Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Culinary globetrotting

create your own visited country map

This map, as anyone familiar with my history will know or at least be able to guess, is not a record of countries I've been to. (Asia is far too well-represented, just for a start.) Rather, it is something of a guess at the countries whose cuisines I have sampled. Some are fairly encompassing (India, Mexico), some were a single trip (Vietnam, Ethiopia), some are more on the order of a dish or two in other settings (South Africa, South Korea), and some I've had the more Americanized versions of (China, France, Italy). I left out some where I wasn't sure if I'd ever tried them or not, but in general I think this covers the bulk of my culinary experiences up until this point - not shy, but not incredibly adventurous either.

In lieu of actual globetrotting, however, it recently occurred to me that it might be a fun activity - especially living in a large city like Chicago where such a thing might actually be possible - to travel around the world in food form instead. Alma and I went out for dinner yesterday with this idea in mind; the initial Culinary Globetrotting review appears over at The Frugal Gourmand.

There are just oodles of possibilities out there; a cast through Time Out Chicago's recent reviews alone offers up Morocco, Vietnam, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Algeria, Guatemala, Mexico, Korea, China, Italy, Cuba, India, Pakistan, Japan, Lebanon, Thailand, and Turkey - and that's before you've even gotten out of the Andersonville/Edgewater/Uptown section, the first of 21 geographically-separated pages of reviews. I'm willing to bet one could find nearly every discrete world cuisine if one were willing to criss-cross the city looking for it. I don't know if I'm going to be that gung-ho - or if Alma would let me be, even if I wanted - but a new cuisine every few weeks certainly wouldn't be the least interesting "project" I ever threw myself into. For me, anyway. The rest of you will have to deal with entries like this, although they'll generally be confined to the Frugal Gourmand (which I imagine means no one will see them).

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