Travel Picks: Tapas in Spain and other top food-place combos

Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:02am EDT
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SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Eating can be the best part of traveling, and travel authority Lonely Planet has come up with a list of the top 10 cities across the globe to enjoy iconic dishes. This list, from Lonely Planet's book "1000 Ultimate Experiences," is not endorsed by Reuters.


Patatas bravas (potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce), calamares fritos (fried squid), boquerones (anchovies), croquetas de jamon (ham croquettes), chorizo (pork sausage), pimientos asados (roasted peppers), albondigas (meatballs) and berenjenas gratinadas (cheese-baked aubergine) are just some mouth-watering examples of the Spanish snacks known as tapas. The vivacious Catalonian capital of Barcelona excels in the creation of tapas, particularly along La Rambla late in the evening when residents and tourists alike slowly graze their way south from Placa de Catalunya. Leave the cutlery on the table and claim the tapas with a toothpick or your fingers.


Food historians still debate whether Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy by importing it from China in the 13th century, or whether the Etruscans had already embraced it long beforehand. But it's generally agreed that by the 18th century Naples had turned the mixing of flour and water into a bona fide industry and was the world's pasta capital. As an encore, Naples also arranged a blind date between pasta and squashed tomatoes, and romance blossomed. So the next time you're wandering the crumbling streets of Naples' historic center, make a beeline for the nearest trattoria and tuck into some pasta napolitana.


The traditional doner kebab consists of a plate of grilled mutton on a bed of buttered rice, and many of Turkey's restaurants still serve it this way. Far more prominent nowadays, though, is its fast-food cousin, which takes the form of a pita-bread sandwich containing marinated meat that has been sliced from a rotating spit and bundled together with salad and a yoghurt-based sauce. It's de rigueur in Istanbul to equip yourself with a weighty doner and then wander around Sultanahmet or along the Bosphorus.


Shanghai dumplings have to be tasted to be believed and they are one of the items most fought over during dim-sum feasts. These delicious morsels seem like ordinary dough balls until you discover that they are filled with a hot broth flavored with ground pork, crab meat or vegetables. This little surprise is achieved by filling the dumplings with a hardened gelatin that liquefies when the bun is steamed. To avoid scalding your gums with hot soup, do not crunch the dumpling between your teeth but instead nibble it until the liquid seeps out.   Continued...