Gary is currently in Bloomington, MN (Aug 28th, 2014)
 

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My 10 Favorite Cuisines

This the sixth installment in a series for my 4th Travelversay Celebration.

All of these lists are subjective, but this is probably going to be the most subjective.

For starters, I’m not really a foodie. I’d like to think that I am, but I’m not. I don’t obsess about food. I don’t take photos of food. I don’t collect recipes.

Second, I can’t eat wheat. I have an intolerance to gluten so that means I don’t eat a lot of foods. That has a dramatic effect on what I like to eat.

Finally, I’m painting with an extremely broad brush. I am well aware that there are differences between northern and southern Indian food, or between Hunan or Szechuan cuisine.


10)Thai

I’m not as big of a fan of Thai food as some people, but I have had some excellent Thai dishes. I can always find something good from street vendors in Thailand, as well as from nicer restaurants. My favorite Thai dishes are papaya and tom som.

9) Middle Eastern

I’m really painting with a broad brush when I lump all of the Middle East together, but I found that there is a lot of similarity in cuisine in the region. Shawarma, hummus, pita, dates and nuts. Because I couldn’t eat pita bread, I often ordered hummus with french fries. You can find fried potatoes almost anywhere.

8) Vietnamese

I love pho. I love spring rolls. I love almost every meal I had in Vietnam. I especially enjoyed the seafood dishes I had in the village of Mui Ne in Vietnam.

7) Indian

I haven’t been to India yet, but I’ve been in places with lots of Indians: Oman, Dubai, Singapore and of course the US. My most memorable Indian meals have been in cheap restaurants with Indian workers as their cliental. Often, meals weren’t even served with silverware. I’m sure that once I visit India proper, this will climb up my list.

6) Mexican

I’ve traveled some in Mexcio, and what meals I’ve had were great. With Mexican food, more than any other, I’ve noticed a big difference between what is severed in Mexico or by real Mexicans compared to what you can get at a generic Mexican restaurant.

5) Chinese

Like India, I still haven’t visited China proper. I’ve been to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore, but still haven’t made it to the main land. Like with Indian food, you can find Chinese almost everywhere around the world. Because I can’t eat wheat, I would often find myself visiting Chinese restaurants in Italy. Because Chinese restaurants are so ubiquitous, they are sort of my default option no matter where I am.

4) Spain

I never thought much of Spanish cuisine until I visited Spain. I was blown away. The paella I had in Valencia (every day) was amazing and there is a wide diversity paella styles which can be had. In Bilbao I had pintxos, which is their version of tapas. I also discovered Txakoli, which is a white wine made in the Basque country. I think San Sebastain might be the best food city in Europe and perhaps the world.

3) France

Some of the greatest salads I had in my life I had in cafes on the streets of Paris. What I love about French food are the ingredients you don’t often find in other cuisines (duck, fois gras) and the fantastic sauces. One of my pleasures of in France was going to a store and buying cheap Roquefort cheese, which is my favorite. High praise coming from a guy from Wisconsin.

2) Argentina

I actually visited Argentina before I started traveling in 2007. I went there in 2005 on a science research trip. The one thing which has stood out in my mind since then was just how good the food was. Argentinean asado is the finest BBQ in the world. All of my plans to return to Argentina revolve around food.

1) Japan

I had no bad meals in Japan and I had more fantastic means in Japan than I had anywhere else. I could order a set meal at any hotel and be guaranteed to have a great meal. I will have sushi in almost every city I visit. Japanese food is much more than just sushi, however. Even instant noodles from a 7-11 are in another league in Japan. If could only eat one type of food for the rest of my life, it would be Japanese.

  • 15 Comments... What's your take?

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Comments

  1. Food_snob says:

    My top Cuisines are:
    10. Indian
    9. Cuban
    8. Korean
    7. French
    6. Thai
    5. Middle Eastern
    4. Spanish
    3. Greek
    2. Italian
    1. Puerto Rican

    It always saddens me that people overlook Puerto Rican and Greek food. I personally love Pasteles, bacalaitos, tostones, quenepas, mofongo de platana, churrasco and coquitos more than anything and can’t get enough of Gyro’s, spanakopita, kataifi and tzatziki either!

  2. Foodido says:

    If you think spanish food is good, then you might want to try Portugal. Not only is the food excellent, but has left its mark on Brazilian, Indian, Thai, Chinese, African and Japanese cooking.

  3. lara says:

    not even a word to italian cuisine? you’re forgiven just because you can’t eat wheat, even though italian cuisine is much more than just pasta and pizza!

  4. Greg says:

    To my tastes, Korean food is like Chinese only better. All the great flavors (and more, actually) but never swimming in a plate of sloppy sauce.

  5. Natalie T. says:

    What I found interesting about this post is how a world traveler with a gluten intolerance eats. I just ate and now I’m hungry again!

  6. Great list. I’m hungry now!
    I agree with a lot of this. It is difficult to eat badly in Japan. 7/11 sushi is better than sushi you find outside of Japan. Love the street food in Mexico too. 100% better than anything you would find in a generic Mexican restaurant.

  7. Hana says:

    Hummus and fried potatoes sounds pretty delicious. :) I’ve yet to experience most of these cuisines but you’ve sparked my interest in trying French and Argentinian. I do agree with your #1 – if I could eat just one cuisine for the rest of my life it’d definitely be Japanese. I think the fact that they coined the word for the fifth basic taste “umami” (literally ‘delicious taste’, more specifically savory, earthy taste) says a lot about how awesome all of their food is.

  8. I’m super impressed that Chinese food made it to number 5 and you haven’t visited mainland China yet! Imagine all those wonderful wheat-free dishes awaiting you…You’re going to LOVE it, next year’s list may well have it at number one!
    Hope you enjoy China when you do get a chance to visit, it’s a fascinating and beautiful country.

  9. Linda says:

    My favotite cuisin is Russian!

  10. Geoff says:

    A great list, I heartily agree with most of those – especially Japanese, French, Spanish, Argentinian, Indian & Mexican.

    I do love Thai food but I’d swap it for Malaysian / Singaporean food – the food there combines the influences of Malay, Chinese & Indian and somehow manages to be better than the sum of the parts.

    The other fantastic (and massively underrated) Latin American food is Peruvian – the variety and quality of food there is one of the best I’ve tasted in any country

  11. Pol CV says:

    I coulnd’t agree more! Great list, It’s strange you have talked about the italian

  12. Alecia says:

    We actually built an Argentine parrilla in our backyard and learned to recreate the meat…we love it so much!

  13. Lindsay says:

    I grew up in Japan and would definitely have to agree with you on the Japanese cuisine! I was definitely a very lucky child growing up! Yakitori, Yakisoba, Tonkatsu, Okonomiyaki…just to name a few!

  14. Speaking of food I was very surprised at the food in Chile, in Argentina and especially United States there is delicious fruits Chile. Every time you turn a fruit around its “made in chile”. Turns out that they ship all of their veggies overseas. (and yes Argentinian steak is off the chain)

  15. guest says:

    Yeah, you might probably hate me for that one, but there’s a reason you dont find foie gras (alt least in europe) at least. due to the cruel methods that are used to produce it, the production is illegal in a lot of european countries.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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