Lebkuchen, Falafel, and Okonomiyaki, oh my!

Visiting different places around the world has given me the chance to try all sorts of foods, both good and bad. Today I’m going to celebrate some of the foods that I’ve tried and love.

LEBKUCHEN

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Lebkuchen is sort of a fancy name for gingerbread in Germany. It sometimes refers to gingerbread in general, other times it refers to a specific type of cookie made in Nuremburg. This is also split into two categories; one version is a very frilly decorated cookie that is usually as hard as rock and fairly inedible, but looks very pretty. The other version is very delicious, and more or less what’s pictured above. The chocolate ones are my favorite, and in Germany they have this sort of very thin wafer on the bottom. Try giving these a whirl on your own, they’re delicious even if they don’t look as perfect as store bought ones.

AREPA

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CC  @ Steven Depolo 

I’m thrilled that Columbia has become a safer place to visit, because it has some gorgeous places and things to try. One of those delicious things to try are arepas, flat bread which is typically made from pre-ground corn flour. Arepas can be used for all sorts of things, in breakfast, as a sandwich, as a late night snack. The family we stayed with would often serve these to us very late a night, along with fruit. They’re delicious with things as well as on their own.

FALAFEL

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CC @ Robyn Lee

The first time I got to try falafel was in Israel when I was 16. Shwarma is the other popular version of a bunch of protein and veggies stuffed into a pita, but as I’m a vegetarian, that wasn’t an option. Falafel however is a delicious and very filling vegetarian option. Made right, there is nothing that isn’t good about this to-go dish. The fried chick-peas, the crisp vegetables, the light and yummy sauce. This is a dish that definitely takes a bit of work, and I’ll confess I’ve never actually made it myself. But I definitely want to, and encourage all of you to either make some up yourself, or find a local dining spot. Most cities will have at least one place that serves falafel, and if you’re really lucky, your smaller town might as well.

RACLETTE 

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CC @ Benjamin Jopen 

Raclette (both the cheese and the actual dish) originate from Switzerland, but it was in Paris, France that I was introduced to this delicious dish. In the restaurants, the cheese rotates on this large device, and melts down onto potatoes (and in my family’s case, meat). The more common way raclette is served in homes however is with a little grill such as the one pictured above. My mother received one for Christmas a couple of years ago, and has loved using it ever since. Tons of different things can be used in raclette, including but not limited to: pickles, mushrooms, bacon, salmon, shrimp, potatoes, peppers. The cheese can get pricey, so try looking online or for deals. Another good idea is to share a wheel of cheese with a friend or relative, so you can get the best price without wasting. (We freeze our cheese, so it’s not quite as nice quality, but definitely hangs around a lot longer)

OKONOMIYAKI

Okonomiyaki

CC @ Luke Chan 

I tried okonomiyaki in a tiny restaurant in a corner of Tokyo when I was 16, the same year I tried falafel for this first time. (It was a good food year!) I had no idea what was going on, it was pretty late, and we were ushered in by our friends to this odd little table with a hot plate on it, which a waiter turned on before disappearing for quite a while. I soon discovered that the staff poured the batter onto the hot plate in front of you, and it was up to the diner to decide when to flip it over and take it off. Okonomiyaki is a type of thick savory pancake, that can be made tons of different ways. It is also typically served with a thick sauce that I find rather addictive. The recipe link I gave has just a few ideas of how to make it. Have a quick search on Google and I’m sure you’ll find lots of other suggestions.

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