There is nothing mystic about this ritual. It just eases one back into a place once visited and remembered by the smell and taste of a certain dish.
I’ve already mentioned elsewhere that I am getting old have started making a point of returning to places I had enjoyed passing through years ago. Part of this rediscovery includes tasting the food again, especially the kind that had become comfort food during the previous trip.
Here are three snacks / dishes that, for me, are so strongly associated with a place that I tend to look for them as soon as I arrive:
1. Germany: Bretzel
Not that my German go-to treats can’t be found elsewhere, but buying the first bretzel off a street stall brings back so many merged memories of other bretzels eaten in various German cities. Plus, their curves always seem to taunt me from afar as soon as I get off the train!
Of late, I have added the Apfelstrudel to my German comfort food.
2. Nairobi: Kashata
Though not a typical Nairobi snack, I have fallen head over heels for the sweet kashata that’s sold at a stall next to Jamia Mosque and on the streets of Eastleigh. I still get cravings for it so when I visit Nairobi, it’s a must-bite !
3. Rennes (France): Galette
Madeleines are alright but my own home memento is the galette de sarrasin, a breton specialty that used to be a poor man’s dish but is now served in restaurants called Crêperie. Growing up, we used to have it once a week.
Living in big multicultural cities like Paris, Bangkok or Nairobi may make us take the availability of various local and international cuisines for granted. But to me, there’s more to galette than buckwheat flour, salt and water.
Foodies: are there snacks or dishes that you just can’t do without when you visit a particular country/city?