Eat Like a Local
Breakfast: Beijing – Youtiao
Start the day off with something salty and something sweet. Street stalls all over China serve Youtiao, also known as Chinese crullers. They’re deep-fried crispy dough sticks which are served with a side of soy milk. You can choose to have your soy milk hot or cold, sweet or salty. They’re also often served alongside porridge, pancakes, shaobing (a baked flatbread) or steamed sticky rice. Simple and tasty, the idea is to dip your cruller into the soy milk to soak up the flavour.
Brunch: New York – Eggs Benedict
There are two stories that explain the creation of eggs benedict in New York and no one really knows which is true.
In 1837, Delmonico’s Restaurant was the first restaurant opened to the public in the United States – that’s right, THE first. It wasn’t until the 1860s when Mr. and Mrs. LeGrand Benedict requested some of the ingredients at Delmonico’s which led to eggs benedict becoming an off-the-menu must-have.
The second story is the tale of Lemuel Benedict, who was hungover in the Waldorf Hotel in 1894 and requested toast, bacon, two poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.
Regardless of the stories, eggs benedict finds itself on nearly every brunch menu in New York with the very same ingredients from the 1800s – apart from the addition of an English muffin instead of toast to make it fancy.
Lunch: Rotorua – Māori Hāngi
Experience some culture over lunch in New Zealand. Hāngi is the way that Maori cooked for over 200 years. It involves steaming food in a hole in the earth to give it a smoky, earthy taste that you won’t find anywhere else. Modern hāngi food includes chicken, beef, pork, potatoes and other root vegetables. The food is wrapped up in flax leaves and placed into a basket which is on top of heated stones in the ground and then steamed to perfection. Understandably, Hāngi is now saved for special occasions but you’ll be able to find restaurants and Maori experiences which serve hāngi food.
Snack: Manila – Halo-Halo
This unusually bright dish is a total necessity under the Philippine heat. What exactly is a halo-halo? It’s sweetened fruit, pulses, beans and shaved ice – all covered in fresh evaporated milk and topped with a scoop of ice cream, a slice of leche flan (that’s creme caramel), a dollop of ube haleya (purple yam) and sometimes macapuno (soft jelly coconut flesh). Other popular additions to this concoction include cornflake sprinkles and green jelly cubes. There are so many variations of this popular dessert; you’ll love finding your favorite combos.
Where to stay: The Heritage Hotel Manila
Dinner: Rome – Cacio e Pepe
Italy is an obvious choice for a bowl of pasta, but there is a pasta dish you might not have tried yet. Under the radar for many years, cacio e pepe comes from Rome and is incredibly simple, with only three ingredients. Pecorino Romano cheese and freshly ground black pepper are mixed in with the hot water from cooking the pasta to create a creamy sauce. That’s it – a Roman classic you shouldn’t resist.
Where to stay: Grand Hotel Palace Rome
Dessert: Paris – Pain Perdu, Éclair, Macaron
Prepare to drool over dessert. Here are three from Paris to inspire you.
Pain perdu, also known as French toast, was originally an easy way to use up any stale bread and economize. Slices of brioche are dipped in a mixture of egg and milk and then fried in a pan – simple. A sprinkling of icing sugar and some berries on the side make pain perdu sweet and definitely worthy of posting on Instagram.
The éclair was created in the Tuscan kitchen of Catherine de Medici and when she became queen of France, she took the éclair with her. Who wouldn’t? Back then, the éclair was made of a dough called roux and it had had no filling. A century passed before Marie Antonin Careme, considered to be one of the first celebrity chefs, decided to fill the roux with cream – a crème pâtissière in France – and top it with luxurious fondant. Now you can find eclairs filled with flavors like matcha and marshmallow, but nothing beats the classic chocolate ganache.
Born in Italy, this is another dessert with origins in a different country. The macaron is the trendy dessert loved by Parisians of all ages. This little round cookie is made from just almond powder, sugar and egg whites. Eventually the macaron was embellished with an extra layer. It’s now no longer a simple cookie, but a cookie sandwich with a soft sweet filling that you can’t put down even if you wanted to.