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Wednesday, January 4, 2017



There is no better way to learn about the culture of a place than through it's local cuisine...

Old-style dishes are mostly attentive around meats, pork in particular, seasonal vegetables, fresh bread, cheese and honey .However, there's one thing that Hungarian cuisine is known for i.e.the substantial use of paprika. At a market you would come across peppers in an extensive variety of colours, shapes and flavours running the gamut from the sweet tomato paprika, mild apple pepper to the deadly cherry chilli. The most iconic traditional main courses are chicken paprikás, stuffed cabbage and stuffed peppers, the stews, Foie Gras and pork dishes. Be sure to try the Mangalica pork and you could also try the lángos; a big piece of fried dough topped with garlic, sour cream or cheese. Visit a bakery or a cafe and try the strudel and the cakes with a cup of tea.

Famed as the land of milk and honey , Israel has such amazing food that it starts right from Breakfast replete with an abundance of Yemenite style Jakhnun which is basically a fat laden pastry baked overnight to the Shakshuka with its three mandatory ingredients of tomatoes, hot sauce and eggs! Falafel and Shawarma are synonymous with Israeli food and the Laffa basically a flatbread sandwich with stir fried steak strips and flame roasted eggplants is hugely popular. Pita in Israel is a mainstay of the way Israelis eat.Not to be missed is the chewy , sweetish Jerusalem Bagel and the golden, warm and sinfully rich `Bourekas'. Ptitim...the Israeli couscous is great with some of the best fish dishes the Jewish communities are famed for. And do not leave without trying the many types of bread and certainly the Israeli jelly doughnuts.

Relax; grab a glass of Glühwein (the famous hot spiced wine) in winters or just some Riesling any time of the year. For a bite, endorsements go all out for a large bowl of `Schupfnudeln', these potato dumplings are doused in crèmefraiche, sauerkraut, pepper, fresh herbs, and onions, and are a perfect therapy to a cold winter day! Besides there are also Flammekueche (An Alsatian and German dish, which looks quite like a pizza) and local specialties like some countless cheeses, sausages, schnitzel, pork knuckles, meatballs and special chocolate rum balls. The fish on a stick..somewhat like a whole fish cooked on a stick is extremely popular and then of course there is always currywurst!

A visit to Singapore is incomplete without paying a visit to the Hawker Centre. You can sample authentic local favourites without forking out too much moolah (plus that is where the locals eat). Recommendations go all out for the huge tumblers of refreshing and sweet sugar cane juice and chai tow kway (fried carrot cake). Recommendations go all out for the congee, Laksa and the famed `Kaya toast' with half boiled egg...amazingly decadent.`Milo Dinosaur' an icy malted drink is another must try .

The rich intricate Creole cuisine of New Orleans and the homey , country-style Cajun cuisines of Acadiana (French Louisiana) depend profoundly on many ingredients that are made and grown ingeniously . Cajun dishes are more likely to feature ingredients from the country , like crawfish and are spicy . Jambalaya, a one-pot dish with meat, vegetables, rice and stock, is strictly a Creole dish. Getting your morning beignets at `Cafe du Monde' is a prized ritual in New Orleans. A New Orleans coffee uses chicory , so it has an exceptional taste and is a must have with the beignet.The Poboys (there are numerous kinds, not just seafood) and Muffalettas, are just a few of the examples of must try food here.Remember to tummy up to the bar by the Mississippi for bourbon and oysters that come inexpensive by the dozen! New Orleans has very tranquil licensing and it is permissible to drink in the street, so do try that at famed Bourbon street.

Rupali Dean is a Delhi-based food writer

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