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TOPIC: cuisine

food / travel

Gùsto! How · What · Where Locals Eat (And Drink) In Lyon

Lyon is off the beaten track, but France's "capital of gastronomy" is well worth a visit. Here's what to eat and where when visiting this hidden gem of a city.

While Paris or Strasbourg may be the best-known destinations for a good food trip in France, Lyon should definitely also be on your wish-list. The “capital of gastronomy” offers a rich traditional cuisine through its bouchons, typical restaurants with a “lunch at grandma’s” atmosphere, and offers as many food options as there are stunning views throughout the city.

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Anchored in tradition and proud of its gastronomy, Lyon has seen a boom in food and drink festivals in recent years, particularly the street food scene. Lyon shows how tradition and novelty can be perfectly mixed.

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How Shaxian Snacks Went From Local Grub To Global Chain — With A Hand From Xi Jinping

In just three decades, the village of Yubang has become the cradle of one of the most popular food brands in China, under the watch of the local Communist Party and a certain governor named Xi Jinping. It now dreams of conquering the globe.

YUBANG — Surrounded by green mountains, the village of Yubang in the coastal province of Fujian in southeast China was long isolated from the world. Until the 1980s, its few hundred inhabitants barely managed to live off the land. Their livelihood depended on whatever work they could find in the surrounding orchards, tobacco fields, or bamboo plantations.

Three decades on, once-bland Yubang and its people have lived to tell a tasty tale.

The large camphor tree planted on the square at the village entrance now sees thousands of tourists from all over China. They come here drawn by stories they've heard of Yubang's culinary specialties, but there's another compelling curiosity: a modest place President Xi Jinping visited in 2021, as advertised by the pictures of the Chinese leader broadcast in a loop on a giant screen in the main street.

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The shiniest showpiece of Yubang's transformation is a food brand that has established itself as one of the most popular in China over the course of the past 30 years. The name 'Shaxian Snacks', a nod to Shaxian district where Yubang is located, is everywhere in this village.

A one-of-a-kind entity in a world of food chains controlled by multinationals, Shaxian Snacks doesn't belong to any one company. Instead, the brand belongs to the entire community.

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Kitchen Drama: Why Haute Cuisine Makes For Such Juicy Film And TV

Chefs and restaurants are increasingly taking over visual pop culture. Why can't we stop watching these sizzling storylines?

MADRID — Fernando and Alberto were saved by food. Or, rather, they were saved by their talent for turning ingredients into gastronomic works of art.

The story begins in 1974. Fernando is a dedicated sous-chef in a French restaurant in Barcelona and Alberto, his brother, is a cook, more interested in political struggles than in soufflés.

A confrontation with the police drives them to flee the city, take refuge in the small town of Cadaqués, Spain, and take charge of the kitchen in a surrealist restaurant whose owner's one obsession is to get Dalí to dine at one of his tables.

This story is not exactly real – Dalí is, of course, and so are his culinary tastes at the time in Cadaqués – but it all serves as the basis for a culinary comedy, one of this summer's Spanish film highlights, Waiting for Dalí (Esperando a Dalí).

Anyone who sees the film, directed by David Pujol, can linger on many things — its obsession with Dalí, the romantic plot, the eternal summer feel of its shots — but, above all, they will remember the food. The film shows the brothers cooking, choosing the best raw materials and discovering delicious tastes in the port's bars, and we also see them plating dishes with an almost avant-la-lettre art of culinary sophistication.

It is no coincidence: behind the fictional food by the sibling chefs is the truly inspired Ferrán Adrià, former head chef of celebrated restaurant El Bulli.

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Gùsto! How, What, Where Locals Eat (& Drink) In Lisbon

Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, offers myriad delightful culinary experiences. Portuguese cuisine is known for its fresh ingredients, bold flavors and a rich mix of Mediterranean and Atlantic influences. From the sweet Pastéis de Nata to the savory Francesinha, local markets, neighborhood eateries or seafood restaurants will have everything you need to try!

A walk through this hilly city will definitely make your stomach growl, so take the time to stop and enjoy a savory port wine with some delicious petiscos, the Portuguese version of tapas!

Here are Worldcrunch’s recommendations to try the best of Portuguese cuisine.

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food / travel
Michelle Courtois

Gùsto! How · What · Where Locals Eat (And Drink) In Pondicherry

Imagine a city with French and Southern Indian fusion cuisine, with gorgeous, century-old colonial-era buildings and beautiful beaches, surrounded by warm, turquoise water. It exists: Pondicherry.

The southern city's cuisine is like no other in India. It combines recipes, flavors and methods from French cooking with regional Indian, often with touches of East Asian and Northern Indian influence.

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food / travel

Gùsto! How • What • Where Locals Eat (& Drink) In Brussels

Unfairly living in the shadow of neighboring France, the Belgian capital boasts some outstanding places to eat and drink — from AM to PM. Here's a quick guide, based on local sources, to help you pick the very best beer, waffle, speculoos and much more!

Did you know French fries are not always French? Yes, the go-to side dish is often from Belgium, just like chocolate and many types of beer.

While the origin of French fries is one of the great debates of the culinary world, with both neighboring countries claiming them as an authentic product of their gastronomy, we choose not to weigh in on the controversy. That is, except for suggesting that you really should just go to Belgium and try it for yourself ...

Here’s a guide to a day of eating and drinking all around the European capital of Brussels, including some of the best places to eat typical Belgian cuisine.

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food / travel
Emma Albright

Gùsto! How · What · Where Locals Eat (And Drink) In Hanoi

Vietnam's capital offers any visitor a rich culinary experience, featuring in TripAdvisor's top 20 food destinations in the world for 2023. So here's what and where to eat when visiting Hanoi.

HANOI — Influenced by a rich and unique mix of Southeast Asia, China and France, Vietnam's capital Hanoi is a treat for any visitor.

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But Hanoi also offers a rich culinary experience. The city was even chosen as one of the 20 top food destinations in the world in 2023 by TripAdvisor. That's no surprise since Vietnamese cuisine is renowned worldwide for its fresh ingredients, mix of flavors, and the emphasis on herbs and vegetables. The country's rich food history is reflected in the many traditional dishes that have become popular around the world, such as phở, bánh mì, gỏi cuốn (spring rolls), and bún chả (grilled pork with noodles).

So, if you're lucky enough to be visiting Hanoi, here’s a local's guide to the best places that are guaranteed to blow your taste buds rather than your budget.

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food / travel
Yannick Champion-Osselin

Gùsto! How · What · Where Locals Eat (And Drink) In Madrid

Madrid is the place to be if you want to experience the full variety of Spanish cuisine. Since it became the capital of Spain in the 1500s, Madrid has been a melting pot for culinary traditions from all over the peninsula. Its main dishes are simple, easy fares — often fried — prepared in bar and tavern kitchens.

The walkable Spanish capital city is easy to explore — especially through food. When Spaniards talk of “ir de tapas," they're referring to an itinerant way of eating — the tradition of wandering around a neighborhood, casually bar hopping while being served a tapas dish to “picar” alongside your beverage of choice (traditionally wine, but more recently beer has become popular, too).

Some of the most famous sides include padrón peppers, cured ham, cheeses, croquettes, chorizo and patatas bravas. It's a fantastic way to get to know an area, try new food, and, if you're the chatty type, make new friends.

But eating and drinking in Madrid is more than simply a sprawling tapas bar...

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food / travel
Andrew Whitehead

How The Sari Conquered The World

The prestigious Design Museum in London – named European Museum of the Year in 2018 – is currently staging a landmark exhibition, The Offbeat Sari, all about this item of dress and the clamour of attention it is enjoying.

London Calling: How does India look from afar? Looming world power or dysfunctional democracy? And what’s happening in Britain, and the West, that India needs to know about and perhaps learn from? This fortnightly column helps forge the connections so essential in our globalising world.

The curry has conquered the world; the sari less so. It is, in concept, the most simple of garments: a single piece of unstitched fabric. In execution, it’s really tricky to wear for those who don’t have the knack. All those pleats – the tucking in – and then the blouse and petticoat which are part of the ensemble. Quite a palaver.

When Western women wear a sari – often as a perhaps misguided token of cultural respect – you often wish they had stuck to a trouser suit. And in its heartland, the sari is nothing like as ubiquitous as it once was. Among young urban Indian women, as far as I can make out, the sari is saved for high days and holidays.

Yet the elegance and versatility of the sari, as well as its timeless quality, have caught the attention of fashion gurus and designers, desi and otherwise. The prestigious Design Museum in London – named European Museum of the Year in 2018 – is currently staging a landmark exhibition, The Offbeat Sari, all about this item of dress and the clamour of attention it is enjoying.

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food / travel
Anaïs Moutot

Simple Takeout To Hipster Fusion: Chinese Cuisine In Paris Gets Chic

Forget about Cantonese fried rice and spring rolls, new-look Chinese restaurants have been multiplying in Paris. They attract French people with increasingly diverse tastes… and a growing number of Chinese tourists.

PARIS — “It's a spicy pot that numbs the palate, with an explosion of flavors and a euphoric 'come-hither' taste.” Patrick El Khoury's eyes light up when he talks about málà xiāngguō, the dish he boasts of being the first to serve in France at his restaurant in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, which opened last June.

“It's not well known in Europe, but it's become very popular in China over the past 15-20 years. In one bowl, you choose the veggie elements, in another the meat, then you pay by weight and indicate your level of spiciness,” explains the Lebanese chef, who fell in love with this dish during his exchange year in Beijing when he was a student at the HEC school of business.

After becoming a consultant in Paris, he started to look for this dish in every European capital where he was sent for business. But he did not find it. He then decided to leave his company, went to China to learn more, then enrolled in one of the schools of French chef Thierry Marx. He organized big dinner parties at home to let people taste different versions of the málà sauce, the base of this dish, made of fermented black beans, and an oil infused with ten spices: red and green Sichuan berries, cloves, star anise, orange peels, and more.

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food / travel
Julián López de Mesa Samudio

Big City Chefs Rediscovering Local Ingredients, Colombia-Style

Top chefs in Bogotá and other big cities in Colombia are rediscovering and updating the country's traditional fare to celebrate local ingredients.

BOGOTÁ — Travelers to Paris, Tokyo or Madrid aren't expecting to eat hot dogs when they visit those cities. Food is an essential part of any travel experience, and more so if you are eating for fun, so your menu really must be a typical, intrinsic part of the local landscape.

When people visit Colombia they are not looking for high-end salmon or French-style foie gras, because these are not the local fare. If you find them here, they were imported, and even if someone is producing them, you can't find the same quality, or those essential, cultural and environmental ties between any traditional food and its place of origin.

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David Barroux

Gluten-Free In France: Stepping Out Of The Shadows, Heading Upmarket

For those in the haute cuisine world of French food, a no-gluten diet (whether by choice or health requirements) has long been a virtual source of shame. But bakers, chefs and pastry makers are now taking the diet to whole new levels of taste and variety.

PARIS — The "gluten-free" aren’t hiding anymore.

Whether they avoid the grain protein by choice or by obligation — due to taste, allergies or an intolerance — many stick to a diet seen by the outside world as a little bit funny, or perhaps simply just bland.

For some, being gluten-free even came with some amount of self-consciousness: about being that person, the one who announced at the beginning of dinner that they wouldn’t be eating that bread, or that pasta, or that pastry — or about coming across as precious and complicated, or worse, as a killjoy for everyone else’s gustatory pleasure.

For those who feel that it is hard to speak up, it's often easier just to keep the gluten intolerance to themselves and eat only the vegetables at meals, abstaining from bread and dessert to avoid stomach cramps.

But the times, they are a-changin'. Living without gluten used to feel punitive; now it feels more like an option. The number of gluten-free products has exploded, in both quantity and quality, and there’s never been a better time to join the "no-glu" camp.

In supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants, there are increasingly varied alternatives to gluten. And demand is just as high — €1 billion per year in sales in France alone, according to Nielsen. The research consultancy found that 3% of French households were gluten-free in 2019. Now, that number is 4.4%, which is twice as high as the number of “strictly vegetarian” households.

According to market research firm Kantar, the frequency and number of purchases, as well as the average amount spent for gluten-free products, continues to increase — up 6% compared with 2019.

In this context, it’s hardly surprising that gluten-free alternatives are becoming increasingly chic.

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