'Culinary Ambassadors' on Serious Eats

Culinary Ambassadors: Grocery Shopping in the UK

It may come as a shock, but the UK public is obsessed with food. British food has a reputation as being a stodgy, greasy, bland accompaniment to beer — or nameless, boiled, blobby things served at school dinners (the possible exception being curries introduced by the large South Asian population). The past 10 or 15 years have greatly changed what's available to eat here, however, and the diversity of people's diets is very much reflected in, and abetted by, the supermarkets. More

Culinary Ambassadors: The Semla, Sweden's Way of Fattening Up Before Lent

In the old days, fasting before Easter was part of the Swedish tradition. To be able to survive fasting during a time of year when Sweden is coldest, dark, and snowy, it was important to stock up on calories. One way of doing this was through a pastry called the semla, also called "fastlagsbulle." It had everything required for a food item whose main purpose was to help us efficiently store calories: white flour, plenty of sugar, and plenty of fat. More

Culinary Ambassadors: Banana Ketchup

Banana ketchup is one of the greatest examples of the Philippines' enthusiasm for adopting foreign ingredients and adding its own tropical flair. An analogue to tomato ketchup, banana ketchup is made from mashed bananas, vinegar, sugar, and spices and is dyed red to mimic tomato ketchup (and confuse first-generation Filipino-Americans who unwittingly dip their fries in this strange banana concoction). More

Culinary Ambassadors: Street Food in the South of France - Socca

This savory snack traditionally prepared in the south of France is made by mixing together a thin batter of chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt, all ladled onto a hot cast iron plate (ranging from dinner-plate size to more than a meter in diameter), where it is spread to the edges much like a crépe. It's then grilled in an oven (wood-fired being the preference) for 20 to 30 minutes, where it develops a nicely charred crust, and is then served by cutting it into strips. More

Culinary Ambassadors: Breakfast in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

A 51¢ (10,000 VND) breakfast banh mi consists of grilled pork, fried egg, sautéed onions, cucumbers, pickled carrots & radish, and cilantro. A spread of pate with a squirt of sweet chili sauce and soy sauce season everything inside. Pork is grilled next to the cart and eggs are fried to order. The fresh ingredients are all assembled in a light crusty Vietnamese baguette right in front of your eyes. More

Culinary Ambassadors: Breakfast in Greece

Greeks tend to need a breakfast that will jumpstart their day. Serious coffee is in order. Opening your bleary eyes after a long night out to see a briki, the typical Greek bronze coffee maker, bubbling away on the stove is a glorious sight. Along with their small but potent coffees, Greeks like to have a small biscuit, a koulouraki or, even better, a foinikaki, a Phoenician biscuit made from honey, orange juice, and flour. More

Culinary Ambassadors: Breakfast in France

Traditional French breakfast fare includes a tartine — half a split, buttered baguette with your choice of conserves (jams) to dip in your very own bowl of café au lait or chocolat chaude (hot chocolate). Croissants are not an everyday item, but for those not counting calories, you'll see them at the table as well. Dipping is not only reserved for kids. Fully grown adults do it, too (it's not uncommon to see men in business suits dip the corner of a croissant into their coffee). Let's not forget the obligatory glass of juice (orange or multi-fruits seem to be preferred by most) and a quick expresso (espresso) to prepare an eater for the day. More

Culinary Ambassadors: Serious Oktoberfest Eats

Culinary Ambassador ManuelSteiner: "When, 200 years ago, a Bavarian king held a luscious wedding, little did he know he would start a tradition that is one of Germany's biggest tourist attractions — the Oktoberfest. Today, it is less about royalty and more about, let's face it, beer. But even the hardiest German or most experienced fest tourist will need something to go with the specially brewed (and slightly stronger) festival beer. So if you want to build a solid foundation in your stomach, or if you want to be prepared for when the inebriated cravings set it, here is a quick run-down of what is and what may not be worth eating at the Munich Oktoberfest...." More

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