We asked Sam Woulidge, journalist and blogger, for her pick of the things every person absolutely must eat before they die. Here, in no particular order, are the 30 most-wanted foods and flavours from around the world. There are more, obviously. But this will do for starters.
1. Hot honey-drizzled msemen (pancakes) and freshly squeezed orange juice at the Djemaa el Fna in Marrakesh, Morocco. Eat breakfast before the snake charmers – and their snakes – arrive.
2. Macarons at Ladurée, Rue Royale, Paris. Pastel, some would say pretentious, pleasures in opulent surroundings. Makes cupcakes look positively infantile.
3. A full English breakfast with milky tea at E.Pellicci in Bethnal Green, London. This classic café, where the East-end gangsters like the Krays used to meet, boasts the original ornate wood panelling and art deco-style marquetry of the 40s.
4. Koeksisters, the Afrikaans kind, bought from Mr Arpin near the McDonalds traffic intersection at N1City, Cape Town. Sweet, sticky, syrupy Afrikaans traditional treats.
5. Koesisters, the Cape Malay kind, bought from Rose Corner Café, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town on Sunday mornings. Cake-like with hints of sweet spices.
6. Sushi breakfast at Sushi Dai at the Tsujiki fish market in Tokyo. The queues start at 3.30am and people are prepared to wait for up to 3 hours to eat toro (fatty tuna belly) and still-live akagai (red clam) at this 13-seater sushi bar.
7. Pastrami on rye at Katz’s Deli, New York. The bigger the tip you give the pastrami guy manning the pastrami station, the better your sandwich. This is also where Meg Ryan famously faked that orgasm.
8. Snail porridge at The Fat Duck in Bray, just outside London. Taste the Blumenthal magic. Bright green fennel and parsley-infused oats and garlicky snails play havoc with your mind and thrill your taste buds.
9. Bellini’s at Harry’s Bar, Venice. Go on, blow the budget on these prosecco-and-peach purée cocktails created by Guiseppe Cipriani, the founder of Harry’s Bar.
10. Durian fruit in Thailand during the hot season, from April to June. Follow the stench on the sois of Bangkok until you find a vendor selling the smelly, soft ripe yellow innards of the most controversial fruit of all time.
11. Xuxo at Bar Pinotxo, La Boqueria, Barcelona. This delicious flaky, sugar-crusted and custard cream-filled pastry is a Catalan speciality. Some believe its sweet lightness is the perfect accompaniment to strong coffee, but I’d advocate a glass of chilled cava.
12. Oysters at The Grand Central Oyster Bar, Grand Central Station, New York. Eat the aphrodisiac and then make seductive suggestions to one another in the whispering gallery beneath the vaulted pillars of the station.
13. Margherita pizza at Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Naples. This is one of only two pizzas on the menu. Perfection is not to be messed with, capishe?
14. Dondurma in Istanbul. This fabulously stretchy ice cream can be bought from any traditionally-dressed vendor in Istanbul seen playing the fool with tourists and children.
15. Vetkoek at the Boeremark, Silverton, Pretoria. Doughy and deep-fried, served with curried mince or cheese and jam and a healthy dose of Blou Bul banter.
16. Hot Dog (also known as a ‘dirty dog’) from any Sabrett’s Hot Dog Cart on the streets of New York. Addictive. A good one should snap when you bite into it.
17. Weisswurst und Weissbier at the Oktoberfest, Munich. White sausage and Bavarian wheat beer are best enjoyed at festival time in a state of elated inebriation.
18. Salt beef beigel at the Brick Lane Beigel Bake, Brick Lane, London. This warm, moist, salt beef slathered in mustard on a chewy beigel (bagel) should be consumed in the early hours of the morning. Or not: this place is open 24 hours a day.
19. Crack Pie at Momofuku Milk Bar, New York. The toasted oat crust with gooey butter filling apparently makes this pie the crack-cocaine of the carb world.
20. Toasted cheese sandwich from Borough Market, London. This combination of sourdough bread, sharp cheddar, onions, leeks and garlic is the one that Ruth Reichl proclaimed the best grilled cheese. Ever.
21. Dulce de leche from Buenos Aires. Eat this traditional sweet milk caramel in any form, anywhere, anytime.
22. Black caviar at Café Pushkin, Moscow. These salty pops are grown-up pleasures and should be eaten in lavish surroundings.
23. Mini airbags filled with Manchego cheese (or any other tapas, for that matter) from Tickets in Barcelona. This bar is Ferran Adria’s latest project. Enough said.
24. Wagyu beef in Japan. Let the insiders guide you to the best place to eat succulent marbled beef from beer-fed, massaged, Mozart-loving cows. But be warned: every other steak you’ll ever eat afterwards will disappoint.
25. Poisson cru (raw tuna marinated in lime juice and coconut milk, served with fresh coconut strips) should be eaten anywhere in Tahiti where you can sit with your feet in the water and the sun on your back.
26. Ramen noodles in Tokyo. Once you’ve slurped your way through your first bowl of noodles, you’ll obsessively start searching for the miso-infused flavours, fatty pork slivers, or the warm spiciness in other bowls. You will never tire of it.
27. Gin and tonic on any game drive in Africa, as the sun sets.
28. Pasteis de nata at Antiga Confeitaria de Belém, Lisbon. These creamy, flaky custard tarts are served warm and dusted with cinnamon. They’re meant to be eaten in multiples of three… or so I’m told.
29. Som tum Thai (green papaya salad with dried shrimps and chilli) from any vendor on the roads of Bangkok or on the beaches of Koh Samui.
30. Pancakes from Jan Maastenbroek’s caravan on weekends at the Minerton Market, Cape Town. He mixes his batter in a bucket, and makes the best cinnamon and lemon-juice sprinkled pancakes in the world. Yes, really.
By Sam Woulidge of Confessions of a hungry woman