Wednesday, March 28, 2012

100 Foods to Eat Before You Die

Without a doubt one of my favorite things about traveling is encountering experiences that are completely foreign, meeting people from different cultures, being exposed to “other” perspectives, and discovering a new cuisine. As a foodie, there’s nothing more satisfying than finding and tasting food that I’ve never had before, and realizing that I could never again live without it.

So naturally, when I saw the “Food List Challenge” listing 100 Foods to Eat Before You Die on Facebook, I couldn’t help but to remember all the great places I had, and often, enjoyed these foods … 78 so far.  

Also, I thought it would be fun to keep this list on the blog to see how many more I will come across during my future travels, and more importantly, to get some tips on where to go to get them.  

I’ve marked the foods I haven’t had in red; so, if you know a great place where I can try Bird’s Nest Soup or Fried Green Tomatoes, I’d love to hear about it!

1. Abalone – Abalone is a delicacy in S. Korea, and the best I had was raw, sushi style, in Jeju Island, S. Korea.

2. Absinthe – in France, where world’s best Absinthe is produced.

3. Alligator – nothin better than fried gators in N'awlins (aka. New Orleans)

4. Baba Ghanoush – almost every week from my favorite Turkish restaurant down the street

5. Bagel and lox – I lived in NY … nuff said.

6. Baklava – The same Turkish restaurant down the street has great baklava, but the best I’ve had was in Istanbul, at a charming little café in Hotel Kybele.

7. Barbecue ribs – One of my favorite foods … I’ve had great ribs in a lot of different places, but the best is still in Texas!

8. Bellini – a staple in my diet

9. Bird’s Nest Soup

10. Biscuits and gravy – I grew up in the South; so, having biscuit and gravy for breakfast was like having toast.

11. Black Pudding

12. Black Truffle

13. Borscht

14. Calamari – Seriously, who hasn’t had fried squid?!?

15. Carp – mostly at Chinese restaurants

16. Caviar – Russian Tea Room, (NYC) … if you’re going to try/have caviar, this is the best place for it.

17. Cheese fondue – not one of my favorite foods, but you can’t go to a ski resort in Switzerland or in Austria and not have cheese fondue.

18. Chicken and waffles – Being a Southern girl at heart, this is one of my favorite foods.

19. Chicken Tikka Masala – I haven’t been to India, but I’ve had Chicken Tikka Masala in just about every country I’ve visited.

20. Chile Relleno – one of my favorite TexMex dishes … the best I had was in Tia Maria’s (Houston, Texas)

21. Chitterlings/Chitlins – Every culture has their own way of dealing with animal innards, and as long as they're cooked and sauced properly, I'm not oppose to eating them.  

22. Churros – loved having Churros for breakfast in Mexico and in Spain

23. Clam Chowder – I’ve had a lot of tasty clam chowders in San Francisco, but still the best was in Boston.

24. Cognac – a perfect after dinner drink

25. Crabcake – The best crabcakes I’ve had were in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.

26. Crickets

27. Currywurst – Not a great combination, curry and wurst (sausage); however, it's a local favorite in Germany.

28. Dandelion wine

29. Dulce de leche – a little Argentinian gem in coffee or tea

30. Durian – Not my favorite fruit, but it is popular in SE Asia; so, when in Vietnam …

31. Eel – Grilled Unagi (Japanese dish) is one of my favorite foods.

32. Eggs Benedict – my go to brunch item

33. Fish Tacos – In California, you can find great fish tacos in just about any restaurants; however, my favorite is at Fish, a wonderful little restaurant in Sausalito where they specialize in serving sustainable seafood.

34. Foie Gras – great picnics in France consist of a great bottle of Bordeaux, a fresh loaf of baguette and foie gras.

35. Fresh Spring Rolls – or Summer Rolls ... whatever, you call 'em, I'll eat 'em

36. Fried Catfish – love me some fried catfish po'boy from Rajin Cajun (Houston, Texas)

37. Fried Green Tomatoes

38. Fried Plantain – The best fried plantains I've had were in one of the many Cuban Chinese restaurants in NYC.

39. Frito Pie – Growing up in South, frito pie was as prevalent as apple pie.

40. Frog legs – As cliche as this may sound, the 1st time I had frog legs was in Paris ... and yes, it tasted like chicken.

41. Fugu – aka. blowfish ... not sure if I'm ready to risk my life to discover a new dish.

42. Funnel cake – The best funnel cakes in San Francisco can be found at the Fillmore Jazz Festival.

43. Gazpacho – I prefer my soup warm, but when it's as good as Gazpacho, I'll take it cold.

44. Goat – I love goat meat in Indian and Ethiopian cuisine.

45. Goat’s milk – I prefer my milk to come from a cow, but goat milk, although sweater, isn't too bad either.

46. Goulash – Who doesn't love a bowl of good spicy Hungarian Goulash?

47. Gumbo – Shrimp, chicken, or tofu ... I love 'em all!

48. Haggis

49. Head Cheese

50. Heirloom Tomatoes – Commonly found in restaurants serving organic produce in San Francisco; however, can't tell the difference in the taste. 

51. Honeycomb – for the most serious connoisseurs like my husband, this is the only way to have honey.

52. Hostess Fruit Pie – still debatable what's actually inside these so-called pies

53. Huevos Rancheros – breakfast of the champions, can't count the number of times I had these while living in Texas

54. Jerk Chicken – chicken with an attitude ... love 'em with some fried plantain on the side

55. Kangaroo

56. Key Lime Pie – another Southern specialty ... unfortunately, it's hard to get good Key Lime Pie in California

57. Kobe Beef – Is this the meat from cows who get their backs massaged by Swedish Masseuse?

58. Lassi – Mango, is how I like 'em, every time I'm at an Indian restaurant.

59. Lobster – MAINE!

60. Mimosa – Isn't this just another word for Bellini?

61. MoonPie – my childhood

62. Morel Mushrooms

63. Nettle Tea – Don't have anything interesting to say about this except, yeah, I've had it.

64. Octopus – You haven't lived until you've tasted Korean Spicy Stir Fried Octopus (Nakji Bokum).

65. Oxtail Soup – also a popular Korean dish.

66. Paella – You would think the best Paella would be in Spain, but it was in NYC.

67. Paneer – Saag or Palak ... it's all good.

68. Pastrami on Rye – Katz's Deli, NYC ... hands down, the BEST!

69. Pavlova

70. Phaal – The hottest Indian curry out there, and of course, the hottest I had was in London.

71. Philly Cheesesteak – The best I had was in ... where else ... Philadelphia.

72. Pho – One of the great thing about living in a culturally diverse city like San Francisco, is that cuisine or foods that would be labeled as being "ethnic" elsewhere is common food here, and especially in my neighborhood, you can find a delicious bowl of Pho just as easily as a slice of pizza or a bowl of Bi Bim Bop.

73. Pineapple and cottage cheese – You can't have breakfast in Hawaii without it.

74. Pistachio Ice Cream – yum!

75. Po’ boy – See Catfish above.

76. Pocky – Tasty dessert/snack that is also popular in S. Korea.  There, it's called Pepero, and it's given as a gift on Valentines Day like chocolates in the US.

77. Polenta – Basically, like warm oatmeal but made of corn ... not the most interesting food.

78. Prickly Pear

79. Rabbit Stew

80. Raw Oysters – ACME Oyster House, again in N'awlins, where oysters are size of your hand.

81. Root Beer Float – Disgusting, but I was young and foolish.

82. S’mores – sole reason for camping

83. Sauerkraut – Not a big fan of it ... prefer the spicier Korean cousin, Kimchi

84. Sea Urchin

85. Shark – I live in a town where Shark Fin Soup is as popular as Chicken Noodle.

86. Snail – Escargot!

87. Snake

88. Soft Shell Crab – So good in a roll!

89. Som Tam – The best Som Tam I've had was in Cambodia.

90. Spaetzle – German/Austrian/Swiss Dr Pepper

91. Spam – It's big in Asia.

92. Squirrel

93. Steak Tartare – I like my meat(s) cooked, preferably well done.

94. Sweet Potato Fries – Love them, especially when they come as sides to succulent roasted chicken at Limón Rotisserie.

95. Sweetbreads – I guess, this is what the Brits do with their animal innards.

96. Tom Yum – This is all I ate for 2 weeks in Thailand.  By the end of our trip, I was Tom Yum'ed out!

97. Umeboshi

98. Venison – When it's prepared right, it tastes like chicken.

99. Wasabi Peas – great snack

100.Zucchini Flowers

And adding to this list, MY top 10 foods ...
  • Beuf Burgone (Beaune, France)
  • Casoulet (Sarlat, France)
  • Peking Duck (Beijing, China)
  • Steamed Crabs (Halong Bay, Vietnam)
  • anything from Pojang Macha (street food carts) in S. Korea
  • Crawfish (Houston, Texas)
  • Beignets (New Orleans, Lousiana)
  • Saganaki-Tiri, aka. Flaming Cheese (Uncle Nick’s, NYC)
  • Mexican Mole (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)
  • Dim Sum in San Francisco


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