In case you hadn’t noticed yet, we LOVE Bacon!!
We know, you probably never would have guessed that we were vegetarians for 4 years because we talk about bacon so much. But bacon is just one of those things that you must make an exception for (ok, and sushi…and BACON SUSHI! Crispy, salty, greasy yumminess – that’s what it’s all about! All Americans understand what bacon is, even though we tend to have some differences in our personal preferences. Most people like the straight up, traditional bacon – thinly sliced strips of smoked pig with a roughly 50/50 ratio of fat to meat. Some people like it extra crispy, some like it almost raw. Now, there are some variations on this theme – apple wood smoked, thick sliced, turkey bacon, vegetarian bacon – you name it, we’ve got It. Or so we thought.
Then we traveled abroad for the first time back in 2001 to Ireland. We were quite unpleasantly surprised when our “traditional Irish breakfast” showed up and instead of having real bacon, we had Canadian bacon on our plates.
We knew Canadian bacon existed, but we figured that they were the only weird ones out there and that everyone else in the world had normal bacon. We were wrong. We have now come to figure out that we were very wrong. The majority of the other countries we have now traveled to do not do bacon like the US. They do bacon like Canada. It’s tasty, but it’s not bacon – it’s ham. This means that when we find real bacon we get pretty excited by it. The problem was that wherever we went outside the US it was always a crapshoot when we asked for “bacon” and the odds were usually not in our favor. We refused to believe that the entire world was so ignorant as to simply lump “real bacon” and “Canadian ham/bacon” into the same category but until recently that has been indeed the case.
New Zealand is the very first place that we’ve been to that sells both types of bacon and it is yet another of the many reasons we freaking love these people. They’ve created a naming system so you can differentiate between real bacon and not-real bacon. The real stuff is called “streaky bacon” for obvious reasons.
(Ok, not obvious to Greg – it’s because the fat in American-style bacon makes “streaks” therefore “streaky bacon.”)
The other stuff it either called middle bacon or shoulder bacon. (We suggested just calling it “ham” but they didn’t like that as much.) It’s created the same way as real bacon, but it definitely cooks up differently.
Oh, and it’s all thick sliced bacon. Which is a bummer since we prefer thin crispy bacon. They don’t do that here, they just have the one type of streaky (aka: Real and actually worthy of the name of) bacon and they usually only cook it until it’s not raw.
But at least they have it and we can cook it ourselves!
Although we’re super excited that the Kiwis have figured out what real bacon is (and is not) and have even created a naming convention so that the international community can finally agree as to what exactly is actually on that breakfast plate, we still haven’t been able to find it in a restaurant. They almost always serve the middle or shoulder bacon and not the streaky stuff. Which is weird because with everything else they decided belonged on a burger you’d figure that at some point someone would have decided to swap out that ham… sorry…“middle bacon” with a piece of “streaky bacon” to go with the eggs. But that’s ok, because for a few weeks we had an apartment in Helensville and we made our own tasty, crispy bacon!
You would think that Tahiti, capital of French Polynesia and all, with the pig roasts and fine French dining and whatnot, would have figured out the whole Bacon thing. Sad to say it, but you’d be wrong.
Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures. If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out at www.CoastGuardCouple.com!