Top 10 World Foods

17

10. Chicken muamba, Gabon

A bastardized Western version of this delectable Gabonese dish swamps everything in peanut butter. Oh, the insanity. The proper recipe calls for chicken, hot chili, garlic, tomato, pepper, salt, okra and palm butter, an artery-clogging African butter that will force you into a second helping and a promise to start using your gym membership. This chicken dish is cooked with palm paste, okra, garlic, and palm oil hash.

Muamba de galinha is a spicy Angolan chicken dish, flavored with the fruit of a West African palm tree (dendém) and studded with pieces of pumpkin and okra. You can find canned palm soup base in many African markets. But a tasty chicken muamba can be made without it if you can’t.

9. Ice cream, global

This is how Llewellyn Clarke makes coconut ice cream on the island of Nevis. Here’s a hint … you start by climbing up a tree and cutting down a coconut.

You may have just gorged yourself to eruption point, but somehow there’s always room for a tooth-rotting pile of ice cream with nuts, marshmallows and chocolate sauce. Thank God for extra long spoons that allow you get at the real weight-gain stuff all mixed up and melted at the bottom of the glass.

8. Tom yum goong, Thailand

This best food Thai masterpiece teems with shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. The words “tom yam” are derived from two Thai words. Tom refers to the boiling process, while yam refers to a Thai spicy and sour salad. Usually loaded with coconut milk and cream, the hearty soup unifies a host of favorite Thai tastes: sour, salty, spicy and sweet. Best of all is the price: cheap.

7. Penang assam laksa, Malaysia

Poached, flaked mackerel, tamarind, chili, mint, lemongrass, onion, pineapple … one of Malaysia’s most popular dishes is an addictive spicy-sour fish broth with noodles (especially great when fused with ginger), that’ll have your nose running before the spoon even hits your lips.

6. Hamburger, Germany

Double cheeseburger with french fries

When something tastes so good that people spend $20 billion each year in a single restaurant chain devoted to it, you know it has to fit into this list. McDonald’s may not offer the best burgers, but that’s the point — it doesn’t have to. The bread-meat-salad combination is so good that entire countries have ravaged their eco-systems just to produce more cows.

5. Peking duck, China

Obsessed with Peking duck? Duck de Chine offers one of Beijing’s most memorable dining experiences. Video by Black Buddha

The maltose-syrup glaze coating the skin is the secret. Slow roasted in an oven, the crispy, syrup-coated skin is so good that authentic eateries will serve more skin than meat, and bring it with pancakes, onions and hoisin or sweet bean sauce. Other than flying or floating, this is the only way you want your duck.

We meet up with Yumi Chiba to find out how she became one of the most renowned female sushi chefs in Japan.

4. Sushi, Japan

When Japan wants to build something right, it builds it really right. Brand giants such as Toyota, Nintendo, Sony, Nikon and Yamaha may have been created by people fueled by nothing more complicated than raw fish and rice, but it’s how the fish and rice is put together that makes this a global first-date favorite. The Japanese don’t live practically forever for no reason — they want to keep eating this stuff.

3. Chocolate, Mexico

The Mayans drank it, Lasse Hallström made a film about it and the rest of us get over the guilt of eating too much of it by eating more of it. The story of the humble cacao bean is a bona fide out-of-the-jungle, into-civilization tale of culinary wonder. Without this creamy, bitter-sweet confection, Valentine’s Day would be all cards and flowers, Easter would turn back into another dull religious event.

2. Neapolitan pizza, Italy

Spare us the lumpy chain monstrosities and “everything-on-it” wheels of greed. The best pizza was and still is the simple Neapolitan, an invention now protected by its own trade association that insists on sea salt, high-grade wheat flour, the use of only three types of fresh tomatoes, hand-rolled dough and the strict use of a wood-fired oven, among other quality stipulations. With just a few ingredients — dough, tomatoes, olive oil, salt and basil (the marinara pizza does not even contain cheese) — the Neapolitans created a food that few make properly, but everyone enjoys thoroughly.

1. Massaman curry, Thailand

Emphatically the king of curries, and perhaps the king of all foods. Spicy, coconutty, sweet and savory. Even the packet sauce you buy from the supermarket can make the most delinquent of cooks look like a Michelin potential. Thankfully, someone invented rice, with which diners can mop up the last drizzles of curry sauce. “The Land of Smiles” isn’t just a marketing catch-line. It’s a result of being born in a land where the world’s most delicious food is sold on nearly every street corner.