For foodies, eating local cuisine in its country or city of origin is a dream come true to learn how these foods are prepared, experience authentic flavors, and pick up tips from local chefs. Every continent has something unique to offer that can’t be replicated at home – here are five essential food experiences to savor from around the world:
Pizza in Italy
Though American varieties of pizza – Chicago deep dish, Detroit square style, New York thin crust – are widely debated, none holds a candle to the original: Neapolitan pizza from Italy. Hand tossed, wood fired, and made with just a few ingredients (buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano or Roma tomato sauce, dough made with type 0 or 00 wheat flour, and fresh basil), the classic Margherita pizza is so unrivaled that its production is protected by the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Learn how to make it at a cooking school, or just order it and dig in. For more information on the pizza school we featured on Dream of Italy, visit www.pizzaconsulting.com
Poutine in Canada
French fries, gravy, and cheese curds: It’s surprising that poutine, what seems like the ultimate comfort food, hasn’t made a bigger splash at restaurants in the U.S. However, that means an excuse to take a trip to the Great White North to enjoy Canada’s flagship meal. For the ideal poutine celebration, time your visit to coincide with La Poutine Week in February, which pops up in restaurants in big and small cities all over Canada Many restaurants in major Canadian cities also offer vegetarian and vegan poutine options, made with a mushroom- or miso-based gravy instead of a meat sauce. For more information, visit www.lapoutineweek.com
Steak in Argentina
Argentina has long been defined by its gauchos, ranchers who raise cattle in the wide-open spaces of Patagonia and the grasslands. From this culture came the parilla, a type of sophisticated grill used to cook beef both outdoors and at steakhouses (also called parillas). Whether prepared at a backyard cookout (called an asado) with friends or in a restaurant kitchen, juicy, flavorful Argentine beef is an experience not to be missed. Slather it with Argentina’s most famous sauce, chimichurri — a dressing made with fresh parsley, olive oil, garlic, and red wine vinegar.
Sushi in Japan
While the most common version of sushi comes in roll form, with a nori (seaweed) wrapper containing rice and raw fish, it is also served in layers, with paper-thin slices of fish on top f of the rice. Japanese sushi chefs are trained in precision and quality, as raw fish has to be higher quality than cooked fish to be safe for consumption. Some of the most popular types of fish used are tuna, yellowtail, and salmon; seafood such as crab, octopus, and squid are also common. Sushi-making classes are common in Japan, and are a great way to both try different versions of sushi and pick up a new cooking skill.
Bunny Chow in South Africa
South Africa is a convergence of worlds, with the Atlantic and Indian Oceans lapping at its shores and a diverse mix of people from Western, African, and Asian cultures residing in its cities. This melting pot is perhaps the most stirred up in the southeastern coastal city of Durban, whose Indian immigrants invented bunny chow, a type of fast food unique to the city. A square, hollow loaf of white bread is filled with a curry – usually mutton, but sometimes chicken or vegetarian. In September, the Bunny Chow Barometer sees chefs face off against each other to make the best bunny chow. – Elaine Murphy