We asked you to recall your favourite foodie memories in our Lonely Planet Ultimate Eatlist competition. The results have, mostly, made us very hungry ...
We went to China and, on our first night in Beijing, decided to be daring and find some random little restaurant to eat in to get away from Western food. We found a hole-in-the-wall "restaurant" down a dark alley and ordered some beef noodles. Our first indication that something wasn't right was that the place was empty. We then realised there wasn't even a kitchen, the guy was just getting something out of a container and heating it on a gas hob. Needless to say the "beef" was definitely NOT beef and the noodles tasted like they had been pulled out of the kitchen sink hole. And the beer was warm. We slunk away, hungry, and reminded ourselves to follow the golden rule, "eat where the locals eat". Definitely a memorable meal.
No1 food experience has to be the Chi Lin Nunnery in Hong Kong. A beautiful serene garden set among the skyscrapers. The restaurant serves only vegetarian food (heaven for a vegetarian). We ordered a feast of noodles, rice and dumplings. An amazing foodie experience.
I was up in the mountains of Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) at a small, remote village doing a health check on the local children. After several hours of work the team was served a meal. This was a stew with large pieces of almost smoky-flavoured, rich bush meat. I enjoyed it very much until I spooned out another piece of this meat, but this time it was attached to a well-cooked, little furry paw. I didn't throw up but I did decline any more of the stew as my appetite had completely disappeared.
My wife and I were walking the length of the Apennines in Italy. We arrived at the small hilltop village of Caprese Michelangelo, the birthplace of the Renaissance jack-of-all-trades in 1475. We found the only hotel and checked in. After breakfast the following morning we were asked if we intended to stay for lunch. There was going to be a large wedding reception and they had one small table to spare: it could be ours. Sounded expensive at €25 each but we said "Si".
When we turned up at midday the place was buzzing with 80-90 people of all ages. We were shown our table and the seven-course feast began. It started with a huge antipasto platter of melon, salami, prosciutto, pate and a wedge of pecorino. That was followed by crepes and truffles. Then came the pasta dish, fungi and herb ravioli, and after that a carpaccio of beef with salad. The main course came next, delicious roast chicken with rosti potatoes. And then dessert; tiramisu with strawberries, followed by coffee and some unidentified liquor. Wine flowed throughout and the atmosphere hummed with joy and friendship. Pure Italian. Unforgettable.
A 45-minute scenic bus trip took us to the Phuket Cooking School. Five dishes were cooked, tasted by us then we had to cook and eat each dish. Preferring "tourist-hot", I used fewer chillies. Having never used a pestle and mortar before I quickly came to the attention of the chef who watched me closely, always smiling. "Kapai Anna, kapai".
"Where did you learn that from?" I asked.
As I ate the salad (like coleslaw) I blew a gasket. Hell it was hot, not what I was expecting.
Chef giggled, "Anna very heavy-handed, make dish hotter, Anna not kapai now, from now on more gentle with pestle and mortar."
A second-to-none food experience that was memorable and fun, motivating us when home to cook delicious Thai meals prepared "gently".
Don Johnson Paraguya
Osaka, Japan. We tried one of the ramen houses inside the JR station and were blown away by the ¥500 ramen. Although it is common, it was my first time to actually eat in a ramen house, just like in anime. Plus you can really hear how loud their slurp is when eating ramen.
Cushla J Kemp
Would have to be in Paris at a French restaurant where the waitress could not speak a bar of English. It was a tiny restaurant so she was the only one running the show. She would make animal noises to make out which type of meat it was and point to her body for the part i.e. "OINK OINK" and belly for pork belly. It was so much fun so we got her to surprise us with her favourites (we hope that's what came across).
We went on a tour around Vanuatu and part of the tour was a lunch prepared in a little village on a beach. The food was beyond amazing, the fruit and meat was unlike anything I have ever had before, so fresh, so rich in flavour, so
delicious. I had never before had coconut that had soft skin inside, it was amazing. In fact, everywhere I ate on Vanuatu was just so great but this stop was the most memorable.
I like to play menu roulette when in another country. I order something off a menu in the local language. When in Albania last year I played this. When the waiter came out with my meal I asked him what it was ... he just woofed at me.
Eating pig spit roast is always #1 for me. It is a staple food preparation for either rich or poor, and I know how costly it is to get a whole one back in my hometown in the Philippines. I believe it is a symbol of hospitality there. The last time I had this was when I went home four years ago after my dad passed away and there we were celebrating the life he lived.
Soup on a Trans Siberian Railway trip 30 years ago is my never-to-be-repeated meal experience. The reason? After three consecutive days/nights on the train journey through Siberia, the hungover waiter wobbled down the aisle of the carriage with a black eye after an overnight vodka binge. The insipid soup tasted even worse than he looked and smelled! The best breakfast I've ever had was at the Helsinki, Finland, hotel buffet I stayed at after the long train trip ended. I ate continuously for an hour.