Countries I Have Been to With The Best Food So Far


Countries I Have Been To With The Best Food So Far

“I was at this restaurant. The sign said “Breakfast Anytime.”So I ordered French toast n the Renaissance.” Steven Wright

My food experience when I am traveling totally impacts the experience I have  in the country. Sometimes I make trip destinations  based on food. Other times, it is a complete surprise how much I love the food. Here are my favorite countries for food so far.

Japan applies the same precision to their food as they do to their engineering. You can get a lavish multicourse kaiseki meal that presents the seasons in a spread of visual and culinary poetry..

I dream of the sushi bars in Tsukiji market and the tofu restaurants where everything is made from tofu.  You can eat something random in a train station or risk your life and try Fugu (poisonous blowfish – delicious). I love yuzu and green tea desserts. Cold soba noodles is my go to Japanese lunch. 

It is impossible to eat badly in Japan.  This country is officially one of the best culinary destinations in the world. 

Spain has long been characterized by eat, drink, sleep, work a little bit, eat, drink, sleep. They munch on snacks throughout the day (tapas, pinxtos) with intervals of big meals. The food is different from the Mediterranean sea to the Pyrenees. 

Paella, churros and chocolate, gazpacho and anything from the Basque region (pinxto bars to Michelin starred restaurants)  show how much the Spanish love good food.It ranges from the Medieval Jamon Iberica  to the insane molecular gastronomy of Feran Adria and his followers.

The food is timeless and modern.

It’s impossible to write a short list of Turkish food. It is a combination of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisine and any other conquering nations. It was a big surprise to me that Turkey turned out to be one of my favorite countries to eat in. Turkish food is about the freshest ingredients and technique. There are meze – small dishes that start the meal based on seasons and locale.

Some of my favorite foods are pide (boat shaped flatbread with fillings), pastirma (ancestor of pastrami), borek (small filled pastries),kabob, hummus, eggplant cooked many different ways, any dessert made from semolina, fresh halvah, pomegranate juice, fish cooked with olive oil and lemon, simit (Turkish bagels), ayram (drink made with yogurt ice and salt), fresh cheese ( beyaz peynir) and honey, kofta (meatballs), (mincemeat pizza) and just about anything  I have eaten in Turkey

I’m not even a huge fan of lamb but in Turkey it is delicious.

 The food in Israel is reason enough to visit the country. Israel is a young country, but its food goes back thousands of years. The cuisine is a melting pot of North Africa, Mediterranean, Eastern Europe and its Middle Eastern neighbors.

It is healthy and delicious. There is freshly made hummus with hot pita bread, falafel (made from fava beans or chick peas), tahini, schwarma, kebob, shakshouka, salads, and labneh,(yogurt cheese.)

The food tastes so much fresher than anything that I’ve eaten at home.  Israeli breakfast is one of the best things about Israel. It is usually served buffet style with an array of European, Israeli and Mediterranean dishes.- They are the biggest breakfast buffets I have ever seen.

This is the country that gave us pizza and cappuccino. Italy’s simple comfort food  has become the food of every country. Each region has specialties that they are very proud of. The best pizza is found in Naples and Spaghetti Bolognese does come from Bologna.  Parma ham and Parmesan cheese come from Parma. Olive oil is the only real Italian condiment.Wine and coffee vie for being the national drink. Freshness of Ingredients is very important to the Italians.. Dining in Italy is always a delight for your taste buds. 

 Olive Oil is the most Greek of all the Greek food.  A Greek salad is very simple with feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and olives. It will never taste the same  way here. I have it every day in Greece and it is always amazing. Greeks do it better. There are many high quality ingredients to choose from in Greece that we don’t seem to be able to recreate here. I have spent a few summers here and figs, honey, olives, lamb, seafood, fava beans, tiropita (cheese pastry), tzatziki  (yogurt dip) Avgolemono soup  (lemon chicken soup) and baklava are always delicious. 

I love seafood and except for Iceland, no one in Europe eats more of it, than the people of Portugal. If you love tuna and sea bass, this is the place. The national dish is bacalhau – dried, salted cod. The Portuguese have been obsessed with it since the early 16th century.  Sardines, mackerel, lobsters, shrimp, oysters and crabs are plentiful. The ‘arroz de marisco” is a delicious seafood rice.

Other national dishes are “cozido à portuguesa,” a thick stew of vegetables with various kinds of meat, “leitão assado” Roast suckling pig and tripe with beans. young Portuguese chefs are making a name for themselves with their more modern approach to the classics.  Pasteis de nata is my favorite dessert – Small custard tarts with cinnamon are found all over Portugal The most original recipe comes from Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon a pastelaria that dates back to 1837. I was lucky enough to go there.

Portuguese cheeses are delicious and should be more well-known and for a small country, they  produce a number of varieties of very good wine. 

Mexico is a go to country for delicious cuisine. There are  moles, tacos, tamales, enchiladas, guacamole, tostadas, flan and Mexican chocolate.

Lime and salt go with everything. 

You will not get bored with the food in this country. It is a fiesta in your mouth. 

Cambodian food is delicious and often overlooked but should not be. Insects are always on the menu in Cambodia. Beef with red tree ants should not be missed.

Tarantula and deep-fried scorpion are not my thing but you see a lot of people eating them. 

Fish amok is a fish mousse with fresh coconut milk, Khmer  spices, turmeric, garlic and ginger,

It is served in a banana leaf and is my favorite lunch with fresh coconut juice served in the coconut.

Khmer beef salad, Khmer noodles,  Khmer curry, fried crab and grilled squid are a must try in Cambodia. There is always rice. Try the pork and rice which is only served for breakfast. 

Street food is the attraction in Thailand. The complex  combination of spices and flavors  can  make your favorite dish be spicy, sour, salty, sweet, chewy, crunchy and slippery. With influences from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, ,Myanmar and a royal culinary tradition, Thai cuisine is the best of many worlds.. Thai coffee with condensed milk and mango with sticky  rice is my favorite dessert. The various curries, soups,  noodle dishes, rice and salads encompass the unique flavors of Thailand.

The food in Viet Nam is insanely good.Traditional Vietnamese food is all about the balance of fresh ingredients, intense flavors, and ease of cooking and preparation.

.Many of the dishes have  a rich history and represent a regional specialty.

The most famous street food is pho which is a bit different in the North and South.  It is rice noodles and slices of beef cooked in   a beef bone broth with complex flavors. It is the most popular food for breakfast and lunch.

Banh Mi is my favorite street food. This sandwich can also be traced back to the French colonial period, even through the roots of the name; Banh is pronounced similarly to the French word for bread, pain.Today the typical Vietnamese banh mi consists of mayonnaise, pate, sliced ham and pork, pickled vegetables, coriander, and hot sauce.

Fly safe,


First Food That I Want To Eat When I Revisit A Country

First Food That I Want To Eat When I Revisit a Country

“Like I said before. Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”Anthony Bourdain

 Japan Sushi at Tsukiji Market, any dessert made with yuzu or green tea.


 Turkey Pide, fresh pomegranate juice, anything with eggplant, and any dessert made with semolina.


 Croatia Fresh tuna and bean salad, grilled calamari and swiss chard.

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Cambodia Fresh coconut water and amok (I loved Cambodian food).


 Greece Avgolemono soup, baklava and Greek salad (feta, tomatoes and olive oil don’t taste the same anywhere else).

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 Italy Pizza, pasta with fresh tomato sauce and basil.  (My dream is to go to Sicily and eat pizza).

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South Africa Biltong (Im not even a meateater and I love it).

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Israel  Falafel and Hummus.

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Colombia Guanabana juice and Arepa con Quisito.


Spain Churros, hot chocolate and real gazpacho.

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 Panama Sancocho soup.

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Netherlands Pofferjes and poached egg on brioche with smoked salmon, (first time that I have had that).


Brazil Tacaca with shrimp and fresh acai ( not the watered down sugary stuff we get here) in the Amazon.


 Thailand Thai iced coffee.

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 Peru Ceviche with giant corn.

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Argentina Alfajores from Havanna.

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Mexico Tacos, guacamole, mole or really anything in Oaxaca. (except not a fan of the crickets every day)


USA When I come home I want a turkey burger from Golden State in LA.


Fly safe,

Sushi At Tsukiji (Tokyo)

Sushi at Tsukiji (Tokyo)

“Heaven has no taste. And not one single sushi restaurant,” I said. A look of pain crossed the angel’s suddenly very serious face.” Terry Pratchett

I’ve eaten great food before. But all raw fish aficionados should make a pilgrimage to Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo in their lifetime. The best and freshest fish are known to come from the Tsukiji Fish Market. (squid and red snapper)


The sushi bars that surround the market are the epicenter of sushi culture.


The lines for the best ones start at 5am when they start serving. They usually close around 12. The restaurants outside the market can stay open for twenty four hours. The sushi restaurants are small, crowded and sometimes the chefs take something right out of the tank in front of you and prepare it. I think it was still moving.


o-toro (fattiest of the fatty tuna) was the best tuna I’ve ever had. The whole piece melts in your mouth. You don’t even need to chew. It tasted fresh and rich in flavor with gorgeous color and marbling.


I’ve never had uni that was this amazing. I’ve never even liked uni before. Sea urchin at a lesser degree of freshness tends to be overly mushy, taste a bit rank and looks like it’s covered in a sort of mucus. This was the best I’ve ever tasted.


Eating sushi in Tsukiji was a near spiritual experience for me and I’m sure it would be for anyone that loves sushi. (o-toro and anago)


I don’t know where it could be fresher and better. (fresh clam soup)


It is always hard to start eating sushi again after leaving Japan. Thanks for a memorable lunch Hiro.



yo I sorano tabi o,


Things I Have Learned In Tokyo

“We mustn’t allow the characteristic Japanese aesthetic to die out. Aesthetics also include things like a sense of responsibility and a sense of justice. They also incorporate a respect for other people and for nature, an appreciation of the gift of life, and courtesy. They even extend to the ability to look at the world around one, properly.”            Tadao Ando

Things I Have Learned in Tokyo

Tokyo Narita airport is so far away from Tokyo, the word Tokyo should have been left out.

There are a lot of rules to wearing a kimono correctly. Most modern women have not gone to kimono school so they go to the hairdresser to have them tied correctly and have their hair done traditionally. I did notice free kimono lessons in the airport in Tokyo.

If you squeeze a lemon and put a slice of lemon in your sake, it cuts the hangover time in half.

Japanese toilets do everything automatically except actually extract the waste products from your body,. The seats open. They self clean and can play several songs while doing it. There are actually clean bathrooms in train stations.  Be careful pushing buttons if you don’t know what they are.

The Japanese have the same Kanto – Kansai (east – west) competition going that LA and NY has. Tokyo is East and Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe are west. It is is also carried on very politely so it takes a minute to realize they are insulting each other.

Tokyo loves cartoon characters. Everything has a mascot. The police have a smurflike character. The fire department  has a firefighter with a big helmet and horns. The railway has a penguin (which you see everywhere).  All the large companies have cute little characters as in cute never lets you down.

The Imperial Palace buildings and inner gardens are only open on Jan 2 ( for New years greetings) and Dec 23 for the emperor’s birthday. Ive never been in Japan on those days.

In Tokyo, you stand on the left on an escalator. In Osaka you stand on the right. This is always a problem with my sense of direction.

In Akihabara, in Tokyo ( the electronics area) there are many maid cafes. Women dressed as French maids are the waitresses and say things like master can I serve you? They stand on the streets and give out flyers. Modern geisha culture?

Anything can be made out of tofu.

21-21 in Roppongi  is designed by Tadao Ando. It  is Japan’s first design museum. Helsinki has had one for years.

Seeing  Mt  Fuji from Tokyo may not seem like a much of an accomplishment but it is hardly every visible.

Some Japanese wear masks because they are sick, some wear them because they don’t want to get sick and some wear them for allergies. How do you  know which one you are sitting on the train next to?

Tokyo has a no talking on the phone policy on the trains. That doesn’t include texting, emailing or playing games but it does allow tired office workers and students to sleep.

Nothing is so distasteful to the Japanese as feet bottoms  (except when they are giving those painful foot massages). Sox are preferable to bare feet.  There are toilet slippers and other slippers.  Don’t walk out of the bathroom in the toilet slippers.

View is the most important thing to Japanese people when reserving a hotel.


Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo is one of the largest fish markets in the world. It handles 2000 tons of seafood daily. It has become such a large tourist attraction and was not built for that so they limit the number of people now to 120 per day.  No heels or sandals (I definitely broke that rule). No small children or pets. No large bags or suitcases. Don’t touch anything. You must apply to see the tuna auction at Osakana Fukyu Center (Fish Information Center) at the Kachidoki Gate, starting from 5:00am on a first-come, first-serve basis. It is good to have fresh sushi for breakfast after the auction. The restaurants are open from 5am to12PM. I recommend eating at Ryu.

Sumo wrestling goes on for six hours. Luckily they only televise one hour and with the close-ups that is enough.

The current Kabuki-Za Theatre is closed until Oct 2013.  ( and when they give a completion date in Japan, it is usually correct, unlike here where they just rely on destiny). Kabuki combines different art forms such as dance theatre, music, costume design and set design.  There is a theatrical form of mime that has become associated with Kabuki Theatre. It is all blended together with the stories that have entertained the Japanese for over four hundred years. Kabuki is repertory theatre.  The same plays are regularly performed. There is no director and very little rehearsal time.  The actors have rehearsed  these roles since they were very young and should know them by the time they are performers. Make sure you get the English earphones so you can follow the story.  The performances are usually about five or six hours long. Sometimes you can purchase tickets for shorter time on the day of the performance. I did two hours and loved every minute of it and didn’t think I would – definitely try it.

The customer is God. As in “May I have the honor to serve you?’ Your happiness makes us smile.  Giving candy after a purchase, wrapping each individual item and carrying your package to the door is business as usual.

Harajuku in Shibuya has become known as the place for the most extreme teenage street fashion. Harajuku girls are girls dressed in many different styles of fashion in Harajuku. There  is punk style, ganguro – bleached hair, fake lashes and fake nails and tan (California girl rebellion against Japanese culture), cosplay – costume based from manga to bands, skaters and goth. Takeshita dori is the main street and is ridiculously crowded on the weekends.

Japanese love coffee.

The Sensoji Temple (the oldest temple in Tokyo) is Iocated in Asakusa.  It is nice to get out of modern Tokyo and feel some of the old Japanese culture.

As a fan of taxis, what is better than white gloved drivers with lace seat seat coverings and automatic doors? ( of course none of that matters if you are not with a Japanese person because they don’t speak English and you will not be able to tell them where you want to go)

Tokyo is officially the most expensive city in the world.

The Tokyo skytree is the world’s tallest tower. It is 634 meters and double in size of the Eiffel Tour. It has many shops and restaurants and yet another aquarium in Japan.

Shibuya crossing is one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world.(Im from NY and I was a little bit intimidated)

Do not even think about drinking and driving in Japan. The legal limit is less than one drink.  The fine is huge and you could be thrown in jail. Do not even think about getting in a car as a passenger with someone who has had a drink. You also will pay a huge fine.  There are always many taxis in the bar areas.

yo I sorano tabi o