Let’s get this straight: I’m a gourmand, not a gourmet. I love all food. When I’m able, I’ll indulge in a little fine dining, but any victuals that taste good are good enough for me.
I’m not an expert, either. I can’t explain what makes one dish better than another, much less parse the fine points of ingredients and recipes. But know good food when I eat it. This is part of the reason why, a few years ago, I started the Instagram hashtag #GhoshEats.
It’s not so much a chronicle as a photo album of my gastronomic adventures, from Hong Kong to New York, Oslo to Cape Town.
As a journalist, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to travel around the world, and eat well in far-flung places, and 2015 has been an especially good year for @ghoshworld in that regard.
Here, in no particular order, are some of the favorite things with which I stuffed my face in 2015:
Marta, NYC: Pizza with pork sausage and cremini
This is what I was eating at the start, literally, of 2015: it was midnight. At the time, I was blissfully unaware that I had diabetes, and that carb-rich pizza was essentially poison. Dammit!
Noma, Copenhagen: Monkfish liver shavings
There’s a reason Rene Redzepi is widely regarded as the world’s best chef. I’d never had monkfish liver before, and had no idea it was so subtle.
Lyle’s, London: Saddleback, new-season onions, ramson
I’m a pork fanatic, and it was hard to pick the best piece of pig I ate this year, but this one was a close winner.
Spice Coast Riceboat, Lake Vembanad: Fried Karimeen
Karmeen (pearl spot) is my favorite fish, and reminds me of my childhood in Kochi, India living within a stone’s throw of the Chinese nets. This, eaten on board a rice boat, was a blast from the past.
Oceanos, Kochi: Masala crabs
You can’t go all the way to Kerala and NOT eat crabs. And you can’t do much better than this restaurant, in my old neighborhood of Fort Kochi.
Birch, Providence: Raw Vermont beef
Heidi and Ben Sukle’s tiny eatery in Rhode Island is, for my money, the best restaurant on the Eastern Seaboard that’s not in New York.
Din Tai Fung, Seattle: Xiao Long Bao
These soup dumplings are a personal obsession, and I’ve eaten at them at the Taiwanese chain all over the world. The long wait was totally worth it, and not because Bill Gates was some distance behind me in the queue.
TUC Craft Kitchen, Vancouver: Oxtail rillettes
So good, I went back for more the very next day.
Bâtard, NYC: Sweetbreads
Organ meats are my weakness, and this was the highlight of my birthday dinner.
Tamarind, Nairobi: Roast Loin of Lamb
My first visit to East Africa, and I struck gastronomic gold on my very first meal.
Chef’s Warehouse, Cape Town: Confit and roast quail
I was suspicious about the hipster vibe at the restaurant, but the food was exquisite. This was by far the highlight.
Hani, Tehran: Kashke Badamjan
I have a well-honed loathing for vegetarian food, but this dip was easily the best thing I ate in Iran.
Indian Accent, Delhi: Pomegranate sherbet
Feels like time for a palate cleanser, doesn’t it? This was as great on the palate as it looked on the plate.
Nehat, Tehran: Kalle pache
As a card-carrying member of the Organ Meats Society (or at least I would be, if we had cards) I try to sample offal wherever I go. This restaurant specializes in sheep’s head, and the brains were especially terrific.
Tian, Delhi: Dessert
Chef Vikramjit Roy is India’s most inventive chef, and it may be fitting that the last great dessert I ate before discovering my diabetes was this work of art.
And here’s the best thing I drank all year:
Solberg & Hansen, Oslo: Jaya, Sulawesi
Norway’s capital has some of the finest coffee on the planet, and I went on a two-hour crawl that took in five of the finest. This was the most memorable.
…and how I looked after the coffee crawl
Here’s to more gastronomic adventures in 2016!