10 Dishes we took home from our travels

Author Carina Klein
· 9 min read · 18 comments

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We ate a lot of food all over the world. Some dishes come home with us from our holidays, like Mexican Tacos, Pad Thai, Shakshouka, and Tapas.

We all know that travel broadens your horizon. And that's as true for food as for everything else. On every journey we make an effort o try as many new dishes as possible. And some of them come back home with us. Some because we had them a lot and they remind us of that holiday, some because they are a nice addition to vary our diet, some because they are very easy to make. So without further ado, here is a list of 10 dishes we started making at home after our travels:

  1. Thailand – Pad Thai and Thai Ice Tea
  2. Indonesia – Tempeh
  3. Israel – Shakshouka
  4. Jordan – Falafel and Hummus
  5. Iceland – Skyr
  6. Spain – Tapas
  7. France – Coq au Vin
  8. Italy – Seafood
  9. Mexico – Tacos
  10. USA – American brunch

Disclaimer: We are not food bloggers and all photos were taken before we knew we would share them with more people than our family and friends. Please be kind. Photographing food is hard!

1. Thailand – Pad Thai and Thai Ice Tea

Thailand was our first long-distance backpacking trip. And Pad Thai was the first dish we tried. So of course it's very dear to our hearts. We had it at every stop of our roundtrip: in Bangkok on the famous Khao San road was the first and the best we had, the one in Ayutthaya was the worst. We had it in the jungle and on the beaches of the south - so why don't we have a single picture of it?

Of course, when we came home we bought some Thai ice tea and looked up a recipe for Pad Thai. Fortunately, we can get all the ingredients in our local supermarket - the rice noodles, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and turmeric as well as the chicken, tofu, eggs, sprouts, spring onions, garlic, chili, peanuts, lime, oil, and sugar. We toss everything into our wok, and out comes delicious Pad Thai!

Picture of Khao soi
No this is not Pad Thai, it's Khao soi, Chiang Mai, Thailand

2. Indonesia – Tempeh

In Indonesia, you get tempeh everywhere: in fancy vegan restaurants on Bali (like in the picture below) and on remote boats on the way to the Komodo Islands. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and it's much more delicious than it sounds. Additionally, it's super versatile: you'll find it on burgers and sandwiches, in fried rice, salads, and dumplings, as topping for soups - you name it.

Of course, we had to look for Tempeh back in Berlin. Unfortunately, you can't get in our local supermarkets, but in Asian supermarkets, you can. So every once in a while we make the trip and get creative!

Picture of Pasta with Tempeh, Bali, Indonesia
Pasta with Tempeh, Bali, Indonesia

3. Israel – Shakshouka

We had our first Shaksouka in Jerusalem at Mahane Yehuda Market (which completely blew us away by the way). We found this market stall with amazing energy (later featured in a Kara and Nate video if you want to get a feel for this place) and decided not to go for their signature sandwich but for a Shakshouka, which turned out to be a great decision.

Ever since it's one of our go-to breakfasts at home. It's so easy: Just fry tomatoes and peppers, add a little spice and tomato paste, and poach eggs in the sauce - you're done!

Picture of Shakshouka, Jerusalem, Israel
Shakshouka, Jerusalem, Israel

4. Jordan – Falafel and Hummus

When we were in Jordan, we ate all the hummus. We had plain hummus, hummus with toppings, Hummus Bil Lahme (with minced meat), Fatteh Hummus (fattet hummus), ... And oftentimes we combined it with falafel. We had it on plates and in sandwiches, sitting, standing, walking.

Luckily for us, you can buy ready-made hummus and falafel in all varieties in Berlin. We also have a large variety of places that sell falafel sandwiches in our neighborhood. But it's also quite easy to make these dishes from scratch. For the hummus, you puree chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice and you're done. For the falafel, you make a paste out of chickpeas, baking soda, as well as herbs and spices and deep-fry them - voila!

Picture of Jordanien food, Amman, Jordan
Bread, tea, Falafel, Hummus Bil Lahmeh, Fatteh Hummus, Amman, Jordan

5. Iceland – Skyr

In Iceland, Skyr was our go-to breakfast. Many days we just grabbed a Skyr to go and started exploring. We fell in love with it because it's filling and contains a lot of protein. Also, it's super delicious and you can get it in every variety from natural over vanilla to every fruit flavor you can imagine.

We were extremely happy when German supermarkets started to sell Skyr shortly after our trip to Iceland! And we strongly advise you to give it a try if you haven't yet.

Picture of Skyr with a view
Skyr with a view, Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

6. Spain – Tapas

I was a little girl when I tried my first tapas at a tapas bar in Palma de Mallorca with my parents. I still remember how much I loved having all the little tasters and feeling like I have my own private buffet.

It's a feeling I transported back home and love having nowadays, especially with a group of friends (remember how that used to be?). We all prepare little dishes like meatballs, cheese cuts, stuffed peppers, fried eggplants, chickpea salad, olives, ham, fried chorizo (if you don't try anything else from this blogpost I recommend frying chorizo if you're not a vegetarian or vegan – it's so good!), bacon-wrapped dates - the list goes on and on. We drink delicious Spanish red wine and have our own little private buffet!

Picture of tapas Berlin, Germany
Tapas at home with friends, Berlin, Germany

7. France – Coq au Vin

I had my very first coq au vin in Paris as a birthday treat. It was preceded by oysters and followed by profiteroles. We loved all the french dishes we tried, and trust me, we tried a lot, but coq au vin is the one that came home with us.

Those of you, who have been following for a while, know that coq au vin is our go-to dish to dream ourselves away to France with!

Picture of coq au vin, France, Paris
Coq au vin, France, Paris

8. Italy – Seafood

Confession: I did not like seafood before my first trip to Italy. I used to call it squishy food. You know why? - because I never had it freshly caught and prepared! On our trips to Italy, we indulged in all the seafood! We had prawns, mussels of all kinds, scallops, octopus, and cuttlefish as well as all kinds of crabs.

We tried to order seafood in Berlin restaurants and it's honestly hit or miss. So we started to prepare our own seafood at home. Every once in a while we go to a specialty shop and buy fresh seafood and it has never failed us. We tried it as a starter, with pasta, as a salad, and in many more ways.

Picture of seafood, Chioggia, Italy
Seafood, Chioggia, Italy

9. Mexico – Tacos

You know the drill by now. When we were in Mexico, we ate a lot of tacos. I mean like a lot a lot. We had them mornings, middays, and evenings. We had them cochinita pibil (a Yucatan classic), al pastor (which reminded us of Döner Kebab), de asador (with grilled beef), de cabeza (head tacos with parts of a cow's head including the cheeks and tongue), and de pescado (with fish).

Of course, we had to take them home with us! Mostly, we fake cochinita pibil at home. Yes, you heard right, fake. Originally, it's pork with spices and orange juice, which is slow-cooked in a banana leaf. We just use pulled pork because we're lazy, add guacamole and cebollas (onions) and we are good to go!

Picture of tacos, Akumal, Mexico
Tacos, Akumal, Mexico

10. USA – American brunch

We cannot lie: the first time we had an American brunch in the US was a bit bewildering. Sure, we had some American breakfasts in Germany before, but here the sweet components like pancakes and maple syrup are separated from the savory components like bacon and eggs. But our brunch at the IHOP (international house of pancakes) was only the gateway drug. We also had an amazing Jazz Brunch in Harlem, New York, and many other great brunch experiences.

As you probably already guessed, we grew to like the American way of brunch and started to prepare it at home at least every couple of weeks. We make pancakes, waffles, or french toast, fry eggs and bacon, and drench everything in maple syrup. If we feel fancy, there is the occasional egg benedict - 2020 was the year I perfected my egg poaching game!

Picture of IHOP breakfast, NYC, USA
IHOP brunch, NYC, USA

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31.03.2021, 16:15

I could eat almost everything you listed and it's hard to say no all ;-) It's fascinating to know how food triggers a sense of nostalgia and the joy that comes with it appreciating cultures aside from our own. Thanks for sharing ;-)

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

31.03.2021, 16:21

Thank you for your lovely words. It's true: food is one of the biggest triggers for memories!

Deborah - The Real Gab

20.03.2021, 19:19

Great blog post! Experiencing the cuisine of other places is some of what I miss about traveling. I love the idea of picking a dish to focus on making at home. As trying to make Thai food seems overwhelming but focusing on pad Thai seems much more doable! Sounds like you have a pretty good go-to recipe but if you are interested, I just watched Joshua Weissman's video on it and it seems fantastic (I can't figure out how to link in the comments but you can find it easily) .

I also tried Shakshouka for the first time in Israel and it has become a staple in my home as well. What a delicious and warming breakfast that really is a snap to put together! Also I really love the idea of a tapas theme when we can one day get together with friends again!

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

21.03.2021, 12:49

OMG I love Joshua Weissman's videos. I didn't know that he has one about Pad Thai. I really need to check it out!

Lisa at Following the Rivera

19.03.2021, 19:18

I tried Shakshouka in Jerusalem and really enjoyed it. Nice to see Italy on the list too, we have great seafood here!!

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

20.03.2021, 09:47

Jerusalem seems to be the place to eat Shakshouka!


18.03.2021, 22:46

Lol the American brunch is something but I prefer a proper English brekkie and I make some here in NYC when I make the trip to get heinz baked beans. I absolutely love hummus and can eat it with anything. Everything on this list is right up my alley and I'm suddenly hungry so lemme go hunt through my kitchen lol.

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

18.03.2021, 22:52

Heinz baked beans are the best! And don't tell the blogpost but we prepare english breakfast more often than american ^^

Smalltownplussize Tom

18.03.2021, 22:38

Shaksouka Is a dish I would like, but I’m the only one in the house that likes tomato dishes like this. You were right, I shouldn’t have read this before dinner and it ALL looks delicious!

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

18.03.2021, 22:54

So what did you have for dinner then?


17.03.2021, 17:02

It's amazing how our travels influence us in a lot of ways especially in cooking. I learned to make potato soup when we visited Peru. The Shakshouka sounds amazing for breakfast. I want to try it making it at home.

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

18.03.2021, 08:47

Travel really influences so many parts of life. I just learned that potato soup is a thing in Peru - it sounds delicious!

Wendy White

17.03.2021, 09:07

We enjoy going out for Tapas and have cooked Coq Au Vin. Tacos make a regular appearance but haven't tried Tempeh despite going to Bali several times. Think it's the fermented soybeans that put me off. May have to try it now :)

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

17.03.2021, 09:56

Fermented soy beans don't sound very appealing but I think it tastes like chicken (for real) and maybe even a bit peanuty... And it does not smell off-putting at all.

Riana Ang-Canning

17.03.2021, 00:54

YUM! This post is making me drool. I love quite a few of these dishes and need to find some good versions here in Vancouver. I've tried making Pad Thai a few times but it's never as good as I want it to be!

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

17.03.2021, 10:01

I know what you mean. You can find a lot of versions of these dishes here in Berlin but not all of them are good versions...

Vanessa Shields

17.03.2021, 00:34

That is one of the bonuses to traveling, getting to bring some of food home with you! It’s such a great way to reminisce about a specific location. What is Skyr? Is it like a yogurt or smoothie?

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

17.03.2021, 09:49

Skyr is like yoghurt but it's classified as creme cheese...

Jennifer Nilsson

16.03.2021, 23:41

I'm so glad we could bring to you the delight of brunch! There is nothing better than double fisting a coffee and a mimosa on a lazy weekend afternoon! Thanks for this beautiful post that reminds me of so many travel adventures.

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

17.03.2021, 09:46

True! I almost forgot about the bottomless mimosas...

Chalk and cheese travels

16.03.2021, 21:53

Great list I love tapas trying any amount of small plates. It would also be big in a lot of Asian cultures.
But my favourite would have to be tacos LOVE a good taco

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

17.03.2021, 10:00

You're right, I haven't thought about Asia yet although trying an Indian Thali is on my food bucketlist!

Retirestyle Travel

16.03.2021, 21:35

My wife is a great cook and she gets inspiration from our travels. However, I am spoiled with seafood and pasta because she is Italian. Those middle-eastern dishes sound yummy

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

16.03.2021, 21:40

I'm a bit jealous as Italy was the place that got me hooked on seafood!

Mandy Southgate

16.03.2021, 21:19

Photographing food is hard but your photos are great! I love Shakhshuka - I make it every weekend for my very hungry spouse. I'd love to cook pad Thai too - never thought of doing that at home!

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

16.03.2021, 21:38

Thank you so much for your compliment! This blogpost involved BY FAR the most editing^^ Great to learn that Shakshouka is a regular for you :) Pad Thai is actually surprisingly easy to make when you can get your hands on the ingredients!


16.03.2021, 21:14

Interesting selection, cooking is my passion. My most popular travel dish is the goulash, it gets better everytime.

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

16.03.2021, 21:34

You're the second person that mentions goulash as their travel dish! It's so interesting because goulash is very common in the German cuisine...


16.03.2021, 14:42

Really, really good food. I was eating around Bali, I didn't know or maybe I just forgot that it's Tempeh. I love Pad Thai too but I',m not brave enough to make it in my kitchen. And yes, that American brunch I so miss that!

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

16.03.2021, 14:48

Thank you so much! Pad Thai is really not that hard with a wok and the right ingredients. And if you leave out the chicken you can also prepare it during your fasting ;) I guess we need to have an American brunch this weekend...

John Quinn

16.03.2021, 13:51

I’ve taken a lot of these home myself. Love falafel and coq au vin. I haven’t tried tempeh but it’s one I really could. It’s so true about travel and food, definitely one of its best experiences.

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

16.03.2021, 16:18

Falafel and coq au vin are two great ones to take home. Especially coq au vin - it sounds impressive but is quite easy to make.

Under Flowery Sky

14.03.2021, 22:46

Awesome collection. it's not easy to get the ingredients so
I'm not keeping up always but definitely following my food abroad..

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

15.03.2021, 16:27

Thank you for your feedback! I know that sometimes it can be hard to get the right ingredients. In these cases we try to find a workaround - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't...

Jodie | That Happy Reader

14.03.2021, 17:43

I love travelling and this post! What a lovely idea to take away one favourite dish from each place you visit! Your photography is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

15.03.2021, 00:26

Thank you so much for your compliment! I'm happy that you liked this post :)