Moroccan Food: 30 Traditional Dishes to Look For in Morocco

For people who travel for food, few destinations stir the imagination quite like Morocco. It’s home to the colorful tagine and a dizzying number of exotic spices and seasonings. When you think of Moroccan food, you think of flavor. It’s an assault on the senses in the best ways possible.

From a tourism standpoint, Morocco needs little introduction. Year after year, it’s consistently one of the most visited countries in Africa. There are many reasons to visit Morocco but one of the best has to be the food.

If you’re the type of traveler who likes to experience a different culture through its food, then be sure to check out these 30 traditional dishes on your next trip to Morocco.

MOROCCAN FOOD QUICK LINKS

If you’re visiting Morocco and want to learn more about the cuisine, then you may be interested in joining a food tour or taking a cooking class. Check out our article on Marrakech cooking classes for recommendations.

TOURS

  • Food Tours: Food and Wine/Drinking Tours in Morocco
  • Cooking Classes: Cooking Classes in Morocco

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WHAT IS TRADITIONAL MOROCCAN FOOD?

Moroccan food is a mix of many influences. It’s a blend of Berber, Andalusian, and Mediterranean cuisines with hints of European and sub-Saharan influences.

Morocco produces a wide variety of Mediterranean fruits and vegetables. Wheat is the staple grain while common meats include beef, lamb, goat, mutton, chicken, and seafood.

Savory, sweet, and sour flavors figure prominently in many Moroccan dishes. They’re typically seasoned with preserved lemon, smen (fermented butter), argan oil, olive oil, dried fruits, herbs, and a multitude of different spices.

Like India and Ethiopia, spices are used extensively in Moroccan cuisine. Some of the most commonly used spices in Moroccan cooking include cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg, paprika, ginger, anise, and fenugreek. Ras el hanout, a popular spice blend used in many Moroccan dishes, can be made with 25-40 different spices.

With so many spices and fresh herbs used in Moroccan recipes, it’s impossible to think of Moroccan food without thinking of flavor.

THE BEST MOROCCAN DISHES

This article on Moroccan foods has been organized by category to make it easier to digest. Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.

  1. Starters / Soups / Sides
  2. Breads / Pancakes
  3. Meat / Poultry / Seafood
  4. Desserts / Drinks

STARTERS / SOUPS / SIDES

1. Couscous

What better way to start this Moroccan food guide than with couscous, Morocco’s national dish? It refers to a widely consumed Maghrebi dish of small durum wheat semolina granules. It’s a staple food in many North African countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, and Libya.

In modern times, the production of couscous is largely mechanized but it’s traditionally made by sprinkling semolina with water and rolling it by hand to form small pellets. The pellets are then sprinkled with flour to keep them separate before being sieved. Any pellets that fall through are rolled again until they achieve the proper size.

As you can imagine, the traditional preparation of couscous is a labor-intensive process. Groups of people would work together to create large batches that would last for several months. They’d form the balls of couscous then leave them out to dry in the sun. When ready for consumption, the couscous would be steamed and rehydrated in a couscousiere until the desired consistency was achieved.

Photo by AndreySt

Couscous is typically served in a large earthenware bowl or plate with a meat or vegetable stew spooned on top. It’s a communal affair with diners gathering around the plate to enjoy the meal. You’re meant to eat only the portion of food directly in front of you, so hosts would often place the choicest cuts of meat in front of esteemed guests.

Like Ethiopians, Moroccans traditionally eat using only their right hand. The left hand is used to perform hygienic duties and is thus considered unclean. It’s used only to pick up bread or to pass dishes to other guests.

To eat, a portion of couscous is gathered using the thumb and fingertips and then pressed into a ball and consumed. No matter how good it is, remember to use only your thumb and first two fingers when gathering couscous. In Moroccan culture, using any more is considered gluttony.

Interestingly, Friday is the traditional day to eat couscous in Morocco. Friday is a Muslim holy day and the equivalent to a Sunday in Christian cultures. After prayers, families would sit down to a large meal of couscous and stew made with seven vegetables – eggplant, carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, parsnips, tomatoes, and cabbage.

Photo by evp82

2. Shakshuka

Shakshuka (or shakshouka) refers to a popular Mediterranean breakfast dish of poached eggs cooked in a tomato sauce with peppers, garlic, onions, olive oil, and spices. Popular throughout North Africa and the Middle East, its name translates to “mixture” and is believed to be either Tunisian or Yemeni in origin.

Shakshuka is a one-pan dish that can be prepared in many ways. It’s typically made with poached eggs though it can be made with scrambled eggs as well similar to a Turkish menemen. Recipes vary but common spices include ground coriander, paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Some versions may include other ingredients as well like preserved lemon, sheep milk cheese, olives, harissa, sausage, and minced lamb.

Shakshuka is typically served in the pan in which it was cooked, often with crusty Moroccan bread which is meant to be dipped into the tomato sauce and runny poached egg.

Photo by AndreySt

3. Taktouka

Similar to shakshuka, taktouka refers to a Moroccan salad made with tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, olive oil, paprika, and fresh parsley. It’s essentially a less saucy and milder-tasting version of shakshuka made without eggs.

Unlike shakshuka that’s typically enjoyed for breakfast, taktouka is served as a side dish to grilled meat and fish dishes or as a dip with bread.

Photo by lenyvavsha

4. Zaalouk

Zaalouk is a popular Moroccan dip made with eggplant, fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and spices and herbs like cumin, paprika, parsley, and cilantro. Like taktouka, it’s typically served as a dip with crusty bread or as a side dish to Moroccan fish, chicken, or meat dishes.

Preparations for zaalouk vary but the best versions are made with roasted eggplant. It adds a wonderful smokiness and another layer of flavor to the dish.

Photo by fanfon

5. Maakouda

Maakouda refers to a type of potato fritter made with deep-fried mashed potatoes mixed with sautéed onions, garlic, cumin, and cilantro. It’s originally an Algerian dish that’s become popular in Morocco and Tunisia as well.

Maakouda can be enjoyed in many ways. It can be eaten as an appetizer, as a side dish, or as a filling for sandwiches. It’s often served as street food in Morocco and becomes especially popular during the month of Ramadan.

Photo by fanfon

6. Harira

Harira is a zesty tomato-based lentil and chickpea soup popular in the cuisines of Morocco and Algeria. It can be consumed at any time of the year though it becomes especially popular during Ramadan when it’s served to break the fast.

Recipes for harira vary from cook to cook but it’s typically made with tomatoes, chickpeas, lentils, onions, rice (or vermicelli), eggs, flour, herbs, and spices. The name harira is derived from the Arabic word for “silk” and refers to the consistency of the soup after it’s been thickened with eggs or a tedouira mixture of flour and water.

The stock can be flavored with beef, lamb, or chicken, though these ingredients can be omitted altogether to make a vegetarian version of the soup. Rice or vermicelli are often added as fillers while common seasonings include cilantro, parsley, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric.

As described, harira is one of the main dishes served for iftar, the evening meal that breaks the fast. Like chebakia (Moroccan pastry), it’s served almost everyday in every Moroccan household during the month of Ramadan.

Photo by etorres69

7. Bissara

Bissara (or bessara, besarah) refers to a traditional North African soup made with dried and puréed split fava beans or split peas. It’s originally from Egypt though it’s become popular in Morocco as well, especially in the northern part of the country where it’s often served on its own or as a side dish to fish.

To prepare, the legumes are simmered with garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, and olive oil before being puréed to a smooth consistency. It can be enjoyed in different ways depending on how thick it is. Thinner bissaras are eaten as soups while thicker versions are enjoyed as a dip with crusty Moroccan bread.

Often sold as street food in Morocco, bissara is a hearty and comforting dish that’s typically consumed during the winter months.

Photo by Ruby Josephine Smith, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

8. Briouat

Briouats (or briwat) are small Moroccan pastries made with a variety of fillings wrapped in a paper-thin Moroccan dough called warqa. They can be baked or fried, sweet or savory, and rolled in triangular or cylindrical form.

Pictured below are savory briouats. Recipes vary but they’re typically made with meat (usually lamb, beef, or chicken), cheese, onions, and various herbs and spices like cilantro, parsley, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and pepper.

Photo by lunamarina

Pictured below are almond briouats. Coated in warm honey and sesame seeds, they’re filled with almond paste flavored with cinnamon and orange flower water.

Almonds briouats are enjoyed throughout the year in Morocco, often with tea, though they become especially popular during Ramadan. Families would make large batches of almond briouats leading up to Ramadan and then serve them throughout the month with other Moroccan sweets like chebakia and sellou (roasted flour dessert).

Photo by azarbico

BREADS / PANCAKES

9. Khobz

Spend a day in Morocco and it becomes evident how important bread is to Moroccan cuisine and culture. Bread for Moroccans is what rice is to people from Southeast Asia. It’s consumed at almost every meal and functions both as food and as a vessel for scooping up Moroccan dips, salads, tagines, entrees, and side dishes.

There are many different types of bread in Morocco but the most common is this round loaf called khobz. Often referred to as force, in reference to the French word for strong white flour, khobz (or kesra, agroum) is a disc-shaped type of crusty white bread with a coarse interior and texture. It’s a versatile everyday bread that can be used as a scoop for Moroccan foods or as vessel for grilled meats and other sandwich fillings.

Khobz is sometimes described as flatbread but it’s thicker than your average flatbread. Thicknesses vary between bakers but many Moroccans prefer their khobz to be between 1.5-3 cm thick (0.6-1.3 in). They can be made into small personal-sized loaves or baked into larger family-sized rounds measuring 30 cm (12 in) in diameter.

Khobz is readily available at neighborhood bakeries and shops though many Moroccan families still prefer to make it from scratch (khobz dyal dar). They’ll bake it in home ovens or in communal wood-fired ovens known as ferran.

For breakfast, Moroccans like to have khobz with honey and soft cheese or dipped in olive oil. For lunch and dinner, it makes the perfect accompaniment to soups and tagines. Bread is considered sacred in Morocco and rarely wasted or thrown out.

Photo by Hagen411

10. Batbout

Batbout (or mkhamer, toghrift, matlou‘) refers to a type of Moroccan flatbread. Made with semolina, white flour, and whole wheat flour, it’s basically the Moroccan equivalent to the Middle Eastern pita except it’s cooked on a stove top instead of being baked in an oven.

Batbout is a versatile bread that can be made into different sizes. Like pita, it contains a pocket and is often used as a vessel to hold different sandwich ingredients. On its own, it’s typically eaten for breakfast with butter, honey, or jam or served as a side to grilled meat dishes.

Photo by picturepartners

11. Msemen

If you like crepes or pancakes, then you’ll surely enjoy msemen as well. Common in Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, this thin flaky flatbread with multiple layers is a popular breakfast dish and street food in Morocco. You can think of it as the Moroccan version of Indian paratha, Singaporean roti prata, or Malaysian roti canai.

Msemen (or rghaif) is made with a dough consisting of flour, durum wheat semolina, soft butter, dry yeast, salt, sugar, and water. The dough is cut into balls which are rolled out and formed into thin circles. The sides are then folded into a square, while sprinkling with semolina and butter, to create the signature layers of dough. The square-shaped dough is patted flat and cooked on a griddle or frying pan on both sides till golden brown and crispy.

Msemen can be savory or sweet and is often enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack with tea or coffee. When eaten for breakfast, they’re traditionally paired with a hot honey and butter dipping sauce. Savory versions of msemen are often stuffed with various ingredients like ground meat (usually beef or lamb), onions, herbs, and spices.

Like khobz, msemen is readily available at bakeries or from street food stalls but many Moroccans still prefer to make it at home.

Photo by picturepartners

12. Meloui

Meloui refers to a type of Moroccan laminated pancake or crepe that’s very similar to msemen. Meaning “rolled” in Arabic, the main difference is in its shape. Unlike msemen which is formed into a square, meloui is shaped into a coil or roll before being flattened and cooked on a stove top.

Another difference is that meloui is made with more semolina which gives it a different taste and texture to msemen. When done correctly, you can pull the bread apart from its outer edges and uncoil it towards the center. Like msemen, its typically consumed for breakfast with butter and honey or as a snack with tea.

Photo by picturepartners

13. Baghrir

One look at this popular Moroccan pancake and it becomes obvious why it’s called “thousand hole pancakes”. Made with semolina, baghrir are small spongy pancakes known for their many tiny holes that form during the cooking process.

Popular in the cuisines of Morocco and Algeria, baghrir pancakes are made with a crepe-like batter consisting of flour, fine semolina, baking powder, yeast, salt, sugar, and water. It’s the yeast in the batter that creates the holes in the pancake.

As soon as the batter hits the pan, hundreds of bubbles form and break the surface of the pancake as it cooks, giving baghrir its unique texture and appearance. Unlike western pancakes, baghrir is cooked only on one side making it quicker and easier to make.

Baghrir is traditionally paired with a honey-butter syrup and eaten for breakfast. They’re also a common part of iftar meals during Ramadan. The holes may trigger trypophobia in some people but they actually work well in trapping and absorbing the syrups and jams paired with the pancakes.

Photo by kopachinsky

14. Moufleta

It was interesting to learn that North Africa is home to the second largest Jewish diaspora group in the world. Maghrebi Jews have lived in the region for over 2,000 years, long before the arrival of Sephardic Jews. Like any culture, they have their own set of customs and celebrations, one of which is Mimouna.

Mimouna is a celebration dinner that’s held the day after Passover in parts of the world with a large Maghrebi Jewish population like Morocco, Israel, France, and Canada. It’s celebrated to mark the return to eating hametz, which are foods made with leavening agents like leavened bread, pancakes, and cookies – all of which are forbidden throughout the week of Passover.

Moufleta (or mofletta, mufleta) is one of the standard dishes served during Mimouna. It refers to a simple Maghrebi Jewish crepe made with flour, water, and oil. It’s usually served warm and enjoyed with butter, honey, syrup, jam, nuts, and dried fruits.

Photo by lucidwaters

15. Harcha

Harcha (or ḥarša) is a type of pancake or pan-fried bread made with semolina. Popular in Morocco and Algeria, it’s name means “rough” in Arabic and is in reference to the bread’s coarse and crispy exterior derived from semolina.

To make harcha, a dough consisting of semolina, baking powder, butter, milk, salt, and sugar is shaped into balls and rolled in coarse semolina. The balls are then formed into rounds and cooked on a griddle on both sides till they achieve a light golden brown color. They can be made into small individual cakes or into larger rounds shared between many.

When cooked, harcha looks a bit similar to English muffins though they’re closer in taste and texture to cornbread. They’re typically eaten for breakfast or as a snack with mint tea, usually with jam, cheese, or honey-butter syrup. Like baghrir, it’s a common snack during Ramadan.

Photo by [email protected]

16. Krachel

Krachel (or el gors) refers to a sweet Moroccan bread roll made with a yeasted brioche-like dough enriched with aniseed and orange blossom water. Fragrant and aromatic, they’re brushed with egg wash and dusted with sesame seeds before being baked to a deep golden brown.

Like many of the breads in this Moroccan food guide, krachel is commonly eaten for breakfast or as a snack with Moroccan tea, either on its own or with various spreads like butter, jam, or cheese. It can also be part of an iftar meal to break the fast during Ramadan.

Photo by picturepartners

MEAT / POULTRY / SEAFOOD

17. Tagine

After couscous, tagine is the most well-known dish in Moroccan cuisine. It’s also the most striking because it can refer to both the Berber dish and the unique (and often colorful) cooking vessel used to make it. The word tagine stems from the Berber word tajin, meaning “shallow earthen pot”.

When referring to the cookware, a tagine (or tajine) is a ceramic or clay pot consisting of two parts – a flat circular base used for cooking and serving and a distinctively shaped conical lid. It comes in different sizes and can be glazed or left as is. Cooks generally preferred unglazed tagines because of the earthy flavors they impart to cooked dishes.

The tagine’s cone-like shape is designed to trap steam and return the condensed moisture back down to the dish simmering below. This reduces the amount of water needed to slowly cook and tenderize tougher cuts of meat. Not only does it keep the meat as moist and tender as possible, but it’s a practical method of cooking in areas where water supplies are limited.

A tagine can be used to slow-cook Moroccan stews made with meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, and fruit. Known for their sweet and sour flavor profiles, spices commonly used in tagine dishes include turmeric, saffron, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and ginger. Fresh herbs are often incorporated into recipes along with other ingredients like olives, preserved lemon, nuts, and dried fruit.

Photo by trexec

Pictured below is kefta tagine, a popular type of tagine made with spiced beef or lamb meatballs cooked in a zesty shakshuka-like tomato sauce. Served with Moroccan bread, it’s often made with eggs poached directly in the sauce.

No matter what it’s made with, tagine is definitely one of the best dishes to try when visiting Morocco. You can’t leave Morocco without trying it at least once!

Photo by asimojet

18. Kebabs

Skewered meat dishes are common in many cuisines and Moroccan is no exception. In Morocco, kebabs (or qotban) are typically made with lamb or beef marinated in a mixture containing onions, parsley, olive oil, black pepper, and salt. They’re skewered with alternating cubes of fat to keep the meat moist while being grilled over hot charcoal.

When made with seasoned ground beef or lamb, the dish is known as kefta (or kofta) kebabs.

Photo by nikolailink

19. Bastilla

Bastilla (or b’stilla, pastilla) is one of the most well-known dishes in Moroccan cuisine. It’s equally popular in Algeria and refers to a savory pie made with light and crispy warqa dough filled with either poultry or seafood. Originally from Andalusia, the name bastilla is derived from the Spanish word pastilla meaning “small pastry”.

Poultry bastilla is traditionally made with squab but more modern versions are now made with chicken. The bird is browned in butter and simmered with onions, parsley, and various spices like saffron, nutmeg, and ginger till tender. The chicken meat is then deboned and shredded and the simmering liquid reduced and thickened with eggs to form a custard-like sauce.

In a round pan, thin layers of buttered warqa dough are layered multiple times with the sauce and shredded chicken meat. A layer of crushed almonds mixed with sugar and cinnamon is then added at the top before being covered with more layers of buttered warqa dough. The pie is baked till golden brown and sprinkled with powdered sugar, cinnamon, or fried almonds before serving.

Unlike poultry bastilla that has a savory-sweet flavor profile, seafood bastilla is known to be more spicy. It’s made with a filling of fish, squid, and shrimp mixed with vermicelli noodles, black mushrooms, and a spicy tomato sauce.

Photo by picturepartners

20. Chicken Rfissa

New mothers need nourishing food and chicken rfissa is proof of that. It refers to a popular Moroccan Berber dish of stewed chicken, lentils, and onions served on a bed of shredded trid pastry. In Morocco, it’s typically given to mothers on the third day after giving birth because of its purported health benefits.

Chicken rfissa is a variation of a centuries-old Arab dish of stew and broth served over bread. It’s made with chicken and lentils stewed with ras el hanout, fenugreek seeds, saffron, and other spices. The chicken, lentils, and broth are traditionally served over a bed of shredded and steamed trid pastry though msemen, meloui, harcha, or even day-old bread can be used as a substitute.

Chicken rfissa is said to be beneficial to new mothers because of the fenugreek seeds. A unique herb long used in alternative medicine, it’s believed to have many health benefits for women recovering from childbirth.

Though chicken rfissa is traditionally prepared for new mothers, it’s a popular dish that’s often made for other occasions and family gatherings as well.

Photo by picturepartners

21. Fish Chermoula

Chermoula (or charmoula) refers to a foundational marinade or relish often used in North African cooking. Popular in the cuisines of Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria, it’s traditionally used to flavor fish and seafood dishes though it can be used on meats, poultry, and vegetables as well.

There are many variations of chermoula but it’s typically made with garlic, salt, olive oil, fresh herbs, spices, and an acidic ingredient like vinegar or lemon juice. Recipes vary greatly by region but some of the most commonly used herbs and spices include coriander, parsley, cumin, paprika, harissa, turmeric, and black pepper.

According to one Moroccan food blogger, the chermoula flavor profile is so common in Moroccan cooking that it’s often included in recipes without cooks even realizing it. A good example of this is zaalouk. This beloved eggplant dip is made with many of the same ingredients as a classic chermoula though most recipes don’t mention it.

The name chermoula is derived from the Arabic word chermel, which means “to rub or marinate something with a spice mix”.

Photo by Nataly1973

22. Stuffed Fried Sardines

Morocco is located on the northwestern coast of Africa. It boasts over 3,000 km (1,864 mi) of coastline and is home to an abundance of fish and seafood, none more important perhaps than the sardine.

Sardines represent more than 62% of the Moroccan fish catch. Morocco processes about 600,000 tons of sardines each year and is the world’s largest exporter of canned sardines.

Being so abundant, sardines are an inexpensive food source in Morocco. They’re a staple food for families living along the coastline and a common ingredient in many Moroccan dishes, one of the most popular being stuffed fried sardines with chermoula.

Stuffed fried sardines is a classic street food in Morocco. It’s made with two butterflied sardine fillets sandwiched together with chermoula, dredged in flour, and then pan-fried.

Photo by picturepartners

23. Babbouche

If you’re a fan of Vietnamese ốc, then you’ll surely enjoy babbouche. It refers to a beloved Moroccan street food made with snails cooked in a spiced broth.

Recipes vary from vendor to vendor but babbouche (or ghal) can be flavored with up to fifteen different spices and seasonings like licorice root, aniseed, thyme, lavender, and tea leaves. Served in a bowl with broth and fished out with toothpicks, it’s a type of snail soup that’s especially popular in winter.

Photo by Savvatexture

DESSERTS / DRINKS

24. Chebakia

Chebakia (or mkharka) refers to a deep-fried Moroccan sesame cookie. It’s known for its floral shape and crunchy texture and is traditionally prepared during the month of Ramadan.

To make chebakia, strips of spiced sesame dough are rolled to resemble roses before being deep-fried till golden brown and crunchy. The cookies are then coated with a syrup made from honey and orange blossom water and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Chebakia sounds simple to make but folding the dough into the right shape can be time-consuming. Moroccan women would often work together to create large batches which they’d then divide amongst themselves to last through Ramadan.

Like harira, chebakia is traditionally a dish served to break the fast but it’s often prepared to celebrate other occasions as well.

Photo by Nadinlargo

25. Sellou

Like chebakia and harira, sellou is one of the most commonly eaten dishes during Ramadan. Also known as sfouf or zmita, it refers to a unique Moroccan dessert made from roasted flour mixed with butter, honey, fried almonds, toasted unhulled sesame seeds, and spices.

To prepare, the ingredients are blended together to form a thick rich paste which is formed into a pyramid and decorated with almonds. Individual portions are then cut from the pyramid and served on plates.

Because it’s such a nutritious and calorie-packed dish, sellou is considered a natural dietary remedy and often given to nursing mothers to increase lactation. For this reason, nursing Moroccan women are advised to consume sellou for at least thirty days after giving birth.

Photo by picturepartners

26. Kaab el Ghazal

Kaab el ghazal (or cornes de gazelle in French) refers to these crescent-shaped cookies popular in the cuisines of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Frequently served on special occasions, the name literally translates to “gazelle ankles” though they’re more commonly referred to as “gazelle horns”.

Gazelle horns are made with a flour-based dough filled with almond paste mixed with cinnamon and orange blossom water. They’re baked till lightly golden and then dipped in orange blossom water before serving. When dusted with powdered sugar, they become known as kaab el ghazal m’fenned.

Photo by picturepartners

27. Ghoriba Bahla

Ghoriba refers to a type of Moroccan shortbread cookie made with ground almonds and toasted sesame seeds. They can be made in many different ways but one of the most common is ghoriba bahla, a version known for the distinctive cracks that form on its surface.

What seem like imperfections or accidents are highly desirable in ghoriba cookies. The cracks indicate that the cookie was made with the right ratio of ingredients and thus possess the desired texture. Without these cracks, a cookie can only be called ghoriba and not ghoriba bahla.

Oddly enough, the word bahla translates to “silly” in Moroccan Arabic. No one really knows why.

Photo by Alp_Aksoy

28. Kaak d’Essaouira

Named after the coastal city of Essaouira, kaak d’essaouira refers to a Moroccan cookie made with flour, anise, sesame seeds, orange blossom water, vanilla, salt, and sugar. Made without eggs, it’s a type of vegan cookie that’s commonly sold as street food throughout Morocco.

Photo by picturepartners

29. Sfenj

Doughnuts are a common dessert in many cuisines and Morocco is no exception. Sfenj (or sfinj) refers to a type of Maghrebi doughnut made from sticky unsweetened leavened dough. A popular street food in Morocco, they’re chewy and fluffy and can be eaten as is, sprinkled with sugar, or soaked in honey.

Sfenj are believed to be Andalusian in origin and are said to be the inspiration for French beignets. Outside of North Africa, they’re often consumed by Moroccan and Sephardic Jews to celebrate Hanukkah.

Photo by natushm

30. Mint Tea

If you’re looking for something to pair with these delicious Moroccan desserts, then look no further than mint tea, a type of Moroccan tea made with a green tea base, spearmint leaves, and sugar. It’s an emblematic drink and a central component to social life in the Maghreb.

Like Ethiopian coffee or Argentinian mate, the preparation and serving of Moroccan mint tea is steeped in ritual. It’s traditionally made by the head male of the family and offered to guests as a sign of hospitality. The tea is poured into glasses from a height to gently aerate the tea and improve its flavor.

Mint tea is typically consumed throughout the day as a social activity in Morocco. Traditionally, it’s served three times per brewing. The amount of time it spends steeping gives each glass a different flavor, hence the Maghrebi proverb:

“The first glass is as gentle as life, the second is as strong as love, the third is as bitter as death.”

Photo by Seagull_l

MOROCCAN FOOD TOURS

With so many intoxicating flavors and aromas to try in Morocco, what better way to get the full Moroccan experience than by going on a food tour? Not only will a knowledgeable guide take you to the city’s best markets, street food stalls, and restaurants in Marrakesh, but they’ll be able to explain all the Moroccan dishes to you in more detail as well.

Check out Get Your Guide for a list of Moroccan food tours in Marrakech, Tangier, Fes, and other cities throughout the country.

MOROCCAN COOKING CLASSES

Eating Moroccan food is one thing, but learning how to actually make it yourself is another. In my opinion, taking a cooking class is one of the best ways to learn about the local cuisine. It’s like looking under the cuisine’s hood.

If you want a more hands-on experience with Moroccan food, then check out Cookly for a list of cooking classes in different cities throughout Morocco.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON MOROCCAN CUISINE

With its many souks, spices, and medinas, Morocco truly is a feast for the senses. It’s an intoxicating blend of sights, smells, and sounds that’s sure to capture the hearts and imaginations of many travelers, especially those who travel for food.

This Moroccan food list is by no means a definitive guide but we hope it whets your appetite and gets you even more excited to experience the unique flavors of Morocco.

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Cover photo by tomasadzke. Stock images via Depositphotos.

Ethiopian Food: 20 Traditional Dishes to Look For in Ethiopia

Has a meal ever made such an impact that it’s become forever seared into your memory? The colors, the presentation, the way the bread felt on your fingertips. It made such an impression that you still think about it twenty, even thirty years later.

That’s what happened with me and Ethiopian food in the early 90s. I had it for the first time at the Red Sea restaurant in Washington, DC and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

It wasn’t just the taste of the food that made an impression on me. It was the whole experience. From the way the colorful stews were served together on a large pancake to the way you ate them with your hands using small pieces of injera, I was mesmerized from start to finish.

Injera was especially fascinating for me because I had never touched nor tasted bread with that kind of texture. At the time, it was truly a unique experience, one that obviously had a lasting impact on me.

I enjoyed that Ethiopian meal so much that I wound up having it again a few days later, at a different restaurant. Unfortunately, Ethiopian restaurants have been few and far between since then which is why I’m planning a trip to Addis Ababa to enjoy Ethiopian food where it’s really from.

If you’re curious about Ethiopian food and planning a trip to Africa, then be sure to check out these 20 traditional dishes when you visit Ethiopia.

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WHAT IS TRADITIONAL ETHIOPIAN FOOD?

Traditional Ethiopian food has to be one of the most unique dining experiences in the world. Laden with spices and eaten entirely by hand, it’s a cuisine that’s as distinctive as it is delicious.

The typical Ethiopian meal consists of numerous vegetable dishes and spicy meat stews and curries served over a giant pancake-like flat bread called injera. To eat, diners break pieces of injera with their hands and use it as a scoop to pick up the food. Like Moroccans, Ethiopians eat using only their right hands as the left hand is considered unclean.

Traditional Ethiopian cuisine bears a resemblance to Indian food, especially in its heavy use of spices. One of the most commonly used ingredients in Ethiopian cooking is berbere, a potent Ethiopian spice mix consisting of up to sixteen different spices like chili powder, cardamom, fenugreek, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, and cumin. It’s used to flavor many dishes when cooking Ethiopian food.

Aside from its spicy meat stews and curries, Ethiopia is home to many vegetarian and vegan options. This is because Ethiopia is predominantly a Christian country with about 43.5% of the population belonging to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

The church prescribes a number of fasting days which are observed religiously in Ethiopia. As a result, almost everyone eats a vegetarian diet on Wednesdays and Fridays and throughout the entire Lenten season. With tasty vegetarian offerings like bayenetu to look forward to, meat eaters surely won’t miss a thing.

HOW TO EAT TRADITIONAL ETHIOPIAN FOOD

Unlike western food cultures, Ethiopians do away with cutlery so it may take some getting used to for people unaccustomed to eating with their hands.

The typical Ethiopian meal consists of several meat and vegetable stews and curries served on top of a large round piece of injera bread measuring about 50 cm (20 in) in diameter. Served on a metal tray, it’s a highly communal affair with diners gathering around the tray to eat with their hands.

Using their right hand, diners break pieces off the injera and use it as a scoop to pick up cubes of meat and clumps of thick stew. It may take some getting used to for some people but the porous texture of the injera makes it an ideal vessel for scooping up the saucy curries and rich stews.

If desired, diners can partake in a traditional Ethiopian gesture called gursha. Meaning “mouthful” in Amharic, it entails wrapping a bite of food in injera and feeding it to someone else at the table. The person given the bite then returns the favor.

Gursha is an intimate gesture that’s considered a sign of respect in Ethiopian culture. The person receiving the bite of food is called the gorash while the person giving it is the agurash. The larger the gursha, the stronger the friendship or bond.

MUST-TRY TRADITIONAL ETHIOPIAN DISHES

This Ethiopian food guide has been organized by category to make it easier to digest. Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.

  1. Bread / Pastries
  2. Meat
  3. Vegetarian
  4. Drinks
  5. Ethiopian Food Tours

ETHIOPIAN BREAD / PASTRIES

1. Injera

There’s no better way to start this Ethiopian food guide than with injera, the cornerstone of Ethiopian cuisine. This sour fermented flatbread is more than just food, it’s a vessel for eating and the perfect foil to the spicy foods of Ethiopian cuisine.

Injera is an Ethiopian flatbread made from tef, the smallest grain in the world. Ethiopians have been using tef for thousands of years but in the west, it’s been gaining a reputation in recent years as a super food on par with quinoa and spelt. Tef is known for being high in calcium and protein as well as being gluten-free.

Injera is made by mixing teff flour with water and then adding ersho (starter) to begin the fermentation process. The batter is left to ferment for about 2-3 days, to give it a mild sour taste, before baking it into round flat pieces of injera on a large circular griddle called a mitad.

Porous, soft, and spongey, injera has an interesting texture that’s probably unlike any flatbread you’ve ever touched or tasted. It’s highly absorbent and does a great job of soaking up the juices from the curries and stews.

Photo by MagicBones

Injera isn’t just a food and eating utensil, it’s also a plate.

Typical mixed platters will be served with several Ethiopian dishes on a large “tablecloth” of injera along with several rolls. Once you get through the rolls, you’re welcome to tear pieces off the base. The meal is done when the tablecloth of injera is gone.

Aside from Ethiopia, injera is an important part of Eritrean cuisine and is consumed in varying forms in other East African countries like Djibouti, Somalia, and Sudan.

Photo by MagicBones

2. Kitcha

Kitcha (or kita) refers to a type of thin unleavened bread popular in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisines. It’s made with wheat flour, water, and salt that’s mixed into a dough and then cooked on both sides in a pan with clarified butter.

Kitcha can be eaten on its own but it’s often incorporated into a popular Ethiopian breakfast dish called kitcha firfir (or kitcha fit-fit, chechebsa). It’s made by tearing kitcha flatbread into small pieces and then mixing it with berbere and niter kibbeh, a type of spiced clarified butter made with various spices like besobela (Ethiopian sacred basil), cumin, coriander, korarima (Ethiopian coriander), and koseret.

Kitcha firfir is typically served with a dollop of plain yogurt and paired with hot Ethiopian coffee or tea. Unlike the majority of Ethiopian dishes, it’s eaten with a spoon and not by hand.

Photo by fanfon

3. Sambusa

As you can probably tell from its name, sambusa is the Ethiopian version of the South Asian samosa. A common street food in Ethiopia and Somalia, it refers to baked or deep-fried pockets of dough filled with either lentils or seasoned ground beef.

Photo by derejeb

ETHIOPIAN MEAT DISHES

4. Kitfo

If you like steak tartare, then you’ll probably want to try kitfo. It’s an Ethiopian beef tartare made with raw minced beef flavored with niter kibbeh and mitmita, an Ethiopian spice blend made with ground African bird’s eye chili, korarima, cloves, and salt.

Kitfo can be served completely raw or slightly cooked (kitfo leb leb), often with a mild cheese called ayibe or cooked greens known as gomen. Depending on where you are in Ethiopia, it can be served with injera or a thicker type of flatbread called kocho.

Traveleaters interested in the full experience will probably want to try the raw version of kitfo. Because it’s made with raw beef, it’s best to go to a restaurant that specializes in kitfo. Yohaness Kitfo in Addis Ababa is said to be a good place to try this dish.

Photo by lenyvavsha

5. Gored Gored

If kitfo piqued your interest, then you may want to try gored gored as well. It’s a similar dish to kitfo except it’s made with cubes of raw beef – usually tenderloin or round steak – seasoned with niter kibbeh, mitmita, berbere, and awaze (chili mustard sauce). Like kitfo, it’s usually served with injera.

Photo by fanfon

6. Tere Siga

If kitfo and gored gored aren’t extreme enough for you, then perhaps you’d like to try tere siga, an Ethiopian dish of raw meat. The name tere siga literally means “raw meat” and refers to cubes or thick strips of raw red meat cut from the hanging carcass of a freshly slaughtered animal, most often beef.

Unlike kitfo and gored gored which require some preparation, tere siga is unseasoned and eaten only with injera and a side of mitmita and senafich (spicy mustard sauce).

Though most Ethiopians seem to suffer no ill effects from eating tere siga, it’s one of a few Ethiopian dishes on this list that should be approached with caution as eating uncooked meat does pose certain health risks.

It’s believed that eating uncooked meat became a practice in Ethiopia sometime during the 16th century. It was devised as a military tactic so Ethiopian fighters could stay undetected by not having to start fires to cook their meat.

Photo by Vfotografie

7. Doro Wat

Wat (or wot) is one of the most common terms you’ll come across in Ethiopian cuisine. It refers to a type of stew made with a variety of meats, vegetables, and spices.

Doro wat or chicken stew is one of the most popular dishes in Ethiopia and is often served as part of an Ethiopian restaurant’s combination platter. Considered by many to be an Ethiopian national dish, it refers to an extremely spicy stew made with chicken and hard-boiled eggs simmered with garlic, ginger, caramelized onions, tomato paste, and a spicy berbere sauce.

Like most of the dishes in this Ethiopian food guide, it’s best paired with shreds of injera flatbread.

Photo by asimojet

8. Siga Wat

Siga wat (or sega wat) is very similar to doro wat except it’s made with beef instead of chicken. It’s a devilishly spicy stew made with mostly the same ingredients, the most important being the berbere spice blend.

Siga wat is known to be spicy but it can be made into a milder version as well, without the berbere seasoning. The spicy version of siga wat is called keye siga wat while the non-spicy version, made without berbere, is referred to as alecha siga wat.

Photo by fanfon

9. Derek Tibs

Tibs refers to a family of Ethiopian dishes made with sautéed meat, vegetables, and berbere. There are many variations of tibs depending on the recipe and cut of meat used, but most are made with beef, lamb, mutton, or venison. They can be spicy or mild, and made with lots of vegetables or none at all.

Derek tibs (or shekla tibs) is a type of tibs made with lamb, beef, or goat cooked with niter kibbeh, onions, peppers, and spices. It’s a drier version of tibs made with meat that’s been pan-fried and seared till slightly crispy. Like many of the dishes in this Ethiopian food guide, it’s usually served with injera and a side of awaze.

Traditionally, tibs was prepared as a show of respect for someone. It continues to be regarded as a special dish though derek tibs has become a popular restaurant food as well. In Addis Ababa, derek tibs is typically served in clay pots with coals at the bottom to keep the meat warm.

Photo by YAYImages

ETHIOPIAN VEGETARIAN DISHES

10. Kik Alicha

If you don’t have a high tolerance for spicy food, then you’re going to be thankful for kik alicha. It refers to an Ethiopian lentil stew made from split peas, niter kibbeh, and turmeric. Unlike many of the dishes in this Ethiopian food guide, it isn’t made with any berbere so it isn’t nearly as spicy as dishes like doro wat and siga wat.

Kik alicha is a mildly flavored stew made with yellow split peas simmered with garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, and niter kibbeh. It’s a popular type of vegetarian stew that’s often served as part of a combination platter. Like any wat, it’s best enjoyed with injera.

Photo by lenyvavsha

11. Misir Wat

If kik alicha is a little too tame for you, then look no further than misir wat. As you can probably tell from its fiery appearance, it’s a spicy stew made from red lentils, niter kibbeh, and berbere. Like kik alicha, it’s a common dish at restaurants and often served as part of a larger communal platter.

To prepare, onions are slowly simmered with niter kibbeh followed by garlic, tomato paste, and a generous amount of berbere. Red lentils are then added and slowly simmered until they become nice and soft and soak up all the seasonings. Depending on the cook, an extra helping of niter kibbeh and berebere can be thrown in at the end for an even spicier finish.

Photo by fanfon

12. Shiro Wat

Like doro wat, shiro wat is one of the most popular types of Ethiopian stews and something you’d surely find on a mixed platter at any Ethiopian restaurant. It’s made with ground chickpea flour cooked with onions, garlic, and other ingredients like ginger, tomatoes, and chili peppers.

Shiro wat has a smooth and creamy texture similar to hummus and is best paired with shreds of injera.

Photo by Temesgen Woldezion; edited by Merhawie Woldezion, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

13. Genfo

Genfo refers to a thick Ethiopian porridge made with barley or wheat flour. It’s commonly eaten for breakfast with a sauce made from niter kibbeh and berbere.

Genfo is traditionally made with toasted barley flour but in the Ethiopian diaspora, it’s more commonly made with wheat flour or even corn meal. The flour is added to boiling water and stirred constantly with a wooden spoon until it becomes smooth and very thick. It’s a laborious and time-intensive process that takes some physical strength to do, especially when making larger batches of genfo.

When ready, the stiff and slightly sticky porridge is molded into a mound with an indentation in the middle. This is for holding the dipping sauce made with niter kibbeh and berbere. The dish can be eaten as is or served with a side of yogurt.

Like most Ethiopian dishes, genfo is a communal dish that can be eaten by hand, though it’s not uncommon to eat it with a fork or spoon. Chunks or porridge are pulled from the outside and dipped into the butter and spice blend in the middle.

Photo by Stefan Alfons Tzeggai, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

14. Enkulal Firfir

If you’re in the mood for something a bit more familiar, then perhaps you’d be interested in a breakfast of enkulal firfir, the Ethiopian version of scrambled eggs. It’s made with eggs scrambled in niter kibbeh and mixed with other ingredients like onions, green and red peppers, tomatoes, and chili pepper.

Photo by fanfon

15. Buticha

Buticha refers to an Ethiopian dip made with chickpeas or fava beans mixed with onions, peppers, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, cloves, and other spices. It’s an easy-to-make dish prepared by blending the ingredients together until a smooth consistency is achieved.

Here you can see buticha served as part of a larger platter with other vegetarian dishes like misir wat and timatim salata.

Photo by fanfon

16. Timatim Salata

Timatim Salata refers to a type of fresh Ethiopian tomato salad that’s also popular in Eritrea. It’s made with diced tomatoes, minced onions, and finely chopped peppers dressed with a mixture of berbere spices, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.

Like many of the dishes in this Ethiopian food guide, it’s commonly served as part of mixed platters at Ethiopian restaurants. When made with shredded injera, it becomes known as timatim firfir.

Photo by fanfon

17. Fossolia

Fossolia is a simple vegetable dish made with green beans as its primary ingredient. The beans are cooked till tender with other ingredients like onions, garlic, ginger, carrots, tomatoes, and black pepper.

Fossolia is typically served as a side dish with injera and as part of larger platters at Ethiopian restaurants.

Photo by fanfon

18. Yataklete Kilkil

Yataklete kilkil refers to an easy-to-make Ethiopian vegetable dish consisting of boiled potatoes, green beans, and carrots simmered with garlic, sautéed onions, peppers, and tomatoes. It’s eaten with injera and seasoned with a variety of spices like paprika, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and black pepper.

Photo by lenyvavsha

19. Yetsom Beyaynetu

If you find yourself at a restaurant in Addis Ababa on a Wednesday or Friday and are unsure what to get, then you may want to go with the yetsom beyaynetu. It doesn’t refer to any specific Ethiopian dish but a mixed platter of strictly vegan dishes served with injera. Yetsom means “fasting” while beyaynetu means “a bit of every type”, so yetsom beyaynetu is essentially a communal platter of fasting food.

Only vegan food is served on fasting days so every Ethiopian restaurant in Addis Ababa will offer some form of yetsom beyaynetu on Wednesdays and Fridays. They’re comprised of different stews and curries, many of which are featured in this Ethiopian food guide. It’s a great way of sampling as many meat-free dishes as possible in one sitting.

Like India, Ethiopia is one of the easiest places in the world to be vegan or vegetarian and yetsom beyaynetu is a testament to that.

Photo by jayantbahel

ETHIOPIAN DRINKS

20. Ethiopian Coffee

Coffee isn’t just a beverage in Ethiopia, it’s an important part of Ethiopian culture.

Unlike in western societies where coffee is often consumed alone, coffee drinking in Ethiopia is a social and ceremonious event that always requires company. In fact, to be invited to a coffee ceremony is considered a mark of friendship and one of the best examples of Ethiopian hospitality.

An Ethiopian coffee ceremony is steeped in ritual and can take several hours. It begins with the washing and roasting of the beans on a mitad. When the beans are roasted, they’re brought to the guests so they can smell the aroma of the beans.

The beans are then ground in a mortar and brewed in a traditional clay coffee pot called a jebena. When ready, the coffee is poured into cups and then served to the guests with traditional Ethiopian snacks. Incense like frankincense and myrrh are burned to drive away evil spirits while the guests converse and enjoy their coffee.

In Ethiopia, it’s considered rude to leave a coffee ceremony without consuming at least three cups of coffee. Ethiopians believe that your spirit is transformed after completing all three rounds.

Photo by Wollwerth

Ethiopia is considered the birthplace of the coffee plant which helps explain its role in Ethiopian society.

Legend has it that coffee beans were discovered by an Ethiopian goat herder around 800 CE. He became concerned when his goats grazed on the red fruit of an unknown plant and started acting strangely. He brought the mysterious fruit to nearby monks who then tossed them into a fire as a way of ridding themselves of something they didn’t understand.

But then two miraculous qualities were discovered. First, roasting the coffee beans released their aroma. And second, grinding the beans and steeping them in water created an invigorating drink that allowed the monks to continue their prayers well into the night. From there, coffee was created and spread throughout Ethiopia and the rest of the world.

Today, Ethiopia is the largest producer of coffee in Africa and the 5th largest in the world. They account for about 4.2% of the world’s coffee production. But unlike other major coffee-producing countries that consume only a small percentage of their coffee, Ethiopians consume as much as 50%, which is a testament to just how important coffee is to everyday life in Ethiopia.

Photo by efesenko

ETHIOPIAN FOOD TOURS

Simply put, no one knows Ethiopian food better than a local, so what better way to experience the cuisine than by going on an Ethiopian food tour? Not only will a guide will take you to the city’s best restaurants, markets, and street food stalls, but they’ll be able to explain the many dishes to you in more detail.

On top of that, eating Ethiopian food is a communal affair so going on a group tour is a great way for solo travelers to experience the cuisine in the company of others.

Check out Get Your Guide for a list of Ethiopian food tours in Addis Ababa and in other destinations throughout the country.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON ETHIOPIAN FOOD

I love eating Ethiopian food. It’s a full sensory experience that’s a treat to the eyes, nose, taste buds, and fingertips. It’s mesmerizing from start to finish and the type of meal you’ll remember for a long time.

Ethiopian food is still relatively unknown but thanks to the diaspora, it’s become more available in different parts of the world like North America, the Middle East, and Europe. There are an estimated 460,000 people of Ethiopian descent living in the United States, the vast majority of which are in the Washington, DC area. If you’ve never tried Ethiopian food and have the chance to do so, then I strongly recommend it.

As good as Ethiopian food is in the US, nothing beats having it having it where it’s originally from so I’m counting the days when I can finally try Ethiopian dishes like doro wat, shiro wat, and injera in Addis Ababa. If it’s as good as those Ethiopian meals in Washington, DC almost thirty years ago, then I’ll probably remember it for the rest of my life.

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Food in Liechtenstein: 12 Traditional Dishes to Look Out For

EDITOR’S NOTE: Traveleater George J. Newton shares with us twelve traditional dishes to try on your next visit to Liechtenstein.

People will travel for good food. Whether that is to another town, city or even country. On our travels there is always that great restaurant or that amazing meal that we cannot wait to share with other people who are visiting the area.

Liechtenstein is one such country that has many traditional dishes just waiting to be tasted. Its location in Europe has meant that dishes here are quite diverse and some say unique.

Much of the food in Liechtenstein has been influenced by the adjoining countries of Austria and Switzerland and the country boasts a mixture of high-end restaurants and local, traditional eateries.

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WHAT IS TRADITIONAL LIECHTENSTEINER FOOD?

A good place to start when describing a country’s cuisine is tradition. Germany, we think of schnitzels and sauerkraut, Italy brings images of pasta, but what would be the Liechtenstein answer?

Liechtenstein cuisine is often described as simple, rich, and hearty. In fact, the winter months are the best months to visit Liechtenstein for its food due to the array of stews and broths that are often served as sides to larger dishes.

Its national dish is called käsknöpfle which is a simple dough made of flour, eggs, water, salt, and pepper. These are then served with local cheeses, onions, and apple purée. Another traditional dish, this time a breakfast option, is something called ribel. Ribel is a mixture of corn and wheat not dissimilar to porridge.

Corn was a valuable source of energy hence its use in a breakfast dish. Traditionally, the corn and wheat were cooked in milk to create a creamy, smooth taste and then gently roasted until golden brown. This could then be dipped into coffee or eaten with an apple purée.

Couple these with some of the best wine the country has to offer, and some local cheese and you can’t go wrong.

THE BEST FOOD IN LIECHTENSTEIN

You’ll be pleased to know that Liechtensteiner food is not all stews, purées, and porridges. There is a rich variety of dishes to enjoy and here, in no particular order, are twelve that you have got to try when visiting Liechtenstein.

1. Käsknöpfle

There’s no better way to start this list than with the aforementioned käsknöpfle, a national dish of Liechtenstein. Known in Germany as käsespätzle, it consists of small noodles or dumplings layered with cheese and topped with fried onions.

Käsespätzle is often enjoyed with fresh salads or potato salad but in Liechtenstein, käsknöpfle is usually served with an apple purée.

Photo by fanfon

2. Ribel

Until the 1970s, ribel was a poor man’s dish in Liechtenstein. Today, you’ll find many restaurants serving this traditional Liechtensteiner breakfast dish.

As described, it’s made from corn and wheat cooked in boiling water and milk before being roasted with butter. It’s often enjoyed with an apple purée or other fruit sauces and compotes.

Photo by Schofför, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Dreikönigskuchen

Think big and think cake! Dreikönigskuchen is known as “the king cake” and the recipe does vary across Liechtenstein, but size is always a constant. It is commonly found in bakeries and can also have a figurine hidden inside. It’s great for a party!

The cake dough is sweetened and then studded with raisins and chocolate chips before baking. Traditionally, this would be shaped into a crown shape and a paper crown was made to accompany it. The “king” of the party or gathering would then wear the hat.

Photo by IvanM77

4. Schnitzel

Schnitzel refers to a Liechtensteiner dish made with thin slices of meat that are often fried with onions. The meat is either cut really thinly or hammered flat with a tenderizer. Once hammered or sliced, the meat is breadcrumbed or covered in flour before frying.

Traditionally, the meat used for a schnitzel was veal but don’t be surprised to find mutton, chicken, or pork being used too. This is no longer a meat-only offering as vegetarian versions are starting to pop up all over Liechtenstein.

Photo by bhofack2

5. Kratzer

Therre is no English equivalent to this so it is best compared to the Austrian dish known as Kaiserschmarrn (the Emperor’s mess). Usually this is a side dish, popular in northern Liechtenstein, and is a sweetened and shredded pancake.

It is said that Franz Joseph I was a fan of this desert. If the emperor thought it was worth eating, then it must be worth a try by you too!

6. Hafalaab

Hafalaab is a traditional dish of Liechtenstein and is found in restaurants up and down the country. It is quite simply a soup or broth which contains dumplings made from wheat and cornmeal. The soup is flavoured with smoked bacon or ham. Like ribel, this is a traditional poor man’s dish which is a speciality of Liechtenstein.

Photo by lenyvavsha

7. Torkarebl

Torkarebl is another traditional Liechtensteiner dish. This is made from a mixture of corn flour, salt, milk, and water. The mixture should have a consistency somewhere between a dumpling and porridge. It should not be overly watery.

Usual accompaniments to this comforting dish are elderberry jam and a cup of coffee or milk.

8. Liechtensteiner Fish Stew

No prizes for guessing what goes into this one! This is a very popular, traditional food of Liechtenstein. The stew can contain any fish such as snapper or cod and then an array of other ingredients such as potato, onion, tomatoes, garlic, celery, paprika, parsley and olive oil.

The stew cooks for a long time to allow the vegetables to become soft and for the fish to cook properly. To truly appreciate this dish, you top a slice of rye bread with the broth and pieces of the fish. It is important to get all the stew’s components on the bread to enjoy all its flavors.

9. Muesli

Museli is a dish that’s always served cold. The main ingredient is oats and then any number of other ingredients can be added such as dried fruits, fresh fruits, seeds, nuts, and grains.

Because there is no set recipe, you will find that it has various twists in different regions. It can also be combined with liquids such as fruit juice, milk, water, yogurt, or plant milk. Museli is a Swiss dish that has become popular throughout Europe, including Liechtenstein.

Photo by marrakeshh

10. Geschnetzelte

Geschnetzelte is another dish with Swiss roots but has become very popular in Liechtenstein. This is a meal based on veal, with kidney and champignon mushrooms. Everything is served dipped in cream and accompanied by a potato rosti. The term geschnetzelte translates into English as “sliced” or “shredded” which is exactly how the veal is prepared.

“Geschnetzeltes Züricher Art” by Katrin Gilger, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

11. Schwartenmagen

Schwartenmagen is a sausage made with offal (usually pork) and spices. These are coarsely chopped and boiled for a long time and then stuffed into a casing.

In Germany, a schwartenmagen is known as jelly meat due to the type of casing used. It is served in thin slices and used as a filling for sandwiches, together with vegetables in vinegar or in oil.

The original uploader was Schorle at German Wikipedia.(Original text: Schorle), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

12. Wurst

Wurst is a great snack that is often accompanied by sauerkraut. It takes its roots from German cuisine, but this hot and tasty sausage is worth a try in Liechtenstein. You can enjoy this is in a sandwich or on its own. Either way it is delicious.

Photo by gdolgikh

BONUS: Prinzenbräu

Prinzenbräu is a beer and not a food but it is also worth sampling. It has gained a good reputation because of its consistency and exceptional taste. The locals usually enjoy their meals with a glass of beer, and it is because of this that different beers are available around the country.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE FOOD IN LIECHTENSTEIN

Hopefully this article on the traditional food in Liechtenstein has whetted your traveling taste buds and literally given you food for thought related to Liechtenstein cuisine. Some dish’s names are tricky to pronounce but well worth mastering if you’re intent on sampling all the tasty food the country has to offer.

About the Author

George J. Newton is a business development manager and content writer. Primarily, he writes for Write My Thesis and Coursework Help, but he also contributes to websites such as Buy Coursework. His biggest supporter is his wife who he says has given him a decade of patience and understanding.

Cover photo by lenyvavsha. Stock images via Depositphotos.

Bolivian Food: 15 Traditional Dishes to Look For in La Paz

Bolivia’s cuisine isn’t as celebrated as the cuisines of Peru, Argentina, or Brazil, which is unsurprising considering Bolivia is one of the least visited countries in South America.

When many people think of Bolivia, Bolivian food isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. For most, it’s Salar de Uyuni. And who can blame them? This gigantic salt flat measuring over 10,000 sq km (3,900 sq mi) is a sight unlike any other. For many travelers, it’s a dream destination, something to tick off your bucket list.

Salar de Uyuni may be one of the biggest reasons why tourists visit Bolivia, but as these next fifteen traditional dishes will show you, one of the best and often most overlooked reasons has to be the food.

BOLIVIAN CUISINE QUICK LINKS

If you’re visiting Bolivia and want to really dig into the cuisine, then you may be interested in joining a food tour.

TOURS

  • Food Tours: Food and Wine/Drinking Tours in Bolivia

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WHAT IS TRADITIONAL BOLIVIAN CUISINE?

Bolivian food has been shaped by the cuisines of many countries, most notably by Spanish cuisine after being a colony of Spain for nearly 300 years. Traditional Bolivian staples like potatoes, corn, quinoa, peanuts, and beans were supplemented by Spanish imports like rice, wheat, beef, pork, and chicken.

Because of its diverse climate and geography, Bolivian foods differ greatly by region. Potatoes are a major crop with over 4,000 native varieties growing in the highlands of Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. Potatoes and meats are favored in the Andean regions while Bolivians living in the lowlands prefer fruits, vegetables, freshwater fish, and yuca. A heavier use of spices is noted in the Bolivian highlands as well.

Like many Latin American countries, meals in Bolivia are family-oriented with lunch typically being the biggest and most important meal of the day.

THE BEST FOOD IN BOLIVIA

1. Pastel de Queso

For some Bolivians, there’s no better way to start your day than with a warm cup of api morado and pastel de queso. Pastel de queso is a Bolivian-style cheese empanada or cheese cake. It’s made with deep-fried empanada-style dough filled with gooey cheese that’s often dusted generously with powdered sugar.

A popular street food in La Paz and other parts of Bolivia, pasteles de queso are typically eaten for breakfast or as a snack. In the summer, Bolivians enjoy them with fresh fruit juices but in winter, they’re often paired with hot beverages like coffee or api morado.

RECIPE: Pastel de queso

Photo by ildi_papp

2. Salteñas

The salteña is the national dish of Bolivia. It refers to a baked Bolivian empanada made with beef or chicken mixed with olives, potatoes, vegetables, hard-boiled egg, raisins, and spices in a sweet and slightly spicy sauce. Salteñas are so juicy that you can think of them as a type of stew served inside a pastry.

To achieve this characteristic juiciness, gelatin is added to the stewed filling before the mixture is chilled and hardened in the refrigerator. This keeps the dough from getting soggy while the salteñas are being put together. When baked, the mixture melts into the delicious stewy filling salteñas are known for, much like Shanghainese xiao long bao.

Unlike regular empanadas, Bolivian salteñas are more football-shaped with a braided top crust. Aside from its stewed filling and shape, it’s also known for its orange-brown color which it gets from urucú or achiote seeds (annatto) mixed into the dough.

Salteñas are a hugely popular street food in Bolivia. In La Paz, they’re sold from early in the morning and are typically eaten for breakfast or as a mid-morning snack with coffee or fresh fruit juice. So popular are salteñas as street food that they’re almost never made at home in Bolivia.

It’s interesting to note that the name salteña means “a woman from Salta”, Argentina. It’s believed that the recipe for Bolivian salteñas was created by an Argentinian woman named Juana Manuela Gorriti. She was born in Salta but was later exiled to Potosí, Bolivia during the dictatorship of Juan Manuel de Rosas. Her family endured extreme poverty so she created the recipe for salteñas as a means to survive.

Today, salteñas are among the most beloved Bolivian foods. They were so popular at the time that it was common for people to tell their kids “Ve y recoge una empanada de la salteña”, meaning “Go and pick up an empanada from the woman from Salta”.

RECIPE: Salteñas

Photo by asimojet

3. Anticuchos

Anticuchos are skewered and grilled meat and offal dishes. They’ve existed in the Andean region since pre-Columbian times, but modern versions of the dish have become popular in many countries throughout the South American continent, most notably in Bolivia and Peru.

In Bolivia, anticuchos are typically made with beef or chicken heart marinated in vinegar, garlic, and a host of herbs and spices like cumin, black pepper, salt, oregano, mint, and parsley. They’re commonly sold by street food vendors in La Paz called anticucheras, and often served with roasted potatoes and a spicy aji peanut sauce.

RECIPE: Anticuchos Bolivianos

Photo by asimojet

4. Salchipapas

Salchipapa refers to another popular street food dish in Bolivia. It’s originally from Lima, Peru but it’s become popular in many Latin American countries like Bolivia, Ecuador, and Argentina.

Bolivian salchipapas consist of thinly sliced pan-fried beef sausages served with fried potatoes. The dish’s name is a portmanteau word for salchicha (sausage) and papa (potatoes). It’s typically served with ketchup, mustard, and aji chili sauce along with garnishes like cheese, a fried egg, lettuce, and tomatoes.

RECIPE: Salchipapas

Photo by bhofack2

5. Sopa de Mani

Sopa de mani literally means “peanut soup”. Originally from Cochabamba in central Bolivia, it refers to a traditional Bolivian meat and vegetable soup thickened with ground peanuts.

Sopa de mani is traditionally made with beef ribs or chicken but it can be prepared without meat as well. Different types of vegetables can be used in the soup. It’s sometimes made with macaroni or rice and garnished with fresh herbs and french fries (or sweet potato fries). It’s often served with crusty bread and llajua, a spicy Bolivian salsa made with locoto chili peppers.

RECIPE: Sopa de mani

Photo by ildi_papp

6. Locro

Locro refers to a thick and hearty Bolivian squash stew traditionally consumed by the people living in the Andes mountains. Aside from Bolivia, it’s also common in Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, and Argentina where it’s regarded as a national dish.

Recipes for locro vary but it’s traditionally made with squash, corn, vegetables, and some type of meat – usually beef, charque, or chicken. It’s often made with other ingredients as well like beans, pumpkin, onions, and potatoes. In some areas, locro is made with a specific type of potato called papa chola. Native to the region, it’s a type of large, red-skinned Bolivian potato known for its creamy yellow flesh and unique flavor.

RECIPE: Locro de gallina

Photo by maxital

7. Silpancho

Like sopa de mani, silpancho is a traditional Bolivian dish hailing from Cochabamba. It’s a substantial meal consisting of white rice covered by a pounded cutlet of breaded beef, boiled potatoes, chopped tomatoes, onions, beets, parsley, and a fried egg.

Silpancho is traditionally made with a breaded cutlet but it can be made with diced and cooked meat served over rice as well. A sandwich version of the dish called trancapecho also exists. It’s an absolute monster of a sandwich with all components of the classic silpancho – including the rice – miraculously stuffed in a bun.

Silpancho is said to have been invented by Celia la Fuente Peredo. The dish has become so emblematic of Cochabamba that it’s often the only dish served at many restaurants in the city. According to this blog, restaurants had a light outside to signify if silpancho was available that night. If it was covered, then it meant that the restaurant was still busy cooking up the next batch of silpancho.

The name silpancho stems from the Quechua word sillp’anchu, meaning “thin and pounded”, in reference to the breaded cutlet traditionally used in the dish.

RECIPE: Silpancho

Photo by ildi_papp

8. Pique a lo Macho

In the spirit of the silpancho, pique a lo macho is another overflowing plate of food from Cochabamba. I don’t know what it is about Cochabamba but they seem to be fond of these gargantuan plates of food that were designed to test your manhood.

Pique a lo macho (or pique macho) is made with strips of beef, sausages or hot dogs, french fries, onions, tomatoes, locoto chili peppers, and hard-boiled eggs served with ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. Smaller portions of the dish are simply called pique, while pique macho refers to the giant version often made spicier with the addition of pimenton.

According to legend, a group of drunk workers arrived at a restaurant in Cochabamba just as they were closing. The owner didn’t have anything to feed them but the workers insisted they’d eat anything. She went into the kitchen and proceeded to put together whatever ingredients she had left. To help them sober up, she made the dish extra spicy and said “Piquen si son machos”, meaning “Eat it if you think you’re man enough”. And so was born pique a lo macho.

True to its origins, pique macho is popular drunk food in Cochabamba and other cities in Bolivia. Macho men will try to conquer it on their own but it’s really a dish that’s meant to be shared between two or more people.

RECIPE: Pique a lo macho

Photo by carloandrefu

9. Picante de Pollo

Picante de pollo (spicy chicken) is another popular Bolivian dish originally from Cochabamba. There are probably as many recipes for this spicy chicken dish as there are Bolivian cooks, but the key ingredients in an authentic picante de pollo, aside from the chicken, are aji amarillo chili peppers and chuño. Chuño refers to a type of freeze-dried potato native to Bolivia’s Andean region.

To make picante de pollo, pieces of chicken are cooked in chicken broth with finely chopped onions, garlic, cumin, and pureed aji amarillo. It’s garnished with fresh chopped parsley and often served with white rice, boiled potatoes, chuño, and salsa.

RECIPE: Picante de pollo

Photo by Jim_Filim

10. Milanesa

Milanesa refers to a slice of meat that’s pounded thinly and breaded before being fried. Popular throughout the Americas, it’s essentially the South American version of the Italian cotoletta, German/Austrian wiener schnitzel, French escalope, or Japanese tonkatsu.

Many different versions of milanesa exist throughout Latin America but the term can be used to describe any type of meat that’s been pounded thin, breaded, and then shallow-fried. It’s similar to the cutlet in a silpancho though not quite as thin. It’s typically made with beef, chicken, veal, or pork and served with different side dishes like rice, potatoes, eggs, or salad.

The name of the dish is said to be derived from the original cotoletta alla milanese from Milanese Lombard cuisine. It was brought to South America by Italian immigrants during the mass emigration of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

RECIPE: Milanesa

Photo by lenyvavsha

11. Quinoa

Bolivia is one of the biggest producers of quinoa in the world. It’s second only to Peru. Together, both countries account for about 97% of global quinoa production so it’s no surprise that dishes made with quinoa are among the best things to eat in Bolivia.

For centuries, quinoa has been a dietary staple for Bolivians living in the Andean region. It’s an indigenous crop that people have been relying on for subsistence for nearly 7,000 years. Until recently, urban-dwelling Bolivians regarded quinoa as poor man’s food, but the crop’s recent global popularity has caused that sentiment to change.

In 2000, a pound of quinoa was worth about $0.25. In 2014, that price shot up to $4 per pound, a staggering increase of about 1,600% in less than 15 years! The price has since mellowed to about $0.60 per pound as recently as 2018, but not before some Bolivian farmers could take advantage of the boom and improve their economic situation.

Quinoa’s newfound reputation as a superfood does come at a price. Rising quinoa costs have reduced local consumption in Bolivia by a third, making what was once a fundamental part of the Bolivian diet too expensive for many locals.

Photo by ezumeimages

Quinoa is used in many Bolivian dishes like salads, soups, humintas (Bolivian tamales), porridge, and stews.

RECIPE: Quinoa sopa de mani

Photo by anna.pustynnikova

12. Charquekan

Charquekan refers to a traditional Bolivian dish made with charque, mote (boiled corn kernels), slices of cheese, hard-boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, and llajua (Bolivian hot salsa). Charque is the Spanish word for jerky and refers to an ancient method of preserving beef or llama meat by salting and drying it in the sun.

Charquekan is originally from the city of Oruro but it’s popular throughout Bolivia. In many regions, charque is an important source of protein and forms an essential part of the Bolivian diet.

RECIPE: Charquekan

Photo by alekseigl

13. Pasankalla

Pasankalla (or pasacalla) is basically a large type of sweetened Bolivian popcorn. But unlike regular popcorn, it’s made with a different type of large-grained corn called p’isanqella.

Pasankalla was traditionally produced in the towns near Copacabana and Lake Titicaca. P’isanqella grains were placed in clay pots that were heated until the kernels burst. They’re always sweetened with sugar and sometimes dyed in different colors like pink, blue, and green.

Photo by ildi_papp

14. Api Morado

The Andean highlands are known to be chilly. To warm up, Bolivians would drink warm cups of api morado which is a thick and hearty Bolivian drink made from purple corn. It’s typically enjoyed for breakfast, often with pastries like pastel de queso or buñuelo.

To prepare, purple corn is mashed with cinnamon, cloves, and orange zest. It’s sweetened to taste with sugar and can be served hot or cold. Often thick enough to eat with a spoon, it’s taste has been likened to a steaming cup of liquid corn sugar.

It’s worth noting that a similar drink called api blanco is also popular at the Bolivian breakfast table. It’s made with milk, cinnamon, cloves, and the kernels from a large type of white corn called morocho. It’s sweetened to taste with sugar and often topped with black or golden raisins.

RECIPE: Api morado

Photo by ildi_papp

15. Mocochinchi

Mocochinchi refers to a type of Bolivian cider made from dehydrated peaches. It’s perhaps the single most popular drink served in Bolivia. It’s typically sold by street food vendors from large glass jars with other Bolivian drinks like chicha and somó.

Mocochinchi is made with dehydrated whole peaches, orange juice, water, black raisins, lemon zest, cinnamon, and sugar. It’s a sweet and refreshing drink that becomes even more popular in the summer.

RECIPE: Mocochinchi

Photo by ildi_papp

BOLIVIAN FOOD TOURS

It goes without saying that no one knows Bolivia’s cuisine better than a local, so what better way to experience the food in Bolivia than by going on a food tour? A knowledgeable guide will lead you to the city’s best restaurants, markets, and food stalls so all you have to do is follow and eat. Check out Get Your Guide for a list of food tours in La Paz and other cities throughout the country.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE FOOD IN BOLIVIA

Bolivia’s cuisine isn’t as celebrated as other South American cuisines, but this is to be expected from a country that gets just a fraction of the tourists as its more visited neighbors. But that says little about the cuisine as a whole or its potential for global recognition.

Bolivia is an agriculturally rich country blessed with myriad varieties of potatoes, maize, chili peppers, carrots, and quinoa. With so much potential for flavor, it’s only a matter of time before people start flying to Bolivia as much for its food as they do for its salt flats.

Disclosure

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Cover photo by asimojet. Stock images via Depositphotos.

ESTA Alaska: How to Apply for an ESTA to Alaska (2021)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored post. You can refer to the disclosure statement at the bottom of the article for more information.

Alaska is a city that attracts travelers from across the world, especially for outdoor activities in summer or to experience the northern lights during the winter months. Have you heard of the Alaskan cruises? It’s a dream vacation many people hope to take someday.

However, if you are traveling to Alaska from outside the US, here are some handy tips in planning your visit.

VISA Requirement

For foreign nationals entering the US, you need a VISA to enter the country. There are different types of US VISAs you can apply for, depending on the purpose of your travel. If you wish to visit Alaska as a tourist, you need to apply for a B-2 VISA. If you are traveling for business, then a B-1 VISA would be the right category to apply for.

How Long Does it Take to Get the VISA?

Getting the VISA could be a long process, depending on the country you are traveling from. It is important, therefore, to plan your visit early. The time span covers application as well as waiting to get an interview at the US embassy. It is best that you contact your nearby US embassy to know how long it would take once you put in an application.

Do You Qualify for ESTA?

There exists a VISA Waiver Program and some countries qualify for it. In such cases, you can visit Alaska without having to apply for a VISA. In such cases, you need to obtain authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation or ESTA. To know whether you are eligible for the same, visit the official ESTA web page.

In general, in order to visit Alaska with an ESTA, you need to:

  • Have a passport that includes a machine-readable zone on the page where your biographical details are.
  • You need to possess an e-passport that has an embedded chip that includes biometric information about the owner.
  • Ensure that you are a national or a citizen of a country that is eligible for VWP.
  • If you are traveling to the US under VWP you need to get authorization under ESTA before you travel.

Once You Arrive in the US

When you reach the US, you would be landing at a city that is the port of entry to the country for you. Like any other international traveler, you need to keep certain papers ready to ensure that all inspections post-arrival goes off smoothly.

Paperwork at US Airports

Once you disembark, you would be heading to the immigration line. Here you need to present your passport, VISA, Form I-94, and customs form which is usually handed to you for filling in the plane itself. Form I-94 is an arrival or departure record form. Here you need to fill in the date of admission, your legal status, how long you are staying, and when you would be departing.

Clearance at Immigration

This is the final step before you can go ahead and claim your baggage and pass through customs. Immigration officials typically inspect your papers and wish to know how long you would be staying and who you are visiting. The officials might also take your picture and fingerprints before they return your documents and stamp the passport.

Once the above steps are cleared, you can then proceed to pick up your baggage and check-in with customs. Here you need to conform to certain items that are typically not allowed to be brought into the country. It is best that you leave behind perishable food, plant, or animal by-products which are usually banned at US airports.

Conclusion

Useful advice from experienced travelers is worth picking up. However, for specific and accurate information, it is best that you look up official websites and VISA-linked information sites.

Disclosure

This is a sponsored post. We have no personal experience with the ESTA and can’t offer an informed opinion on the subject. It’s important that you do your own research before making any travel plans. You can refer to this website’s terms of use for more information.

Featured image visual by Clker-Free-Vector-Images / 29565 via Pixabay

From South Korean Ramyeon to Ram-don (Recipe)

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Thanks to the Parasite movie, ram-don became an internationally famous dish overnight. It refers to a Korean ramyeon or instant noodle dish called chapaguri, but made more luxurious with the addition of steak.

Sometimes referred to as “Parasite noodles”, ram-don is an absolutely delicious Korean dish that’s quick and easy to make at home. In this article, we’ll share with you a simple ram-don recipe and talk briefly about ramyeon and the significance of ram-don in the Parasite film.

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WHAT IS RAMYEON?

Ramyeon (or ramyun) is the Korean word for instant noodles. In Japan, ramen can refer to both instant or freshly made noodles but in South Korea, ramyeon always refers to instant noodles. Koreans consume so much ramyeon that it’s considered by many to be a South Korean national dish.

The biggest manufacturer of ramyeon in South Korea is the Nongshim company. They produce the two types of ramyeon – Chapagetti and Neoguri – that are used to make ram-don.

WHAT IS RAM-DON?

Ram-don is chapaguri made with steak.

Chapaguri (or jjapaguri) is a hybrid dish made by combining two popular types of ramyeon – chapagetti and neoguri – into one dish. Chapagetti is a ramyeon version of the popular Korean-Chinese dish jajangmyeon, while Neoguri is a spicy seafood ramyeon made with thicker udon-style noodles.

As you may have noticed, “chapaguri” is a portmanteau word derived from chapa-getti and neo-guri. The dish started to become popular in 2013 after the combination was featured on a Korean TV show.

Based on what I’ve read, the translators of the Parasite film couldn’t translate chapaguri into something non-Korean speakers could relate to, so they referred to it as ram-don in the subtitles. “Ram-don” is a portmanteau word derived from ram-en and u-don, and from what I understand, it didn’t exist before the movie came out.

As it turns out, other meanings may have been lost in translation as well. In the movie, the ram-don was made with Hanwoo Beef, which is one of the most premium and expensive brands of beef in South Korea. In the subtitles, it was referred to simply as “sirloin”. More on why this is significant in the next section.

WHAT’S THE SIGNIFICANCE OF RAM-DON IN PARASITE?

Parasite is a film about social inequality and wealth disparity. It was clear from watching the movie that ram-don was meant to magnify the chasm between rich and poor. But I didn’t know what chapaguri was at that point so I didn’t fully grasp the symbolism at the time. (Warning: Spoilers ahead)

Chapaguri is made with two humble ingredients – Chapagetti and Neoguri. Ram-don is made with chapaguri and ultra-premium Hanwoo Beef. These three ingredients – two simple and one luxurious – are mixed together in a bowl to create ram-don, a symbolic dish that’s meant to represent the three families living together in the movie (two poor, one rich).

Knowing this, “sirloin” doesn’t seem like a strong enough translation for Hanwoo Beef.

RAM-DON INGREDIENTS

Ram-don is quick and easy to make at home. You’ll need just three main ingredients – Chapagetti, Neoguri, and steak. (Please note that the links below are Amazon affiliate links)

Chapagetti

Chapagetti is a type of ramyeon made by Nongshim. It’s the instant noodle version of jajangmyeon, a popular Korean-Chinese dish of wheat flour noodles topped with a thick sauce made from chunjang (sweet bean sauce), diced pork, and vegetables. Korean grocery stores and large supermarkets should have Chapagetti, but if you can’t find any, then you can order it from Amazon.

Neoguri

Also made by Nongshim, Neoguri is a type of ramyeon that’s known for its thicker udon-style noodles and spicy seafood flavor. You should be able to find it at Korean grocery stores and large supermarkets but if you can’t, then you can order it from Amazon.

Steak

We used rib eye but any cut of beef used for steak – like sirloin, rib eye, or New York strip – should be good.

HOW TO MAKE RAM-DON

Because ram-don is made with ramyeon or Korean instant noodles, it’ll take you no more than 10-15 minutes to prepare from start to end.

First, cut your beef into cubes.

Season the steak cubes with salt and pepper.

Add the steak cubes into a pot in one layer and then sear for about 40-45 seconds on each side. Set aside when done.

Pour the water into the same pot together with the vegetable flakes and just half of the Neoguri seasoning base. Adding in the whole packet will make it too spicy. Let it come to a boil.

Empty both packets of noodles into the water and allow it to cook for 4 minutes. Loosen and separate the noodles using tongs.

After 4 minutes, while there’s still some water left in the pot, add in the Chapagetti powder and oil. Mix thoroughly and toss until the sauce is fully incorporated with the noodles.

Turn off the heat and add the steak cubes. Toss again until mixed.

Serve the ram-don in a bowl with a side of kimchi. Enjoy!

If you like, then you can add other toppings as well like a fried egg. Personally, we love ram-don with the crispy edges of the fried egg. It’s so good!

RAM-DON RECIPE

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Ram-don Recipe

Yield: 2Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

A recipe for ram-don, aka Jjapaguri with steak, as seen in the Parasite movie.

Ingredients

  • 200g rib eye, sliced into 2-inch cubes
  • One (1) pack Chapagetti ramyeon by Nongshim
  • One (1) pack Neoguri Spicy Seafood ramyeon by Nongshim
  • Two (2) cups / approximately 450 ml water
  • *Fried egg (optional)

Instructions

  1. Season cubed steak with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil (or a mix of olive oil and butter) in a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the steak cubes in one layer and sear for about 40-45 seconds on each side. Set aside.
  4. Pour the water, half of the Neoguri season base, and the vegetables flakes into the pot and let it come to a boil.
  5. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes, separating the noodles with tongs in the process.
  6. After 4 minutes, while there’s still some water left in the pot, add the Chapagetti powder and oil. Mix thoroughly and toss until sauce is fully incorporated (about a minute).
  7. Turn off heat and add the steak cubes back to the pan and toss again.
  8. Top with a fried egg and/or serve with kimchi if desired.

Notes

If you can’t get a hold of Neoguri, then you can substitute it with another type of ramyeon like Shin Ramyun. The thicker the noodles the better.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

  • Neoguri (x4) and Chapagetti (x4) Set
Nutrition Information:

Serving Size: 2
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 761Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 14gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 1507mgCarbohydrates: 85gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 33g

The nutritional information in this ram-don recipe is an estimate based on third-party calculations. It should not be considered as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Did you try this recipe?

We’d love to hear what you think! Leave a comment below and tag us on Instagram @_willflyforfood_ 

© JB MacatuladCuisine:Korean /Category: NATIONAL DISH QUEST

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The First-Timer’s Hiroshima & Miyajima Travel Guide (2023)

When I think of Hiroshima, the first thing that comes to mind is the atomic bomb. The Peace Memorial Park and Museum are the most visited attractions in Hiroshima.

Many first-time visitors are aware of the museum but what they may not realize, is that Hiroshima is also one of the best food cities in Japan. Like Osaka, it’s famous for its okonomiyaki and has long been the source for the best oysters in the country. In fact, according to my Japanese friend, Hiroshima is one of three cities that the local Japanese like to visit when they travel for food, the other two being Nagoya and Fukuoka.

If you enjoy hiking, then you’ll want to spend the day on Miyajima Island which is less than an hour south of the city center. It’s home to lovely hiking trails and one of the three most celebrated views in Japan, not to mention some of the freshest oysters in Hiroshima.

The Peace Memorial Museum may be the most famous attraction but there are plenty of other things to see and do in Hiroshima, especially if you travel for food like we do. If you’re visiting Hiroshima for the first time, then this detailed travel guide will tell you all you need to know to plan your trip.

VISIT HIROSHIMA QUICK LINKS

This travel guide to Hiroshima is long. For your convenience, I’ve compiled links to hotels, tours, and other services here.

HOTELS

Top-rated hotels in downtown Hiroshima, the most convenient area to stay for first-time visitors.

  • Luxury: Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel
  • Midrange: The Knot Hiroshima
  • Budget: Hostel Mallika

TOURS

  • Sightseeing Tour: Hiroshima Cycling Peace Tour with Local Guide
  • Hiroshima & Miyajima Tour: Hiroshima & Miyajima Island Private Guided Tour
  • Food Tour: Ultimate Hiroshima Food Tour

OTHER SERVICES

  • Visa Services
  • Travel Insurance with COVID cover (WFFF readers get 5% off)
  • Airport Transfers
  • Visit Hiroshima Tourist Pass
  • Japan Rail Pass

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GUIDE TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Hiroshima Travel Restrictions
  2. Japan Visa
  3. Hiroshima at a Glance
  4. Best Time to Visit Hiroshima
  5. Traveling to Hiroshima
  6. Where to Exchange Currency
  7. Best Area to Stay in Hiroshima
  8. Places to Visit in Hiroshima
  9. Things to Do in Hiroshima
  10. Day Trips from Hiroshima
  11. Japanese Food Guide
  12. Where to Eat in Hiroshima
  13. Points of Interest in Hiroshima (Map)
  14. How to Get Around in Hiroshima
  15. How Many Days to Stay / Hiroshima Itinerary
  16. Hiroshima Travel Tips

HIROSHIMA TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

Due to the current global situation, Hiroshima travel guidelines have been changing very often. Our partners at Booking.com created a website that lists detailed information on travel restrictions and advisories around the globe.

Before planning a trip to Hiroshima, be sure to check Booking.com for information on travel restrictions to Japan. If you do decide to visit Hiroshima, then it’s highly recommended that you get travel insurance with COVID coverage.

JAPAN VISA

Depending on what type of passport you carry, you may need a visa and other travel documents to visit Japan. Check out iVisa.com to learn about the requirements and to apply for a visa (if necessary).

If you’re a Philippine passport holder residing in Manila, then check out our guide on how to apply for a Japan tourist visa for a step-by-step process.

HIROSHIMA AT A GLANCE

Hiroshima is a former castle town that was an important center for military activity during the imperial era. It played significant roles in multiple wars, though none more remembered perhaps than the second world war when it was the first of two Japanese cities targeted by a nuclear weapon. The second was Nagasaki.

About 70% of the city’s buildings were destroyed by the atomic bomb, but Hiroshima has since rebuilt itself to become the biggest city in the Chugoku region of western Honshu, the largest island in Japan.

Today, the site of the nuclear attack is one of the top tourist destinations in Japan. It’s comprised of three attractions clustered within downtown Hiroshima – Peace Memorial Museum, Peace Memorial Park, and the Atomic Bomb Dome, whose skeletal remains stand as a grim reminder of the devastation of nuclear war.

BEST TIME TO VISIT HIROSHIMA

Hiroshima has a temperate climate so it’s largely a year-round destination, though some seasons are definitely more comfortable than others. For the most ideal weather, spring and autumn are typically the best times to visit Hiroshima.

DEC-FEB: This is winter in Hiroshima and the coldest time of the year. I was in Hiroshima in late January, and while the days were cold and occasionally rainy, it was mild compared to more northern cities in Japan. I was perfectly fine wearing just a quilted jacket and light gloves. If you don’t mind colder weather, then winter is a great time to visit Hiroshima. Crowds are thinner and the oysters are at their most plump. Do note that many businesses will be closed from 29 December till 3 January.

MAR-MAY: Spring is one of the most pleasant times to visit Hiroshima thanks to mild weather and the blossoms. The plum blossoms will start to come out in mid-March while the famed cherry blossoms will be in full bloom around the end of March to early April. If you’re after the cherry blossoms, then spring is the only time to go. Do note that cherry blossom season is peak tourist season in Japan so expect heavier crowds.

JUN-AUG: Summers in Japan are hot and humid and generally not the most comfortable time to go. It’s rainiest from around late June to early August and hottest from July till about mid-September.

SEPT-NOV: Autumn is another great time to visit Hiroshima. Like spring, the weather is mild and visitors will be treated to the turning colors of the season. For peak fall colors, plan to be in Hiroshima in early to mid-November.

Climate: Annual Monthly Weather in Hiroshima

Check out climatestotravel.com for more on Hiroshima’s weather. For your convenience, I’ve created the average temperature and annual rainfall graphs below. Suggested months to visit are indicated in orange.

Average Temperature

Annual Rainfall

TRAVELING TO HIROSHIMA

Though Hiroshima does have an international airport, it only services routes from a few Asian countries like South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and China. The majority of travelers to Hiroshima will probably arrive by train or bus.

From Hiroshima Airport

Hiroshima Airport (HIJ) is located about 50 km (31 miles) east of downtown Hiroshima. The limousine bus is the cheapest way to get to Hiroshima Station (or Hiroshima Bus Center) from the airport but you can also go by taxi or private/shared transfer.

BY BUS: The limousine bus will get you to Hiroshima Station or Hiroshima Bus Center in about 50 minutes. It operates from 8:40AM till 9:20PM.

BY TAXI: A taxi is faster and more convenient but it’s also a lot more expensive. You’ll get to downtown Hiroshima in a little over 30 minutes but expect to pay between JPY 15,000-20,000 for the fare.

BY PRIVATE/SHARED TRANSFER: Like taxis, private/shared transfers are faster than the limousine bus they’re also considerably more expensive. You can book one in advance through Get Your Guide.

From Other Parts of Japan

As described, most travelers to Hiroshima will probably be arriving by train or bus. Buses are generally cheaper but trains are more comfortable, they’re more convenient, and they’re often easier to book. You can check hyperdia.com for train routes and schedules to Hiroshima from wherever you are in Japan.

If you’re going on a multi-city tour of Japan, then you may be interested in getting a JR Pass. It’ll give you unlimited access to all JR trains for 7, 14, or 21 consecutive days. You can purchase a JR Pass through Klook or Japan Rail Pass.

WHERE TO EXCHANGE CURRENCY

The unit of currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY).

BANKS / POST OFFICES: Banks and post offices have traditionally been the most reliable places to exchange currency in Japan. With that said, the process is almost always slower. I’ve exchanged currency at a few banks throughout Japan and the process can often take up to 30 minutes or so.

KINKEN SHOPS: Kinken shops are small stores that buy and sell unused event tickets. Some also exchange currency, and usually at competitive rates. I haven’t exchanged currency at a kinken shop in Hiroshima but you can usually find them around major metro stations.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE MACHINES: I haven’t seen these too often but I did exchange currency once through one of these machines in Nagasaki. It was the easiest currency exchange I’ve ever done. Just insert your foreign currency into the ATM-like machine and out comes the JPY equivalent. I didn’t notice any in Hiroshima but you may be able to find them at busy tourist and commercial areas.

ATM MACHINES: This is my preferred method of exchanging currency in Japan. I find that rates are competitive and it saves me from the trouble of having to bring too much foreign currency to Japan. In my experience, my ATM card works best at convenience store and post office ATMs. Just be sure to advise your bank that you plan on using your ATM card abroad so you don’t run into any problems.

TIP: When withdrawing local currency from an ATM, some machines may ask if you’d like to proceed “with or without conversion”. Always choose WITHOUT conversion so your local bank does the conversion. If you choose “with conversion”, then that authorizes the foreign bank operating the ATM to perform the conversion, usually at highly unfavorable rates.

BEST AREAS TO STAY IN HIROSHIMA

There are two ideal areas to stay for first-time visitors to Hiroshima – the city center and Miyajima Island. It all depends on what you’re looking for and what you plan on doing during your stay in Hiroshima.

HIROSHIMA CITY CENTER

If your main goal is to visit the main attractions in Hiroshima City, then it’s best to stay in the area immediately east of Hiroshima Peace Park. This puts you close to the city’s top tourist attractions like the Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Peace Museum, Hiroshima Castle, and Shukkei-en Garden.  You’ll also have your pick of the best restaurants and be close to many shopping malls and arcades.

I stayed at the Capsule Hotel Cube which is one of the most comfortable capsule hotels I’ve ever stayed at in Japan.  It was more like a small room with a desk, cabinet, and capsule for sleeping.  You can book accommodations at Capsule Hotel Cube on booking.com or Agoda.

If you’d like to find accommodations in downtown Hiroshima but don’t think this is the right place for you, then you can search for alternate listings on booking.com or Agoda. Check out some of the top-rated hotels in downtown Hiroshima:

  • Luxury: Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel
  • Midrange: The Knot Hiroshima
  • Budget: Hostel Mallika

MIYAJIMA ISLAND

If you’d like to be closer to nature, then it’s best to stay on Miyajima Island which is less than an hour south of central Hiroshima. Located in Hiroshima Bay, it’s home to several temples and shrines, none more famous than Itsukushima Shrine and its floating torii gate. Miyajima is also home to lots of free-roaming deer and hiking trails that take you up Mt. Misen for spectacular views of the city and bay.

It’s easy to travel between downtown Hiroshima and Miyajima so staying on the island won’t be a problem. You can find accommodations on Miyajima Island on booking.com or Agoda. Check out some of the top-rated hotels on the island:

  • Luxury: Kurayado Iroha
  • Midrange: Miyajima Guest House Mikuniya
  • Budget: PLEIN SOLEIL Miyajimaguchi

You can also book hotels and homestays in Hiroshima or Miyajima (aka Itsukushima Island) using the handy map below.

PLACES TO VISIT IN HIROSHIMA & MIYAJIMA

Listed below are some of the most popular attractions in central Hiroshima and Miyajima Island. Check out our article on the best things to do in Hiroshima for more suggestions.

HIROSHIMA CITY

1. Peace Memorial Park & Museum

As described, the Peace Memorial Park and Museum are the most visited attractions in Hiroshima. The park is in an open space of over 120,000 square meters and features multiple monuments dedicated to the victims of the nuclear attack.

The most prominent structure at the park are the skeletal remains of the Atomic Bomb Dome. Despite being the closest building to the hypocenter, it was one of just a few structures that was left standing after the attack. You can see the building’s dome through the sculpture’s arch below.

Opened in 1955, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum consists of two buildings with exhibits recounting the events of the nuclear attack. It features items like toys and articles of clothing that survived the bombing, along with the human stories behind them. As you can imagine, it’s very emotional and not the easiest museum to get through.

We visited the Atomic Bomb Museum in Nagasaki a few years ago. Both museums are powerful but I found this one to be much more impactful. The museum in Nagasaki focused on the events surrounding the bombing while the Hiroshima Peace Museum zeroes in on the human tragedy. You could literally hear a pin drop in spite of the museum being full of tourists.

I visited the museum on my own but if you’d like to go with a guide who can explain everything in more detail to you, then you may want to book a tour through Get Your Guide or Magical Trip.

Suggested Length of Visit: About 2 hrs
Admission: JPY 200
Operating Hours: 8:30AM-6PM, daily
Nearest Tram Station: Genbaku Dome-Mae station

2. Shukkei-en Garden

If you like Japanese landscaped gardens, then you’ll enjoy spending time at Shukkei-en Garden. Located just east of Hiroshima Castle, it’s a medium-sized garden featuring a central pond with a rainbow bridge and multiple walking paths.

Shukkei-en isn’t as big as Kanazawa’s Kenroku-en but it’s beautiful in its own right and a great place to spend an hour or so in Hiroshima. I visited the garden on my own but there are a few tours on Get Your Guide that make stops at Shukkei-en.

Suggested Length of Visit: About 1 hr
Admission: JPY 260
Operating Hours: 9AM-6PM, daily
Nearest Tram Station: Shukkeien-Mae station

MIYAJIMA ISLAND

3. Itsukushima Shrine

Itsukushima Shrine is the main reason why people visit Miyajima Island. It’s a Shinto shrine and UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its large torii gate that appears to float on water at high tide.

Together with Amanohashidate in northern Kyoto and Matsushima Bay in Miyagi, Itsukushima Shrine’s floating torii gate is one the three most celebrated views in Japan. So renowned is this shrine that the island used to be called Itsukushima Island. Today, it’s more commonly known as Miyajima which means “shrine island”. When the water recedes at low tide, visitors can walk up to the gate and see it up close.

It’s easy enough to go to Miyajima from central Hirsohima, but if you’d like to go on a guided tour, then you can book one through Klook, Get Your Guide, or Magical Trip. Many tours will take you to the top tourist attractions in both downtown Hiroshima and Miyajima Island.

Photo by cowardlion via Shutterstock

Suggested Length of Visit: About 2 hrs
Admission: JPY 300 (JPY 500 yen with the Treasure Hall)
Operating Hours: 6:30AM-6PM, daily
Nearest Tram Station: Miyajimaguchi Station, then a ferry to Miyajima Island

4. Toyokuni Shrine & Gojunoto

Perched on top of a hill, Toyokuni Shrine stands apart from the main structure of Itsukushima, though from what I understand, it’s considered part of Itsukushima Shrine. It features a large unpainted hall called Senjokaku and the five-storied pagoda, Gojunoto, right next to it.

Originally built as a Buddhist library, Senjokaku Hall is basically just a large open space without much to see or do, but it does offer fantastic views of Hiroshima Bay. It’s a great place to just sit and enjoy a few moments of quiet on Miyajima Island.

Suggested Length of Visit: About 30 mins
Admission: JPY 100 (Senjokaku Pavilion) 
Operating Hours: 8:30AM-4:30PM, daily

5. Daishoin Temple

Located at the base of Mount Misen, Daishoin Temple is one of the most important temples of Shingon Buddhism. It consists of multiple buildings with numerous statues, religious items, and meditation halls. Compared to Toyokuni Shrine, there’s a lot more to see at Daishoin Temple. Pictured below is a cave with 88 statues representing the temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Daishoin Temple is located at the start of one of the hiking trails so you can spend a few moments here before making the trek up to the summit of Mount Misen.

Suggested Length of Visit: About 1 hr
Admission: FREE
Operating Hours: 8AM-5PM, daily

THINGS TO DO IN HIROSHIMA & MIYAJIMA

Listed in this section are suggestions on some of the most fun things you can do in Hiroshima City and Miyajima Island.

HIROSHIMA CITY

1. Go on a Food Tour

As much as we love finding hole-in-the-walls on trips, we also enjoy going on food tours. It’s one of the best and easiest ways to experience a city’s local delicacies.

With Hiroshima being a popular food city among the Japanese, what better way to experience its regional specialties than by going on a food tour with a knowledgeable local? The language barrier can sometimes be intimidating when going to restaurants in Japan, so it’s nice to go with a local who can take care of everything so all you have to do is eat.

You can book a food or bar hopping tour in Hiroshima on Klook, Get Your Guide, byFood, or Magical Trip.

Photo by Gumpanat via Shutterstock

2. Go on a Cycling Tour

The tourist attractions in central Hiroshima are in a relatively compact area. The streets are flat and fairly wide so I think it’s a great city to explore on a bicycle, especially if you don’t enjoy too much walking.

If you’re visiting Hiroshima during the dry season, then you may be interested in booking a cycling tour on Klook or Get Your Guide.

Photo by CAN KAYA via Shutterstock

3. Take a Cooking Class

If you love Japanese food and like to cook, then you may be interested in taking a cooking class. For me, it’s one of the best ways to learn about the local cuisine. It’s like looking under the cuisine’s hood.

I didn’t take one in Hiroshima but I did take a cooking class in Tokyo where I learned to make classic Japanese dishes like udon, tempura, and tamagoyaki. It was loads of fun. Check out byFood for a list of cooking classes in Hiroshima.

Photo by norikko via Shutterstock

MIYAJIMA ISLAND

4. Go Hiking on Mount Misen

I didn’t plan on doing it but hiking up Mount Misen turned out to be one of the best days on my last trip to Japan. At 500 meters (1,640 ft) above sea level, Mount Misen is the highest peak on Miyajima Island and offers spectacular views of Hiroshima Bay.

There are three hiking trails that take you up Mount Misen, each taking between 1.5-2 hours to reach the summit. I took the easiest trail which gave me a decent workout, but if you’re relatively fit, then you shouldn’t have any problems trekking up the mountain. The scenery is beautiful and you’ll probably cross paths with many of the free-roaming deer on the island.

If you’d rather not walk the entire way up, then an alternative would be to take the Miyajima Ropeway. For JPY 1,100 each way (JPY 2,000 round trip), it’ll take you to the upper station at Shishi-iwa Observatory which is about 30 minutes from the summit. Pictured below is the observation deck at the very top.

On my way down, I passed through Momijidani Park, one of the most famous places to view the autumn foliage in Japan. I went in winter when the trees were mostly bare but visitors in early to mid-November will be treated to the spectacular reds, oranges, and yellows of the fall season. The park is located near Momojidani Station, the base station of the Miyajima Ropeway.

5. Enjoy a Tea Ceremony

If you’d like to do something cultural on your trip, then you may be interested in putting on a kimono and experiencing a tea ceremony on Miyajima Island. Klook, Get Your Guide, and byFood offer cultural experiences that allows guests to partake in an informal tea ceremony while learning calligraphy and enjoying traditional Japanese confections called wagashi.

DAY TRIPS FROM HIROSHIMA

1. Motonosumi Inari Shrine

Motonosumi Inari Shrine is a Shinto shrine famous for its spectacular series of bright red torii gates. Located in Yamaguchi prefecture, 123 torii gates are aligned like a tunnel and lead visitors towards a cliff facing the Sea of Japan. If you want striking Instagram photos in Japan, then this is a great place to visit on a day trip.

Motonosumi Inari Shrine isn’t near any major towns and is three hours away from Hiroshima, so it may be best to go on an organized tour. Klook offers a guided tour that takes you to both Motonosumi Inari Shrine and Tsunoshima Bridge. If you have an international driver’s license, then another option would be to rent a car and drive there yourself.

Photo by journeykei via Shutterstock

Travel Time: Around 3-3.5 hrs by car

2. Tsunoshima Bridge

Located less than an hour’s drive from Motonosumi Inari Shrine is Tsunoshima Bridge, the second longest bridge in Japan. Measuring 1,780 meters (5,840 ft) in length, it connects the mainland with Tsunoshima Island via a scenic drive with clear views of the ocean on either side.

Like Motonosumi Inari Shrine, Tsunoshima Bridge is a bit difficult to get to using public transportation so it may be best to go on an organized tour or renting a car. As described, Klook offers a tour that combines Tsunoshima Bridge with Motonosumi Inari Shrine.

Photo by Samuel Yeo via Shutterstock

Travel Time: Around 3-3.5 hrs by car

3. Sandankyo Gorge

If hiking on Miyajima Island isn’t enough to satisfy your craving for nature, then you may be interested in going on a day tour to Sandankyo Gorge. Located about 1.5 hours northwest of Hiroshima, it features lush greenery and waterfalls and offers plenty of trekking and canoeing opportunities for nature seekers in Hiroshima.

Sandankyo Gorge is closer to the city than the previous two destinations, but buses from Hiroshima Bus Center are limited (click here for a schedule). If you’d rather not worry about catching the bus, then you may be interested in booking a tour or renting a car instead.

“三段峡” by kagawa_ymg, used under CC BY 2.0 / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

Travel Time: Around 1.5 hrs

JAPANESE FOOD GUIDE

If I had to eat just one cuisine for the rest of my life, then it would definitely be Japanese. It’s my absolute favorite cuisine in the world and a big reason why we enjoy visiting this country so much.

If you enjoy Japanese food as much as we do, then be sure to check out our Japanese food guide and Japanese dessert guide for a list of the best and most interesting dishes to try in Japan.

WHERE TO EAT IN HIROSHIMA

As described, Hiroshima is a favorite destination for food among the Japanese. Okonomiyaki, oysters, and anago meshi are three of the best dishes you can have in Hiroshima. Listed below are three great places to try them but be sure to check out our Hiroshima and Miyajima food guide for more recommendations.

HIROSHIMA CITY

1. Nagata-ya

Like Osaka, the one dish that Hiroshima is best known for is okonomiyaki. If you’ve never had it, it’s a Japanese savory-sweet pancake made with wheat flour batter mixed with eggs, grated yam, shredded cabbage, and a host of supplemental ingredients.

Osaka and Hiroshima okonomiyaki are slightly different versions of the same dish. Both are delicious but for me, Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is better than Osaka’s version. You can read our Hiroshima food guide to learn about the differences between the two.

Located near Hiroshima Peace Park, Nagata-ya is a popular restaurant known for being one of the best places to try okonomiyaki in Hiroshima.

2. Tsuki Akari

Okonomiyaki and oysters may be more well-known to foreigners but some locals believe that anago meshi is the best regional dish in Hiroshima. It refers to a dish of broiled conger eel served over a bed of rice.

If you like unagi donburi, then you’re probably going to enjoy anago meshi. They’re very similar dishes except unagi donburi is made with freshwater eel while anago meshi is made with saltwater or conger eel. They’re similar in taste and texture but anago is less sweet.

Located just a few doors down from Nagata-ya, Tsuki Akari is a good place to try anago meshi in central Hiroshima.

MIYAJIMA ISLAND

3. Kakiya

You can find oysters everywhere in Hiroshima, but the best are said to come from Miyajima Island. Oysters have been cultivated in Hiroshima Bay for nearly 500 years so it only makes sense that the freshest oysters can be found on Miyajima.

My search for the best oysters in Hiroshima led me to Kakiya and this incredible Kakiya oyster set. On the tray are deep-fried breaded oysters, grilled oysters, smoked oysters, oyster miso soup, pickled oysters, and kaki meshi. My god was this good.

POINTS OF INTEREST IN HIROSHIMA & MIYAJIMA

To make it easier for you to visualize where everything is, I’ve pinned most of the places recommended in this Hiroshima travel guide on a map. Click on the link for a live version of the map.

HOW TO GET AROUND IN HIROSHIMA

Hiroshima has the largest network of trams in Japan, with eight lines giving you easy access to many of the city’s top tourist attractions. In fact, I took a tram all the way to Miyajimaguchi where I hopped on a ferry to get to Miyajima Island.

Many of Hiroshima’s top tourist attractions are located within a relatively compact area so it’s easy to get around by tram or on foot. The fare for a single tram ride within central Hiroshima is JPY 190. If it’s a nice day and you’d prefer to walk, which is what I did most of the time, then you can use the Google Maps app (iOS / Android) to navigate.

If you’d like to get a transportation card in Hiroshima, then there are a few you can choose from:

1-Day Pass

For JPY 700, the 1-day pass will give you unlimited rides on Hiroshima’s tram network for one calendar day. For an additional JPY 200, you’ll also get a roundtrip ferry ride to Miyajima Island on the Matsudai ferry. If you’re visiting Miyajima, then this is definitely worth it because roundtrip tram and ferry tickets from Hiroshima Station to Miyajima Island alone will run you JPY 1,200.

On top of that, either version of the 1-day pass will entitle you to a discount on the Miyajima Ropeway so you’ll wind up paying JPY 1,500 instead of the usual JPY 2,000 for a roundtrip cable car ticket. You can purchase the 1-day pass on the trams or at the Hiroshima Station information desk.

Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Buses

If you have a Japan Rail Pass or a participating regional JR Pass, then you can use it for unlimited rides on Hiroshima’s Sightseeing Loop Buses. They’re a network of tourist buses that ply three set routes around the major tourist attractions in central Hiroshima.

If you don’t have a rail pass, then you can purchase a 1-day pass for JPY 400. Otherwise, it costs JPY 200 per ride. You can purchase the 1-day pass on the bus or at the bus ticket counter near the JR Hiroshima Station shinkansen exit.

Visit Hiroshima Tourist Pass

The Visit Hiroshima Tourist Pass will give you unlimited rides on trams, buses, and Miyajima ferries for 1, 2, or 3 consecutive days. It costs JPY 1,000, JPY 1,500, and JPY 2,000 respectively and can be purchased in advance through Klook. People who buy the pass will receive a voucher book with discount coupons to various restaurants and tourist facilities in Hiroshima.

IC Cards

If you already have one of the ten major IC Cards like the Suica, Pasmo, or Icoca, then you can use it towards tram, ferry, or public bus fares in Hiroshima. I had the Suica IC Card from Tokyo and I was able to use it without any problems in Hiroshima.

If you’re unfamiliar with Japan’s IC Cards, they’re stored value cards similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus Card or Seoul’s T-money Card. They don’t give you discounts on fares but they do save you from the trouble of having to buy single journey tickets every time. Plus, you can use them to pay for items at convenience stores. I rarely have a need for 1-day passes so IC Cards are my preferred transport cards in Japan.

Hiroshima has a local version called the Paspy IC Card which can be used to pay for tram and bus fares in Hiroshima. However, it can’t be used in other cities so you’re better off getting one of the ten major IC Cards if you plan on doing a multi-city tour of Japan.

HOW MANY DAYS TO STAY / HIROSHIMA ITINERARY

Two full days should be enough time to see Hiroshima’s top tourist attractions – one day for central Hiroshima and another for Miyajima Island. Here’s a sample 2D/2N Hiroshima itinerary to help you plan your trip.

DAY ONE (Central Hiroshima)
• Atomic Bomb Dome
• Hiroshima Peace Park
• Hiroshima Peace Museum
• Hiroshima Castle
• Shukkei-en Garden
DAY TWO (Miyajima Island)
• Itsukushima Shrine
• Toyokuni Shrine
• Momijidani Park
• Miyajima Ropeway
• Hike down Mt. Misen
• Daishoin Temple
• Tahoto Pagoda

HIROSHIMA TRAVEL TIPS

1. Plan your Trip with Sygic Travel

If you enjoy travel planning like I do, then you’re going to love Sygic Travel. It’s a free trip planning app that allows you to create custom itineraries to different destinations around the world. I discovered Sygic Travel many years ago, back when it was called Tripomatic, and I still use it to create every itinerary. You can download it for free on iOS and Android.

2. Stay Connected

Being able to connect to the internet when traveling is a must, especially when you’re in a country with a significant language barrier like Japan. You’ll need it to navigate, to translate signs, and to make sense of the highly efficient but equally confusing rail system.

You can get access to the internet in Japan by renting a pocket wifi device or buying a sim card. Personally, we prefer pocket wifi devices because they’re more foolproof but either is fine. You can arrange for either in advance through Klook (pocket wifi | sim card) or Get Your Guide.

3. Bookmark Hyperdia or Get the App on your Mobile Device

I can’t stress enough just how helpful Hyperdia is when making sense of Japan’s railway system. Not only will it give you precise train arrival and departure times, but it’ll tell you exactly how to go from one station to the next so you don’t get lost. It makes commuting so much easier so be sure to download the app or bookmark the website on your mobile device.

WEBSITE: hyperdia.com

4. Check for Hiroshima Travel Deals

There are many websites that offer tours and travel deals to different cities around the world. For Japan, my favorites are Klook, Get Your Guide, byFood, and Magical Trip. They’re all reliable sites that offer many interesting tours and activities in Japan. Be sure to check all four sites to find Hiroshima travel deals that may interest you. Even if I don’t buy anything, it’s always fun to look just to see what’s available.

5. Get Travel Insurance

When we were younger, we rarely bought travel insurance before a trip. We saw it as a frivolous expense, something that we didn’t need. But now that we’re older and travel more often and longer, we understand just how important it is.

The fact is, you never know what can happen on a trip. You can get hurt walking down a flight of steps so it’s good to have a travel insurance policy to cushion the fall. Chances are, all goes well and you won’t need to use your policy which is the best-case scenario. But again, you never know.

We always get travel insurance from SafetyWing or Heymondo. They’re popular travel insurance providers used by many long-term travelers. You can follow the links to get a free quote from SafetyWing or Heymondo. Will Fly for Food readers get 5% off on Heymondo when using our link.

7. Bring the Right Power Adapter

Japan has Type A or Type B electrical outlets so be sure to bring the right power adapters for your devices. Electrical voltage is 100V and the standard frequency is 50/60Hz.

8. Learn Basic Japanese Etiquette

Japan is a country with many unwritten rules. Courtesy and etiquette are of the utmost importance so I suggest going over this overview on Japanese etiquette for tourists before your trip.

Have Fun!

I’m definitely not an expert on Hiroshima but I do hope that you find this guide useful. I’m only sharing the things I’ve learned from my many trips to Japan. If you have any questions or suggestions, then feel free to let us know in the comment section below. You’re welcome to join our Facebook Travel Group as well.

Thanks for stopping by and have an amazing time in Hiroshima!

OUR GEAR

These are some of the things I brought with me to Hiroshima. See what’s in our backpack for a complete list of our travel gear. (NOTE: The following links are Amazon and other affiliate links.)

Canon G7X Mark III
LEVEL8 Luggage
PowerCube
Power Bank

Disclosure

This Hiroshima travel guide contains affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking or purchase at no extra cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. Thank you so much!

Food in the Netherlands: 12 Traditional Dishes to Look Out For

EDITOR’S NOTE: Traveleater Simone van den Berg of Paper Travels shares 12 traditional Dutch food favorites that you need to try in her home country of the Netherlands. Check out her website for authentic Dutch recipes.

Having grown up in the Netherlands (or Holland as it is also called) I always considered Dutch cuisine something that didn’t exist. Sure we had some typical Dutch foods like mashed potatoes with kale or endive. But that was as far as it went. Or so I thought.

It’s only recently that I’ve been looking into the local kitchen in my own home country a bit more closely. And we actually have quite a few typical Dutch treats. Apart from the usual that everyone here knows such as ‘andijviestamppot’ and ‘boerenkoolstamppot there are regional differences as well. Considering we’re such a small country I hadn’t expected that.

Today I’m sharing some local Dutch dishes and snacks which you might find if you visit the Netherlands. And a small word of warning too as some of the dishes we consider typical Dutch can actually originate in another country.

DUTCH FOOD QUICK LINKS

If you’re planning a trip to the Netherlands and want to really dig into the cuisine, then you may be interested in going on a food tour.

TOURS

  • Food Tours: Food and Wine/Drinking Tours in the Netherlands

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No time to read this Dutch food guide now? Click on the save button and pin it for later!

MUST-TRY FOOD IN THE NETHERLANDS

1. Oliebollen

I’ll start with my personal favorite. Oliebollen, which you can loosely translate as “Oilballs” (which doesn’t sound very appealing though) are made of flour, yeast, raisins and some dried fruits although there are variances in the recipes used.

Every year at New Year’s (which we call oud- en nieuw) everyone bakes oliebollen or they buy them as you will find special street vendors setting up around New Year’s selling both oliebollen and appelflappen. They’re light and fluffy and you eat them with lots of icing sugar.

After New Years the oliebollen disappear from the scene only to show up again the next year. Which is probably a good thing and what makes them extra special.

2. Appeltaart

Appeltaart or apple-pie as you probably know it is one of those dishes that are considered Dutch but really aren’t. Where the origin from the apple pie comes from is a matter of debate. Most likely it originally came from the UK. But we made it part of our own culture.

Coffee and apple pie is THE thing to have when you’re visiting the Netherlands. And make sure to add some cream to it as well. The most famous Dutch apple pie you can find in the area of Rotterdam in Dudok.

3. Bitterballen

Another famous Dutch snack is bitterballen which are essentially round balls which are made of a – usually meat based – filling that resembles ragout most but is firmer. The filling is then rolled through breadcrumbs and fried. It’s served with mustard and you’ll be able to find it in virtually every café in the Netherlands.

4. Appelflappen

As a kid I grew up with parents that didn’t like to cook. Even when I was little, I was always the one that had to bake the apple pies for every birthday as my mother just couldn’t. But the exception to the rule was definitely New Year’s.

I already told you about the oliebollen that we make but another one is appelflappen. I’m trying to think of a way to describe them but it’s essentially apple slices, dipped in batter and deep fried. And served – of course – with lots of icing sugar.

It was one of the only Dutch dishes my parents always made. In fact, my dad always made huge buckets full of them to hand out to the rest of the family. So good.

Photo by Sandra Van Der Steen via Dreamstime

5. Arnhemse Meisjes

From the city of Arnhem we have cookies which are called Arnhemse meisjes (girls from Arnhem). This cookie originates from a bakery in Arnhem that made this – now famous – cookie in 1829 for the birth of his daughter.

The cookies were originally made with yeasted dough and sprinkled with lots of sugar. I have an easy recipe for Arnhemse meisjes you can make at home using puff pastry.

6. Arretje Nof

Arretje nof is most easily compared to something like rocky road. Although slightly different.

The story of how ‘arretje nof’ was first invented goes back to an oil factory that produced fat for frying. They invented a cartoon to promote the factory and the name of that cartoon was ‘arretje’.

It’s also sometimes called refridgeratorcake as you don’t bake anything. The ingredients are super simple: chocolate, butter and cookies. Not what you’d call lightweight but so delicious!

7. Boterkoek

Boterkoek is another typical Dutch sweet treat. Translated it would be called ‘butter cookie’ although it is not the size of a regular cookie. It’s more the size of a pie.

The ingredients are loads of butter, sugar, egg and flour. There is so much butter in it that you have to wait after baking for it to set again as it will feel a bit liquid. But it is so so good!

Photo by ajafoto via Deposit Photos

8. Bossche Bol

Another Dutch food favorite and this one comes from the city of ‘s Hertogenbosch or Den Bosch as we also call it. It’s a fist size choux pastry dome, filled with whipping cream and dipped in chocolate. Now does it make you drool already?

The best version of this Dutch pastry you will find – of course – in Den Bosch at the bakery of Jan de Groot. It’s pretty famous so on most days you will find long lines in front of the bakery and especially now with corona. They guarantee there will be fresh Bossche Bollen available until 4 pm. Any later and you might be out of luck.

9. Erwtensoep

You love it or you hate it. Erwtensoep or peasoup is made from split peas or at least the traditional Dutch version is. It’s so thick it looks more like porridge than a soup. My mom always said you had to be able to have a spoon stand up in the middle of the soup. Than it was how it is supposed to be.

Traditionally this Dutch soup is made of ingredients that you can keep for a long time and mostly served in the wintertime. Except for the split peas you’ll find celeriac, leeks, carrots and onions in there as well as cheap cuts of pork such as the leg, pork chops and – my favorite – rookworst. (see below) Erwtensoep is also called snert and is usually served with rye bread and bacon.

10. Hete Bliksem

This Dutch dish has the funny name of Hot Lightning. It’s a mash like we have so many here, but while most mashes are made with potatoes and some kind of vegetable it’s slightly different here.

Hete bliksem is made with one part potato and two parts apples. And that is also where the name comes from. It looks rather innocent but the apple stays hot much longer than any kind of vegetable, so it is easy to burn your mouth. Hence the name hot lightning. I loved this dish as a kid and ate it with a slice of fried cheese. So good!

11. Rookworst

A rookworst is a smoked sausage. Now of course you can find smoked sausages around the world but not the same as our rookworst. I’ve never seen anything like it in any other country.

When my German friends come over it’s the first thing they want to do; go to the Hema and buy a rookworst. The Hema is the store that sells the most famous version of this smoked sausage in the Netherlands. And we eat the sausage preferably in the erwtensoep or with anything mashed.

Photo by sara_winter via Deposit Photos

12. Stroopwafel

And finally, one of the most famous Dutch foods around the world. I’ve been to many countries where people somehow knew or had heard of those stroopwafels (syrup waffles) and with good reason as they are so good!

It’s made of a very thin waffle with sticky syrup in the middle. If you want to try one go to a market and buy one that is freshly made in front of you. The waffle will be crunchy and hot and the syrup juicy and sticky. You’ll love it!

You can also buy it in any supermarket, but the best are the ones freshly made.

DUTCH FOOD TOURS

No one knows Dutch food better than a local, so what better way to experience the cuisine than by going on a food tour? If you’re visiting the Netherlands, then check out Get Your Guide for a list of food and drinking tours in Amsterdam and in other cities throughout the country.

FINAL THOUGHTS

by JB & Renée

We haven’t visited Amsterdam and Holland but it’s on our bucket list. Before reading this article, I knew very little about food in the Netherlands. We love stroopwafels and Dutch apple pie but seeing Simone’s beautiful pictures and reading about her memories of these twelve traditional Dutch foods makes us want to go and experience more.

If you’re planning a visit to the Netherlands, then I hope this article whets your appetite for Dutch cuisine as much as it did with us. When we finally go, I know exactly what we’ll do first – we’re going straight to the Hema and getting a rookworst, and then following it up with a bossche bol. They look and sound so delicious!

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Photos by Simone van den Berg

Portuguese Food: 25 Must-Try Dishes in Lisbon and Porto

How much do you know about Portuguese food?

We had been planning on eating our way through Portugal for many years but to be honest, outside of pastel de nata, bacalhau, and port wine, we really didn’t know that much about Portuguese cuisine.

Compared to Spanish cuisine which we’re very familiar with, traditional Portuguese food was largely a mystery to us. But we had heard many good things about it over the years – from friends, acquaintances, social media, and television shows – inevitably putting a trip to Portugal high on our list of priorities.

When it came time for us to finally visit Lisbon and Porto, we started devouring Portuguese travel food shows and the more we watched, the more determined we became to find the best food in Portugal.

What we learned was interesting. Portuguese dishes like tripas, cozido, and arroz de sarrabulho told us that a lot of Portuguese food was rustic and hearty fare, the kind of food that we ourselves grew up eating and enjoyed. Perhaps Portuguese food wouldn’t be so unfamiliar after all.

If you’re visiting Porto or Lisbon and wondering what to eat in Portugal, then this article will lead you to 25 of the best Portuguese dishes in the country.

PORTUGUESE FOOD QUICK LINKS

If you’re planning a trip to Portugal and want to really dig into the cuisine, then you may be interested in going on a food tour or taking a Portuguese cooking class.

TOURS

  • Food Tours: Food and Wine/Drinking Tours in Portugal
  • Portuguese Cooking Classes: Cooking Classes in Portugal

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WHAT IS TRADITIONAL PORTUGUESE FOOD?

As described, hearty Portuguese dishes made with meat, seafood, legumes, and vegetables favor heavily in the local cuisine. It’s a Mediterranean-based cuisine that makes use of a wide variety of spices, many of which came from Portugal’s former colonies.

Some of the more prominent spices used in Portuguese cuisine include piri-piri, paprika, clove, allspice, and cumin. Garlic and onions are also widely used as are herbs like bay leaf, oregano, rosemary, and coriander. I was surprised to read that Portugal is the only European country that uses cilantro as a fresh herb, but this has since been contested by a couple readers of this blog.

Olive oil is used as a base in many Portuguese dishes, either for cooking or for flavoring meals. Bread is a staple at the Portuguese dinner table while wine is the traditional Portuguese drink.

According to the Taste Porto website, if you were to represent Portuguese food with just one dish, then that dish would have to be cozido a portuguesa. It’s a type of Portuguese boiled meal made with a wide variety of meats, smoked sausages, vegetables, and spices.

THE BEST PORTUGUESE DISHES

To help organize this guide, I’ve arranged the Portuguese dishes by category. Click on a link to jump to any section.

  1. Soups / Sides
  2. Sandwiches
  3. Seafood
  4. Meats
  5. Desserts / Drinks
  6. Portuguese Food Tours
  7. Portuguese Cooking Classes

PORTUGUESE SOUPS / SIDES

1. Caldo Verde

Caldo verde is one of the most popular soups in Portuguese cuisine. It originated from the Minho province in northern Portugal but is now consumed throughout the country.

Caldo verde is traditionally made with potatoes, chorizo (or linguica), kale (or other leafy greens like collard greens), and olive oil and is often served with broa for dipping in the soup. Broa is a type of corn and rye bread traditionally made in Portugal.

Caldo verde is an important dish in Portuguese culture and commonly served at gatherings to celebrate events like birthdays and weddings.

“Caldo Verde” by Michael, used under CC BY 2.0 / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

2. Açorda

Açorda is a Portuguese soup/stew made with bread soaked in broth, coriander, garlic, olive oil, and a poached egg. It can be made with other ingredients as well like bacalhau or shrimp.

There are two basic types of açorda in Portugal – Lisbon açorda and Alentejo açorda. The former is made with papo seco bread while the latter is made with leftover sopas (local Alentejano bread). If I understand correctly, this classic Portuguese soup is originally from the Alentejo region but like caldo verde, it’s become one of the most popular soups in Portugal. It’s a hearty and filling soup that’s almost a meal in itself.

We had this tasty bowl of açorda a alentejana with glasses of vinho verde (Portuguese wine from Minho province) at the popular Casa da India restaurant in Lisbon.

3. Torricado

Torricado refers to a Portuguese regional dish of charcoal-toasted bread from the Ribatejo province in central Portugal. Slices of bread are toasted over charcoal and soaked in olive oil before being brushed with garlic and salt.

Torricado can be served on its own, mainly as a side dish, but it can also be topped with any number of ingredients like bacalhau, sardines, and pork.

It started off as rural worker food, as an inexpensive and easy way for laborers to have lunch while working in the fields. Today, it’s usually served at family and social gatherings.

I had these fancier versions of Portuguese torricado at the lovely Taberna Folias de Baco restaurant in Porto.

4. Croquettes

Croquettes are a popular snack or side dish and one of the best things you can eat in Portugal. Portuguese croquettes can be filled with any number of ingredients but the most traditional version is the croquete de carne or Portuguese beef croquette.

Pictured below are the Portuguese croquettes I had at the popular Time Out Market in Lisbon. The croquette on the left is made with beef and pork while the one on the right is made with cuttlefish cooked in its own ink.

This is what the inside of a Portuguese croquete de carne looks like. The meat has a shredded consistency, like ragout. Another must-try Portuguese croquette is pastéis de bacalhau or salt cod fritters.

PORTUGUESE SANDWICHES

5. Francesinha

If you were to have just one dish in Porto, then it should definitely be the francesinha. It’s arguably the most important dish in Porto regional cuisine.

A francesinha is a sauce-covered Portuguese sandwich made with bread, linguica (Portuguese sausage), ham, and steak or roast beef. It’s covered with melted cheese and topped with a fried egg before being drenched in a thick beer and tomato sauce. If that doesn’t sound filling enough, it’s typically served with a generous helping of french fries.

The word francesinha literally means “little French woman” or “frenchie” in Portuguese. It was inspired by the French croque-monsieur and adapted to the Portuguese palate. Today, it’s a dish that’s become synonymous with Porto.

The francesinha is such an important Porto dish that everyone has an opinion on who serves the best. Check out our Porto food guide for suggestions on where to try this monster of a sandwich in Porto.

6. Cachorrinhos

The cachorrinho is like a type of Portuguese hot dog, but much better. It’s essentially a Portuguese sandwich made with crusty bread, sausage, and cheese brushed with a spicy sauce.

As you can see below, the cachorrinho is sliced into bite-sized pieces for easy eating. It’s delicious and goes amazingly well with ice-cold Portuguese beer.

We had these cachorrinhos at the popular Gazela Cachorrinhos da Batalha in Porto. They’ve been making cachorrinhos for over fifty years and sell over 300 of these tasty Portuguese sandwiches a day.

7. Prego

Prego is one of my favorite Portuguese dishes. It’s a type of Portuguese sandwich made with grilled beef brushed with a garlicky marinade and served in a crusty papo seco or Portuguese bread roll.

Depending on the restaurant, prego can be topped with additional ingredients but the traditional version made with just grilled beef and garlic marinade is the best. It’s absolutely delicious and in my opinion, one of the best things you can eat in Portugal.

Interestingly, prego in Portuguese means “nail”. It’s in reference to how garlic flavor is hammered into the beef. Chopped garlic is placed on top of the beef and “nailed” into the meat using a tenderizing mallet.

Oddly enough, the prego is enjoyed as much for “dessert” as it is as a snack. As strange as that sounds, it’s often the last thing Portuguese people eat after eating seafood at a cervejaria. Reasons are unclear but some believe it’s to help fill up after an expensive but less filling seafood meal.

I had this fantastic prego sandwich at Pregar in Porto. Check out how thick and juicy that steak looks! They serve it with their own housemade mustard.

8. Bifana

Like the prego, the bifana is one of the most popular sandwiches in Portugal. It’s also made on a papo seco bread roll but instead of grilled beef, it’s made with thinly-sliced marinated pork cutlets.

At its most basic, traditional bifana sandwiches are made with pork, garlic, paprika, and white wine but everyone has their own spin on this classic Portuguese dish. Some Portuguese restaurants will serve it topped with additional ingredients like tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, cheese, and a fried egg.

Bifana pork sandwiches can be enjoyed anywhere in Portugal, though many locals will say that the best bifana comes from Lisbon. It’s believed to have originated from the town of Vendas Novas in the Alentejo region.

The bifana is such a popular Portuguese sandwich that local McDonald’s serve their own version called, you guessed it, the McBifana.

“Delicious Bifana Sandwich, As Bifana do Afonso” by Sonse, used under CC BY 2.0 / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

PORTUGUESE SEAFOOD DISHES

9. Bacalhau

Together with pastel de nata, bacalhau is perhaps the most well-known dish in Portuguese cuisine. It’s a Portuguese national dish and far and away the most commonly eaten type of fish in Portugal.

Bacalhau is the Portuguese word for cod, but in a culinary context, it refers specifically to dried and salted cod. It’s been produced for over 500 years as a means of preserving cod before the invention of refrigeration. Drying and salting the cod not only preserves its nutrients, but it also enhances its flavor.

Bacalhau is a key part of the Portuguese culinary heritage. It’s often present at social gatherings and in some parts of Portugal, it’s served as part of the traditional Christmas Eve meal. It’s become popular in other Roman Catholic countries as well as a Lenten dish.

It’s said that there are over a thousand recipes for bacalhau in Portugal. Among the dishes I’ve tried, my personal favorite is bacalhau a bras. I enjoyed the one below with some vinho verde (Portuguese wine) at the Miguel Castro e Silva stall at Lisbon’s Time Out Market.

Bacalhau a bras refers to a Portuguese dish made with shreds of salt cod, onions, and hand-cut french fries cooked with scrambled eggs. It’s creamy and delicious and one of the best Portuguese dishes we had on our trip.

10. Polvo a Lagareiro

Portugal is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean so it’s only natural for seafood to figure prominently in the Portuguese diet. Aside from bacalhau and cataplana de marisco, one of the most popular Portuguese seafood dishes is polvo a lagareiro.

This Portuguese seafood dish is made with boiled and roasted octopus served with “punched potatoes”, coriander, garlic, and a generous amount of olive oil.

“Punched potatoes” is the literal translation of batatas a murro which refers to how the potatoes are lightly crushed open to allow the seasonings to seep through.

Polvo à lagareiro literally means “octopus in the lagareiro-style” and is a variation of the more common recipe bacalhau a lagareiro made with salt cod.

“Polvo à Lagareiro” by Scott Dexter, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

11. Sardinhas Assadas

Along with bacalhau and octopus, another popular seafood in Portugal is the humble sardine. It’s used in many traditional Portuguese dishes, none more popular perhaps than sardinhas assadas.

Sardinhas assadas refers to a simple but comforting dish of freshly grilled sardines that originated in the Lisbon and Vale do Tejo regions. Sardines are roasted whole over an open fire and seasoned with coarse sea salt. It’s a popular summertime festival food in Portugal that’s best enjoyed from June till August.

Grilled sardines have been celebrated in Portuguese festivals for centuries, the most notable event being the annual Feast of St. Anthony or the Sardine Festival in Lisbon. For two days in June, the streets of Lisbon are imbued with the heavenly smells of freshly grilled sardines.

Photo by Yulia Grigoryeva via Shutterstock

12. Ameijoas a Bulhao Pato

Ameijoas a bulhao pato refers to a dish of clams made with olive oil, white wine, garlic, bay leaves, and cilantro. It’s a Lisbon food favorite often enjoyed as an appetizer with bread at many Portuguese seafood restaurants in the capital.

Ameijoas a bulhao pato is named after 19th-century Lisbon poet Raimundo Antonio de Bulhao Pato, a well-known Portuguese gastronomist who often mentioned the dish in his writings.

13. Arroz de Tamboril

Arroz de tamboril refers to Portuguese monkfish stew with rice. It’s a classic Portuguese dish made with monkfish and rice and a host of other ingredients like tomato sauce, bell pepper, onion, garlic, chili, and coriander.

Monkfish is delicious. It’s a type of anglerfish found in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. It isn’t the prettiest fish to look at but what it lacks in good looks it more than makes up for in its superb taste and texture. Monkfish flesh is firm and meaty and closer in texture to lobster than to most fish. I loved it.

We had this delicious arroz de tamboril with a bottle of vinho verde (Portuguese wine) at the beautiful and unique Ponto Final restaurant in Almada.

14. Sapateira Recheada

If you like crab, then you’re going to love sapateira recheada. It refers to a Lisbon food favorite of stone crab stuffed with a mixture of crab meat and roe, shallots, egg, capers, beer, mayonnaise, mustard, and paprika.

The mixture is served in the crab shell together with the boiled crab legs and claws. To eat, you spoon the creamy mixture onto crackers or soft rolls of Portuguese bread. It’s so unbelievably good.

We had this sapateira recheada at the legendary Cervejaria Ramiro restaurant in Lisbon. It was absolutely delicious and one of the best dishes we had in Portugal.

15. Percebes

Percebes was one of the dishes I was most excited to try in Lisbon. It refers to a seafood dish of boiled gooseneck barnacles also known as “Lucifer’s Fingers”.

Percebes gets its devilish nickname from its appearance and the fact that these barnacles are notoriously difficult to harvest. They grow on craggy rocks in the ocean’s intertidal zone where crashing waves feed them a steady diet of plankton. They’re impossible to farm so percebes divers have to venture into these treacherous waters to harvest them.

Percebes may be difficult to harvest but they’re easy to prepare. They’re boiled in seawater and served as is. To eat, you squeeze the bottom so the flesh pops out from the top. They taste like the ocean and have a meaty texture similar to sea snails, but firmer.

Percebes are common in Vila do Bispo in southern Portugal and Santiago de Compostela in Spain, but they’re readily available at many seafood restaurants in Lisbon. We had them a few times in Portugal and Spain but the best were these huge specimens from Cervejaria Ramiro.

16. Conservas

Conservas refers to different types of canned seafood popular in Portugal and Spain. It’s an iconic part of the Portuguese culinary heritage and perhaps the best souvenir food item you can bring back from Portugal.

Various types of seafood like cod, mussels, octopus, squid, and razor clams are canned as a means of food preparation and conservation. Like any canned food, seafood is first lightly steamed or fried before being canned in boiling water baths.

Where the Iberian method for canning seafood shines is in its liquido de cobertura. This is the liquid added to the can to protect the seafood from drying out. Depending on the seafood, different approaches are employed to highlight its flavor and texture.

Packaged in brightly decorated tins, Portuguese canned seafood is considered a delicacy and can be found at shops dedicated to conservas. These tins were from one of Lisbon’s most famous conserva shops – Conserveira de Lisboa.

These are relatively plain but some conservas come in the most intricately decorated tins. They’re stunning and make for great gifts or Portuguese souvenirs.

Pictured below is a tin of pota de caldeirada or Portuguese squid stew. It was incredible with vinho verde (Portuguese wine) and tasted so much better than how you’d expect canned seafood to taste.

I read that the best Portuguese conserva makers can their seafood no later than the day after it was caught. This is to preserve the seafood’s freshness and flavor for as long as possible.

PORTUGUESE MEAT DISHES

17. Alheira

Alheira refers to a type of Portuguese smoked sausage made with bread and different types of meat like pork, chicken, duck, or veal. It gets its name from alho, meaning garlic, though not all present-day alheiras are made with garlic.

Interestingly, alheiras were invented in the late 15th century by Portuguese Jews who were given a choice to either convert to Christianity or be expelled from Portugal. “Converts” who secretly retained their beliefs continued to abstain from eating pork.

At the time, it was customary for people to hang sausages traditionally made with pork in their fumeiros or smokehouses. To avoid suspicion, Portuguese Jews started making sausages with other meats like poultry and game which they mixed with bread for texture.

Alheiras were traditionally grilled or roasted and served with boiled vegetables but these days, you’ll often find them served with french fries and a fried egg. I had these tasty alheiras at Taberna Folias de Baco in Porto.

18. Porco Preto

Porco preto refers to the Iberian black pig. If you’re familiar with Spanish cuisine, then you may know them as Iberico pigs. Porco preto refers to the same breed of Iberian black pig that produces one of the best and most expensive types of cured ham in the world.

Many people know about Spanish jamon iberico but Portugal has the same black pigs that produce this sought-after ham. They roam freely in the oak forests of the Alentejo region and fatten up on a diet comprised almost entirely of acorns. This is what gives the dry-cured ham its signature taste.

Like jamon iberico de bellota, ham made from porco preto practically melts in your mouth. It’s intensely flavorful – smooth, rich, savory-sweet, and just a little bit nutty. Porco preto is absolutely delicious and something you need to try either in Portugal or in Spain.

Aside from the cuts used for ham and chorizos, porco preto is also used in many Portuguese dishes like cachacos, plumas de porco preto, and secretos.

19. Cozido à Portuguesa

As described, some locals feel that the cozido à portuguesa is the one dish that best represents Portuguese cuisine. One look and it’s easy to see why.

Cozido refers to a classic Portuguese boiled meal. Cozido à portuguesa is a type of cozido made with a plethora of meats (chicken, pork, beef), smoked sausages (chourico, morcela), vegetables (cabbage, beans, potatoes), and other ingredients. Traditionally, most of the flavor comes from the boiled meats and vegetables but some recipes may include red pepper paste, white pepper, and cinnamon.

As you can tell from the picture below, cozido à portuguesa is a substantial Portuguese meal. Like tripas and arroz de tamboril, it’s hearty and rustic food that’s meant to be shared, which pretty much describes what traditional Portuguese food is like.

Uxbona / CC BY-SA / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

20. Tripas a Moda do Porto

Tripas a moda do Porto refers to a type of Portuguese tripe stew specific to Porto. Like cozido à portuguesa, it’s made with a multitude of meats like tripe, sausages (including blood sausage), ham, veal shank, and chicken. The meats are stewed in a pot with white navy beans and vegetables like carrots and onions.

Tripas a moda do porto is often described as a testament to the generosity of the people of Porto. According to legend, when Henry the Navigator was preparing his ships to conquer Ceuta in 1415, he asked the citizens of Porto to donate supplies to stock the Portuguese navy.

As the story goes, the people donated so much that they were left with little more than tripe. They then used the tripe to create the recipe for tripas a moda do Porto, which earned them the nickname tripeiros or “tripe eaters”.

Like caldo verde and cozido, tripas a moda do Porto is a hearty dish that does well in representing traditional Portuguese cuisine. Upon the recommendation of our Uber driver, we had it at the popular Restaurante Abadia do Porto.

21. Rojoes

Rojoes is a Portuguese pork dish that’s originally from the Minho region in northern Portugal. It consists of small chunks of lean pork marinated in a mixture of white wine, citrus juice, cumin, garlic, and bay leaf. It’s cooked on a stove and browned till tender.

Traditionally, rojoes is made with roasted chestnuts, blood cakes, tripe, pork liver, and boiled blood. It’s typically served with fried potatoes though it can be eaten with arroz de sarrabulho – a Portuguese dish made with rice served with some pork blood and bits of meat.

Upon the recommendation of our AirBnB host, we had this rojoes with other Portuguese dishes like caldo verde and arroz de tamboril at Adega Vila Mea in Porto.

22. Frango no Churrasco com Piri-Piri (Portuguese Piri-Piri Chicken)

Frango no churrasco com piri-piri – or piri-piri chicken for short – is one of the most popular Portuguese dishes. It refers to grilled butterflied chicken marinated in garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine, paprika, and piri-piri. You can find piri-piri chicken at Portuguese grill houses or churrasqueiras.

Grilled chicken has been a staple Portuguese dish for centuries but it wasn’t until the Age of Discovery (15th-17th centuries) that Portuguese explorers discovered the chili pepper known as piri-piri. They brought it back from coastal Africa and it’s now become a staple in many Portuguese recipes like piri-piri chicken.

Piri-piri comes from the African word for “pepper”. Also known as the “African Devil”, it’s a flavorful medium-hot pepper with a spice level similar to the cayenne pepper.

In the case of piri-piri chicken, just a small amount of the pepper is added to the marinade to give the dish its unique flavor.

“Piri-piri chicken” by Scott Dexter, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

PORTUGUESE DESSERTS / DRINKS

You’ve probably heard of pastéis de nata, but what other Portuguese desserts do you know? There’s no doubt you’ll be having many pastéis de nata custard tarts in Portugal, but be sure to check out our article on traditional Portuguese desserts for more sweets like arroz doce (Portuguese rice pudding), pão de deus (Portuguese sweet bread), and queijada (Portuguese cheese pastry).

23. Pastel de Nata

The pastel de nata or Portuguese egg tart is far and away the most famous pastry in Portugal. It’s popular in parts of Western Europe, Asia, and in the former Portuguese colonies of Macau and Brazil.

The pastel de nata refers to egg tarts invented in the 17th century by monks at the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon. At the time, egg whites were used to starch clothing which left the monks with a surplus of egg yolks to be used in cakes and pastries. One of the pastries they invented was the pastel de nata.

You can have pastel de nata anywhere in Portugal, but the most famous Portuguese custard tarts are from Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon. It’s home to the original Jeronimos Monastery recipe for these delicious egg tarts, a Portuguese recipe that’s remains unchanged even after 180 years.

We had pasteis de nata (plural for pastel de nata) at many pastelerias in Porto and Lisbon but Pasteis de Belem was one of the best. They make their egg tarts with an ultra crisp but delicate crust that’s different from the rest. The pastel de nata from the Manteigaria chain is excellent as well.

24. Ginjinha

Ginjinha (or ginja for short) is a sour cherry liqueur made by infusing with ginja berries in alcohol with sugar and other ingredients. It was invented in Lisbon and typically served in a small glass or an edible chocolate cup, often with a piece of cherry in the bottom.

You can find ginjinha everywhere in Lisbon. I got lost in the Alfama district one afternoon and came across a residential area with people selling homemade ginja outside their doors. It’s a delicious liqueur that’s great to have after a satisfying Portuguese meal.

We had these shots of ginjinha in chocolate cups at the Ginginha do Carmo shop near Rossio railway station.

25. Port Wine

Port wine – or simply port – is one of Portugal’s most famous exports. It refers to a Portuguese fortified wine produced exclusively from grapes grown in the Douro Valley in northern Portugal.

Port is made by adding brandy to the wine as it ferments, giving it its characteristic sweetness. It’s typically made from red grapes and served at the end of meals as a dessert wine, though some styles like white port can be served as an aperitif.

Port is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) wine, meaning it needs to be produced in Portugal from grapes grown in the Douro Valley to carry the “port” label.

Although port is produced in the Douro Valley, it gets its name from the city of Porto because this is where it’s aged in casks or vats before being blended, bottled, and exported.

Going port wine tasting is one of the best things you can do in Porto. I went to Taylor’s Port winery which is one of the oldest and largest wineries in Vila Nova de Gaia. They offer self-guided audio tours with two wine tastings at the end.

PORTUGUESE FOOD TOURS

No one knows Portuguese food better than a local so what better way to experience Portugal’s cuisine than by going on a food tour? It’s fun finding local Portuguese restaurants on your own but when you’re pressed for time, going on a food tour with a knowledgeable guide is one of the best and easiest ways to explore the local cuisine. Check out Get Your Guide for a list of food and drinking tours in Lisbon, Porto, and other cities throughout Portugal.

PORTUGUESE COOKING CLASSES

Aside from food tours, taking cooking classes is one of our favorite things to do on trips. The way I see it, it’s one of the best ways to learn about the local cuisine. Eating pastel de nata is one thing but learning how to make it is another. Handling the ingredients and learning the methods will give you a much better understanding of Portuguese food.

If you’re visiting Portugal and want to learn how to make Portuguese food, then check out Cookly for a list of cooking classes in Porto and Lisbon.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE FOOD IN PORTUGAL

We have a much better understanding of Portuguese food now but as always, we’re hardly experts. This list of 25 only begins to scratch the surface of what Portuguese cuisine has to offer. It’s something we intend to build upon and improve with each return visit to Portugal. Some interesting dishes we haven’t tried yet include peixinhos da horta (deep-fried Portuguese green beans) and cataplana de marisco (Portuguese seafood stew).

Being the large cosmopolitan cities that they are, Porto and Lisbon were the perfect places to become acquainted with Portuguese food. They provided choice, diversity, and convenience but based on what I’ve read, they may not offer the most authentic examples of Portuguese cuisine.

According to one local, Portuguese food in big cities tends to be “tourist adapted”. If you want the real thing, then you need to go as far away from the big cities as possible and head to the interior of the country.

Alentejo, Tras-os-montes, and Serra da Estrela seem to offer the best food in Portugal. In his words:

“I promise if you get a bite of real Portuguese food, made by people [who’ve been doing it for a living for 30 or more years], it will be nothing like you have ever tasted before.”

We look forward to it. Bom apetite!

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Nagoya Meshi: 8 Nagoya Food Favorites That Will Make You Say Oishi!

I knew very little about Nagoya before I got there. I knew about its Toyota and railway museums but I had no idea how good the food in Nagoya would be.

It wasn’t until I arrived in Kyoto and went on a food tour that I learned how prominent a food city Nagoya actually is. According to my tour guide Syouri, it’s one of three cities that the Japanese often visit when they travel for food, the other two being Fukuoka and Hiroshima.

In fact, so special is the food in Nagoya that they even have a specific term for it. They call it Nagoya meshi, which roughly translates to “Nagoya food” or “Nagoya cuisine”. It’s a way of acknowledging the city’s unique regional cuisine regarded as one of the best in Japan.

It’s funny, I didn’t know about its reputation as a food city but I remember being struck by how good the food in Nagoya was. The time I spent hopping between restaurants in Nagoya was one of the best eating experiences I’ve had so far in Japan.

FOOD IN NAGOYA QUICK LINKS

To help you plan your trip to Nagoya, we’ve compiled links to recommended hotels, tours, and other activities here.

HOTELS

Recommended hotels around Nagoya Station, the most convenient area to stay for first-time visitors to the city.

  • Luxury: The Tower Hotel Nagoya
  • Midrange: Hotel Vista Nagoya Nishiki
  • Budget: Choukou Hotel

TOURS

  • Food Tour: Private and Personalized Eat Like a Local Tour
  • Endoji Food Tour: Endoji Food tour and Japanese Lantern Making

OTHER SERVICES

  • Visa Services
  • Travel Insurance (with COVID cover)
  • Airport Transfers
  • Japan Rail Pass
  • Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass

NAGOYA TRAVEL GUIDE

If you’re planning a trip to Nagoya, then be sure to check out our detailed Nagoya travel guide. It’ll have all the information you need – like when to go, where to stay, what to do, etc. – to help you plan your trip.

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WHAT IS NAGOYA MESHI?

Nagoya meshi refers to the regional cuisine of Nagoya and its surrounding areas in central Japan. Its characterized by its use of local vegetables and ingredients and the melding of foreign influences such as Italian, Taiwanese, and mainland Chinese cuisines.

Among the ingredients that best define Nagoya cuisine are unagi (freshwater eel), Nagoya cochin (chicken), tamari (soy sauce), and mame miso. Of these ingredients, perhaps most important is mame miso.

Mame or red miso refers to the purest form of miso made only with soybeans. It undergoes a long fermentation process – at least two years – to produce a dark and intensely flavored miso. Hatcho miso is the most famous type of red miso and gives key Nagoya dishes like miso katsu, miso nikomi udon, and doteni their distinct flavor.

Miso is said to be so vital to Nagoya cuisine that Nagoya locals are jokingly accused of putting it on everything.

WHAT TO EAT IN NAGOYA

This isn’t a definitive list but described below are the most important local dishes in Nagoya cuisine, as well as recommendations on which Nagoya restaurants you can visit to try them.

It’s easy enough to try all these dishes on your own at Nagoya restaurants, but if you’d like to go with a guide, someone who can explain Nagoya meshi to you in more detail, then you may be interested in booking a Nagoya food tour.

1. Miso Katsu

Miso katsu is perhaps the one dish that best represents Nagoya cuisine. It refers to pork tonkatsu served with a thick sauce made with Hatcho miso.

Personally, I like tonkatsu but it isn’t a dish I’d look for all the time. But drench it in a rich thick miso sauce and it shoots up many spots on my list of favorite Japanese dishes.

Tonkatsu refers to a deep-fried breaded pork cutlet. Popular throughout Japan, it’s made with a 2-3 cm slice of pork loin or tenderloin coated with panko bread crumbs and deep-fried in oil. It’s typically served in a set meal with a sweet-savory tonkatsu sauce, rice, shredded cabbage, and pickled vegetables.

Miso katsu is a regional version of tonkatsu popular in Nagoya and Aichi prefecture. The deep-fried pork cutlet is the same but what makes it different is the sauce. Instead of being served with regular tonkatsu sauce made with the usual ingredients like soy sauce, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce, it’s main ingredient is Hatcho miso.

Pictured below is the delicious pair of cutlets I enjoyed at Yabaton, one of the best places to eat miso katsu in Nagoya. One was completely drenched in miso sauce while the other was more lightly sauced, to keep the cutlet crunchy.

Here’s a closer look at that soft and juicy pork cutlet dripping in rich miso sauce. Aside from using the best type of miso, Yabaton also uses the best type of pork.

Yabaton makes their cutlets with Kurobuta pork which is a breed of black pig from Kagoshima prefecture. These pigs have been reared in Kagoshima for over 400 years and fed a diet consisting mainly of sweet potatoes. Clean, flavorful, and incredibly juicy, they’re considered the best pork brand in Japan and often referred to as the “Kobe beef of pork”.

Being one of Japan’s most prominent food cities, there are many delicious things to eat in Nagoya, but miso katsu is one of two dishes that you definitely shouldn’t miss. The other is hitsumabushi.

2. Hitsumabushi

Along with miso katsu, I think that hitsumabushi is one of the best regional dishes you can have in Nagoya. A specialty of Aichi prefecture, it refers to a dish of grilled unagi (freshwater eel) served over a bed of rice.

If you’ve had unagi donburi or unajyu, then this dish probably looks familiar. It’s similar but with a few key differences, mainly in how it’s prepared and how it’s eaten.

Hitsumabushi is prepared in the Nagoya style of cooking eel, by slitting it open along the belly and grilling it whole without steaming. It’s also sliced in narrower strips to make it easier to eat.

Unlike unagi donburi, hitsumabushi is served with a host of condiments like wasabi, nori, grated radish, and Japanese pepper. You’re meant to eat the eel in three stages – the first on its own with rice, the second with the condiments, and the third with some dashi broth poured into your bowl.

It’s a unique and interesting way of consuming grilled eel that may not be as familiar to some people as unagi donburi. It’s like having unagi three ways in one meal.

Here’s my hitsumabushi set meal with condiments and miso soup.

Here’s a closer look at the sliver of grilled unagi coated in a thick, sweet soy sauce-based sauce. The eel in unagi donburi or unajyu is never sliced this thinly.

This isn’t as important but another distinction between hitsumabushi, unagi donburi, and unajyu is the vessel in which they’re served. Hitsumabushi is typically served in a deep circular container known as ohitsu. Unagi donburi (unadon for short) is served in a round bowl while unajyu is served in a square lacquered box.

Hitsumabushi is a variation of the other two but as far as I know, there are no differences between unadon and unajyu other than the vessel used to serve them.

As much as I love grilled eel, it’s fairly pricey in Japan so it isn’t something I can have often. My search for highly-rated but reasonably priced hitsumabushi in Nagoya led me to Maruya. I went to their main branch at JR Nagoya Station but they have several outlets throughout the city.

3. Kishimen

Kishimen is another specialty of Aichi prefecture. It refers to a type of udon noodle that’s broad and flat. I learned how to make udon noodles in a Tokyo cooking class and the teacher specifically told me to cut the flat noodles thinly, otherwise I’d be making Nagoya-style noodles.

Kishimen can be prepared in any number of ways – hot or cold and seasoned with salt, soy sauce, miso, or curry. The most traditional version seems to be served in a hot broth with steamed fish cakes, spinach, deep-fried tofu, green onion, and bonito flakes.

You can find kishimen pretty much anywhere in Nagoya. It’s a mainstay on many Nagoya menus, even on the grounds of Atsuta Shrine. I had this bowl at Nadai Kishimen Sumiyoshi while waiting for my train. It’s a small shop located on the platform between tracks 10 and 11 at JR Nagoya Station.

4. Tenmusu

Tenmusu refers to a bite-sized rice ball wrapped with nori and filled with deep-fried shrimp tempura. It’s originally from Mie Prefecture but it’s now regarded as a specialty dish of Nagoya.

Tenmusu can be enjoyed on its own or served in a bento box. I got this takeaway pack of six from Ganso Tenmusu Senju, the restaurant credited for inventing this dish. Ganso Tenmusu Senju means “the birthplace of tenmusu”.

The original restaurant is located in Tsu City in Mie Prefecture but they’ve since opened branches in Nagoya as well. They garnish their tenmusu with kyarabuki which are butterbur stems boiled in a soy-sauce-based soup.

5. Doteni

Doteni is a dish of beef tendon, innards, and daikon radish simmered in Hatcho miso sauce. It’s a staple izakaya dish and something that you absolutely need to try in Nagoya.

I’m not sure what this is but it looks to be a piece of beef intestine. Like miso katsu, the flavor from the Hatcho miso is what really makes this dish. The soft and chewy innards explode with umami flavor and go so well with beer.

6. Tebasaki

Tebasaki refers to deep-fried chicken wings. They’re available throughout Japan but they seem to have originated in Nagoya. They’re made with non-battered bone-in chicken wings that are double fried to achieve a supremely crisp but delicate coating.

Seasonings may vary from izakaya to izakaya but most will be coated in a sticky, savory-sweet glaze. Mine were lightly coated but I’ve seen versions with a much heavier glaze and dredged in sesame seeds. The best tebasaki is said to be made with Nagoya cochin, one of the most famous chicken breeds in Japan.

Tebasaki reminds me a lot of Korean fried chicken. They’re both double fried, a little sticky, a bit sweet, and go supremely well with beer.

I went to this izakaya but there are many around JR Nagoya Station. To be honest, I was a bit nervous to walk in at first. I had read negative reviews describing these Nagoya izakayas as being averse to foreigners but I didn’t get that feeling at all. On the contrary, the servers were quite nice and accommodating.

7. Miso Nikomi Udon

Miso nikomi udon is a soup dish made with udon noodles simmered in a miso-flavored dashi broth. It’s served in a clay pot and typically made with chicken, fish cake, green onion, mushroom, and egg. I had a version topped with a lone piece of ebi tempura.

Like miso katsu and doteni, the best Nagoya restaurants make their miso nikomi udon with Hatcho miso. It’s what gives the dish its signature flavor.

Like miso katsu and hitsumabushi, miso nikomi udon is one of the best examples of Nagoya meshi. The bowl I had was unremarkable but I read that one of the best restaurants in Nagoya to try it is Yamamotoya.

8. Nagoya Sweets

I’m not as into dessert so I don’t know as much about this, but my wife is convinced that Nagoya is famous for its pastries and sweets. She kept seeing confection after confection on her Instagram feed. I was positive this was due to algorithms and user behavior but a quick Google search seemed to indicate that she may be right.

Based on more than one article, Nagoya does seem to have a reputation for its desserts. Uiro, kaeru manju, oni manju, piyorin, and Nagoya financier made with matcha and miso were just a few of the goodies that came up when searching for Nagoya sweet treats.

These aren’t specific to Nagoya but my wife wanted me to bring her back some caneles so I found this one shop that carried them. I told her that the financier is probably more representative of Nagoya but she insisted on caneles!

NAGOYA FOOD TOURS

No one knows the food in Nagoya better than a local, so what better way to experience Nagoya meshi than by going on a food tour? A knowledgeable local will take you to Nagoya’s best restaurants and explain all the dishes to you in more detail. Check out Get Your Guide for a list of Nagoya meshi food tours in the city.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE FOOD IN NAGOYA

Had I known about the reputation of the food in Nagoya, then I would have done more research on it. The most important dishes are spoken for in this guide but there are more Nagoya dishes to try like ebi furai, ebisen (shrimp rice crackers), miso oden, oni manju, and ogura toast with sweet red bean paste.

Plus you have the odd-sounding dishes birthed by the influence of foreign cuisines like ankake spaghetti, teppan spaghetti, and Indian spaghetti. I checked if Nagoya had its own version of ramen and two types of Nagoya ramen came up – Taiwan ramen and Sugakiya Ramen.

Taiwan ramen refers to a recreation of a spicy Taiwanese noodle dish made with ground pork, chives, green onions, and red chilies. Sugakiya Ramen isn’t a specific dish but a popular ramen chain in central Japan. It’s known for being the country’s cheapest ramen chain (just JPY 300) and features a tonkotsu-style ramen that’s meant to be eaten with a ramen spork!

As always, this Nagoya food guide is a work-in-progress that will only grow with each return visit to central Japan. With so much good food in Nagoya, you can bet your Hatcho miso we’ll be back.

Disclosure

Some of the links in this Nagoya food guide are affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. Arigato gozaimasu!