Every week we have a general meeting here at The Language Room, and in each meeting, we include a fun topic or question. Last week’s topic was: If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right: Favourite weird (but brilliant) food combo? It was interesting to see what people thought was “weird” or “strange”, and in our multi-national team, very few things were deemed strange flavour combos by the whole team.
It had me thinking about how every country has some food combinations which others not from there might find strange. So here’s a list of food combinations you might find questionable or strongly agree with.
Calimoxo – Spain
Pronounced calimocho, this beverage originates in the Basque country, where students and adults will ask for this when partying or in bars. It’s a simple mix of 50% coca cola and 50% cheap red wine. Some find it a crime to mix red wine with a soda, but like many others on this list, it’s best not to judge without trying first – I promise it tastes much better than you would think!
Mango with Chilli and Lime – Latin America
Mango with Chilli and Lime is a popular snack and street food in Latin America. It’s made by peeling the mango and adding chilli and lime juice. It can also be served on top of a slice of cheese or cream cheese (depending on how spicy you want it). You can find this at street vendors all over, and it makes for a surprisingly refreshing and relatively healthy treat.
Elotes – Mexico
Elotes are a popular Mexican street food snack or side dish. It’s corn coated in mayonnaise and sprinkled with cotija cheese, chilli powder, and lime juice. It’s served warm or cold. The combination of corn on the cob and mayonnaise is a classic Mexican street food snack. The lime juice adds a bit of acidity to cut through the richness of the mayo. Cotija cheese is a firm, dry cow’s milk cheese with a salty flavour similar to Parmesan. It’s traditionally used in Mexico as an ingredient for quesadillas or tacos but also works well as a topping on elotes.
Spezi – Germany
Spezi is a popular drink in Germany, but it’s not a traditional German drink. It was invented in the 1970s by two Italian brothers who opened an Italian restaurant in Mannheim, Germany. They used cola as their base and added orange juice to create this unique concoction that would eventually become one of the most popular beverages in Europe. Nowadays, you can order Spezi at any restaurant or bar across Germany, Austria and Switzerland – and even the USA!
Halloumi and Watermelon – Greece/ Cyprus
A popular summer snack in Greece and Cyprus, watermelon and Halloumi may sound like a strange flavour combo. But it’s actually a delicious combination that you should definitely give a try! Halloumi is a hard, salty cheese that can be grilled or fried until golden brown. The saltiness of the cheese balances out the sweetness of watermelon and makes for a refreshing snack in hot weather.
Soup and Popcorn – Latin America
The popcorn and soup combination is popular in Latin America. In Mexico, it’s called “golpe de mazo,” which means “hit with a hammer.” The idea is that when you eat the popcorn with your spoon, it sounds like you are hitting something hard (like a hammer). In other countries like Peru and Colombia, people also eat their soup with popcorn. They call this dish “sopa con palomitas de maiz”. It sounds strange, but popcorn is a good alternative to croutons. The subtle salty flavour and the delicious crunch work great in a blended soup.
French Fries and Ice Cream – Netherlands
You might have a friend who will order an ice cream or milkshake at Mcdonald’s and then a side of fries which they dip into their sweet treat. To some, it sounds horrible, but to others, it’s delicious. Although no one is 100% sure of where this originated, it is a very popular and common snack in the Netherlands, where it’s called “friet met ijs” (fries with ice cream).
Hagelslag – Netherlands
A butter and sprinkle toast or sandwich is a popular snack in Holland. It’s made with butter, sprinkles, and bread. The name in Dutch is “broodje hagelslag” which translates to “chocolate sprinkle sandwich. The sandwich is a popular snack for children, who often enjoy it with an apple or banana. It’s also served at birthday parties in the Netherlands!
This sandwich’s combination of sweet and savoury flavours makes it one of those weird food combinations that surprisingly work well together!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article about out-of-the-ordinary food combinations, and maybe you’ve even been inspired to try one or two! Let us know which weird but wonderful food combo is your favourite – or if we’ve missed any out!