As much as we love to yell out loud to the world about the inherent greatness of Singaporean cuisine (something that the late Anthony Bourdain wholeheartedly agrees), it’s good to remind ourselves that the Little Red Dot isn’t the only place in the world with good food.
The classic chili crab didn’t even manage to break into the top ten in the list of best culinary experiences in the world, according to the Ultimate Eatlist, a new book by travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet. Hell, we’re not even in the top 15 — having chili crab in Singapore is ranked number 17 in Lonely Planet’s foodie bucket-list. Just above having moules-frites (mussels and fries) in Brussels (#18); Peking Duck in Beijing (#19); and pho along Vietnam’s Hau River (#20).
Singapore is well upstaged by Malaysia, by the way. According to Ultimate Eatlist — a list curated by experts such as renown chefs Andrew Zimmern, Elena Arzak, Andrew Liaw, and more — the second-best food experience in the world is having curry laksa in Kuala Lumpur.
“Here are fantastic little hawker centers tucked into the shadows of towering skyscrapers, and at Madras Lane, just off Petaling St, you’ll come across competing curry laksa stalls vying for your attention,” the passage about the dish reads. “It’s an only-in-Malaysia experience.”
Topping off the mouth-watering list is the experience of eating Pintxos (tapas) in San Sebastian — an experience that is best accompanied with a drink for a bar-hopping escapade through streets of the Spanish coastal city. Dining on proper sushi in Tokyo lands in third place, while noshing on hearty beef brisket in Texas comes fourth, and Bangkok’s fiery som tum (green papaya salad) follows close behind.
Other honorable mentions include Hong Kong’s quintessential dim sum (#10), South Korea’s bowls of bibimbap (#8), and Danish smørrebrød (#6). Each entry in Ultimate Eatlist clarifies the reasons why eating the dishes in the particular city makes the experience special, as well as the culture and context behind it. Though the full list is only available in the book, here’s a peek at the top 20, courtesy of CNN.
1 – Pintxos in San Sebastián
2 – Curry laksa in Kuala Lumpur
3 – Sushi in Tokyo
4 – Beef brisket in Texas
5 – Som tum in Bangkok
6 – Smørrebrød in Copenhagen
7 – Crayfish in Kaikoura
8 – Bibimbap in Seoul
9 – Pizza margherita in Naples
10 – Dim sum in Hong Kong
11 – Ceviche in Lima
12 – Pastéis de nata in Lisbon
13 – Oysters in Tasmania
14 – Cheese in France
15 – Jerk chicken in Jamaica
16 – Lamb tagine in Marrakech
17 – Chilli crab in Singapore
18 – Moules-frites in Brussels
19 – Peking duck in Beijing
20 – Pho along the Hau River in Vietnam
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