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The Foodbloggers' Guide to the Globe

Food Blogger

Cin from A Few of My Favourite Things tagged me while I was in San Francisco. Immediately, food after food jumped out at me. Says the tomato then the zucchini and the lamb chops: “Choose me. Please choose me!” The list kept getting longer and longer and it became impossible to decide. There is just so much to eat “out there”.

Like many other foodies, I had a hard time choosing my Top 5. Generally, the foods that I enjoy are simple, unfussy and “unaltered” (definitely not genetically modified!). What I consider to be a Top Food to eat before we die is not a matter of consumption but of conversation, artistry and experience. Some are country-specific, some are more “exotic” but all of them are attainable.

So here is my Top 5 list:

Black Pepper Crabs

Black Pepper Crabs.  Photo courtesy of Bellski
Being the proud little Singaporean that I am, it’s no surprise that I choose one of the national favorites: black pepper crabs. This is the first thing I eat when I’m back in Singapore. Fundamentally, the dish consists of mud crabs, oil, salt and lotsa roasted black pepper. The fun part is watching the cooking: huge flames, clanging and banging of ladles against deep cast iron woks, chefs yelling in Hokkein for ingredients…

The most popular restaurants that serve them are lined up along the two stretches of beach in East Coast Parkway and Ponggol. My favorite is “Wu Zhao Pai” (meaning No Signboard Restaurant) in Geylang because our huge family can all pile into one table for dinner and the crabs are big and fresh.

Black pepper crabs is a uniquely Singaporean dish that is hard to replicate elsewhere. So, book the next flight and come visit!

Fresh Figs

Fresh Fig. Photo courtesy of Di.
You’re probably shocked that I have chosen figs as a Top 5. You may like it or you may not, but you should definitely try it before you die. To Asians, the fig is an exotic fruit. It’s soft, velvety and fleshy. The outside feels like a sponge and the seeds on the inside are fragrant and sweet and kind of spreads all over in your mouth. Figs can be green, purple or black in color. Someone told me white figs are the tastiest. I haven’t tasted those yet.

Figs originate in the Mediterranean and are found everywhere in Corsica. Les figuiers (fig trees) grow in the maquis (wild shrubbery) and along road sides. It’s a treat to pause under a fig tree on a hike and nibble on a freshly picked fig.

One important note though: figs must be ripe when you pick them. When you press against the fig, it should leave a slight indent on the fruit. They must feel heavy. Otherwise you will spend lots of time making friends with the toilet walls. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Kobe or Wagyu beef

Raw Kobe Beef.  Photo courtesy of Di.
Because this is beef that has been massaged and drinks beer and eats better than most humans do! It’s beef that does not taste like any other beef I’ve ever had. It is tender and juicy and melty in the mouth. In the raw state, wagyu beef is rosy pink with rings and rings of fat. It is also what they call the “marbled” meat. Have it any way you want, but don’t overcook it. Some people like it thinly sliced carpacio style with vinaigrette. Some like it seared and topped with a slab of foie gras. Some like it in soup with fat udon noodles.

In Japanese language, Wagyu means “Japanese cattle”. Wagyu can only be called Kobe Beef only if the cow is slaughtered in Kobe. Real waygu is hard to come by outside of Japan, as demand for this marbled meat is very high domestically. Wagyu outside Japan is most probably crossbred with the Angus species. Small slabs of Wagyu or Kobe beef can set you back a couple of hundred bucks… If you’re carnivorous, I vote that Wagyu or Kobe beef is a once in a lifetime eat.

Kangaroo Meat

Kangaroo Meat on the Menu.  Photo courtesy of Anantya
I was 18 when I first had kangaroo meat. I was traveling in the Northern Territory with a group of boisterous friends. We had driven from Darwin to the center and we were going to take a hot air balloon flight over Ayers Rock the next morning (including help set up the hot air balloon!) This particular night, we had set up camp somewhere in the desert and had hired Camp Oven to cook for us. I had kangaroo kebabs and kangaroo steak. Hmmm… kangaroo meat is something else. It is surprisingly tender and soft and melt-y. No, it doesn’t taste like chicken.

Kangaroo meat is a staple in the Northern Territory, so if you are driving along the only highway from Darwin to Ayers Rock, you are bound to have kangaroo steak on the menu.

Eclair au chocolat

La Maison du Chocolat.  Photo courtesy of La Maison du Chocolat.
An éclair au chocolate or chocolate éclair is a choux pastry filled with chocolate pastry cream topped with chocolate. Nobody really knows when the éclair was invented or how the name came about. Éclair in French means lightning. Maybe the name comes from the light’s reflection on the bright glaze on the chocolate éclair?

My 2 year quest for a good chocolate eclair has ended at La Maison du Chocolat. This is the best éclair I’ve had in Paris. The choux pastry is firm, not sandpaper dry. The pastry cream is piped into the choux pastry versus the lazy way of cutting the choux pastry into two and spreading it on. I eat my chocolate eclair as soon as I buy them, so I hate messy spillage onto my fingers. Gotta look cool on the Paris streets, duh!

And the chocolate glaze is just divine!

Whoever said “A day without pasty in Paris is hell” is absolutely right! So, when you are in Paris, find your day in Heaven in a chocolate éclair.

Comments

Hi, I´ve been reading your site lately and it´s great. You´re doing a much better good than me. I´m currently living in Colombia, but my camera won´t recharge here, and well, I can´t be bothered trying to write about the food and places I´ve been to if I don´t have the photos to back it up.

Being Australian I was really surprised that you wrote Kangaroo meat as a top 5. Everyone is always asking me about it and I just say that it´s only for tourists. That´s because I´m from the country, and we have to cull (shoot) Kangaroos, but we would never eat them because they´re so worming (sick) and the meat is tough. So I was really surprised at your description of the meat being melt-y. You´ve convinced me to try it when I get home. I hope I do like it, because one of the sad things about returning to Australia is that we don´t have our own national cuisine, it´s Asian and English inspired, and I would love to encourage more truly Australian products and dishes.

Cheers

Hello Candice,
You've just made my day with your comment and I'm happy that you like my blog. I'm a new blogger so your support goes a long way for me. :-)
Are there kangaroos bred for food? Maybe these are better than the wild ones? I had a really good time having "camp oven" food in NT. Maybe the kangaroo meat was braised a long time in the camp oven pot? But then again, I had kangaroo steak and it was good. And then again, I was on the only road in NT and maybe only the tourists do this crazy trip (which I as a tourist also recommend.)
I lived in Perth for 4 years and travelled all along the coastline of Australia (except Tasmania) for a summer with a group of friends and thoroughly enjoyed the trip... there was a lot of barbie food but also a lot of country-style cooking. Along with good homecooking food, Aussie hospitality made being "on the road" a lot more fun.
Take care and I am looking forward to more photos and writing about your trip in Columbia when you get your camera juiced up.

I'm glad you were able to get around to posting about your 5 favourite foods, Ginny. I like kangaroo steaks medium rare and it's true that it's generally not eaten by many households, but it is getting more popular and you can purchase it in some markets now.
I'm 100% with you on the crabs but I think my favourite is chilli crab! I have yet to try wagyu beef properly though but I'm definitely looking forward to that one!

Cindy: During my go-along-the-Australian-coastline trip, the only place I found Kangaroo meat readily available was in the Northern Territory... I also found crocodile meat and worm candy in NT.
Chilli crabs are tasty too! The secret of chilli crabs lies in the mix of the sambal and every vendor has his/her own special mix. Doesn't this talk of chilli crabs make you crave for it?

Those crabs are really gorgeous...

Keiko: And they are very tasty too! Hope you'll get to taste them in your lifetime. :-)

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