2016 bought many great dishes, from the humble but brilliant: I’m talking about you, Honorio tacos in Tulum, Mexico at #7 – to gastronomic masterpieces. Everyone loves a listicle, so here’s a gallery of some of the best 80 plates, in no particular order, with 20 new ones added each week for the next month. I’ve added links to my reviews or stories where they exist
1. Comté with beetroot at Gaddi’s, The Peninsula Hong Kong: http://finefooddude.com/gaddis-hong-kong/
2. ‘Burnt Ends’ Sanger’ with pulled pork shoulder, chipotle aioli, home made slaw on brioche at Burnt Ends, Singapore. http://finefooddude.com/burnt-ends-singapore/
3. Teppanyaki prawn at Hinokizaka, The Ritz Carlton,Tokyo http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/japan/tokyo/dining/hinokizaka-tempura
4. Carpaccio di Manzo at Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice – http://finefooddude.com/cips-club-belmond-hotel-cipriani/
5. Cheese platter fresh from the Soca Valley farm, Slovenia – http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/17/travel/slovenia-travel-guide/
6. Shrimp Po’ Boy, Parkway Tavern, New Orleans: http://parkwaypoorboys.com/
7. Cochinita Pibil pulled pork tacos, Taqueria Honorio, Tulum, Mexico – the greatest taco anywhere.
8. Chocolate, mint and marshmallow, Rhoda, Hong Kong: http://finefooddude.com/rhoda-hong-kong/
9. ‘Onion soup’, Le Cinq, George V Four Seasons Paris – http://www.restaurant-lecinq.com/en/
10. Maison Antoine fries, Brussels: www.maisonantoine.be/
11. Oysters Rockerfeller, Shuck It oyster truck, Brisbane – http://www.shuckit.com.au/
12. Dublin Bay prawns, warm mayonnaise, crunchy buckwheat pancake, Caprice, Four Seasons Hong Kong – http://www.fourseasons.com/hongkong/dining/restaurants/caprice/
13. Octopus, Dongdaemun, Seoul (The octopus was still moving, check out the vid here )
14. Khao Soi, Chiang Mai, Thailand
15. Steak selection, Raging Bull, Manila – http://finefooddude.com/raging-bull-manila/
16. Breakfast roti on the street, Bangkok
17. Fluffy’s Pizza, New York – http://www.fluffyscafe.com/fluffyscafe_main.html
18. Sizzling sisig at 230am, Manila, Philippines – with Jordy and guys from Toyo: http://finefooddude.com/toyo-manila/
19. Accras Morues or cod fritters, Otantiq, Martinique – https://www.facebook.com/Otantik-Ti-resto-nature-144290702407832/
20. Sri Lankan black lamb curry, AJ’s, Hong Kong – http://finefooddude.com/ajs-sai-kung-hong-kong-hop/
21 In Jabugo in South west Spain, for a story on Jamon Ibèrico, outstanding plate of local tomatoes with olive oil, salt and bread. http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/food-drink/article/2058961/how-hongkongers-crave-jamon-iberico-and-spanish-oak-forest
22 Ropa Vieja, Havana. A dish that translates as ´old clothes´ doesn´t inspire confidence, but it´s Cuba´s national favourite of slow-cooked and shredded pork. http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/food-drink/article/2068739/forget-hemingway-trail-dine-locals-havanas-hidden-gems
23 Pork pie with piccallili, The Mall, London. As British as warm beer and a European exit, but far more appealing. Lunch with the Queen for her 90th bought this little out-of-focus beauty.
24 A meat-filled bun and cold beer in the streets of Kyoto.
25 Jinjuu fried chicken, Hong Kong. http://finefooddude.com/jinjuu-hong-kong-spamaritas-kfc/
26 Sichuan chilli prawns at Qi Nine Dragons in TST. Because every list needs Sichuan on it somewhere. http://finefooddude.com/qi-nine-dragons-hong-kong-hills-alive/
27 Paella at Olé, Hong Kong. Again, not my pic, obvs. http://finefooddude.com/ole-hong-kong/
28 Lobster with girolle mushrooms at Le Meurice by Alain Ducasse, at his breathtaking temple to cuisine in Paris´Rue De Rivoli.
29 Hong Kong, French onion soup at Maison Eight. And no, that´s not my photo. http://finefooddude.com/maison-eight-hong-kong-soup-soul/
30 As with all of Japan, there is almost no bad food in San Sebástian. A case in point this slow cooked octopus, dusted with paprika and served with bread, eaten with Eskerne Falcon and Chris Shafted Murray.
31 Staying in Spain, sublime garlic shrimp served by one grumpy old bastard in Madrid.
32 Dubai beachside spread at the rather lovely Shimmers, at Madinat Jumeirah
33 Real chips and real salsa in Tulum, Mexico.
34 A full-ish English, Woodbridge, Suffolk.
35 Chinese caviar at Kaluga Queen in Hangzhou, as I discovered in a piece for Cathay Dragon´s Silk Road magazine.
36 Cheese at Beau Rivage Palace, Lausanne, Switzerland.There´s cheese, then there´s cheese in a two Michelin star Swiss dining room. Look. At. That. Trolley. http://www.brp.ch/en/restaurants-and-bars/anne-sophie-pic/the-restaurant.html
37 Chicken feet adobo, Hong Kong, for my BBC piece on domestic helpers and what they eat; http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20161109-a-sunday-ritual-for-300000-women
38 Afternoon tea with The Countess of Carnarvon inside Highclere Castle, the real home of Downton Abbey. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/03/travel/highclere-castle-downton-abbey-travel/
39 New Orleans Gumbo. Now sadly closed, Purloo had one of the best takes on the local classic gumbo, here with pheasant.
40 Brilliant tandoori chicken at The Mandarin Oriental Singapore. http://www.mandarinoriental.com/destination-mo/luxury-living/dining/singapore-street-food.aspx
41 Martinique, Acra or cod fritter with a rum punch made from Rhum Clément – https://www.finedininglovers.com/stories/best-rum-caribbean/
42 Le Manoir breakfast buffet: My interview with the irrepressible Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir Aux Quat´Saisons – https://www.finedininglovers.com/stories/raymond-blanc-interview/
43 Meatballs with black truffle– at the Ritz Mandarin Oriental Madrid’s Goya Restaurant.
44 Cuba – truly terrible croquetas, seemingly made from Polyfilla.
45 Bali Cuca where charismatic Canadian Kevin Cherkas oversees a menu of great contemporary Balinese flavours. Crispy fried chicken with honey, coleslaw and sesame dust. https://www.finedininglovers.com/stories/bali-restaurants-food/
46 HK chiu chow – a whole new world of cuisine, here slow braised soy goose – http://finefooddude.com/pak-loh-chiu-chow/
47 Beef rendang at the Datai, Langkawi https://www.finedininglovers.com/stories/will-meyrick-indonesian-cuisine/
48 San Sebastian pintxos, their version of tapas. Just everything, everywhere.
49 New Orleans, curried goat at Compere Lapin- https://www.finedininglovers.com/stories/top-new-orleans-restaurants/
50 Paris, cheese souffle at Champeaux
51 Jabugo, southern Spain – a tower of Cinco Jotas ham surrounding cheese and fries. Doctor?
52 Tokyo, nowhere does better fruit than Japan. Melon straight from the Gods.
53 Near Jabugo, again – beef, spuds and pepper. So simple, so good. Amazing.
54 Bhutan – yak momos at the COMO Uma Paro.
55 London, the brilliant and breathtaking ‘meat fruit’ at Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/destination-mo/luxury-living/dining/private-dining-at-dinner.aspx
56 Hawaii – ‘spamushi’ – a terrible creation which quickly grew on me.
57 NY – truffle mac and cheese at Alain Ducasse’s Benoit
58 Miami – Scotch eggs at the Miami Flea Sunday market.
59 Ljubjana cheese fried tart at the brilliant Open Kitchen: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/17/travel/slovenia-travel-guide/
60 Paris – tarte tatin at the incomparable Four Seasons’ Le Cinq:
61 London, pork shoulder from one of the nicest chefs I met all year, Jose Pizzarro
62 Dominica, quesadillas aboard Silversea Silver Spirit
63 Cuba – mozzarella sticks in a surreal Italian restaurant in Havana: http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/food-drink/article/2068739/forget-hemingway-trail-dine-locals-havanas-hidden-gems
64 Manila. The best ever sisig at Manam. http://finefooddude.com/manam-manila/
65 St Lucia – squid in the pouring rain.
66 London, lamb at the excellent Aqua Shard – http://finefooddude.com/aqua-london/
67 Hawaii – prawn salad from a clearly very stoned guy in a food truck on Maui.
68 Phuket – brilliant carrot dish from Jim Ophorst at the very lovely Trisara
69 Hong Kong – knockout Breton pastry for dessert at 12000 Francs – http://finefooddude.com/12000-francs-hong-kong/
70 Cuba – Swedish style shrimp toast during the best meal in Havana at Casa Miglis.
71 Bhutan – Breakfast over Punakha valley. That view.
72 London – Kitkat and tea in a taxi cabman’s shelter with two drivers during my piece for CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/10/travel/london-cab-drivers-green-shelters/
73 Sapporo, legendary ramen in the snows of Niseko – http://finefooddude.com/rakuichi-niseko/
74 Singapore, stupidly tasty crackers at MBS’ Adrift by David Myers
75 Hong Kong – Sushi Shikon‘s 3 Michelin star tuna, incomparably good.
76 Hong Kong, Frantzen’s posh cheese toastie – http://finefooddude.com/frantzens-kitchen-hong-kong/
77 New York – Fish sandwich at La Peche by Dave Chang
78 Tulum, Mexico: beetroot at the exceptionally tasty menu at Hartwood
79 Tsukiji market beef curry. A reminder to never eat sushi there. But all the other stuff is great because that’s where the sushi chefs go.
80 Home. Ahhhh, but it’s true. Nothing tastes as good as food made with love.