1. Donuts in Tampere, Finland
When we were in Tampere, Finland, we went to the Pyynikki Observation Tower not for its views, but for its donuts that our Finnish friend from Helsinki raved about. I’m generally not a fan of donuts (or any sweet pastries actually), but these were well worth the trek through the rain.
2. Maine Lobster Roll in Perkins Cove, Maine, USA
Lobster rolls all over New England are delicious, but where better to have a Maine lobster than in Maine? They aren’t cheap, but this one from Perkins Cove was well worth the price and drive to get there.
3. Reindeer Burger in Egilstaddir, Iceland
This probably doesn’t look appetizing to you (iPhones don’t always take sharp photos), but wow was this reindeer blue cheese burger delicious. A local told us to head down to the “restaurant” inside the N1 gas station and order this for dinner. So we did as Icelanders do and set aside our pescetarian habits for a taste of reindeer. It was sweet and savory at the same time. Highly recommended!
4. Vegetable Tajine with Couscous in Fez, Morocco
I’m sure meat in Morocco is delicious, but we tried to stay as true to our pescetarian diets as possible (yes, I know you read earlier that we ate Rudolph). This couscous topped with veggie tajine and caramelized onions knocked it out of the park. Mmmmmm!
5. Baba Laksa in Melaka, Malaysia
I could eat baba laksa from Jonker 88 every single day. Again, a local-recommended specialty of Melaka. The line for this place is literally down the street when they’re open because everything they serve is so, so good.
6. Tamarind Flakes in Bagan, Myanmar
Obsessed is the word I would use to describe how I feel about these. They’re a specialty of the area, so we didn’t see them again after leaving Bagan. They’re made of tamarind paste and sugar, so they have a lovely sweet and sour combo to them. Five flattened flakes come wrapped in white tissue paper and are sometimes given after a meal at restaurants. After my first taste, I went and bought a couple of bags from a local vendor
7. Tea Leaf Salad in Koh Lipe, Thailand
Yes, we went to Myanmar and had tea leaf salad at least a dozen times while there, but the food at “Forever” restaurant on Koh Lipe was incredible. Hands down the best Burmese food we’ve had anywhere. (It’s owned and operated by a Burmese man and his Thai wife.) Tea leaf salad in particular is delicious because of the bold flavors and soft and crunchy textures. Well worth seeking out.
8. Tofu Larb in Vientiane, Laos
Larb/larp/laap/laab. This salad goes by many names and is made slightly differently by each restaurant, but the core ingredients are pretty much the same everywhere: tofu (also made with duck, beef, or chicken), mint, lemongrass, and a dressing of lime, chilies, fish sauce, and palm sugar (this isn’t a complete ingredient list, but just the core). It ended up being my favorite Laotian dish. Add some sticky rice and BAM, you’ve got one helluva meal.