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Extreme Pizza Situations

Most people are content with a regularly sized pizza from the local pizza place. But there are others, rich in money and time, who are hellbent on making the acquisition and consumption of pizza mind numbingly and needlessly complicated. And here they are:

Largest Pizza Ever Made

worlds largest pizza Extreme Pizza Situations

On December 8th, 1990, a monumentally wasteful record was set by Pick ‘n’ Pay hypermarket in Johannesburg, South Africa when a pizza measuring 37.4 meters in diameter was, for lack of a better term, constructed. It’s said to have been made using 500 kg of flour, 800 kg of cheese and 900 kg of tomato paste.

Longest Pizza Delivery

airplane pizza Extreme Pizza Situations

Lucy Clough of Domino’s holds the record for longest pizza delivery in history. She took a Dominos vegetarian supreme pizza the distance of 16,950km from Feltham, London to 30 Ramsay Street, Melbourne, Australia, on November 19, 2004. It took 2 days to arrive… which means it was outside the 30 minute window. Yay Free pizza!

Honorary Mention
Bernard Jordaan of Butler’s Pizza had the previous record. He once delivered a pizza from Cape Town, South Africa to Sydney, Australia (What is with these crazy Aussies? Don’t they have pizza in Australia?) The trip totaled 11,042 km (6,861 miles). This had remained the record until Lucy Clough ruined everything.

Most Expensive Pizza

most expensive pizza Extreme Pizza Situations

So we’ve covered the Largest Pizza and the Longest Delivery…how about the Most Expensive? Domenico Crolla created the most expensive pizza which had edible gold, medallions of venison, sunblush-tomato sauce, Scottish smoked salmon, lobster marinated in fine cognac and champagne-soaked caviar. The pizza was sold at auction for charity. It dawned a hefty price tag of $3000.00. Well, if it’s for charity…

Most “Extravagant” Pizza

extravegant pizza Extreme Pizza Situations

If you’re looking for an ‘Extravagant’ pizza then stop by Nino’s Bellissima restaurant in New York. For the modest price of $1000.00 (or $125 a slice) you could get your hands on a 12 inch ‘Luxury Pizza’ with six different kinds of caviar, fresh lobster, chives and crème fraîche, In these tough economic times, opting for a slice might be the more sensible thing to do.

Woman Who Eats Nothing But Pizza

While this woman is clearly insane, it’s still interesting to know just how long one can live consuming nothing but pizza.

10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and Drinks

I thought of this idea yesterday when everyone was talking about green beer. Sometimes, foods are just supposed to be one color. And when they’re not, it feels wrong.

I know that green beer is regular beer with tasteless food coloring added. And yet, when you drink it, your mind thinks something is off. Food colors matter.

So I put together this list of 11 weirdly-colored foods, strange food colors, and/or experiments in food coloring that were just flat-out wrong

  • Green beer. Alcohol shouldn’t color your tongue. If it does, you’re doing it wrong. That’s why I never do shots out of test tubes. Why put the shots that are all juice and coloring into the nerdiest scientific item in the entire bar? They don’t light up your flaming shots with a bunsen burner.
  • green beer 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksPink fake bacon (or “fakon”). I don’t get why they do this on vegetarian products. It’s not bacon. It doesn’t taste like bacon. And, worst of all, in their attempts to make it resemble bacon, it’s hot pink with fake off-white marbling.
  • pink soy bacon 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksPurple ketchup. At one point, Heinz decided that kids didn’t want red ketchup any more, they wanted colored ketchup. The stuff looks like, at best, mold.
  • purple ketchup 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksBlue raspberry. I never understood why blue became the universal color of raspberry in candy. I get that cherry is red, but kids aren’t stupid. And they haven’t lost their vision yet… they can still visually discern between red and maroon or red and vermilion. “Blue raspberry” was such a weird decision someone made once upon a time that stuck.

blue raspberry gum 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and Drinks

  • Crystal Pepsi. Frankly, this was all just an elaborate ruse to cram yet another reference to Crystal Pepsi onto this blog.
  • crystal pepsi 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksGreen eggs. My name is Sam. For my entire life I have been tormented by this food. At least when people want to make a lame cultural reference to my name they go for “Sam I Am” and not “I Am Sam”. And then to round it out I could say “Am I Sam?”
  • green eggs1 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksPink butter. Unacceptable. If butter’s pink, how can Americans continue to secretly cook everything in it and fatten up. The pink would leave evidence behind.
  • pink butter 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksWhite mint chocolate chip. I remember when my mom bought some white mint chocolate chip ice cream. I thought it was weird. Then I ate some and it was effing delicious. Seriously. I think my mom and I would’ve killed a man for trying to take this away from us.I’m fairly sure that green is added to most cheaper mint chocolate chip ice creams just to distinguish it from regular chocolate chip.

    It’s like the green color in the Shamrock Shake. Does it really add a minty taste or is that in your head? (And, more importantly, did you just think to yourself, “Oh shit it’s March 18th McDonald’s is gonna stop selling Shamrock Shakes this week I gotta go buy one before I get McRibbed.”

  • white mint chocolate 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and DrinksPurple mashed potatoes. I actually don’t care for mashed potatoes, so this doesn’t gross me out any more than regular white mashed potatoes.

purple mashed pottato 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and Drinks

  • Black tomatoes. These, on the other hand, gross me out hardcore.

black tomatoes 10 Strange, and Often Wrong, Colored Foods and Drinks

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The world’s priciest foods

Jamón ibérico de bellota, newly legal for import (at $180 per pound), barely cracks the top five on the pricey foods scale. We checked in with gourmet retailers for the rundown on the world’s most expensive culinary indulgences.

1.Edible gold leaf

1 edible gold leaf The world’s priciest foods

Estimated price per pound: $15,000

Like calcium and iron, gold is a mineral that’s safe to eat, although it’s not an essential part of the human diet. It may be pricey by the pound, but a small shaker of 23K gold sprinkles (80 mg) costs only $30 at Fancy Flours in Bozeman, Mont. The store also carries flakes of gold leaf called “petals” – $45 for 150 milligrams – and packs of 25 small sheets of gold leaf for $75.

Store owner Nancy Quist says all three versions sell exceptionally well: Bakers and bartenders use the precious metal to make dazzling treats for holidays and other special occasions. An opera cake, for example, is a traditional layered sponge cake blanketed in chocolate ganache and adorned with crumbled pieces of gold. For elaborate parties, people add gold sprinkles to glasses of Champagne or signature martinis. One customer even used gold leaf to cover an entire Christmas turkey.

“Gold is a very over-the-top decoration,” Quist says. “It’s insanely popular around the Oscars – people use it for drinks and to make Oscar-shaped cookies.”

2.White truffles

2 white truffles The world’s priciest foods

Estimated price per pound: $6,000 and up

Sensual and mysterious, truffles were thought to be an aphrodisiac by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Their high price is due to their unpredictable growth habits: No one has been able to domesticate them, relying instead on trained dogs and pigs to sniff them out. The mushrooms grow underground near the roots of oak trees. Truffle hunters, known as truffeculteurs, work alone; their proven locations are closely guarded secrets.

White winter truffles, also called Alba truffles after their region of origin, are the priciest, commanding $6,000 to $10,000 per pound (prices vary year-to-year based on availability and quality). Less expensive truffles include white summer truffles and black winter and summer truffles.

Marky’s, a gourmet market in Miami, sells fresh truffles in season; last winter between November and January, the store sold about a pound of white truffles per week.

Says purchasing coordinator Sarah Freedman-Izquierdo, “The people who buy truffles are people who know how to cook with them – people who know food well.” She advises showcasing fresh truffles in simple preparations: “Nothing too complicated, nothing that will mask their flavor.” Try them gently sautéed in oil or butter and served on bread, or eaten raw in a simple salad, she advises.

3. Caviar

3 caviar The world’s priciest foods

Estimated price per pound: $1,550 and up

A favorite at New Year’s parties, weddings and other celebrations, caviar is synonymous with luxury. Caviar, or salted fish roe, comes primarily from sturgeon that live in the Caspian Sea; Russia, Kazakhstan, and Iran are all major exporters. Beluga caviar is thought to be the best, and at around $4,000 a pound, the most expensive. However, overfishing has led to the rapid depletion of the beluga sturgeon population. As a result, the U.S. has banned imports of beluga caviar. (Other countries do import beluga caviar, although production is limited by international quotas.)

Osetra caviar, consisting of small, yellow-brown eggs, is the next best option. At Marky’s in Miami, one ounce of golden osetra caviar costs $147. “The best caviar,” explains Mark Zaslavsky, co-owner of Marky’s, “has a very light, buttery taste, and is not too salty. It makes you long for more. And caviar on Russian blini, with a little Champagne – it takes you to heaven.”

Zaslavsky prides himself on selling “the best of everything” at his shop, which also carries high-end olive oils, cheese, escargot, caviar, and foie gras. To him, fine foods are a luxury along the lines of fur coats and diamonds. “Why do people buy expensive food? Why do they buy expensive cars, big houses, jewelry?” he asks. “Because we all want the best.”

Zaslavsky calls caviar “the taste of success” – an addictive pleasure that has seduced him and other devotees to cross legal and ethical bounds. Demand often exceeds supply for legally obtained caviar (roe harvested in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), and in 2005, Marky’s pled guilty and paid a $1 million fine for purchasing illegal caviar from smugglers. As part of the plea agreement, the company implemented a new system of verification to ensure that all of its caviar meets CITES standards.

4.Saffron

4 saffron The world’s priciest foods

Estimated price per pound: $1,500 and up

Saffron, the most expensive spice, is usually sold by the gram – just a small cluster of slender red threads in a tiny glass bottle. At the Spice House in Chicago, owners Tom and Patty Erd sell a gram of superior grade saffron for $6.79, and an even finer version, known as coupé grade, for $8.29.

The threads are the stigmas of tiny crocuses, grown primarily in Spain, Iran, Greece and India. Since each flower only has three stigmas, many blossoms are needed to produce even a small amount of spice. It takes an acre of land and hundreds of thousands of flowers to produce one pound of saffron threads.

Saffron, which Patty Erd calls “a classic,” has been a key ingredient in cuisines since ancient times, and it is commonly used to make risotto, bouillabaisse and paella. Fortunately, a little saffron goes a long way and most recipes call for just a pinch.

“There are 200 to 300 threads per gram, and you only need a few threads at a time,” Erd says. “You use it so sparingly that in the long run it’s not much more expensive than any other spice.”

But be careful to invest in quality, advises Vanilla Saffron Imports president Juan San Mames. His San Francisco direct-import business currently offers saffron for $1,162.24 per pound, or $72.95 per ounce, and carefully vets its saffron for compliance with ISO standards. (Yes, the ISO has saffron specifications.) Cheap saffron producers often leave in the tasteless yellow stamens, adding weight and diluting the red stigmas that give the spice its famous taste.

5.Kobe beef

5kobe beef The world’s priciest foods

Estimated price per pound: $150 and up

Kobe beef is renowned among carnivores for its rich flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. You’ll find it at pricey steakhouses and sushi restaurants, and also at some butchers and online retailers, where a four-ounce filet mignon might set you back $50. Kobe beef, also known as “Wagyu,” comes from Wagyu cattle raised in the Hyogo region of Japan. Increasingly, you’ll also find “American Kobe,” a more affordable alternative that is produced by American ranchers raising Wagyu cattle domestically.

Morgan Ranch, in Burwell, Neb., started raising Wagyu in 1992. Co-owner Dan Morgan explains: “Wagyu are genetically selected for eating quality – marbleizing, tenderness, juiciness, and flavor”- as opposed to other characteristics such as hardiness, fast growth, or milk production. He compares Wagyu meat to fine wine: it’s a specialty item for discriminating palates.

Joe Lazzara, owner of Joe’s Butcher Shop in Carmel, Ind., carries both the Japanese and American varities, and a Kobe steak costs about $110 per pound, while a similar cut of American Kobe goes for about half that.

For Lazzara, selling Kobe beef is a mark of prestige. “Carrying Kobe says we’re the kind of purveyor who knows about meat; it gives us credibility. If we’re knowledgeable about Kobe beef, just imagine everything else we must know.”

And once a customer’s purchased a prime cut, how should he cook it? “Carefully,” Lazzara advises. “Sear it at a high temperature, then finish it on low heat. The fat melts and coats the meat with flavor as you cook it.”

6.Civet coffee, aka kopi luwak

6civet coffee The world’s priciest foods

Estimated price per pound: $110 and up

This rare coffee has the dubious distinction of being consumed before the customer has even taken a sip. The palm civet, a cat-like animal also called a luwak, ingests fresh coffee cherries but doesn’t digest the beans inside. After the beans pass through the civet’s digestive system, workers collect them and wash them in spring water. Supposedly, the civet’s digestive enzymes make the beans less acidic, improving the coffee’s flavor.

Peter Longo, owner of New York City’s Porto Rico Importing Co., is drawn to all things exotic and novel, so when he first heard about civet coffee, he knew it would be perfect for his store: “It was right up my alley – such an odd and unique thing.” Over the past six months, he’s sold about 12 pounds of civet coffee, mostly in small quantities. He charges $50 for one-eighth of a pound, $90 for a quarter-pound, and $175 for a half-pound; each order is custom-roasted.

Civet coffee may sound bizarre, but it’s not just for the adventurous. “It’s actually mild and smooth, with a piquant aftertaste,” Longo says. “It’s very good, as long as you don’t let your imagination get the better of you.”

7.Vanilla

7vanilla The world’s priciest foods

Estimated price per pound of beans: $50 and up
Estimated price per gallon of extract: $260 and up

Because of its ubiquity, it’s easy to take vanilla for granted, but plain ol’ vanilla is second only to saffron when it comes to the priciest spices.

Vanilla beans come from a tropical orchid native to Mexico; today, Madagascar and Indonesia are the largest producers. Vanilla is expensive because growing and harvesting it is so labor-intensive, explains Patricia Rain, author of Vanilla: The Cultural History of the World’s Favorite Flower and owner of The Vanilla.Company, a wholesale vendor. “Each flower is hand-pollinated, and each bean handpicked,” she says. Then, the beans are dried and cured for several months to intensify the flavor. Six of Rain’s vanilla beans cost $14.95; a 4-ounce bottle of extract sells for $8.25.

Artificial vanilla – a synthetic compound derived from coal tar – is significantly cheaper than real vanilla, but it doesn’t have the same robust, nuanced flavor. Rain worries that if consumers become overexposed to the taste of fake vanilla, which is prevelent in processed sweets, they’ll lose sight of how good the real thing is.

“Just like coffee, or chocolate, it’s worth it to get the best,” she says. “If you love the taste of a product, you need to support it; you need to buy the real thing.”

8.Foie gras

8foie grascr The world’s priciest foods

Estimated price per pound: $50

Foie gras – duck or goose liver fattened by force-feeding – has been a delicacy since Roman times, when geese livers, fattened on figs, were doused in milk and honey. Today, geese and ducks are force-fed corn through feeding tubes, a practice that animal-rights activists decry for its cruelty. Ethical concerns haven’t deterred too many foie gras fans, though: In May 2008 the city of Chicago repealed its foie gras ban after only two years.

Guillermo and Junny Gonzalez, originally from El Salvador, apprenticed with French foie gras producers before moving to California in 1985 and establishing Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras. There, they raise ducks for foie gras and other meat (humanely, according to Guillermo Gonzalez) and sell their products wholesale and retail (their retail price for fresh foie gras is $50 a pound).

“There’s nothing else like foie gras,” Guillermo Gonzalez says. “I can’t find words to describe it. It has a unique flavor and silky texture that can’t be replicated.”

The French are the biggest foie gras devotees, but chefs at Asian, American and a variety of “fusion” restaurants have embraced foie gras as a way to make any entrée more indulgent. You’ll find it on top of burgers and steaks, stuffed inside game hens and even made into hot dogs. Traditionally, though, it’s served as an appetizer, with toast and sometimes a little fresh fruit or compote. Serve it with chilled Sauterne.

9.Rare golden tigerfish

9golden tiger fishla The world’s priciest foods

Price per pound: $714

In 2007, a restaurant in China bought a rare giant golden tigerfish for $75,000, believing the fish to be an omen of good luck, according to Reuters. The fish, caught off the southern coast of China, was almost six feet long and weighed 105 pounds. The original asking price for the fish was $103,500, but the restaurant was able to strike a bargain – at a price that makes even toro seem cheap.

World’s Best Street Food

ideas streetfood 001p Worlds Best Street Food

Street cooks are magicians: With little more than a cart and a griddle, mortar, or deep-fryer, they conjure up not just a delicious snack or meal but the very essence of a place. Bite into a banh mi—the classic Vietnamese sandwich of grilled pork and pickled vegetables encased in a French baguette—and you taste Saigon: traditional Asia tinged with European colonialism. What better proves the culinary genius of Tuscany than the elevation of a humble ingredient like tripe into a swoon-worthy snack? To sample merguez sausage in Marrakesh’s central square is to join a daily ritual that has persisted for centuries.

Sadly, street food has acquired a reputation as a potential trip-wrecker, which means too many travelers leave, say, Singapore without having a steaming bowl of fish head curry or a few skewers of saté. No one wants to get sick, but avoiding street food means denying yourself an essential part of the travel experience. So peruse our list of some of the world’s best street food vendors, and don’t be afraid to try something new. But pack a little Pepto—just in case.

streetfood 010 banh mi Worlds Best Street FoodThe dish: Banh mi

Where to find the best: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Word on the street: It takes almost no time for the peddler who sets up her tiny cart and knee-high charcoal brazier every weekday at 5 pm at 37 Nguyen Trai Street (in District 1) to turn you into a banh mi lover. As soon as you order, she swiftly assembles a sandwich that, despite its colonial French exterior (a stubby baguettelike loaf), is Vietnamese through and through. Peel back the newspaper wrapper and bite: Your teeth crash through the bread (a touch of rice flour makes it exceptionally crispy) and into still-warm morsels of grilled pork, a crunchy spear of cucumber, sweet-tangy shreds of pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, and a smear of Vietnamese mayo. Add a squirt of hot sauce, and this might be the best sandwich you’ve ever had. Or at least the best one you’ve ever had for 30 cents.

streetfood 011 tacos Worlds Best Street Food

The dish: Tacos

Where to find the best: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Word on the street: The taco is made for snackers on the move, the invention, supposedly, of itinerant Mexican cowboys who relished the convenience of an edible plate. Given its modest origins, it’s no surprise that when connoisseurs nominate their favorite taco spots, they’re more likely to name street corners than proper restaurants. This is especially true in San Miguel de Allende, an artsy colonial city about four hours north of the capital. At night, when the expats and tourists are headed home from their fancy dinners, street vendors are just warming up their griddles. The best taco peddler sets up on the corner of Calle de Mesones and Pepe Llanos, just a short walk from the main square (look for the floodlights illuminating a mass of happy people gathered around a cart). Order up a few tacos al pastor, and watch as one of the cooks carves off some hunks from a block of red-tinged pork cooking on a vertical spit, presses them into a double layer of delicate corn tortillas—each no larger than a CD—and splashes it with an exhilaratingly tart and salty pineapple salsa. Just a few bites obliterate each taco, leaving behind a slick of sauce and grease on your hands and lips. Pity the sleeping gringos.

streetfood 006 tripe sandwiches Worlds Best Street Food

The dish: Tripe sandwiches

Where to find the best: Florence, Italy

Word on the street: Florentines adore their traditional peasant dishes, shining examples of how Tuscan ingenuity can transform even the humblest ingredients into the sublime. Take tripe, for instance: Even if you’re not an avid consumer of cow stomach, when you’re in Florence we urge you to close your eyes, take a bite, and become a convert. Florentines stew their tripe with garlic and aromatics until meltingly tender, then tuck it into a crusty roll and enliven it with either chile-laced red sauce or a zippy salsa verde made with capers, parsley, and anchovies. Everyone has a favorite spot, such as Civiltà della Trippa, a stand in the northwest part of Florence, or the cart in the Piazzale di Porta Romana run by a seasonally inclined fellow who adds artichokes to his sandwiches during the spring. Before you know it, you’ll be ordering yours bagnato—dipped in the tripe’s cooking liquid—as many locals do.

streetfood 002 green papaya salad Worlds Best Street Food

The dish: Green papaya salad

Where to find the best: Bangkok, Thailand

Word on the street: It’s a siren song for most Thais, the pop-pop-pop of shredded green papaya being bruised by a stone pestle. The sound signals the presence of som tam, a salad that showcases the quartet of flavors—salty, sweet, sour, and spicy—that epitomize Thai cuisine. Som tam is a tangle of crisp, unripe papaya, peanuts, and dried shrimp, tossed in a lip-tingling dressing of fish sauce, palm sugar, and lime juice, then crammed, to-go style, into a plastic bag. You’ll find it all over Bangkok, but the quintessential version is found just off Phaholyothin Soi 7, a busy street in the Soi Ari neighborhood packed with vendors—seek out the cart whose window flaunts stacks of shredded papaya and tomatoes, plus a coiling bunch of long beans. More daring chowhounds should seek out the style of som tam popular in Isaan, Thailand’s Northeastern region, where many think the dish originated. Stop by the open-air haunt called Foon Talop, in the Chatuchak Weekend Market, where the salad is made with pla ra, a supremely funky, murky fish sauce whose flavor you won’t soon forget.

streetfood 003 currywurst Worlds Best Street Food

The dish: Currywurst

Where to find the best: Berlin, Germany

Word on the street: Germany has perhaps as many sausages as France has cheeses, so naturally, Berlin’s favorite street treat involves Wurst. But currywurst is no New York–style hot dog: A dense, juicy 13″ sausage cut into chunks, it lounges in a puddle of ketchup spiked with curry powder and paprika. The lovably odd, decidedly local snack was the creation, legend has it, of a clumsy Wurst peddler who dropped the containers of ketchup and curry powder that she was carrying and licked the fortuitously tasty spillage from her fingers. In any case, the snack mirrors modern Berlin: traditional yet cosmopolitan, and perfect for a long night of carousing. The best of the Wurst spots make their own sauce, including the exalted Krasselt’s in the Steglitz area and Konnopke’s in Prenzlauer Berg. But wherever you end up ordering it, wash it down with a cold pint of Warsteiner.

streetfood 012 asian food 300x236 Worlds Best Street Food

The dish: Just about any Asian food you can imagine

Where to find the best: Singapore

Word on the street: Singapore is Asia’s melting pot, populated by Chinese, Indonesians, Indians, and Malays—a culinary dream team that makes Singaporean street food the most diverse and celebrated on earth. And the safest: All sidewalk chefs here work in “hawker centers,” little open-air venues where the government enforces its strict health codes. At the Old Airport Road Food Centre, you’ll find Indian-style fish head curry bubbling away at one stand and Hainanese chicken rice—stuffed with scallions and ginger, poached, and served with sticky rice—at the next. The Matter Road Seafood Barbecue stall specializes in Singapore’s celebrated chile crabs, which come slathered in a garlicky, fiery, prepare-to-get-messy paste. Toa Payoh Rojak deals only in rojak, an inspired salad of pineapple, cucumber, and other fruits and vegetables dressed in a bracing syrup made with tamarind and shrimp paste. Naturally, the plethora of options has inspired some serious connoisseurs, most famously K.F. Seetoh, whose Makansutra site is a well-respected guide to Singapore’s best vendors.

streetfood 009 bhel puri Worlds Best Street Food

The dish: Bhel puri

Where to find the best: Mumbai, India

Word on the street: It only makes sense that India, a continent-size country with five major religions and 16 official languages, would have countless beloved snacks. But the chaat (as they’re known) of choice in the food-crazy city of Mumbai is bhel puri, a deceptively simple jumble of puffed rice, sev (tiny fried noodles), potato, red onion, and cilantro. Just before serving, the puri is ignited by a spicy tamarind chutney that not only rouses the palate but moistens the rice and sev to a texture that teeters between crunchy and soft. Chowpatty Beach, in Back Bay, is Mumbai’s street food mecca and where you’ll spoon up the city’s best bhel puri to the soundtrack of wallahs loudly advertising their edible wares. They may tempt you to also try pav bhaji (Portuguese-style bread served with a butter-bombed mash of vegetables cooked in tomato paste) or kulfi, India’s famous dense ice cream. Go for it—but be aware that Chowpatty is also known for being one of the less pristine spots in Mumbai. So for a taste of chaat with less risk of gastrointestinal distress, head about a mile north to the well-loved restaurant Swati Snacks, opposite Bhatia Hospital, which uses filtered water.

streetfood 004 frites Worlds Best Street Food

The dish: Frites

Where to find the best: Brussels, Belgium

Word on the street: Don’t blame us when Brussels destroys your tolerance for soggy, limp, or otherwise lacking French fries. Fried potatoes here are no sidekick to a burger—they’re the main event, sold in paper cones with a dollop of mayonnaise at little kiosks all over the city. Belgium claims—much to the frustration of the French—to have invented what we know as the French fry. The best frites stands, such as Frit’ Flagey (in Place Flagey) or Maison Friterie Antoine (in Place Jourdan), use only Bintje potatoes—a local variety that seems born for the deep-fryer—and cook them twice in clean peanut oil or beef fat (horse fat, thankfully, is no longer used). The result is a batch of impossibly airy, crisp, surprisingly greaseless fries that—whether crowned with mayo, tartar sauce, pineapple-spiked ketchup, or any of the other ten or so sauces offered—will ruin you for the inadequate kind waiting for you back home.

streetfood 005 arepas Worlds Best Street Food

The dish: Arepas

Where to find the best: Cartagena, Colombia

Word on the street: Colombia might be the only Latin American country where rice is more important than corn. But Colombians have a special place in their heart for the cornmeal cakes they call arepas. If you’ve never had the pleasure, imagine corn bread with a more delicate crumb that’s been flattened into a pancake, filled with cheese or egg, and griddled or fried to form a brown, crispy crust. Each bite sends butter streaking down your chin and, for Colombians, inspires memories of abuela at the stove. For the best, fly down to Cartegena and seek out the Restaurante Club De Pesca in the Manga neighborhood. But you won’t find them on the menu there—it’s one of the fanciest places in town. Instead, head to the nearby soccer field, where a gaggle of ladies sell carimañolas (yuca fritters filled with ground beef), empanadas, and most importantly, those fabulous arepas.

streetfood 007 jerk pork jerk chicken Worlds Best Street Food

The dish: Jerk pork and jerk chicken

Where to find the best: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Word on the street: Jerk has changed quite a bit since its invention in the 17th century by the escaped slaves known as Maroons. These freedom fighters (and early gourmets) subsisted on wild boar while they were fighting the British, and to preserve the meat they rubbed it with a mixture of spices. Today, the aromatic blend has developed to include allspice, nutmeg, thyme, and Scotch bonnet chiles. But you see chicken more often than pork, and grills made from oil drums instead of traditional wood fires. That’s why anyone visiting the North Coast resort town of Ocho Rios should take the quick 12-mile trip to the valley of Faith’s Pen (about 12 miles south on Highway A3, just past the little town of St. Faith). Dozens of roadside stalls here serve perfect renditions of jerk pork loin (and chicken, if you insist). Smoke from the pimento wood intensifies the already-energetic spices and creates a tasty crust surrounding the juicy flesh. And you thought you’d find heaven on Jamaica’s beaches!

streetfood 008 sheeps head Worlds Best Street Food

The dish: Sheep’s head

Where to find the best: Marrakesh, Morocco

Word on the street: During the day, Jemaa el-Fna, the main square of Marrakesh’s medina, is flanked by juice carts and filled with covered stalls selling lamps, bags, and other crafts. But as the sun begins to set and the oppressive Saharan heat abates, these wares give way to edibles. Almost 100 open kitchens take over, their proprietors setting up lights and tables, and a haze of smoke hangs above the vast square. What’s on the menu? Grilled merguez sausage, meat and vegetable brochettes of every variety, and pots of harira, the hearty lentil, chickpea, and vegetable soup that breaks the daily fast during Ramadan. But the street-food-lover’s holy grail is the luscious meat scraped from a whole sheep’s head and served with crusty Moroccan bread and sprinkled with a mixture of cumin and salt. It’s a dish almost as thrilling as the surrounding scene, a stage crowded with busy cooks and happy diners as well as acrobats, snake charmers, and mystical musicians.

from: concierge.com

Top Poisonous Foods We Love To Eat

Everyday we chow down on food produced from plants that carry deadly poisons. Most of the time we don’t need to be concerned with this as the mass production of fruit and vegetables ensures that we are usually safe, but from time to time people accidentally kill themselves by unwittingly eating the wrong part of a plant. In order to ensure that this never happens to you, I have put together a list of the most commonly seen poisons that we come in to contact with in our kitchens.

1 mushrooms Top Poisonous Foods We Love To Eat

Mushrooms

We have all heard of toadstools – and know that they are poisonous, but what many people don’t know is that a toadstool is actually a mushroom, not a separate type of plant. Toadstool is slang for “poisonous mushroom”. While there are some useful signs that a mushroom is poisonous, they are not consistent and all mushrooms of unknown origin should be considered dangerous to eat. Some of the things you can look for to try to determine whether a mushroom is poisonous are: it should have a flat cap with no bumps, it should have pink or black gills (poisonous mushrooms often have white gills), and the gills should stay attached to the cap (not the stalk) if you pull it off. But remember, while this is generally true of many types of mushroom, it is not always true.

3 elderberry Top Poisonous Foods We Love To Eat

Elderberry

Elderberry trees are very attractive and quite large. They are covered with thousands of tiny flowers which have a delicate scent. The flowers are used mainly for making elderflower liqueur and soda. Sometimes the flowers are eaten after being battered and deep fried. But beneath the pretty surface lurks danger! The roots and some other parts of the elderberry tree are highly poisonous and will cause severe stomach problems. So next time you decide to pick some elderberry flowers for eating, be sure to eat just the flowers.

4 castor oil Top Poisonous Foods We Love To Eat

Castor Oil

Castor oil, the bane of many of our childhoods, is regularly added to candies, chocolate, and other foods. Furthermore, many people still consume a small amount daily or force it on their unwilling children. Fortunately the castor oil we buy is carefully prepared, because the castor bean is so deadly, that it takes just one bean to kill a human, and four to kill a horse. The poison is ricin, which is so toxic that workers who collect the seeds have strict safety guidelines to prevent accidental death. Despite this, many people working in the fields gathering the seeds suffer terrible side-effects.

5 almonds1 Top Poisonous Foods We Love To Eat

Almonds

Almonds are one of the most useful and wonderful of seeds (it is not a nut as many people would have you believe). It has a unique taste and its excellent suitability for use in cooking have made it one of the most popular ingredients in pastry kitchens for centuries. The most flavorsome almonds are bitter almonds (as opposed to “sweet” almonds). They have the strongest scent and are the most popular in many countries. But there is one problem: they are full of cyanide. Before consumption, bitter almonds must be processed to remove the poison. Despite this requirement, some countries make the sale of bitter almonds illegal (New Zealand regretfully is one of them). As an alternative, you can use the pip from an apricot stone which has a similar flavor and poison content. Heating destroys the poison. In fact, you may not know that it is now illegal in the USA to sell raw almonds – all almonds sold are now heat-treated to remove traces of poison and bacteria.

6 cherries Top Poisonous Foods We Love To Eat

Cherries

Cherries are a very popular fruit – used in cooking, liqueur production, or eaten raw. They are from the same family as plums, apricots, and peaches. All of the previously mentioned fruits contain highly poisonous compounds in their leaves and seeds. Almonds are also a member of this family but they are the only fruit which is harvested especially for its seeds. When the seeds of cherries are crushed, chewed, or even slightly injured, they produce prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide). Next time you are eating cherries, remember not to suck on or chew the pip.

7 apples Top Poisonous Foods We Love To Eat

Apples

Like the previous two items, apple seeds also contain cyanide – but obviously in much smaller doses. Apple seeds are very often eaten accidentally but you would need to chew and consume a fairly high number to get sick. There are not enough seeds in one apple to kill, but it is absolutely possible to eat enough to die. I recommend avoiding apple eating competitions! Incidentally, if you want to eat an apple and find a worm in it (and hopefully not half a worm), you can drop it in a bowl of salt water which will kill the worm.

8 rhubarb Top Poisonous Foods We Love To Eat

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a very underrated plant – it produces some of the nicest tasting puddings and is incredibly easy to grow at home. Rhubarb is something of a wonder plant – in addition to an unknown poison in its leaves, they also contain a corrosive acid. If you mix the leaves with water and soda, it becomes even more potent. The stems are edible (and incredibly tasty) and the roots have been used for over 5,000 years as a laxitive and poop-softener.

9 tomatoes Top Poisonous Foods We Love To Eat

Tomatoes

First off, a little interesting trivia: in the US, thanks to a US Supreme Court decision in 1893, tomatoes are vegetables. In the rest of the world they are considered to be fruit (or more accurately, a berry). The reason for this decision was a tax on vegetables but not fruit. You may also be interested to know that technically, a tomato is an ovary. The leaves and stems of the tomato plant contain a chemical called “Glycoalkaloid” which causes extreme nervousness and stomach upsets. Despite this, they can be used in cooking to enhance flavor, but they must be removed before eating. Cooking in this way does not allow enough poison to seep out but can make a huge difference in taste. Finally, to enhance the flavor of tomatoes, sprinkle a little sugar on them. Now we just need to work out whether they are “toe-mah-toes” or “toe-may-toes”.

10 potatoes Top Poisonous Foods We Love To Eat

Potatoes

Potatoes have appeared in our history books since their introduction to Europe in the 16th century. Unfortunately they appear largely due to crop failure and severe famine, but they will be forever the central vegetable of most western families daily diet. Potatoes (like tomatoes) contain poison in the stems and leaves – and even in the potato itself if left to turn green (the green is due to a high concentration of the glycoalkaloid poison). Potato poisoning is rare, but it does happen from time to time. Death normally comes after a period of weakness and confusion, followed by a coma. The majority of cases of death by potato in the last fifty years in the USA have been the result of eating green potatoes or drinking potato leaf tea.

source:listverse.

Food For Thought?

When someone says “We should all waste less food” it’s very hard to disagree. Really, there is no excuse for chucking out one third of all the food we buy is there?

fridgefoodju2 Food For Thought?

On the face of it, Gordon Brown should be congratulated for saying we should all waste less food.  But that is not all he said this week, and the detail deserves a bit of examination…

First it is worth looking at the backdrop.  Did he say we should all waste less food because it is obscene that we throw so much away with millions of people worldwide suffering from malnutrition?  Well I’m sure that comes into it, but it seems that his desire to tackle the subject now has a lot more to do with underlying economic conditions.

We’re told that consumer confidence is at an all time low.  That means we are all rather worried about the economic outlook, with the key factors being those closest to home – the ever rising cost of our weekly shop and eye-watering rises in petrol prices.

But what probably worries him more (and so it should) is the rapidly climbing savings break ratio.  The savings break essentially compares how much consumers are borrowing with how much they are saving and, in the first quarter of this year, it rose to 69p borrowed for every pound saved.  To put that in perspective, this time last year it was 29p.  Why?  Because borrowing (not including mortgages) rose to £22.4bn between January and March (up £13bn), whilst savings slumped to £32.7bn (down £11bn).

Basically, that means that too many people are betting the house (literally) on being able to maintain current spending patterns by borrowing – and hoping the economy sorts itself sooner rather than later.  Given that we appear to be on the brink of a serious downturn (Can we use the ‘R’ word yet?), that doesn’t look terribly sensible.  What’s more, it hardly helps the situation in the financial markets – with banks desperate to rake in savings to prop up their access to cash.

When you put it in context, this move to encourage us to waste less is designed to address an unpleasant issue that affects every single person in the country – the cost of feeding ourselves whilst food prices continue to move skywards.  Ever the populist, Brown wants to help and says the only way to get food prices down again is to curb demand.  But is putting the onus on consumers really the only way?

What about the supermarkets?  We can’t blame producers for passing on the increased cost of producing food (They are already squeezed to bursting point by the supermarkets’ demand for ever lower supply prices).  After all, we want them to stay in business.  But is it really necessary for supermarkets to mark up those increases?  Don’t they make enough money at it is (Tesco made £2.5bn last year)?  And, if the Government really wants to stop us wasting food, why not stop supermarkets using loyalty card data and store layout changes to actively encourage impulse buying?

That’s all a bit moot though, because it seems the ball has been put firmly in our court.  And I suppose it’s not all bad news – we could all save as much as £8 per week by wasting less (In the context of rising costs for just about every household essential, saving just over £400 per year can’t hurt…).

Having said all that, I have to confess that I (and my family) used to be terrible for wasting food, but we did something about it ages ago.  Not just because it saves money, but also because wasting food doesn’t feel right.  We probably throw away ten percent of the food we used to and it really isn’t about depriving ourselves, just taking some common sense precautions:

  • Eat before you shop – The hungry shopper is the king or queen of the impulse buy
  • Banish the monthly shop – Plan what you will eat for the next week and buy the stuff you need to make it, no more no less.  That doesn’t mean no treats, it just means you won’t buy stuff you don’t need and that will probably end up being thrown away
  • Don’t live by the label – Just because something is nearing or past it’s ‘use by’ date doesn’t mean you have to chuck it.  Obviously you have to be careful with things like meat, but the label is a guide not a rule.  Common sense can prevail and most of us have freezers these days…

Of course, there is another solution.  If we waste one third of all our food, and one third of all food is sold at Tesco…

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