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Hollan
06-05-2008, 05:17 AM
For those who love to travel or just love to eat exotic food, what was your best experience? The food? The place? Why did you love it so much?


Here's mine! I went to Thailand and Cambodia last Christmas and fell in love with Thai food (even more than I already was). Thai iced tea is the best drink ever concocted by humankind. And there is nothing like pad thai in Bangkok. It's perfection. They have the best fresh orange juice I ever tasted (and I didn't get sick drinking it either) and these little coconut pancake things we bought off of the street. I don't even know what they were called, but they were delicious. And Cambodia gets a shout out for there really good monk food (cooked veggies and fake meat made out of mushrooms) and iced coffee ^_^

Next!

katiemac
06-05-2008, 05:40 AM
I haven't traveled a whole lot but I'll never forget nutella crepes in Paris.

Pretty much anything I ate in Paris, really...

JoNightshade
06-05-2008, 05:49 AM
I have two top meals. :)

#1 - Rural China. Some of my students took me out to the other side of the mountain we lived on, where people basically lived in the woods. There was literally just this little concrete three-room structure that this family lived in, and their kitchen had water tapped from a nearby stream. The fire all the food was cooked on was fueled with wood from the mountainside. There were roosters and chickens running around. A student picked out a rooster that looked good and the man of the house picked it up and wrung its neck. Then we sat out under the trees on tree stumps and listened to cicaidas chirp while we ate the best meal I've ever had. I ate every part of that rooster I could get my chopsticks on - head, organs, everything. I sucked the marrow from the bones. There were delicious vegetable dishes, too. All the dishes were old and cracked. And then as we were leaving, the mother ran out and gave me a bag full of bamboo tea she had picked and rolled with her own hands.

#2 - Italian countryside, a villa. (I didn't pay for this - it was work related.) A chef came out to the villa and cooked a full meal, something like four or five courses. I forget what it was, but it was AMAZING. :) It was fun because I sat there and watched him make everything. It ended with tiramisu that was divine. What I remember most is how this was the first time that season the villa had been opened up, and there were wasps in the kitchen. The chef carefully captured and released each insect outside. The person translating for him said "He's a pacifist."

Shady Lane
06-05-2008, 06:14 AM
Best Indian food I ever had--in Hong Kong.

Best Italian food I ever had--in Spain.

Best Chinese food I ever had--in Italy.

TerzaRima
06-05-2008, 06:21 AM
In Dublin--The raw oysters served on a bed of rock salt I had, not half a mile from the bay where they were harvested, served with a pint of Harp and a big warm hunk of brown meal bread straight from the oven...mmmmm. Not fancy, but so satisfying.

Mumut
06-05-2008, 06:58 AM
Queenies, the small scallops found in the waters arounf the Isle of Man.
In Papua New Guinea chicken and sweetpotato baked under the ground with fresh coconut milk.
Buffalo in Darwin. Kangaroo and emu steaks with local spices.
Death by chocolate at Denny's
Thai quail
Green turks head sea snails cooked in their own juices, in the shell.
Berry fruit the way it used to be. With real taste, that is.

brianm
06-05-2008, 07:43 AM
Too many to name one as the best, but your question did bring back some great memories.

Memorable:

The first time I ate Rijsttafel at Dolf Rik's Restaurant in Pattaya Beach, Thailand. I'm crazy for rice, especially when it is served with all kinds of things to mix into it and Rijsttafel comes with at least twelve side dishes.

Humorous:

1) Watching my mother try to eat curry in India with no utensils. She was very prim and proper and the server finally felt so sorry for her he brought her a spoon. Then he told me I was eating with the hand reserved for other uses. (As in bathroom uses.) I was mortified.

2) My father and I traveled together at times on MAT (Military Air Transport) flights when I was a young boy. (He was an American.) One time, after tasting the food served to him out of a lunch bag, he noticed a small piece of paper asking for his critique of the food. He told me to take it into the bathroom and wipe out a 'critique', then place it back in the bag. As you can tell, he was altogether different from my mum. I get my sense of humor from him.

Most fond:

Watching my auntie Margaret cook my breakfast when I was up from boarding school on holiday or for a weekend escape. I can still see her standing in front of her stove with one hand on her hip, tending to my three fried eggs, rashers, and soda bread. Sometimes, when I'm home in Ireland, I'll be making the same meal and I get all weepy. It's funny how certain things can trigger wonderful, warm emotions.

DamaNegra
06-05-2008, 08:04 AM
Freshly baked bread at some restaurant in the US whose name I tend to forget. It was covered in melted butter and tasted absolutely divine.

CatSlave
06-05-2008, 08:24 AM
In Casablanca, monkfish in saffron sauce and creme caramel.

In Little River, California, freshly caught abalone and ling cod.

In Lake Wales, Florida, all the freshly picked grapefruits, oranges, tangerines and avocados growing on our property, still warm from the sun, and the unforgettable smell of orange blossoms.

Mumut
06-05-2008, 01:47 PM
The first time I ate Rijsttafel at Dolf Rik's Restaurant in Pattaya Beach, Thailand. I'm crazy for rice, especially when it is served with all kinds of things to mix into it and Rijsttafel comes with at least twelve side dishes..

Yes indeed. And every one is hot. And some are super hot.

L M Ashton
06-05-2008, 03:24 PM
Watching my mother try to eat curry in India with no utensils. She was very prim and proper and the server finally felt so sorry for her he brought her a spoon. Then he told me I was eating with the hand reserved for other uses. (As in bathroom uses.) I was mortified. Most upscale restaurants here will provide a spoon and fork (no, no knife :tongue. Okay, sometimes a knife.) automatically, but it depends on what kind of place you eat at. In the homes, only the foreigners and the ultra-snobby use utensils.

And, yeah, right hand is for eating. Left hand is for, uh, other things. ;)


My favorite foreign food in Sri Lanka - 1. My mother-in-law's food. She's hands down an excellent cook and I love almost everything she cooks. But not brains or intestines or fish eggs. 2. 7+ - a little hole in the wall place with take away food packets, rice & chicken & vegetable curries for Rs.80, or $0.80 US that's enough to feed Fahim entirely for one meal, two meals for me. Fahim's a pig. :D 3. Most of the places I've gone to for restaurant reviews, mostly because we do upscale places, so it's expensive dining for free. I can handle that. :)

In Dubai - Chilli's. Yeah, chain restaurant that's even in Dubai. But, you know, it had been ages since I'd had anything Mexican or anything even remotely resembling it. Nachos with gobs of cheese - oh my goodness! Yeah, you laugh, but I'm telling you, it was manna from heaven!

In Singapore - Singaporean Chilli Crab. Oh. My. Goodness. I've had it in Sri Lanka, too, but in Singapore... Okay, so now I'm allergic to crab, but a year ago I wasn't, and I loved it.

In Hong Kong - the Hong Kong airport, wouldn't'ya believe? One of those cheapo food court stalls with who knows what it was since I don't read Chinese. Seriously, seafood? Some form of mammal? No idea. But fantastic and yeah, I'd eat it again, whatever it was. :D

In the USA, Bellingham. There was a Mexican restaurant - a mile or two off the highway to Vancouver - no idea what it was called, but the best Mexican (like, real Mexican, not Tex-Mex, not Americanized, but real Mexican) food I've ever had in my life. Humungous servings. Fantastic food. Oh. My.

Elaine Margarett
06-05-2008, 03:37 PM
Churassco and Island Mash (not sure what the Island Mash was except it was some kind of tubers, spieced, mashed and then fried), this on the Island of Culebra.

I was a waitress in college at a Greek restaurant where the cook, who was Spanish, would cook special dinners for the staff after the restaurant closed. The best flan I've ever had! (Of course chasing it down with opiated oozo might have made it seem that much better!)

I also LOVE stuffed grape leaves. Baltimore has a large Greek community and I try to get to Greek town at least once a year.

brianm
06-05-2008, 07:15 PM
In Singapore - Singaporean Chilli Crab. Oh. My. Goodness. I've had it in Sri Lanka, too, but in Singapore... Okay, so now I'm allergic to crab, but a year ago I wasn't, and I loved it.


Oh, I had forgotten about chili crab. Must make some soon. I lived in Singapore for a short period of time. (Not one of my favorite countries, but my brother loves it and has lived there since 1976.)

Best seafood: "Alice's Restaurant" the only 'restaurant' (at that time- circa 1970) located under a lean-to on the beach of an island off the coast of Thailand. There's nothing more wonderful than eating the freshest of seafood shirtless and barefoot with your toes wiggling in the sand. Of course, the ice-cold bottles of Singha beer didn't hurt. Heaven.

Libbie
06-05-2008, 07:19 PM
The most exotic location I have traveled to so far is Victoria, B.C., Canada. But I have a friend who is a die-hard foodie and who drags me all over Seattle and Portland to sample restaurants with her.

My two favorites so far have been a small, authentic Moroccan restaurant in Seattle and Andina, a Peruvian fusion restaurant in Portland, Oregon. I really cannot say enough good things about Andina. Oh my god. Eat there.

Shadow_Ferret
06-05-2008, 07:26 PM
To be honest, I guess in my travels I've never eaten "authentic" foreign food. I've eaten at nice restaurants, but they all seemed to serve seafood, which is pretty generic. Sea bass. Squid (although in Mombasa, the squid was done to perfection, not squeeky rubberbandish like many restaurants here serve it). I guess my favorite authentic food was the Icelandic hotdog, made from sheep, with all it's special sauces.

TerzaRima
06-05-2008, 08:25 PM
I also LOVE stuffed grape leaves.

Mmm mmm grape leaves. I don't think of Middle Eastern food as foreign food, because I grew up on it, but I guess it is: Stuffed grape leaves, mujedra (rice, lentils and fried onions) tabbouleh, spinach pies, cheese pies, fattoush, hummus, baba ganoush. Now I'm hungry and I want a bunch of aunties to cook for me.

WendyNYC
06-05-2008, 08:35 PM
A terra cotta cup of chai, purchased through the window at a train station somewhere in the middle of India, along with these teeny little sweet bananas. Yeah, I know, tea...big deal. But it was made perfectly and I was hungry and if I had one more bowl of vegertable curry I would've screamed.

Elaine Margarett
06-05-2008, 08:46 PM
My two favorites so far have been a small, authentic Moroccan restaurant in Seattle and Andina, a Peruvian fusion restaurant in Portland, Oregon. I really cannot say enough good things about Andina. Oh my god. Eat there.

I went on a quest two weeks ago for Aji Amarilla paste; a key ingrediant in Peruvian food. A friend of a friend is Peruvian and we've a tradition of getting together on 4th of July for a big cookout. Carlos put himself thru college working in restaurants and I love everything he makes. I ended up ordering the paste on line and I'm sure spent way to much for it (shipping has gotten out of hand!) but it's worth every golden ounce.

EM

Shadow_Ferret
06-05-2008, 09:14 PM
Mmm mmm grape leaves.

That's foreign? I get it at my local Pick'n'Save in their salad bar.

I think the interesting thing is that, as America, we ARE the melting pot of the world. There ARE no foreign foods. They're all American. They might have had foreign origins at one time, but if you think about it, even foods that we think of as All-American, had their start somewhere else.

Like Frankfurters and Hamburgers, for instance.

Hollan
06-05-2008, 10:48 PM
Mmm mmm grape leaves. I don't think of Middle Eastern food as foreign food, because I grew up on it, but I guess it is: Stuffed grape leaves, mujedra (rice, lentils and fried onions) tabbouleh, spinach pies, cheese pies, fattoush, hummus, baba ganoush. Now I'm hungry and I want a bunch of aunties to cook for me.

I'm hungry now too! Can I come over and enjoy your aunties' cooking?

Hollan
06-05-2008, 10:57 PM
I think the interesting thing is that, as America, we ARE the melting pot of the world. There ARE no foreign foods. They're all American. They might have had foreign origins at one time, but if you think about it, even foods that we think of as All-American, had their start somewhere else.

True, most foreign restaurants in the US are Americanized in some way. But some are more authentic than others. There's a great Japanese place near my house that has tempura just like I had when I lived in Japan. Yummy! And the best miso soup too. Only I can't find ramen in the US like I did in Japan. Nothing like a big bowl of fresh ramen, I'll tell you that. I can't find dango anywhere either. And I love dango! I also had the best Indian food in Japan at a little place called Shanti's in Kita-Narashino (Chiba prefecture). It was run my an Indian family and they were awesome. Best cheese nan ever!

Oh, and the restaurants in other countries that cater to foreigners are never as good as the ones the locals eat at. Maybe that's why you never had really authentic food in your travels (also, I don't eat seafood). I always ask the locals where they eat, then got try it out. I've never been disappointed ^_^

Shadow_Ferret
06-05-2008, 10:59 PM
Oh, and the restaurants in other countries that cater to foreigners are never as good as the ones the locals eat at. Maybe that's why you never had really authentic food in your travels (also, I don't eat seafood). I always ask the locals where they eat, then got try it out. I've never been disappointed ^_^
Might also be because I was in the Navy and only stopped at port cities, which naturally have an availability of fresh fish.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
06-06-2008, 12:28 AM
There's a little place here in Oklahoma City called the 'Mediterranean Deli'. They introduced me to hummus, tabouli, and gyros. Oh. My. It's good that I love garlic.

When we were in Cancun a thousand years ago (before it became the Spring Break/HS Graduation party destination of the Century) I had tacos on the beach. Little tiny ol' woman under a thatch umbrella with a greasy cast iron contraption full of charcoal made them to order. Everything was fresh and crisp and cooked to perfection - and each taco cost a whopping 25 cents.

icerose
06-06-2008, 12:46 AM
In the far reaches of exotic south-eastern...Utah...I have sampled many strange and unusual dishes.

From a casserole made from green beans, soup, and tater tots to the unusual blend of spaghetti with ketchup for sauce.

When I beheld objects such as fruits and vegetables suspended in jello, I shirked from my tasting adventures and passed that jiggly dish by.

(I know this is a serious thread but I've never traveled, and they really do serve some...interesting...dishes here.)

My favorite foreign food is a toss up between crepes, princess tea cakes (we call them wedding cookies), and sticky rice with sweetened and condensed milk topped with mangos (A Thai dish) though I am really partial to Chinese food. I love Chinese food.

StephanieFox
06-06-2008, 01:14 AM
Oh, so many wonderful dishes!

On the Mexican island (Isla Mujures), we sat at a beach cafe and watch fisherman beach their small boats, clean their catch, take their catch to the open-air kitchen and we had that for lunch.

In the Narobi Hilton, I had the best icy Cream of Avocado soup I'd ever had. I've been trying to reproduce it ever since.

In Israel's resort town of Eilat, we had grilled beef tonsils and we liked them so much, we went back the next day and ordered them again. (They are kinda like sweetbreads.)

In Iceland, unable to afford the $200 dinners at the regular restaurants, we went to Pizza Hut and had the Icelandic Special with smoked lamb. Yummy!

In Minnesota, freshly caught Shore Lunch pike and sunnys.

Claudia Gray
06-06-2008, 01:23 AM
In Paris in the 1990s, we found this great Israeli restaurant that was to die for. Then, in 2007, we found a place that cooked the most amazing steak and had great house wines -- we just kept going back, having more steak and more of the wine.

In Rome, I had this great pizza marinara in a little cafe not far from the Vatican.

In Iceland, we found this tiny crepes shop and kept going back for chicken curry crepes! Crazy sounding, yummy tasting.

In a few months, I am headed to South America. Looking forward to more culinary adventures --

Hollan
06-06-2008, 04:02 AM
When I beheld objects such as fruits and vegetables suspended in jello, I shirked from my tasting adventures and passed that jiggly dish by.

Mmm, jello with fruit. One of my favorite exotic dishes ^_^

AndreaGS
06-07-2008, 12:52 AM
While staying in Ayutthaya, Thailand last February, my fiance and I stumbled across a Chinese New Year festival.

There were booths and booths of all sorts of foods. If it smelled good, we tried some. There were quail eggs, dumplings, pad thai...some of it I didn't know what it was, but it tasted great!

HeronW
06-07-2008, 02:20 AM
InSerbia a couple of years ago, stopped for lunch--spagetti, and they put spicy papprika in the sauce--very odd tasting but good.

Scotland: Shepherd's Pie and that after an 'appetizer' of a whole cold chicken.

In London had some awesome Indian food in peanut sauce and spicy--whee--next day I had no voice--non--my vocal cords had shut down in protest.

Israel: kebab--mixed lamb beef patties next to majaderra--a rice dish with lentils and a bit of spice, and for dessert --k'nafa--orange crispy shreaded wheat based topping over a firmish sweet cream cheese and maple syrup over that GAWD! AWESOME!

mscelina
06-07-2008, 02:27 AM
For me it's a tossup--and both in France. Fresh caught escargot--we 'caught' them--which were delish. And then...chamomile flowers lightly battered, fried, and then rolled in granulated sugar. YUM.

icerose
06-07-2008, 02:45 AM
Mmm, jello with fruit. One of my favorite exotic dishes ^_^

Haha, things suspended in jello scare me. Heck, I don't even like jello unless it has enough whipped cream mixed with it.

Marian Perera
06-07-2008, 02:55 AM
chamomile flowers lightly battered, fried, and then rolled in granulated sugar.

I like noting exotic foods for characters in my work to eat, but fried flowers are a new one. Thanks!

brianm
06-07-2008, 03:25 AM
I like noting exotic foods for characters in my work to eat, but fried flowers are a new one. Thanks!

One of my favorite finger foods are fried squash blossoms. If you've never seen them, they are quite large, bright orange tubular flowers. I grow zucchini and yellow squash every summer specifically for the blossoms. I store them in a bowl of iced water in the refrigerator until I have enough, then I shake off excess water, roll them in a mixture of breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, and then deep-fry them.

They are crunchy and thin like potato chips with a background flavor of the squash. I serve them with a bowl of homemade tomato sauce for dipping.

They are also delicious stuffed and baked.

Hollan
06-07-2008, 07:33 AM
One of my favorite finger foods are fried squash blossoms. If you've never seen them, they are quite large, bright orange tubular flowers. I grow zucchini and yellow squash every summer specifically for the blossoms. I store them in a bowl of iced water in the refrigerator until I have enough, then I shake off excess water, roll them in a mixture of breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, and then deep-fry them.

They are crunchy and thin like potato chips with a background flavor of the squash. I serve them with a bowl of homemade tomato sauce for dipping.

They are also delicious stuffed and baked.

That sounds so good. I wish I had a garden to grow squash now!

Elaine Margarett
06-07-2008, 04:35 PM
One of my favorite finger foods are fried squash blossoms. If you've never seen them, they are quite large, bright orange tubular flowers. I grow zucchini and yellow squash every summer specifically for the blossoms.
.

They are also delicious stuffed and baked.

Ummm, they sound wonderful. I love fried squash; something I never ate until I came to Maryland, so I assume it's a southern thing. But fried blossoms; I've never heard of them. I'm going to raid my friend's garden and give them a try!

EM

brianm
06-07-2008, 06:22 PM
Ummm, they sound wonderful. I love fried squash; something I never ate until I came to Maryland, so I assume it's a southern thing. But fried blossoms; I've never heard of them. I'm going to raid my friend's garden and give them a try!

EM

When I was younger, I traveled the summer opera circuit with my mum. Our base, an apartment situated about 20 minutes outside of Florence, Italy, had a lovely small market within walking distance. Many days I would go to the local market, buy a great loaf of bread, some cheese, and the blossoms. They made for an excellent lunch with a glass of Chianti. Then I'd hop the bus to downtown Florence and find my favorite dispenser of gelato. I'd hop the bus back home, take a nap, and then be off to the opera house for that night's performance which was always followed by a great feast at some local restaurant that continued until the wee hours of the morning.

Unfortunately, it would end too soon and I would have to fly back home to Ireland and my boarding school outside of Dublin. Traveling all over Europe with my mum during those summer holidays remain some of my dearest memories of my childhood.

nicolen
06-07-2008, 11:04 PM
The street food in Thailand - some of the best Pad Thai, spring rolls etc that I've ever eaten.

A place in Singapore that served the best curries ever - although, I wasn't game enough to try the fish head curry!

Melbourne, Australia as a whole - fantastic eating everywhere and prices ranging from very cheap all the way up to fine dining experiences.

But the best meal ever was in Sydney at Tetsuya's. Certainly not cheap, but the best food I have ever eaten. I'm probably going to have to remortgage my house to afford to go there again, but it'd be worth it!

L M Ashton
06-08-2008, 05:28 AM
You just reminded me of Mustafa's. It's an Indian discount department store in Singapore - a maze where the same type of thing might be found in five different places. Completely disorganized and a total mess, but great deals. Just outside one entrance is a fast food joint that looks rather pathetic. We were hungry, though, so... We had some of the oddest French fries with curry gravy that were so addictive and good! Can't remember what else we ate, but it was snarfed up faster than you could say Boo! It was surprisingly good, especially for a fast food joint.