Once upon a time, my family lived down in Bolivia. In the evenings, a row of vendors would start up their grills near our apartment and sear all kinds of meats. The smell was amazing and always drew a crowd of people for dinner, and a decent amount of stray dogs. I have vivid memories of nights sitting on the corner, eating a bunch of thin-sliced cow heart kabobs (don’t knock it until you try it) with peanut sauce off a paper plate. It’s a smell, a flavor, a feeling locked into my brain from that place.

Last year, a local farmer gave me a cow heart (again, don’t knock it!) We sliced and grilled it ourselves in the backyard, made some spicy peanut sauce and invited the neighbors over. I didn’t do it as well as the guys in Bolivia, but the moment I took a bite, I was THERE again. That’s exactly what food can do to you. These flavors embed themselves in our memories, and we get whisked to another place when we taste them again.

The world is getting smaller when it comes to cuisine, and our palates are getting broader. Years ago, you couldn’t find Ethiopian food in Indiana, but now you can. International restaurants are everywhere and can give you the authentic flavors of faraway places right here at home! Here are a few to put on your list.

Jamaican Reggae Grill has the flavors of the island right here in Hamilton County. You like authentic jerk chicken? This is your spot!

Tucanos Brazilian Grill in Noblesville is the ultimate meat mecca. Churrasco style dining means your plate is continuously crowded with mouthwatering cuts of beef and pork.

St. Yared Ethiopian Cuisine in Fishers will give you the full experience, complete with the pancake-like bread used to scoop up portions of seasoned meats and vegetables.

And Tina’s Traditional English Tea Room in downtown Carmel is the definition of charm. They serve exquisite little cucumber sandwiches, cheese scones and a whole host of across-the-pond specialties, in addition to perfectly-steeped pots of tea.

Relive the tastes of the places you’ve visited, or taste it for the first time. It’s all here in Hamilton County! Tag us in your foreign foodie adventures using #visithc. Happy eating!