Everyone who knows me will swear by one thing. I'm a foodie over everything else. I literally live for food. So the other day when I'm thinking about all the crazy travel I've done in the last couple of years, one thing that struck me was how I'm always looking for the most authentic culinary experience when I get to a new place.
But, here's the catch. For me authenticity is not eating the best Thai food in Bangkok. Nope, not necessarily. Authenticity is a chef who's stayed true to his roots, in a foreign country. Authenticity could be a personal mission of a chef, and how he builds an experience for the diner around it. Authenticity could also be just taking a humble, simple dish, and elevating it to something nobody has ever dreamt of.
So after much soul searching, here is my personal list of 5 of the most authentic experiences that you must savour.
Topping my list is Michelin star chef, Vikas Khanna's Junoon in NYC. I've had the pleasure of meeting the Chef thrice. And what's always impressed me how he's still so connected, to the flavours of his hometown Amritsar and the food that comes from his mother's kitchen.
Junoon is located in New York's most upscale area, and is as posh as they come. But the food, oh my god. It's a very modern take on Indian cuisine, but with every bite you taste comfort and nostalgia and a simplicity that is so difficult to capture.
And please, if you go there, do not miss the Saffron Phirni with mango cream and candied almond.
Imagine a menu that explores a country's geography and culture through the produce and the ingredients it uses. That's Osteria Francescana, a Michelin star restaurant located in Modena, Italy. The brainchild of Chef Massismo, the cuisine here is a mix of his quest to bringing the region alive on a plate. From exquisite Rabbit Macaroons and Eel Ravioli to Suckling Pig in Balsamic Vinegar, this is your chance to fall in love with Massismo's Italy.
There is something about the way the Japanese revere nature. And if you go to Narisawa, located in Tokyo, you'll know exactly what I mean. It's a poetic and gastronomic tribute to changing seasons. With signatures dishes, like Soil Soup, Water Salad, Essence of the Forest, that reinforce the restaurants commitment to sustainability, this is one authentic experience you can not miss. Also, because like seasons change everyday, the menu changes on a daily basis to tune into that.
Imagine this, a hole in the wall 20 seater restaurant that only serves dim sums. Then imagine elevating those dimsums to something so exquisite, so delicious, that you get awarded a Michelin star. That's the story of Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong's most coveted culinary experience. Now dubbed the world's cheapest Michelin star restaurant, I would totally recommend travelling a 100 miles for that famed baked Bun with BBQ pork. Bite through the flaky exterior to get to that sweet and salty juicy filling that literally melts in your mouth. Excuse me, while I drool a little!
There’s only one name that pops into my head when I think of food being an experience, not just for my taste buds, but for every sense. A magical illusion on a plate, that tastes incredible, and yet deceives you with every bite. Dinner in Melbourne, celebrates Heston Bhumenthal’s fascination with sensory experiences and historic gastronomy. Tapping into 14th century cookbooks, food historians, the British library, Dinner pays homage to the savoury ice creams of the 1800’s, the theatre of Tudor dining experiences and the dishes of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.
So, here you are. Equipped with my list of authentic eating experiences
However, before you sail forth, let me ask you if you really are equipped?
Here's the thing. Everyone must try at least one of these experiences once in a lifetime. But, you could totally end up cursing me when you save for this meal, enjoy it to the fullest, and get back home only to realise you just paid a huge ransom in transaction charges. Yes, debit and credit cards charge you every time you swipe. Shudder, shudder, so hard to digest that is. So what's the answer? The nifty Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card, which lets you load 16 currencies in one go. And saves you from transaction charges and exchange rate fluctuations when you swipe it. Plus, when you use this card, you save up to 4%* compared to other forex options! And the icing on the cake, you don't bother with exchange rate fluctuation, because when you load it, you've locked the exchange rate.
So, now all that's left is me raising a toast. And sending you here, to know more about this cool card. Bon Appetit!