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Food Is An Important Part Of The Travel Experience
Food is such an important part of any travel experience. It often tells the story of a local culture & its people. I have found over the years that nothing helps me connect with a place more than its food.
I remember the first time I tried iconic American foods like a Philly Cheesesteak, Chicago Hot Dog or a slice of New York pizza. Tasting those foods deepened my connection to the cities which made them famous. Somehow they made me understand my country and its culture a little bit better.
As I later ventured out into the world, I discovered the culinary delights of other countries as well. Whether it was tacos bought from a cart in Mexico or pho served on the noisy street corners of Saigon, I began to realize that food is just as important an experience while traveling as any tourist site.
I will always remember the first time that I tasted a pupusa in Guatemala. The experience isn’t memorable only because of the taste of the pupusa (it was delicious),I remember it so vividly because of the entire experience around eating it.
I remember the noises of the Central Park in Antigua and the smells of all of the street food. I remember the sight of the Mayan women in their traditional dress and the men dressed in jeans and cowboy hats. At that moment I was as engulfed in their culture as I had ever been and food brought me there.
It Happens All Over The World
My experience in Guatemala has been repeated in places around the globe. People congregate around food. They share their joy and fears and sadness over a meal. It is one common bond that strings us all together. In many ways it is magical.
Portugal and its food have long been of interest to me. When my family and I visited Macau in 2008, I was shocked to see how local Chinese cooks had incorporated Portuguese ingredients and tastes in to their dishes. From cheese to sausages and a variety of soups, the food there was unlike anything I have seen elsewhere in my travels. It was distinctly Chinese, but also Portuguese at the same time.
I am soon hoping to visit Portugal on a tour of the country and its food. While I have never been to Portugal before, I have no doubt that it will be like the other sixty countries I have visited. The food will be delicious and the culture fascinating. I will one day find myself surrounded by the people and engulfed in the local sights, smells and tastes. In other words, it will be just like everywhere else, but completely different and that is why I continue to travel!
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