With the arrival of summer, it’s only fitting that all sorts of summer recipes and “Best Homemade Lemonade” articles overflow your newsfeed. I get unreasonably excited about summer salads, unique ice cream flavors and iced coffee hacks. But seeing as we’re all planning on fleeing the country in a couple of months anyway, I figured I’d hit you with some summer recipes from around the world.
Although you can only find the best quality of these foods in their home countries, there are plenty of places worth trying them at here in the United States.
Italy has gelato. The United States has ice cream. India has kulfi. Made to melt slower in the region’s intense heat, kulfi is a denser frozen treat than what we’re used to here. Keeping climate in mind, it’s even served in clay pots meant to further insulate it. Made with traditional Indian flavors, such as mango and rose, kulfi is the ultimate summer treat.
Where to Try It: Babu Ji’s in New York, NY
Elote is a Mexican take on the ever-so-popular corn on the cob, easily found at street fairs and parades. If you find yourself drawn to the latest fad diets, elote is probably not for you. Drenched in cheese and mayonnaise, drizzled with lime juice and sprinkled with chili powder, this corn on the cob is the cool aunt of the family who travels in style, knows how to live life and who your parents were before they had you. It may be rich, but damn, is it good.
Where to Try it: Elote Cafe in Sedona, AZ
It’s not uncommon to make a dish centered around raw fish, in fact it’s a traditional practice in many countries—not just Japan. Ceviche, a salad made of raw fish, cilantro and fresh veggies, is native to Peru. It may have made itself present in trendy restaurants around the globe, however no one loves it the way the people of its motherland do. It’s such a staple, Peru even celebrates a National Ceviche Day. Savory yet refreshing, don’t knock this one ’til you’ve reveled in it.
Where to Try It: Van Nuys in Los Angeles, CA
When Americans think of bread they tend to imagine hearty loafs cooked to golden brown perfection and packed to the brim with nuts and grains. Quite the opposite, Ethiopian injera is a thin spongy bread with an acidic punch. Its porous texture makes it ideal for soaking up the juices from your favorite summer salad, or the sauces of denser plates. Its sour taste also pairs really well with creamy, softer palates.
Where to Try It: Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant & Market in Los Angeles, CA
Southeast Asian Durian
If you still think a fruit can only be sweet, tangy and flowery in fragrance, this next food is going to put you through the ringer. Hailed in Southeast Asia as the “king of all fruits,” Durian is a classic unlike any you’ve tasted before. Large, in charge and rough on the outside, the durian’s smell is most commonly described as “garbage.” But, oddly enough, durian is ridiculously popular and tastes wonderful. It can only be grown tropically and is available for only a short time every year between June and August.
Where to Try It: We might be out of luck with this one. Considering its limited accessibility, I’d say to put this one on your bucket list and wait to try it fresh in a market in Asia.
Found in and named after the hottest corner of China, the Chongqing hotpot is not for the faint of heart. It’s served boiling hot and filled with scarlet chilies and Sichuan pepper corns. Many cultures around the world believe that it’s wise to eat hot food in hot weather to help the body adjust to the heat and even expel some of it. It’s this concept that has residents of Chongqing coming back for more.
Where to Try It: If you can’t make it to Chongqing, head to your nearest Chinatown.
Korean Naeng Mayeon
For everyone out there who believes soup can only be eaten hot, say hello to naenmayeon. It’s not too different from other Korean noodles, however is perfect for those summer months when you’re craving something cool, savory and light. Served with cucumbers, pear and beef or chicken, these buckwheat noodles come in a broth laden with ice cubes to keep it cool throughout the meal. It also has mustard oil in it, which adds a sharp tang to the otherwise mellow flavors.
Where to Try It: It seems that L.A. is really killing the food game. It has a bustling Korea Town—so if you can’t just up and jet away, this is the next best place to try these Korean cold noodles.
As mentioned above regarding kulfi, the globe is chockfull of different ice cream creations and frozen sugary confections. Halo-Halo translates to “mix” and there’s no question that this treat was named very accurately. There’s no limit on what you can put in your bowl, whether it be chickpeas, sweetened beans or flavored ice cream, this is definitely a treat for the adventurous.
Where to Try It: Jollibee’s in Los Angeles, CA
If i’ve learned anything growing up with an Italian father, it’s that the Italian dessert reigns supreme to all others because it’s made simply, with quality ingredients. That being said, this particular sweet combines two of Italians’ favorite foods, gelato and espresso. Meaning “to drown,” Affogato is literally a bowl or small glass of creamy gelato drenched in coffee. And, seeing as Italians are also really into alcohol, this dessert goes from zero to one hundred real quick with a shot of amaretto or coffee liqueur.
Where to Try It: Esca in New York, NY
#SpoonTip: Big Gay Ice Cream (also in New York City) makes their own version, “Affogayto,” which is definitely worth a trip.