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Molokhia in Egypt
With origins dating back to Ancient Egypt, this vegetable dish remains popular throughout Africa and the Middle East, said local fashion stylist Amaani Sehaam. Leaves from the molokhia plant, described as a vegetable with a taste and texture similar to okra, are minced with a curved cutting tool called a mezzaluna. “It’s then cooked with ground coriander, garlic and stock and is often served with chicken, or more traditionally, rabbit,” Sehaam said. While traditionally a homemade meal, molokhia can also be ordered for dinner in Cairo restaurants such as Abou El Sid, which specialises in traditional cuisine.  

Smoked salmon in Scotland
Scots Derek Harkness, who now lives in China, and George Graham from the northwest Highlands showed support for the simplicity of their locally caught fish, which is exported across the world. Harkness suggested serving smoked salmon on brown bread with a little cream cheese and a bit of lemon. While farmed is the cheaper choice, both men said the wild, line-caught salmon packs more flavour. Smoked salmon can commonly be found on breakfast menus at cafes across the country, but can also be served in appetizers and lunch entrees at Scottish restaurants.

A slice of smoked salmon
(Joel Saget/AFP/Getty)

Emirati shawarma and lahm bi ajin in the United Arab Emirates
After leaving the UAE, Rohit Mathew, a self-described foodie and chronic online restaurant reviewer, admitted to missing the food more than he missed his parents. He said visitors especially should not miss authentic shawarma, made by roasting lamb or chicken on a spit. Popular throughout the region, shawarma has taken over the streets and food courts of Dubai, and can be snagged as an affordable lunch or late night snack. A small dish called lahm bi ajin was another of his picks. “Think of it as minced lamb pizza,” he said.

Slicing chicken to make a shawarma sandwich
(Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty)

Empanadas in Argentina
While many South American countries serve some version of this small pastry, Argentina has become known as the empanada capital, thanks to their ubiquity across every region and the population’s sheer love for them. “We have as many ways of making empanadas as provinces, so they might taste different depending on your location,” said local software engineer Matias Javier De Marco. The pastry can be filled with anything from chicken to goat meat to fish, along with vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, and spiced with any number of flavours. While he prefers the ones in the northwest city of Salta, which are baked (as opposed to fried) and filled with beef, he said: “the only rule is that you need to try this dish outside of Buenos Aires if you want the real deal." Take-out shops across the country specialise in the snack (usually eaten as an appetizer, though a few can make a meal), and often serve a number of different varieties. The northwest province of Tucumán even holds at National Empanada Festival every September, where their rich, hearty version, usually baked in fat or fried, is celebrated.

Meat empanadas in Salta, Argentina
(Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty)

Bison, elk or venison in the United States
Garrett Smith from Montana said visitors would swear off steak after eating one of these tasty game meats. “You'll never want to eat a cow again,” he promised.  While easier to get in western states such as Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, game meat can often be bought in jerky from convenience stores in rural areas close to forests and hunting grounds. It is also prepared more traditionally as steaks or medallions at high end restaurants in the region. Since the meats tend to be much leaner than beef, order them rare to medium rare to avoid them drying out.

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