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Eating the food of a different country every day and I need your help

As a few of you know, I'm trying to eat the food of a different country every single day in a row (www.manbitesworld.com). It's now been 75 consecutive days and there are only so many left that I know I can find. So here's a list of the country's cuisines I'm having a really tough time finding. Now, it can be a restaurant or even a take out place. But mail order, canned foods and even cooking it myself don't count. Home cooked meals by real natives DO count however, if any of you are feeling especially kind.

I'll spare you some of the more obscure African and island nations, but here goes. Any help would be greatly appreciated:

Scotland
Wales
Macedonia
Kazakhstan
Mongolia (actual Mongolian-- as opposed to hot pot or barbecue
)Saudi Arabia
Finland
Iceland
Paraguay
Uruguay
Dominican Republic
Panama

Thanks so much!

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  1. I'm bumping this because I figure somone on here must have a suggestion for at least one of these countries and I really want noahbites to be able to keep this going as long as he can. Anyone?

    1. Scottish as an individual place would be tough but what about; The Olde Ship in Santa Ana or Fullerton.
      I have only been to the Santa Ana location and that was few years ago.

      A pint of Belhaven ( although it appears to have gone from the beer list as a draft ) , with the bridie and to make a sure food overload the sticky toffee pudding or rhubard crumble and custard to finish.

      If you could get them to make cock-a-leekie soup as the soup of the day then you would have been well fed.

      You would think that someone would be having a special on a St Andrews day meal Nov. 30th .

      I think the important think is to remember "Nae Salads"

      The bridie is remarkably like those available in Scotland down to the slightly soggy dough. I remember it being a lot of food but at least something.

      Tam O'Shanter may be able to piece together a Scots meal. If you could only make it to January and Burns night you would get Haggis, neaps and tatties.

      I am thinking Welsh may be the same problem.

      1 Reply
      1. re: stuartmm

        Well, the Scots side of me (as opposed to the Spanish/Jewish side) says: if you can't get something at the Tam 'O Shanter, then make do with whisky, and something fried.

        Failing that, drink an Irn-Bru, which I believe you can get at the Brit imports place in Santa Monica. (Just be careful not to spill it on anything white...)

        Iceland? Anybody in LA serve smoked puffin?

        . . . and the only distinctively Panamanian food I've ever heard mentioned was a local variation on the truly middle-American Italian-American hybrid casserole called "Johnny Marzetti"

      2. noah,

        I think part of the problem with finding restuarants that match the countries on your list is that many of them are quite similar, and do not have distinct national cuisines.

        For example, both Uruguan and Paraguan cuisines have parilladas as a typical dish. And, just talking about of my ass here, but I'd surmise that Finland and Iceland probably share many foods in common. Same with the Dominican and Panama -- probably both heavily influenced by Spanish flavors and dishes.

        Also as to Mongolian food, good luck. I'm pretty sure there's is no authentic Mongolian restuarant in SoCal. LIttle Sheep, but then again maybe not.

        Anyhow, good luck in your quest and I look forward to your next request.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          . . . nor based on the little info i find (e.g.: http://www.mongolfood.info/en/ ) is it clear to me that you, or even Eddie Lin, would necesarily WANT to find authentic Mongolian. There's that "boodog" stuff, for instance. . .

          1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

            I recall marmot boodog from a Globetrekker episode in Mongolia. While commonly hunted and eaten out in the steppes, I think the host said that many marmots (at least in Mongolia) were reported to carry bubonic plague - cooking them supposedly doesn't kill of the bacteria. So eating that version of boodog is like playing the Mongolian version of Russian Roulette in the steppes. I would think the goat version might taste awfully good after a long hard day horseback riding in the middle of no where with not a taqueria to be found for lightyears...

          2. re: ipsedixit

            Macedonian food is pretty much indistinguishable from Greek food. Saudi food is indistinguishable from any other Middle Eastern halal diet. In most cases, it's the spelling and/or alphabet that distinguishes one national food from the other, not the dish itself. On some of your quests, I suspect you're jousting with windmills. But good luck!

          3. It's not entirely clear that Al-Sanabel is Saudi, but this thread seems to indicate it is.
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/436276

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chowpatty

              Al-Sanabel isn't Saudi Arabian, it's Lebanese. The food of Saudi Arabia is almost exactly the same as that of Bahrain, the tiny island kingdom off its coast. Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE and Oman all share the those traditional dishes too. Sometimes the names vary but the dishes themselves are the same - eg Saudi national dish Al-Kabsa is the exact same thing as Bahraini/Qatari/Omani/Kuwaiti/UAE national dish machbous/majboos/maqboos.

              Finding some of the foods on the list may involve going to places Noah has already been to, which probably isn't the intention. For example, Ngoma Restaurant has an entire section of its menu devoted to West African dishes and even some Somalian dishes but Noah already ate there on Kenya Day. And I don't know if Jordan is still on the hard-to-find list but Sham (where Noah ate on Syria Day) serves Jordanian national dish mansaf as a menu special on Fridays. They serve Syrian mansaf as a special on Wednesdays.

              Good luck Noah! I absolutely adore the blog and it's made me fall in love with LA all over again.

            2. Thanks everybody. Yeah, obviously the country delineation makes it pretty difficult to differentiate between certain cuisines (a lot of Africa is a great example), but trying to choose styles and regions is almost impossible as well. Granted, in the countries themselves, there are usually some slight differences, but having that carry through all the way back here is a pretty tough order. It is amazing, though, how many small countries' cuisines do actually exist in L.A. It's been pretty darn eye opening so far.

              1 Reply
              1. re: noahbites

                I really like Saudi Arabian food and think it's distinct from "Middle Eastern" and Persian, but the only place I've ever had it is Bangkok (where Saudis go to holiday or naughty ones go to stay). I've never seen any of these other cuisines at a standalone restaurant anywhere in the world.

              2. Wow. A daunting task, to put it mildly. I'm stumped.

                At least you've not asked for Inuit cuisine!

                Good luck!

                3 Replies
                1. re: J.L.

                  Throw in Australian Aboriginal cuisine and I think I'd have to call it a day...

                  I wonder if Macedonian cuisine could technically fall under Balkans cuisine? I knew a couple of Macedonian guys in Venice back in the 90s who would eat at a place in the South Bay - I think it was in Hermosa Beach - but that was years ago...

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    Apparently, Aboriginal Australian bushfood staples include kangaroo, emu, and possum...

                    http://www.foodbycountry.com/Algeria-...

                    1. re: Waverly SGV

                      Lots of reptiles and grubs as well - big creamy ones that pop in your mouth!

                2. i'd agree that in addition to the issue of distinction, there's also the issue of a small population in Los Angeles. i doubt there's a large enough immigrant population from Kazahstan or descendents thereof to enable the opening of a question whose cuisine focuses solely on the country's cuisine.

                  too bad we can't get a "round the world potluck" going in Los Angeles, where a bunch of chowhounds ante into a pot for each week, then one home presents the food of a single country, and uses the funds to do so. i certainly have connections to a macedonian family, that i might be able to encourage to participate in such a "cuisine hop."

                  1. Hey noahbites,comida Paraguaya, Uruguaya, Panamena, and Dominicana are four distinct cuisines, but unfortunately they are not found here in LA, to the best of my knowledge.

                    Paraguay has a 90% mestizo population with a Guarani and European influence.
                    Uruguay has a strong European influence, like Argentina, but has defining dishes as well.
                    Republica Dominicana-Spanish, Taino, and African
                    Panama-Native American,African, and European.

                    Each country has different resources and ingredients that also influence their cuisine.Man, I can't think of a place that has this food anywhere.I know some Dominican's that were talking to me about doing some of their food for a get together.I'll see what I can come up with there and let you know.

                    1. mongolian: steam up some lamb fat and then eat it.

                      1. Wow. Thanks again to everybody for all their help. This stuff is getting pretty difficult, but we'll see how much longer I can keep this thing going.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: noahbites

                          Fear Not - - - with a little inspiration and fact-finding persaverance, getting to 100, and beyond, is achievable!

                          I believe I'll have "good" solutions for Finland & Scotland for you by the middle of next week, so hold off on those two.

                          Legitimate options, I think, for Jordan are available at Sham (as was mentioned above) if your allowed to visit the same restaurant more than once. And on Sundays, thay have an "Arabian breakfast". Would that qualify for Saudi Arabia ? ? ? . . . . . I have absolutely no Idea.

                          In a perfect Man Bites World, you'd cap off your gastronomic grand tour with a big New Years Eve blowout celebration - - - but that would mean consuming 119 countries.

                          Impossible ?

                          1. re: JBC

                            The Arabian Breakfast at Sham is pretty much the universal breakfast that is eaten all over the Arab world - eggs, cheese, bread, labneh, foul etc. It could qualify for any Arabian country but doesn't really distinguish any one nation from the others. Having said that, it's a delicious and filling start to any day!

                            1. re: JBC

                              That sounds great. Thanks JBC!

                              1. re: noahbites

                                Finland - Their national holiday is 12/6. I've been told that there will be an organized event, with food, on 12/7, open to the public, and it's to be posted about this week here:

                                http://www.faccpacific.com

                                Scotland - Their national day is 11/30 ("St. Andrews' Day"). There are private celebrations being held but tougher to get to high table. So ?

                                No Haggis, but the best sounding option is the birdie at The Olde Ship, mentioned above, but if you want something closer that's afforadable, there is an under $10 (?) Scottish breakfast, served all day, at

                                Cock 'n Bull
                                2947 Lincoln Blvd., S.M. (310) 399-9696

                                Sweeden - You didn't request this one and probably have Olsen's Deli or Ikea as your options; however, in case you missed this, opened in the last couple of days is AK restaurant in Venice with 3 Scandinavian dishes and the chef is from Gothenburg:

                                http://www.akinvenice.com

                            2. re: noahbites

                              Hey noah... you seem like a very thoughtful guy, and so I'm sure you've considered this... it probably feels like your breaking your rules if you go back to China... but I think you should.

                              You shot yourself in the foot somewhat by doing your marathon China expedition. You could have gotten a lot more life out of your blog (and portray the food you're educating us and yourself about in a more respectful and detailed way) by breaking China down into its various parts and devoting one blog entry to each. (although both my Taiwanese wife and I appreciate that you split Taiwan out from China :)

                              If the focus of your blog is exposing us and yourself to as many different foods as possible, you should not limit yourself by political boundaries, because food doesn't necessarily follow politics.

                              Consider that there are many regions of China which absolutely function as separate countries culturally and culinarily (but, sadly, not politically). China itself, as well as Mexico, can be broken down into many distinct culinary regions. Although they do a great job with their food, La Casita Mexicana does not representing all of Mexican cuisine any more than you can represent Spago or McDonald's as representing American cruisine. What about Yucatecan cuisine, which has portugese and dutch influence (instead of stuffed chile pasilla, how about stuffed gouda cheese?)

                              Relax the rules, which are largely arbitrary anyway, and allow culinary regions to speak for themselves. Then you just might be able to stretch out the blog to a year :)

                              P.S. Check out this "official" list of countries from the Travelers Century Club... even they only list 317 countries (7 of which are regions of Antarctica)... rather than stick to strictly political borders, they augment political borders with different cultural zones.... maybe this can help you tune your efforts to a degree.

                              http://www.travelerscenturyclub.org/

                              Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                  Hey, Mr. Taster. Yeah, I've thought about regions, but it's just too difficult. It sort of opens up a big can of worms-- and I really do like the challenge of keeping it within a certain set of rules (arbitrary as they may be). Plus, once I add regions, this thing could last for hundreds of days, which is pretty impossible for me from both a financial and ever-getting-back-to-a-normal-human-life standpoint. I'm obviously going to keep eating interesting cuisines once the project ends, just not every single day in a row as a part of all this.

                              1. The Buchanan Arms in Burbank should fit the bill for Scottish. The haggis was good when I tried it, but I can't speak for the rest of their food. (I don't think they have haggis on a daily basis; sorry.)

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Bjartmarr

                                  Oh, that'd be awesome if they have it any time soon.

                                  1. re: noahbites

                                    Hey noah... if you stretch this blog out to next year, I have a pair of Scottish friends who host a Robbie Burns supper (with live music) every year (around Jan/Feb... Robbie Burns' Day is Jan 25), and it always features a haggis, neeps and tatties. If you're interested, let me know and I'll send you the info through your blog.

                                    Their site info: http://littlefriendmpg.com/latb/index...

                                    Mr Taster

                                2. Haggis = Sheep Stomach ... ew, ewe

                                  See if there's a "Food Minister" at the Panama Consulate who can point you in the right direction... Consulate General of Panama, Santa Monica, CA (866) 420-4441

                                  Have you found cuisine for Liechtenstein?

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Waverly SGV

                                    No, can't find Liechtenstein. Got any leads?

                                    1. re: noahbites

                                      OK, I've found 2 Liechtenstein recipes: kasknopfle (tiny cheese dumplings served with toasted onions) and ribel (some sort of grain or corn). Now all you need is a Liechtensteiner to prepare them for you! Good luck!

                                      http://www.liechtenstein.li/en/portal...

                                    2. re: Waverly SGV

                                      What a great idea.... Noah, you should definitely be heading to a list of Los Angeles foreign consulates, starting from the top and making your way through. Certainly they will be able to point you to the cuisine of their country if it exists in Los Angeles... and if it doesn't, maybe you can convince the consular officer to invite you to their home :)

                                      Mr Taster

                                    3. Am I not reading carefully, or did you so far miss Holland?

                                      There used to be a Dutch imports place that did carry-out, at about 3600 6th Street in what isa now K-town. "Jayrel', or something like that.

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                                        I'm still trying to work out exactly how to do Holland/Netherlands. I heard about a place in Bellflower called Holland-America, which may have take out.

                                        1. re: noahbites

                                          Noah, I've got one for you. There is a farm I've visited years ago.... they make raw milk gouda way out in the sticks of riverside or somewhere out east near Hemet. It's the "Winchester Cheese Co."... the place is a bit rundown and surreal. Apparently in the 60s, they tried to create a "little Holland" in Winchester, and the Dutch government funded all sorts of dutch buildings for immigrants to build up a sort of Dutch version of Solvang.

                                          Well, the results are that the concept absolutely flopped, the Dutch government pulled out their funding, and what is left is a dilapidated old windmill and some old gabled buildings. However the cheese is still great, and it's run by an elderly Dutch couple (some of the original immigrants) and you can watch them make cheese during the day... call ahead. Also, they serve as a kind of dutch import shop... no frikandel or kroketten, but I know they sell stroopwafels! :)

                                          http://www.winchestercheese.com/

                                          Mr Taster

                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                            Winchester Cheese sell their wares at the Saturday morning Irvine CFM... don't know if that really counts as a full-on meal.

                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                              Yes, but Irvine is hardly the center for Dutch culture in SoCal, is it?

                                              True, Winchester Cheese Co. doesn't serve meals, but I was thinking about potential leads. Noah might even be able to wind his way in to the hearts of the dutch oldsters and get an authentically Dutch meal out of the visit.

                                              Also, the old folks' daughter runs the the antique tschotschke shop inside the windmill... Noah could talk to her about Dutch meal ideas as well.

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                Actually, the centre of Dutch culture in SoCal is probably right here in Anaheim. On Katella between Euclid and Walnut (spitting distance from Disneyland) is the Avio Dutch Club. If anyone can help you with that, it's that group -- and I'll bet they have some cultural Christmas-type thing or other happening in the next few weeks.

                                                If you're looking for Swedish, incidentally, noahbites, and you don't want IKEA, the SWEA Christmas fair is coming up at the Shrine on Sunday the 7th... you can have Swedish food there and knock another off your list. Should be pretty cheap too.

                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                  That's interesting.... how seemingly random. I also remember the dutch bakery that until recent existed incongrously with all the Indian restaurants and sari shops on Pioneer in Artesia. I wonder when the heyday for Dutch influence in LA was?

                                                  Mr Taster

                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                    Not that long ago. Artesia was for a long time a center for Dutch-owned dairy farms, I think right up into the '60s, until rising land values got them, too. Our first big trip to Artesia was only a couple of years ago, and the Dutch bakery had closed just recently - it was still there, with all the stuff still inside. Sad.

                                            2. re: Mr Taster

                                              OK, so you're not doing mail order or packaged products. But Holland American Int'l, a Dutch food distributor in Bellflower CA, may be able to give you some leads on finding an acceptable Dutch dinner. http://www.1dutchmall.com/

                                              I also like Mr. Taster's idea of using your charm on the Dutch proprietors of Winchester Cheese.

                                                1. re: noahbites

                                                  If you go, be sure the try the young cheese with cumin.... it's my absolute favorite. (must be eaten at room temperature, of course)

                                                  Mr Taster

                                          2. Did I not see El Salvador? That should be easy.

                                            Also try searching "Goa", there is apparently an Indian restaurant in Redondo Beach operated by someone from Goa, Addi's Tandoor. There are supposed to be a few Goan dishes on the menu.

                                            Guyana, in La Verne, there is "Taste of Guyana".

                                            The following chowhound post popped up when I seached for some countries I didn't see listed, and has some other small African countries...Benin!!

                                            Ignore Sprinkbok, I saw later that you've been there.

                                            -----
                                            Springbok Bar & Grill
                                            423 Shoreline Village Dr, Long Beach, CA 90802

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: mlgb

                                              El Salvador and Sweden are coming. I've got a few easy ones still saved up to help me tread water while I try to get some other ones going.

                                              The posts I found listed these:

                                              Benin:
                                              Uncle Al's Seafood - Long Beach ~ (African/Cajun).

                                              Ivory Coast:
                                              Sweet African Fast Food - Inglewood

                                              Guyana:
                                              Caribbean Gardens
                                              2007 Foothill Blvd
                                              La Verne, CA 91750
                                              (909) 593-7824

                                              But it sounds like Uncle Al's is closed. Someone on Yelp said it's supposed to have opened in April at a new location. Does anyone know anything about that?

                                            2. Hey, everybody! I'm running out of options! This thing is slated to end pretty darn soon if I can't find some more stuff.

                                              Unfortunately, it looks like the Guyana, Ivory Coast and Benin restaurants are all out of business.

                                              Here's a list of where I've been so far:

                                              http://manbitesworld.com/Archives/76/...

                                              Anybody out there from a country I haven't consumed yet that is feeling generous and likes to cook?

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: noahbites

                                                Did you contact my Scottish friends with the Robbie Burns supper thing? I spoke with her and she loves the idea of your blog and would be happy to have you as a guest (it's sort of an underground dinner party with music thing)

                                                Mr Taster

                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                  No, things have gotten hectic, so I went for the more convenient, and endlessly less satisfying breakfast at Cock 'N Bull.

                                                  But I am going to the Finnish food fest on Saturday in San Diego, which should be a lot of fun.

                                                  1. re: noahbites

                                                    Oh Noah, I don't think you can cross Scotland off your list with breakfast. It's haggis orrrr nae bother!

                                                    Mr Taster

                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                      I'd argue that you could get by with Cullen Skink; there are those who'd want you to hold out for Crappit Heid. There are also those who think the latter is possibly the worst name for an item of food known to the world.

                                                      Silverlake McBodhisttva

                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                        With neaps and tatties as well as a wee dram or two!

                                                  2. re: noahbites

                                                    I see you posted a list of the places you've been, but what would be "very" helpful is a list of the country cusinies you currently have on your to-go list. I see by your posts around this one that you've got Finland & Sweeden coming up, but what else? I don't think you've hit Belgium yet, but gotta believe you've got Brussels Bistro in Laguna Beach (didn't Pascal want to go there with you, or "take" you there?), Le Pain Quotiden, or the new kid on the block, Wurstkvchere, lined up.

                                                    St. Lucia - Population 165,000

                                                    Does the St. Lucia Country Salad at Prado qualify? And with a little on-line research, you might find that they have other dish(es) that might typify or represent their national cuisine but don't carry St. Lucia in it's name as it represents many countries cuisine:
                                                    http://pradola.com/_wsn/page5.html

                                                    Finland - I see your going to San Diego on Saturday. I would recomemend that you stop by and get some authentic Samoan food to go and eat it another day:

                                                    Oloa Samoa - Oceanside (760) 757-6562 - closed Sundays.

                                                    Palestine - Little Gaza area of Anaheim - Maybe on your way down or back, possibly to-go also.

                                                    Do you have Algeria set yet????

                                                    1. re: JBC

                                                      Wow, thanks. That all sounds pretty good. I do have Samoa covered. As for Palestine, I've been having a really hard time finding out where to actually go in Anaheim for Palestinian food. Does anyone know the names for any good restaurants?

                                                      As for St. Lucia-- Prado said it's just the name and doesn't have anything to do with the country, unfortunately.

                                                      Does anyone know any Algerian restaurants?

                                                      And here is the list of what countries I definitely have left:

                                                      Belgium
                                                      Sweden
                                                      Finland
                                                      Guam
                                                      Yemen
                                                      Samoa
                                                      Dominican Republic
                                                      Bahamas
                                                      Jordan
                                                      Costa Rica

                                                      1. re: noahbites

                                                        Algerian Restaurants in L.A. ? If there are any, they're hiding under the radar.

                                                        However, if there is one person who would know where to get some Algerian Cuisine it would be Chef Farid Zadi who works in Pasadena:

                                                        http://www.chefzadi.com

                                                        http://saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/200...

                                                        I will try and email you his contact info.

                                                        1. re: noahbites

                                                          Le Pain Quotidien is originally Belgian, is it not? I realize they're a chain and have outlets all over SoCal and the world, but it's better than leaving this amazing cuisine out of your endeavor. Also you could cap it off with a trip to a Leonidas shop.

                                                    2. If you're interested in trying food from Tibet/Nepal, you should check out Tibet Nepal House in Pasadena. I've never been, but I'm intrigued by Himalayan food and have been wanting to try the yak stew for a while now.

                                                      http://www.tibetnepalhouse.com/

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: lady_t

                                                        Thanks! Yeah, I think I'll be going there soon.

                                                      2. The project has finally come to an end at 102 days. Thanks to everybody for all their help throughout the whole thing-- especially all the old posts that were extremely useful in the research phase. Without Chowhound, I honestly would not have made it anywhere near this far.

                                                        So thanks everyone. I really, genuinely appreciate it.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: noahbites

                                                          Hi noahbites,

                                                          Thank *you* for your contributions and discoveries over the 102 Countries' cuisines you tried out with Man Bites World. Truly an epic journey and so inspiring for me.

                                                          Congratulations and thanks again! (^_^)