When traveling, you are likely to be shocked by the differences in food. Some people have trouble adapting to different diets. To prepare, do some research about staple foods in the the diet of the country you will be visiting. Before going to Spain, I learned that ham and seafood are a large part of a Spaniard’s diet. I was not surprised when I got there to find restaurants called Museo de Jamón with cured ham hanging from every inch of the ceiling.
What did surprise me was french fries. Shocked? I was too. Americans are known for their high consumption of fast food, burgers and fries. I found that everything in Spain and Italy (the two countries where I noticeably observed it) was served with fries. Pasta, lasagna and pizza with a side of fries. A nice three course dinner at an upscale restaurant was served with fries, oddly after the main course. My Italian cousin ordered a piece of pizza with french fries on top, which is apparently a popular topping.
You should also note that American versions of foreign food are generally inaccurate. Just because a restaurant says it is authentic, does not mean it actually is. Do not go to China and expect food to be like Panda Express. There is no such thing as sweet and sour pork in China. I had friends that thought that Spanish food was the same as Mexican food, and they bare no resemblance to each other. Only when I was in Italy, did I feel that the food matched the American version of it. Of course it was all infinitely better than Olive Garden, or Little Caesar’s $5 pizza, but it had the same integrity.
One of the great joys of traveling is experiencing the taste of authentic food from around the world. I ate crepes from street vendors everyday I was in France because they were so delicious. The chocolate mousse I had in Paris was to die for! I loved every single meal I ate in Italy, adored Belgium waffles (yes they have them) and frites, and ate a Greek gyro each day I was in Greece. Please comment and share some of your favorite food experiences while traveling!