CNN Travel – What are the world’s best foods? We thought we knew. Apparently we don’t.
Our list of the World’s 50 best foods stimulated some impassioned debate about the conspicuous lack of French dishes and the merits of ketchup over mayonnaise.
“Ketchup? Pop Corn? Chips? Plenty of Thai but few Malay food? What about Chinese (Sichuan, Cantonese, etc)? No Brazilian or Argentinean?” queried commenter Max.
Reader LoveFoods wrote, “OMG why are people hating? If you don’t like the list, make your own! I love Thai and Japanese foods.”
LoveFoods was right. So we threw it open to a vote on a Facebook poll.
And now, after more than 35,000 votes, it appears we got it all wrong. The world’s most delicious food is not Massaman curry, as we suggested, but a meaty, spicy, gingery dish from west Sumatra.
The world’s [top 15 out of 50]best foods according to CNNGo readers are below. Bon appetit.
15. Ice cream, United States
Somehow there’s always room for a tooth-rotting, U.S.-style pile of ice cream with nuts, marshmallows and chocolate sauce.
Thank God for extra-long spoons that allow you get at the real weight-gain stuff all mixed up and melted at the bottom of the glass. Other than a dietician, who wouldn’t agree this is one of the best foods in the world?
14. Satay, Indonesia
Reader Paul Peh wrote, “I can make satay too but the prep will take at least half the day and [the eating will be done]in less than half hr. lol.”
Half an hour? What’s the hold up? Last time we drowned some skewered meat with this peanut-based sauce we were ready for seconds before you could say “mmmm”.
13. Chicken rice, Singapore
Often called the “national dish” of Singapore, this steamed or boiled chicken is served atop fragrant oily rice, with sliced cucumber as the token vegetable. Variants include roasted chicken or soy sauce chicken.
The dipping sauces — premium dark soy sauce, chili with garlic and pounded ginger — give it that little extra oomph to ensure whenever you’re not actually in Singapore eating chicken rice, you’re thinking of it.
12. Kimchi, Korea
Is Korea the most generous nation or what? Korean restaurants provide this starter dish of fermented vegetables for free. Perhaps because few Koreans can last more than two days without it.
11. Lasagna, Italy
Lasagna overtook pizza to become the most sought-after Italian food in this delicacy list. There’s a reason this pasta-layered, tomato-sauce-infused, minced-meaty gift to kids and adults alike is so popular — it just works.
Dee Dodge wrote, “I love Lasagna.” The lack of exclamation marks tells you how seriously true fans take this dish.
10. Massaman curry, Thailand
Although not the world’s most delicious food, it is still emphatically the king of curries. Spicy, coconutty, sweet and savory, its combination of flavors has more personality than a Thai election.
Even the packet sauce you buy from the supermarket can make the most delinquent of cooks look like a Michelin potential. Thankfully, someone invented rice, with which diners can mop up the last drizzles of curry sauce.
“The Land of Smiles” isn’t just a marketing tag-line. It’s a result of being born in a land where the best curry is sold on nearly every street corner.
9. Peking duck, China
“Peking duck! its a wonder…..” wrote Shan Cao on our Facebook page.
We can only guess Shan Cao was in the middle of forking a piece of this maltose-syrup glazed duck dish into his/her mouth and forgot to finish the sentence. Slow-roasted in an oven, the crispy, syrup-coated skin is so good that authentic eateries will serve more skin than meat, and bring it with pancakes, onions and hoisin or sweet bean sauce.
Other than flying or floating, this is the only way you want your duck.
8. Ramen, Japan
Japanese protocol says the tastier your ramen is, the louder you should slurp it up to show respect to your chef. Not that they need more respect. One mouthful of this most Japanese of noodle broths will quickly tell you that either you have a ramen trigger in your brain, or Japanese chefs are geniuses.
7. Dim sum, Hong Kong
Equally fun and delicious to eat, a trip to Hong Kong isn’t complete without trying this traditional Cantonese lunch food. Popular with everyone from pass-through tourists to local kids and the elderly, most dim sum come in bite-size pieces so you don’t have to waste time cutting the stuff up.
Bring a few friends and wash the food down with the free-flow tea.
6. Som tam (Papaya salad), Thailand
After reading reader Kun Chotpakdeetrakul’s comment, “Papaya salad and som tam [are]the same thing. You should combine vote for these two together,” we did just that, pushing som tam to just 80 votes shy of the top five.
To prepare Thailand’s iconic salad, pound garlic and chilies with a mortar and pestle. Toss in tamarind juice, fish sauce, peanuts, dried shrimp, tomatoes, lime juice, sugar cane paste, string beans and a handful of grated green papaya.
5. Pad thai, Thailand
Here’s a food Thai people can’t live without.
Similar to Bulgogi, pad Thai is packed with nutrients stirred into one glorious fried-noodle dish.
The secret’s in the sauce — tamarind paste. If anyone ever creates a Hall of Food Fame, that should be first on the list.
4. Tom yam goong, Thailand
Reader Supot Sakulwongtana made it clear that “delicious includes a little bit hot.” A little bit hot is right because you need room for a load more flavors too.
This Thai masterpiece teems with shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. Usually loaded with coconut milk and cream, the hearty soup unifies a host of favorite Thai tastes: sour, salty, spicy and sweet. Best of all is the price: cheap.
3. Sushi, Japan
When Japan wants to build something right, it builds it really right. Brand giants such as Toyota, Nintendo, Sony, Nikon and Yamaha may have been created by people fueled by nothing more complicated than raw fish and rice, but it’s how the fish and rice is put together that makes this a global first-date favorite.
This perfect marriage between raw fish and rice has easily kept sushi in the top five. And like one reader, Nymayor, wrote, “Now to be fair, DELICIOUS can be simple.”
The Japanese don’t live practically forever for no reason — they want to keep eating this stuff.
2. Nasi goreng, Indonesia
“I like rendang and nasi goreng, two of most popular food in Indonesia!” Reader Rizky Ramadhika’s got it. And thousands of other voters agreed.
The wonder of combining rice with egg, chicken and prawns strikes again. The second fried rice to make the list, this Indonesian delight received more than 10 times the vote of its Thai counterpart (see #23), propelling the former from non-runner to runner-up.
1. Rendang, Indonesia
Reader Kamal F Chaniago showed great foresight when he wrote, “Rendang is the best.” A clear winner with a loyal following, this beefy dish can now rightfully claim the title of “World’s Most Delicious Food.”
Beef is slowly simmered with coconut milk and a mixture of lemongrass, galangal, garlic, turmeric, ginger and chilies, then left to stew for a few hours to create this dish of tender, flavorful bovine goodness.
The Indonesian dish is often served at ceremonial occasions and to honored guests. It’s not only delicious but also comes with a simple recipe. If you haven’t already, go ahead and take reader Isabela Desita’s advice: “Rendang should be the first! It’s really nice, you should try!
To see the whole list visit CNN here.