Five Foreign Foods I Really Liked, And Five I Didn’t

Just as it says: five foreign foods or drinks I really like (and wish would become a thing in Australia), and five I really didn’t like. In no particular order.
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The first item on my list is Currywurst.

Currywurst is a German invention, consisting of chopped-up sausage (usually Bockwurst or pork sausage, I think), topped with tomato sauce and sprinkled with curry. I’m don’t know whether this sounds nice to you or not, but believe me, it’s yummy.
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I just can’t believe it hasn’t caught on in the Hills, at least – you can get just about every other sort of Wurst in Hahndorf.
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The next item on my list is Fruit Boba.
Passion fruit slushie boba & strawberry banana smoothie
It took some searching to find that name. I’d just been calling them “those Fruit Slushies from Singapore“. Obviously, they’re from Singapore, and they’re a brilliant idea.
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The basic principle is simple: Somewhere in the shopping centre or market place, you will find at least one stand with an amazing array of fruit (and sometimes vegetables), usually in slices or chunks, on display behind the glass bit. You point to whatever combination of fruit (and/or vegetables) you want, and the person behind the stand sticks it all in a blender with some ice cubes, blends it up, and puts it in a plastic cup with a straw.
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And away you walk, basking in the awesome cool sweetness of blended-up fruit and ice in the sticky Singapore heat.
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The third item is Mosto.

Mosto

Mosto is a Spanish drink; basically sweet grape juice. Now, I don’t usually like grape juice, but for mosto I make an exception. The best part is that it comes in both blanco (white) and tinto (red), just like wine.
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The fourth item is Bulgogi.

Now, this is something which, over the past few years, with the rise of K-Pop, has become a thing in Australia. However, it’s very hard to find anywhere that does it right here. Most places (and there’s now a Korean food shop in just about every suburb) will give you a plate with rice on one side and bulgogi meat on the other side. Some do it better than others. Some places will even add a little kimchi and maybe soupy stuff.
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But this, to me, is not true bulgogi. To me, bulgogi means going into a little hole-in-the-wall place on the backstreets of Daejon or Pusan, paying somewhere around the equivalent of $7 for four people, and being shown to a knee-high table surrounded by pillows. It means sitting down on the pillows on the floor, and being given a huge pot of bulgogi, a frying tray thing, another huge pot of white rice, more little bowls of condiments than you can count – purple rice, yellow rice, horseradish, black bean stuff, kimchi, all sorts of other things I can’t even name – and a plate of lettuce. It means grabbing a huge lettuce leaf, nestling it in the palm of your hand and filling it with rice and meat and condiments by means of thin metal chopsticks, before wrapping it up and trying to shove it all in your mouth at once.
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Since bulgogi was the only thing we knew how to ask for, it’s pretty much the only thing we ate in Korea. We got so sick of it while over there, but when we got back, we can’t get enough of it!
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Another Korean dish, which I’ve actually found some pretty good versions of in Adelaide, is dolsot bibimbap.
You can get just plain bibimbap, but that’s not as exciting – dolsot bibimbap comes in a hot stone bowl. Basically, it’s a bed of rice, on which you have bulgogi meat, grated carrot, cucumber, and various other condiments, all topped with a raw egg. (Or a fried on, in the case of plain old bibimbap).
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The final item on my list of stuff I like is Frozen Yoghurt.
This is something I tried in Spain, but I don’t think it’s a Spanish thing (ice-cream stands were a lot more common over there, from what I could see. I’d include the ice-cream I had over there, but I’m out of space). My host sister told me that it’s quite popular in Brasil.
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Anyway, basically what happens here is that you get a huge squirt of frozen yoghurt, which looks a lot like a soft-serve in a tub. But tastes a whole lot better. Then, you can pick your choice of toppings – bits of fruit, nuts, chocolates and sweets – and finish it off by drizzling it with flavoured topping or caramel. Yum.
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Okay, now onto my list of stuff I don’t like.
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I’ll kick of the list with two things: Sauerkraut and Kimchi.
I’ve put these two together because I really can’t tell that much difference between them. Sauerkraut is more finely chopped, and kimchi has copious amounts of spices in it, but the basic principle is the same: fermented cabbage. Oh, I know people who swear by kimchi and claim it has all sorts of amazing properties, such as fending off swine flu, and I’ll even have a little kimchi on occasion (very little) – after all, the spices mask the taste of fermented cabbage. But basically, I don’t like either of them.
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The second item on my don’t-like list is Paella.
To give it its due, I’ve got to admit that my dislike of this iconic Spanish dish probably stems from my dislike of seafood, but really – paella, to me, seems little more than watery fried rice with oversized prawns.
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The third item on my list is Root Beer, Doctor Pepper, and Spezi.
Pretty much the only reason Coke and Pepsi aren’t on this list is because they’re (very) common in Australia. The others aren’t.
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If you’ve read The Idiot’s Guide, you already know my opinions on Root Beer and Doctor Pepper (both American beverages). If not, you can read it here: https://coveredrachel.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-idiots-guide-to-the-usa-drink/. Basically, the conclusion my family came to after trying those two beverages was that Root Beer tastes like a hospital (with black food colouring) and that Doctor Pepper is made of cough medicine, thinned out with added black food colouring.
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Spezi, on the other hand, is a German drink, and is made by mixing Coke (or Pepsi) with Fanta. It’s probably not too bad if you like both of those drinks, but I don’t like Coke.
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The fourth item on the list is Macaroni and Cheese.
To be honest, I have no idea why I don’t like this signature American dish. After all, basically all it is is pasta with cheese sauce. I have that all the time – with added tuna and vegetables, of course, making it tuna mornay. But the point still stands that, by all sensible reasoning, Macaroni and Cheese should be something I love.
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And the truth is, I did. For the first two mouthfuls. And then it got thick, and rich, and I felt sick.
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So who knows? I had it at a couple of places over there, and the same thing happened every time. I don’t know why, but for some reason, Macaroni and Cheese makes it onto the list of foreign foods I don’t like.
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And the final thing on this list is Summer Pud.
Summer Pud is an English dish, a dessert, and I think my dislike of this dish comes from my utter repulsion for soggy bread.
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Summer Pud basically consists of bread and stewed fruit – strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries. Actually, the inside is quite nice. Anyway, it steeps for a couple of hours and is served with fruit, juice, or cream.
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So, there you have it: five foreign foods I’ve tried and loved, and five I’ve tried and hated.
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What about you? What are some foods you’ve tried overseas? What did you think of them?
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4 thoughts on “Five Foreign Foods I Really Liked, And Five I Didn’t

  1. Tim says:

    A few of those would be off-limits for me, due to my being a vegetarian ;-). These days I eat loads of sauerkraut (strangely I never used to, before I learned German). I don’t think I’ve ever tried Kimchi, but now I want to!

    Have you ever come across Cappy or Almdudler? I used to drink those all the time when I was in Vienna 🙂

  2. Rachel says:

    Neither of those sound familiar to me… I shall have to try them when I ever end up in Austria again. I can’t really remember much of my time in Germany and Austria – it happened in the weeks immediately following my eighth birthday.

    Obviously there are a lot of things I missed out – for example, I love Gummibärchen, Brezeln, and Ritter’s chocolate, not to mention Korean pancakes and tinto de verano and ice-cream with real fruit or doughnuts in it and all sorts of other things. There are also a lot of things I didn’t like, like various American stuff and sushi and yam ice-cream.

    I tried to pick things that people are less likely to have heard of or tried, or things which aren’t usual suspects for things people don’t like. Although now I think of it, I really should have included savoury Korean pancakes in the “yummy” list.

  3. Jedika98 says:

    I would personally have put bulgogi and fruit boba as 1 & 2 respectively and what was wrong with macaroni and cheese? And more to the point how is it different from putting lots of cheese on your pasta?

  4. Rachel says:

    Okay, 18 months on from writing, and there are several frozen yoghourt places in Adelaide. How’s that? Still no currywurst or fruit bobas, though, and the bulgogi options in Adelaide are still as disheartening as ever.

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