This issue is all about happy food experiences – and where you can find them and enjoy them. Need a food bucket list? Ultimate Eats is from the Lonely Planet book of the same name. India’s top chefs Ranveer Brar, Kunal Kapur and Ajay Chopra trace the origins of eight iconic Indian dishes, with recipes so you can make them at home. More great Indian food comes your way via the 10 Indian food cities – and 50 dishes in them – that the country’s foremost food influencers have chosen as their faves. And there’s food to be found in Porto, Portugal, and in Oregon in the USA. In fact, you’ll see – and almost smell and taste – food right through the issue. Because seeking out local food is a very Lonely Planet way of finding something new and different in destinations you are otherwise familiar with.
It’s something that comes naturally to me. On a recent family holiday in Turkey, we spent a lot of time eating at lokantas with the locals. Food is laid out in chafing dishes behind a glass screen, you point to what you want, and the guy behind the counter plates a portion for you. You put it on your tray, take it to the counter and pay for it. Along the way, you pick up ayran (salted buttermilk) and desserts. And, then, after paying a surprisingly reasonable amount, you go to a table and tuck in. Brings back memories of your college canteen? If it does, you’ll be happy to know that I picked some wonderful dishes off the line – steaks stuffed with gooey cheese, chicken-rice-cheese stacks, exquisite kofte, piyaaz (a dish of haricot beans and tahini) and those most wonderful Turkish desserts: sutlac (a creamy rice pudding with a flambéed top), and kunafa (the vermicelli of my childhood held together with cheese, and doused in sugar syrup). All that food, and much more eaten on the go, added a delicious layer to a fascinating country, and, for me, and perhaps for a lot of you, that is the way to discovery too.
Here’s to delicious travels!
– Primrose Monteiro-D’Souza