Meals worth crossing the world for
Good food always makes for a good trip – but is it ever worth travelling halfway across the world for a single meal? Some gastronomically minded Quora.com users think so, having journeyed more than 1,000 miles just to taste the perfect dish.
In response to the question “How far have you ever travelled for a meal?” the restaurants worth packing a suitcase for were surprisingly diverse. As expected, a few world-famous eateries popped up in the answers, but just as many travellers mentioned hole-in-the wall spots for comfort food that is impossible to find anywhere else in the world.
Here are a few of our favourite spots mentioned and the sometimes staggering distances distances that were traversed to get there.
Three Ways House Hotel, Gloucestershire, England
Distance travelled: 1,172km
Makiko Itoh drove all the way from Zurich to this old-fashioned hotel in southwestern England for its famous Pudding Club. As the name suggests, the meal involves trying seven different types of British-style pudding over the course of the evening.
“Just like Fight Club, the Pudding Club has rules,” Itoh explained. “Only one pudding allowed on the plate at a time. You must clean your plate before going up for seconds. You cannot go up to the Pudding Station out of turn, only when your table is called.”
After the three-hour affair, diners vote on their favourite pudding, which includes varieties such as sticky toffee, apple, mincemeat and syrup sponge. The style with the most votes at the end of that year is designated “Pudding of the Year”. The hotel holds the club every Friday night, though reservations need to be made far in advance.
Char Hung Sut, Honolulu, Hawaii
Distance travelled: 2,558 miles
Garrick Saito has family and friends in Hawaii, but when he went back for the first time in 15 years last year from Los Angeles, his first stop was hole-in-the-wall Char Hung Sut. Known for their dim sum-style treats, the restaurant is most famous for its manapua, which Saito described as “a unique blend of Chinese style barbeque pork and other spices stuffed into a steamed bun”.
Taillevent, Paris, France
Distance travelled: 5,726 miles
Founded in 1946, this three-star Michelin restaurant proved itself worthy of a journey from Portland, Oregon, to Paris, France. “The food was wonderful, including a caviar appetizer with the most exquisitely cooked egg I’ve ever seen,” Stephanie Vardavas said. “But the service was the real revelation: attentive without being overbearing, thoughtful and caring without the fake friendliness you get in American restaurants much of the time.”
Scotty’s Broasted Chicken and Ribs, Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Distance travelled: 330 miles
Ariel Williams loves the food at this down-home diner so much, she not only buys a full rack of ribs when she arrives, but also takes two to go when she returns home to Tucson, Arizona. “The ribs are so tender, the meat falls off the bone as you pick it up,” she said. “The [fried] chicken is so juicy, you need goggles. My first time eating there, I cut one open and one of the chicken breasts squirted me in the eye!”
El Bulli, Catalonia, Spain
Distance travelled: 6,400km
Though this three-star Michelin restaurant is no longer open, two Quora users made the journey just to eat its molecular haute cuisine. As Norm Soley from Toronto mentioned, the restaurant received nearly one million reservation requests for only 8,000 meals served each year – so getting lucky enough to land a reservation meant dropping everything and going.
“Easily the best meal I’ve had in my life,” said Chris Carpenter, who travelled 1,500km from Dublin for the opportunity. “Really amazing food.”
Chef Ferran Adria has said that the former restaurant will reopen as a culinary exploration centre in 2014.