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What would you consider as the best Country for eating?

Personally, because of the diversity, I'd still rank the US number one, but having lived in various places around the world and travelled in many, I'd have to add few:

1. France, particularly way outside of Paris, where lunch can be incredibly economical and heavenly. As much as i hate to, i have to give them the number one spot

2. Northern Italy, especially Tuscany.

3. Spain, almost anywhere, but you have to find the spots.

4. Barbados......a surprise, and not just among the Caribbean countries! Some are inexpensive, some wildly expensive (especially dinner), but almost consistently good.

5. Taiwan,,,,,i haven't been to China, but in every restaurant I ate in Taiwan.......fancy or austere... the food was fantastic and fresh.

for bonus points, you can also list a few of the worst countries. Can't say i was thriled with Denmark for the price/taste trade-off.

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  1. My most haunting international cuisine experience was in Thailand decades ago. I had never ever tasted such flavor combinations and could not get enough and could not figure out what made it so alluring.

    Turkey also comes very high on my list. They do things with vegetables, appetizers, grilled meats, phyllo pastry, salads, soups and desserts --- across the board, familiar but also unexpected, excellent quality and variety.

    Switzerland for very good, even quality across the board, yet rarely comes in on anyone's list of grand cuisines.

    Pakistan, India -again for remarkable and fragrant variety.

    A recent cruise had an American buffet and I wondered what on earth they would serve and it all sounded pretty banal, but we really do have a lot of regional cuisine variety and it was my favorite "international" buffet on the entire trip.

    1. I still think the U.S. is the best for diverse and flavorful cuisine. But England and Austria is probably some of my favorites. Sometimes their food comes off bland because they don't season their foods as heavy as us...but their Italian food (i.e, pasta) is magnifico!

      1 Reply
      1. re: LadyintheKitchen

        I think London is one of *the* best restaurant cities. I don't know too much about the "home cooking" in England. But I've spent a lot of time in London, and have had memorable meal after memorable meal.

      2. France, because of the emphasis on quality ingredients and taking care in preparation.

        Greece, because of the emphasis on healthy ingredients, and putting simple foods and fresh herbs and accents (e.g., lemon) together in loving preparation to create...well, "hyperdeliciousness". :-) The produce is always so incredibly ripe there, and it's the best place I've ever been for the cooking of a simple lamb chop, a piece of freshly caught fish, a pork chop or a little beefsteak that we wreck here. I really don't know of another place I've been where, so consistently, even the most humble country taverna owners can take a lamb chop, a ripe tomato, a cucumber, some olive oil, a lemon and some bread and turn them into meals fit for kings.

        Authentic Greek food is like authentic Italian. I don't think we really know it here. If one spends time in Greece, it becomes clear that the cuisine has so little to do with the gloppy, starchy moussaka and pastitsio that pass for Greek cuisine here.

        I haven't been to the Middle East, but I think the flavor and perfume combinations of spices, fruits, nuts and legumes and meat are brilliant.

        I would agree with you that the United States can represent one of the greatest food experiences, due to our melting pot culture and the instant accessibility of so many cuisines. I wouldn't rank it among the very best, however, because in too many sectors we rely too much on processed foods. I'm not addressing the health issues here; I'm referring to what too many preservatives, too much sodium, too much refined sugar do to taste, texture, and satiety. IMO, our distribution system often sacrifices freshness and quality in exchange for shelf life and, yes, sometimes price. For example, why am I getting oranges that have traveled all the way from South Africa, when we can grow some of the best juice oranges in Florida and absolutely magnificent navel oranges in California?

        Now, you can spend time and money to seek out the very best, but I think in some other places fresher, more natural, local food is just the way *everyone* approaches cooking and eating. I've been places where the citizens have such an innate respect for food as a gift of life from their G-d (however G-d is perceived in the culture). Accordingly, they insist it be cultivated properly, and they are diligent in their preparation of it. They put the day aside, too, to give food's consumption, and the communion it provides with family, friends and strangers, too, a corresponding importance. Here, we too often alternatively wolf it down while we're doing something else or look upon it only as one of the many sensory experiences to which we've become addicted. (And of course not all of us, and not all the time). But, to me, food is a gift, and so many people here and throughout the world, go too often without it. So, I wish all those fortunate to have enough to eat would give it the thought it merits as a source of life and a means of cultural and artistic expression do, as CH'ers and folks who share this interest do.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Steady Habits

          You mentioned the Middle East, so I'll add that Jordan really surprised me. Lovely, lovely food at every meal! Mainly mezze and grilled meat with flat bread. The veg was surprisingly fresh and OK to eat. I tried to recreate it at home but it just doesn't taste as good without the surroundings.

          Egypt was a bit harder, mainly because the water is not safe to drink - so no fresh veg there. We still enjoyed our meals, but missed the nice Jordanian salads.

          And who can argue with Japan, Italy, France, Belgium (oh! the chocolate! and the beer! and the mussels! more, please!) Thailand, US, UK.....

          1. re: WTBD

            Three points your post brings to mind, WTBD:

            1) When simple, non-processed, well prepared food can be so appealing and satisfying as I find that of Greece, and you, of Jordan, it's a reminder of the importance of technique;

            2) Re Egypt, how critical the world's potable water situation is, not only to grow crops, but also because we know how important to health the consumption of vegetables and fruits are;

            3) I haven't been to Belgium, but in my limited exposure to authentic Belgian cuisine, including their heavenly frites seasoned with fresh cracked pepper, I found an open door to liberation from my American addiction to over-salted and over-sodium'ed foot. I'm grateful to the Belgians for that alone, but their chocolate only increases my affection. And I don't drink alcohol more than once or twice a year, but I sure do like to cook with a good strong dark ale. ;-D

        2. What are some of the staples and everyday foods in Barbados? What are some of the culinary influences (in terms of cultures)?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Steady Habits

            Fish-based for many, especially flying fish. There is a heavy emphasis on "frying" which although not healthy, tastes marvellous.

            Rice and beans predominate along with greens; potatoes are less likely. Lots of fruit. In fact, the grapefruit was actually created in Barbados by crossing two other citrus plants.

            Barbados also has a lot of sugarcane that goes primarily into making rum. However, the abundance of sugar, molasses and rum makes for some interesting recipes

          2. I'm going to throw in a good word for my stomping grounds: Canada. Toronto gives you really great experiences for almost anything except southern BBQ, Montreal smoked meat, and really, really fresh fish. French, Italian, Greek, Lebanese, central European, Persian, Indian, all of south east Asia, plus all the North American staples - easy to find, usually at much better prices than comparable spots I've been to in NYC or Chicago, and with tons less attitude. If we're weak, it's in central and south American food (there are spots but not many), and the whole swath from Moscow to Mongolia.

            It's not that places like Bangkok or Taipei aren't great places to eat - they are, and I thoroughly enjoy them, but try to find a decent corned beef sandwich, or a nice of rack lamb - it's much easier to find pho or hot pot in Toronto by comparison.

            3 Replies
            1. re: KevinB

              I think America is tops. You can great, authentic food from all over the world here, plus we have some great food of our own (hello BBQ brisket). BUT that said, I find myself most often trying to describe or duplicate something I ate (and I NEVER write down the names of teh restaurants) in France and in N. Africa... two restaurants in particular. They haunt me... they are nameless. ARGH!

              1. re: KevinB

                I agree with KevinB. I am just taking my personal experiences into account and can only comment and rate the countries I have eaten in. I believe that Canada has the upper hand over the US (just for me) because of my experiences in the states, I believe that they over season everything. Too much salt, too much garlic (and I LOVE both!), and I them find them a bit heavy. I would love to rate Italy up there because I'm of Italian origin and spend time there, but to tell you the truth, although the food is spectacular, there is no variety of ethnic cuisines available,....yet. After 3 months in Italy, I hate to say this, but I was DYING for some junk food and I missed Japanese food soooooo much.

                One country that I was seriously suprised with and think their food is AWESOME is Croatia. It has unbelievably fresh and delicious seafood, and their pigs and lambs on a spit are to die for.

                1. re: icey

                  OH I forgot...the delicious white truffles and homemade pasta that you find in Istria, Croatia, are fantastic as well!

                1. re: kare_raisu

                  Certainly for a Real Chowhound (people willing to go off the beaten path, favor food quality over ambiance, not insist on a great wine list etc.,) Mexico is going to be WAY up on the list... but from an average tourist perspective... its easy to get suckered into mediocre meals.

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    I would agree that Mexico should be way up there, but unfortunately, I have never been there. From "authentic" restaurants and Mexican friend's food , in various US states, I can imagine it to be incredibly good and incredibly varied. From my cooking perspective, I cook a lot of Mexican, Thai, Indian and Italian. To me there is a lot of reverberation between them.
                    I've been suckered by many a mediocre Tex-Mex meal.

                    1. re: Scargod

                      Scar my man, when I get my VW splitty on the road the spring, why don't I cruise down, pick you up and head down to Ol'Mexico via Austin and visit our kids along the way. Go down the east coast, get the van & us shipped to Columbia, visit Sam, tour Columbia, ship back to the west coast and drive up to Las Vegas, win some money and continue our trip, via New Mexico back to the Northeast just in time for some lovely winter weather. Maybe some Californicatin' food too.
                      Who knows, maybe Eat Nopal can be bribed w/ enough pulque to stop hulian around and be our guide.
                      Waddysay?
                      The Old Gringo (aka Ambrose Bierce)

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          Just remember that when Number 2 son gets job in Columbia, marries beautiful Columbian woman and needs Abuelo Passadumbkeg to watch all the muchachitos!
                          How's Columbia for Gringo retirees?

                          Gotta go start a big pot of Posole. No school today; winter storm.

                        2. re: Passadumkeg

                          Where do I sign? As long as it doesn't interfere with building the new cabin in British Columbia (speaking of Columbia), in the spring. Should I bring my pistola? Sounds like an ideal outing!
                          I'm in the process of cooking Bayless's Braised Pork and Potatoes (GUAJILLO), for lunch tomorrow. Having the kids over....

                  2. You seem to be talking more about cuisines than countries. For countries. I'd say the U.S. because of the great variety.

                    1. Singapore is my favorite. You have a bit of everything I like best, Southern Chinese, South East Asian, regional Indian, plus North American European, some traditional some amalgamated, it is just a food lover's paradise, to sum it up in a cheap cliche!

                      1. The Independent Republic of Queens, New York. The Number 7 line is the stairway to Heaven.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          Yeah, but can you get a really good, authentic Philly cheesesteak there?.....LOL

                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                            Nope, by definition, gotta go to South St ("South St. South St., where all the hypist meet, South ST.... The Orlons) or head down 9th toe the Italian market. My Philly treat is a roast pork sandwich, however.
                            Given a Philly cheese or a fried clam roll; a clam roll every time.
                            Chew on that one.
                            When I die and go to heaven, let me wake up in southern France or Northern Spain.
                            Heading to Thailand and Korea, this summer, looking forward to it too.

                        2. I think there is probably great food in just about any country if you know where to find it, and I personally find pretty much any cuisine to be enjoyable, BUT, there can't really be anything better than eating in Italy, and I mean all of Italy.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: bnemes3343

                            Ethiopia... because when they are eating, they REALLY REALLY appreciate it..

                            1. re: grant.cook

                              I found eating outside of Addis to be very disheartening.

                          2. I pretty much agree with your original list, though I'd bump Italy above France (personal taste) and include Belgium, where the food is very similar to France but without the attitude.

                            I've also very much enjoyed the food in Turkey but I think that was more because I wasn't expecting much and was pleasantly surprised. I wouldn't put it up at the top of the list.

                            I also agree with the poster who touts London restaurants, the quality and variety there is way up from what it was a few decades ago. But that doesn't make the UK the best country for eating in general, it's still all too easy to get miserable food. I think a country's cuisine is best represented by what you can find at a typical neighborhood family-style restaurant, and by that standard Italy, France, and Spain are absolutely the best.

                            I must admit though that I've spent relatively little time in Asia compared to Europe so I can't comment as knowledgably about those cuisines.

                            1. Seriously: Mexico, China, Pakistan, Japan, Italy, Laos, India, Tajikistan...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                Curious, Sam, why Thailand isn't on that list?

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Actually, I left Vietnam off the list.

                                  I've worked a lot in Thailand and get tired of Central Thai food after about five days. The food starts to taste a bit heavy and, surprisingly, not all that varied. I'm not talking about the special meals at fancy places, but the food on the road in the countryside and in towns and small cities. In the other countries, I never get tired of the food - even or perhaps especially day in and day out in remote areas. I also prefer the cleaner flavors and sticky rice of Isarn and Lao over Thai.

                              2. What, nobody mentioning Argentina or Germany? I guess Austria was mentioned....

                                I'd rate Belgium above France, which has unfortunately seen much of their cuisine industrialized.

                                  1. re: Scargod

                                    This is so hard since there are so many amazing places. USA of course...then in no order; Italy, Greece, Thailand, China and France. YUM!!!!!!!

                                  2. I guess if we are considering (as most of you seem to be) the variety and quality of different types of food on offer both in terms of restaurants and availability of ingredients from all over the world, in my experience the UK is very good but mainly in and around big cities which I presume applies also to the US. If the quality of local food is the subject, then it is a completely different kettle of fish as, personally, I don't think the regional cuisines of either are as varied or interesting. In terms of excellent, affordable local foods that people eat on a regular basis, Spain, Italy and Mexico are at the top of my list (considering I have not been to Asia and I am sure I would love the food over there from what I have seen/heard/tried so far).

                                    1. Well, I haven't been to every single country out there. But I would have to say the US for sheer variety. True, you'll get better renditions of certain things in other countries. But there's always a trade-off. Terrible Chinese food in France, for example. So I'd rather have tons of relatively good foods from many different cuisines than outstanding foods from a few cuisines.

                                        1. I was astounded at how well we ate in Spain (Barcelona/San Sebastian). Of the hundred or so dishes we tried during our trip only a couple weren't outstanding. For variety of cuisine, I'd give a vote to the U.S. and Canada. Not only do we have regional cuisines to enjoy, you can get almost any type of international cuisine imaginable.

                                          The worst food I've ever had in my life was in Cuba, although I think they were doing the best they could with limited resources.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: ms. clicquot

                                            Worst food? That's a different topic, albeit related. For me I'd have to say pre-breakup Yugoslavia, about 20 years ago. The only choices were Soviet-style restaurants (200 items on the menu, of which only two or three were available and they were pretty nasty, brought by waiters well trained in the "I don't give a crap" school of customer service), or small private hole-in-the-wall places specializing in cevapcici, a sort of spiced meat kabab that my girlfriend and I began referring to as deep-fried monkey turds.

                                            1. re: BobB

                                              wow, Bob, amazing what a little capitalism can do. I spent a short time in Slovenia and Istria, Croatia (Lydia's birthplace) a few years ago and my experience was 100% the opposite! The dining experiences compared favorably with the week before that we had spent in Paris. (Food was consistantly outstanding, service warm, freindly and not as snooty as the Parisians). Truffles amazing. Horse carpaccio a surprise and a treat.

                                              1. re: JRCann

                                                Yes, I hear Istria's become quite posh of late. Slovenia always struck me as a kind of low-rent version of Austria and quite different from the other former Yugoslav republics.

                                          2. China above all.

                                            The gastroheads will tell you China, France, India and Peru. Me, I'd probably throw out France and add Singapore

                                            11 Replies
                                            1. re: Xiao Yang

                                              I think Peru (& Argentina) run a distant third to Mexico & Brazil in Latin America.

                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                To me:

                                                Latin America: Mexico followed by Guatemala and Peru and then by Brazil. I'd place Peru on par with Indonesia, Burma, Nepal, Mozambique, and Germany.

                                                Mexico is in a group with China (with China slightly leading the group), India, Vietnam, Laos, Pakistan, Japan, and Italy.

                                                For any home cook familiar with foods around the globe, the US is the place to be.

                                                For eating out all the time and with an unlimited budget, go to the US, Italy, and France.

                                                For eating out all the time and with a limited budget, go to Laos, Vietnam, Mexico, and Pakistan.

                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                  I’ve been in a lot of countries, but mostly as a tourist spending no more than 3 weeks or a month, so I don’t really feel intimate enough with the cooking of most of these places to make a judgment. But I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Guatemala—in private homes, in small villages in the highlands, up in the Ixil triangle, in the Peten, at Lake Izabal, in Livingston. And you must know places to eat that I’ve just never found.

                                                  I’ve had really good tortillas, some (but not as many as I’d like) good tamales, the best chicharrones I’ve ever had, and a wonderful champurrado at one stall in the mercado central in GC. And that’s about it. I’ve yet to find either paches or chucitos that had any real flavor, the only good mondongo I had was in Honduras, not Guatemala, and although I do like fiambre, it’s not often it makes an appearance while I happen to be there.

                                                  Perhaps we should take this over to the South America board (since the powers that be have deemed that is where Guatemala is). But I’d really love to hear in more detail what you eat and where you find it and why you rate Guatemala so highly.

                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    I put Guatemala in the Peru, Indonesia, Burma, Nepal, Mozambique, and Germany group. Quite a ways down from the China - Mexico et al group. I think Mexico is the only international cuisine from Latin America. As far as Guatemala, I've probabaly had experiences quite similar to yours, with lots of eating in rural areas and in people's homes in remote areas.

                                                  2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                    Sam, this thread prompted some reflection; I count 47 entry stamps to different foreign nations in my passports, (we don't get those pretty stamps anymore, unfortunate ). I am pleased that with your wordly knowledge and experiences, you would include Mexico in your top 10.
                                                    I am contemplating a permanent retirement to Mexico, and I have the FM2, and food is a major factor. I eat 2 meals daily, and Mexico rings my bell twice a day.
                                                    Thanks for your input. Veg

                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                      Hermano, you and I are going to start another thread!

                                                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                      Sam, this is a thoughtfully categorized international list.Fantastic.I'm curious about your putting Guatemala with Peru and Brazil, though, especially from a chef's perspective.

                                                      Anyways, I would concur with Eat Nopal that Mexico and Brazil are on the same tier.I'm talkin', the innovative cooking in Bahia, Minas Gerais, and the Nordeste;the sophisticated Paulista dining scene.

                                                      1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                        I work in the rural and remote areas of the countries I know. Food has to be good day in and day out at the "low" end. Guatemala may have little "high" cuisine, but daily food is good. I've worked a good bit in the Brazilian Amazon - largely without vegetables, with a lot of farofa, and overall not all that special. High end Brazilian may be good, but all ends of Mexico are good.

                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                          Bahia, Nordeste, and Minas aren't rich areas and have a wealth of daily food in homes and on the street, and I didn't mention Amazonas. I wouldn't measure Brazil by the Amazonas anymore than I would rate Mexico by the cuisine of Chihuahua.Even the cosmopolitan Sao Paulo has inexpensive botecos, lanchonetes, and holes in the wall that are affordable and brilliant,too.

                                                          But, is your criteria just from a rural perspective, if so, I guess that would be different.All ends of Mexico are definitely good.

                                                          1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                            Sorry, didn't mean to offend you or Brasilian food.

                                                            I was responding to, "I'm talkin', the innovative cooking in Bahia, Minas Gerais, and the Nordeste;the sophisticated Paulista dining scene."

                                                            I've worked a lot in Acre and Rondonia; but have spent time in Manaus, Belem, Rio, and Sao Paolo (where I have family!). I measure Brasil and other countries by the food everywhere, on the one hand; but mostly have to put up with the food in the rural remote areas where I inevitably end up and where I form an opinion about how long I would really want to stay.

                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                              Hey Sam, I'm never offended.I was just trying to understand your excellent Latin American perspective.Tranquilo.Perhaps the apology is mine,for I thought I was giving props.

                                                              I have also been all over Brasil and Latin America, my wife is Paulista, so I guess we have family there too, but I respect your posts regardless of familial ties.

                                                              Haven't had any experience in Amazonas, you should post about it sometime.

                                                2. I'm a lover of variety as much as quality so what intrigues me most is regionalism. For that reason I'd go: US, China, India/Pakistan, Singapore, Spain, Mexico.

                                                  1. I have to admit, I am fascinated by the various responses. Thank you all! The interesting thing seems to be either locale cuisine, or diversity, depending on how one wants to interpret the original question. US/Canada/UK get the diversity awards. others seem to get the cuisine nod.

                                                    On an entirely different note, i have to relate a story. My son was off for a semester abroad in Kenya. We had lived in Europe for about 5 years so he was looking for something different. I had travelled a lot in Asia, but he wanted to see what all the hype about third-world countries was really about. (What the hell they were going to do with a business major from Penn State in Kenya was a real issue! He was the first business major from the US they ever had!) He called us the second week he was there. Asked me if he could have already contracted Malaria even though we had sent him off with all sorts of meds and warnings. I assured him that malaria can't start that fast. Turned out they all went out to eat at some meat place and 5 of the 13 came down with food poisoning!

                                                    When he finally returned, he made for a large group, the traditional Kenyan meal that he often ate: it consisted of something like chuck beef, cooked for about 4 hours, accompanied by cornmeal mush. I think at that point, we would have gladly accepted a Big Mac

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                      Kenyans eat more chicken than beef, often stewed using m'chuzi mix. Ogali, the maize meal stuff, is ubiquitious! You would be surprised: there are quite a number of Kenyan grads from US business schools in Nairobi.

                                                    2. Any Asian country....Taiwan, China, Japan etc.....

                                                        1. The two countries (other than the US) that I've spent somewhat extensive amount of time in are France and China (most of which was in Hong Kong)

                                                          My explanations for why I feel this way are below, but if you don't feel like reading a short essay, here's the spark notes version.

                                                          France - Certainly has good food, but over rated.
                                                          China - Delicious food from top to bottom.

                                                          I've been studying abroad in Grenoble, France for the past 4 months (unfortunately, I'm leaving Wednesday), and to be honest I've been somewhat disappointed with the quality of the food. It may be due to my limited financial resources as a student, but I think that a country should offer good quality food across all price ranges. France simply does not offer good food at the bottom. I have no doubt that their 3 star Michelin restaurants are unbelievably good, but there's nothing French for 5 euros. The only cheap delicious foods I have come across in France are kebabs, paninis and pasta, which are not French in origin or local ownership. One of the best meals I had in my time in France was a couscous aux legumes in the North African district in Marseilles. The only "French" offering I've found at the same price are baguette sandwiches which are usually mediocre bread with even more mediocre fillings. Even at the 10 euro price point, the best options I've come across are pizzerias (which are actually quite good, but nothing compared to the 5 euro pizzas I had when traveling through Italy), although you could make an argument for crepes. Only when I was willing to spend around 20 euros per person did I find French food that could compete in quality to other ethnic fairs. That's not to say I didn't have good food. For example the fondue is amazing. The fois gras at a Christmas dinner was unbelievable. And I can eat pain au chocolat or a croissant with a cafe every morning for the rest of my life.

                                                          I've been traveling to Hong Kong ever since I was a baby (apparently I took my first steps there). I've had the freshest seafood I've ever eaten in my life. As in we pointed at the still swimming fishes and living mollusks and said, "We'll have that one!" I think the food stalls are amazing. Outside my aunts house, there is small restaurant that serves the best Chinese donuts and excellent congee. I even think the local fast food restaurants serve good quality food incredibly cheap prices (Cafe de Coral is my personal favorite), although I think you should avoid the American fastfood joints that have exported themselves to Hong Kong. And I think the Chinese bakeries serve products as good as any bakery in Europe (although very different).

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: bmubyzal

                                                            In general, most of the Chinese worth eating in Hong Kong is Cantonese, while great, is just a fraction of China's cuisines; just the tip of an iceberg you might say.

                                                            1. re: Xiao Yang

                                                              Oh I know. When I traveled through China, I tried some of the other regional foods as well. My maternal grandparents are from Shanghai, so I've traveled there and have had amazing food there. I spent maybe a week in Szechuan and thought the food amazing as well, but a little too spicy (but you certainly wouldn't expect anything less).

                                                              I was just making claims about Hong Kong because I felt as if that was a place that I've spent a significant amount of time in and have tried a range of foods. I didn't mean it as an all encompassing representation of Chinese food as a whole.

                                                            2. re: bmubyzal

                                                              Japan, China, France, Italy, India, Mexico, etc. It's hard to think of just one! If I had to, probably Japan, because I can have most of my favourite cuisines represented at their peak (Japanese, French, Italian), but because you can also get other cuisines with decent representation. Or perhaps China. Too complicated a question!

                                                              1. re: bmubyzal

                                                                Interesting observations - thanks! It has been 10-12 years since I have spent extensive time in France, but back then, in the smaller towns, I would always look for the loacl place that most of the locals ate at. The typical, "look for the vans," or here in the US, the pick-up trucks, type of approach. Usually there would be a very economical special of the day and about 80% of the diners were eating that. I would too as a rule and found it almost always fresh and well-prepared.

                                                              2. Upon reflection, I think the greatest place i the world for diversified noshing is Queens, NY.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: Xiao Yang

                                                                  That's the 2nd vote for Queens. Having only visited there on my way to and from LaGuardia, I'm not really all that familiar with it (I never got a visa to stay there<G>).

                                                                  Why Queens over places like LA, Chicago, Miami? ( I know this getting off-topic, but it's still interesting). Queens is a big area and in any other city, would probably be considered a separate entity

                                                                  1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                    Diversity, and accessibility. There must be at least a hundred discernible ethnic cuisines and sub-cuisines, tending towards the low end and authentic, all of them a short walk from a subway station on one of three lines emanating from Manhattan.

                                                                    This "best of" discussion will give you some notion of the eats available, though a lot of "minor" cuisinese aren't covered: http://is.gd/bHmq

                                                                    And this link (pdf) summarizes Queens' amazingy diverse demographic makeup.

                                                                    http://is.gd/bHra

                                                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                        I would say any anywhere EXCEPT for Bermuda. My goodness we have the worse restaurants here. And everytime a new one opens it is the same as the others...I am offically Culinary Starved! Thank goodness New York is only a 1 1/2 hour flight and Miami is a 2 hour flight

                                                                        1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                          I don't think I ever realized that New York is closer than Miami! Thanks!

                                                                          and.......having said what you said, maybe find a partner and open a new place???????? You might have them lined up for miles on mopeds!<G>

                                                                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                            I have thought about it, however finding the "right" place here is hard and not to mention the rents are over the top...I know one place that pays $23K a month for rent. And right now with the economy the way it is, I would much rather wait a bit and get a nice B&B in Maine or Cape Cod along with a small catering company.

                                                                2. Mexico takes first place for me, followed by Spain, Austria, Jamaica, and the US

                                                                  1. France and Italy are the top contenders in my book. When in Italy for a week, we miss France. When in southeast France, a bowl of pasta sounds incredibly inviting. One trip to Europe, we drove back and forth between Piedmont and France. I thought the French put more effort into sauces and transformation of ingredients; Italy's food was more simple and traditional, which my wife preferred. Just to confuse the issue, when we were headed north, the menus were becoming alpine and simpler and less interesting.

                                                                    1. Italy but not just the food - preparation and passion that goes into it, not to mention culture.

                                                                      France - outside of Paris.

                                                                      Croatia - superbly fresh seafood and wonderful white truffles. We actually love the country so much we bought a house there and will soon be having that sublime fresh food continually!

                                                                      England - The Fat Duck was intriguing as is Ramsay's Claridge's (although I detest Ramsay).

                                                                      1. Is anyone shocked to see me write ITALY??? :)
                                                                        And I would go with the Southern half of the country (including Lazio and Abruzzo, plus the lower portions of Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche) before the Northern half any day...

                                                                        After Italy, I guess I would say France comes in second with Greece and Lebanon tied for third. Mexico is definitely up there, as is Japan, but my dream gastro-trip has yet to take place: India. I know I'll get there some day. Other culinary destinations on my list: Argentina, Morocco, China/HK.
                                                                        Sentimental honorable mention: Sweden.
                                                                        Most misunderstood and underrated award goes to: UK

                                                                        Countries I refuse to eat in again without plenty of guidance from fellow hounds: Luxembourg, the Netherlands, everywhere I've been in the Caribbean with the possible exception of Jamaica.

                                                                        I suspect i could write for a long time on this issue- there are plenty of countries I have visited that fall somewhere between or outside of these categories, but also so many places I haven't yet visited... I also feel that the US deserves recognition for such a varied and interesting culinary culture, and for the freshness and availability of practically everything a person could want.

                                                                        1. Mediterranean countries--all of them, from southern Europe through N. Africa and the Middle East
                                                                          Mexico
                                                                          Japan
                                                                          West Indies

                                                                          I still have a lot more travelling to do, but that's where I am now. I've had good food in the northern countries of Europe, and loved the smoked fish, brats & wursts, and things such as haggis, but for me, what I've listed have been my favourites. SE Asia and India are definitely on my must-eat destinations.