Given the amount of deliciousness I’ve inhaled in the past five months, there may be some glaring gaps in this list, so feel free to weigh in on YOUR votes for best world food of 2009.
As before, please click on the blue links to access further photos and words about each scrumptious meal.
Now, please enjoy photos of food in Florence, Italy as we unveil…
The Seven Most DELICIOUS Foods of Around the World, 2009:
7. Japanese sushi.
It’s rather bittersweet to add this to the list, given how crazy expensive food (and everything!) in Japan was, but when my friend and I put that sushi to our tongues… it was a cloud of angel soft love! This does not apply to the sushi that was still moving when it was served. That was just freaky.
6. Desserts in Cambodia.
Partially because of the French influence, chocolate desserts in Cambodia were some of the best I’ve had in my life. The inexpensive chocolate ice cream in Siem Reap was rich, decadent, and powerful enough to keep me dreaming about it months later. Good stuff!
5. Italian specialties (many pictured here!).
Home of pizza, gelato, pasta, wine, juicy ripe tomatoes, and most everything else that brings gastronomical joy, Italy is a foodie’s dream. Look at that vibrant saffron-lemon spinach ricotta ravioli, pictured above!
Because this week I have been reunited with my beloved family, we have been able to each order different dishes, then divide up everything in order to more fully sample the Florentine food spectrum. Mmm! I especially loved the ribollita (mushed veggies, bread and beans) pictured to the lower right.
Note: do you like the photo to the left of the pig’s feet and lentils that my brother ordered as Italian good luck on New Years? Yeah, let’s stick with the pasta.
4. Vietnamese Pho, Bun Bo Nam Bo, and Banh Xeo… plus the Western expat cafes in Hanoi!
Vietnamese food in Vietnam was not like the Vietnamese food I regularly scarfed down back in Boston, but thanks to kind guides who explained what to order (plus a little trial and error), the tastes were stunning.
3. Fresh Fruits, especially in Thailand.
Wait, you mean a mango doesn’t cost three dollars in Southeast Asia like it does at home?! Wait, you mean I can have fruit every single morning for cheap, then three times an afternoon from sidewalk vendors?! AMAZING! New favorites include: dragonfruit, sapodilla, and excessive amounts of papaya.
2. World-class Restaurants of Vientiane and Luang Prabang, Laos.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find better culinary value for your dollar than these two cities in Laos. Throughout Southeast Asia, I kept meeting chefs who were headed to Laos for a food pilgrimage, or to meet other chefs who had permanently moved there. I didn’t believe it until I arrived and began absolutely stuffing myself with the most delicious, inexpensive food imaginable.
Literally: you will eat like royalty for less than five dollars. And the waiters and waitresses are extremely nice, too!
1. Mango Sticky Rice, Thailand.
I thought it would taste awful. I thought it was a dinner entree, not a dessert. I didn’t get why they poured that coconut milk on top. I was a fool! Learning about mango sticky rice was worth the price of the plane ticket to Asia.
Yum. Three cheers for eating our way across the Planet Earth!