I was raised by a pack of wild pigs in a small town in Iowa, and I’m awestruck by the culinary wonders of New York City. This is probably the only place in the world where you can get Indian biryani, Salvadorean huaraches, Belgian waffles, and Taiwanese dumplings… all from trucks on the street.
This place is crazy, I tell you. Back home, we just ate corn and potatoes and buckets of slop. (Oops, sorry Mom… you learned how to surf the web and read food blogs? Um, in that case, just kidding about the slop thing. Your cooking is lovely. Not like slop at all. Really.)
When I moved to New York City, I decided to try to eat food from every country in the world without leaving the city. Why? Because I think NYC is probably the only place in the world where you could do something like this. And also because… well, my girlfriend is in law school, so I won’t really see her for about three years, even though we live together. I’m substituting food for sex. (I hope I’m just joking.)
Anyway, here is the fine print for my little quest:
- Countries with populations under 1,000,000 are generally excluded. Hey, I gotta draw the line somewhere… do you really think that I could find food from, say, Vatican City (population 800) or Tuvalu (population 10,000)? Really, both are sovereign countries and members of the real United Nations.
- Countries do NOT have to be recognized officially by the United Nations to be included in the count. Dependent or disputed territories (Puerto Rico, Taiwan) are included in some cases.
- Somebody from the country must be substantially involved in the preparation of the food, either as cook, chef, or restaurant owner–and the meals must be generally recognized as somewhat authentic. (So Mexican food prepared in a Chinese-owned and operated restaurant doesn’t count, and neither do American-style burritos, which are awfully tough to find in Mexico.)
- Food should be reasonably cheap. Most people in most countries aren’t wealthy, and I’m looking for meals that your mother or grandmother might cook at home. (I hate overpriced, dainty, hypermodernized fusion bullsh*t made by pretentious chefs. Please feed me real food.) As a very general rule, meals should cost less than, say, $15 in a restaurant… and preferably less than $10.
- Food doesn’t have to be eaten in a restaurant. Food carts, vending trucks, bake sales, convenience stores, or your grandma’s kitchen (hint, hint) are all fair game.
So that’s the story. If you or your momma or your grandma wants to invite me over for lunch (I’ll bring good beer/wine/liquor/chocolate!), contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you want to learn more about me before inviting me to lunch, click here for a brief bio.