Top Ten


“You are what you eat” written by French doctor Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in 1826, is a phrase that tells us so much about a country and the people who live there. In our travel experiences in over 126 countries we have found typical foods that we have tried to replicate when we get home.

There is just something about the bread in France or the gelato in Italy that cannot be duplicated at home. We are not tourists who just vacation to eat, but we are travelers who certainly appreciate the variety in the foods of the world!

As we pursue our travels we will continue to evaluate the characteristic foods from new countries and we will reevaluate our list of Top Ten.

Our Top Ten List is in Alphabetical Order by Country

Please Click on the Pictures to Enlarge



A breakfast food for most in the United States, in Belgium, the land of their origin, waffles are eaten any time of the day. As an afternoon treat, they are bought in small cafés or as street food and enjoyed with strong coffee. Many of the “extreme” waffles are served with ice cream, whipped cream, fruit of your choice, and drizzled with chocolate (another of Belgium’s specialties).



Originally a heavy stew eaten by the Brazilian slaves using the left over meats after butchering, feijoada is now the staple food of Brazil. The black beans are slow cooked with the pieces of pork or beef, and flavored with onions, bay leaves, and the juices of Brazilian sausage, chorizo. Feijoada is served with pao de queijo, rice, bananas, fried manioc (cassava), and of course, the favorite Brazilian adult beverage, the Caipirinha.



There is a reason the world calls a loaf or baguette of bread “French Bread"! In our travels, we have had pita bread, short bread, flat bread, unleavened bread, sourdough bread, and of course, the United States’ Wonder Bread! Nothing can beat the smell and taste of the bread from France. The crispy crust and light airy bread is so delicious it can be eaten with a little butter, olive oil, or just broken off from the loaf and savored while strolling the streets of France. Many countries can duplicate the dough and the process, but the ambiance of eating fresh French bread fresh from the oven is incomparable!



History tells us that gelato, frozen dessert, has been around since the Renaissance and no place epitomizes the Renaissance like Florence, Italy. We have eaten ice cream all over the world, as Gennie seems to be able to find it wherever we go. The gelato in Florence was smooth, creamy, and found down narrow little streets in cafés and gelato parlors. With more flavors than Baskin-Robbins, the gelato in Italy is a treat not to miss!



As in many countries in Europe, dinner is not served until after 9:00pm in Spain. The custom of eating a small plate of appetizers before dinner became the celebration of Tapas. Bars and restaurants serve a variety of delicacies, usually on a base of bread, that can include the famous Iberian ham, olives, shrimp, anchovies, salmon, and veggies, all flavored with olive oil and local seasonings. These snacks once meant to tide you over until dinner are now so popular that bar hoppers go from restaurant to restaurant making a meal of these tasty treats.



We were in Thailand for thirteen days and ate only Thai food. There was not one meal that was repeated, we enjoyed a variety of mouth-watering dishes each day. For that reason, we are considering the whole Thai cuisine in this review. We enjoyed fresh fruits, cut into beautiful flower designs, green vegetables we had never seen, let alone tasted, as well as light soups and hearty salads. The fresh flavor of Thai food is very difficult to find without experiencing it in Southeast Asia. Our favorite meal was one cooked after we had gathered the ingredients in a local market. Who knew that all of those components would be cooked over an open flamed stove and be a memory to be savored for years?



Whether you call them a doner, shawarma, kebab, kebap, or gyro, the shaved meat sandwiches we had in Turkey, France, Israel, and Greece were the street food we love to find all over the world. While in Istanbul we went back to the same shop so many times, the cooks knew us and gave us generous portions of grilled chicken, vegetables, yogurt, and all served on a pita bread or hard roll. The meat can be lamb, beef, goat, or chicken and is slow cooked on a vertical spit and then shaved in fine layers for the sandwich. In many countries they are served with fries, our favorite wherever we travel!



Texas Hill Country is known for its beautiful spring bluebonnets, vineyards, magical music and film festivals, limestone outcroppings, prestigious universities, delicious Tex-Mex food, and Longhorn Cattle. Along with the Mexican food, Texas has the best barbeque in the states. Usually slow cooked brisket, beef and pork ribs, and local sausages sizzle on the grill and the wood smoke from the live oak trees fills the air. Whether you go to Smitty’s in Lockhart, The Salt Lick in Driftwood, or Rudy’s in Austin, there is nothing that beats the taste of BBQ in Texas.



Each Memorial Day Weekend, the city of Kodiak on Kodiak Island hosts the King Crab Festival. This small community comes alive with a carnival atmosphere for four days. Food vendors sell crab salad, crab cakes, and crab chowder. The feast to die for is the huge red Alaskan King Crab legs that measure almost 2 feet long and weigh about ½ to ¾ pound each. Fishermen boil them in huge vats on the street and people buy them by the pound or by the number of legs. Sweet, dense, and flavorful crab meat is eaten with melted butter. A trip to Kodiak during the Crab Festival is the best way to savor these crustaceans from the Aleutian Islands.



Eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the thin, light, rice noodle soup called pho ("fuh") is the street food of Vietnam. Originally served by vendors carrying the hot kettles of soup hanging from sticks over their shoulders, the most popular dish in the Up Country and Hill Tribes is simple pho. The dish is individualized by adding, meats like chicken, pork, or beef, vegetables, bean sprouts, and seasoned with cilantro, soy sauce, and lime. Served in huge bowls one might think was enough for a whole family, the silky noodles are slurped with chopsticks and then the broth is drunk from the bowl. Very nutritious and not very expensive, pho is now a very popular food served around the world and in many US Vietnamese restaurants.

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