Food is a hot topic of debate, but travel website VirtualTourist.com has compiled its selection of 10 of the world’s most iconic dishes and the best places to find them.
Pastrami sandwich – New York City
Neighbourhoods grow and change, but some things stay the same. A fixture in New York’s Lower East Side since 1888, Katz’s Delicatessen is a holdover from a time that has long disappeared from the old neighbourhood. Less than a block from the Tenement Museum, which celebrates the immigrants who lived in the area in the early 20th century, Katz’s is most famous for its pastrami. The deli’s superiority is so renowned that it has online ordering, shipping all over the US and to any military address, a tradition established during WWII. As luxury hotels and trendy nightclubs pop up around it, the quality and tradition of Katz’s ensures it will be a fixture for the next 125 years.
Pad Thai – Bangkok
One of Thailand’s more accessible and less spicy dishes, Pad Thai is many people’s first foray into Thai cuisine. Comprised of stir-fried rice noodles, egg, bean sprouts and peanuts, the dish is traditionally served with lime wedges and can be found all over Bangkok’s street food scene. The most famous spot for Pad Thai in Bangkok is Thip Samai, an unassuming storefront across from Wat Thepthidaram in the Banglamphu district. The restaurant serves original Pad Thai, as well as a “superb” version with Thai noodles served in an omelette.
Pizza – Napoli
While pizza has been reinterpreted all over the world, the original slice can be traced back to the working class neighbourhoods of Napoli, Italia. Traditionally, it was served Marinara or Margherita, with the primary difference being that Margherita features mozzarella cheese and basil on top. It was named after Queen Margherita of Savoy, who was served this style by a young chef when visiting Napoli in the late 19th century. There’s no shortage of pizzerias in Napoli, but two of the most famous are L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele and Pizzeria di Matteo, the latter near the Duomo and known for being the place where US President Bill Clinton dined during the Group Of Seven conference in 1994.
Frites – Brussels
Some know Belgium for its many food specialities, including waffles, mussels and chocolate, but one of its greatest areas of expertise is in frites, or fried potatoes called French fries. Belgian frites are distinct for two reasons – they're usually made with Bintje potatoes and they're fried not once but twice. Vying for top spot in Brussels are Frit Flagey in Place Flagey, Friterie Tabora near the Grand Place, and Maison Friterie Antoine in Place Jourdan. Once you pick your place, the next decision is how to dress your frites. While the traditional accompaniment is mayonnaise, Maison Antoine provides more than 20 sauces, including curry, mustard, ketchup and poivre.
Coffee and beignets – New Orleans
A people-watching institution in its own right, Café du Monde is a mandatory stop for any coffee connoisseur visiting the Big Easy. On Jackson Square, the patio at du Monde is a great spot to enjoy the European ambiance and pace of New Orleans, or listen to its street musicians and performers. While du Monde is known around the world, many people don’t know that coffee first came to North America by way of New Orleans. After being successfully cultivated by the French in Martinique, they brought it to their new colonies along the Mississippi River. The beignets – square pieces of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar – are a perfect complement to the chicory coffee. If you can’t make it to the flagship on Decatur Street, there are eight du Monde coffee stands within the New Orleans metropolitan area.