Travel Foods at Home
I could just be hungry…or maybe food is on the brain. Either way, this post is going to highlight some of the delicious travel food we have encountered on our trips that have become a regular part of our at-home routines. Food is a big part of the travel experience, and while neither B nor I are foodies, we still have found some gems that we’d like to share.
Travel Food #1 Bali Cakes
When S, B and I arrived at our less-than-stellar accommodations in Ubud, Bali, we were a little underwhelmed. However, the next morning when we emerged from our room, we were pleasantly surprised to see our host had prepared breakfast, what looked like pancakes and fresh fruit. These pancakes had a different texture than any we’d had before, being more thin and crepe-like than fluffy. They were delicious! Our morning routine everyday in Ubud began with these tasty little suckers.
When we got back home, B did a valiant search on the interwebs to locate a recipe for what we had termed ‘Bali Cakes.’ Alas, every recipe she tried out just wasn’t quite right. A few years later, she came across an article for a low-carb pancake recipe and tried it out. It tasted JUST LIKE the pancakes in Bali! Hurray! She had hacked a travel food!
Our trip to Bali was many moons ago, and I’m pretty sure everyone and their dog has come across this recipe since then. If you haven’t, though, here’s how to make Bali Cakes. (Or whatever you chose to call them.)
Bali Cakes Recipe
- Preheat griddle or frying pan on the stove to Medium or around 325 degrees.
- Mash one ripe banana and set aside.
- Beat two eggs in a bowl.
- Add mashed banana to eggs and mix for 30 seconds.
- Spray nonstick cooking spray to griddle or pan.
- Pour a scoop of batter onto cooking apparatus and cook until golden brown.
- Flip once and cook remaining side until golden brown (approximately 3 minutes).
Top the Bali Cakes with your favorite syrup, jam or other random topping. My personal favorite is a shot of whipped cream.
That’s it–banana and eggs. When I’m feeling lazy, I mix everything in the blender and use that to pour on the griddle. These are not typical pancakes, however, so you shouldn’t wait until you see bubbles forming to flip them over. Know that it takes some practice to get used to flipping these since they are so thin. By the end of the batch, you’ll get the hang of it.
Travel Food #2 Skyr
For me, food in Iceland was not particularly delightful. Looking back, I can think of only one meal that I would have willingly chosen to eat again. That being said, there was one shining diamond in the rough patch of travel food: skyr. If this is a new phrase for you, prepare to have your breakfast world rocked.
Skyr is to Greek yogurt, what Greek yogurt is to regular yogurt. In short, it is thickest, creamiest and tastiest healthy concoction on the market (IMHO.) If you want to be all technical, skyr isn’t really a yogurt, it is a cheese. Milk is added to skyr cultures and those cultures do their magic to reduce the amount of milk to a thick creamy consistency. It takes about four cups of milk to make one cup of skyr. The protein from all of that milk doesn’t go away, it just gets concentrated into a protein-punch. Each serving of skyr has about 15 grams of protein!
The most common brand of Icelandic Skyr in the U.S. is Siggi’s. This skyr has made a pretty serious advertising push; I’ve seen lots of commercials. Siggi’s is pretty good, but it is not as good as the stuff we got while in Iceland. That brand is Icelandic Provisions and it is incredible.
Travel Food #3 Nutella
Nutella is not a new phenomenon. It is chocolaty, it is hazel-nutty, it is delicious. This product originated in Europe, but (rightly so) has made its way across the ocean and is now commonplace in the U.S. That being said, we really don’t maximize Nutella usage to its fullest potential.
I remember walking down the streets of Frankfurt, Germany, and coming across a Nuteleria. This fine establishment was a bakery/confectionery that made all things Nutella. This includes muffins, cakes, breads, candy, etc. All flavored with the chocolate nut combination that we have grown to love. Upon this first visit to the Nuteleria, I selected a Nutella Banana Bread muffin and was quite pleased with the product.
Breakfasts are often simple affairs in Europe and most people just have some coffee and some sort of bread. (This is probably because the bread items are of such a high caliber.) When we stay at hotels that provide brekky or at Airbnb’s whose host offers some provisions, we sometimes just get a loaf of bread and coffee/juice. This is totally fine and I very much enjoy breaking off a hunk of French bread and smearing it with Nutella.
Upon our first visit to a grocery store when we land in a country, we will often pick up a jar of Nutella. That way we just need to buy some bread and we’ll have breakfast for the duration of our trip. Picking some up at a grocery store in the U.S. is just as easy and a good way to experience a travel food at home.
Travel Food #4 Tagines
One of the most common sights you’ll see around eateries in Morocco is a long fire pit with a row of tagines cooking away. In case you haven’t heard of tagines, they are essentially the original crock pot. Made out of ceramic, they have two pieces: a shallow bowl and a coned topper. Uncooked food is placed in a ravine and then when it is placed on a heat source. Moisture doesn’t evaporate, it condenses in the cone shape and stays inside the tagine. Food is slowly basted and roasted until it is tender and delicious.
All sorts of ingredients can be placed in the tagine; we typically ordered chicken and rice dishes. Even these tasted exotic, though, due to the different spices and herbs that are common to Morocco.
When we returned from our Morocco trip, B decided we needed a tagine for our house. She was able to find one at Cost Plus World Market (not surprisingly one of our favorite stores) for around $25. She brought it home and we made a delicious dinner.
Instead of posting specific recipes on here, we simply recommend you go pick up a tagine for your home. A quick search on the goog or Pinterest will result in a variety of recipes, so you can pick out whatever strikes your fancy. Prepare yourself for a delicious alternative to the crockpot!
Travel Food #5 Raclette
When S an B visited Europe a few years ago, they decided that instead of staying at hotels, they were going to stay with friends and friends of friends. This choice allowed them to interact with locals in a rich way, and also introduced B to the joys of raclette.
If you don’t know what that is, I was right there with you until B told me about it. Raclette is basically cheese fondue, only instead of pots of cheese you dip things in, there is a grill. You take your vegetable, sausage, bread, etc. and put a slice of cheese on it and stick in on the grill. After the cheese melts you pull it off and enjoy your bite-sized cheesy covered treat.
I am not particularly adventurous when it come to cheese, but B really is. (Side note: our friends recently discussed what they would rather give up: cheese or making out. B would rather have cheese.) When we make raclette, she’ll go to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods and get a wide variety of cheese to fancy up the raclette. I like cheddar…mild cheddar…
Like the tagine, there really isn’t a recipe we can share here. Instead, you’ll just need to purchase a raclette grill and then the world is your oyster. Your melted cheese-covered oyster.
Experiencing new food really is one of the joys of travel. And, as a bonus souvenir, you can sometimes bring that favorite travel food home with you. So next time you are on an adventure and find something amazing, think about how you could recreate it at home.