Monday, July 24, 2006

Top 5 Best Meals *

*(With deep apologies to those on the Haiti Diet)

Going through a notebook today, I came across a reference to a great meal I'd enjoyed while on the road. It brought to mind other great meals. Oh, not the kind when you push back from the table, and say, My, that was good. No, I mean the kind of dinner that has you hunting down the cook so shake his hand, and with tears of gratitude welling in your eyes, proclaim him a genius for creating the best meal ever.

Without further ado and in no particular order, here are my Top 5 great dinners.

1. Best Steak :: Anywhere in Argentina. Full stop.
Price : $5-$10 CAD

2. Best Fish and Chips :: Rockford Hotel Adelaide, Australia
Price : $27 CAD (and worth every cent!)
Three large (I wrote down the dimensions!) portions of whiting, cooked in an airy crisp batter, with equally lightweight crispy-edged, 'fluffy in the center' chips, served with a salad of Mesclun Mix (as those weird miniature greens are called in Canada), red onion bits, wafer-thin cucumber sliced lengthwise, and sliced mango, in a lime coriander chili vinaigrette.

3. Best Cantonese/Fusion :: Jasmine, Hong Kong
Price :: DK (I was a guest)
Perfectly Grilled Shrimps, and Beef with Soft Bones served inside a whole poached Asian pear. Heaven! These dishes deservedly won awards in Hong Kong's Best of the Best 2005
(Photos at Snapshot Journeys Hong Kong)

4. Best Sweet & Sour Chicken :: Manhattan Hotel, Bangkok
Price : $8 CAD
Chunks of hand cut chicken breast sauteed then simmered in a tomato-based sauce of chunky fresh pineapple, green and red peppers (capsicum), celery and green onions, served over a mound of fluffy Thai rice.

5. Laksa :: Anywhere in Sydney, Australia
Price : $7-10 CAD
A Malaysian style 'soup' -- a bowl of noodles, with either shrimp or chicken, served in a coconut milk broth flavored with lime, ginger, coriander, chilies that smells good enough to use as cologne. On a recent trip to Sabah, Malaysia, I looked forward to trying authentic laksa. When none appeared on any menu by the third day, I asked for it. Imagine my disappointment to be told, "Oh that's common food. We'd *never* serve it to guests!"