Rich’s – Conception, Chile
The worlds most delicious burgers. The meat was so fresh the sometimes I would swear I could hear mooing from the kitchen, though that might have been the kitchen staff. They were served on a 5 inch plate and filled it so I always split one. They also served magnificent thick sliced fries.
Domino – also Conception, Chile
Directly across the food court from Rich’s was a hot dog place where I learned my very first Spanish phrase. Sin mayo. Domino served beef, pork and turkey dogs and had a four page menu. If it could be put on a hot dog, it was- with mayo. Lots and lots of mayo. The first time I ate there, I didn’t know any better and was sick for about a day afterward. My favorite was the Americano which had onions, tomatoes, cheese and “American sauce” which is yellow relish. A very close second was the avocado dog. Cheese, about half an avocado and onions. I tried to convince then to combine the two, but they had no idea what I was talking about so I had to enjoy my Americano avocado dogs in the privacy of my own kitchen.
Belly Full Deli – Akron, Ohio
Absolutely the best deli in the Midwest. I ate there so often that all I had to do was walk in the door and Tom would say, “short Reuben, turkey on rye or are we feeling adventurous today?” most of the time it was the short Reuben. Alas due to some incredibly poor business practices of their landlord, the Belly Full Deli closed several years ago and I haven’t been able to eat a Reuben since.
Dos Tacos – Seoul, South Korea
I have a minor addiction to Mexican food. The first year in Korea I was forced to hike half a mile from the nearest subway stop (really not so bad) to a little import food shop outside Itewon for retried beans and tortillas and then hike back (the really bad part) with the increasingly heavy cans. At home, when I broke out the retired beans, I would scrape the inside of the can like it was a bowl the I had mixed a cake in and lick the remains off my fingers. The second year I found Dos Tacos. The guy who owned the restaurant had grown up in Southern California. He knew Mexican. He also knew good business. I would go there once a week for a chicken and avocado burrito and if he felt the avocados weren’t ripe enough, he wouldn’t sell it to me. This particular hidden gem was very near a church and if you wanted to eat there on a Sunday, it behooved you to be there early or eat late because they only had six table and a couple of counter chairs. Many people will tell you that the best Mexican in Korea is Chili Chili outside Youngsan Military Base. Those people are deluded. I maintain that Dos Tacos is the best Mexican food in Asia.
The Mexican place in the Philippines.
The second best Mexican place in Asia I have forgotten the name of, but I am willing to bet that if I walked in there now, after a five year absence, the staff would recognize me. When I was in the Philippines, I must have eaten there every other day. The first time is was lucky enough to be there during green mango season so I got to try green mango salsa. Amazing. The ripe mango salsa is also stunning. For a while I considered moving there, half for the weather and half for the restaurant.
The beach restaurants on Nai Hat Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Seriously, pick any one. There were about seven that all had seating out on the sand. They painted their menus on the walls dividing their designated seating areas so you could walk down the beach and choose a restaurant. The fish market was just down the beach so all the fish was fresh caught. And this market was literally fifty feet from my hotel and I never cause a whiff the fish was so fresh. They even had a brick oven pizza place.