Chowk market in Old Delhi is a must visit.
Traveller: Shivani Rana
Where: Halidrams and Chandni Chowk market in Old Delhi
Shivani Rana, a New Delhi local, describes cuisine in India as diverse and that ranges from vegetarian meals to seafood and meat dishes. She recommends chapatti (Indian bread) with gravy, a firm favourite among locals.
“I particularly enjoy the pani puri and gajar ka halwa when I am out. I usually get them from the local street vendors as pani puri is a form of street food. Halidram, one of my favourite eateries and serves mainly great Indian snacks and they are oh so delicious.
“I recommend travellers also get their hands dirty to indulge in a curry. Several eateries in India serve them. I personally like them spicy, but chefs can cook it as per a particular taste preference,” she said. Rana also loves going to the Chandni Chowk market in Old Delhi where she said most foods are available at reasonable prices.
Halal Boys in New York has many people queuing up for their food.
Traveller: Faeeza Vally
Where: Halal Guys
Address: 1002 34th Avenue, Astoria, New York
Finding Halal food can be hard, but for South African Faeeza Vally a visit to the Big Apple always puts a smile on her face with pop up store Halal Guys easily available for her indulges. She has travelled to New York three times and has fallen in love with Halal Guy’s platter combo of chicken and gyro with salad, pita and rice. Her first experience in October 2015.
She describes the atmosphere as exhilarating with people from all walks of life visiting.
“Halal Guys was once a hot dog cart but have revolutionised the American Halal food phenomenon. People queue in their office attire or holiday gear just to have one of their deliciously prepared food.
“Try their combos, they are to die for and so filling. My children love them. It is an added advantage for Muslim travellers because it’s authentic Halal food.
Also try their sandwiches, she said.
Pizzeria Grigliera Chicco di Grano near the Palazzo del Viminale in Rome not only serves delicious pizzas but a delightful Tiramisu.
Traveller: Kamcilla Pillay
Where: Pizzeria Grigliera Chicco di Grano near the Palazzo del Viminale
Address: Via degli Zingari, 6/7/8, 00184 Roma, Italy
Elizabeth Gilbert, in her best-selling novel “Eat, Pray, Love”, visits Italy as part of her journey to finding herself.
Here, as the title suggests, she “eats” as a way to feed her weary soul. This is what Durban born Kamcilla Pillay did on a visit to Rome recently.
She recollects fragrant pasta sauces; crisp pizza bases, topped with a mixture of meat and vegetables, and then enrobed in tangy cheese; and indulgent, scrumptious desserts.
“I arrived in Rome on a chilly January day, eager to begin my gastronomic journey.
And I was not disappointed.
“While, I don’t think it’s possible to choose a favourite dish, I enjoyed the simple margherita pizza most. I also particularly enjoyed the gnocchi – which are soft dough dumplings made from egg, cheese, potato, or different kinds of flour – slathered in cheese and a rich herb dressing,” she said.
Pillay said the desserts were her favourite, particularly the Tiramisu, with its bittersweet notes of richness cemented its place as one of my all-time favourite sweet treats.
She tried it at Pizzeria Grigliera Chicco di Grano near the Palazzo del Viminale, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Khumbu Lodge in Nepal serves some hot food to whet anyone's appetite.
Traveller: Arthi Gopi
Address: Namche VDC 56000, Nepal
Arthi Gopi loves to tuck into a hot dish after a six hour hike. Although, she had eaten crocodile in Kenya, lots of paneer in India, salty fish and cabbage in Congo Brazzaville, and fish and chips in Mozambique, her standout dish is the Sherpa stew (the name taken from the Nepalese ethnic group) she had eaten at Khumbu Lodge. She remembers being at the famous Everest Base Camp route in Nepal, approaching Namche Bazaar when she had eaten it.
“Our stop for the night was Khumbu Lodge sitting at 3443m above sea level - that’s roughly as high as the top of the Drakensberg.
“With food as the only thought on my mind, my now-husband and I ordered a steaming bowl of Sherpa stew from the humble lodge’s restaurant. It was roughly R10 in our money.
“We dived into a bowl filled with dumplings or pasta pieces, layered with delicious brothy vegetable soup flavours. It warmed us from the insides and made us smile - definitely feeling as strong as the Sherpas to continue climbing,” she said.