Make the most of your time off by biting into some of the world’s most loved epic-curean delicacies served on special occasions through the year.
By RHEA MULANI
LAMMBRATEN, FRANKFURT, GERMANY
Church sermons, gifts galore, and of course, this succulent dish, often prepared by a loving oma (grandmother), are all ingredients that make for a Frohe Ostern or Happy Easter in Germany! Traditional celebrations here almost always include the impressive Lammbraten—a whole leg of lamb slathered in a generous marinade of garlic, olive oil, lemon, and a sprig of rosemary. Seasoned with spices and slow-roasted to perfection, it’s a cut above the rest! Literally!
Try it at: Zur Kastanie, an al fresco eatery along the Main River.
DORO WAT, ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
It’s said that every family in this East African nation has a secret recipe for their national dish—the ubiquitous fiery red curry that is Doro Wat! Served on holidays and celebratory occasions, this popular chicken stew comes with an enticing aroma and copious amounts of Berbere spice mix. It’s strictly not for the faint-hearted! Boiled eggs, caramelised onions, and niter kibbeh (Ethiopian spiced clarified butter) lend another dimension to this complex concoction that’s slow-cooked for hours and devoured within seconds. Enjoy it served with an Ethiopian flatbread called injera.
Try it at: Kategna Restaurant promises fresh, authentic Ethiopian fare.
LASKIAISPULLA, HELSINKI, FINLAND
February in Scandinavia brings with it snowy days, sleigh rides, and Laskiaispulla—cute, little cardamon-infused buns, duly filled with raspberry or strawberry jam or almond paste, and topped with dollops of whipped cream and powdered sugar. This drool-worthy dessert is a common sight in local bakeries on Laskiainen or Shrove Tuesday, a day of feasting. Eat it like the Finns would, by dunking the sugary bun in milk or hot cocoa and get instantly transported to the happiest country in the world!
Try it at: Fazer Café, a local favourite for artisanal bakes in the heart
BIRYANI, HYDERABAD, INDIA
Not just a dish fit for royalty, this flavourful creation is also India’s own crown jewel in the kingdom of culinary finesse! The aroma alone is enough to lure you in for yet another bite. Relished on Eid, but in demand through the year, this labour of love features alternate layers of marinated mutton or chicken and rice. Biryani is made using the dum process (slow-cooked with spices in a sealed pot), allowing the rice to imbibe every last ounce of deliciousness. Best eaten with raita!
Try it at: The luxurious Jewel of Nizam at The Golkonda Hotel.
CANDIED YAMS, CHICAGO, USA
We’re especially thankful for this quintessential, Southern American side dish, presented on nearly every dining table during Thanksgiving. Brown and white sugar, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and orange juice combine to create a luscious syrup that blankets sliced discs of yam to create this treat. Most Americans typically add pecans to this fork-tender bake, which lends an element of crunch and nuttiness to the otherwise sweet taste. This Thanksgiving, count your blessings, not just your candied yams!
Try it at: A Taste of Heaven is Chicago’s hugely popular go-to haunt for sweet and savoury specials, alike.
COQUITO, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
The perfect holiday punch! Translating as ‘Little Coconut’ in Spanish, Coquito is a rich, thick blend of coconut milk, condensed milk, vanilla, evaporated milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg, with the occasional addition of rum. In fact, this creamy cocktail is touted as a Puerto Rican eggnog, without the eggs! Incredibly versatile, Coquito seamlessly blends with strawberry, pumpkin, or chocolate to create a simply delicioso drink. Sip on this beverage to ensure your vacation is nothing short of merry!
Try it at: The plush La Factoría is among the Caribbean’s most
KHAO CHAE, BANGKOK, THAILAND
Whether it’s an ordinary sweltering summer day or the festival of Songkran (Thai New Year), celebrated in the month of April, you can be sure to find the locals savouring the delicious coolness of Khao Chae. This refreshing dish is served as bowls of rice soaked in ice-cold, flower-infused water, alongside an assortment of accompaniments, including deep-fried shrimp paste balls, shredded sweetened pork, fish-stuffed shallots, Chinese radish stir-fried in egg, finger roots, raw mango, and more. Try Khao Chae as it’s meant to be eaten: bite into spoonfuls of the rice and condiments, one after the other (and not together). And avoid clouding up the water by putting the sides into the soaked rice.
Try it at: Baan Raman Riverside by the Chao Phraya River.