Good meals come and go, but every so often there's one that you can't stop dreaming about. You snap and post a million photos on your Instagram account, savor each and every bite, and then proceed to order seconds, thirds, and well, you get the picture. Still, the love affair continues to grow stronger. You put it on a pedestal, comparing it to all future dishes you encounter. Here at Oyster.com, there are plenty of reasons we travel near and far -- and food is definitely high on that list. So without further ado, feast your eyes on the most memorable dishes we've devoured while on the road.
“As a raging sweet fiend, my thoughts turn to all things frosted, iced, and dusted with sugar. I’ve raced across Copenhagen hunting for the best Danish, nibbled the wings off palmiers in Paris, and plunged my fork into Viennese sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher. But the ultimate sugar high I ever had wasn’t in a twinkling tea salon but on a dusty roadside. I was driving up the coast of Chile, where roadside vendors sell homemade cheeses, breads, and sweets, and I pulled over to buy a bag of alfajores. These doughy sandwich cookies are glued together with a glob of dulce de leche (called “manjar” in Chile). Often they’re rolled in shaved coconut or dunked in chocolate. The result is far from delicate, but that’s OK. These aren’t meant for gold-rimmed dishes. They’re meant to be chomped down in three bites while you moan and declare mid-chew: ‘Meef is daah best oookie I’ve evah ad!’ Which is exactly what I did.” — Maria Teresa Hart
“I learned a lot of things when I lived in Paris for a month as part of an exchange program in high school. Most importantly? Butter is better than mayonnaise, mustard, fill-in-your-sandwich-condiment here. My mind was blown when I realized that, in France, ordering a ham-and-cheese sandwich means tucking into a skinny baguette heaped with ham, cheese, and so much beurre. It was the best thing I ever ate — every day, for 30 days straight.” — Jane Reynolds
“I’ve never eaten better than I did during my two-week trip to Peru — and I have my daily intake of ceviche to thank for that. Retrospectively, my fling with the seafood-centric snack can be summed up in one word: bittersweet. Everywhere I went, it was the type of dish I inhaled in under five minutes, but also hoped lasted forever. Chilled or warmed to perfection, the plate usually arrived with a mix of fresh fish, salt, red onions, and aji (or chili peppers) — all cloaked in a lime juice that awakened the senses. At times, yellow potatoes or yams also made cameo appearances, which I welcomed. One minute, I was scooping up the freshest fish imaginable with a side of chips and the next, I was slurping the acidic, saucy remainders with a spoon. I embraced the experience from start to finish. Not to sound dramatic, but I’m just going to come out and say it: you haven’t lived until you’ve tried the stuff.” — Alisha Prakash
Yak Cheesecake in India
“On Potala Road in McLeod Ganj, below the Indian Himalayas, lies a magic little spot. Just after the road cuts through the most congested part of town and dips down a steep hill, there’s a pastry shack selling Tibetan and European sweets. Go there for the yak cheesecake. In fact, that cheesecake alone is worth the 12-hour bus ride from Delhi. Yak milk isn’t in most Westerners refrigerators, but this Tibetan staple makes a cake that’s dense and slightly granular, with a dash of tangy coconut, citrus, and sugar. Better yet? A piece that’s twice the size of your hand costs about a dollar.” — Kyle Valenta
“I could probably live off of the spaghetti carbonara in Italy. If you are thinking of those poor imitations stateside with alfredo sauce, you’ve got the wrong idea. A true carbonara has eggs, cheese, and bacon — kind of like a breakfast sandwich, but in a creamy, wonderful pasta. I couldn’t easily point to a specific favorite meal in Italy because basically everything I ate was amazing — and as a New Yorker, I like to think that I have pretty high food standards. I also loved that food in Italy was relatively affordable. Paris has wonderful food, but the best of it is super expensive, while in Rome you can dine like a king on a plate of homemade pasta for about 10 euros.” — Kelsey Blodget
Chili Crab Curry in Sri Lanka
“In Sri Lanka, you’re bound to eat lots of sweat-inducing curry and equal amounts freshly caught seafood. During my trip, I ate a lot of curry, but the one that stands out was from Lords Restaurant in Negombo, deservingly the number one restaurant in town on TripAdvisor. I ordered the chili crab curry — cooked spicy — which is served alongside tomato chutney, beetroot and coconut pickle, popadoms, coconut sambal, and red and white rice for $9. Cooked to perfection, it was a struggle to stop once I was full. Add in that the eatery doubles as a sleek art gallery, plus a Sri Lankan singer performing tunes such as “Love Me Tender” by Elvis and “Only You” by The Platters, and you get a bizarre, unique, and delectable dinner that I’d recommend to anyone.” — Lara Grant
“There’s this izakaya in Montreal called Kinoya, where they serve salmon tartare with a honey-wasabi sauce that’s named shake wasabi-ae. Of all of the wonderful, rich things you can eat in Montreal (smoked meat, chewy bagels, dried sausage, and fresh bread and creamy cheese from the Jean-Talon market), this is one thing I have to go back for again and again. I can’t say for certain if Kinoya’s yakimono and agemono are exceptional, but all I know is that this tartare, which is served in a one-slurp ramen soup spoon, is so light in texture and rich in salty-sweet flavor. When I travel, I always hunt for new places to go and try, but when I’m in Montreal, I must go to Kinoya and order this. And even if I can only make it for lunch (it’s only on the dinner menu), the kitchen will prepare it anyway.” — Anne Olivia Bauso
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