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I always struggle with food when I travel. I'm a very picky eater and tend to not like a lot of things. I'm picky about too much salt or things that are too sweet. This has gotten worse over the last year or so as I've started to eat better and take better care of myself. When I was in university, I took part in a study and found out I'm what's labeled as a "supertaster". Basically, I have a higher than average amount of taste buds that make me super sensitive to bitter, fatty or strong flavours. It also makes me really love the foods I do enjoy eating, perhaps because it's so hard to find the things I do like. I tend to waste a lot of food when I travel for this reason. I also tend to eat the things I do end up liking for days because of how hard it can be to find things I do like. So when I travel eating can be a challenge. This doesn't stop me from traveling but it does always concern me a little.
It can always be hard to eat right when you travel. You get so busy doing things you forget to eat or drink enough water. When you're a supertaster who does actually enjoy food (when you find things you like) and you're travelling, eating becomes a huge challenge. So while I was in Ireland I tried to eat two solid meals a day and just grab snacks when I felt hungry.
I'm not a big breakfast person so I found myself starting my days with a tea and then grabbing fresh juices or bottled juices for added nutrition while in Ireland.
Some of these juices I enjoyed and others I didn't but overall the fresh juices turned out to be my favorite. I was not a big fan of the bottled kinds.
Most days I wasn't drinking enough water so I wasn't hungry for lunch and tended to just grab a snack from one of the many Dunnes stores or corner stores that sold fresh fruit and snacks.
I did, however, make sure to eat a full meal for dinner every day. Of course by the time I sat down to eat dinner I was exhausted by the end of the day so it was a great excuse to sit on a patio and people watch while I enjoyed the amazing food Ireland had to offer.
While they do add potatoes to a lot of things, I was able to find a number of meals that did not include potatoes. Ireland has become a melting pot of many cultures so you can find great Asian, Italian and of course Irish dishes in Dublin. I was, however, surprised to also find a great variety of foods in some of the small fishing villages I visited. Some of these coastal villages make great seafood but I didn't feel like seafood while I was in Ireland so I explored my options and found a great variety of foods almost everywhere I went.
I even had tea and cookies in a castle.
I ate homemade soup a few times, not because it was cold (I actually got super lucky, for the 9 days I was in Ireland, I only had 3 days of rain and one of those was the day I left) but because homemade squash soup with homemade grain bread sounds amazing after 14 hours of walking around.
Ireland did offer a few chain restaurants in Dublin like Subway, McDonalds, and Burger King but after eating at McDonalds one morning and grabbing Burger King really late one night on the way back to my hotel, I decided that fast food sucks in Ireland. It doesn't taste the same as at home and after having real homemade Irish food it just doesn't appeal to the senses at all.
Maybe that's because over the last year I've stopped eating fast food on a regular basis. Maybe as you start to eat better your taste for those things changes. I'm not sure. I just know that I didn't enjoy it at all in Ireland.
For anyone who considers themselves to be a foodie, you must go to Ireland. The pub food is amazing and the small little café shops make amazing pastries and baked goods. You can even find small little kitchens attached to some of the tourist stops that make amazing sandwiches and snacks.
I had been worried about food in Ireland because I wasn't sure how much food I would like or enjoy. However by the time I had come home I had gained 3 lbs. so I clearly had nothing to worry about. Even with walking 25,000 to 35,000 steps a day I still gained weight from all the amazing food (or lack of water). They do add mineral cola (soda pop) to just about every meal so after a couple days, I started to ask for bottled water as a substitute for this because I don't drink a lot of pop at home.
So if you're heading to Ireland my advice is this, be sure you take the time to stop and actually enjoy the local food. Skip the fast food joints and pop into a café or pub for lunch and dinner. It's worth the wait and the costs are not that must higher. Ireland has an amazing diversity of food so everyone should be able to find something they enjoy. Trust me, it's absolutely worth it.