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20 Meals From Other Countries That Really Shocked Tourists


When we travel, we often find out that the meals we’re used to can be very different in other countries. Sometimes, the taste seems divine and very often we don’t even realize how something like could occur in someone’s mind. And still, some of these unusual combinations really work great together.

The fans of experiments from the Bright Side team have scoured the internet looking for the strangest taste combinations. We’ve even tried some (but not all) of them. And at the end of the article, there are a couple of bonuses for you: unexpected meals at McDonald’s restaurants around the world, and a user’s story about their failure at a French restaurant.

Strawberries with vinegar

Strawberries with chocolate or cream are your classic choices. But there are more than 2 options. How about strawberries with vinegar? This is how strawberries are eaten in Italy (sometimes). There, people think that the sweet-sour taste of good vinegar gives new nuances to the sweetness of strawberries.

Meat with chocolate

Chocolate lovers say that it’s good with almost anything, but we think that they might be surprised that people in Mexico eat it with meat. The classic Mexican Mole poblano sauce is made of chili pepper, chocolate, cocoa, and a lot of other spices. It’s served with chicken, turkey, shrimp, beef, or pork.

Yogurt goes with everything.

In Turkey, where they love spicy things, they add yogurt to almost all of their meals. This is what a Quora user Gizem Acar says, “Yogurt on pasta, rice pilaf, chicken, beans, spinach, potatoes, stuffed grape leaves, etc… The list is endless. How to compliment a dish? Simple answer; just put some yogurt on it. It makes everything better. As an international student studying abroad, I realized that this habit only applies to Turks.”

Avocado as a dessert

Avocados are used not only in salads, rolls, and sandwiches. In Brazil, they’re mixed with sugar and lime juice, and served as a dessert.

Hot dogs and marshmallows

Hot dogs covered with melted marshmallows is a traditional meal served at children’s parties in the Philippines. In the past, people in the Philippines used to buy army rations that had hot dogs and marshmallows in them. So, they created a way of mixing these foods.

Soda with condensed milk

“In Indonesia, we drink Fanta with sweetened condensed milk or soda water with strawberry syrup and sweetened condensed milk. We call it ‘soda gembira’ (literally: happy soda). I like to drink it with ice cubes,” Ray Djufril from Quora shares.

Peas in jelly

In China, they use ground peas to make jelly. Peas are boiled with water and salt until they become a paste. The paste is cooled down, cut into pieces, and served in a bowl with beans and spicy chili sauce. The meal is called liangfen.

Salad with tea

In the rest of the world, tea is mixed with hot water, but in Myanmar, they make a salad using fermented or marinated tea leaves. They are served with fried garlic, sesame oil, peanuts, chickpeas and ground ginger, shrimp, and fried coconut.

Beetroots in burgers

In Australia, a burger is not a burger unless there’s a piece of marinated beetroot on it. This is what Quora user Ruth Zweigenbaum Durfee says about it, “The weird things that I now do I picked up in Australia. That’s beets and fried eggs on hamburgers and lemon and sugar on pancakes.”

Pretzels with boiled eggs

In Austria, for Easter, they make sweet pretzels with boiled eggs and ham. This is what a Quora user Errieta Zeha has to say about it, “My grandma is from Austria and she always made (her children and us, the grandchildren) this delicious meal, but the rest of my family (my mother’s side) think it’s a weird combination because tsoureki is sweet whereas ham is salty and eggs are… Well, eggs aren’t salty but people usually add salt to them.”

Sweet sprinkles on sandwiches

You don’t have to have a dessert to add sprinkles. So, in the Netherlands, bread with butter is often decorated with Hagelslag, which are chocolate sprinkles. Reddit user Holska says, “If the bread is hot, they melt. It’s like a slightly more savory take on Nutella. This is why I want to move to the Netherlands.”

Potato candy

During the Great Depression in the US, we saw the creation of a weird dessert — potato candy. This is how Reddit user miscalculatedrisks describes it, “I grew up thinking potato candy was a normal thing everyone knew about. You take a small chunk of baked potato (or microwaved, just gotta have the cooked, fluffy texture) and mix it with enough powdered sugar to create a malleable (but not sticky) dough. You then roll that out a couple of millimeters thin, spread a layer of peanut butter on it, roll it up, wrap the tube in plastic wrap, and chill it until it gets hard. After that, just take it out and slice it into about 1 cm thick discs. A ridiculously cheap and fun activity for kids.”

Eggplant with honey

In Andalucía, people think that serving eggplants with garlic and herbs is very boring. They fry eggplants in oil and soak them in honey.

Fruits with pepper

In some countries in Latin America, like Mexico, people love chili so much that they even add it to fruits. Mangos, watermelons, oranges, and pineapples are cut into pieces and sprinkled with chili.

Fresh carrots in salads

Most salads have boiled carrots in them. But in France, carrots are grated and served with a mix of oil, lemon juice, herbs, and Dijon mustard. Sometimes, they also add fresh beetroots.

Bread crumbs for breakfast

Bread is often eaten with meals or used to make sandwiches. But in Spain and Portugal, they use bread to make migas. Bread crumbs soaked in a mix of water, garlic, pepper, and olive oil are fried and served for breakfast or dinner. In the past, it used to be a full-fledged meal, but now it’s complimented with pieces of meat or vegetables.

Stir-fried cucumbers

In the South of the US, there’s an unusual meal — stir-fried cucumbers. This meal is also made in Korea and served with sesame oil. In China, cucumbers are fried with peanut butter and eggs. The Reddit user cuddlesandnumbers said, “I also cooked cucumbers once because I was a curious child and wondered what would happen. I remember it tasting okay.”

Chicken as a dessert

In Turkey, there are a lot of different sweets — baklava, rahat delight, and many other puddings. But there’s something very special among them. It’s got a silky texture, and it smells like vanilla and cinnamon. It’s called tavuk göğsü and it’s made of chicken meat with milk, sugar, and spices. Reddit user j4mm3d says, “It tastes like a light sweetened condensed milk with the chicken providing the gloopy texture.”

Raw minced meat on bread

Minced meat is very popular for different meals, but it’s usually always fried or baked. In Germany, they make minced pork, add spices, put it on pieces of bread, and eat it. They call it mett. At parties, it’s served looking like a hedgehog with “needles” made of onion pieces. A Reddit user describes it like this, “It looks like it comes alive and kills you for your sins.”

Herring with milk

Herring and milk can be eaten without any unpleasant consequences for the stomach. In Finland, they make a meal that has both of these ingredients.

Bonus № 1: Different McDonald’s

Last summer, I bought a burger at McDonald’s in the Czech Republic and didn’t open it until I was back in my room. © Kanatan / Pikabu

Bonus № 2: A story from one of our users

  • I remember we went to Paris in 1996. It was the first trip abroad for my husband and me. I ordered tartar. They brought minced meat with an egg. My husband was laughing. I asked the waiters to fry the meat. I felt terrible when I saw the waiters looking at me and laughing. © Alina Lin / AdMe

What unusual meals have you tried? Maybe we’ve missed something that you can tell us about?



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