Monday, September 12, 2016

40 Dishes From Around The World That You Should Try (if you haven't yet)

We, the Monkeys, are foodies. We love eating out, but also cooking all kind of dishes. We, obviously, eat many dishes from the Pacific Northwest, from Spain and from the Middle East, but we also eat dishes from many other cuisines on a regular basis.

We have tried many of these dishes while visiting the country or region they come from. What an excellent way of getting to know a culture, Food! From creating the list, we realized:
  • African food is still in our bucket list
  • We really like raw fish
  • We really like sandwiches
  • A list of 40 dishes is not enough!

Here is the list of the 40 top dishes at the Monkeys' residence.

1. Sushi. Japan
If there is a food we all love and enjoy together, that is sushi. In either the classic Japanese form or the American style sushi rolls, we could live on sushi. We know that many people have their reservations about sushi because it is raw fish, but give it a try! It is so worth it. If it's still too much for you, try one of the many cooked versions. We give our toddler California roll, which is cooked. He loves it (just as much as playing with the chopsticks)!

2. Tortilla Española. Spain
This essential dish in any Spanish fiesta, is not only simple, but delicious. In any celebration, this potato omelet is always the first thing to be finished. The everlasting debate: onion or no onion? We say: always!

3. Clam Chowder. USA
Chowder comes in a lot of versions, but the one we know and eat is the New England version. This thick seafood soup was created to keep fishermen warm and, oh boy, it does its job! Thus, we usually eat it in winter or on our trips to Oregon coast (it's often/always wet and cold). Cream based, with clams, potatoes and onion. Could it get any better? Yes! Add some oyster crackers.

4. Pad Thai. Thailand
Thai restaurants are not as common in Spain as in the US. So the first time that Papa Monkey took Mama Monkey to a Thai restaurant she was totally lost. We ordered Pad Thai and it was love at the first...Bite! This noodle stir fry is too good to miss. It can be chicken, beef, seafood... But our favorite is the tofu version.

5. Baba Ghanoush. Syria
Everybody has heard of hummus, and we love it, don't get us wrong, but a good Baba Ghanoush is something you have to try if you haven't yet. It is hummus’ first cousin, but exchanging eggplant for garbanzo beans. If eggplant is properly roasted, then you'll get this great, yummy, smoky flavor. Just grab a piece of flat bread and dip it in this goodness.

6. Poke. Hawaii, USA
And talking about first cousins, this is the Hawaiian version of sushi, so we love it, too! This cubed raw fish salad seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil and onion is somet  hing you shouldn't miss. Even though it is considered as an appetizer in Hawaii, we prepare it, accompanied with rice, as a whole meal on a regular basis. Our favorite versions are tuna and salmon poke.

7. Salad rolls. Vietnam
This rolls are so healthy and refreshing and, at the same time, so good! Funny enough, the first time Mama Monk y had them, was on her first visit to the US. She wondered: why didn't they fry my roll? (In Spain, they are familiar with spring rolls).

8. Tajine. Morocco
Besides being delicious, the presentation of this stew makes eating it a real experience by itself. It's everything you would expect from a Moroccan dish: spicy, nutty... Yum! Is your mouth watering, yet?

9. Tacos. Mexico
Yeah, tacos is pretty general, but how can you choose just one? They are all so tasty! And as a result of not being able to choose, we end up overeating tacos any time we have them. Yes, we are gluttons!

10. Goan curry. India
This is our favorite type of curry, when mild, even little kids can enjoy it! I mean, Indian kids probably eat it pretty hot, but the little Monkeys are not quite used to it! Anyhow, when you cook chicken, beef, lamb or even seafood with coconut milk and yellow curry, how can you go wrong?

11. Pasta al nero di seppia. Italy
I know pasta is everyone's favorite dish. But have you tried black pasta? This type of pasta, dyed with cuttlefish ink, has a slightly aquatic flavor which makes it perfect to be mixed with any kind of seafood. Just try it already!

12. Empanadas. Chile
If you have Chilean friends, they most likely have made empanadas for you, especially around this time of the year, when they celebrate their 'Semana de la Patria'. The traditional versions are filled with minced meat and onions with boiled egg, olives and raisins. And even though they are not bite size precisely, you will want more than one for sure!

13. Fish and chips. UK
There is a general understanding in Spain that good fish should be cooked as simply as possible. However, the Brits have taken this idea and turned it on its head with this dish. When prepared correctly it is a phenomenal food and should be enjoyed with a fantastic beer.

14. Moussaka. Greece
Eggplant, ground or minced beef, tomato, béchamel sauce... Should we say more? We love the version with a whole eggplant stuffed and baked. 

15. Moo Shu. China
We recently discovered this dish at a Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood and we were pleasantly surprised. It looks like a regular stir fry, generally, with pork or chicken, but it is accompanied by kind of rice very fine pancakes. Yummy!

16. Tabbouleh. Lebanon
This Middle Eastern dish is as simple as it is tasty, and it is vegan! This salad is made of finely chopped parsley, bulgur, tomatoes, onion, mint, olive oil and lemon juice.

17. Bacalhau à brás. Portugal
Out of all the codfish dishes from beautiful Portugal, this is our favorite. In this dish, the cod is shredded and it is mixed with matchstick potatoes, onion and eggs. A must try if you visit the 'land of fado'.

18. Paella. Spain
Needless to say, we love paella. I mean, what is not to love? This Eastern Spanish rice dish is a hit whenever we cook it. But our favorite of all time is Abuelita's. She makes what is called "arroz de ciegos", a seafood version of paella with no shells or bones. Amazing!

19. Eggs Benedict. USA
Oh, what a great brunch dish! What makes it so amazing? The English muffin, the ham or bacon, the pouched egg, the Hollandaise sauce? No, it's the combination of them all!

20. Couscous. Tunisia
Haven't you tried couscous yet? Why are you reading? Go and try it right now! You're welcome!

21. Falafel. Egypt
Another amazing vegan dish that no one should miss. Garbanzo bean fritters. Do I need you say anything else to convince you to try them? Just put some in a pocket bread, add some fresh veggies, tahini sauce and, you are good to go!

22. Ceviche. Perú 
Yes, I am realizing we have a fixation with uncooked fish. Because, even though fish in ceviche is not strictly raw, it is simply marinated in lime (or lemon) juice. The addition of onion, chile, cilantro and other garnishes make it just perfect.   

23. Borsch soup. Russia
We have never been to Russia, nor to a Russian restaurant, but we have a very good friend from Moscow that lives in Madrid. She is multi-talented and an awesome cook. She introduced us to this red soup topped with sour cream. Thanks, Iri!

24. Spaetzle. Germany
This hearty German pasta dish is the perfect addition to that roast famous roast chicken. We highly suggest trying this dish in the right setting, that being Oktoberfest in Munich! Prost!

25. Smørrebrød. Denmark
Not much more is needed than bread and some excellent ingredients to make a fantastic meal. These open faced sandwiches hold their own against most similar dishes. What makes them so unique is all the variation that can be had.

26. Cubano sandwich. Cuba

If you enjoy sandwiches, this one is a must try. When prepared correctly it is a mind blowing experience that will take you to another place. Our favorite version of this happens to be a place in Portland that uses pork belly as part of the sandwich.

27. Croque monsieur. France
If you are thinking: 'This is just a ham and cheese sandwich, no biggie!', it's that you haven't tried it. It might be a sandwich, but one of the best you will ever try.

28. Mămăligă. Romania
Our contact with Romanian cuisine comes from our international group of friends we used to hang out with in Madrid. Mămăligă is simply a porridge made out of corn flour. There are many variations, but we recommend mămăligă cu brânză şi slănină afumată.

29. Chilaquiles. Mexico
Mexicans start the day strong. This fried tortillas with salsa (or mole) with some amazing Mexican garnishes on top are typically served for breakfast. Ándele!  

30. Dim sum. Hong Kong
There is a very good reason that this dish is so addictive. Amazing ingredient mixtures wrapped in a rice dough then steamed. Mate this with great dipping sauces and you have what is considered one of the best dishes out there.

31. Croissant. France
Hungry some? Get ready for 10 sweet dishes to finish the list. Croissants are Mama Monkey's favorite breakfast. In a world with no calories or cholesterol, she would have them everyday. Have you tried grilling it? Just saying...

32. Baklava. Turkey
Has anyone not tried Baklava? It is so present in our lives that it's hard to believe. Even though we tagged it as a Turkish dish for it's origin, they are eaten all over the Middle East. The best in the world are Situ's though, period.  

33. Belgian chocolates. Belgium
Regarding chocolate there is no agreement over at the Monkeys: Papa Monkey only likes dark, very dark chocolate and Mama Monkey and company prefer milk chocolate. Except for Belgian chocolates. All of us like them all! 

34. Kanafeh. Palestine
There are so many Middle Eastern sweet dishes that Mama Monkey keeps discovering some once in a while. We had kanafeh the other day (Mama's first time), and it made it to the list. Why? Cheese pastry soaked in syrup. How does that sound?  

35. Dulce de Leche. Argentina
Not a dish by itself but good enough to have a spot on this list. When used in cakes, cookies and other baked goodies is just perfection.

36. Carrot cake. Switzerland 
This cake is really popular in the US, but not as much in Spain. I had my first piece provided by my good friend Boca de Fresa. And even though I usually enjoy carrot cake, hers is the best by far.  

37. Sacher torte. Austria
Vienna + Sacher torte + Melange = Paradise

38. Tiramisu. Italy
Although is not suitable for kids or pregnant women (it has liquor and raw egg), tiramisu must be one of best desserts in the world. If you make it, please, make sure to use mascarpone cheese.

39. Ma'amoul. Jordan
This Middle Eastern sweet is perfect to enjoy with coffee or on its own. Multiple variations on this classic exist but our favorite is dates and nut mixture. Do yourself a favor and have a Turkish coffee and Ma'amoul.

40. Cobbler. USA
Well, there is nothing as classic as a fresh cobbler and a glass of milk. This favorite dessert can be made with almost any fruit but our favorite happens to be marionberry (a cultivar of blackberry from Oregon).

Tell us, where is your favorite dish from?

To celebrate her 40th birthday, Leanna from All Done Monkey has organized this virtual party, where each blogger shares her list of 40 favorite things, plus we are giving away a $250 cash prize to a lucky winner! Don't miss these creative Top 40 lists, and be sure to enter the giveaway, which is open internationally. (Thanks to the Piri-Piri Lexicon for designing this beautiful series button!)

Bloggers share their lists of 40 favorite things
Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes: 40 Things to Do with Kids in Puerto Rico
Play Dough & Popsicles: 40 Paper Plate Crafts for Kids
Pura Vida Moms: 40 Best Cupcake Recipes
Pack-n-Go Girls: 40 Fabulous Travel Tips

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  1. This is such a great list!! I feel like printing it out and hanging it on my wall so I can check them all off :)

    1. Gracias Leanna! They are all amazing dishes. Thank you so much for organizing this. And... Happy birthday!!!

  2. From one foodie to another, this is great! Our families share a lot of the same tastes. A Brazilian favorite of ours is Pao de Queijo (cheese bread/puffs).

    1. Thank you! Oh, that brazilian dish sounds amazing. We have to try it!

  3. Tia falto un platillo Sirio, por papa Monkey... saludos desde Cleveland!