I just got back from my first cruise ever and I. AM. SO. FULL. There was food everywhere, constantly. I pretty much ate my way from one end of the boat to the other, and because I miss my roommate who gets an extra day of vacation and is not coming back until later today, I’ll tell you about it via a post in her style.
I tried to go for food that was a little more exotic both on the ship and off it primarily because food is a really important part of the culture of a new place, but additionally because it was included in our price so I had no qualms about potentially not liking it. Below, are my top five unique food experiences:
5. Cold soup things – Each night one of the dinner appetizer choices was a cold soup, which is sort of a weird concept. I guess it’s the same thing as Gazpacho but with different fruit. One night there was mango, one night there was avocado, and one night there was strawberry. They would chop up the a little bit of fruit in the center and then pour the thick-ish soup all around it. It was a pretty nice presentation. I tried the avocado one and surprised myself by really liking it. As you should know, I’m not a particularly big fan of most fruit, so I didn’t indulge in the others, but they got a stamp of approval from my friends who tried them (and believe me, my friends were not shy about trying things. One night somebody ordered 4 appetizers, 2 main courses, and 1 dessert. I haven’t decided if I’m embarrassed or impressed yet.)
4. Conch Fritters – According to several people’s parents, these were a must-have at our first destination, Key West. I didn’t even know that conch shells had meat in them – I was pretty sure they were just for listening to the ocean and attempting to maintain order in Lord of the Flies. Turns out they’re also really tasty! They were kind of chewy, but Sloppy Joe’s , the famous hot spot we ate them at, did a fantastic job of preparing and flavoring them. Definitely try them out if you’re ever in the Keys! (Do it before you head down Duval Street though, because you’ll probably be too “full” to appreciate them if you wait!)
Also, for those who have been distracted by how to say the word “conch” this whole time (as we were when we were ordering them) according to the youtube guy it’s like this:
3. Alligator Fritters – I’d like to think Alligator is exotic but I suppose they sell it at the North Carolina State Fair, so it’s at least sometimes accessible here. I hadn’t ever had it before though so when I saw it on the dinner menu I knew I needed to test it out. They looked pretty much exactly like the conch fritters (I guess fritters have a distinctive look) and honestly tasted fairly similar too (fried has sort of a general delicious taste.) These had a little kick to them though which I really liked! Even if they’re not all that exotic in look or taste, it is worth it to try them just so you could say you ate gator.
2. Ackee – It’s Jamaica’s national fruit which I sampled during my time there. It looks a bit like (and tastes a bit like) scrambled eggs and according to our tour guide, Keshanne (“just think of key chain and you’ll never forget me!”), is usually served with cod. The most exciting thing about Ackee that I just learned is that it’s not sold in the US because it’s poisonous until it’s ripe! How’s that for exotic?
1. Frog Legs – Honestly? Tasted like chicken.
So, does cruise food live up to all the hype? “Exotic” food aside, I had lobster, crab cakes, salmon, bacon mac n cheese, pizza whenever I pleased, and one day, there was even an entire chocolate buffet. Take that in for a second – literally an entire buffet filled with chocolate anything-you-could-think-of (even sushi!) With all of that in mind (and in my tummy!) I’d say that I understand where people are coming from when they worry about gaining 10 pounds on a cruise.