Traveling has inspired us to do a lot of things, including starting a little side venture. While The Salad Lobby is all about—you guessed it—salad, we root our advocacy for salad’s place at the table firmly in the US. But there are so many wonderful salads to be had around the world you could easily call it Salad World (not to be confused with the restaurant of the same name). And since we’re in the US for the moment, we invited fellow travel bloggers to share their favorite salads.
Of course, we begin at home.
Portland, Oregon, USA, Salad World: Vegetarian Nicoise Salad
The original Nicoise salad, developed in Nice, France in the late 1800s, was very simple, containing tomatoes, anchovies, and olive oil. Over time, chefs added more ingredients, including boiled eggs, green beans, artichokes, and other seasonal vegetables.
As the founder of The Salad Lobby, I create a lot of salads. For my Vegetarian Nicoise Salad recipe I took inspiration from many sources: my mother, whose Nicoise salad was one of my favorite meals as a kid; the French; and the Portland Farmers Market where I found the veggies.
Beautiful mountains of fresh spring produce compose my Vegetarian Nicoise Salad, including red leaf lettuce, asparagus (roasted), radishes, chives, and fava beans (lightly blanched). I added Nicoise olives and roasted, marinated tomatoes from a local grocery store. Sliced boiled potatoes and boiled eggs make this salad fit for a meal. The only aspect of this Vegetarian Nicoise Salad that’s classic is the dressing: a simple white wine vinaigrette with some diced shallots and herbes de Provence.
The French traditionalists may discredit this Vegetarian Nicoise Salad as an American corruption, but I lobby to free salad from the chains of convention. Salad is a palate for expression of local bounty and our own artistic appetites.
The Salad Lobby
Berkeley, California, USA, Salad World: Veggie Delight Salad
Just yesterday at Mezzo on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, I had what definitely must belong among the world’s best salads. And it certainly was one of the biggest: my dining partner and I split it and were way satisfied.
Known as the Veggie Delight, this salad consists of a bed of green lettuce, sprouts, cherry tomatoes, garbanzo beans, corn, croutons, and red beans. It’s topped with a hunk of avocado, a hard-boiled egg, a thick slice of honey bread, and wedge of watermelon. All beneath our choice of a delicious, sweet poppy dressing.
All this for US$10. I’ve enjoyed this salad many times in the past, and look forward to enjoying it many more times in the future.
Carole Terwilliger Meyers
Berkeley and Beyond
Dubrovnik, Croatia, Salad World: Cold Octopus Salad
Two of the best salads I’ve ever had were in beautiful Dubrovnik, Croatia. The first was a cold octopus salad at Kamenice in old town. It was a hot day and we’d just returned from swimming in the Adriatic, and this salad of chopped octopus, onion, tomato, garlic, and herbs was just so refreshing. I don’t usually go for octopus if it isn’t ensconced in batter and dipped in aioli, but I’d gladly eat this octopus salad again.
The second amazing salad I had in Dubrovnik was at Lady Pi Pi. You have to climb over 100 steps to get there but you’re rewarded with a lovely outdoor dining experience with a view of the old city, not to mention delicious food. I ordered the grilled chicken salad, which may look simple but tasted out of this world. Crunchy fresh lettuce, perfectly seasoned chicken (grilled 10 feet from my table in their outdoor grill), and topped with a house-made garlicky salad dressing. I highly recommend ordering a side of fresh cut fries with this salad.
International Desserts Blog
Hydra, Greece, Salad World: Greek Salad
No visit to Greece occurs without eating Greek Salad, perhaps at every meal. The classic combination of tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and feta can also include capers, lettuce or capsicum and is finished with a drizzle of local olive oil and perhaps a squeeze of lemon.
This photo is from an amazing meal we had at a little taverna called To Pefkaki on the island of Hydra in 2015. It was accompanied by a variety of dips, grilled calamari and pork souvlaki on a skewer.
Hydra is in the Saronic group of islands which are the closest to Athens. It is quite unique as cars and scooters are banned and transport is by either donkey, water taxis or simply by foot. It was also home of the famous musician and song writer Leonard Cohen for over 30 years and is where he got much of his inspiration.
Tray Tables Away
Moscow, Russia, Salad World: Herring Under a Fur Coat
Herring Under a Fur Coat, or Dressed Herring as it is also called, is one of the most beloved salads for Russians and, probably, one of the strangest dishes for foreigners. It’s a layered salad with diced pickled herring on the bottom and different types of grated boiled vegetables on top.
Although the order of vegetables differ from family to family and from chef to chef, you will always find diced onions, grated boiled carrots, potatoes, and eggs in any Herring Under a Fur Coat. The top layer is always grated boiled beetroot. Each layer is covered in mayonnaise, which makes this salad high in calories.
If you are visiting Moscow, chances are you will find yourself on Red Square, probably even on the very first day. And although the general rule is to never eat near tourist attractions, there are exceptions. Stolovaya #57 is one of them (“stolovaya” in Russian means canteen).
Stolovaya #57 is located in GUM, a large department store facing Red Square. The restaurant offers simple Soviet dishes at very reasonable prices. You can try all kinds of Russian foods here, including Herring Under a Fur Coat.
I personally think you need to grow up eating this salad to love it. But I also think you should give this iconic Soviet salad a try just for the sake of experiencing something new and unique.
The Foodie Miles
Anywhere, Scotland, Salad World: Scottish “Salad”
If you can’t freeze it or fry it it’s not in the Scottish diet, as the saying goes, so you can just imagine what a Scottish salad looks like.
At the weekend after (or sometimes before) consuming copious amounts of alcohol, Scots take to the local chippy to feed the fluid and many drunks’ weapon of choice is pakora. Now this pakora comes with a side salad of shredded cabbage or lettuce and maybe a quarter of a tomato but who knows why; it gets left to die in the munchy box!
Did you know that our breakfasts are fried, even the tomato! Jokes aside, we do actually enjoy international cuisine which often features leaves but our heart disease figures are definitely a consequence of the nation’s lifestyle choices.
Two Scots Abroad
Fez, Morocco, Salad World: Moroccan Salad
Moroccan salad is usually just a starter followed by typical Moroccan tagine.
I had my first Moroccan salad in one of restaurants in Fez medina. When I made my order, I had no idea the salad portion was actually a full meal size, easily feeding two or more people.
The whole portion was neatly served on 16 small plates containing cooked and raw vegetables. Olives, smoked eggplant, artichoke, carrots, cucumbers, beans, and sauces, all well spiced up with typical Moroccan spices and flavors. Along with salad you get flat bread.
To eat Moroccan Salad, use your right hand (never the left) instead of a fork.
New Delhi, India, Salad World: Salmon Lohe Salad
With 25 different ingredients, the Salmon Lohe Salad is a melange of flavours, aroma and textures. The umami flavor of salmon combines with the sour of lime and the extreme sweet of the orange marmalade. Some crisps give it a crunch, while the cinnamon powder imparts a heavenly aroma.
In the Chinese families the tossing of this salad is associated with wish making.
Salt and Sandals
Bangkok, Thailand, Salad World: Som Tam Papaya Salad
Som Tam is a fresh salad made primarily from shredded green (unripe) papaya. Additional ingredients usually include raw green beans, tomatoes, dried shrimps and plenty of chili and garlic. The salad is topped with a dressing made from lime juice, fish sauce and sometimes tamarind.
The taste is sweet, sour, salty and spicy all at once, a combination that the Thais love. It’s beautifully refreshing on a hot day.
Som Tam is of Lao origin, but is very common in Northern Thai (Isan) cuisine. It’s also a popular choice in the street food scene in Bangkok, where the salad is often served with additions such as salted crab, or as a complete meal with grilled chicken and sticky rice.
Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia, Salad World: Honey Baked Pumpkin Salad
On walking through the gates of Cuca restaurant in Jimbaran, Bali you get a sense that you are in for a treat. Seated at the kitchen food bar overlooking this busy but well-oiled machine, the kitchen staff go about the business of cooking what will become the most decadent meal of our Bali trip. We couldn’t resist the Chef Tasting Meal; with its nine courses we were more than likely going to have trouble fitting it all in.
We got to item number 4, the salad, when my husband looked at me and said, “Ahh, a no-meat dish?”
I was too busy admiring the plate of honey baked pumpkin, granola, green beans, tarragon and pickled onion in front of me.
“Granola in your salad?” I hear you say.
It was unlike anything we had eaten before. The green beans were so creamy and against the crunch of the granola, it thought, “Why hadn’t I thought of this before?”
But to top it all off, the honey roasted baked pumpkin had so much depth of flavor I was wishing for more.
Rolling Along With Kids
What’s your favorite salad in the world?
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