Favorite foods

This item appears on page 18 of the January 2022 issue.


Joaquin Ho of Orlando, Florida, asked, “What dishes or types of food have you enjoyed most on your travels, and what was it that you liked about each?” Here are a few of the tasty morsels we received from ITN subscribers, and seconds will be served in later issues.

During a self-drive tour of France in 2019, we spent two days with former neighbors who had retired near Marseille. One night, they asked us what type of meal or food we most wanted for dinner. We both said “Bouillabaisse.”

Our host called several restaurants and found out that on that weeknight, a Monday, they did not feature the dish because no one fished on Sundays. But one hostess said, “Our local priest is known for his bouillabaisse. I’ll call him.” 

Upon getting the call, the priest immediately said, “I’ll cook it,” and he proceeded to give us the assignment of coming up with some of the fishy ingredients he didn’t have on hand. 

We visited three fish shops, found what we needed and spent a delightful evening in the kitchen of the priory watching (and taking notes on) how a most delicious bouillabaisse is made!

• In Spain in 1978, an excellent chef introduced us to a speciality of hers: perdices en escabeche, or partridges in vinaigrette sauce. The flavor, which is achieved by cooking the birds in a mixture of chicken stock, dry white wine and sherry vinegar along with onion, carrots, garlic, thyme and bay leaf, is unusual and delicious.  

When we returned home, Linda was able to re-create the dish using Cornish game hens. When the resulting dish is cooled, a tasty aspic jelly forms that can be served with the cold or room-temperature hens. 

Every bite takes us back to Madrid and that lovely señora who was kind enough to share the recipe with us.

Linda & Peter Beuret
Santa Barbara, CA



I have enjoyed so many wonderful foods while traveling, like ice cream in Venice and falafel on the streets of Tel Aviv, but my favorite “food” on a trip was a cup of hot tea in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, at the Heritance Tea Factory hotel (phone +94 52 555 5000, www.heritancehotels.com/teafactory), on March 2, 2014. 

Converted from the old tea factory, the beautiful hotel preserves many of the details of the original factory, including the beautiful wood floors and beams. 

They still have their own small plantation and grow only organic tea to sell in their store. Guests have the option of picking their own tea leaves and having the factory process them for them to drink the next morning.  

While my husband and I did not pick our own tea leaves, this was still the most perfect cup of tea that I ever drank. I did not write down the name of the tea we were served, but even if I did, I am sure that I could never replicate the experience.  

Nili Olay
Naples, FL



Calamari, a term often used for cooked squid, is one of my favorite types of seafood. Calamari is not a favorite dish for many gourmands. It often can be described as “rubbery,” while I consider it pleasurably crunchy as well as delicate in its seafood flavor.

On a trip to Algeria organized by Spiekermann Travel Service (Eastpointe, MI; 800/645-3233, www.mideasttrvl.com) in September 2014, I enjoyed the dish twice.

The most stellar calamari dish was that at Restaurant Le Corsaire (09, place de la République, Oran; phone +213 41 39 31 20) in Oran, Algeria. 

The circular sections of calamari appeared to have been sautéed, in one of the most flavorful, red, piquant sauces I’ve ever been privileged to taste. I was informed that the sauce was a restaurant secret. 

It was one of my most memorable dining experiences in my more than 20 years of international travel. 

Our small group dined al fresco in front of the restaurant under the watchful eyes of Algerian policemen who accompanied us throughout the trip. We felt like VIPs, as we often were driven through crowded streets with sirens and flashing lights alerting cars, trucks, pedestrians, etc., to give us right of way.

David Patten
Saint Petersburg, FL



On the first trip to Spain that my wife and I took, I fell in love with Spanish cuisine, paella in particular. I had paella four times during our 10-day trip. 

After a year of trying, I finally came up with a recipe that gave me good, repeatable results (www.olimpia.com/paella.pdf). The two secrets are to use short-grain rice and to make sure the stock is hot before you add it. 

Now, my recipe isn’t 100% authentic; one thing I add to my paella is hard-smoked salmon — a reminder of the years we spent living in Vancouver, BC. 

Whenever we have company, I dig out the paella pan that was a gift from my mother-in-law, go to the local seafood market for whatever is in season and make as much paella as I need to feed everyone. 

A green salad, bread dipped into olive oil and my wife’s flan complete the meal.

David Emery
Dover, NH



A plate of okonomiyaki.

One of the highlights of my travels is finding places in which to dine. 

I lived in Japan for three years and have returned several times. In 2014, I enjoyed finding eateries serving yakisoba (fried noodles) and ramen (noodle soup). Both are favorites of mine because of their tastiness, the addition of vegetables and the low cost. The best places to dine on these dishes are located in alleyways, shopping malls or department stores.

Osaka is well known for its okonomiyaki. In January 2014, exploring an alleyway with many eateries serving that dish, I decided on one and watched the chef prepare the delicacy on a hot griddle — the batter (flour, water and dashi), and layers of bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, green onion and grilled pork belly slices, seasoned with dried seaweed, Japanese mayo and okonomiyaki sauce. Absolutely delicious and healthy!

In February I tried the okonomiyaki in a Hiroshima shopping mall. Unlike in Osaka, the topping there was layered with yakisoba and a fried egg, but the seasonings were like those in Osaka. I enjoyed Hiroshima’s style because of the yakisoba and egg. Very tasty!

Dorothy Chang Van Horn enjoying okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan.

My favorite section of Tokyo is bustling, exciting Shinjuku. I dined on several skewers of yakitori — grilled chicken gizzard, trachea, cartilage, liver, heart and thigh. I savored the crunchiness of the chicken parts. I preferred chicken, for which the dish was named, rather than the beef, pork or other items that were offered.

Dorothy Chang
Van Horn
Manhattan Beach, CA