Do Taste-buds Travel?


Wednesday 28 August, 2013 by Uncle Spike

Is it just me, or are taste-buds somehow not quite as nomadic as we would like them to be?

images (1)


Now I’m not talking about how they work ‘during’ travelling, no, no, no… that works just fine for most of us; enjoying the local cuisine wherever we travel. What irritates me is how taste-buds seem to have a mind of their own when it comes to the ‘after’ travelling mode, that’s what I’m talking about.

Not clear?  Let me try and explain my limited thought pattern here.

downloadI live in Turkey, and I love Turkish cuisine. That’s no big deal, but hold on, I was raised in England. Ok, so that’s also no big deal I hear you say. Sure… so why then do I now so dislike a mug of strong English tea with milk living here in Turkey.

download (4)And conversely, I vividly recall from years gone by, after returning to the UK after long holidays in Turkey, drinking Turkish çay (black tea) every day, that even though I took back some Turkish tea and even the local tea glasses with me, it always tasted… well, just ‘wrong’. Soon after, I would always revert back to PG Tips with milk; until my next trip to Turkey.

download (2)Here’s another one. We were in Greece last year. It’s just a hop across the water from here, literally just 15 minutes. The culture there is very much ‘everything coffee’, from filter coffee, to cappuccinos, to coffee espresso ice-creams (seriously) and of course, Frappé or Freddo… cold coffees. No problem, we soon forgot all about our Turkish çay and happily became members of the Freddo cappuccino appreciation society. So why then when my wife made a Freddo cappuccino, did her taste-buds shout out “nooooo, your’e not in Greece now my dear!”…?

download (5)Other anomalies to consider. Why do burgers taste great in the states, and crap everywhere else? Is always really just a matter of ingredients or recipe differentials  or is there some automated GPS fed cultural switch inbuilt within our taste-buds that makes them go into ‘local-mode’ (like a smartphone’s clock)?

I guess I’ll continue to be mystified by this one. Am I alone?

15 thoughts on “Do Taste-buds Travel?

  1. dunelight says:

    Location is everything?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m the opposite of a world traveler and found this very thought provoking. “Well done” is something that I “rarely” stop in to say because blogging is such a time-consuming “medium”. 😉


  3. timecollage says:

    Maybe it’s where you had that first food/drink for the very first time, and the memory of that first time is better than anything else. Like my memory of my first burger, which incidentally was in Romania, and I’d never eaten anything so good in my entire life! Now, I no longer eat burgers, but the ones here did not impress me so much, but there are some good ones to be honest. I don’t know.


  4. Gill McGrath says:

    I don’t want to be a spoil sport here but Cadbury Chocolate Cream eggs taste eggsactly the same where ever you go !. We have to send them over to our lot in the USA because they can’t get hold of them there. unless they or we arrange them to be flown over from here by Amazon and they apparently taste better than anything at all there, especially if they arrive in a very big box..Absolutely no problems


  5. Don’t drink tea :p
    Not keen on coffee either :/
    I don’t like milk outside of the UK though and I drink about a pint a day 😉


    • Uncle Spike says:

      lol… Turkish cows still go “moo”. Anyway, fresh milk from the cow you can hear from your balcony beats any stuff in a box I reckon. Cousin Spike always goes with me and likes to say “thank you” to mrs cow.


  6. Mark smith says:

    You are spot on. Fruit beer just tastes disgusting everywhere except Belgium!


  7. peteandlu says:

    I bought çay this summer in Turkey because we loved it so much. Now we’re back in Greece and the çay has lost it’s appeal. The weather’s the same, many similarities in the environment but the çay doesn’t work. I can’t figure it out either!


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