We all need and love food. My sister Sannschie and I have traveled a lot and food was always part of our experience in every country. We tried to taste the traditional food to get a sense of the culture. Sometimes we had real revelations, sometimes it wasn’t all that special. And that’s why this post is not about typical foods we had on our travels, but about the secret tips (that sometimes weren’t very traditional) we recommend to the travelers among you.
For me, living in the US for a year and a half, I had a lot of favorite restaurants. So of course, when Sannschie and I started travelling, I wanted to show her lots of places.
But the typical mainstream places like the Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, IHOP, In-n-out-Burger, Burgerista in Europe or even Mama Africa in Cape Town are not on this list of secret food tips (even though we all love those).
So now on to the first secret food tip and to the busy city of New York.
When Sannschie went to America for the first time, she had a firm goal: try a typically American bagel. I had eaten lots of bagels in the last year and a half, so it wasn’t anything special for me anymore. But of course, I wanted her to get to know as much of American culture and try as many typically American foods as possible.
So this cute little old-fashioned shop is the Ess-a-Bagel shop and a little bit outside the heart of the Big Apple. On Google Maps (which is where we found it) it’s proudly called the “place with the best bagels in New York City”. That sounded tempting to us, so we walked there, hungry, after a day of hardcore sightseeing.
As you can see in the picture above, it’s very cozy inside and there’s a great selection of cream cheeses, meats, all kinds of bagels (wheat, white, sesame, … – you name it), cheeses, vegetables and much much more.
It was a hard decision, but in the end, Sannschie had a sesame bagel with bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomatoes. I went for a sesame bagel as well, but with lots and lots of egg salad on it. And oh my god, it was literally not only the best bagel I had in New York, but it was the best bagel we EVER had for the both of us.
And because a picture can say more than a thousand words, here are our delicious bagels:
They brightened up our whole day and we enjoyed every single bite.
With the bagel, I ordered a really tasty berry juice, that was not only refreshing but also healthy. And on the left you can see Sannschie’s cute minty water-bottle. She got it at the coolest shop, which started in Denmark. It’s called Flying Tiger, sells all kinds of handy stuff and can already be found in different European countries.
But back to the bagels. From this moment on, Sannschie was absolutely in love with bagels. I’m pretty sure she got at least one every day of our journey through America.
Moving on to secret food tip number II, and to the feature image of this little blog post.
We’re at the waterfront, just inside the French Quarter of New Orleans and found the tastiest little dessert.
Sannschie and I had been spending the day in the exciting, music-filled streets of the French Quarter. We had taken not only one, but two guided tours through the city of Jazz. Another secret tip, that has nothing to do with food. I had encountered the website Free tours by foot while planning our travelmonth. It offers (as the name suggests) free walking tours through the major cities of the world. So earlier that day, we had done a Voodoo Tour (which Sannschie mentioned in her post Grisgris-Bags and other spiritual stuff) and a Music, Arts and More-Tour.
The music-tour ended at the French Market, so from there we walked through the city, looking for food. We found a traditional restaurant and got some tasty Gumbo and Jambalaya. New Orleans Gumbo is very typical for the city, really, really good and you should definitely try it, but it’s no secret food tip. This secret tip is more about the place than the food. Just opposite of the restaurant, we saw this little café with twirly white chairs, polka-dots on the floor and mirrors on the wall, which made it look bigger but still cozy and very, very French. The open windows made it seem airy and there was a small jazz band playing in the middle of the room. We got some N’Awlins Beignets and sat down in this extraordinary atmosphere. Eating a delicious dessert, looking out the big windows into the French Quarter and listening to the smooth Jazz, we could have stayed there forever.
In November of 2016, I went on my first trip alone, to Canada.
In a week I went from Toronto to Montréal and from there to Quebec. It was amazing to see how different the cultures in the different cities were. Toronto was most American, Montreal was really Canadian, a real mix of French and American culture and Quebec was through and through French. I had lots and lots of good food, but one was the best, and one of which I will always remember the taste.
Some girls from the same hostel that I was staying at and I had cycled from the beautiful architecture of the city, through Petite-Italie, to a district called Mile-End. It was a very artsy district with lots of art studios and unique cafés. The kind of neighbourhood Sannschie and I both really love.
The little café is one of many, but the cozy inside made us want to go inside. I noticed after some time, that all the chairs and tables were completely different. Some were big armchairs, some normal wooden chairs, some twirly metallic chairs, but I didn’t see the same chair more than once.
They offered mostly Mexican food and had a big choice of cocktails and other sorts of drinks. I had this Ciabatta bread with pesto, feta cheese, almonds and honey. The mix of saltiness in the pesto and feta cheese, but the sweetness of the honey and almonds was something so special I never tasted before.
The next secret food tip is one that I had many, many times because it was so good.
When I was living in New Jersey for six months, I had a very good friend who lived just around the corner. Every Friday, we used to go to the same sushi place.
I know what you’re thinking now, isn’t sushi the same everywhere?
No! This was the best sushi I ever had! I’m crazy about salmon, so I always had something different, but always salmon.
But the taste of the sushi wasn’t the only reason, why we always went there.
Au Pairs don’t earn a lot of money, so it’s always important for us to find something cheap to do and to eat. In this restaurant, every sushi was half the price of regular sushi restaurants! So if you get 6 salmon makis, it would cost $5 in another Japanese restaurant, but at Fusha Asian Fusion, it cost $2.50!! They had a huge selection of different kinds of sushis (big ones with 8 pieces or even smaller sushis with only 4 pieces) with all kinds of seafood, vegetables or even meat. Another highlight was the little piece of candy after dinner, it was lychee flavored and very tasty.
For our last secret food tip, we went to the desert of Nevada and Arizona, to the Grand Canyon. On our bustour to the breattaking natural spectacle, Sannschie and I were amazed by the huge canyon (which is btw the location of the picture on our front page). It’s incredible to be all the way on top of the canyon and look into the very bottom of the chasm. Part of the Grand Canyon National Park is a very interesting Native American camp.
They rebuilt lots of old caves and bonfires of old Native American tribes. There was also lots of info on how they used to live and what traditions they used to have, which I found very interesting. Sannschie especially loved the little shops with handmade jewelry and other treasures, since she loves all kinds of tribal things.
We carried on to another part of the park, a typically American ranch. We felt like we were back in 1760, with Cowboy farms, bull riding, saloons and old ice cream shops.
We went inside the saloon and got our lunch there, on the house. We could choose between chicken or spare ribs with corn bread, mashed potatoes and vegetables. Some people in the saloon and basically all the guests said that the spare ribs were the best they ever had, and I totally agree!
So this was a little longer than I expected, which means there will definitely be more parts about secret food tips.
Let us know what you think about them and if you would like our secret food tips!
What are your secret food tips all around the world?