Exploring travel and food go hand in hand. Enjoying different cuisines that represent the local culture is part of the fun. Sometimes you discover a foreign delicacy that makes your taste buds sing; sometimes an unfamiliar food is just too alien to stomach. I must admit, while I love trying local specialties, I’m not wildly adventurous in what I eat. I’ve never convinced myself to try haggis (stuffed sheep’s stomach from Scotland), scrapple (pig scraps molded into a loaf, a Pennsylvania specialty) or Hu-Hu (grubs from New Zealand). Others I have tried, but didn’t acquire a taste for it: kava (a bitter narcotic drink from Fiji), Tequila worms (self explanatory from Mexico) and Vegemite (a pungent, salty sandwich spread from Australia). While these cultural markers don’t appeal to me, there are legions who swear by them – and that’s the beauty of exploring culture through food. Opening your mind and palate to different ways of life enriches your understanding of a place.
Enter BACON. Admittedly, there are millions of vegetarians and those whose religious beliefs disallow eating pork; in no way do I question their values, but aside from those with a philosophical commitment, I have never come across a single human in my travels who doesn’t like bacon. Whole cookbooks have been dedicated to the porcine delicacy; chefs around the world add the crispy pork to their creations. BACON can be found in appetizers, salads, entrees and even deserts, but who whould have thought I’d find so much bacon in Seattle?
On a recent girlfriend getaway, I attended a “Wine & Swine” party which was a combination pig roast/ Cinco de Mayo/ Kentucky Derby celebration. Talk about a cultural blending! Derby hat clad ladies and mustachioed (mostly fake) men devoured every kind of bacon creation imaginable amid festive Cinco de Mayo decorations. Along with the delicious BBQ (the merits of the many different regional styles of BBQ warrants a whole separate post), dozens of other delectable dishes incorporated bacon! There were beans, greens and vegetables with bacon; bacon wrapped fish, scallops, jalapenos, and dates; oatmeal bacon cookies, bacon salted caramels and my personal favorite, chocolate bacon. It was the ultimate BACON fest!
Street food is a great way for travelers to get a taste of the local culture and lifestyle and the next day, we happened on a fantastic food truck event in the funky Fremont section of Seattle. A huge array of local food trucks offered all kinds of northwest culinary specialties – the freshest fish, Asian specialties, Native American fare and, you guessed it… bacon and BBQ – right from their mobile kitchens. For a couple hours we tasted our way along several dozen trucks, stopping to chat with folks with cute kids and handsome dogs.
Before leaving Seattle, I also made a stop at one of my favorite purveyors of all things pork, the Swinery in West Seattle. It’s a small butcher shop/deli that has only half jokingly been called “the Inner Sanctum of the Temple of Porcine Love.” Yes, it’s that good. Just trust me and stop in if you are in the area.
A pursuit of bacon was not really on my agenda when I planned this Seattle getaway, but I’m convinced there is no better way to meet a city and her people than through their gastronomy and I, for one, was delighted, if not a little surprised, to find bountiful bacon. Once again, vivacious Seattle thoroughly charmed me. If you would like to know more about Seattle, bacon or to design your own culinary quest, please contact Covington Travel’s vacation experts.