|Eighteenth-century French gourmand Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin knew what he was talking about when he said, “Tell me what kind of food you eat, and I will tell you what kind of man you are.” Want to comprehend a new culture? Chew and digest it! We’ve picked eight foods that epitomize their environs. Savor them on-site when you’re in these cities. — B.H.|
Surprise — it’s sushi! Okay, you’re not surprised. But did you know that one of the best times to eat it is in the morning? When in Japan, trade your cereal bowl for a seto of sushi at Sushizanmai, located down an alley amid the Tsukiji Fish Market.
You can’t waltz out of this city without gobbling up a pounded-thin, lightly fried Wiener schnitzel. Try the gargantuan ones at rustic Figlmüller; they’re so immense, they cover the entire plate, sometimes even hanging over the edge.
It figures that people in a city famous for its architecture would nibble on a structural marvel like the ubiquitous and multilayered smorrebrod. These storied open-faced sandwiches have a foundation of brown bread and a myriad of toppings. Try the contemporary versions (called smushi) at the Royal Cafe.
We love Michelin-starred marathon meals, but Parisian street fare entices us even more. For the ultimate thrill, order warm chocolate crepes topped with a dollop of whipped cream from the vendors in Luxembourg Park or adjacent to the Eiffel Tower, by the merry-go-round.
Run to historic Piperno, on a quiet piazza in the old Jewish Quarter. Once you’re there, yield to the ancient sensory delights of carciofi alla giudia — flattened, fried artichokes.
Known for its colonial architecture and Talavera pottery, Puebla is also recognized as the birthplace of the mysterious mole poblano. Marvel at the many ingredients that go into this thick, spicy sauce (including four kinds of chiles, plus chocolate, seeds, nuts, cinnamon, and more) at legendary Fonda de Santa Clara.
|Kansas City |
This midwestern locale is touted for its dry-rubbed meat and spicy, tongue-stinging barbecue sauce. But the pork spareribs, so tender that they fall from the bone, steal the show. Try a slab — or two — at Oklahoma Joe’s.
|New Orleans |
For 100-plus years, the people of New Orleans have enjoyed the muffuletta sandwich at Central Grocery. Italianate, it boasts provolone, Genoa salami, cappicola ham, and the house signature olive salad (green olives, capers, pimientos, and more) on crusty round slices of bread.