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A food-lover’s guide to holidays

A food-lover’s guide to holidays

Although we owe huge kudos to Italy for bringing the wonderful invention of Pizza into our lives, there’s many other flavorsome destinations around the world that know how to rustle up some seriously scrumptious dishes. Get your forks at the ready, as we introduce some of the world’s best holiday spots that will well and truly tickle your taste buds…

Greece

Greeks are known for their love of food and eating habits of tucking into five meals a day, unlike us Brits and our typical trio. Yet we can hardly blame them considering their islands are home to some of the finest ingredients in the world. The convenient location of Greece means that its food is influenced by both Eastern and Western cultures with the likes of Mediterranean vegetables and lots of fresh seafood playing a huge part in many of their dishes. Here’s those which you absolutely must try during your trip!

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Greek Salad – Who knew a simple bowl of salad could become so famous? And it’s the simplicity that makes it so scrumptious. A mixture of tomato, cucumber, feta and olives all tossed together in olive oil is by far the tastiest yet simplest salad you’ll eat. While anyone can throw these ingredients together, it’s rare that you’ll find one outside of Greece that absolutely knocks your socks off.

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Gyros – You haven’t tried true Greek gastronomy until you’ve tried a Gyros and one thing’s for sure, Gyradiko restaurants are certainly not hard to find. On almost every corner you’ll see the spin of a vertical rotisserie cooking succulent meats ready to be served up inside fresh flat breads with the classic dip, Tzatziki. And the best part is, they put chips inside – beats a standard chip butty any day!

Moussaka – Another widely recognised Greek dish is the iconic oven-bake, Moussaka. If you’re a lover of the classic white, béchamel sauce then this one’s for you. Its layers of eggplant are topped with the beloved béchamel and plenty of cheese, with the option to include a spiced meat filling. Meat-lover or veggie, it doesn’t matter what your diet is as its different variations give you the best of both worlds.

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Baklava – If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then you’ll like this. Imagine a combination of nuts, honey and sugar mixed together into a perfect pastry parcel. Also known as Baklava, this is claimed to be one of Greece’s dessert specialities.

We dare you to try…

Snails – In the UK we’re used to seeing them on the floor, Greece on the other hand are used to seeing them on their plate. Said to be ‘good for your stomach’ the shelled mini species, snails are regarded as a delicacy in this part of the world and are often consumed in a variety of meals, particularly in Crete.

Italy

It’s almost impossible to book a holiday to Italy without your mouth-watering at the thought of being one step closer to its world-renowned cuisine. Although we can find plenty of pizza and pasta dishes in the UK, nothing beats the authenticity of ‘food just like mama used to make’ in the long-legged boot itself. Eating in this part of the world is taken very seriously and almost each and every one of Italy’s cities from top to toe, boasts its own unique speciality. Here’s three courses that shoul be top of your list.

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Antipasto – To start off your Italian meal the right way, an antipasto platter is an absolute must. With the clue in the name, antipasto is to be eaten before the main course and certainly has plenty going on to keep the taste buds satisfied until then. We’re talking cured meats, veggies and tons of cheesy goodness!

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Pizza – It kind of goes without saying that some serious feasting on pizza is almost a given when holidaying in these parts. While it’s hard to say which city in Italy has the best pizza, rumour has it that Neapolitan style is like no other pizza slice on the planet. It may be basic, but its thin, soft crust, fresh herbs and crowd-pleasing Mozzarella cheese team up to create an absolute classic.

Pasta – As for pasta, whether it’s twisted, shelled or twirled around your fork, Italy has over 350 different shapes and sizes to indulge in. This probably explains why locals happily eat it more than once a day – sounds like a good diet to us! But where’s best to find the carby classic? With many Italian hotspots having their own unique recipes, it’s too hard to narrow it down but one that will certainly impress is Sicily – the place where the famous cylindrical cannelloni was invented.

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Gelato – A holiday to Italy wouldn’t be complete without a scoop, or ten of gelato. And fortunately there’s tons of artisans who serve up fresh, handmade gelato all day, every day. Take your pick from every flavour imaginable – it’s true what they say, onion gelato is a thing in Italy’s sun-drenched toe, Calabria.

We dare you to try…

Truffles – A love-hate relationship exists over what are considered to be ‘the diamonds of the kitchen’. Their hard-to-define flavour isn’t for everyone but when in Italy you’ve got to give them a go and rumour has it Tuscany is home to some delectable white truffles.

Thailand

Beyond its pristine beaches and photogenic rock formations, Thailand has some seriously impressive culinary skills. From its oodles of noodles and beds of rice, typical Thai meals tend to consist of a combination of sweet, salty, sour and spicy – your taste buds won’t know what’s hit them! The best part is, you could head home with these cooking techniques in your case, since local chefs take pleasure in giving holidaymakers cooking classes. Here’s what you could be rustling up in no time…

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Tom Yum Gung – Forget your standard Cream of Tomato, soups in Thailand are quite the masterpiece, particularly the traditional Tom Yum Gung. Its tomato base comes with the authentic extras of lemongrass, shrimp, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. It will certainly wake up your taste buds ready for the main course…

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Thai Curry – It may sound simple being a combination of just coconut milk, fresh herbs and spices, yet Thai’s somehow work their magic and create something so fragrant and full of flavour, we guarantee you’ll be asking for seconds. Thailand is famous for its classic chilli-paste-based curries and rightly so, whatever the colour — green, red or yellow, you’ve got to try it for yourself to see just how yummy it is.

Pad Thai – Introducing the default international Thai dish, say hello to Pad Thai! It may only be noodles and veg however the accompanying condiments that are thrown in the mix are sure to tickle your taste buds. We’re talking sugar and chilli powder, fried egg and beansprouts and the option of finely grounded peanuts sprinkled on top. Sound good? Don’t worry you’ll find it served on almost every street corner.

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Sticky rice – It may go hand in hand with their curries, however rice is much more versatile than we think. Since it’s the main dietary staple of Thailand, it comes as no surprise that it’s used in many dessert dishes throughout the country. Think rice pudding, but this time combined with tropical treats like mango or banana, then drenched in coconut milk. Is your mouth watering as much as ours?

We dare you to try…

As for the street-food, there’s a real pick ‘n’ mix on offer. You’ve got your standard Pad Thai on one side and a bush-tucker-trial style stand on the other. Now’s your chance to pretend you’re on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here – roasted critter or scorpion skewer anyone?

Turkey

We all know Turkey is big on its herbs and spices, particularly with their bazaars laden head to toe with them! But do we know what delectable dishes they play a big part in? Well there’s too many to go into right here, however we do want to shine some light on the absolute must-try’s during your Turkey holiday.

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Meze platters – Why have one small dish to start when you can have a collection? In Turkey, sharing is caring, that’s why their traditional appetizers involve everyone tucking into fresh salads, creamy dips and a whole load of bread. Depending on how many mezes’ you decide to munch on, you can even opt to have them as your main course.

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Kofta – One of the real favourites in Turkish cuisine is the traditional kofte. These flavoursome meatballs come in all shapes, sizes and spiciness and can be found in a delicious toasted flatbread on almost every angle you look. While the majority are made from a winning combo of beef and lamb, there’s a veggie-friendly version with bulgur and rice too.

Dolma – While they may be questionable in appearance, Dolma’s are a much-loved dish across Turkey and come with a whole load of history too. Rumour has it, they were first made during the era of Alexander the Great who returned with his soldiers with the renowned vine and cabbage leaves that are now stuffed with a variety of meat, vegetables and rice.

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Turkish delight – If you don’t return home with Turkish delight, did your holiday to Turkey even happen? These small, sugar dusted cubes of jelly are a guilty pleasure in the Middle East and can be hard to come by anywhere else. So much more than your standard strawberry jelly, the traditional delight flavours include rose water, orange flower and some even consist of nuts!

We dare you to try…

Balik Ekmek – Forget fish finger sandwiches, in Turkey it’s all about the Balik Ekmek. This is a sandwich with a fillet of fried or grilled fish and although it’s not particularly ‘out there’ like the other brave food suggestions, it’s one that should definitely be given a try.

Mexico

Being the home of cheese dripping nachos you know to expect good things with the rest of Mexico’s cuisine. No matter which Mexican region you’re jetting off to, you’re guaranteed to find plates packed with fresh, fun flavours. Its winning combinations of spices, herbs, meats and veggies are enough to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Here’s our top pick of those that we think will Tacover your life when holidaying in Mexico.

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Tacos Everyday can be taco Tuesday when you’re in Mexico, since they’re found on practically every street corner. This creative corn invention is one of the most versatile starters you’ll find, filled with everything from shredded meat, fish, veggies and a whole load of spicy salsa.

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Enchiladas – History buffs listen up, this dish dates all the way back to the Mayan times in which these tasty corn tortillas were first consumed by people in the Valley of Mexico. As for today, they’re served in Tex-Mex restaurants around the world but you won’t find a better place to tuck into one than Mexico itself. After all these are the people we’ve got to thank for bringing this delicious dish to light.

Guacamole – Guacamole is a staple of Mexican cuisine, this time dating back to the Aztecs. Made up primarily of the popular ingredient avocado, this traditional sauce accompanies the majority of dishes in this part of the world. In particular, they’re used as a tempting topping on the world famous nachos!

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Churros – It’s hard not to like a dessert that’s crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, rolled in sugar AND dipped in chocolate! Although this is typically a Spanish dessert, Mexico have a whole new take on the mouth-watering pudding with their introduction of churro relleno.  Just when you thought they couldn’t get any better, say hello to a version that’s stuffed with chocolate and vanilla…

We dare you to try…

Chilli-infused fruit – There’s nothing quite like a bit of dried chilli powder to add a twist to your standard fruit salad and Mexico certainly nail this sweet and savoury combo.  Inside their street carts and vendors, you’ll find the likes of watermelon and mango sprinkled in a unique blend of spices, can you handle the heat?

We don’t know about you but food is a priority on our holidays, which destination will you be indulging in next? Find out how much you can SAVE with Holiday Hypermarket.