The Best National Dishes Of Europe (Part 2/2)
While travelling by train, one of the best ways to get to the heart of the countries you visit is to sample their national dishes. Keep an eye out for the following foods and snacks to explore the traditional flavours that have kept locals nourished for generations.
Montenegro | Riblja čorba
If you are visiting the Bay of Kotor, or anywhere else along Montenegro’s coast, seafood dominates the menu. A fish riblja čorba (thick soup) is a tasty dish whose recipe has been passed down through generations of fishermen.
Insider tip: Montenegro’s restaurants often take pride in local cuisine and authentic atmospheres, so be sure to visit a few during your trip.
Netherlands | Stroopwafel
While not exactly a meal, a stroopwafel can bring satisfaction to even the most famished traveller on the go. These small syrup-filled waffles are cheap and available throughout the country.
Insider tip: Pick up a packet of stroopwafels and a coffee-to-go at the train station ― it is the perfect combination.
Poland | Bigos
Poland specializes in comfort food, and the national dish of bigos is an intriguing cabbage-based hunter’s stew that you must try when you are in the country. Pair it with traditional filled dumplings called pierogi.
Insider tip: There is only one place to eat traditional Polish food and that is in the milk bars. Take a risk and point to the menu on the wall for a pleasant surprise.
Portugal | Bacalhau
Bacalhau is salted cod that is particularly popular among locals in Portugal, and it is available prepared in dozens of different ways.
Insider tip: Most traditional restaurants in the Portuguese capital serve a version of the dish, but many claim Tia Natercia is among the best.
Romania | Sarmale
These small parcels of cabbage, grape, and rhubarb are the national dish of Romania. They are delightful as a snack, side dish, or main.
Insider tip: They also come with a variety of sweet fillings, usually as filo dough wrapped around chopped nuts.
Serbia | Pljeskavica
Like many of its neighbours, meat makes up the majority of main course dishes in Serbia. It is no surprise that pljeskavica ― a spiced mixture of ground pork, lamb and beef ― is the national dish.
Insider tip: Pair it with the national drink of homemade fruit brandy.
Slovakia | Bryndzové Halušky
These potato dumplings come in a variety of flavours. The most popular variations and toppings include sheep cheese and bacon.
Insider tip: The dish goes particularly well with žinčica ― a sheep milk beverage often served in wooden cups.
Slovenia | Potica
Slovenian cuisine covers several bases with a range of tasty meat dishes, but the popular potica – a nut roll pastry – makes for the perfect sweet snack.
Insider tip: This tasty dessert also comes in a savoury form with a filling of tarragon.
Spain | Paella
It is almost impossible to miss the famous paella when in Spain, which is a good thing. This delicious rice-based dish comes in several different forms including seafood, meat, and vegetarian.
Insider tip: Give the quiet tourist traps a miss when it comes to this dish. It is best to eat paella from areas of high traffic such as local markets or popular local restaurants.
Sweden | Köttbullar
Swedish meatballs (köttbullar) are usually made with grated onions and served with a thick gravy and cranberry sauce. It is one of the country’s most loved national dishes.
Insider tip: Looking for the ultimate Swedish day out? Head to Ikea for a bit of furniture browsing and refuel with a dish of meatballs at the in-house restaurant. If you are in Stockholm, there is a free shuttle bus to Ikea from the city centre.
Switzerland | Cheese fondue
There are few foods as delectable and self-indulgent as a bowl full of melting cheese. And when in Switzerland, there is no other dish to eat than a traditional Swiss cheese fondue.
Insider tip: Emmentaler and Gruyère fondues are always a safe bet, but mix it up and try it with some of Switzerland’s regional cheeses.
Turkey | Ali nazik
Turkey knows kebabs. The home-style ali nazik makes the perfect street food, particularly if you find yourself in the province of Gaziantep.
Insider tip: For the best food experiences in Turkey, consider heading to the markets. Inebolu is a particularly popular food market in the city.
Eating local is not only a good way to get in touch with the country that you are visiting, it is often the cheapest and tastiest way to dine. And with many of these dishes available in and around train stations, there is no reason why you cannot pick one up before a long rail journey out of town. And with a Global Pass, you can be sampling a new national dish for dinner.