10 International Foods That Spoiled My Taste Buds
It's no surprise that I love traveling, and that I also love food! As a magician based in Dallas, there's only so much cuisine I can experience here. I've traveled far and wide to discover some of the most interesting foods. Trust me, I have encountered the good, the bad, and the ugly throughout my journey across the world. I've ingested things that I thought would make me sick. I've suffered through food so spicy that I could barely stand it. But I've also been lucky enough to enjoy some truly incredible food around the world. In no particular order (except for my number 1 pick) I present my favorite foods from my travels abroad.
Traditional Noodle Dish – Hong Kong
This one is a bit of a mystery because I don’t know what I actually ordered; I just know it was some sort of traditional beef and noodle soup. There weren’t any English menus and I unfortunately don’t speak Chinese, so I identified the symbol for beef below a photo of the dish and selected it with blind faith.
It was a very small and cramped place, with shared seating. but the dish I had was exquisite!
How good was it, you ask? After we finished our meal and were waiting on the bill, I noticed the kitchen door was left open so you could see into the tiny kitchen. I saw the shirtless chef, standing in a flooded kitchen with rain boots on, smoking a cigarette as he worked over the meals…
The food was so good, we came back the next day.
Fry Up - England
One of my favorite things to have in England is a “fry up”, also known as a “full breakfast.” I have to admit, the British know how to do breakfast, and that means a lot coming from me because I don’t usually like breakfast foods.
My dear friend Jae, who always goes out of his way to make this for us when we visit, first introduced me to this feast. For that I am eternally grateful!
A fry up usually consists of toast, beans, eggs, sausages, chips, ham, bacon, mushrooms, tomato slices, and blood pudding. Don’t even attempt to eat it if you aren’t ready to be full for about a week!
Svíčková with Dumplings – Prague, Czechia
Svickova is a traditional weekend dish for the locals of Prague. I have to say that this was one of the strangest looking foods I’ve ever had. It looks like it shouldn’t be eaten, or for that matter, trusted.
As soon as the waiter brought it to our table I thought, ”Oh no, what have I done?” I was thankfully wrong about my judgments.
The dish consisted of braised and marinated beef that is covered in a root vegetable cream sauce served with bread dumplings. On one of the pieces of meat is Cranberry sauce, crowned by a dollop of whipped cream. I don’t like cranberry sauce, but when mixed with the gravy and whipped cream it made for an awesome pairing.
Bife A Casa – Sintra, Portugal
On a whim we decided to duck into this little café in Sintra, Portugal. I had it in my mind to try something traditional to Portugal, liver being one of the suggestions. I’ve never tried liver, nor did I want to, but I figured I would be brave and give it a sampling. When I told the waiter my order he said, "No no no, don’t eat that. Eat the Bife A Casa instead. That’s what we like.” The waiter seemed to be confident in his orders, so I ordered the steak of the house instead. Now this dish is all about the sauce, because the meat wasn’t very good on its own- a little tough. But the creamy sauce that it came with was so delicious that I ate every single thing on my plate and tried to find whatever else I could dip in it to get every last drop of it. The gravy was so good that I may or may not have licked the plate clean. I’ve tried to do some research and figure out where this place was but I cant seem to find anything out. Whatever their cream sauce was, they need to bottle it and send it over to America ASAP so I can hook up an IV of it.
Bitterballen - Netherlands
This food is one of the most popular appetizers/bar food in all of Amsterdam. It's made with a chunky and thick beef sauce that has been rolled in bread crumbs and fried to perfection. I don’t really hit up any bars when traveling, but I do appear in a lot of weird places. That right there is how I found out my favorite place to get Bitterballen was at a walkup restaurant called FEBO. They keep all of their foods in little coin operated storage lockers. Normal, right? Think of a vending machine wall with hot food waiting on the other side of the glass. Almost like how those newspaper dispensers work! But regardless of the strange presentation, the food was delicious. Pro tip: If you enjoy having a mouth that doesn’t have 3rd degree burns, be sure to break the Bitterballen open and let it cool off before you bite into it.
Jamon Iberico de Bellota – Spain
This is the most expensive (and most delicious) ham in the world. The black Iberian pigs, which are only found in Spain and Portugal, are fed a diet of acorns for around 3 years, the meat is then aged for 2 to 8 years. A leg of this exclusive meat can set you back $4,500.
It's easy to spot at food stalls. Just look for the severed pig's leg, hoof pointed to the sky, which is attached to what looks to be a medieval torture device. I’ll spare you the photo, but trust me when I say it can shock you the first time you see it.
The high cost is why we opted to have some humble shavings of the delicious meat when we visited the Mas food stall at the Boqueria market in Barcelona, Spain. You can have the butcher shave off and weigh to whatever your budget may be. We said "give us about 10 euros worth".
The taste of the jamon iberico was very distinct and so multilayered that I find it hard to compare to anything I’ve had before. I guess that's why it's so expensive, it isn't like anything you're used to eating. Hints of chestnuts blended in with the saltiness and richness of the meat that, once you've had a few chews, it opens up a new fantastic taste for your mouth to cherish. The whole experience only added to the romance of the beautiful city.
Currywurst – Berlin, Germany
A popular street food that has made its way into our own cycle of meals that we make at home is the savory snack known as Currywurst.
This German snack consists of a sliced bratwurst that has been smothered with a tomato and curry powder sauce. It's that simple. The strange mixture of flavors made for a really fun combination that was very tasty. We serve it at home with seasoned fries, dipped in the excess sauce. Look up a Currywurst recipe online and make this dish for yourself or someone you care about. My wife simply found the recipe she uses on Pinterest. You will thank me for it later!
DOP Roasted Hot Dog – Copenhagen, Denmark
When visiting a new place, you never know what will be their famous eateries. It could be a fancy 5 star restaurant in a high rise or a small shop hidden in an alleyway. In this case, it was a hot dog cart.
DOP Hot dogs are famous in Copenhagen for being relatively cheap, using only organic ingredients, and for always being delicious. Their most popular dog consists of: ketchup, mustard, friend onions, pickles, sliced onions and a cauliflower and carrot remoulade. It all made for a very messy meal but delicious all the same, even if my shirt ate more of it than my mouth did.
Like me, you may be surprised to learn that Nordic countries all have one thing in common; they go nuts for hot dogs. Each country had their own take on it, but after trying them all, Denmark is the winner. We trekked back to DOP in the torrential, pouring rain to get one last hot dog before our cruise out of Copenhagen. SO worth it.
Kushikatsu – Osaka, Japan
The city of Osaka, Japan is known as “Japan's Kitchen” and there's good reason for it. Just in the small area of Dotonbori, any food lover would be in heaven. This is a place where each food stall or restaurant you try is only beaten by whichever one you try next!
In Dotonbori, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Your senses are being bombarded on all fronts. The sweet and savory smells wafting in the air, the busy hum of the crowd, and the giant cartoonish signs and bright lights that cover the buildings all beg for your attention.
Where do you even start? I’ll tell you!
Around the corner of the giant animatronic crab (I’m serious) is a Kushikatsu stall that I can’t wait to visit again. Kushikatsu consists of different skewers of deep-fried vegetables and meat that are usually dunked in a savory tonkatsu sauce.
The shop had a sampler platter that I couldn’t stop sampling. I may or may not have bought 5 of them… I guarantee you would've done the same! The sampler had pork filet, pork loin, lotus root, onion, and matsusaka beef. It was easily one of the best tasting foods I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying. The best part? After you finish all of the skewers you can go hunt down vampires!
I’ve tried my best to not list the same country more than once but there is no denying that Japan has some of the best food I’ve ever had. That is why its no surprise that one of its offerings has made it to the number one spot.
A5 Premium Wagyu beef from Kobe Japan
This is the highest rated, most revered, most expensive, and highest quality steak in the entire world. Can you guess why it's my number one food?
Although there are a few different types of Wagyu available in Japan, Kobe is regarded as being the best of the best. We were lucky enough to have tried the legendary steak in the actual city of Kobe.
Eating the steak was an experience in itself. In our case we had a chef that was assigned to us for the entire meal. He walked us through exactly how to eat the steak, showing us what paired best with the meat and how different things can bring out different flavors. The chef cooked each bite in front of us, which was a bit awkward but his friendliness and passion for the food made those feelings quickly disappear. I could go on and on about it, but I’ll spare you the details.
Have you ever tasted something so good that you can’t believe it? Where your jaw locks up and you can’t help but to have a huge smile on your face? That’s exactly what happened when I took my first bite.
The meat was so perfect and so extremely marbled that it literally melted in your mouth. Each piece is chewed maybe two times and it’s gone, melting away into your taste buds. It was such a weird experience to have that happen. The closest thing I can compare it to would be the way cotton candy melts in your mouth, but just a little bit slower than that.
It was the greatest thing I’ve ever eaten in my life.
So there you have it, 10 of this Dallas Magicians favorite foods, experienced while traveling abroad. It was hard to narrow it down to ten meals, but we can always break things down to different categories for future writings.
Do you have any suggestions of foods I should try? Let me know, I would love to hear all about them! I would also love to hear if anyone has tried any of the items I listed!