Have you ever tried traveling around the world with a vegetarian? Neither have I.
Keep an eye on this page to see how it goes.
Ramen ramen ramen. Go down the stairs, put your order in by pressing buttons on the machine, enter the narrow cubicle-lined dining room and prepare for heaven. Good God. One of our top five meals. Ichiro Ramen was our favorite – you can find these all over the city.
Donuts, for lack of a better word. Because I don’t speak Japanese.
Tsukiji Fish Market. The lines for the fresh sushi that’s brought in daily are legendary, but then so is the food. Completely worth it.
Kaiten, or conveyor belt sushi, places are everywhere. This place was recommended by a friend and did not disappoint. (I still have no idea if its name is China Circus or Heiroku Sushi)
These stands are all over the city. There are a few different options for fillings – I chose the purple one.
Tonkatsu, or deep-fried breaded pork. Breaded? Good. Fried? Good.
Some of the best food and coffee can be found at Family Mart, which is on nearly every corner. The omusubi and sushi sell out before lunch during the week.
Want to get your drink on? Head to Drunkard Alley in Shibuya or Golden Gai in Shinjuku. And of course, drink sake.
Not pictured: Harajuku Gyozaro. We were too busy eating to take photos. For fantastic gyoza, fried or steamed. Wait in the line. It moves fast and you will thank me later. After you finish eating.
Two things we discovered on this island paradise: poke, which is cubes of raw tuna mixed with scallion, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil; and shave ice – snow-like ice topped with syrup and anything form fresh fruits to nuts to ice cream. If you add a consonant and call it shaved ice they’ll toss you into the nearest volcano.
One of my favorite foods of our trip: a traditional Tongan dish called Ota Ika, or raw fish. It’s basically Tongan ceviche, with coconut milk. And it is phenomenal. The diet in these Pacific islands was once fish, taro and coconut. Today, fish is mostly replaced with off-cuts of mutton from New Zealand, and – many say as a result of the cheap meat and a huge intake of starch – Tonga is now the world’s most obese country.
Sunday dinner with new friends in Tonga. On the table: mutton, chicken, two types of taro (roasted and also steamed in banana leaves), baked potatoes, corn and tomatoes & onions.
NZ is known for three things: fish & chips, hitchhikers and wine. The best come from these little roadside seafood shacks that you see everywhere when driving around the South island (that statement actually applies to all three things).
I love vegemite. A complete turnaround from the first time I tried it. Spread it *lightly* on *buttered* toast. The butter is key. HEAVEN.
Just get a flat white already. If you want black coffee, a long black is your order.
Tim Tams. Yes you can get these in the States but it’s such an Aussie thing. These peanut butter ones were my favorite. Bite off diagonal corners and use it as a straw to sip your tea or coffee.
We had a lot of time on our hands.
If you go to Melbourne, you have to hit up Pellegrini’s for dinner. An Italian coffee shop that serves homemade pasta and has a cult following. No menu – diners tell the server what kind of pasta and sauce they’d like and the waitresses/cooks in the kitchen start it fresh. Get the watermelon granita to drink and a slice of whatever homemade dessert is available that day. $42 AUD, or about $35 US, for two people, every time, no matter what you order. It’s Aussie math.
McDonald’s is Macca’s and Burger King is Hungry Jack’s. I don’t know why.
Melbourne is full of alleys filled with cool little food spots. Just go and spend a few days eating your way across the city.
Land of seafood, pork, vinegar, soy and white rice. White rice with everything. There are four meals a day: breakfast, lunch, merienda, and dinner. Merienda is a late afternoon snack that usually turns into a meal – meant to fill the hunger between lunch and dinner. The one meal here missing is the national dish — adobo. Chunks of pork & chicken in a sauce made of soy, garlic and vinegar. Likely there are no photos because I worried if I stopped long enough take a photo, someone else would eat all my food.
Let the salivating begin.
Longanisa — sausage that’s sweet, spicy or both — served with egg, rice and vinegar. Great for breakfast or merienda.
Pork belly. Served with rice. One of my favorite things ever.
Garlic prawns or shrimp, usually served with the head on. And rice.
Bistek tagalog. Literally filipino steak. Marinated in soy & lemon, served with caramelized onions. And of course rice.
Beef tapa, which is dried beef cured with soy, sugar, salt & pepper, served with egg, rice & vinegar.
Pancit palabok, one of my favorites. My dad calls it pinoy spaghetti. Rice noodles with shrimp sauce, topped with shrimp, scallions, fried garlic, crushed peanuts and chicharron (pork rinds).
Kamias shake. Kamias is a sour fruit, like green mango. Green mango shakes also equal nirvana.
Lechon, or whole roasted pig. Anthony Bourdain declared lechon, “the best pig ever.” I tend to agree. This particular one comes from Zubuchon, a small chain of restaurants on the islands of Cebu. Yummm.
Atis. My mom’s favorite fruit as a kid. Eat it cold and with a spoon.
Mango cake. I’m not a cake person. This is the only one in the world that I like, and it’s because it’s light, not overly sweet and filled with fresh mango.
Halo-halo. Tagalog for “mix-mix.” Both a merienda and a dessert. Shaved ice topped with everything from jackfruit to jello cubes to beans to leche flan, topped off with evaporated milk and a scoop of ube (purple yam) ice cream. Heaven, in a bowl (surprisingly, rice is not served with this).
The best pad thai I’ve ever had. And I couldn’t find it again if we tried. A father and his son have been cooking it on a street cart for the past 30 years – the son grew up doing it – and the line is filled with loyal customers. We went back a few times while we were in Bangkok.
OK the truth is this – we don’t have a ton of food photos from our month in Thailand, which I know seems crazy. All I can say is we were too busy eating to pick up a camera. Below, two staples on the islands — coconuts and roti, aka Thai pancakes, filled with anything and everything. You’re just going to have to go yourself to find out about all of the amazing things to stuff into your face.
Eggs, bacon, rice, vinegar. Fresh coconut shake. Good morning.
This is eating in Vietnam: small wooden or plastic tables and stools, low to the ground and scattered around the sidewalk. If the seating doesn’t look like this, don’t eat there.
Everything is just really pretty. And completely edible.
Daily staple: Vietnamese coffee.
Moonshine. Yes that’s a real snake. It’s a thing. We drank this.
Second daily staple: pho. Pho pho pho. Don’t ask what’s in it. Just add lime, hot sauce, chopsticks and go.
Vietnamese egg coffee. Egg yolks, sugar. condensed milk + coffee. Go.
So much beautiful fruit: dragonfruit, rambutan (aka monkey balls, you’re welcome), passion fruit, mango, pineapple (literally fresh off the boat). Ahhhhh.
Banh bao vac (white rose dumplings). Filled with prawns and topped with fried onions. Hoi An specialty.
Vietnamese dim sum, including banh cuon, rice paper dumplings filled with meat or seafood and mushrooms.
Bun xiao. Loosely translates to pancake. Fried egg folded over sprouts, noodles and vegetables. Local beer Larue goes nicely with this.
KHUUSHUUR. Pockets of dough fried with meat inside.
BORSCHT. No me gusta.
KHINKALI. Georgian dumplings. LOVE.
KHACHAPURI. Georgian bread stuffed with cheese. Need I say more.
Summer bars on the bank of the Seine River. This is where you want to be.
COQUELICOT. Perfect brunch in Montmartre.
LE TEMPS DE CERISES. If you can find it, this is great neighborhood place for Sunday night dinner. The escargot and steak frites are RIGHT. ON.
STEAK AU POIVRE FROM BISTROT PAUL BERT. Second favorite meal of trip.
Spain is my favorite of any country I’ve ever visited for food and drink. Probably because of the variety you can have at each meal thanks to tapas, pintxos and the culture of shared plates. And really the flavors are just second to none. But I might be biased.
Jamon Iberico. Cured ham.
Anguilas (baby eels) with garlic & oil on bread.
Patatas bravas. Spicy potatoes.
Boquerones en vinagre. My favorite of all Spanish tapas. Anchovy fillets marinated in vinegar and olive oil.
Churros con chocolate. If the chocolate isn’t thick, leave immediately and find the next place. Cafe Commercial is easily the best I’ve had.
Pulpo, or octopus.
Percebes, or barnacles, which are more expensive tapas due to the dangerous job of getting these from the ocean.
Croquetas. Perfect little packages of potatoes breaded and fried, often filled with mushrooms and ham.
Home to Paella Valenciana (2nd photo) and fideua (below), similar to paella except made with short noodles instead of rice.
P’amb oli (bread with oil) with grilled pork. Heaven.
ENSAYMADA. Mallorcan dessert, sometimes filled with cream, sometimes just bread dusted with sugar.
Pintxos pintxos pintxos.
This was my favorite meal of the ENTIRE TRIP, from Bar Nestor in San Sebastian. Read about the amazingness aqui.
Finally, food we can both agree on. (The best food we found in Morocco was in Fez, with the exception of the lamb couscous in Marrakech, which I am still dreaming about.)
VARIETAL SALAD. I loved everything on this plate but I cannot stop thinking about the rice in the middle — cold with a bit of something like mayo and parsley and maybe dill. I would go back to Morocco just for that rice.
LAMB TAGINE WITH ALMONDS AND DATES.
FEZ. VARIETAL SALAD. Different restaurant, same concept, but only found this dish in Fez. Love it. Could eat this as whole meal.
LENTILS. These were amazing. I constantly give Anthony grief for his lentil-obsession. But these I could not get enough of.
FRESH FRUIT TOPPED WITH CINNAMON AND CARDAMOM. Common dessert, with mint tea (natch)
PALAIS AMANI. WINE. WINE WINE WINE. Yes they actually make it in Morocco. And yes it’s good.
PALAIS AMANI. SPICY OLIVES SERVED WITH PICKLED LEMON RIND. Cannot stop thinking of these olives either.
PALAIS AMANI. CHEESE TARTINE WITH ARTICHOKE SALAD.
PALAIS AMANI. LAMB MEATBALLS TOPPED WITH FRIED EGG. POTATO IN TOMATO PUREE.
JUS D’AVOCAT. LITERALLY, AVOCADO JUICE. Can be made with orange juice (right) or milk and sugar (left). I cannot wait to get home to make this myself.
PICKLED LEMON RIND. Used in everything – olives, chicken, lamb, rice.
LAMB COUSCOUS. I went to this restaurant three times just for this.
A whole reason to go back to Caye Caulker, aside from the guys who ride their bikes up and down the strip selling coconut bread and ice cream: fry jacks. Like hot pockets of soft, thin dough baked with anything you can think of inside. Walk up to the window, order from the huge menu of fry jacks (we opted for ones filled with beans and cheese), be liberal with the Marie Sharp’s hot sauce and prepare to fall in love. This was our daily breakfast. And yes we went back for seconds.
DULCE DE LECHE PANCAKES and LECHE FLAN. Aka crepes filled with dulce de leche. And leche flan. For the record I don’t like sweets. But I couldn’t get enough of the pancakes.
PIZZA. No, not like pizza we have in the States. This is all about the cheese. As in up to two pounds on cheese on one pizza. The fugazza is sauteed onions and ham, and was surprisingly Anthony’s favorite. The napolitana, with fresh tomato and cheese, is ordered with a side of faina, a chickpea crust that inexplicably goes on top of the slice. I could eat that one for the rest of my life.
PROVOLETA. Grilled cheese. We took ours straight, but it can include ham or vegetables. I say why mess with a good thing.
PARILLA. Buenos Aires is all about one thing: BEEF. Out of respect for the amazingness of what I was about to eat, I somehow took ZERO PICTURES of meat. I did get the amazing chimichurri. I don’t understand it either. Here are two of the places we ate: Don Ernesto and Don Julio (no they are not related). I can only attribute it to living in a food coma for 6 days.
CHIVITO, a national sandwich made of fried seasoned beef and a hard-boiled or fried egg on a hamburger bun. Any country whose national dish is a sandwich is fantastic by me. (Anthony had the equally exciting verdura y queso torta, which translates to veg, cheese and blah on a roll)
TANNAT AND VIOGNIER, a new red and white for us from Uruguay. I’ve only thought about wine country in Argentina and Chile, but Uruguay is mostly green fields and farmland that goes for miles, all with a beautiful climate. So why not vineyards? The tannat my new favorite red. A bottle can go for as little as $3 or $4 and it’s incredible.
MATE TEA, always drunk through a metal straw. There is a beautiful communal ceremony that goes with drinking this tea that brings together everyone who is taking part – but which confused me and I opted to go back for more wine.
TEMAKI (hand roll). Who knew the Japanese population in Brazil is so big? Amazing sushi on every street, and hand rolls are the specialty. Dinner from Opium restaurant.
Three Brazilian specialties, all with different flavors (the restaurants below are known for each dish):
— RODIZIO, aka churrascaria, aka ENDLESS BEEF. Dinner at Porcao Ipanema.
(THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE)
— MOQUECA BAIANA (seafood in coconut milk broth, my favorite of all of these) and ACARAJE (black bean fritters served with shrimp usually on the inside, but put on the outside here for the vegetarian). Dinner at Siri Mole & Compania.
— And FEIJOADA, salted pork stew and Brazil’s national dish. In full disclosure, the traditional way is made with pork scraps, as it was a slave dish, so you have pig snout, feet, ears and tongue, in addition to pork loin. I asked for all loin and no appendages but as I couldn’t guarantee they understood me (still not so much with the Portuguese), I kind of picked around the meat. I have some standards, though they are few and questionable. Lunch at Brasileirinho.
VEGETARIAN SOMETHING. Yes it exists in Brazil. Again, the things we do for love. Lunch at Vegetariano Social Clube (and it was surprisingly good).
Also TAPIOCA, my new favorite breakfast, actually breaking my fresh fruit-and-coffee standard. Pronounced without the A at the end. Not pudding, but like a Brazilian crepe made from cassava starch and filled with anything from ham & cheese to Nutella & sugar. This one with mozz cheese and tomate. Breakfast at Hotel Arpoador.
Finally, PASSION FRUIT. I first discovered this last year in South Africa and became obsessed. This is not the Capri Sun/Hi-C passion fruit flavor we hated as kids. Super tart, super fresh and a perfect specimen when in raw fruit form. Mmmm.
TACACA (aka heaven soup). Drunk from a coconut shell and eaten with one chopstick. For Anthony, they held the shrimp.