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Best 'Meat And Potatoes' Dishes From Around The World

One of the best parts about traveling to a new city is trying the new cuisine – no surprise there. But sometimes finding that iconic meal from a particular city can be challenging. Everyone’s got their own recommendation on what to eat and where to find it. But that’s part of the charm of being a “culinary tourist.” Below are some of my favorite local dishes from 14 different cities from around the world, collected in partnership with Read the full guide here.

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Grilled lamb chops (Italy)

Edward McGowan for Travels of Adam / Via

I first tried this dish on my most recent trip to Rome. Everyone always assumes Italian food is all about cheeses and pastas and tomatoes, but there’s actually so much more to the local cuisine. Sure, pizza is widely available, but Italian food has much more variety than you probably expect. Rome has a bit of a working-class flair to the cuisine, so you’ll find a lot of grilled meat dishes, including this one. Grilled lamb chops (which translates as “burn fingers”) are usually a Sunday meal, or eaten especially during the Easter holiday.

Where to get it: In Rome, sometimes you’ll find it served with another one of the city’s most iconic food dishes: Roman-style artichokes (carciofi alla romana). Try agnello alla scottadito at Hosteria Grappolo D’Oro near Campo de’ Fiori in Rome.

Currywurst with fries (Germany)

Edward McGowan for Travels of Adam / Via

Germany is best known for its sausage and beer, but one of the most iconic meat dishes from the country is currywurst. Hamburg and Berlin both lay claim as the originating city for the dish, which is just as fine because personally I’m not sure why anyone would want to be the proud father of this simple food. Currywurst is a simple sausage served either with or without the skin and then slathered in a curry-ketchup (a spiced ketchup) and usually, for extra measure, a bit more curry powder put on top. It’s not particularly the best food you’ll eat, but it does help cure the late-night munchies after a crazy night out in Hamburg’s Reeperbahn district.

Paella (Spain)

Edward McGowan for Travels of Adam / Via

Okay, maybe this isn’t strictly “meat and potatoes” but as Spain’s most iconic food, and one served simultaneously as a meaty and starchy meal. Paella originated in Valencia because of the low-lying rice fields surrounding the city (Spain’s third largest). There are hundreds of varieties, but the most traditional paella in Valencia is one served with chicken, rabbit and land snails. You’ll often find it with seafood varieties as well, but the traditional one is all meat. It’s served in a large skillet, and just like Rome’s iconic meat-and-potato dish, it’s a popular family meal on Sunday afternoons.

Chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes (Texas, USA)

While most tourists come to Dallas-Fort Worth looking for a top-quality steak (which they’ll find, because this is Texas after all), the locals are all eating the actual local traditional steak meal. And it’s fried. There must be hundreds of varieties of this local dish, but the one thing that’s consistent is the fact it must be served with mashed potatoes with country gravy. Country gravy, if you haven’t had it, is absolutely delicious. Creamy and sweet, but chunky with bits of sausage and whole kernels of black pepper, it’s the perfect accent to the meal. But what is chicken-fried steak, you ask? It’s a steak tenderloin that’s pan-fried. You can also find chicken-fried chicken, but that’s basically sacrilege.

Guinness beef stew (Ireland)

Edward McGowan for Travels of Adam / Via

It’s meat and potatoes. Stewed in Guinness! Plus, when you’re in Ireland, it’s basically a legal requirement to drink a Guinness before, during and after your meals. It’s hearty and warm and heavy—the perfect way to bury your feelings when the Irish weather isn’t quite cooperating. And if the Guinness in your hearty stew of beer, beef, bacon, carrots and onions isn’t enough, there’s always the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin where you can take tours and sample even more of the beer.

Leg of lamb and potatoes (Iceland)

Edward McGowan for Travels of Adam / Via

There’s organic free range and then there’s the Icelandic version of organic free range lamb. Almost without fail, Icelandic sheep are set free in spring, literally. They roam around the countryside for the summer, eating grass and herbs in the fresh Icelandic mountain air. When the nights get long again, they are rounded up.

Then all the lambs are killed and their legs roasted with spices and eaten with potatoes. #Iceland

Meat and potato pie (England)

Edward McGowan for Travels of Adam / Via

Like Dublin’s Guinness beef stew, this pie is quintessentially Manchester..ish. At heart, it’s simply stewed meat (usually beef) baked into a pie with potatoes, carrots and onions, but it also has a number of varieties including versions with cinnamon, redcurrant and blue cheese. Blasphemy! It’s a traditional working class meal and Manchester is at the heart of working class history in England, especially the now-trendy Northern Quarter of Manchester. It’s often found in gastropubs or “chippies” (a traditional fish-and-chips, fast food shop) and may be served alongside mashed potatoes or chips—with extra gravy, of course.

Schnitzel (Austria)

Edward McGowan for Travels of Adam / Via

You take veal and beat it wafer-thin with a meat tenderizer. Then you cover it with spiced wheat and fry it in a lake of butter, making sure to toss it about. You might think you end up with a greasy and unappetizing lump of butter-meat but what you actually get is a large golden-brown bit of magic on a plate.

Add fries. Eat. It’s the best part about Vienna. It’ll come with any variety of potatoes (kartoffel) whether mashed, broiled or in a creamy potato salad.

Steak frites (Belgium)

Edward McGowan for Travels of Adam / Via

Ah, Belgium. Home of having fries and mayo for dinner. Belgium is also home to steak frites, basically just a steak with fries (Belgium is clearly a nation composed of geniuses.) Brussels‘ version of meat and potatoes is…meat and potatoes, most likely washed down with a big mug of a locally brewed Belgian beer—of which there are many! Thanks to the city’s location at the heart of political Europe (and proximity to France), the city has a rich culinary tradition with quite a few fancy restaurants—each with their own spin on the classic steak frites.

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