Travelling isn't only about visiting places, of course. Some of the fun part of being on the road has a lot to do with food that you eat in each country.
Unless you are a hardcore vegan, you can easily survive in most countries without consuming meat. The below are ten of the best international foods that I've fallen in love with, and funnily enough, most of them do not have or can be served without a single piece of meat.
They are listed in alphabetical order except the last one, which has nothing to do with a sense of national pride, but it's still the best of the best for me.


Bunny Chow - バニーチャウ
Where: South Africa
Price: $ (cheap)
20150725 Air Esky Best Cuisine 01
Comment: It's basically a loaf of bread with a hole in the middle where spicy curry is poured in. It was apparently invented by Indian people, most of whose ancestors were brought to Durban areas many years ago. Unlike the authentic Indian curry, Bunny Chow has to be with bread and neither rice nor Naan. Moreover, it has to be cheap: a veggie bunny normally costs USD2.50 ~ 4.00 at a local shop. Such a funny and somewhat adorable name Bunny Chow is! Have you also heard of Biltong, Braai, Chutney and Potjiekos before...? Lekker bru!



Century Eggs - 皮蛋 or ピータン
Where: Taiwan (and other Asian countries)
Price: $ - $$$ (can be expensive)
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Comment: They don't look edible at all as they appear to be decayed. Yes, in a way they are decayed because the process of making them is to preserve eggs (usually duck's eggs) in clay for weeks and sometimes months! The rotten colours seriously made me hesitant to try them for the very first time. Contrary to its yucky appearance, the ones I tried in Taiwan had a very delicate Umami flavour: not too salty or too sweet, and I could have them every day with only plain steamed rice. Originated in China and they can be found all around the world where Chinese people have settled down.



Falafel - ファラフェル
Where: Syria (and other Middle Eastern countries)
Price: $
20150725 Air Esky Best Cuisine 03
Comment: I'm very certain that many Japanese people have no idea what this is. In fact, I had no single clue of what Falafel was either until Mari, my travelling companion at that time, and I ran into a local falafel shop in Aleppo, Syria in September 2010. It was so timely because we had Kebab with tons of meat for lunch on that day and were desperate to have something not too heavy. Then we encountered a little Syrian boy with a white apron over his belly giving away fresh falafels to everybody on the street. I ended up having two falafel sandwiches here. Sensationally good and unforgettable!



Matapa - マタパ
Where: Mozambique
Price: $$
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Comment: I can go back to Mozambique just to have this meal again. No kidding! It was that good and so uniquely Mozambican. It's difficult for me to explain what Matapa really is simply because I don't know a proper recipe for this: I just kept eating it.... A kind of stew flavoured with spices and seafood, and you can have Matapa by itself or with bread or rice. My favourite Matapa was with crab and Xima (aka Pap in South Africa) which is made of maize in a porridge-style shown on the top right of the plate in the above photo. Divine!



Mole - モレ
Where: Mexico
Price: $$
20150725 Air Esky Best Cuisine 05
Comment: Tacos, Quesadillas, Guacamole, Tequila.... All of these are seen everywhere in and out of Mexico and you cannot go wrong with them while Mole is region-specific and can only be found in the southern part of Mexico such as Puebla and Oaxaca. This little spicy sauce mixed with chocolate (yes, chocolate) can be mind-blowing, especially if you are a chocoholic like me. With that being said, Mole is actually not sweet at all. It's based on spices mixed with Cacao-bean paste which makes the sauce go really dark in colour. Nevertheless, you can still taste a little choco flavour in it :-) Yummy!



Quinoa - キヌア or クイノア
Where: Peru
Price: $ - $$
20150725 Air Esky Best Cuisine 06
Comment: I first thought that it was just couscous because it had the same look and texture. But no! Just like what happened to me with Falafel in Aleppo, I had no idea of what Quinoa was until Maria, a beautiful Argentinian psychologist, recommended it for me in a restaurant in Cuzco back in March 2011. It was almost tasteless by itself, but went very well with some sauce. The above photo shows Quinoa mixed in the yellowish sauce: the white thing was just plain steamed rice in fact. Unfortunately, here in Japan Quinoa is sold at such a high price :-(



Tahli - タリ
Where: India
Price: $ (super cheap!)
20150725 Air Esky Best Cuisine 07
Comment: I always tell people proudly that I never ever got sick while I was in India, not even a tiny bit of diarrhea. Yeah, I might just have been very lucky, but I was extra careful with what to put into my mouth. For the first couple of weeks on my journey in India all the curries I had were not impressing me at all, most of them were either way too spicy or way too salty, and mundane too. Then I met this Bengal Tahli in a local restaurant in Aurangabad and she simply made me smile :-) Needless to say, I enjoyed every single small dish on the plate, but left those two slices of "raw onion" completely untouched.... Now you might understand why I never ever got sick while I was in India :-)



Thai Curry with Mango - マンゴー入りタイカレー
Where: Thailand
Price: $$
20150725 Air Esky Best Cuisine 08
Comment: Green, Yellow and Red. You can make a traffic light with curries in Thailand! A typical Thai curry has coconut milk which is what differs itself from those monotonously salty Indian curries. This particular Thai curry that I had in Chiang Mai in March 2013 appeared to be an ordinary yellow curry at first, but turned out to be with lots of veggies and solid flesh of Mango in it! The curry itself was rather sour than spicy-hot which was a spot-on with sweeeeeet Mango. You don't believe me?! Why don't you try it for yourself at home?



Thieboudienne - チェブジェン
Where: Senegal
Price: $ - $$
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Comment: It was the very first meal for my very first night in Africa as I was invited for dinner by a Senegalese guy called Seydina who I met at Washington Dulles Airport in the USA prior to my arrival in Dakar (a long story!) And I instantly fell in love with Senegalese cuisine since then. Lots of rice seasoned with spices, tomato sauce as well as grilled fish and a variety of veggies on top. Unlike the one in the above photo (taken at a proper restaurant in Dakar), Thieboudienne is not often well presented and is usually served in a huge bowl. Then everyone is given a spoon for each and has to share the whole meal with others: a truly African way of eating :-)



Sushi - 寿司
Where: Japan
Price: $$ - $$$$$
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Comment: Don't ask me why. It's in my nature and it's in my blood and it's who I am. I was born with it and will die with it.


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