In honor of the premier of Bravo's newest culinary competition "Around the World in 80 Plates," we decided to give you our list of foodie musts if you find yourself in one of these fabulous seven worldly cities. Not necessarily all for their deliciousness, but because they're truly unique regional specialties.
Often imitated, never duplicated, take the iExplore culinary challenge and let us know how many of these signature dishes you've tried.
Tom Yum - Bangkok, Thailand
While you can get the best pad thai of your life as street food for about $1.50, don't pass up the Tom Yum Soup. This spicy clear broth is a favorite of both locals and foreigners. Made of lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, fish sauce and chili peppers, it is the quintessential appetizer. Different variations are made regionally and with the addition of prawns (Tom yum goong or tom yam kung), chicken (Tom yum gai or tom yam kai), seafood (Tom yum thale ) or coconut milk (Tom yum nam khon).
Brennivin - Reykjavik, Iceland
Known for way out there foods like rotten shark meat, puffin and whale, we suggest instead you try their signature drink brennivin for sheer weirdness factor. Menthol flavored schnapps, it tastes like you're drinking a minty cigarette. Just make sure you have a chaser handy.
Paella - Barcelona, Spain
While paella originally comes from Valencia to the south, the ambiance at the waterfront is quite something. Paella is a rice dish with vegetables and meat or seafood (sometimes both). Head to the seafront to places along Almirall Aixada where you'll also find the established Can Majo, or down to beachside suburbs like Poble Nou.
The average tourist may expect to come to the Windy City to indulge in deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs (no ketchup!) the real must-grub snack is Garrett's Popcorn. The Chicago mix includes a blend of buttery CaramelCrisp® and sharp CheeseCorn™ and is to die for. We dare you just to eat one handful.
Fondue - Paris, France
While nothing in Paris should be missed especially the macrons, crepes or baguettes; a flaming drink in the Latin quarter is best paired with an authentic fondue dinner. Not only rich and creamy, but a festive culinary option that makes dinner a fun event to cook the meats in oil and dip goodies in the cheeses.
Okonimyaki - Osaka, Japan
While sushi is obviously the biggest draw for foodies to Japan, be sure not to miss Okonomiyaki. A cross between an omelet and a pancake with a mix of meats, veggies and seafood, the pancakes are served sizzling on a table with a built-in hotplate accompanied by a variety of dipping sauces and mayo.
Everything - New Orleans, LA
There's plenty of food that makes Nola, well Nola. While you may be overwhelmed by all the Cajun and creole comfort food options, no trip is complete without a traditional shrimp po' boy and beignet. The real kicker though is the alligator cheesecake appetizer. Yup, you heard it here first.