Alighieri was right

Talking about food between friends can sometimes (always?) be entertaining. However, writing something about it, is different, because lots of the talking goes into body language, whereas when writing it will merely be resumed as: good, very good, delicious and the sort. Here is our attempt to overcome this limit and present you some of the delicacies than can be consumed around the world.

Our trip started in Eastern Europe (Russia) traversing Mongolia and slowly we advanced towards Asia. This phase was the beginning of our gastronomic Purgatory! Saint Petersburg had still a Scandinavian taste to its cuisine with blinis everywhere to be found, and a deep Russian root with heavy and rich soups such as solianka or bortsch. Shashlik (sort of skewer) and dill followed us all the way along the Trans-Mongolian, until we finally reached Asia. Here, all sorts of strange food can be eaten, as well as some interesting or surprising dishes, with the staple diet being rice. The real change began.

The Asiatic cuisine we discovered could be resumed into 3 groups: China (a world on its own), South East Asia (spices shipped directly from Hell) and the rest. The Empire of the Middle had the weirdest food available, including rats, dogs, crickets and scorpions, to name just a few. Thailand and Laos had the fieriest food available. As for the rest, they have one thing in common: one main dish and little variation. Nepal, where you can eat Dal Bhat or… well that’s it. Then comes Mongolia with rice and potatoes and a bit of sheep or… potatoes with rice and a little bit of sheep. And finally comes Myanmar where you can eat curry with rice or rice with curry. Although our taste buds adapted, the main diet was rice and we were soon looking for different enjoyment.

Eating crabDried flat pig's headDrinking teaSpices ready to be made to chili-pasteTraditionnal Dal Bhat (Nepali main food)Our New Year's Eve Dinner

Sydney and New Zealand acted as a kind of safe harbor on our trip. Suddenly we could eat food that our stomach new about. Did we finally reach Nirvana? No! The food was good, but comparable to what we can get at home…

Fish & ChipsThe sign says it all...Seafood plate at the Fish MarketAnd what do we eat in NZ?Kiwi humour...

So our journey in Purgatory continued through Polynesia and Chile. Polynesia was a small relief with fresh fish being a nice surprise on the menu, but due to high food prices we could not enjoy it as much as we wanted and were forced to retreat to the “backpacker foods” such as pasta and rice… :-(

ItalianoParrot fish

Then we crossed the mighty Andes, and maybe thereby we overcame our bad deeds, because it seems that finally we reached Nirvana! Here in Argentina Paradise exists! And it’s called parilla! :-)

Basically, a parilla is a typical Argentinian restaurant with a huge barbecue where meat is grilled. For a few pesos only (1 to 3 euros), you can get a piece of meat from paradise (in both size and taste)! And even a simple sight at the fire place with all the meat cooking is like a balm. Our soothing words are now: morcilla, chorizo, bife de lomo, costilla, matambre, asado de tira, etc.

Alighieri was definitively right, before reaching Paradise, you need to go by a phase where you purge all your bad deeds. We are now enjoying ourselves in Buenos Aires, and soon be able to enjoy our mother’s home cooked food again! :-)

Jean-Christophe & Vera

One Comment

  1. Posted August 1, 2008 at 13:37 | Permalink

    ‘We are now enjoying ourselves in Buenos Aires’

    It’s April 1 or August 1??