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The yummiest blog post of the year!

As you know, we are celebrating our 1st we-left-Dubai anniversary. Birthdays usually involve cakes (at least where I am from), but we’d rather present you with the full meal!

Let’s remember what the year was like… on our plates!

 

IT’S FOOD TIME!

 

We started off in ETHIOPIA. I wasn’t a fan of injera, but got to develop a taste for it once I got to have the real deal! I particularly liked Ethiopian vegetarian platters, as the meaty ones tend to be quite heavy!

Best of Ethiopian food: meat platter and vegetarian platter

Best of Ethiopian food: meat platter and vegetarian platter

Ethiopia had great coffee too: intense and chocolaty

Ethiopia had great coffee too: intense and chocolaty

 

Afterwards we went to INDIA and you know how you tend to take less photos when you are familiar with things? That’s exactly what happened! Still, here’s a little tribute to the one thing we are truly addicted to: chai!

Chai: love in liquid form!

Chai: love in liquid form!

 

Believe it or not, we didn’t take a single food photo while in London, UK – shame on us! I do remember having a delicious pizza overlooking the River Thames and Ashray has quite fond memories of fish and chips.

 

Welcome to PORTUGALI am a very proud Portuguese person when it comes to food! Here are some of the delicious things we had during our stay in my motherland:

Having coffee overlooking the Tagus River: when in Lisbon, do like Lisboetas!

Having coffee overlooking the Tagus River: when in Lisbon, do like Lisboetas!

Bitoque: the Portuguese way to serve steak

Bitoque: the Portuguese way to serve steak

Pastel de nata & bolo brigadeiro: if there is one thing that Portuguese people know how to do great, that is pastries and deserts!

Pastel de nata & bolo brigadeiro: if there is one thing that Portuguese people know how to do great, that is pastries and deserts!

Santini's: according to many, the best gelato in the country!

Santini's: according to many, the best gelato in the country!

Terra: my favorite vegetarian restaurant in Lisbon

Terra: my favorite vegetarian restaurant in Lisbon

It's fondue night, at Adriana Lua's house

It's fondue night, at Adriana Lua's house

Ray fish and vegetables, by my Mom

Ray fish and vegetables, by my Mom

 

When we reached SPAIN, the land of tapas, we obviously got our kicks!

Tapas: Ashray's first time

Tapas: Ashray's first time

Delicious clams in white wine and buttery sauce

Delicious clams in white wine and buttery sauce

Having some desert in Barcelona with Rahat!

Having some desert in Barcelona with Rahat!

 

MEXICO was, hands down, one of the best countries we visited food wise – if not THE best! The moment we crossed the Atlantic ocean, we were in love with the rich, spicy flavors of Mexican cuisine. In Mexico, your taste buds wake up fully starting with the very first meal of the day!

Mexican breakfast: corn toast with eggs, beans, tomatoes, cheese and OF COURSE spicy sauce!

Mexican breakfast: corn toast with eggs, beans, tomatoes, cheese and OF COURSE spicy sauce!

Sipping "cafe de olla", the Mexican way of preparing coffee: very light and cinnamon infused

Sipping "cafe de olla", the Mexican way of preparing coffee: very light and cinnamon infused

Molletes: bread with refried beans, cheese and green sauce. EVERYTHING is saucy in Mexico!

Molletes: bread with re-fried beans, cheese and green sauce. EVERYTHING is saucy in Mexico!

Lunch time in Oaxaca: steak, mashed black beans with cheese, guacamole and corn tortillas

Lunch time in Oaxaca: steak, mashed black beans with cheese, guacamole and corn tortillas

The reason why Mexican food tastes so good: not only food is beautifully marinated, you always have a variety of sauces to add an edge to your food

The reason why Mexican food tastes so good: not only meats are beautifully marinated, you always have a variety of sauces to add an edge to your food

We also have desert covered: exotic fruit sorted in Merida

We also have desert covered: exotic fruit sorbet in Merida

Mango Lolly! The cutest, most fun way of eating a piece of fruit... ever!

Mango Lolly! The cutest, most fun way of eating a piece of fruit… ever!

 

After what you’ve seen above, it would be hard for any country to match the level of taste that Mexico delivers in every dish. CUBA wasn’t particularly memorable food-wise. The shortages that this country undertakes affect even their cuisine: there is a lack of ingredients and seasonings. But they do have something very good going for them, and that is fresh ingredients!

Fish with pesto and mashed papachina with pumpkin - the fanciest meal with had in La Habana. Very good presentation but, believe it or not, that zero taste!

Fish with pesto and mashed papachina with pumpkin – the fanciest meal with had in La Habana. Very good presentation but, believe it or not, it had zero taste!

Eating prawns in the beach: perfect combination!

Eating prawns at the beach: perfect combination!

Fried rice: the single best meal we had in Cuba. Full of flavor! But with an off side of mashed cassava...

Fried rice: the single best meal we had in Cuba. Full of flavor and for USD1! But with an odd side of mashed cassava…

Cuban coffee

Cuban coffee

 

COSTA RICA is well known for it’s typical dish “casado”. Casados present on the same plate a combination of rice, black beans, chicken/beef/fish or mixed vegetables, salad and fried softened plantain. Sometimes, it might include a fried egg, but most commonly not. For me, this is the best combination a traveler could ever wish for: a place full of flavor, energy and variety!

Beef casado

Beef casado

Fish casado

Fish casado

Vegetarian casado

Vegetarian casado

 

While in Costa Rica, we came across a restaurant serving INDIAN FOOD. Oh my!… we couldn’t pass on the opportunity of eating some roti and tandoori delicacies! Surprisingly, this was very, very good! Funny enough, the restaurant would only serve Indian food for dinner but the chef was happy to make an exception and heat up the tandoor just for us… what a privilege!

Indian food in Costa Rica, at Tabacon Hotel

Indian food in Costa Rica, at Tabacon Hotel – Ashray looks like a happy, HAPPY man!!

 

To fly from Costa Rica to Brazil, we took a flight via MEXICO CITY, where we ended up spending 13 beautiful gastronomic hours. It felt like going back home, and food was a big part of it!

I can't put into words how much we enjoyed this!

I can't put into words how much we enjoyed this!

 

After one day in BRAZIL, we knew we were in beef-land! That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, once our friend Dushi, beef lover if there is one in this world, came to visit. Good rodizzio places were SO expensive, that we ended up trying this buffet of grilled meats served at your table at a very so-so place. It was our mistake as we could have had a much better experience. During Carnival in Salvador da Bahia, we had the following:

Feijoada: I don't even know what weird parts of meat have gone into this preparation...

Feijoada: I don't even know what weird parts of meat have gone into this preparation…

This is Mexican tequila, but we enjoyed it fully in Brazil, after we got robbed and needed to... oh well...

This is Mexican tequila, but we enjoyed it fully in Brazil, after we got robbed and needed to… oh well… unwind.

 

ECUADOR was a refreshing change in our palates after Brazil. We had arrived to the land of fruits! If it’s true that in Brazil we experienced some of the tastiest fresh fruit juices I had ever tasted, in Ecuador we got to try even more new fruits, for me, “exotic frutis”.

Ecuadorian breakfast: our intro to the lovely fruit this country produces

Ecuadorian breakfast: our intro to the lovely fruit this country produces

Ecuador, same as Brazil, had unbelievably flavorful fruits

Ecuador, same as Brazil, had unbelievably flavorful fruits

Almuerzo: lunch in Ecuador consists often times in chicken or beef with rice and some vegetables. This is a fancy almuerzo though.

Almuerzo: lunch in Ecuador consists often times of chicken or beef with rice and some vegetables. This is a fancy almuerzo though.

Most days we had USD2 almuerzos. The day we upgraded to the USD5 one, we got pork loin with plum sauce. A real treat after having chicken and rice so often!

Most days we had USD2 almuerzos. The day we upgraded to the USD5 one, we got pork loin with plum sauce. A real treat after having chicken and rice so often!

Fancy Ecuadorian cuisine: chicken and avocado ceviche in passion fruit sauce, served with chocolate rice.

Fancy Ecuadorian cuisine: chicken and avocado ceviche in passion fruit sauce, served with chocolate rice.

Volquetero: pure salt! Salted grains, canned tuna, marinated onions and tomatos and plantain chips. Typical snack in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Volquetero: pure salt! Salted grains, canned tuna, marinated onions and tomatos and plantain chips. Typical snack in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

A very rustic meal of fried trout and rice near Banos. We were the only customer's in this lady's "restaurant".

A very rustic meal of fried trout, rice and plantains near Banos. We were the only customer's at this lady's "restaurant".

 

When you have so many new things, sometimes even rather rustic preparations, things can get boring. As adventurous as one might be, sometimes you’re not in the mood for experimentation and you just crave something familiar. That’s when you go for what I’d like to call “city food”:

Full English breakfast - in Cuenca

Full English breakfast – in Cuenca

Club sandwich in Guayaquil

Club sandwich in Guayaquil

Alcoholic ice-cream: we had screwdriver (orange +vodka) and whisky!

Alcoholic ice-cream: we had screwdriver (orange +vodka) and whiskey!

 

I love fresh tuna steaks and the GALAPAGOS ISLANDS stole my heart on this one – apart from their beautiful landscapes and wildlife, of course! Staying at the Red Mangrove Hotel we got to enjoy their restaurant multiple times. Their cuisine is a fusion of Ecuadorian and Asian – absolutely brilliant!

Breakfast with a view: eggs, bacon and fried plantain balls with cheese.

Breakfast with a view: eggs, bacon and fried plantain balls with cheese.

Tuna Ponzu: one of the best things I have eaten this past year.

Tuna Ponzu: one of the best things I have eaten this past year.

Seaweed salad: goes perfectly with tuna ponzu.

Seaweed salad: goes perfectly with tuna ponzu.

"Fish nest", another brilliant creation of the RedMangrove

"Fish nest", another brilliant creation of the Red Mangrove

Asian flavors in the Galapagos

Asian flavors in the Galapagos

Typically Ecuadorian: grilled chicken, rice, lentils and salad. Right up my alley!

Typically Ecuadorian: grilled chicken, rice, lentils and salad. Right up my alley!

 

Finally in CHILE, we got ourselves an apartment in Santiago for 5 weeks. Having a place with a kitchen meant that I could do some cooking – not only were we missing home-made food, I was actually dying to do some cooking. Here are some of the dishes prepared in our Lastarria home:

Spinach spaghetti with zucchini carbonara

Spinach spaghetti with zucchini carbonara

Vienna toast for breakfast: whole wheat bread, tomato, turkey and cheese, falling in warm sweet love in the oven.

Vienna toast for breakfast: whole wheat bread, tomato, turkey and cheese, falling in warm sweet love in the oven.

Salad with a little bit of everything that was in the fridge, and natural yogurt to dress.

Salad with a little bit of everything that was in the fridge, and natural yogurt to dress.

Lentil stew: one of our staple foods

Lentil stew: one of our staple foods

Homemade flour-less chocolate cake. I am proud of this one 'cause it put a smile in more than one face!

Homemade flour-less chocolate cake. I am proud of this one 'cause it put a smile in more than one face!

 

After a couple of weeks in Santiago de Chile, our friend Ayush arrived from India and brought with him a festival of INDIAN FLAVORS: tea leaves, masalas, salty snacks like bhujia and masala chips and even some parathas his Mom was kind enough to make and wrap for us.

Indian goodies! Thanks Ayush!

Indian goodies! Thanks Ayush!

 

Santiago de Chile, like most big cities, is good, food-wise as it makes available a variety of restaurants, cuisines, influences… not only we had CHILEAN FOOD, but also Indian, Korean, Sushi… It is this kind of variety and availability that makes me think I have to live in a city. I am too driven by cravings to limit myself to a place with “local” kind of food only.

Chilean sandwiches are MASSIVE! This one is "lomito": saucy pork loin with mashed avocado.

Chilean sandwiches are MASSIVE! This one is "lomito": saucy pork loin with mashed avocado.

NOI Vitacura hotel in Santiago de Chile has some incredible room service options: we had this burger 2 days in a row.

NOI Vitacura hotel in Santiago de Chile has some incredible room service options: we had this burger 2 days in a row.

Patagonian grill with fried quail eggs and native potatoes

Patagonian grill with fried quail eggs and native potatoes

After Ecuador, having tasty raw salads in Chile was such a refreshing change!

After Ecuador, having tasty raw salads in Chile was such a refreshing change!

Sopaipillas: typical fried bread with tomatoes and chilly sauce to dip!

Sopaipillas: typical fried bread with tomatoes and chilly sauce to dip!

The biggest pizza we've ever had! Ayush came to visit and ate almost all of it!...

The biggest pizza we've ever had! Ayush came to visit and ate almost all of it!…

We came across a Koren restaurant in Santiago and ended up eating a lot of times there. It was super!

We came across a Korean restaurant in Santiago and ended up eating a lot of times there. It was super!

 

And so in CHILE, we also fell in love with red wine…

And so we got into tapas and wine...

And so we got into tapas and wine…

... and more tapas...

… and more tapas…

... and more wine!!

… and more wine!!

 

As we went South in Chile, towards PATAGONIA, it was time for fresh seafood:

Our first Peruvian ceviche, in Santiago

Our first Peruvian ceviche, in Santiago

Salmon ceviche

Salmon ceviche in Puerto Varas

Paila marina: seafood soup with a little but of everything. Fish, prawns, clams, crab...

Paila marina: seafood soup with a little but of everything. Fish, prawns, clams, crab…

Grilled fish, steamed vegetables and Chilean wine. So simple, so good!

Grilled fish, steamed vegetables and Chilean wine. So simple, so good!

Curanto: where sea and land meet. Mussels, pork, chicken and potato dumplings stuffed with minced beef.

Curanto: where sea and land meet. Mussels, pork, chicken and potato dumplings stuffed with minced beef.

 

Still, we never forgot about desert!…

Mote con Huesillo - a traditional Chilean desert. Little preserved peaches and wheat in syrup.

Mote con Huesillo – a traditional Chilean desert. Little preserved peaches and wheat in syrup.

Cappuccino and chocolate cake at Wonderful Cafe, Santiago.

Cappuccino and chocolate cake at Wonderful Cafe, Santiago.

 

In EASTER ISLAND (aka Rapa Nui), was time to enjoy fresh island tuna… again! I couldn’t be happier!

Tuna ceviche

Tuna ceviche

Grilled tuna that smiles like a sloth!

Grilled tuna that smiles like a sloth!

More tuna ceviche (can't get enough of it!) with sweet potato chips!

More tuna ceviche (can't get enough of it!) with sweet potato chips!

Pizza with fresh tuna chunks

Pizza with fresh tuna chunks

 

A country that knows how to eat well is a country that wins my heart very easily. PERU was extremely successful at that!

Let’s see what our intro to Peruvian cuisine was like, in Arequipa:

Staple sauces in the Peruvian table

Staple sauces in the Peruvian table

Grilled salmon trout in green sauce.

Grilled salmon trout in green sauce.

Mixed seafood ceviche at ForeFay restaurant in Arequipa. Citrucy and spicy!

Mixed seafood ceviche at ForeFay restaurant in Arequipa. Citrucy and spicy! Quite probably, the best ceviche we've ever had.

 

Leaving the coastal region and going towards the ANDES mountains, the cuisine varies a lot, consisting in heavier more caloric preparations:

Grilled alpaca in Chivay

Grilled alpaca in Chivay

Quinoa soup: a staple food in the Andes. Quinoa is a super food!

Quinoa soup: a staple food in the Andes. Quinoa is a super food!

 

Again in LIMA we had an apartment for almost a week, which allowed us to do some home cooking:

Salad with grilled asparagus with bruschetta

Salad with grilled asparagus with bruschetta

Breakfast: smoked turkey breast with tomatoes and basil, and our beloved chai.

Breakfast: smoked turkey breast with tomatoes and basil, natural yogurt with fresh strawberries and our beloved chai.

Basil pasta with tomatoey eggs and salad.

Basil pasta with tomatoey eggs and salad.

 

When we weren’t eating at home in Lima, we were again digging into some “CITY FOOD:”

Salchipapas: fries and sausages... best enjoyed with mayo, mustard, ketchup and spicy sauce. Might sound silly, but this is very typical!

Salchipapas: fries and sausages… best enjoyed with mayo, mustard, ketchup and spicy sauce. Might sound silly, but this is VERY typical in South America!

Parpadelle with garlic salmon in El Pez Amigo restaurant, Lima

Parpadelle with garlic salmon at El Pez Amigo restaurant, Lima

Grilled salmon with orange sauce.

Grilled salmon with orange sauce.

Deep fried fusion sushi: it had a filling of plantain. Different, but I'd still go with traditional sushi...

Deep fried fusion sushi: it had a filling of plantain. Different, but I'd still go with traditional sushi…

 

Causa de cangrejo: potato pure stuffed with shredded crab, deep fried and covered in passion fruit sauce.

Causa de cangrejo: potato puree stuffed with shredded crab, deep fried and covered in passion fruit sauce.

One more beautiful ceviche, which actually also included fried calamari. PERFECTION

One more beautiful ceviche, which actually also included fried calamari. PERFECTION

 

Food in the AMAZON had nothing to do with in the rest of Peru. Almost anything that crawls in the jungle can be eaten. We didn’t have such extreme preparations such as armadillo stew, grilled lizards and the likes, but we did have some simpler, nevertheless yummy dishes, like the ones below:

Vegetarian burrito at Dawn in the Amazon cafe, in Iquitos

Vegetarian burrito at Dawn in the Amazon cafe, in Iquitos

Grilled chicken with yuca fries and camu camu juice. Apparently camu camu fruit is endangered but it is truly delicious.

Grilled river fish with yuca fries and camu camu juice. Apparently the camu camu fruit is endangered but it is truly delicious.

 

And so one year of food comes to an end!

I love food and I love eating and I do believe that, same as music, eating brings people together! It’s just one of those things, like breathing or sleeping, that we all do, no matter where in the world.

 

Food tells so much of the history and culture of a place that, without the gastronomic experience, traveling wouldn’t be complete!

 

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