Best Food Traveling the World – 2015
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Welcome to the Food Power Rankings where I rank at the the best food I’ve had traveling the world in 2015. (Just go ahead and jump to the first picture if you want to get right into it).
Why write this?
First off. I travel. A lot. 15 countries this year.
Second. I obsess over food. I have no culinary background. No formal education. Just a burning love for all things food.
Third. Writing such an article entertains the s**t out of me, and I’m hoping it will entertain you as well. It’s challenging to make a best food traveling the world list, unless it’s fun, then it’s a breeze.
Travel is fun. Eating is fun. This article and the style I enjoy writing in are meant to be fun.
2015 has been a wild ride. I’ve travel hacked my way through 15 different countries on four different continents, and let me tell you, there have been some memorable dishes. This is my means of closure for the year, and a ridiculous attempt to categorize which meals were the best, and which ones were even better than the best.
There are twenty-two dishes here out of the thousands I’ve eaten and pictured (all shot with a GoPro or iPhone). There are no losers here. All of these dishes are winners.
The list will start from the bottom, and slowly work towards the top dishes of the year. Let’s. Do. This.
The Robert Horry Awards
It takes a team to win a championship, but not everyone can be the Kobe Bryant or Tim Duncan… you need role players. That’s what these three dishes are. They are champions in their own right, but instead of dominating the whole 48 minutes, they’re coming off the bench for 15-20 a game, grabbing boards, taking charges, and nailing clutch threes. Hence, the Robert Horry award, named after arguably the greatest role player in NBA history. I’d like to imagine that Robert Horry is eating one, if not all of these dishes, right now.
22) Musaka (Naxos, Greece)
Musaka is a staple dish in Greece (a high traveling recommendation of ours), and should be consumed if you ever find yourself in the country. It’s an oven baked, layered dish, typically featuring eggplant, potatoes, minced meat, and a béchamel cream sauce. I was in Greece for a week and ate this dish for dinner three times.
21) Pork Grinder with Provolone and Broccoli Rabe (Philly)
On a long layover in Philly I was feeling a bit peckish, and after an enthusiastic recommendation from my foodie-uncle, stopped at DiNic’s to pick up this Broccoli Rabe Pork Grinder. It was stupid good. Also, Broccoli Rabe is an extremely underrated vegetable, which reminds me of this Portlandia episode. If you’re into vegetables and Steve Buscemi, you should watch. And then keep reading.
20) Sushi (Tokyo)
It’s sushi in Toyko. What more needs to be said?
I redeemed some miles to get from HK to Toyko… the food alone was worth it.
19) Filipino Extravaganza
Without the scenery, this dish is great. With the scenery, this dish is legendary.
This meal was included on a boat tour, and prepared by our captain and crew, as they charted and guided us through Filipino islands too beautiful to describe with words. The meal was great.
Freshly grilled fish, chicken, potatoes, rice, vegetables, and fruits.
I’m extremely comfortable with it’s placement on the list. The ambiance of a dining experience is just as important as the food itself.
The Scarlet Johansen Awards
For the record, I love Scarlet Johansen. She is both a beautiful young lady, and an extremely talented actress. Some people get the looks and the talent, and as unfair as it might be, ScarJo is a prime example.
If one HAD to decide if Mrs. Johansen were a better looking lady, or a more talented actress… I’m going, BARELY, with her looks.
Hence The Scarlet Johansen Award
The dishes below are some of the most aesthetically striking dishes I have encountered all year, and they certainly had the flavor to match… just not QUITE as much. These dishes were all incredibly delicious, 8-9/10’s across the board.
I’m not saying ScarJo is a bad actress, I think she’s a great actress. Lost in Translation is one of my favorite films ever. She killed it, and in my opinion deserved an Oscar nod. Her performance was 9/10. But aesthetically speaking, the woman is an 11/10. Fact or fiction Champ?
There you have it. It’s not that her performance is ever bad, her looks are always just a tad-bit better.
18) Ramen (Tokyo)
See how beautifully the poached egg lays itself; a delicious stream of golden yoke seeping over the lush seaweed and unto the noodles? This, is art.
17) El Nido Squid and Tuna (Puerto Princessa, Philippines)
Filipino food rocks, and this tomato/onion stuffed squid is a prime example.
16) Chinese Curry (Hong Kong)
Eating Paris on a budget was much easier than I had expected it to be. Gorgeous sandwiches such as the one pictured above were f^$ing delicious, and only cost 4 euros a piece. For me, one of the highlights of Paris was going to the cafe’s and eating such affordable creations. Can’t beat the price and you absolutely cannot beat French bread. Even if it makes you fat.
14) Roasted Duck (Prague)
Roasted duck, pickled cabbage, and what I believe to be some sort of gnocchi. For me, Prague (along with the Philippines), has the most surprisingly delicious cuisine of any country I’ve been to. Food in Prague was cheap and shockingly delicious. Combine that with the best beer in the world (notice in the background) and the Czech Republic is a lethal combination.
13) Brie Pizza (Rome)
C’mon, how ScarJo is this pizza? The most beautiful food-thing my eyes have ever seen, and tasted really great as well! But, as great as it tasted, it was just a tad-bit prettier.
The Kate Winslet Award
12) Egg, Mushroom, Olive, Ham, Artichoke Pizza (Rome)
If the previous Pizza was comparable to ScarJo’s acting performances, then this pizza is the equivalent to Kate Winslet’s performances. ScarJo, you’re amazing, and a tad bit prettier, but your no KayWin.
Also, this was one of those prime situations I was in a restaurant, had no idea what to order, looked over to the locals next to me, pointed to what they were eating, and ultimately, came out a champion (for more food travel-strategies, check here). It’s a flawless strategy, I do it often, and if you are in a similar situation, give it a shot. It works incredibly well.
The Kurt Warner Award
11) Philippine Curry (Bumf**k, Palawan)
In 1999, Kurt Warner went from an arena football QB, to NFL MVP and NFL Super Bowl MVP. He kinda came out of nowhere. That’s the way I feel about this dish, which I’ve fittingly decided to name Kurt.
Kurt, you were easily the most unexpected great-dish of the year, as I found you on a random bus stop in The Philippines, somewhere in the heart of Palawan. I expected nothing from you. I thought you would be average. I was so wrong.
The curry cost me less than two dollars, and was completely mental.
First Ballot Hall of Famers
10) Dumplings (Hong Kong)
If you are in HK and are looking for a fantastic food selection, head to Wellington Street, it’s an institution on the island. There are dozens of restaurants, but one of my favorites is Wang Fu. Here, you can experience a Michelin Restaurant, with gourmet dumplings, at a very reasonable price.
Now that I’m spending a bit of time in Hong Kong, I’ll be able to eat these a bit more frequently.
9) Beef Goulash (Prague)
Tender chunky cuts of beef, a thick goulash sauce, and topped off with three beautiful bread dumplings. I attacked the dish, like a man, and cleared the whole plate. I couldn’t help myself. I blacked out. The sauce was like a drug, I couldn’t get enough. It was one of the most flavorful things I’ve ever tried. I literally blacked out.
And after I regained awareness from blacking out, I slowly, but very surely, slipped into a food comma.
8) Pork Ramen (Hong Kong)
Ramen from HK defeating Ramen from Tokyo feels sacrilegious, but at the end of the day I must stick to the truth, and this dish of Ramen was from another planet.
7) Hummus (Santorini, Greece)
There’s one aspect in particular I adore about Greek hummus. Focus in the center of the hummus. See that dark spot? That my friends, is a pool of olive oil. It is ubiquitous amongst hummus in Greece, and it takes the hummus to another level. Hummus is obviously tremendous, and this was the best I’ve ever had.
Greek food is phenomenal, and one of the reasons the country placed so high in the NomadsNation 2016 Country Power Rankings.
6) Causa de Pollo (Lima)
Welcome to Lima, Peru. One of the most amazing (and undermentioned) culinary scenes in the world, Lima combines food with art, perfectly embodied by this Causa de Pollo. The dish is a cake of sorts, chicken salad and avocado center, sandwiched between yellow potato. And no, this ain’t no ScarJo dish. It tastes better than it looks.
5) Pork Dumplings (London)
These dumplings were absolutely insane. Chinatown, London. If you are ever there, check out Jen’s Place. Randomly stumbled across it, ate there two nights in a row. Order the Beijing dumplings and Fried dumplings and Vegetable Dumplings and Fried Vegetable Dumplings and Wonton Soup. But most importantly the Beijing and Fried Dumplings.
The Legends Awards
4) Tuna Nachos (Key Largo, Florida)
If you find yourself in the Florida Keys, check out “Island Grill” restauraunt, and order these Tuna Nachos. This dish is so amazing that “home of the original Tuna Nachos” is the catchphrase under their brand on their website. It’s truly mind blowing how delicious it is. And I quote “Ahi grade tuna nestled on a bed of sesame seaweed salad over crisp wontons and topped with wasabi drizzle, sesame seeds, sweet soy, sriracha and scallions…” Need I say more?
The Jonah Hill Award
3) Vermicelli Noodles (Hong Kong)
“The Wolf of Wall Street” is a polarizing film, but you can’t deny that Jonah Hill killed his role as Donnie Azoff. Killed it! But, did you know that Jonah Hill wanted to work with Scorsese so badly that he agreed to be paid the SAG’s minimum wage of $60,000? That’s pennies on the dollar for an actor of Hill’s calibur, it almost seems like theft. And that’s why I awarded this to the Vermicelli Noodles pictured above. This noodle dish was un-freaking-real, and at only 30 HK ($3.87), it almost seems like theft. This is cheap, delicious food, at it’s finest.
Heaven in a bowl. The broth was incredibly complex, harboring flavors of lime, hot spice and some sourness. The pork belly was tender, smokey and had a hint of something resembling BBQ. It was served boiling hot, and I think I devoured it in less than three minutes.
2) Traditional Catalan Feast (Barcelona)
Regardless of my adoration for Barcelona, I wasn’t blown away by the food. One of the most wonderful cities I’ve ever visited… decent food scene. But this meal?!? Three Catalan sausages, ham atop Pa Amb Tomàquet, and topped off with amazing local wine. It was one of the finest experiences I’ve had the entire year.
There Can be Only One
1) Ceviches (Lima)
Well actually, I decided to be a rebel. For the number one spot, there’s two dishes.
Two different ceviches. No clear winner. The 2015 best food traveling the world. Both were as amazing as the other.
Yet again, Lima displays it’s culinary dominance. While the entire country of Peru is a goldmine for world class food, it’s common knowledge that Lima is it’s beating heart, as it creates the trends and sets the tone for the rest of the country. The mainland freshwater ceviche is good, but cannot come close to the flavor of coastal fish.
There is nothing unique or esoteric about this dish. It is everywhere; an icon of Peruvian cuisine. But ceviche is as ubiquitous as it is outstanding, and is nothing short of a mandatory experience when visiting Peru.
Thanks for reading about some of the best food while traveling the world. You should check out all of the NomadsNation Power Rankings, as they are all equally as informative and entertaining.