the good people over at Jaunted are starting a new series called “Food Worth Flying For” highlighting foods they are willing to fly around the world for.
i don’t think i can choose just one — in fact, i know i can’t. this is more than my “favorite foods from around the world” list — rather, they’re foods that try as i might, i can’t get the same quality-wise at a local restaurant (even in the great melting pot state of California), or just can’t be replicated at home.
in no particular order:
laksa from penang, malaysia
i forgot how i found this place, but i’m thinking foursquare. as it turns out it was on No Reservations! so good. i don’t normally like spicy food but there’s SO MUCH going on in this bowl of noodles. it’s absolute magic. Penang laksa is a type of asam laksa, which is different from the laksa you get in Singapore. oh that broth! it’s a mackerel base with tamarind (“asam”) and lemongrass and galangal. such intense flavors. i’m drooling just thinking about it.
grilled provolone (provoleta), buenos aires, argentina
ok, yes. provoleta: barbecued cheese, melty and warm, topped with oregano and chimichurri. so simple, yet difficult to reproduce (though you can, i’m sure), since provoleta is a local provolone made in the “pulled curd” fashion where they knead warm curd into a big lump that they stretch out and chop into individual cheeses.
sadly i don’t remember for sure which parrilla i got this one at — but i’m 99.999% sure it’s Parrilla Peña.
chicken tajine, marrakesh, morocco
this was the meal that started it all. way back in 2006 when i went to Morocco, i randomly chose a restaurant overlooking Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square. i’d only really been traveling (solo or otherwise) for about a year, and i remember being completely overwhelmed by the hubbub in the square and Morocco in general. this meal just added to making my head explode in ecstasy. i knew i wanted a tajine dish and picked this one because it had onions and raisins, two of my favorite fruits/vegetables. i did not choose wrong. so juicy, so tender, and so packed with flavor. i can still taste it 8 years later.
alas, i even bought a tajine there, hauled it back to Germany, where i was living at the time, and then here to California but i’ve never been able to recreate this.
souvlaki in athens, greece
i wrote about this two years ago, so i’m just going to link to that. but yes, i couldn’t stop after one; it was so good i had to order a second. OINK.
a final word
last but not least, dessert (or at least a small bite of dessert)! i would be remiss if i didn’t mention South African melktert and Hawaiian chocolate haupia pie. while they are local specialties, i’ve managed to recreate both successfully at home (back when i still enjoyed cooking), so they’re not included on this list.
ugh now i’m hungry.