Thursday, January 26, 2017
I had a great Nicaraguan lunch today. It's in the Mission District in San Francisco. Though the area has gentrified recently, there is still a very strong Mexican and Central American presence. This place is much nicer than the holes-in-the-wall joints. It's brightly lit, clean, nicely decorated.
I got combo number one, which had a lot of everything. The cashier was a 50- or 60-something Nicaraguan with Asian features. Definitely Chinese. Probably the owner. As I type this, it just came to me that my office building's security guard is a Chinese Nicaraguan named Leo. At first, I thought he was Filipino. Nope. His father is Chinese and his mother is Nicaraguan.
Back to the meal. The food took a while and I practically finished this bottle of beer while waiting.
The wait was worth it. The pork on the left and the beef on the right were cooked and seasoned perfectly. I discovered another substantial chunk of beef hiding underneath the salad. The meat was not the highest in quality, but was nevertheless very tasty. On the very top was a piece of fried cheese. Underneath that cheese were two fried plantains. Underneath those plantains were banana chips. The rice and beans were also full of flavor. The jar on the side contained chopped pickled onions.
I am making good progress. Locally, I can still do Uzbek, Cuban, Icelandic, Austrian, Syrian, Iraqi, Ukrainian, Sri Lankan, Bolivian, Barbadian, Senegalese, Cameroonian, Swiss, Dutch, Romanian, Tunisian, and North Korean.
Rchen asked for a Top 5/Bottom 5 list of the meals I've had so far. It's really hard to say one is better than another. Please also note that this is just a subjective ranking of the specific meals I ate; the ranking is not intended to declare which country has the better cuisine. For example, I may have had a bad meal at a crappy Chinese restaurant. That does not mean Chinese food in general is bad.
Top 5: Eritrea (very homey), Nicaragua (robust), Armenia (succulent), Fiji (improv-y), Argentina (MEATY)
Bottom 5: Bhutan (too sour), Venezuela (dirty), Samoa (gross), Great Britain (not great), Philippines (hard meat)
Countries tried so far:
Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa
Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, Yemen
Europe: Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czechia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden
North America: Belize, Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Trinidad & Tobago, USA
South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela
Oceania: Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga