We Celebrate National Dishes Around the Globe
Posted by: Louise Koncowski, Senior Communications and Content Development Specialist.
Tomorrow, Britain marks National Fish and Chip Day, which celebrates one of our most treasured and iconic national dishes. Fish and chips will always remind me of Friday night family dinners and no matter where you are in the world, food brings people together. Whether it’s a meal with colleagues to welcome a new international assignee, a birthday banquet or a bowl of chicken broth when you’re feeling unwell. Of course, different cultures have different food traditions and to celebrate the great diversity we have in our own organisation, I spoke with Cartus employees around the globe, to find out what their national dishes mean to them…
Tom Harley, Manager of Language Operations, EMEA, UK
“Fish and chips remind me of holidays by the seaside when I was younger and there’s a certain nostalgia associated with them because of that. Nowadays, I don’t have them that often, but when I do it’s always a treat. Normally on a Friday, as that’s – traditionally – ‘fish and chip day’.”
Jo-Lynn Wee, Director, Client Services APAC, Singapore
“One of my personal favourite dishes in Singapore is fried carrot cake. It’s a savoury dish, not dessert, affectionately known to locals as Chai Tow Kway. It’s actually made from radishes, not carrots (yes, we want to confuse people!). Radish, flour and water are steamed and cubed, then stir fried with garlic, eggs and preserved radish, which is flavoured with seasonings. Chilli can also be added to give extra spice. There are two ways to have fried carrot cake, ‘black’ which is sweeter as it is stir fried with dark soy sauce and ‘white’ which is fried with beaten eggs. My favourite is white with extra chilli from my favourite store, Heng Carrot Cake. It’s the only local dish that I crave when returning from overseas travel.”
Relocation Tip! If you pick up some fried carrot cake to go in Singapore, then you’ll have to wait until you’re home to try it, as eating is strictly prohibited on public trains and buses, including station waiting areas.
Lidwien Lenglet, Senior Consultant, Destination Services, the Netherlands
“Broodje Haring (raw herring in a soft, white roll) is a rite of passage, which can be eaten with pickles and raw onions. To eat haring the Dutch way, you need to hold the fish by the tail, throw your head back, open your mouth and let it slide down. If you aren’t already enjoying this Dutch specialty on a windy beach or seaside boardwalk, the perfect sweet and briny balance of flavours will surely transport you there. The best time to try raw herring is between May and July, when the fish is said to be at its sweetest. The annual arrival of this ‘new’ herring is celebrated on Vlaggetjes Dag (Flag Day), which sees fishing boats decorated with colourful flags as they sail into the harbour with the first catch of the season. You can find these snacks at herring carts across the Netherlands, so go ahead, give it a try and enjoy them like the locals.”
Relocation Tip! If you want to feel even more like a local, then get a bike! It’s by far the most popular way to travel and towns and cities have dedicated cycle lanes to help avoid traffic.
Ying-Ying Lin, International Assignment Consultant, Destination & Real Estate Services, China
“Peking duck has a long history in China, having been first introduced almost 600 years ago during the Yuan Dynasty. With its thin, crispy skin and tender meat, Peking duck is the most famous of all Beijing culinary dishes and reminds me of family gatherings. When we get together as a family, to celebrate an occasion, we go to Peking duck restaurants to have this dish, which is usually served with vegetables or other signature Chinese dishes. Every restaurant has its own method of cooking Peking duck. The two most famous are Quanjude, with its open oven roasting method, and Bianyifang, which roasts the duck using a straw fire.”
Aline Sodre Lopes, Account & Supplier Manager, Client Services, Brazil
“My favorite Brazilian dish is not actually a dish, but a snack, or a “tapa”, called coxinha (pronounced, co-sheen-ya). It’s a teardrop- shaped snack that comes in all different sizes, made up of pulled chicken wrapped in dough, which is then battered and deep fried. In can also include catupiry (a kind of Brazilian cream cheese). To me, coxinha is pretty nostalgic. It is the most popular snack for children´s birthday parties in Brazil, so it reminds me of all my birthdays growing up. Nowadays, coxinhas are also popular in bars and ordered as snacks during happy hour. It´s a snack for happy moments.”
Relocation Tip! If you’re relocating with children to Brazil, (apart from learning how to make these delicious snacks for birthday parties), remember that some schools will charge a fee just to be placed onto a waiting list. Schooling budgets should reflect these extra costs.
For more top tips, cultural insights and information on relocating, visit our Resource Hub.
(And don’t forget to join me for fish and chips tomorrow!)