Here we go, the final installment of the best foods of the world, the final top 10. To quickly recap, see here for 30- 11.
10. French croissants
Because so many people eat terrible croissants, they might not think this should be on the list. I’m not talking family bag of croissants, I’m not talking wrapped in saran wrap or some kind of plastic croissant. I’m talking, buttery, fresh baked, fluffly, light, flaky croissants. When you get a perfect one, you’re reminded why they are just so popular. In NYC, try Maison Kayser or Francois Payard, In Paris, probably just about every other boulangerie/patisserie.
9. Italian gelato
Let’s all do ourselves a favor and just quit ice-cream already. There’s this place that opened up recently close to my job and I had to find a detour to avoid passing by it lunchtime cos it was starting to be a problem. There’s a ton of places pretending to serve authentic italian gelato and they need to be stopped, giving good old gelato a bad name. If from the freezer section, I’d recommend Talenti, if you want to purchase by the scoop, then try Amorino, L’arte de gelato or Ti Amo. Ti Amo actually has their gelato flown in from Italy. There was a week where the tiramisu was delayed and I nearly cried. That’s almost really sad.
8. Japanese udon noodle soup
For years, the only noodles I had were el cheapo cup of noodles, you know, broke student food. I survived on those things for a really long while. I remember when I realized that there was an elevated level of noodles. I love udon noodles because they are more substantial, love scooping them up with a large spoon in their mildly flavored broth. It’s just so simple and just so good.
7. Belgian fries
Yes we call them french fries even though they’re originally Belgian (still in dispute). I hate to say I was disappointed by Belgian waffles when I made it to Belgium but I did have some really great fries. These days I go to places in the city that claim to serve belgian fries, the biggest distinction being that they are twice fried and served with some kind of mayo. I actually prefer fries with mayo or at the very least a ketchup/mayo combo. I know Canadians love their poutine version, but I just can’t get into it. These days I try to avoid fries all together cos once I get started, well- I can’t stop. But if you’re gonna have a fry, have a good one.
6. Pinaputok na tilapia
I love a good grilled whole fish and many cultures make really good ones, just with different ingredients. Some keep it simple, salt and pepper, some add garlic and Filipino restaurants of which there are many in my neighborhood take it a step further. They stuff a whole fish (usually Tilapia or similar) with tomatoes, onions and ginger, till the poor fish can’t take it no mo. I hate to admit that I’m actually starting to be very partial to the FIlipino version even though many African restaurants have something similar.
5. American pancakes
If there’s anything this list is missing, it’s more sweet. Pancakes, you know you love them. There’s a reason they’re pretty much a staple in any restaurant that serves breakfast. Rough estimate, I have tried pancakes at over 60 places in NYC and that might be conservative. I like the plain and golden, the fluffy with toppings, the sweet, the savory, dutch style, stack ’em high, stack ’em low, syrup, no syrup, its all a go.
4. Senegalese Mafe
I try to order different things when I make it to African restaurants in Harlem, but I just can’t let go of this peanut stew dish. It’s one of those dishes that I know how to make and could easily make at home, but I much prefer to order it. Spicy, sweet, savory, even if you don’t like peanut butter, I think you’d dig this.
3. Jamaican Oxtail
My simple rules for Jamaican oxtail stew: there must be broad beans, it must be served with rice and peas and don’t be shy, give me that gravy.
2. Italian pizza
There’s so many versions of this that work but simple and brick oven is usually best. I have been spoiled by the so very many tasty options you can find in NYC. I would recommend Roberta’s and Sottocasa if you’re in Brooklyn. Usually when its my first time someplace I get a margherita and a white. If they can do that well, then they can do it all. And I’m sorry Chicagoans, but I’m with John Stewart, deep dish pizza does not count. I’m thinking the Italians who invented pizza, would agree.
1. Fufu and Eru
This one is all about where my heart is. I could eat this every single day of my life and I mean every single day. I think I had a 2 week stretch when I did just that. It’s not exactly something you can get everywhere but I challenge you guys (who haven’t had an opportunity to try this, to give it a go). My husband is from the Carribbean and of course this was all new to him. I can only imagine what he thought the first time I made it for him. Now, I have to fend off weekly requests to make it. I refuse to believe that it’s just an acquired taste thing, I think it’s quite frankly perfect. A mix of a strange leaf, some spinach, dried fish, any meat you can find and topped off with an unhealthy amount of palm oil. In one word- Heaven.
Now, you have the complete list.
What did I get right, what did I get wrong and what did I miss?
I might learn something new or find a way to try some new food on a global scale.