Desserts Entrees Side Dishes/Appetizers

10 Foods To Eat Before I Die

I recently borrowed the book 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover’s Life List from the library and thought it would be a cool idea to make a top 10 post of the foods I simply must try (preferably in their native lands) before I die.

If you’re familiar with the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, the food version is basically the same premise. The foods are broken down by geographic locale (some countries being lumped together due to their cultural and historical connections-i.e. British and Irish; German, Austrian, and Swiss; and Japanese and Korean for instance).

There were a few inclusions I found odd, like bacon and Idaho russet potatoes (if you’re American and have never had either of these items, well, I just have no words) but I guess perhaps that’s more for the non-American demographic checking it out.

Feteer (Egypt)

Besides experiencing the wonders and mysteries of Ancient Egypt firsthand, food is the other main reason I want to visit Egypt. I adore North African food and while I’ve sampled some and made some dishes myself, feteer is something I’ve never had. It’s essentially a type of sweet bread (more specifically a layered pastry), and features a wide variety of toppings ranging from clotted cream to salty cheese to icing sugar and more. It sounds decadent and right up my alley.

Bunny Chow (South Africa)

While I’ll always giggle at the name ( due to the fact that here in the United States puppy chow is a thing, a thing for canines, that is), bunny chow is one of South Africa’s most popular and well known dishes. A type of fast food, it consists of a hollowed out loaf of bread that’s been filled with curry (many Sub-Asians immigrated to South Africa decades ago and left their culinary mark). It sounds like the South African version of chowder in a bread bowl.

Bun Cha Gio (Vietnam)

As I’ve mentioned before, Vietnamese restaurants here in Pittsburgh are not too plentiful and don’t really deviate much from the Vietnamese culinary stapes most well known (i.e. banh mi and pho). But after reading the wonderful culinary narrative Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam last year in which I was introduced to a vast array of delicious sounding dishes, I definitely want to try more sometime. Bun Cha is a traditional pork noodle salad, served in a bowl with fresh veggies and nuoc cham. Paired with a freshly made fruit drink (perhaps lychee), it sounds like the perfect meal.

Jalebi (India)

Asian desserts are often “written off,” thought by some as inferior to Western desserts (i.e. moon cakes).  However,  Indian desserts seem like they can stand on their own, jalebi being a prime reason why. It’s a wheat flour batter that is deep fried in a pretzel or circular shape, then ultimately soaked in sugar syrup. Donuts, no matter the country they’re from, will always entice me.

Yanghyeom Dak (Korea)

Korean fried chicken is a thing, no joke. And as you know that the Koreans love their spice, Yanghyeom Dak is definitely high up on the heat temperature. Apparently it features a taste like no other. When I return to Korea this is definitely on the to try list since I missed out when I studied there back in 2004-I attribute this to too much squid.

Lahmajoun (Turkey/Armenia)

I love trying different variations of pizza from other cultures and lahmajoun (or lahmacun as it’s also referred to) is one that sounds delicious. It’s a round, thin piece of dough that’s topped with minced meat and minced vegetables and herbs, including onions, tomatoes, and parsley, before being baked.

Gelato en Briocha (Italy)

Okay, the one thing that did not disappoint from my first and only trip to Italy was the gelato. But somehow I didn’t know about gelato en brioche. If you’re confused about what it is, don’t be. It’s just like its name suggests-sweet and fluffy brioche bread that’s then stuffed with your choice of gelato. Amazing.

Aspargessuppe (Denmark)

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables so yes, I’m intrigued by the idea of an asparagus soup, more importantly, one that features meatballs. Leave it to the Danes to pair two dietary staples into one awesome cold weather dish-green vegetables and meat.

Arepas (Colombia/Venezuela)

I didn’t have my first arepa until the end of last year, when I tried them at a Colombian stand in Pittsburgh’s Public Market. It’s a type of food made of ground maize dough or cooked flour that’s then stuffed with any number of fillings (cheese, meat, etc). It’s one of the most popular street foods in the world and one which I would love to try in country some day.

Pogača (Hungary, Balkans, Turkey)

I’m definitely intrigued by any bread that’s baked in the ashes of a fireplace and then later on in an oven. It can have potatoes or cheese inside and also herbs and grains like sesame and dried dill. It definitely reminds me of the Georgian style pizza khachapuri.

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  • Reply
    March 2, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Loved this post, though it made me hungry. To begin, pretty much all Indian sweets are completely irresistible to me, jalebi included! I love pretty much all Vietnamese food as well. Regarding Colombian and Venezuelan arepas though, you need to try both! They’re very different. I lived in Venezuela for a while, so I’m biased. I like the Venezuelan version best. Versions can also vary by region within these countries. Korean fried chicken is delish….Japanese is too!

    As for what we haven’t tried, Feteer seems right up my alley, too. I’d also love to try the asparagus soup. We were in Germany and the Netherlands during White Asparagus season last year, and I think I tried it in every format available. LOVE.

    Thanks for the mouth-watering tour.

    • Reply
      March 2, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      Going through the whole book was just incredible, especially to discover the many foods I had never heard of but would certainly love to try. I tried a dessert at an Indian buffet a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it-I have no doubt I’d come to the same conclusion as you regarding Indian sweets 🙂

      As for arepas, I would love to try a Venezuelan arepa, but sadly Pittsburgh is severely lacking on the Latin food front so Colombian is all I have to work with, until I can get to a more happening food city!

      I don’t think I’ve ever had white asparagus but the many recipes I’ve seen that feature it all sound delicious. I should also not be cheap sometime and buy it from my supermarket when it’s in season lol.

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, it really is a novel book!

  • Reply
    Bridget @ A Traveling B
    March 3, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    This is a great and diverse list. Apparently I missed Brioche en Gelato too on my first trip to Italy! It will certainly be on the list for next time 🙂
    Bridget @ A Traveling B recently posted…Perfect in ProvidenceMy Profile

    • Reply
      March 3, 2016 at 9:27 pm

      Thanks Bridget! The fact that brioche and gelato have been combined into one awesome treat is more than enough reason for me to return 🙂

  • Reply
    Chris Waghorn
    June 5, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    This is a great list! One of my favourite things is finding food from other cultures, which is usually a staple in their homes, that is way to different to the food I’m used to then. Then of course my second favourite thing is seeking out this food and eating it.

    • Reply
      June 18, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks Chris! There’s nothing I like more than learning about another culture through its cuisine 🙂

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