Every year I like to hit rewind and pick out some of my favourite dishes of the year. They’re in no particular order and most of the time are the oddest choices. I enjoy doing it and it’s a great way to wrap up the year. This year however, I felt a bit underwhelmed by everything. I made a conscious choice to not eat out or talk about things unless I felt they were delicious. I wanted to avoid anything mediocre ( my version of average though someone else might love or hate it ) and focus on the WOW moments. There have been quite a few wow moments this year but I find none of them feature from Mumbai. So this year my list of top treats is a collection of my top eats from my travels through the year. It’s not very long but each item that made it to this list was memorable, flavourful and a joy to eat which is exactly why they are my top treats ! Enjoy !
Fried Rice and Satay in Bintan – Bintan is a small Indonesian island which is a 45 minute ferry ride from Singapore and like every other beach destination offers a beautiful view of the sea, clean pristine beaches and lots of greenery and tropical weather. It also has some ridiculously good food. I skipped all my meals at the hotel and opted to dine in a local food court and it was the best decision I made. The Indonesian beef fried rice is to die for and I can not explain the joy of eating beef satay which the smoothest peanut sauce I have ever had. Bliss.
Dimsum and Rice in Singapore – This hundred year old famous Taiwanese restaurant chain has outlets all over the world. I discovered them in Singapore and fell in love. It’s actually really tricky trying to find a disappointing meal in Singapore, I mean you want to be let down but noooooooo… these guys just know their food. Dinning at Din Tai Fung is always a process. It’s always crowded with people spilling out and I have always had to wait no matter which outlet in any part of the city but it’s worth the wait. Their dimsums ( ANY and ALL ) are beautiful and their simple shrimp and egg fried rice made me happier than I can even explain. There have been many beautiful meals in this city at the most random places and it’s hard to list all but this was delicious.
Goan Prawn Curry in Goa – If you grew up in a Parsi home, your childhood will consist of many curry chaval meals. I had been hunting for an authentic Goan Prawn Curry recipe which I finally got my hands on in Goa at Chulha, the Indian restaurant at the Grand Hyatt Hotel Goa. It’s flavourful and just the recipe I had been looking for. I’ve actually shared the recipe in a previous blogpost and made it many times since.
Prawn Mango Curry Kerala – I’ve been to Kerala quite a few times but this was my first visit to Kumarakom which of course is gorgeous like the rest of the state. While I spent my time here in the lap of luxury my best memory from Kumrakom is a phenomenally good curry I had at the Taj property there. It was a prawn and mango curry that I can’t remember the exact flavours but I remember it being outstandingly good. It’s actually quite tough because Kerala dishes out some beautiful curries but this was something else. I had bowls full and mopped it up with hot freshly made parotas or the malabari parathas. I would do anything for that curry again!
Tuna in Tavira – Tavira is a wonderful beach town in Portugal and I had the pleasure of staying in a gorgeous hotel, but my best memory of Tavira is a stunning meal I had at a local restaurant near the beach. Tavira has a great town with some of the best seafood. This dinner had some jumbo sized prawns – ones bigger than my face and some beautiful rice dishes but the very best and something that is so memorable I still crave it, is their Tuna. I don’t know if it’s the fresh water and the produce they get there or if it’s the way they cook it but relatively thin strips of tuna tossed in some olive oil had grown men and women fighting for the last bits !
Octopus in Portugal – This year I spent a fair amount of time in Portugal, travelling all over the country and the one thing I fell in love with was Octopus. So this is a top pick not for the dish but more for the ingredient because everywhere I went, which ever say it was served, I enjoyed Octopus. I think the best way IF I had to choose would be the simple Octopus salad which is a popular Petiscos dish.
Daal Khichadi Dahanu – I know this sounds ridiculous but this sleepy little beach town right on the Maharashtra – Gujarat border has a random restaurant called Beach Classic which dishes up a dreamy daal khichadi. It’s the most moronic thing to list out and Dahanu locals will think I’ve absolutely lost the plot because they would probably never eat here but I’m telling you it was so good, It’s my discovery for 2014 and I’m going to go back each time just to eat that. After a lot of deliberation, I decided it should make it to my year end list because it checks both columns – It’s tasty and it’s memorable.