Author, travel writer, editor and Lonely Planet TV presenter Tamara Sheward goes the whole hog with a tour of some of the world’s most sinful foods.

Let’s face it: we don’t travel to lose weight. Culture = cuisine, and if lard, butter or triple-cheese are on the national menu… well, it’d be gauche not to tuck in. Strap on your bib and check out five decadent dishes from around the globe.

Salo: Ukraine’s national dish isn’t just loaded with fat: it IS fat. Melty little hunks of spiced, salty pork fatback (okay then, “lard”) best spread over rye bread, salo is unholy, immoral and unspeakably fattening. It is also eye-gougingly delicious. Enjoy as a zakuska (appetiser) with bucketloads of vodka: it’ll help you forget the diabolical amount of calories you’re sucking down.

Chicken Parma: Australia is famous for “bad” foods, like the dubiously iconic meat pie and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” mystery sticks that are sausage rolls. But if a true blue belly-filler is what you’re hankering for, step away from the servo and stumble into the pub for this uniquely ‘straylian take on the Italian parmigiana: greasy, cheesy and always served with chips. One parma to rule them all? Try the Rochester Castle Pub in Melbourne, the wonderful degenerates behind the Bogan Parma (fried schnitzel, oozing cheese, napoli sauce, bacon and double-fried egg).

Champ: “Champ” is indeed a fitting moniker for this, the king of Irish comfort food. Essentially mashed potatoes, champ stands out from the workaday smooshed spuds crowd with the addition of bitey scallions and lashings upon lashings of butter. Nothing works better to combat post-pint(s) wooziness.

Turducken: A turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a pork sausage may sound like typical American over-the-toppery, but this dish harks back to the English aristocracy: the Yorkshire Christmas Pie was made of stacked turkey, goose, six types of game bird, ham and tongues. Sure, it weighs in at a whopping 3500 calories per serve, but in the land of deep-fried Kool Aid balls and bacon doughnuts, the Yank take on turducken is positively wholesome.

Supra: Not a meal but an epic feast. “Supra” means “tablecloth” in the Georgian language, a possibly ironic comment on the fact that during one of these scoff-fests, guests eat everything but. Typical supra dishes include khachapuri (bread stuffed with cheese), khinkali (slippery Georgian dumplings) and gochi (roasted suckling pig), all washed down (literal) buckets of homemade wine.


About Tamara Sheward

In between travelling to exotic places around the world, Tamara Sheward has worked as a toy spider salesperson, a Guinness packer, a Quizmaster and an occasional journalist. She is the author of Bad Karma: Confessions of a Reckless Traveller in South-East Asia, the co-author of 101 Sudoku for Kids, and the author of The Little Aussie Alphabet Book and The Little Aussie Numbers Book.