Have Food, Will Travel

Going again on the travel kick, I'm going to discuss some of my favorite cuisines around the world.
There are some rules though:
1. USA counts -Regional American cuisines can be included
2. International Cuisines can only be places I've visited - Thai food does not count (someday Thailand!!!!!)
3. This only a top 10, no order, just my favorites - though I may push this past 10.

Hopefully, I can inspire you to try some varieties of food for you to enjoy!

1. Spanish Food - No not Mexican, Dominican and other Latino-cuisines (let me know if you want a link to the video of the Latina lady who defined the difference between all). I'm talking Spanish food from Spain and primarily their tapas. I have had a few main dishes, but the tapas are what run the food here. From quail eggs on crusted bread, baranjas (caramelized eggplant), pig ears, pimentos de pedron, churros con chocolate, manchego cheese, iberico ham or pulpa (octopus) it's all glorious. Tapas are usually reasonably priced, full of flavor and a high variety in types of food categories they can hit.

2. Turkish Food - Personally, this is my favorite Middle Eastern cuisine so far as I have never seen so many creative food ideas that don't take into account pork. Turkish food designs are often creative or strikingly simple. At one point you could be eating kofte, clay pot stews, or fancy muhallebi. Meanwhile, the next moment you're having kebabs, simits and turkish delight. Overall, it's some of the food that is amazing whether you eat as a sultan or a servant. I miss it.

3. Texas BBQ - In praise of Texas? Yes, one of concepts Texas does best is BBQ. Memphis, Kansas City and the Carolinas can argue, but Texas mesquite or hickory smoked BBQ is some of the best around. The hot links and ribs are certainly great. The mac and cheese, greens and other sides are also great. However, the main reason why this entry is here is because of how much I sorely miss Texas brisket. Nobody does BBQ brisket better.

4. Japanese Food - Not sushi! Granted, I love sushi, but there's so much more to explore with Japanese food than you think. Ramen, tonkatsu, tempura, Kobe beef, all kinds of skewers, teas, and cuttlefish pancakes (I keep forgetting how to spell the name - onomiyaki?) are all full of flavor and show how diverse Japanese food is. Sadly, I can't speak on the dessert here as I realized outside of heavenly mochi, I haven't really had any Japanese dessert.

5. South African Braai - South Africans know how to grill. Whether you go to Mzoli's (might be gone) and get a huge heap of meats to grill or go to the Codfather for a variety of fish to grill, you will not be disappointed. The most fun aspect of South African Braai, which is essentially BBQ, is that you're going to eat a lot of non-traditional animals: Crocodiles, Kangaroos, Ostriches, Mozambican tiger shrimp, King Klip, Roughy, Impalas, and Warthogs. To top it all off you can enjoy your meal with either wines from Stellenbosch or the divine liquor, Amarula.

6. Brazilian Food - You know about Churrasco, with all of the glorious meats, but do you know about the wonderful taste of capirinhas, acai, coconut water, any fruit you can think of, feijoada, empanadas, and mate. While Churrasco aligns with my preference for flavorful meats, Brazil also does a great job with fruit and blended flavors. The one morose fact I'll admit is that I didn't try the coffee here......

7. Italian Food - Only when in Italy. From no salt in their bread, sumptuous table wine, and a much healthier sense of ingredients, the Italians have a much better grapple on their cuisine than their immigrants in the US do. Pasta is better, gelato is better, gnocchi, crostinis and many other Italian dishes are made with fresher produce, but less grease. Now, the one valid argument I'll give the US is how pizza is made. Italian pizza was pretty good, but New York, Chicago, Turkish style, and a little lady in Morocco have all made better pizza. I didn't have pizza from Naples, thus I'll have to save that for next time. No matter what, pizza is glorious.

8. Peruvian Food - Surprisingly diverse, Peruvian food is another country that likes to cook everything. The non-GMO maize with queso, anticuchos (cow hearts), guinea pig empanadas, lean alpaca meat, cuy, coca and choco tea, coffee, a variety of juices, and of course ceviche. All the food is the country is a creative use of peasant food that elevates it to another lady. Furthermore, the desserts of alfajors, turron and tejas are sweet but not overwhelming. Lastly, you can top all this off with the national pisco sour or if you can find the purple corn drink of chica.

9. Portuguese Food - Everyone could assume that at some point I was going to put my mother's homeland food. However, the food here is absolutely wonderful if you can get over the whole cooked seafood idea. For instance, the balcalhau (cod) has all its bones in it and the lobster is thrown into a stew head and body included. However, the stews and flavor of the fish are quite nice. The seafood overall is the biggest food draw, but one can't forget its influence on Brazil with feijoada and linguica. The dessert of pastel de nata is also wonderful (egg custard, the original). Also, ginja, the liquor is exuberant but sweet while the wide variety of port and tawny wines are some of the best wine you'll have on this earth. Lastly, remember that the Portuguese influenced nearly half of the food I mentioned above (Brazil, Japan, Peru and South Africa).

10. New York Cuisine - While I argue that Chicago has some of the best purely American food from hot dogs and pizza to cheesecake. Still, I live in New York and with that comes all the fun quirks of food in New York. Bagels, locs, kosher food, pizza, steak, cheesecake, cronuts and a variety of speakeasies are all done with a New York twist. As such, food in one part of the US, may have a completely different name, style or taste in New York. As such, this makes for a lot of fun in finding new appreciations for food. When this is all coupled with a good bourbon or drinking a Manhattan in Manhattan, you will feel fantastic. Lastly, all the food aforementioned and more can be found in this city. Happy Eating!!!!!

Honorable Mention: Mexican food. I love it. Whether Oaxacan mole and cheese, California burritos, tacos or Tex-Mex fajitas, it's all wonderful. However, this was a food I had much stronger appreciation for in California and Texas. Then I traveled the world and I found a whole lot of other food I love.