We LOVE Food!
One of the greatest things about travelling is the myriad of new and exciting food choices. Every country has its own specialties, and for my money eating these dishes how they were originally intended gives you a great bench-mark to set your standards if you go away and eat the same dish outside its home country. Not only that but if you want to cook it yourself then tasting a local master’s interpretation is essential!
Below is our Top 10 (soon to be top 20!) of our favourite dishes from around the globe.
We are slowly adding specific food reviews of local cuisines, as well as general food experiences. Click the image on the left to see a list of FOOD blogs.
TOP 10 Countdown
10. Fresh Street Noodles. (ASIA)
Once you go street it’s all you can eat, pot noodle will never be the same! The best street noodles I’ve had were in Dalian, China (at the aquatic zoo)… maybe just because it was the first time… but they were amazing! Most I have had have been great.
– A big bowl of noodles in broth will cost around $1-$3 and this includes seeing them made fresh.
– Just look around any food hawker market in Asia, you’ll find them eventually, if not sooner!
9. Thai Red Curry. (Gold Coast, Australia)
Thai food in Australia???? Yeah, and I’ve eaten many a curry in Thailand and this is still the best one I’ve ever had… The place is run by Ethnic Thai people, so they know what they are doing. I explained to the waitress that I didn’t want a “white person” curry, I wanted it extra hot, like they would eat in Thailand.
Most restaurants take this as a joke, and I end up disappointed with some semi-hot joke of a curry. These guys took me completely seriously. After enjoying the hottest curry an Australian restaurant has cooked for me, the waitress informed me they used 30 chillies in the sauce and even she wouldn’t normally eat it that spicy.
– $22 will get you a Red Curry and rice that will feed 2 people.
– Thai Lanna, Labrador, Gold Coast http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/350/1361181/restaurant/Queensland/Main-Beach/Thai-Lanna-Labrador
Italy really nails food. If you like carbohydrate then Italy is you best culinary friend. Most restaurants make an effort to be awesome, there is a lot of competition and they have a lot of traditions in the kitchen – if you ask for your food to be prepared differently from how they suggest it is served you will get a very dirty look! Still, Sorento hit the spot as the best Ravioli in the world so far.
There are a multitude of options, and on a budget you can normally get a meal under $10 per person. Spinach and Ricotta is a classic, but really it’s about the way the pasta is made and cooked freshly that brings the perfection.
– Just walk around until you see somewhere filled with locals (not tourists!).
7. Snapper, as part of a fish platter. (Cozumel, Mexico)
Sadly I only have this one terrible photo of what was not only the best fresh snapper I have ever eaten but probably the best grilled fish I have ever eaten 🙁 The east coast of Cozumel is, or at least was in 2009, the non-touristy side. Almost completely undeveloped, beautiful untouched white beaches and just a few taverns stretch along the coast line.
We stopped for lunch and someone suggested we share the fish platter. I can’t say that the rest of the platter was anything to write home about, but the Snapper was exceptional. Freshly caught and very freshly prepared, succulent and delicious with the most perfect crispy skin. We ordered a second platter immediately after eating the first.
– There aren’t many taverns along the road, but nothing is listed on google maps, my best guess it is it this location
if you find the place let me know what it was called! You can read more about driving the east coast of cozumel in this BLOG
6. Pad Thai. (Erawan Waterfalls, nr. River Kwai)
After an amazing morning at Erawan Waterfalls we were starving! You aren’t allowed to take food into the park because the monkeys are very persistent, as we learned when the stole someone’s bag and ran straight up a tree with it! Fresh food is everywhere in Thailand, so we weren’t surprised to find an awesome little restaurant at the entrance to the falls on the way out.
Pad Thai is a staple dish all over the country and as such the quality and method to cooking it is very varied indeed! On Khao San road in Bangkok the hawkers substitute cheaper ingredients to profit from tourists who know no better what it should taste like. Fortunately our luck was in at Erawan falls, the chef clearly using the traditional ingredients, you could taste the richness of the tamarind and fish sauce!
– Its about $2 per serve. There are many other tasty options on the menu.
– The main restaurant in the car park is the place to go. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erawan_National_Park
5. BBQ Ribs (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
I’m a massive fan, and I’ve had BBQ ribs all around the world. However, I’m always searching for the next best ribs, so if you have suggestions email us or leave a comment below! At the moment (since Jan 2009) Tom Jenkin’s BBQ are my favourite ribs of all time, with The San Pedro Brewing Company coming in second place.
You get plenty of meat on them and they taste divine! you can even buy a jar of sauce to take away, but you’ll never get your ribs tasting quite like they do in-store.
– Portions start from around $10, eat in for the full BBQ house experience!
– http://tomjenkinsbbq.net/ They also have a store in Miami apparently.
4. Khao Soi Noodle (Chiang Mai, Thailand)
We are back in Thailand, and until I eventually make it to India, it is likely Thailand will stay high in the top best Asian cuisine list, so get used to it!
After a long journey we chose, at random, a restaurant that was right opposite our hotel in the old town. But as luck would have it the chef here was a genius, and we were so impressed they brought him out to meet us so we could thank him personally! We also found time to eat there again before leaving Chiang Mai.
Khao Soi is a local fusion dish, allegedly first created in Chiang Mai. Its a bit like a red curry with indian and burmese spices added and noodles in the sauce and crispy noodle on the side. We tried it out at a couple of other places, and we even cooked our own at the Baan Thai cooking school but the chef here is the winner.
Read our full food blog on Chang Chalaad here
– Khao Soi is about $3 (as pictured)
– Chang Chalaad, http://changchalaad.blogspot.com.au/
3. Saganaki (Mykonos, Greece)
Its pan fried cheese… but its the best fried cheese in the world! If you have ever had haloumi, then imagine the best haloumi you have ever had, make it a bit more gooey and a lot more tasty and you are getting close to this Saganaki.
Saganaki is simply the name for this specific style of pan frying. The cheese used may vary. This one could have been Kefalotyri, Kefalograviera or simply a good haloumi. I wish we knew 🙁
We’ve tried it in many greek restaurants with varying results… Greece is still the best, going to the source, and the best example we had in Greece was on the island of Mykonos. However, you can find it everywhere, but if you don’t know what it is you may never have ordered it. Next time you go out for Greek food, ask them about it! Make sure they cook it well, if it comes out under cooked it will be rubbery, not good!
– expect to pay $3 – $9 in Greece for a portion 2 can share as a starter.
– Find it everywhere in Greece… we always recommend non-touristy places.
2. Chicken Satay (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
I found KL to be a relatively dull city, but it is a foodies paradise! We spent much of our days there just waiting to be hungry enough to eat again. It turns out that our top 2 foods are both from places I have no particular interest in returning to, but this is just another reason why they deserve the top spots, my desire to return to these places is simply to eat these dishes again, they are that good.
I’d had satay before, it originates in Malaysia but the general version of it you get in most western countries always seemed pretty much like peanut butter mixed with a few spices. Our Satay in KL was a whole new world of flavour! If you’ve always thought that Satay was a bit average, like I did, this will change you mind.
– A portion of Satay as pictured is about 10MR ($3.50)
– Kajang Satay, Heritage Food Village, Lot 10, Bukit Bintang, KL
1. Pizza (Naples, Italy)
Pizza? I can tell you may be a little confused? Its just pizza, right? Wrong! very wrong. This is not just pizza, it is the best pizza in the world by a country mile (and I’ve eaten a LOT of pizza in my time), and right now it’s Five Dollar Travellers best meal in the world! Naples is the birth place of pizza, thats a good start.
I hate Naples, it’s a dirty city where you feel minutes away from being mugged as soon as you walk off the main streets, but I will go back there as many times as is possible during the rest of my life, and I hope this restaurant will still be there.
I opted for the Quatro Formagio con Pomodorini (4 cheese with cherry tomato) which isn’t on the menu as such, but I speak just enough Italian to order the pizza I want!
Ultimately it doesn’t matter so much which pizza you order, the reason this is amazing pizza is because the dough is perfection! Dough with so much flavour is rarely found, and the texture is amazing.
It’s the perfect hybrid between a traditional stone baked slightly crispy base and a fluffy deep pan but without the oil that fast food places soak it in. Its a fluffy stone baked pizza! I’ve eaten there 3 times, and it was always consistent. I long every day to return to Naples and ingest perfection once more.
– Pizza is about 8E ($10)
– Lombardi a s. chiara (just east of the church square) Via Benedetto Croce, 59 80100 Naples, Italy
Most disappointing food experience…
1. New York Hot Dog.
If you are in New York, the iconic street food is the Hot Dog… Well, it turns out the level of quality in New York street food compared to that in Asia is pretty clear.
This is the most overrated street food in the world! There are many vendors all around the city, so maybe we just got really unlucky, but ours was so disgusting we threw most of it away… Get a New York Slice instead!