Featured: The Top 100 Dishes List aka The Best Damn Thing I Ever Ate Award

Cheeseburger 100

The two most important bites of any meal for me are the very first and the very last. (You too??) So any dish that makes me remember the first bite, the last bite, and every bite in between is a clear winner. And let me tell you, there aren’t many meals like that around. So when it happens, I give them a The Best Damn Thing I Ever Ate Award and try to tell as many people about it as possible.

Okay, technically there are no fancy crystal plaques with gold embedded text to hand out…but, the idea — the SPIRIT — of the award exists. In our hearts! …Or erm, in my heart. So we’re sticking to it.

Every week I’ll pick a few holy-cow-what-am-I-eating-and-where-has-it-BEEN-my-entire-LIFE!??!! dishes/meals to add to this list in no particular order. If you see extra hearts, it just means it’s extra extra loved. Anything listed can get knocked off at any time so don’t be shocked. Tune in weekly, add them to YOUR list, and pass it on. Enjoy! 😎 😙

LAST UPDATED: JULY 5, 2017

The Bazaar Beverly Hills Los Angeles

1. Tortilla de Patatas “New Way” from The Bazaar Beverly Hills 2016 Summer/2017 Spring

This deconstructed version of the Spanish Omelette features potato foam, egg cooked at a holding temperature of 63°C, and caramelized onion puffs. WOW! Talk about a jaw-dropping experience.

Dim Sum Brunch at Hakkasan Dubai

2. Taro and Crab Croquette from Hakkasan Dubai 2015 Spring

Modeled after the classic Cantonese dim sum dish “Woo Kok” or Fried Taro Puff, this halal version unexpectedly swept me off my feet! As you may know, the original version features a minced pork filling. Hakkasan Dubai uses fresh crab meat…and kudos to them for it!

Sushi Sandwich at Isao Bangkok

3. Sushi Sandwich from Isao Bangkok 2015 Summer

Isao fills this rice sandwich with a creamy mixture of mayo, spring onion, and minced salmon and tuna before dipping it in a tempura batter and frying it off. It gets the tobiko treatment just before plating. Seriously, this dish is as good as it looks and sounds. Not one to be missed!

Junoon Dubai - FALOODA

4. “New” Falooda from Junoon Dubai 2015 Spring/2016 Winter

This is an innovative twist to the classic Indian dessert “falooda”. Traditionally it is made from mixing rose syrup, vermicelli, sweet basil seeds, and pieces of jelly with milk, and often topped off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Junoon’s version features a chocolate sphere filled with rose rabdi (sweet thickened milk) sitting on a block of almond milk sorbet and blackberry jelly. When you crack the sphere with a spoon, the rabdi lava oozes out to blend with the bed of ingredients. AMAZING!

La Petite Maison Dubai

5. Burrata et Tomates from La Petite Maison Dubai 2015 Spring

Exactly as it is written, this creamy cheese made from mozzarella and cream is highlighted by fresh tomatoes, basil and a generous drizzle of quality olive oil. Until today, I have yet to taste a better burrata than the one at LPM. And trust me, I’ve tried burrata in at least 4 other countries. Mamma mia! I want to eat more!

Hoja Santa Barcelona - CAESAR CHICKEN SKIN

6. Caesar Chicken Skin from Hoja Santa Barcelona 2016 Spring

Are you quickly realizing I have a thing for “deconstructed” dishes? Yup, you caught me. That’s why this dish made it onto the list! A deconstructed chicken caesar salad??? Featuring crispy CHICKEN SKIN???  Wow wow wow, I’m in!!! Although it’s only a 1-bite experience…let me tell you, the explosion of flavours is unreal. It definitely left a lasting impression. Sadly Hoja Santa no longer offers it on their menu but hey, the award lasts a lifetime.

Hoja Santa Barcelona - CORN, CHOCOLATE, CAJETA

8. Corn, Chocolate, Cajeta from Hoja Santa Barcelona 2016 Spring

Is that a corn? Or is it ice cream? …Actually, it’s both! The geniuses behind Hoja Santa preserved the aesthetic of the corn in this dish but elevated this household staple by combining it with chocolate hazelnut praline and ‘Cajeta’ (a Mexican syrup usually made from sweetened caramelized milk). DELIGHTFUL! FANTASTIC! BRAVO! 🙂

Barcelona - Santa Gula

8. “Ravioles caseros de setas y gambas con suquet al parmesano” from Santa Gula Barcelona 2016 Spring

“Homemade ravioli stuffed with prawns and mushrooms in creamy parmesan sauce”. In other words, Fabulous. The ravioli was chewy, had the perfect thinness, and enveloped a decadent filling of juicy prawns and earthy mushrooms. N and I basically looked up after our first bite, nodded at each other, and continued on. Because good food needs no words. (Lol, oh the irony.)

Barcelona - Carlota Akaneya 1

9. Chargrilled Wagyu A5 Beef and Salted Prawns from Carlota Akaneya Barcelona 2016 Spring

The thing is, when you’ve lived in Japan for as long as N and I have, eating yakiniku outside of Japan just doesn’t cut it. Nor does any other BBQ Meat experience for that matter. However, I’m happy to admit Carlota Akaneya emulates Japanese yakiniku very well. I was utterly impressed by their Kagoshima A5 Beef (A5 is the highest grade given). I was equally impressed by their use of salt for the prawns (they’re grilled over a bed of salt above the charcoal pit). Of course, one must not forget to dip everything in the sauces provided. Itadakimaaaaasu!

SomiSomi Ice Cream in Los Angeles

10. Ah-Boong Creation at SomiSomi Los Angeles 2017 Spring

Who would have thought this would be trending in 2017? A pancake base that boasts a mochi-like texture and embodies the shape of a fish, filled with whatever you like and then topped with soft serve. Let’s not forget the sprinkles and cookie crumbs. Boy, oh boy! My tip? Go for Matcha Soft Serve, Nutella Filling, Rainbow Sprinkles, and…don’t pass on the macaron garnish. 😉 Nom nom nom nom.

Lobster Crostino at Bestia LA

11. Lobster Crostino from Bestia Los Angeles 2017 Spring

Fresh juicy lobster tossed with saffron and squid ink aioli, pickled chilies, opal basil, a hint of citrus…sitting on a bed of crunchy grilled bread. One bite and we were done for. An excellent creation indeed. Go for it!

The Bazaar Beverly Hills Los Angeles

12. “Philly Cheesesteak” from The Bazaar Beverly Hills 2017 Spring

Mom and I were seriously impressed by The Bazaar’s culinary take on this American comfort food. Air bread, cheddar foam filling, thin slices of Wagyu beef…$11 a pop and it is worth EVERY penny. I need to hide a stash away for those sad rainy days. Definitely a better alternative to Valium. XD

Urth Caffe Santa Monica Los Angeles

13. Organic Tea Boba (with whip) from Urth Caffe 2014/2016/2017

My first brush with Urth Caffe was back in 2014, when I was living the sleepless life in Tokyo. Everybody went gaga for their waffles whereas -I- melted into a puddle of goo over their organic tea Boba! Thai Red Tea, Earl Grey, Moroccan Mint, Black Tea…love it, love it, love it aaaand yup, love that too. Remember though…you can’t order the boba without adding whip! That would be going against the Boba Code, people.

Giovane Cake Pops

14. Cake on a Stick (Cake Bars) from Giovane Cafe + Market Eatery 2017

These creations take “cake pops” to a whole new level. Scratch that, they take cake pops to an alternate dimension! Pictured above: raspberry krunch featuring dolce white chocolate mousse, raspberry gelée, hazelnut krunch, almond cake. And: coconut pineappple featuring coconut mousse, pineapple rhum compote, mango gelée, carrot spice cake, mango cremeux, vanilla cookie, lime cream. Lordy, Lordy, Lord Almighty! Bomb dot COM baby! We really hit the jackpot here. I have to find a way to recreate these cake bars, no joke.

Ichiran Ramen Tokyo

15. Spicy Ichiran Ramen from Ichiran Ramen 2012-2015

Basically, this post says it all. Well, and the photo. Don’t believe me? Then take Forbes word for it. 😜

16. Uni Miso Crab Udon from Kingyo 2017

Sooooooo good! Creamy, rich in flavour, huge pile of freshly poached crab meat, garnished with salmon caviar. Dang, dang, DANG!

Red Star Seafood Vancouver

17. Dim Sum Brunch from Red Star Seafood Restaurant 2010-2017

This is a fantastic place if you’re looking for a hearty meal of “Cantonese Tapas”. Of course, “the more the merrier” rings true here but even a group of 3 should satisfy your dim sum cravings! Red Star offers perfectly executed Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice, Shrimp Spring Roll, Rice Noodle Wrapped Fried Donut, and Braised Chicken Feet. Droooooool.

Phnom Penh Chinese Cambodian Restaurant Vancouver

18. Beef Luc Lac with Fried Rice Upgrade from Phnom Penh 2016, 2017

All I will say is: you CANNOT visit Vancouver, live in Vancouver, live NEAR Vancouver, or leave Vancouver WITHOUT trying Phnom Penh at least once (if not twice!). Sure, they’re known for their garlicky fried chicken wings…and yes, the wings are delicious…but not quite an otherworldly experience. The best thing here is the Beef Luc Lac with Fried Rice Upgrade. Tender and incredibly juicy beef atop flavourful fried rice, finished off with a sunny side egg. YEEEEES. #AsianFoodPorn

Hyoga Japanese Restaurant Vancouver

19. Mozzarella Tempura from Hyoga Restaurant 2016, 2017

Lightly battered deep fried cheese…drizzle of teriyaki reduction…dried seaweed and bonito flakes seasoning…Himalayan salt…ooey, gooey, and totally epic. 😋

Miku Restaurant Vancouver

20. Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi from Miku Restaurant 2017

Often imitated, never duplicated…many Japanese food places in Vancouver now offer this utterly delectable flame-torched pressed salmon sushi, but the winner of this award goes to the one who started it all…

(Yui photo here)

21. ? from Yui Japanese Bistro 2017

Often imitated, never duplicated…many Japanese food places in Vancouver now offer this utterly delectable flame-torched pressed salmon sushi, but the winner of this award goes to the one who started it all…

22. Gyukatsu (Japanese Beef Cutlet) from Gyukatsu Motomura Shibuya 2014

Often imitated, never duplicated…many Japanese food places in Vancouver now offer this utterly delectable flame-torched pressed salmon sushi, but the winner of this award goes to the one who started it all…

23. Matcha Obanyaki from Sadaharu Aoki 2014

Often imitated, never duplicated…many Japanese food places in Vancouver now offer this utterly delectable flame-torched pressed salmon sushi, but the winner of this award goes to the one who started it all…

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