In an earlier post , I had written about a Top Ten list of International Dishes published in the Huffington Post and I had said I’d come up with my own list . That undertaking proved to be more difficult than I ‘d thought . Here , more than a fortnight later , is my list with the dishes in no particular order.
Paella ( Spain ): the iconic Spanish dish of saffron flavored rice , seafood ( and sometimes chicken and sausage ) , and vegetables. I’ve had it many times but the best , by far , was the paella I ate on the beach in Barcelona .
Pho ( Vietnam ) : the beef noodle soup served with basil leaves, rau ram , cilantro , bean sprouts , lime and an assortment of hot sauces. A lot depends on the quality of the beef stock and my one regret is that I can’t get it right when I try to make it at home .
Roast Chicken ( Peru) : Roast chicken is good anywhere , anytime but what makes the Peruvian version special is that it is lightly spiced and accompanied by a green, mayonnaise – based sauce that is to die for . When it is cold and rainy outside , there is nothing I’d rather have .
Sushi ( Japan) : a delight for the eyes as well as the palate , these morsels of vinegared rice and seafood /vegetables epitomize what is best about Japanese cuisine — freshness , delicacy of taste and aesthetic appeal.
Barbecued Ribs ( USA) : Not the gloppy, overly sweet , tomatoey type featured at all-you can -eat restaurants but real Texas style ribs : tender but still firm , spicy but not blindingly so , like those I had at the Salt Lick in Driftwood , Texas.
Mutton Biryani ( India) ; Mutton pieces are cooked with an assortment of spices , ginger ,garlic , bay leaves and onions and the spicy curry that results is layered with parboiled basmati rice and baked to a turn . There are many varieties of biryani and the dishes is popular all over the Middle East and much of Asia.
Pastrami sandwich ( USA): Thinly sliced pastrami between slices of Jewish Rye bread with mayo and sliced onions , with a half sour pickle and coleslaw on the side.
Pani Puri or Gol gappa ( India): Small round very crisp puris filled with a potato/onion / chickpea filling and a tangy water flavored with tamarind , mint , coriander , black salt and other spices . The puris are popped whole into the mouth and when you bite into them it’s like a flavor explosion in your mouth. This is a street food that is not easy to come by. In India , the hygiene of the roadside stalls leaves a lot to be desired and here in the US when they are available in restaurants the quality is very poor.
Falafel ( Middle East) : Deep-fried chickpea balls served in pita bread with salad and pickled vegetables , hot sauce and tahini ( sesame-seed sauce).
Fruit Trifle ( England ) : a delightful confection of fruit , cake slices , pudding and whipped cream , sometimes with chocolate shavings , is all that I would want in a dessert.
There you have it … my Top Ten List of International Dishes . I know there are going to be some raised eyebrows because there is not a single dish from France or Italy , generally considered the top two cuisines in the world. My reply is that 1) this is my list and these are my favorites and 2) Great as French and Italian cuisines are , I couldn’t think of a single dish that would figure in my top 10. Osso Bucco , Chicken Cacciatore , Shrimp Fra Diavolo and Eggplant Rollatini ( Italy) and Beef Bourgignon , Cassoulet , Sole Meuniere, Escargots, Coq au Vin ,Crepes and Bouillabaisse ( France ) were all considered for my list and rejected . Some of the other dishes that failed to make the cut were :
China : Ma- Po Tofu , Yangzhou Fried Rice , Peking Duck
Korea : Kalbi , Bulgogi
Japan : Shrimp Tempura , Chicken Teriyaki
Thailand : Pad Thai , Green Papaya Salad , Chicken with Basil
Vietnam : Cha Giao , Banh Mi , Guo Gon
Malaysia / Singapore : Laksa, Chicken Curry, Hainan Chicken Rice
Indonesia : Beef Rendang , Soto Ayam , Nasi Goreng
Philippines : Pancit Canton , Lechon (Roast Suckling Pig)
India : Lamb Korma , Masala Dosa, Bhel Puri
Morocco: Lamb Tajine
Middle East : Kebabs , Baklava
Greece : Moussaka
Spain : Flan
Hungary : Goulash
Germany/ Austria : Wienerschnitzel , Hasenpffefer, Sachertorte
Switzerland : Fondue
Russia : Beef Stroganoff , Borscht
Brazil : Feijoada
Peru : Seviche
Argentina : Churrasco con Chimichurri
Chile : Empanadas
El Salvador : Pupusas
Cuba : Ropa Vieja
Mexico : Enchiladas , Cabrito, Huachinango a la Veracruzana , Tacos al Pastor, Mole
Jamaica : Curried Goat , Jerk Pork
U.S.A : Crab Cakes , New England Clam Chowder , Southern Fried Chicken Chili con Carne , Gumbo
As you can see , picking just ten dishes is no easy task . I’ve made my choices . What are yours ?