Best Meals Around the World

The last 12 months were an astounding year of travel. Vietnam, Cambodia, Ishigaki Island, Hong Kong, Nagano, Kyoto, Tokyo, Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles, Texas, and Macau.

Needless to say, there were lots of delicious meals going into my stomach. Here are my travel favorites of the last year.

Best Hole in the Wall

I’m a huge fan of small local hangouts– the kind with only a few tables, and a line going out the door. This small dumpling restaurant in Macau served an array of dozens of dumplings in flavors like carrot, spinach and walnut, and the best almond soy milk I’ve ever had.

Dumpling House Restaurant in Macau (also pictured above)


Best Cooking School Meal

One of my favorite things to do when visiting new countries is to enroll in cooking classes. In Cambodia, I did the Tigre de Papier cooking course. After buying our ingredients in a local market where vendors sleep among their bananas, classmates and I prepared this special meal.

Tigre de Papier Cooking School, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Best Coffee

Thick and syrupy, served with sweetened condensed milk in Hanoi, Vietnam. The best part? Sitting on tiny little stools outdoors and watching the world go by on Christmas Day.

Old Quarter Hanoi, Vietnam

Best Dessert Binge

Visiting Seattle, I couldn’t resist the popular walking Savor Seattle Chocolate Indulgence Tour. What’s better than 10 incarnations of chocolate in two hours?

Best Family Nostalgic Meal

My family has been going to La Luz del Dia in downtown LA for almost 50 years. No kidding. This Mexican eatery serves amazing nopales (cactus) salad, carnitas, and picadillo. It’s usually my first stop when visiting the city of Angels.

Best Ritzy Cocktail with a View

My last recent trip to Hong Kong, I was on a mission to drink a Litchi Martini. I ordered one a year before when I had a terrible cold and couldn’t taste it at all. Well, this time, I went for it again. Delicious! And how about that view of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor!

Intercontinental Hotel Kowloon Bar, Hong Kong

Best New Discovery in Tokyo

It may seem strange I’m writing about non-Japanese food, but I found an Italian trattoria on my last trip. Despite Tokyo’s reputation for being an expensive city, this fabulous meal of assorted tomato salad and chicken diavolo was about 1800 yen (~$18 US).

Salsiccia Uno in Hiro, Tokyo, Japan

Finally… My Last Meal

If I knew I were going to eat my last meal ever, I would want it to be the Chilaquiles and a Bloody Mary from World Famous restaurant in PB, California. This meal just makes me happy. During my last visit, I came so close to getting the secret to the zesty drink. It’s unlike any other Bloody Mary I’ve had. I asked the server what was in it and she listed off the usual things … it was going well, and I thought, “Finally, I will be able to recreate this drink at home!” But when it came to the “secret,” she couldn’t reveal that. I will not give up.

(From the picture, you will see that these chilaquiles don’t look like the traditional Mexican ones. Those are fabulous, and I love them too, but there’s something about this adapted American abomination version that just call out to me.)

Chilaquiles with Ancho Chili Sauce and Caliente Bloody Mary

Okay, so it’s your last meal ever… what would you choose? What’s your best meal lately? What’s your favorite country to dine in?

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24 thoughts on “Best Meals Around the World

  1. One of my favorite meals while traveling was when I was in Hong Kong. I ate at a fancy restaurant attached to a hotel and I was blown away by the food. I can’t remember exactly what I had, but it was a chicken meal. I had another meal there too with a mango chutney sauce on it. So good.

    Also, I love your photo of Victoria Harbor. It makes me miss Hong Kong.

  2. What an awesome, awesome list – thanks so much for sharing, Mary! I’ve heard lots of good things about food in Macau and it’s the one place my family got to go that I haven’t (this is inspiring me to do something about that :))

    • maryrichardson

      Dear Jude,
      The food in Macau is special- a merging of Chinese and Portuguese cuisines, which just sounds so interesting, doesn’t it? I’m a fan of the meat jerky they sell on the streets everywhere…

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  4. Holy cow, you’ve eaten some delicious things this year!!! That chocolate tour is my idea of HEAVEN ON EARTH! I think of all of my travels, I have been most impressed with the cuisine in Spain.

    • maryrichardson

      If you get a chance, I do recommend that chocolate tour! I’ve never been to Spain, but this weekend in Okinawa, we went to a Spanish restaurant and sampled so many wonderful things. I can’t wait for the real thing!

    • maryrichardson

      Cuban,
      Glad to be of assistance- er wait, is being a hungry a good thing for you? I’m always up for gratuitous food shots any time of day or night!

    • maryrichardson

      Dear Reese,
      As much as I love gourmet dining, the small family run places just call to me! And you can’t beat the prices usually.

  5. What a fantastic roundup! I love dumplings (but struggle to find vegetarian ones since I’m never sure what’s inside…) Gives me the urge to jump on a plane… (Will have to suppress that urge for a few months…) xo bb

    • maryrichardson

      Dear BB,
      Thanks! I feel the same way when I see pictures of places from blogs I read all the time. For me blogs have done more to light the travel fire under me than magazines. And I always love to see what other people are eating.

  6. The photographer in me loves all of these photos especially the chocolate incarnations. And those dumplings look so good! The best meal I have had lately was made by a friends mother. She brought all these fresh spices from Indonesia and made beef rendang. It was one of those meals where you know you should stop eating but you just can’t so you end up with your stomach hurting but a good kind of hurt. You just can’t beat food made with traditional love.

    • maryrichardson

      Dear Matt,
      Homemade meals are the best! Those are actually my favorite meals when I travel, if I’m lucky to get one. Actually, I read somewhere about a program where you can dine with a local family in some countries.

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  8. I loove chilaquiles, the authentic ones. You really should have posted a warning with this post. I skipped dinner. But beacause of your devilish chocolate dessert binge pix, I will have a piece of Vosges dark chocolate with sea salt and carmel instead.

  9. Mary, you are traveling so much also. I have been to many states and countries in the last 12 months too – and like you, I take photos of my food. Being vegetarian makes it extra interesting and forget about keeping up a vegan diet – I learned that fast – some of my favorite foods have been Persian restaurants in Los Angeles (I am Iranian and crazy about Persian food) and some of the Indonesian food here in Bali – and some top notch Indian restaurants in Toronto especially 259 Host! Of course, I would eat in those fabulous restaurants of Tokyo and Kyoto in a heartbeat! Great photos here!

    • maryrichardson

      Dear Farnoosh,
      Thanks! I should eat more Persian food! There is actually exactly 1 Persian restaurant in Okinawa, which I’ve not been to yet. I’m reading a book by a Persian author now and there are some wonderful descriptions of the cuisine in it.

  10. Great post and I agree that these are some of the best meals from around the world! It all looks incredible. I have been longing for some quality Mexican food after living in Asia for almost 2 years now.

    On my way to HK/Macau in the next few weeks, on the hunt for the craziest dim sum and dumplings!

    • maryrichardson

      Yes, Good Mexican food is hard to come by over here! You will have some fantastic food on your trip… I can recommend the Dumpling House in Macau, and the Luk Foo Tea House in HK.

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