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30 Day Food Challenge RECAP

Chewing over my adventure to eat a different nation’s cuisine each day for 30 days, as found in greater Boston has taken some time to digest. Lots of sensory overload has been the big thing. I suggested I would lose weight and save money along the way. I did in fact lose weight overall. I was up six pounds at one point but finished 2 lbs under my lowest number along the edible way. This was not a “Faustian Pact” as one friend asserted. I hoped that traditional foods would be healthier with less processed elements but in truth I worked out 90 minutes every morning and walked 4 miles and probably finished under because I was not that hungry for the other two meals. There was however a lot of super sugarized soda and beer, white liquor, wine and dessert. Come to think of it there was quite a bit of saturated fat, deep frying and dessert. Go figure. The check averaged about $25 pp. Most were a great value, delicious and generously satisfying. I made my choice each day based on where I was working but tried to spread out around the globe.

Thanks to Amy, Jacob and Jimmy for joining on 4 of these. Sasha was awesome company at 2. Thanks also to Nab, Paul, Mr. Green and Jason for also dining companionably. There was some take out. One meal was photographed and eaten on the dashboard. All in all it was an illuminating degustation in which a big mouth with bigger eyes learned something and tasted something incredible and new everyday for a month.

I will confess I took July 4th off to celebrate our great nation’s freedoms and tremendous diversity featuring awesome American southern barbecue with an 8 hour slo & lo pork shoulder, ribs, sausage, turkey legs, cole slaw, corn bread, chicken wings, and little necks on the grill. Local growlers of beer and corn liquor made these meatfest one of the best. (Glad that’s off my chest). Happy Birthday USA. I’m thinking a challenge to eat original American regional eats would be awesome. Just sayin’.

Here’s how the final list played out:

1) Burma: YoMa, 5 North Beacon Street in Allston, MA 02134. (617) 783 1372. Get LaPhetThot (Tea Leaf Salad)
2) Thailand: S&I To Go. 168A Brighton Ave, Allston, MA 02134 617 254 8488 si-togo.com: Pad Ga Pow Moo Krob. Green Fanta.
3) Korea: BonChon is located at 123 Brighton Avenue between Linden and Harvard Ave. 617 254 8888. Get Korean classics and BonChon fried chicken. Soju.
4) Vietnam: Ånh H­ông Restaurant. 291 Adams Street, Dorchester, MA 02122 617-265-8889Bò 7món translates as “seven courses of beef”, “33”.
5) Trinidad: Singh's Roti Shop, 692 Columbia Road, Dorchester, MA 02125-1758(617) 282-7977. Shrimp Roti (hot sauce on the side). Homemade Guava wine.
6) Japan (Agemono): Tampopo is located at 1815 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140 617-868-5487. Takoyaki and tea.
7) El Salvador: Mi Pueblito 333 Border St, East Boston, 617-569-3787 Hours 8am-11pm 7 days a week. Pupusa with loroco vine flowers. Suprema.
8) Egypt: Azama Grill, 54 Harvard Avenue, Allston, MA 02134 617-779-0003. Foul mudamas, shatta hot sauce.
9) Poland: Cafe Polonia 611 Dorchester Avenue, Boston, MA 02127-3509 (617) 269-0110. Bigos hunter stew. Beer Zweic. Bread with lard and bacon spread.
10) Cuba: El Oriental de Cuba
416 Centre St. Jamaica Plain, MA 2130
617-524-6464. Pernil Asada. Iced Cuban Coffee.
11) Greece: Greek Corner Restaurant, 2366 MASS. AVENUE, CAMBRIDGE, MA Tel: (617) 661-5655 FAX: (617) 661-9955. Horiatiki salad (hand picked tomatoes). Retsina.
12) India: India Quality Restaurant 484 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215-2737 (617) 267-4499. Tikka Masala, Flying Horse. ‎
13) Cambodia: Elephant Walk
14) Scotland: The Haven, 2 Perkins Street, Jamaica Plain,MA 02130 (617) 524-2836. Haggis & Neeps, IRN BRU.
15) Persia: Moby Dick Persian Cuisine, 269 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA, 02115 (617) 254-7695. Fasenjan, Bastani-e Akbar-Mashti ice cream.
16) Mexico: Taqueria Mexico, 24 Charles St, Waltham, MA 02453-4222 (781) 893-2205. Biiria, Agua Fresca Tamarindo
17) Australia: KO Catering and Pies, 87 A Street, South Boston, MA 02127-1000 (617) 269-4500. Meat pies, Lamingtons
18) Brazil: Muqueca Restaurant, 1008 Cambridge St , Cambridge, MA 02141 (617) 354-3296. Moqueca, Caiparinha
19) China (Dongbei): Golden Garden, 63 Concord Avenue, Belmont, MA 02478 (617) 489-4428. Da la p’I, dumplings.
20) Italy (Sicily): Galleria Umberto Rotisccerria. Open Mon-Sat 11am-2:30pm, 289 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113-1810(617) 227-5709. Sfinciuni, Arancini.
21) Ethiopia: Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant, 535A Main St, Malden, MA. Awaze Tibs, St. George beer.
22) Pakistan: Darbar Restaurant, 130 North Beacon St, MA 02135-2020 (617) 779-8800. Magaz Masala, Pakola.
23) Peru: Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken & Grill, 617.623.7972 | 25 Union Square, Somerville, MA. Anticuchos, chichi morada.
24) Israel: Rami’s | 324 Harvard Street | Brookline, MA 02246 | Phone 617. Shawarma, hummus, falafel, salad plate. Skhug hot sauce.
25) Dominican Republic: Alex’s Chimis, 358 Centre Street, MA 02130-1208 (617) 522-5201. Chimi a Pierna, Morir Soñando.
26) Taiwan: Jo Jo TaiPei, 103 Brighton Ave
(between Harvard Ave & Linden St), Allston, MA 02134 (617) 254-8889. 3 Cup Cuttlefish, xialongbao, tea (not free).
27) Turkey: The Family Restaurant, 305 Washington Street, Brookline (617) 277-4466. Iskender Kabob, Efes Pislner, Raki.
28) Jamaica: Flames Restaurant: Jamaican Cuisine, 663 Morton Street, Mattapan MA, 617 296 4972, Hours 7AM - 12AM. Jerk Chicken, Red Stripe, dumplings.
29) Laos: Phien’s Kitchen, 586 Westford St, Lowell, MA 01851 (978) 441-0014 Hours: W-Sat 11am-8pmSun 12pm-8pm. Peng see-Nam Tok-gao bee Beef. purple sticky rice with egg custard and sweet coconut milk.
30) France: Petit Maison Robert. Pastis, Tripes à la Mode- Provençale, Bordeaux.

The responses and suggestions made my party bigger even if I was just a table for one. Thanks to Chef Michael Ginor who has inspired me in our Food Trips around the world and a recent 24 countries in 24 hours in a 2.4 mile radius just 24 minutes from his house in Long Island. The inspiration came from Richard Barrow at enjoythaifood.com who accomplished the 30 day Thai street food challenge in 31 days. Thanks to local famous palate and plume MC Slim JB who offered up many of the spots. One was on food network and the local pay for play recommended three, but that was coincidental. Lots I’d been to and about 60% were new but I found something I hadn’t had before at each restaurant. (At El Oriental it was only iced Cuban Coffee but still…damn good cup of java). There was definitely an inverse relationship to the size of the check and the quality of the experience. The luxe stuff was hollow food with naïve service probably because the person in the kitchen or at the helm is not the owner. The small soulful kitchens can really cook. It’s in their DNA and where a lucky diner’s proximity to their skill and pride makes it possible to visit the kitchen, get real background and advice on what to eat and how. At Phien’s Kitchen, Phien’s daughter Devonne told me her Dad butchers a cow himself each week and the quality of that cow (peng) and the parts is so “where the beef is”. It’s in there. I would like a do-over on Cambodia and France however. Floating Rock and Pierrot beckon. On some days I had to squeeze the challenge in and so “I chose poorly”. I didn’t make it to many countries that are representing well here in the Hub. Portugal, Cape Verde, Spain I am sorry. It just didn’t work out for us yet. If I missed your heritage or favorite please school me. In the end we are all hungry and this adventure brings everybody a little closer around the table. Thirty days is not enough.

Greek Corner Restaurant
2366 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

Cafe Polonia
611 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127

Elephant Walk
900 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02215

Taqueria Mexico
24 Charles St, Waltham, MA 02453

1010 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Machu Picchu
307 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

Moby Dick
269 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115

1815 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

Singh's Roti Shop
692 Columbia Rd Ste 1, Dorchester, MA 02125

Habesha Restaurant
535 Main St, Malden, MA

India Quality Restaurant
484 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

S&I To Go
168A Brighton Ave, Allston, MA 02134

Mi Pueblito Restaurant
333 Border St, Boston, MA 02128

Azama Grill
54 Harvard Ave, Boston, MA 02134

Golden Garden
63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

KO Catering and Pies
87 A St, Boston, MA 02127

123 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

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  1. Inspiring posts, effort, and information over the past month. Thanks!

    Did you keep off the pounds as you hoped?

    1 Reply
    1. re: chickendhansak

      I actually lost weight overall but I wasn't much hungry for the other two meals each day.

    2. This is an amazing feat. I am captivated - now I need to go back and read all the invdividual posts. Thanks so much for sharing!! All I can say is WOW!!!

      1. Fantastic undertaking and great job throughout! Thanks for it and the inspiration--I wanna go to Jo Jo TaiPei and Muqueca ASAP thanks to you :)

        1010 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

        1 Reply
        1. re: Trumpetguy

          I wanna go back to Muqueca! (Been missing Taiwan Cafe however. My DC called it "20 times better"). But first I have been without Thai food for A month. (toughest part of the challenge).

        2. Thanks for sharing your challenge. It was a really fun read following it all. Great job!

          1. Thanks. Excellent report. Well done!!!

            1. Bravo EAT! I've lived vicariously through your month of posts. Of your thirty, there are seven that I haven't been to including the two Chinese ones (shame on me). Because of you, i've tried KO PIes and Machu Picchu thsi month and enjoyed them.

              Machu Picchu
              307 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

              1 Reply
              1. re: gourmaniac

                Thx Gourmaniac. I feel I've only just begun to eat.

              2. I'm happy for you and if you have a blog somewhere, please let me know, I think we are fb friends, no? Congrats! Job well done!

                1 Reply
                1. re: tatsu

                  I will send you a message. How bout these pix? I shot most with a pentax rs1000 point and shoot. An experiment for me.

                2. A terrific tour de force, and I am just happy and grateful to have had the pleasure to pick up a passport stamp along the way with you. So many favourites on this list, it's a refreshing reminder of what's out there. Who knew there was more to it than Neptune ? I am also very encouraged to add Sri Lanka to the list now too, with the arrival of Biryani Park which has a promising-looking, not to mention amusing, menu. "Chicken Tikka Dosa (LOL)"

                  Thank you, EAT. You da man.

                  1. Thanks for an amazing 30 day journey, it's been fascinating to read. Looking back after 30 days... any overall highlights or favorites out of the restaurants?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Boston_Otter

                      So many big winners:
                      Moo Krob at S&I
                      Moqueca at Muequeca
                      Sai Oua at Phien's Kitchen
                      Bon 7 Mon at Ahn Hong
                      homemade Guava Wine at Singh's Roti

                      So many things to go back to everywhere and the whole experience makes me more curious about what I haven't found. Did I miss any of your favorites?

                      Singh's Roti Shop
                      692 Columbia Rd Ste 1, Dorchester, MA 02125

                      Phien's Kitchen
                      586 Westford St, Lowell, MA 01851