6 of the best... local delicacies

| August 24, 2017

Katie Cosstick asks Cox & Kings’ experts about their favourite local cuisine. “Sampling local specialities is one of the joys of travelling. My most treasured holiday memories seem to involve food of some description: buying cherries from a small market in Greece as a young girl; eating guinea pig in a Peruvian school; grazing my way through a Hong Kong street market. Cuisine cuts to the heart of a country’s character, so I asked some of our experts to recommend their favourites…”

Food vendor at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Ratchaburi

Pho, Vietnam by James, Far East expert Pho is a simple Vietnamese soup made with noodles and served with chicken or beef and onion, with lime, herbs and chilli to flavour. Traditionally a staple dish for breakfast in Vietnam, pho is now established in London restaurants and the combination of flavours and aromas instantly transport me back to the busy streets of Hanoi in northern Vietnam, sitting with local Hanoians on tiny chairs in streetside restaurants watching the world go by. Pho, Vietnam


Indian dish Kothimbir Vadi, Bombay, India by Roop, India expert Growing up in Bombay, this was, and still is, one of my favourite snacks. It is a blend of chickpea flour and freshly chopped coriander with mild spices. I used to accompany my father on his business trips and for lunch I always had kothimbir vadi. I love the smell of coriander and it’s even better dipped in mustard flavoured yoghurt or coconut chutney. It reminds me not only of my childhood, but also the sights and smells of the city that never sleeps.         Kothimbir Vadi Mole Poblano, Mexico by Josh, Latin America expert Mexicans love chilli so much they even mix it with chocolate. Mole Poblano (pronounced moll-lay) hails from Puebla and Oaxaca and contains up to 20 ingredients including chilli peppers, onions, tomatoes and garlic. It’s secret ingredient? Unsweetened chocolate! This dark, reddish brown sauce, delicious served with chicken, turkey or shrimp is perfect comfort food.

Mole Poblano, Mexico

Mole Poblano

Lahmacun, Turkey by Leah, Europe expert Roughly translated as dough with meat, lahmacun is a round piece of thin oven-baked dough topped with minced meats, herbs, onions and vegetables. It is eaten as a side dish and depending on the region of Turkey, is sometimes sprinkled with lemon juice. The most popular – and my favourite – way of eating it is to dip small pieces into a pomegranate juice containing thinly sliced vegetables.

.Minced lahmacun, Turkey


Gooseneck barnacles, Spain by Neil, Europe expert I tried this Galician delicacy in La Coruna, unaware of the high price at which they come. Harvested in the far north-west shore of Spain during a full or new moon combined with a low tide, men precariously descend by rope into the punishing Atlantic surf to slice them from the cliffs. The profit, for them, is worth the danger. The flavour of the sea captured in this shellfish was a true delight!

Percebes, boiled goose barnacles, Portugal

Gooseneck barnacles

Potjiekos, South Africa by Rhys, Africa expert Potjiekos literally translates as small pot food. It originated with the Voortrekkers (pioneers), who shot wild game and added it to the pot. The stew can include meat, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, pumpkin, fruits, pasta, rice or potatoes. Traditionally, it is prepared outdoors in a three-legged cast iron pot, often on a barbecue under the stars. Slow-cooked with Dutch-Malay spices it tastes delicious and always reminds me of my first trip to South Africa, eating it round a camp fire.

Potjiekos, South Africa


Recommended Cox & Kings tours which include exciting culinary experiences:

The Riches of Emilia-Romagna 8 Days & 7 Nights from £1,295 Italian ham, parmesan and mortadella tasting experiences…See more>

Vietnam & the Temples of Angkor 12 Days & 9 Nights from £3,235 Traditional Vietnamese cooking class…See more>

Bhutan: The Dragon Kingdom 11 Days & 9 Nights from £2,645 Cooking class in spicy Bhutanese cuisine…See more>

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2 thoughts on "6 of the best… local delicacies"

  1. Lesley Mallinder says:

    When I saw the headline of this article I felt sure it would feature something from Persian cuisine – sadly I was disappointed. Some of the most enduring memories of the tour of Iran I went on with C & K last autumn (one of the best holidays of my life) are of the food. Fortunately I have since found that Persian flavours and ingredients seem to be influencing chefs and food writers in this country now – and the ingredients are getting easier to find. But what an opportunity you missed here!

    • Compass says:

      Thank you for your comment Lesley. What a wonderful idea to add a Persian dish to this list of local delicacies. Our team here have their personal favourites and we know all our clients do too. We are delighted you enjoyed your holiday with us so much and would love to know more about your favourite dish from Iran.

      You could either share it here, or as a new blog post, which we’d be happy to create for you. Please do let us know if you’d like to.

      Thank you again for a great suggestion.