I am not a glutton

I am not a glutton—I am an explorer of food.”  ― Erma Bombeck

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you will quickly realize that I travel mainly through my stomach.  Heck, even when I am not traveling, I live this way!

I recently wrote an interview series with Nathalie Hamidi who posed several questions to me around the topic of travel and food. (The interviews are in French, the first two parts published already. If you can read French, you can check them out here.)

Doing that interview sparked many food memories associated with my travel. It is very difficult to select one great meal or one great restaurant, but I can certainly tell you about some of my favorite food memories.

Favorite chicken dish: Brechets discovered at Au Pied de Cochon in Vichy, France. Brechets are the wishbone which is surrounded by white meat.  They are fried or sauteed with garlic and parsley and they are awesome.  After trying them in Vichy, Mr. Misadventures and I would by them from the vollailler (poultry seller) at the market on the weekends. When I first moved back from France I asked every butcher I could find if they had these with no luck!

Favorite beef dish: Boeuf bourguignon (beef bourguignon) from Chez Didi in Paris. Short for Le Bistrot d’André C, near the Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou. It used to be where the old Citroen plant was and the Citroen management used to eat at Chez Didi so its Citroen souvenirs and memorabilia decor is fitting. They have many wonderful home-style dishes, but nothing beats their boeuf bourguignon.

Favorite seafood dish that is not sushi: I love sushi, it would be the one food I would eat if I had to choose one thing to eat for the rest of my life.  And I love maguro, its my favorite, so my favorite seafood dish shouldn’t surprise you.  If you put a gun to my head and I had to select one favorite meal it would be the lunch I ate over and over while in Moorea (French Polynesia) – the rare ahi tuna sandwich with pineapple chutney served with salty fries along with a cold panaché beer.

Favorite pasta dish: Linguine vongole (linguine in clam sauce) eaten at a tiny neighborhood restaurant in Rome which I am likely never to find again!  Mr. Misadventures and I spent a day getting lost and wandering around rainy Rome .  Around the lunch hour we stumbled into a lively looking restaurant and sat down to have some pasta.  Little did we know that it would be the best darn linguine vongole that either of us have ever had.  And I was such an idiot – I didn’t grab a card or take a photo of the location or anything!

Strangest food I have eaten, that although it tasted good, I would not eat again: There is actually a tie in this category. In 1999 I spent 9 weeks in Suzhou, China working on a project.  I made a lot of wonderful friends while I was there and I ate out often.  One night some of my local colleagues took me out to a restaurant where they ordered several dishes for me to try.  They all were quite yummy and I enjoyed the meal.  Afterward, they informed me that one of the dishes was dog.  I kindly told them that although I had enjoyed the meal I did not want to eat dog again because I wouldn’t be able to face my own dog at home!  And of course, I have already written about accidentally eating frog fallopian tubes which while tasty, is still a little too weird for me.

Strangest food I have eaten and I would not eat again: On my most recent trip to Tokyo in December I tried whale sperm (called shirako) at a sushi restaurant. My male colleague would not dare to try it, but I took the challenge! The sushi chef had been quite good at advising and giving us all the really fresh items, and he kept trying to get us to try it. Everything else he had suggested was really good, so I thought “why not?” Wrong! I did not like it and won’t try it again…but at least I can say I tried it!

Strangest food I have eaten which I would eat again: Not all my experiences in Suzhou were bad!  Suzhou has a lot of lakes and therefore lots of fish. There is a special dish that has to be special ordered in most local restaurants and it is quite good.  It is sauteed fish lips. I quite liked them..a little crunchy..but tasty!

Well those are a few of my food memories which happen to be intertwined with travel.

How about you? Do you have favorite foods or meals associated with travel?

And so everyone can play along, I consider travel to be an hour or more away from home!

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Comments

  1. When I was growing up, we went to ‘family camp’ at my mom’s childhood camp in northern WI every summer. I have a zillion food memories from these annual trips. None are healthy, but all are insanely clear to this day:
    -Fried Crappie (these little fish caught right in the lake every morning by the dads)
    -Maple Fudge from the Minocqua Fudge Shop
    -Strawberry soda in tall glass bottles from the vending machine
    -Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – but they mixed the pb and j in one tub, trust me, it tastes like a different animal.

  2. @Julie, those are some good ones, thanks for sharing! I definitely have some meals associated with some family roads trips as well, they become part of the impression and sometimes as an adult when you come across one of these food items it can knock you off your feet!

  3. Yes. All in China, of course. Pigs brain, ox penis, sea cockroach …

    Oh yes. In Africa there was a “Chinese” restaurant and when we ordered the egg roll it ended up being a stuffed omlette. ha ha

  4. @Jennie, China is reliable for that!

  5. One of the craziest eating experiences I’ve had was a meal of pigs knuckles in Shanghai, complete with plastic gloves and a straw to suck the marrow! (It was actually very tasty!)

    Then there were the pigs ears in Gijon and the yak in Tibet…

  6. @Kasia, thanks for sharing, looks like you can do a similar post!

  7. Hah! I’ve heard people tell me they are not fans of whale sperm. I have not had it. Not that I’m in any hurry to try it. LOL

  8. I spent 6 months bumming around the united states and I lived off of mostly beans and rice. I found that a great way to add a bit of flavor was to use a stock instead of water to cook the dish.

    So my favorite dish that I associate with travel is just simply beans and rice.

  9. @Chuck, hi there, love beans and rice, and thanks for sharing your memory!

  10. @Carolyn, I’d say in this case you probably aren’t missing anything!

  11. As my travels are limited to the US (including HI) my most exotic foods have been Antelope jerky, Alligator tail, Frog legs, Shark, Moose, and that one illusive Woodpecker (while on a hunting/camping trip with no food).
    I can recommend all but the Woodpecker.

  12. I’ve often said, becoming a foodie is an occupational hazard of a business traveler. So many times especially on a hectic schedule sharing a meal with colleagues from far corners of the world is often the only cultural experience one has in a foreign country on a business trip. I’m so grateful to have been brought up in a family where food was looked upon as an adventure and trying new things was encouraged. Being a culturally engaged eater has opened more doors for me professionally than anything else. I really enjoyed your post, and going to think about what my all time favorite meals have been. As always Andi, you are such an inspiration!

  13. @FashionableTraveler, you nailed it, I have connected with so many people personally and professionally over food, it brings people together, and being adventurous is definitely an asset.

  14. @Kipp, those are some rather exotic foods your experiences, I have not tried Moose or woodpecker, love shark and frog legs!

  15. Whale sperm, eh? Yeah, that’s weird. But I’d give it a go too. On my most recent vacation I had the opportunity to eat Sweet Breads from a 5 star resort. I thought..if I’m going to try sweet breads, this is the place to do it. I mean, when am I ever going to find myself at a 5 star resort again? Probably never. So I did. And they were delicious. I also tried a patte there, having never been into organ meat this was a doozy of a trip. I am still craving patte.

  16. @Audrey, I couldn’t agree more. Best place to try something new and possibly questionable is at a really good resto!

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