Mr. Selfish and I had a lot of amazing food during this selfish year. It was incredibly hard to narrow it down but here’s our top 20 eats in no particular order:
Banh Mi in Hoi An
It cost under $1 USD for a deluxe Vietnamese sub (banh mi) at Tiem Banh Mi Phoung in Hoi An. Mr. Selfish was so obsessed with it that we ate over 10 banh mi during our five-day stay in Hoi An. We were able to identify about 10 ingredients in the banh mi, but we lost track after we hit the double digits. Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious.
Indian Food at Tayyabs in London
Tayyabs is located near White Chapel, which is close to Brick Lane in London. Although there is always a crazy line out the door, Tayyabs is completely worth it. It is by far the best Indian food we’ve ever had.
Sisig from Gerry’s Grill Near Manila
During our stay in the Philippines, Mr. Selfish and I became fixated on sisig, which is made from parts of pig’s head and liver, usually seasoned with calamansi (a type of lime) and chili peppers. It isn’t the best for you, but man, is it tasty! The best sisig was from Gerry’s Grill, which is near the Taal Volcano close to Manila.
Raclette Sandwich from Kappacasein at Borough Market
There is nothing like a perfectly made grilled cheese sandwich. We love the gourmet version made with raclette cheese from Kappacasein from the Borough Market in London. The cheese is overflowing, and the onions are a good sweet balance against the savoriness of the cheese.
Alicante Bouchet from Rockford Winery
Mr. Selfish and I admittedly do not know that much about wine. We are generally happy for our ignorance because we can still enjoy cheap bottles. However, we tasted our fair share of wines in Australia and New Zealand and adored the Alicante Bouchet from Rockford in Barossa Valley near Adelaide, Australia. Hopefully, we haven’t developed a wine palate yet and can still enjoy the cheap stuff.
The Freshest Sushi Ever From Otomezushi
Kanazawa, Japan is known for having the best sushi in the world. The proximity to the ocean and the water from the Japanese Alps apparently equal really, really good sushi. Otomezushi was absolutely the best sushi we’ve ever had. We want to go back to Kanazawa just to have another meal there.
Fish and Chips From Leo Burdock in Dublin
We had a lot of fish and chips during our selfish year. We had plenty from the U.K. and a surprising amount from Australia and New Zealand. The absolute best fish and chips was from Leo Burdock in Dublin, Ireland, especially the smoked fish and chips. Yum!
Coffee from Ristr8to in Chiang Mai
Mr. Selfish and I had a lot of bad coffee all over this trip. Contrary to popular belief, the States probably has the best coffee in the world, at least the most consistently good coffee. We had the worst coffee in Europe and Asia. The shining light for us was Ristr8to in Chiang Mai. Not only was the owner graciously making recommendations for us, he made the most beautiful latte art.
Paella from Casa Roberto in Valencia
We learned that traditional paella, which was invented in Valencia, does not have seafood but actually consists of rabbit, snails, and chicken. They do it right at Casa Roberto. The paella was perfect in every way – the rice was crispy, the meat was savory, and the veggies provided the perfect balance.
Breakfast at Machine Laundry-Café in Hobart
Breakfast is an institution in Australia. It is so much more than the greasy spoon diners that we have in the States. We enjoyed many breakfasts in Australia but our favorite was at the Machine Laundry Café in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Mr. Selfish absolutely adored the Parmesan & Pancetta Pancakes, which was so different than every other breakfast we’ve ever had.
Peking Duck from Duck De Chine
Mr. Selfish and I spent five nights in Beijing, and for two of those nights, we ate peking duck. We had tried peking duck in several other cities before, but those ducks did not compare to Duck de Chine in Beijing. The skin was crispy, and the meat was absolutely succulent.
High Tea from the Balmoral in Edinburgh
Mr. Selfish and I love ourselves from high tea. There is something about sitting in a beautiful room, eating pastries, and drinking tea for hours that appeal to our sensibilities. Our favorite high tea was at the Balmoral in Edinburgh. Not only was the ambience perfect, but the pastries and tea were delicious.
Tonkotsu Ramen from Ichiran in Fukuoka
Tonkotsu ramen is made from boiling pork bones, fat, and collagen for an extended period of time. We tried many varieties of tonkotsu ramen during our extended stay in Japan but the best bowl we had was from the very first place we tried it – Ichiran in Fukuoka. It was flavorful and creamy, and the pork was a perfect accompaniment.
Steak Frites from Le Relais de Venise in Paris
When you go to a restaurant and there is only one meal you can order, you know that one meal is going to be good. At Le Relais de Venise, they only ask you how you want your steak cooked, because they know that’s what you came for. I ate my steak like it was coated in crack, and for all I know it was since I cannot decipher what’s in that delicious green sauce.
Best Mixed Drinks at Xu in Saigon
Mr. Selfish and I aren’t ones for partying or clubbing, but we do enjoy fancy cocktails. Our favorite fancy cocktail place was Xu in Saigon. The Xu martini and the coconut martini are both on point. During their happy hour, most of the drinks are half off. We’ve been there three times, and we haven’t ever stayed in Saigon for that long.
The Egg Custards from Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon
Prior to this trip, I was never an egg custard fan. It wasn’t until we visited Pastéis de Belém that I realized it was because I never had egg custards made properly. The egg custards from Pastéis de Belém are unbelievably fresh (since there is constantly a queue for them) and have just the right amount of sweetness (especially when you add cinnamon to them). They just melt in your mouth.
Veggie Burgers from The Sanctuary in Koh Phangan
Mr. Selfish and I stayed at the Sanctuary in Koh Phangan, Thailand for a week-long yoga holiday. The restaurant at the Sanctuary specializes in vegetarian fare, and we tried every veggie burger on the menu. We especially loved the chickpea, lentils, and nuts and seeds burgers.
Huevos Rotos From Paraiso del Jamon in Madrid
Huevos rotos is a dish, in which over easy eggs are broken over potatoes and are served with a protein, such as chorizo. It is a heart attack waiting to happen but it is utterly delicious. We particularly loved the huevos rotos from Paraiso del Jamon in Madrid.
Crispy Duck Redang from Bijan in Kuala Lumpur
Prior to our trip, Mr. Selfish discovered a beef redang (a caramelized beef curry) recipe that he loved to make. While in Kuala Lumpur, we made sure to eat as much redang as possible. The best redang ended up being a crispy duck redang from Bijan. It was utterly delicious. The duck skin was crispy, the meat was moist, and the redang was flavorful.
Pastrami Sandwich From Katz’s Deli
Last but certainly not least, Mr. Selfish and I loved the pastrami sandwich from Katz’s Deli in NYC. Sometimes, you just want good ol’ American food, and it doesn’t get anymore American than a pastrami sandwich.
But it wasn’t all fun and games during our selfish year. Tomorrow, Mr. Selfish will go over the biggest letdowns we had.