Sitting in a Ghanaian cafe recently in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn, marveling at the sheer variety of food available in New York City, an idea was born: why not try to find cuisine from every country in the world, without leaving the city limits. Certainly there must be people living here from every country in the world! We chocked this crazy notion up to the large Star beers we were enjoying, and forgot all about it. Then a few days later, the vision surfaced again, and seemed compelling even when we were sober. So we decided to go for it.
The goal of this journey is to find cuisines from every United Nations member state, within New York City limits, in alphabetical order. We realize that there are a few flaws to this logic, and will make every attempt to handle these wisely when we reach a questionable issue. For instance, cuisines are not defined by the UN. There are regional specialties, there are countries not internationally recognized, there are border disputes, and new countries are being formed all the time. Thus, we will at times rely on the extended Wikipedia list of countries, which includes territories and areas of sovereignty.
We will also explore regional specialties as much as possible. For instance, when we reach China on our list, we will visit Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan Chinatowns, and sample dishes from various regions of China offered in these areas.
The alphabetical strategy allows the journey to be systematic. This way, we can’t just eat all the foods we like first, and we won’t be able to save the toughest ones for the end. Some countries will certainly prove problematic. In these cases, we will do our best to find all necessary ingredients and cook a meal typical of that country at home.
This blog will serve as documentation of the adventure, in which we will do our best to describe not only the food we eat, but also things we learn about its nation of origin, culture, and the immigrant communities here in New York City. We hope this will be much more than a food blog.
Oh, and we are three people. We’ve all been fortunate to travel a good bit ourselves. We’ve lived in Asia and Europe. One of us has been to six continents. When visiting a new place, our favorite thing is to eat, eat and eat more. We can’t wait to try the delights hiding in the little explored corners of this city.
We invite anyone and everyone to make suggestions as to places we might go, offer insight and criticism, and if you are in town, join us! Fulfilling this goal will take a few years at least, and we hope to learn loads about our city, the people who live in it, and the world at large.
If you need to reach us, please write to kvanmalssen [at] gmail [dot] com.
Happy eating and wandering.