Nasi Lemak in Malaysia
It is a hearty meal that is adored by the Malays as well as non-Malays who have their own version of Nasi Lemak. The rice is the same, although some have a greenish hue owing to the Pandan leaves, it is the side dishes that set each other apart.
Malaysia’s national dish, Nasi Lemak is a fragrant coconut-milk rice mixture, served with Sambal sauce, fried crispy anchovies, toasted peanuts and cucumber, and cooked with screw pine (Pandan) leaves. Available on almost every street corner, this much-loved classic hit all the notes.
Flavours in Marrakech, Morocco
Morocco’s lush cuisine is full of textures and colours rooted in Berber, Moorish, and Arab influences. There’s always a rainbow of raw salads and plenty of sweet and sour ingredients like saffron, preserved lemons, and dried fruits in Moroccan cuisine. These are paired with ingredients like olives, olive oils, and herbs. Lively Marrakech is an ideal place to learn about Morocco’s flavours. The “Red City” has a long tradition of tourism, as visitors wade through the kebab stands and other food vendors on the chaotic Djemma el Fna main square. Today Marrakech is home to young chefs who are reinterpreting old standard dishes, as well as multicourse tasting menus that are appearing at stylish restaurants inside boutique Moroccan Riad hotels. Moroccan cuisines include beetroot-cured gravlax with preserved lemon puree and ravioli of lentils and cauliflower. Make up for the pricey meal at the food stalls in Djemma el Fna with inexpensive egg and potato sandwiches, lamb tagine, and bowls of Morocco’s famous Harira soup.
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
With its distinct cuisine, New Orleans has always been an American food destination. The rich and soulful cuisine was shaped largely by the American-born descendants of French settlers, as well as by Spanish and African-American cultures. Another influx of immigrants left their mark in the form of German sausages, Caribbean peppers, and seafood harvested by Croatian fishermen. Classic New Orleans restaurants like Arnaud’s and Galatoire’s are still in operation today. Ten years ago, this gastronomically inclined city was heavily damaged after Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters inundated the city. Today there are actually 75 percent more restaurants in the city than there were before the disaster. Enjoy ikra (paddlefish caviar spread with shallots) and hummus with lamb Ragù, a hot roast beef and gravy Po’boy, among other amazing cuisines.
Seafood in Tokyo, Japan
Food is everywhere in Tokyo—you’ll find huge selections of Onigiri (stuffed rice balls) in train stations and colourful pieces of sushi passing by on conveyor belts. There are more than 100,000 restaurants in this sprawling city, including casual spots specializing in modestly priced meals like hot pots, soba, Tonkatsu, and tempura. Yet Tokyo’s cuisine can seem nearly impenetrable to the foreign visitor.
Tokyo’s food often incorporates many unfamiliar fish ingredients. In fact, 2000 tons of seafood passes through the famous Tsukiji market daily. The world’s largest fish market has operated in the heart of Tokyo since 1935, but it has moved several miles away to Toyosu, Tokyo’s tourist district. Casual Japanese restaurants typically specialize in one dish, perfecting it over years and years. Try Mentsu-Dan in Shinjuku for fresh Udon, made right behind the counter, or Tempura Tsunahachi, where you can sit at the counter and watch your food get fried. Rice is a vital staple in the Japanese diet and is essential to the cuisine.
Hummus, Antalya, Turkey
Thanks to periods of both Christian and Muslim rule until the 15th century, the cuisine of beachside Antalya blends influences from both cultures. Surrounded by the snow-capped Taurus Mountains, the city also boasts nearby olive groves, citrus orchards, and fresh seafood pulled from the turquoise Mediterranean Sea. Tourists dine seaside on fish kebabs, octopus, and plates of colourful Mezze, with a large variety of both casual and upscale restaurants. Experience Turkish flavours in European dishes such as white bean and Tahini soup and lamb, mint, and pea Risotto in a sophisticated setting. For more traditional fare, seek out grouper Kebabs or fried red Mullet from the Mediterranean—usually available between July and October. Complete the meal with a round of Mezze plates like Hummus, red pepper spread, or Purslane salad. Try catching some seafood of your own with Green Canyon boat tours. The tour company provides all of the equipment for the fishing expeditions around the emerald waters, located about ten miles from Antalya.
By Umaru Maryam Hadejia