People travel to foreign places fueled by different desires. There are some who like to enjoy a scenery that is completely different from their home town; others like mingling with people of different backgrounds; shopping for exotic products does the trick for other tourists; and there are some who want to experience a place through the food that it serves. Experiencing a place through food taps into all your senses: the smell wafting in the air even before your meal is served gives you an idea of the flavors that await you; the presentation on the plate helps increase your appetite; and your enjoyment relies heavily on the taste and texture of the food as you consume it. Here are a couple memorable meals you might like to try next time you find yourself in the following places.
1. SMORREBROD (COPENHAGEN)
This is a kind of sandwich that the Danish have perfected. For others who aren’t too familiar with the Smorrebrod, it is an open faced sandwich that comes with an assortment of fillings. Over at Aamanns delicatessen, the Smorrebrodds served to customers can be quite decadent. If you visit this place, you will be serve some home made dark bread topped with silver eel that’s cured to perfection, a quail egg that was poached at just the right temperatures, and lots of asparagus that was thoroughly marinated in vinaigrette; all of these foods are neatly arranged on your plate.
2. HANGER STEAK (CAMBRIDGE)
For those who think that steaks are simply giant slabs of meat cooked on a barbeque catering to quantity and not quality, then perhaps it’s high time you try the Hanger Steak in Cambridge. When you get to the city, go straight to Tony Maws for some steak that you won’t be likely to forget anytime soon. At Tony Maws, prepare to sink your teeth into a tender slice of beef, topped with rich and creamy bone marrow, confit made from smoked tongue and some caramelized onions. But let’s not forget the special sauce mixed with foie gras and also some walnuts.
3. PORK BUN (NEW YORK)
Don’t be fooled by the simplistic name; the Pork Bun at the famous Momofuku Noodle Bar run by David Chang is worth every single bite. This dish consists of a very light bun filled with generous slices of pork belly that is roasted over slow fire, hoisin sauce, plus some cucumber for something neutral that adds a bit of crunch.
4. SUSHI ( SAN FRANCISCO)
One reason why San Francisco is a great place to enjoy sushi is because this is where some of the best fish in the United States end up. Over at Sebo, you can never have enough of the sushi being dished out by managers Michael Black and his partner, Daniel Dunham. The masters inside Sebo’s kitchen take their inspiration on sushi preparation from Japan’s Edo period. Don’t believe us? Pop a Hokkaido in your mouth and you wouldn’t want to leave your spot. If you want to try more of their dishes, order the saury pike that is cooked so delicately, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been eating it all your life.
5. POACHED DUCK EGG (CHICAGO)
We bet you don’t usually whip up some eggs and toast with bacon at your home for dinner. However, the Green Zebra restaurant in Chicago does exactly but with an interesting twist. If you order the poached duck egg at the Green Zebra, it will be served to you on some sour dough bread that was grilled, slathered with hickory potatoes that are pureed, not mashed.
6. SHORT RIB TACO (LOS ANGELES)
Don’t bother looking for the permanent address of the place that serves this truly delicious short rib taco; Chef Roy Choi serves his products from the window of his Kogi Taco truck. If you want to be updated on where he’ll be in the coming days, follow the Filipino-American Chef Choi on Twitter. This way, you can treat yourself to some of the best ribs slash taco in town. A bit confused on what this dish really is? Chef Choi barbeques some ribs Korean style and then wraps them in tortillas for your enjoyment.
7. TAPAS (MIAMI)
Sampling many dishes from a diverse menu is one way of enjoying an otherwise monotonous meal. If you’re feeling peckish, you can try the tapas at Sra. Martinez located in Miami’s Design District. Sample the huge Madagascar prawns; the Medjool dates that are filled with yummy blue cheese and then wrapped in bacon; or the quail pinchos topped with the pomegranate glaze and spiced with harissa.
8. GUMBO (NEW ORLEANS)
There is simply no better way to eat seafood than to visit a place that’s right by the water, where the food is guaranteed to be fresh and delicious. The seafood gumbo in New Orleans is as fresh and delicious as they come. Stuff yourself with the local shrimp, slithery oysters, and sweet crab from the Lake Pontchartrain.
9. TORTILLA SOUP ( MEXICO CITY )
The tortilla soup is hands down the most popular comfort food that you can find in Mexico. At Mexico City, take a seat inside the Azul y Oro, a local cafe that serves a terrific bowl of refreshing and rejuvenating tortilla soup. This dish is flavored with paste made of guajillo-chile, some tangy crema, plus pasilla chile cut into strips. This is a far cry from the bowl of watery substance that you are used to finding at the enchilada place downtown.
10. GRILLED SIRLOIN (BUENOS AIRES)
Meat is a very popular component of the local cuisine in Buenos Aires. It is not surprising then that steak is a staple in many households. The La Brigada steak house located right inside the city, there is no deficit of steaks, and definitely no shortage of customers, either. Among the patrons that frequently visit the La Brigada steak house and keep the kitchen staff busy are athletes particularly the men belonging to the soccer team that compete during the nationals. Don’t forget to try the colita de lomo; basically this is a dish made of sirloin tail that is cooked to a point that you can use a spoon to cut it.
11. BLINI AND CAVIAR (LIMA)
Most of you out there may not be familiar with blini and caviar. Basically, this dish consists of pancakes that are made out of the native breadfruit. It is served with a type of sour cream, that is made of pureed chestnut and milk; plus some roe taken from the carachama that are so fresh they practically glisten in their yellow hue.
12. JERK PORK (PORTLAND PARISH IN JAMAICA)
For some real hardcore jerk, we suggest you visit the Boston Jerk Center located near Port Antonio, which happens to be the area’s spiritual capital. The pork served here is specially marinated in some Scotch bonnet paste mixed with chile and also spices; it is then cooked over a bonfire. What makes this meal extra special is that you have to use pimiento twigs (the green ones) for the bonfire.
13. MANIOCAS (SAO PAULO)
The next time you visit Sao Paulo, make sure that you head off to Mani restaurant and order their signature dish: the maniocas. Mani is run by Chef Helena Rizzo, who used to be a local model; and Daniel Redondo, also a chef and incidentally, her husband. The maniocas is a dish that consists of the foamy sauce that you get from coconut milk, and the tart extract that you get from the manioc root; it is subsequently served with some roasted tubers that are popular in South America. In case you were wondering, yes, the manioc is also known as the cassava.
14. CURRYWURST (BERLIN)
Don’t believe the fools who tell you that there is no food in Germany worth traveling for. The currywurst is so popular (and delicious!) in Berlin, that recently, a brand new museum was erected that showcases exhibits all devoted to this dish. The currywurst is basically a sausage made of pork and served with a generous helping of ketchup spiked with curry. The currywurst is an ideal meal to have when you’re in a hurry, or when you’re looking for something to ease your hunger pangs in the middle of the night. For a full meal, try ordering the einmal ohne darm mit pommes rot weik and enjoy some skinless currywurst with fries on the side and of course, mayonnaise and ketchup for condiments.
15. BAKLAVA (ISTANBUL)
To fly over miles and miles of water to Istanbul and not eat a single slice of baklava is a thought that we consider to be a bit disturbing. Don’t forget to adjust your itinerary so that you can pop by the Karkoy Gulluoglu Baklavara for some truly delicious baklava. Here, the baklava is chock full of pistachios that came all the way from Eastern Barak, flavored with aromatic and fragrant syrup, and brushed with butter courtesy of the local sheep. You can have a slice and take it with you to the Karakoy docks, so you can eat it as you admire the reflection of the massive mosques upon the water.
16. SMOKED FISH PLATE (DUBLIN, IRELAND)
After having a pint or two at the local pub, don’t forget to check out the Winding Stair restaurant in Dublin, Ireland. Downstairs you’ll find the bookstore; but aside from books, the Winding Stair offers the smoked fish plate that has garnered local acclaim. When your order arrives, don’t be surprised that the food comes on one wooden plank instead of a plate. But bother not about the plank because you’ll be sure to enjoy an assortment of smoked fish including arctic char, organic salmon, and fresh mackerel. Aside from the smoked fish, you will also get some home made pickles, brown bread, and a pot of some creme fraiche.
17. LAMB SHOULDER (PARIS)
Ah, Paris. You didn’t seriously think we’d leave out this city, did you? The uniqueness of Paris lies in its ability to be a modern, sophisticated, high class, bustling city whose local culinary specialties include–wait for it–the lamb shoulder. Cancel all your appointments for the day and dedicate it to the appreciation of le lamb shoulder at a local restaurant. At the Jadis bistro, the lamb shoulder (we don’t get tired of saying it) is placed inside a clean, copper casserole on top of mogette beans and is roasted until it practically melts in your mouth. Yum…lamb shoulder.
18. COCIDO (MADRID)
Simply put, cocido means boiled dinner. Wait, wait; we know what you’re thinking and please believe us when we say that cocido is nothing like boiling a potato and having it for dinner. First off cocido usually consists of a number of ingredients whose mixture of flavors excite and tickle your palate. To make it, you start with some consomme made from smoked beef; then you add a number of cooked meats such as blood sausage, jamon (ham), and chorizo; after that, you add vegetables like garbanzos (chick peas) and let the whole thing boil away on the stove.
19. HALIBUT COLLAR CURRY (LONDON)
The next time you take a vacation in London, don’t forget to go to the Hix Oyster and Chop House. Order the halibut collar curry and feast on the fish’s collar, which is the meaty part of the fish located at the back of the head. The exotic taste of the curry may remind you of Pakistani cuisine.
20. PASTA ALLA CARBONARA ( ROME)
This carbonara isn’t simply a bag of spaghetti cooked with a can of cream of mushroom soup. The Vineria Roscioli makes use of two special kinds of the pecorino cheese, eggs from Livornese hens, and guanciale to give you a tasty plate of pasta alla carbonara.
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