Just like popcorn is ubiquitous when going to the movie theater, many cultures have their preferred drinking snack when alcoholic beverages are involved. Part of the fun of traveling worldwide is seeing the cultural differences people enjoy when relaxing. Recently, young and old drinkers met in an online discussion and shared their all-time favorite drinking snacks.
1. Potato Chips and Olives
One of the most pleasant surprises of living in Sicily for a few months in 2022 was realizing Italian bartenders are very generous with complimentary potato chips and olives! These delicious treats seemingly accompanied every Aperol Spritz or glass of wine. It never ceased to put a smile on my face. It’s one of many reasons I’d move to Sicily in a heartbeat.
2. Fried Squid
Combining an alcoholic beverage with a cuisine like fried squid undoubtedly sounds adventurous! “Dried squid grilled on top of charcoal is the go-to option in my home country of Vietnam,” reports one avid drinker. “It’s shredded into small strips, and then you dip it with hot sauce like Chinsu.” If I ever reach Vietnam, I will try this combination and report back with my findings.
In many cities in the United States, pretzels are the go-to drinking snack. The saltiness of the pretzels makes even the most experienced drinker thirsty for more beverages. Go to any bar in America, and you’ll most likely find bowls of pretzels scattered throughout the establishment, although bizarrely, this is more commonplace in dive bars than high-end pubs.
It’s almost impossible to indulge in a beer or cocktail in Canada without succumbing to the deliciousness known as poutine! This French fry-based dish is usually slathered in gravy; by all accounts, it’s pretty good at soaking up the effects of alcohol! It sounds like Canadians have a top-ten drinking snack at their disposal!
5. Mexican Duros
Is there any thought more relaxing than being on a Mexican beach with a Mexican lager in one hand and a bag of duros in the other? “In Mexico, there are many different things you get offered as you drink,” reveals one man. “It depends on how much you’re spending. Duros are common. They’re kind of like a wheat-based chip that puffs up when it’s cooked. It’s served with lime, salt, and chili.”
6. Cured Meat
Anyone who’s ever enjoyed a glass of Tempranillo in Spain knows the food that is best paired with the spicy red wine: Cured meat! When visiting Madrid, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that most tapas restaurants had a cured pork leg prominently displayed on the bar; when ordering Spanish wine, it was also a no-brainer to request a large amount of cured meat to enjoy.
The drinking snack of choice in the Philippines is sisig, which sounds delectable. “Sisg is chopped pork jowl and ears sizzled with onions, chili, and calamansi juice on a cast iron plate,” explains one woman. “Having this makes you want an ice-cold beer to go with it.” Even if this sounds unappealing, at least you’ll have your beer to take your mind off it!
8. Chips and Guacamole
A southern California drinking staple, it’s almost impossible to walk into a beach bar without seeing everybody inside snacking on chips and freshly-made guacamole. When I lived in San Diego, my go-to drinking meal of choice was chips and guacamole paired with a fantastic local IPA; in my eyes, that combination was drinking perfection.
9. Brazilian Fried Chicken
While many think fried chicken is a wholly American cuisine, some countries arguably do it better than the United States! I’m dying to know how Brazilian fried chicken tastes. “My favorite bar snack is frango à passerine, which is Brazilian fried chicken,” confesses one woman. “Brazil has a ton of great little bars with excellent snacks and small plates to eat with beer.”
In Japan, enjoying a bottle of Sapporo lager is rare without being offered a bowl of edamame! I must hand it to the Japanese; they perfectly combine drinking beer and eating healthy — many countries (especially the United States) can take a page from their book. I’ll try my best to indulge in edamame the next time I crack open a cold one.
11. Pigs in Blankets
In the UK, pigs in blankets or kilted sausages are popular snacks wrapped in bacon served in the UK and Ireland. You can find this snack during holidays and in local pubs. Its name is often confused with the American version of mini frankfurters in baked dough.
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This article was initially published and syndicated by The Cents of Money.