HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


The best thing you've never had?

Is there a food you've dreamed of in a far off place that you've never tried but know it will be delicious? Or how about a certain ingredient that you just can't seem to put your hands on?
Please share the best food you've never had!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Horse. I have just returned from a trip from Europe, and decided to not try it due to two young children who were horrified. LOL. I am sure I would like it, but have conscience problems and friends who would kill me!


    5 Replies
    1. re: grieftrip

      Think of a tough piece of 'round' steak. No fat. Little flavour.
      Needs a long low and slow braise with lots of herbs etc to give it some flavour.
      That's pretty much what horse is like.
      There are the prime cuts. I've never tried them.

      1. re: Puffin3

        Horsemeat is excellent raw, served with grated ginger and chopped onion, dipped in soy sauce. Some cuts are a little naturally sweet...It is also a nice sushi neta.

        1. re: Silverjay

          The place where I tried it, in Tokyo, served it with shiso, soy sauce and dandelion. Appreciatively, all four facets were edible...

        2. re: Puffin3

          We had horse steak up in Quebec City this winter. It was the antithesis: very red meat, tender, juicy and cooked perfectly medium rare.

        3. re: grieftrip

          I've had it in Chinese hot pot before. It's OK, nothing that special. The thin slices tasted something like pork loin, with a little bit more tang.

        4. Foie gras. Truffles. Roasted capybara. Spit-roasted lamb or kid. Squab (though those are available here frozen). Sturgeon.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Will Owen

            I'm with Will. Foie gras, truffles, beluga caviar, Kobe beef, bouillabaisse.

          2. Probably the only time I've been jealous of Tony Bourdain: he was eating a banh mi in Vietnam that seemd to have everything in it, topped off by a freshly cooked omelette - it looked killer.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Steve

              The omelet was on top of or beside the sandwich?

              Andrea Nguyen, Vietnamese cookbook author, has a new book coming out this summer, The Banh Mi Handbook. I have all her other books and have pre-ordered this from Amazon:


              1. re: c oliver

                Looked like it was the last thing put into the sandwich.

              2. re: Steve

                My local Banh Mi place makes it like that, and now I won't eat it any other way! Worth searching it out!


                1. re: grieftrip

                  What/where is your local place? I want you to name names!

                  And do you have an extra room to sublet?

              3. Among others, cassoulet. I have several recipes but have never attempted any of them. It is rather labor intensive.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mtlcowgirl

                  It is also worth it!

                  Not really that much labor, just a lot of time. I think I posted the recipe for one I did, and the first step (cooking the beans and meat, lamb neck in this case) was in a 250º oven overnight. The only work, really, was separating meat from bones and making layers, and browning sausages.

                  I will admit that if you follow Paula Wolfert's hyper-authentic recipe you're in for some exercise, but we don't live in SW France, do we?

                2. No particular foods but I would love to take a long food tour in the Far East. My parents took a self directed one in the 80's and I still drool thinking about their stories.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: foodieX2

                    Next year we're going for a month to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. SO excited thinking about the food, esp. the food I've probably not even heard of :)

                  2. Nesselrode Pie
                    Princess Cake- I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but hope to try Gayle's version next time I find myself near Santa Cruz.
                    Peach Melba http://www.pbs.org/food/the-history-k...
                    Tacos al Pastor off a vertical spit, with the pineapple and pork stacked together
                    Babette's Feast (here's a simplified recipe for the quail course
                    http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/5670/b... )

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: prima

                      OMG! Watching her stuff those quail had me salivating (although I'm glad I didn't have to see her whack that poor turtle.)

                      1. re: Chefpaulo

                        I just wish there were a CD of outtakes from the food-prep part of that movie!

                      2. re: prima

                        Prima, don't you live or otherwise spend much of your time in Manhattan? There's a great spot in El Barrio called Taco Mix that does al pastor off the spit. They do just enough pineapple that it's slightly sweet, but not cloying. A couple miles down in Yorkville, you can make a pitstop at Schaller & Weber for your maultaschen.

                        1. re: JungMann

                          Thanks, JungMann! While I post fairly often on the NYC threads, I usually only visit NYC around once a year. I hope to check out Taco Mix and Schaller & Weber next time I visit. Haven't been up to El Barrio since the 90s, and the only meal I've had in Yorkville was at the Heidelberg, over 10 years ago!

                        1. re: cookie monster

                          I made this timpano recipe once, when I was just beginning to cook a little more frequently. One of the most labour-intensive recipes I've ever made. http://www.canadianliving.com/food/ti...

                          1. re: prima

                            And was it worth it? One of the recipes I looked at said the prep time was 24 hours plus 1.5-2 hours baking time.

                            1. re: cookie monster

                              I wasn't that impressed. It looked better than it tasted. I'm pretty sure I used bottled tomato sauce, and it would've been better with better with a good from-scratch sauce.

                              1. re: prima

                                Totally agree. It's nothing more than a glorified pasta bake. What a waste of time and ingredients.

                                Nice idea, tho.

                          1. re: kagemusha49

                            Don't make it. Come to Rio with us and we'll go on our first Saturday there.


                            1. re: c oliver

                              That sounds very very tempting - muito obrigado.

                              1. re: kagemusha49

                                Nada :) Actually I don't know anyone who actually makes it in Brazil. It seems to be a go-out-to-Saturday-lunch thing. With multiple caipirinhas!

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  So here's my sort of random feijoada anecdote.

                                  My first host family had feijoada for lunch most Sundays. My host mother made it, and perhaps I should have taken some wisdom from the fact that it was literally the only thing she ever cooked (Sunday was the actual cook's day off) but I hated it. I filled up on coracao de galinha (my host father would BBQ these by thee pool before lunch) and smuggled pao de queijo from breakfast up to my room to have something to snack on later, and choked down as little as I could without being impolite.

                                  And since going to feijoada at other people's houses was a sort of social ritual, I ducked a *lot* of invitations whilst simultaneously trying to have reasons why I definitely needed to not be home on Sunday afternoons.

                                  Then a few months and a couple of host families later, I was visiting another exchange student in another town and I couldn't duck their feijoada because I was staying in their house.

                                  It was delicious! Rich and hearty and nicely spiced without swimming in grease and I loved it.

                                  So then I spent what little time I had left in-country getting myself invited to every feijoada I could manage to make up for lost time.

                                  As it turns out, feijoada is fine. My first host mother was just a bad cook.

                                  1. re: Jacquilynne

                                    Fun story. A surgeon friend from Sao Paulo has a cook from Brazil, and a delicious feijoada is a Sunday staple, preceded and followed by caipirinhas.

                                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                                      So people DO cook it at home?!?!? Seems like an incredible amount of work. Here's a favorite pic of mine. At the top is a dollop of bobo de camarao and to the right of it is qiabo/okra. Otherwise the rest is feijoada. Mmm. Coincidentally I'm right now in the process of looking for flights to Rio in the fall :)

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        I think I only ever had it at people's houses in Brazil. I never helped make it, but I don't think it's necessarily hugely complicated -- it's basically beans with a lot of kinds of meat stewed together.

                            2. I have been wanting to do a Tapas crawl in Spain. Maybe Andalucía, Barcelona, or Madrid. Never had but I know it will be delicious.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: emglow101

                                Barcelona IS, in EVERY way, amazing! We had tapas and cava at least once a day.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I think you nailed it. Barcelona. On the coast of Spain. And I love seafood.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Absolutely. Love to see that church.

                                      1. re: emglow101

                                        There are other things of his also but Sagrada Familia is awesome...and I loathe that word usually.

                              2. Some day I'd like to sit down to a meal with the most delicious and exquisite Peking Duck obtainable in all of Beijing as its centerpiece.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: RelishPDX

                                  Make sure the Quanjude Road Peking Duck Restaurant is on your itinerary. It is the largest duck restaurant in Asia (where Kissinger dined with Mao before Nixon's visit) and can seat 2,500 at a time on five floors. Be prepared for some major variations from the American interpretation (like steamed duck feet with 5-spice dipping salt for an amuse bouche, and steamed buns with soy paste rather than pancakes and plum sauce) but watching the master cut the duck table side into exactly 102 pieces was almost worth the price of the dinner. In terms of a duck dining experience, nothing I've found before or since can compare.

                                  1. re: Chefpaulo

                                    «watching the master cut the duck table side into exactly 102 pieces was almost worth the price of the dinner»

                                    Oooh, now that's what I'm talking about. Thanks for the tip! I may make it there yet. :)

                                  2. I suppose if you have never had it, you don't know for certain how good it is. I have only had Caspian Sea Beluga caviar once, at the 21 Club when my college girlfriend turned 21. (Her daddy paid). She later gave me a small jar of it, but I never got around to eating it, 40 years later.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      So go open the damn bottle! lol

                                      1. re: Bkeats

                                        The jarred stuff is pasteurized and isn't very good. Not comparable to the fresh you had back then. But for you it's a great memory in a jar.

                                    2. I'm allergic to nuts, including almonds. I've always wanted to try macarons. They're so pretty!

                                      I never will though. :(

                                      1. I am planning an absolute foodie trip to tuscany this year and plan to partake of all the lovely things I have been wishing for! It is like Christmas!
                                        Beef, truffles, pasta, wine..... Yes.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: sedimental

                                          I hope you have a great trip. Don't know your budget level, but for your planning, let me say that several visits to Italy have convinced me that there is a lot of rather crappy food in areas where tourists figure heavily in the traffic.

                                          The best food I've had in Italy has generally been when I've been with locals who know where to go. It is also possible, but challenging, to research places by internet reviews.

                                          The best places tend to be a bit off the most obvious, beaten track.

                                          1. re: Bada Bing

                                            the food in most run of the mill places in Italy is incredible - pizza at the bus station would be an artisanal "find" here - pastries and sandwiches in your average coffee shops are fresh and delicious, the bar Italians set for their food is very high - but there is also a lot of horrible tourist trap food to be avoided - especially in central Florence UGH, and Venice BLEH you need to get off track for sure.

                                            1. re: JTPhilly

                                              I've never driven Italy. Have heard great things about those roadside places.

                                              It is a country (and Venice esp. as a city; ate there for a week last June) where you need to learn how to "read" a place to tell whether it's worthy or just some place that has so many tourists that it needn't rely on loyal customers.

                                              p.s.: edit. It occurs to me to add that places like train station food shops and roadside stops are exactly the sorts of places that depend on a loyal clientele (their commuter base).

                                              1. re: Bada Bing

                                                "you need to learn how to "read" a place to tell whether it's worthy"

                                                exactly - growing up in NY it was pretty much the same

                                                for Italy if its on the main piazza and has a menu in German and English keep walking until you find the secret alley with a few tables and some big wooden door

                                                I will give credit to Siena where I had the fortune to spend a week last summer - while we mostly ate at home visiting family who were living there absolutely everything I ate out was excellent and every restaurant and food store just looked amazing. there was just such in intense pride there in providing quality foods - and a customer base that demands it I suppose

                                                1. re: JTPhilly

                                                  I bought some of the best taleggio of my life in Siena.

                                        2. I've never had caviar. I'd enjoy eating it in a lovely presentation I think.

                                          1. Acarajé in Bahia, Brazil. I've seen it in a few food-travel shows. It looks spectacular. I *know* it will be amazing. One day. One day.

                                            Also, I grew up eating a lot of Vietnamese food because of friends. Such delicious food. It's a dream of mine to go eat stuff all over Vietnam.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: luckyfatima

                                              I found acaraje good but not "amazing." You'll get better food in Brazil. Try bobo de camarao, another Bahian dish. Now THAT'S amazing!!!

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                Nooooo, C Oliver! Don't crush my dreams!

                                            2. My bro' has been to Japan several times and was once honored with an invitation to an "all fugu" feast which even featured fugu-infused sake. Fugu restaurants are more than proud to tout "70 years without a fatality" but I'd still like to see if the experience is worth the risk.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Chefpaulo

                                                Fugu is a very light, bland fish. It's the danger, and the sauces and preparation, that are good.

                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                  I would be happy with Omakase at 15 East, but it probably won't happen. :(

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    Veggo, next time after you and bagelman have apizza in NH, come to NYC and we will go to 15 East

                                                  2. re: linguafood

                                                    Would omakase with Nakazawa be close enough?

                                                    1. re: Bkeats

                                                      Eh. As we say in the fatherland "Wenn schon Scheiße, dann mit Schwung", which could be loosely translated as "if you're going to do something, do it right."

                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                        That's a nice clean translation, lingua. hee hee.

                                                        1. re: prima

                                                          I do clean up nicely when I have to '-)

                                                    2. 1961 or 1982 Chateau Latour Bordeaux wine.

                                                      I've heard of chef's saying their "last meal" wish would be uni sushi.

                                                      Never had either... :(

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                        So what's keeping you from trying uni? It fairly widely available and not particularly expensive.

                                                        1. re: Bkeats

                                                          Something makes me think you don't live in northern Indiana! ;)

                                                          But I did check, and there is in fact a new Japanese fusion place nearby that has uni on its menu. But if I want impeccable seafood, I generally either make it myself where I know the sourcing and handlers, or I reserve it for visits to coastal cities.

                                                          Why uni then? I remember both Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali agreeing that, if they were on death row and could pick a "last bite," it would be uni. Just intrigued me.

                                                          About the wines, I know more concretely about what to imagine longingly.

                                                          1. re: Bada Bing

                                                            Well even here in NYC, if they're serving Hokkaido uni, it ain't local or that fresh but its still pretty darn good.

                                                            1. re: Bada Bing

                                                              One thing to know with commercial uni is that it is washed in a preservative solution. You have to get the whole sea urchin, fresh, and still wriggling, to see what they really taste like.

                                                              I had a friend who owns one of the best smokehouses in Maine get some uni for me. It was diver sea urchin from the Coast of Maine. It wasn't treated, but sexed into male and female, then cured with shoyu. Then he cold smoked it for around 30 minutes.

                                                              Now that was some amazing uni! I brought it down to NYC and took it around the town with a friend of mine. We treated some chefs to it, and had some make us dishes with it.


                                                        2. French Macarons... but that will be over in July when I go to France!

                                                            1. NYC style halal street meat. Ever since I read about these NYC cart vendors, I've really wanted to try one of these lamb and chicken over rice platters with hot sauce and white sauce. They're probably just a greasy everyday lunch for people who live there, but I've become obsessed with this dish for some reason.

                                                              9 Replies
                                                              1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                just a greasy everyday lunch

                                                                You got that right. Every time I have it, it leaves me queasy. I don't know why people line up for it. That white sauce? Just gobs of mayo squirted over everything. Great late night after too many beers but for a meal, I would rather skip it. I think the principal attraction is that is costs $5.

                                                                1. re: Bkeats

                                                                  I wouldn't say every one is like that. As the matter of fact there use to be a couple of stands by Central Park Entrance by The Plaza that use to have EXCELLENT lamb and beef. It use to be a mandatory stop for me prior to walking around the park.

                                                                  Perahps you need to venture away from your regular lunch spot and give a few other vendors a try. Similar to dirty water dog's you can get some gem's.....or can get the run's. Thankfully I'm a gambling man......lol

                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                    Beef? I have to say I don't recall ever seeing beef at a halal stand. I usually go to the carts on 6th and 53rd. Supposedly the best of the best halal. It tastes ok going down but then I keep tasting it all afternoon.

                                                                  2. re: Bkeats

                                                                    I think it's because of that website midtownlunch.com. They wrote a series of entertaining street meat cart reviews that makes me really want to try this stuff.

                                                                    1. re: Bkeats

                                                                      I've always figured it smells better than it tastes. Sounds like I've been figuring right.

                                                                    2. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                      I was so underwhelmed with the halal street meat, sauce and rice. I ate the meat, and tossed out the rest, and I'm the type of person who usually cleans her plate. Would much rather spend that $5 on shawarma, gyro, or doner.

                                                                      1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                        You're not missing much. If you've had good gyros, shawarma or biryani, most halal carts are the Taco Bellization of that. It's fine for a quick, cheap, filling meal for underpaid Midtown worker bees and over-served nighttime bar hoppers and as a member of both demographics at one point or another, I've enjoyed my fair share of Rafiqi's and the Halal Guys. But it's nothing I'd go out of my way for.

                                                                        1. re: JungMann

                                                                          I know you guys are right about this, but damn if that description doesn't make me want to try it even more.

                                                                          1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                            There have been some recent posts about Serious Eats' Halal Cart Chicken on the Home Cooking Board, if you want to DIY. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                        1. I want to eat a whole lobster on the coast in Maine butter and lobster juice running down my face as the Atlantic salt sprays my face


                                                                          I want a meal of seafood full of fresh crustaceans, calamari, and fish with juicy perfectly ripe tomato, briny olives and hot peppers and ideally al dente pasta - served to me in in a small fishing village in Sicily with the Mediterranean slowly rocking the boats in the harbor

                                                                          I also dream of the perfect tomato - picked form my garden warm from the sun - some cracked pepper and sea salt - I strive for this one tomato every year,

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                            I've had that lobster.

                                                                            It's amazing.

                                                                            1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                              I've had a similar dining experience in Siracusa, dining outside (not right next to boats though)

                                                                              1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                Not on the Harbor or in a small village, but the fish and all are certainly fresh and delicious here: http://www.anticamarina.it/antica-mar...

                                                                                For the seaside spot, try: http://www.lacialoma.it/index.php?p=d...

                                                                                I appreciate that it is required in Sicily for a menu to asterisk any frozen items.

                                                                              2. Wow, so many interesting responses! Thanks for sharing and keep 'em coming.

                                                                                  1. re: John Francis

                                                                                    Mrs. O has decreed that we're going to France next year, and I'm hoping to get some foie gras then … although I'm all too aware that she's firmly in the IT'S CRUELTY!! camp. I'm pretty sure I'll have to pay for it myself, at least!

                                                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                      We were in Budapest recently (Hungary is second only to France in foie production). IIRC, we had it at least three times, maybe four. And not expensive. Here's the writeup I did for the *'d place where we had the best in our lives.


                                                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                        Will, put Perigord on your France itinerary, and stay on a Foie production farm; you can see the geese run around, eat a wonderful goose and Foie dinner, and perhaps watch, er, 'production' - did this a few years ago, and LOVED the experience!

                                                                                        This is the one we stayed at. Nice rooms and prices too!

                                                                                    2. Traditional carnitas, cooked in a giant kettle of bubbling lard.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                        I'm curious why you haven't made them.

                                                                                        1. I really had to give this one some thought, and came up with Takoyaki, Japanese octopus balls. I've never been to Japan (outside the airport), and have not seen them on any menus elsewhere.
                                                                                          I found a recipe that leads me to believe I could make them at home, but something tells me they're better in Japan with a few beers.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: alliegator

                                                                                            Takoyaki.....There's a total learning curve to flipping them around and cooking them evenly so they come out in a uniform ball. I've been to restaurants that offered DIY set that you could order and used to go every once in a while and I improved my technique with time...That video on the page you shared makes it look easy but it does take some practice.

                                                                                            1. re: Silverjay

                                                                                              Believe me, I have no thought in my head that I can do it like that. I'm going to visit friends in LA in a few weeks, maybe I'll start my quest by tracking some down there.
                                                                                              Good to know that over time, it does get easier!

                                                                                          2. For me there's 3

                                                                                            1. Nasi Kandar from Line Clear in Penang.
                                                                                            2. Beef spleen in a roll in Sicily.
                                                                                            3, Percebes in Galicia.

                                                                                            1. The one dish which still haunts my imagination ever since I read about it in the cookbook "Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner" 14 years ago:
                                                                                              - Consommé Olga, made using sturgeon bone marrow (vesiga).

                                                                                              1. Kouign Aman.
                                                                                                I have a few bakeries that do them near me, but still haven't partaken. I have the frozen TJ's version in the freezer, just haven't done em up yet - but those can't be nearly as good as bakery version.

                                                                                                I've still never done an omakase, either.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                  I've had TJs Kouign Amann, but only theirs. On first taste I loved them, but found them on the flattish side. I just picked up a tip on Serious Eats to proof and bake them in metal muffin tins, to get the right shape and, obviously, more height.

                                                                                                  I just did that last night, baked them off this morning, and their appearance is definitely improved. At $1.00 ea. vs. $5.95 for Dominique Ansel's in NYC, I'm okay with it. I can have one every Sunday morning, and not spend a dime in gas. :)

                                                                                                  PS: and I can enjoy it warm from the oven, and I'll bet there's not one bakery in ten that can do that for their customers.

                                                                                                2. Pizza Margherita in Naples Italy. Never had. Next time I return to Italy I will taste.

                                                                                                  1. I would like to try a Yubari King melon someday.

                                                                                                    1. I'd like to go to Vietnam and have Pho from The Lunch Lady

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                        WOW! I'd not heard of her so thanks! We're going to SE Asia next year and Saigon is on our itinerary. Here's a write up.


                                                                                                        1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                          The Lunch Lady is also on my bucket list. For a bowl of soup to draw that much attention, it must be magnificent!

                                                                                                          1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                            @alliegator, that's my thought. I Love Pho… have something of an obsession …. Actually I love pretty much all South East Asian foods and could eat Pho every day if it wouldn’t bore the living daylights out of the rest of my family. I figure this must be the Holy Grail of all Pho… so maybe one of these days….

                                                                                                          1. re: calumin

                                                                                                            Only if you have lunch with the Omega Man.

                                                                                                          2. Top of the list: Stone Crab Claws with Mustard Sauce. Haven't even gotten close to having them, but as I like all other crabs, I know I'd enjoy those.

                                                                                                            Next up: Duck Fat Fries. Now *these* are doable. Sometime soon, I'm going to make them.

                                                                                                            Finally, spit-roasted Greek-style lamb, and anybody's pig roast.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                                              Let's hope that next years' stone crab season is more bountiful. This year and last were dreadful.

                                                                                                            2. Fresh king crab legs, an unlimited amount like a buffet. I am jealous of those guys on the Deadliest Catch. They prolly can't stand them and prefer` a steak out at sea. I believe the entire catch is cooked and frozen. But I would pay the big bucks to have 10 pounds of the fresh airlifted to me

                                                                                                              1. After reading Bill Buford's article in the New Yorker last year, I suspect that Canard a la Presse would be high on my list.

                                                                                                                1. Cloudberries. I've had the jam and I love the flavor. I can get jelly but it's often sold with other fruit flavors mixed into it. Half the time it's really salmonberry which I hate. I bought a jar of bakeapple (which I think it the same fruit) jelly in Newfoundland but it spoiled before I could taste it.

                                                                                                                  Someday, I'm going to get my paws on fresh, wild cloudberries in Alaska even if I have to wrestle a bear for them.

                                                                                                                  1. Foie Gras, caviae, the usual suspects. Also lobster, just haven't gotten around to it yet.

                                                                                                                    1. I've always wanted to try monkey brains or snake.

                                                                                                                      Also, some New Orleans food. I smelled it all over during Mardi Gras when I went there in the 90's as a late teen but us gutter punks didn't have the money to buy it. Smelled like crawfish heaven. It was mostly Taco Bell for us, lol.