Each year, millions of people make conscious resolutions to either improve an aspect of their lives or simply to do something they haven't done before. While the tired resolution of losing weight and getting fit is the majority of peoples’ go-to, statistics show that half of those resolutions go unmet.
Sure, there's a psychology behind it, but why would someone come here to read about the behavioral psychology of falling short of expectations and therefore abandoning the previously mentioned resolution?
Instead, your friends at Brewhoppin propose a resolution to the half of you that have already given up: Eat something new.
Of course, our bend is to get you out of the house and try new foods and beers. Variety is the spice of life and indulging in a new cuisine can be just as godly as shedding unwanted pounds.
Below is a list of our favorite cuisines, what makes them unique and our personal picks for restaurants you can find some of its best.
So without delay, allez cuisine!
While it is heavily debated whether barbecue can be considered a type of cuisine, there is an astronomical following of people who will attest to its credibility.
There are many locales to choose from, but our highest recommendations go to two restaurants just south of Knoxville, TN and one in upstate New York in Syracuse.
Full Service BBQ in Maryville, TN offers its patrons the ability to customize their barbeque experience not only from their plentiful selection of meats but also the sauce served on the side with one of its most popular being a tangy Kansas City-style Tennessee Whiskey sauce. Check out the full story from the early years of Brewhoppin here.
Our second recommendation is a few miles northeast on the outskirts of Maryville, TN. Sweet P’s BBQ and Soul House (now with a newly opened location in Knoxville, TN) offers an extensive list of meats and sides to choose from but they remain more committed to a Kansas City-style, with meats being covered in a thick sauce of your choice with more at the table. For those with a large appetite, try the barbeque burrito behemoth known as El Gigante, although locals will tell you that your odds of winning the lottery are greater than finishing this monster in an hour.
Finally, for our readers that live in the greater north and new England area, you can find some truly outstanding barbeque at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Syracuse, New York.
Avid fans of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que will tell you to grab a slab of ribs with some baked beans and potato salad for the definitive experience. We cannot disagree. Their ribs are fall off the bone tender with an addicting smoky flavor that keeps you coming back. Check out the full story here.
What to Expect
What is barbeque?
The art of using a smoker to slowly cook a cut of meat, most commonly pork shoulder, brisket, beef, ribs, chicken breast and wings, infusing it with the flavor of the wood that is used. What makes barbeque truly unique from many other types of food is the intoxicating aroma one will smell when immediately walking into any restaurant.
- Carolina - using a sauce with a heavy vinegar base.
- Memphis - opting for a flavorful dry rub instead of sauce.
- Kansas City-style - using a thick, sweet and tangy sauce with a ketchup and molasses base.
What you get?
Regardless of the style you would like to choose, the experience you will receive: smoked meats served with a plethora of homemade sides to choose from. At its core, this comfort food can pack on a lot of calories for the health conscious it still attracts many for its simplicity and home-style presentation and portion sizes.
We will not be the first to tell you that Americans have a love-hate relationship with Indian cuisine.
With its large following of those practically obsessed with it is an equal number of those who do not like it in tow. So, what makes this cuisine so unique to be so divisive?
Indian cuisine demands a little more from its eaters by relying heavily on the sense of smell first and taste second. The most common dishes offer a very distinctive aroma when cooked due to the use of various masalas (spice mixes) used in preparation. That’s where the detractors draw the line. However, with an open mind, one can find a dish they enjoy without overwhelming levels of spice.
For those who wish to enjoy Indian food more catered to an American spice palate, you will find an extremely well-rounded experience in the heart of Knoxville, TN at Sitar Indian Cuisine.
Sitar offers a wide range of menu items from various regions of India from the northern reaches all the way to Chettinad, but first timers NEED to try the buffet. Sitar’s buffet offers a wide spread of mildly spiced dishes allowing patrons to try more than one dish and pick their favorite.
Our personal favorites from the buffet are the tandoori chicken (bone-in pieces of chicken marinated in spices and roasted in a fiery five hundred degree tandoori oven) and chicken curry (boneless pieces of chicken stewed in an aromatic soup of curry leaves and spices). However, for those wishing to try something truly spicy our best recommendation would be chicken vindaloo (boneless pieces of chicken stewed in a spicy curry based soup with potatoes) and specify the spice level as Indian hot to your server.
For a more intimate and upscale experience, Mantra by Indian Garden in Schiller Park, IL should be at the top of your list.
The menu is varied but a particular focus on dishes of southern India. One thing to note for those with spice sensitivity, it would be best to pass Mantra up. Spice levels are authentic. Many dishes are blisteringly hot but Mantra does offer some milder dishes such as butter chicken. Two superstar dishes are the house specialties: lamb peshawri (lamb cooked in an onion based sauce with sesame seeds) and the fish curry.
Prices are substantially more than what you would pay at other Indian restaurants but the level of service more than make up for it.
What to Expect
What is Indian cuisine?
Distinctive aromas due to the various masalas used in preparation. Spiciness levels based on preference and chef suggestions.
How to order Indian food?
For those trying Indian food for the first time, there are two nearly foolproof ways to find a meal you'll enjoy.
If you are with friends or family and they've had it before, they can tell you what to try based on what you like or dislike. Secondly, many of these establishments are family owned and operated by residents native to the region their menu specializes. The advantage to this is getting recommendations from your server on new dishes to try based on your preference to spice.
With this, the chef will personally tailor the dish to accommodate your requests.
To best start your meal, be sure to order some naan (a fluffy, leavened bread either served plain or topped with butter, garlic or onion) and some chutney to accompany it.
Okay, this one might turn some heads, but hear us out. When we say Chinese food, we aren't referring to beef with broccoli or General Tso’s that you can find at every American Chinese restaurant. Rather, we are talking about dishes that are distinctive to a specific province of China.
If you want to experience true Chinese cuisine, we encourage you to find a restaurant that serves from a double menu (one menu to cater to the American palate as well as a traditional menu). While this concept is slowly fading into obscurity namely due to the general unappealing nature of traditional dishes, Szechuan House in Columbia, MO is keeping this tradition alive and well.
Traditional Szechuan cuisine, while spicy in nature, doesn’t rely on overwhelming heat. Rather the spice is a numbing sensation of the tongue (known as mala) produced from the liberal addition of Szechuan peppercorns into each dish. If you read through the protein in the sidebar and found none of them appealing, there is one street food staple in the Szechuan province that appeals to many after their first try: dandan noodles.
Szechuan House serves up a monstrous portion of noodles topped with a numbing sauce base of chili oil, scallions, Szechuan peppercorns and minced pork. For those who wish to dive into traditional Szechuan cuisine, this dish cannot be recommended any higher. However, for a more eventful experience, bring a couple of friends to Szechuan House and partake in a hot pot where you choose the soup base, proteins, and vegetables. Diners choose what to add to the soup base, and when, and let it cook.
The idea is similar in concept to a fondue, but the amount of food you receive that easily feeds 2-3 people is very reasonable at only $15.
What to Expect
What is traditional chinese?
The flavor profile of traditional chinese dishes is bountiful, ranging from spicy to sour, from salty to savory. It should also be noted that the protein choices most commonly utilized in these dishes are quite unusual, at least by an American standard.
What you get?
Some of the most common proteins you will find in traditional Chinese dishes include, but are not limited to:
- kidney (either pork or beef)
- intestine (most commonly pork)
- duck tongue
- tripe (beef stomach)
- chicken feet.
Even though it seems this has turned on a route at home with Andrew Zimmern, we can assure you that chicken, beef and seafood are also utilized as well. Among traditional province cuisine, at least in America, the Szechuan style is one of the most common you will find.
With 2018 well underway, our purpose of this article is to educate as well as propose the possibility of broadening cultural horizons by indulging in new cuisines. If we managed to whet your appetite, make the journey to any of our recommended spots and let us know of your experiences.
Here’s to another year of food, beer, and travel! Should your favorite cuisine and/or food spot not make it into our feature, let us know by dropping a comment below and we’ll make a trip there!