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Gastro tour bingo

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Ramona Andrews Ramona Andrews | 11:50 UK time, Monday, 22 August 2011

We foodies can tend to enjoy a little point-scoring when recalling our holiday adventures, which is the thinking behind this list of some of the best food experiences to be had in the world. It’s by no means complete. Could it ever be? But go on, have a go ticking off all the foodie fun you’ve ever had by comparing your experiences with the list below and letting us know how you score.

'Gastro tour bingo' card

Have you...?

  • Eaten a Cornish pasty in Cornwall – 1 point.
  • Feasted on moules in Brussels – 2 points. (Deduct one point for eating them on Rue des Bouchers.)
  • Bought a whole rotisserie chicken from rue Mouffetard, Paris – 2 points. (An extra point if you cleaned up the bones with your fingers á la Dominique Bretodeau from the Amélie movie.)
  • Eaten surströmming (rotten/fermented herring) outdoors on a summer’s evening in Sweden – 2 points (1 extra point per shot of Snapps had; 3 extra points for joining in with the drinking songs).
  • Drunk a pint of Guinness at the top of the Guinness factory in Dublin – 2 points.
  • Sat down to a meal in the Djamaa El Fna square in Marrakech - 3 points. (Give yourself an extra two points for shunning the tourist stalls and wandering over to the locals’ haunts and sampling sheep’s brains or snail soup.)
  • Eaten fish and chips in Whitby’s Marine Parade – 2 points. (An extra 1 point if it was out of newspaper; 2 points if it was made with sustainable fish).
  • Sampled a single malt whisky (or two) in an Islay distillery – 2 points. (Deduct one point if you’ve forgotten the name of the whisky).
  • Eaten pastéis de natas (Portuguese custard tart) with a strong coffee in Portugal – 2 points. (An extra point if it was in Belém, Lisbon next to the monastery where it was invented.)
  • Eaten Jordan’s national dish, mansaf, from a platter moulding the rice into balls with your right hand while your left is placed behind your back – 3 points.
  • Eaten bobotie in Cape Town with the locals – 3 points.
  • Fought your way through the crowds at Borough market and enjoyed a picnic of treats by the river – 2 points.
  • Scoffed a plate of kalamari straight from the sea in a taverna on a Greek island – 2 points.
  • Snacked on tacos al pastor at a tacquería in Mexico City – 2 points. (Five extra points if you persuaded the stall holder to give you the secret recipe.)
  • Visited a Welsh tea room and eaten a plate of bara birth slathered in butter with a cup of tea – 2 points (Two extra points if the tea room was in Argentina’s Chubut province).
  • Ordered a hot pastrami sandwich on rye bread with pickle in a New York deli – 2 points.
  • Enjoyed a fried fish sandwich in a boat moored off Galata Bridge, Istanbul - 4 points. (Didn’t throw up due to sea sickness? One extra point.)
  • Eaten a falafel from an Israeli falafel stand – 2 points (1 extra point if the stall holder flipped the falafel balls into the air and caught them in the pitta).
  • Eaten a kaiseki meal in Kyoto, Japan – 3 points.
  • Caught your own fish, gutted it yourself and cooked it over an open fire – 2 points.
  • Eaten curry goat with rice ‘n’ peas and dumpling in a beach shack restaurant overlooking the Caribbean Sea – 2 points.
  • Snacked from a bag of fried insects from the Khaosan Road in Bangkok - 1 point each for trying grasshoppers, crickets, silk larvae, weevils or the much-prized scorpions.
  • Eaten a chicken kebab at Bade Miya food stall, Tulloch Road, Mumbai – 5 points. (Give yourself an extra two points if you ate off a car bonnet.)

10 points or less – Your idea of adventurous eating is tucking into your packed lunch before 12 noon on a car ferry. You probably pack supplies of oatcakes and dried fruit on your holiday, just in case the local nosh isn’t up to scratch. Go on, gamble on a local speciality and venture away from that resort restaurant.

25 points or less – You part-time foodie. You might like to book the local destination restaurant on your hols, but that reservation isn’t essential to your overall happiness and the quality of your vacation. So what if the guidebook recommended best-ever sushi/fondue/steak/pizza/currywurst restaurant is closed the weekend you’re in town, the place next door looks just as buzzing and authentic. You could either acknowledge that it’s time to take your foodie-ness to another level, or just relax enjoying the fact that gastronomy is still a pleasure and not an obsession.

26 points or more – You are a gastro tourist, and won’t order so much as a breadstick before checking recommendations on Twitter. Every hotel pillow mint and take-away coffee is recorded in great detail on your ‘trip report’ post on Chowhound. You need to relax a little, start your next holiday by eating one of those pre-prepared paninis on a budget flight. Remember you can’t tweet at 20,000 feet.

So now, it’s over to you. What do you think should go onto the essential ‘gastro tour bingo’ list?

Ramona Andrews is the host of the BBC Food Q&A blog and messageboard.


  • Comment number 1.

    The closest one I come to is the bara birth in Wales. I've had Welsh rarebit in Aled Williams' cafe, does that count? I would have done loads of this stuff, if I could afford to go to these places.

  • Comment number 2.

    Don't knock Rue des Bouchers. Even us locals enjoy Chez Leon, but you need to add an extra point for going to the Delirium Tremens bar afterwards and another point if you can still walk home.

  • Comment number 3.

    Only managed the Cornish pasty and the Greek kalamari....would love to try any or all of the rest!

  • Comment number 4.

    Cornish pastie in Fowey, in fact many, 1pt. Mussels in Brussels (Grande Place) 2pts No rotten fish, yuk! but drank thier very rotten liqourice snapps in Alberg, so deserved 1pt there and singing duely followed 3pts. Guinness, yes easy 2pts. Whitby F&C yes, new years day, the year before last, after a 10 mile walk 2pts not the Magpie extra 1pt for not being redictable! Pastias de nata 2pts in Casais, Estoril, Lisboa, Faro, Sintra, and many, many more in the Algarve (love 'em, local almond liquor in the coffee) where I met my other half, extra 1pt. Boboti in Cape Town cooked by our hired driver/guide and after whale watching in Hermanus too, 3pts. Kalamari lots of times 2 pts. Pastrami in Carneigie Deli, too big so shared with other half, 2pts. Caught tuna and swordfish in seas off Nassau and on the BBQ that same night! 2pts. Total 26 points.

    Hey, I'm a Gastro Tourist and didn't even know it, thanks, woo woo!

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Wow! 15 points scored in Padstow, Brussels, Dublin, Scotland, Marrakech, Borough Market (Ras El Hanout and Chermoula to die for!), New York and Cornwall (again).

    What about ludicrously hot Harrisa and Bric in Sousse, Mayonnaise in Mahon, Smoked Salmon in Norway, Tagine in Morocco?

  • Comment number 7.

    Guessing that answering these quizzes also counts as a food obsession…

    18 points: Cornwall (1), Whitby (2), Islay (2), Portugal (3), Borough market (2), Wales (2), New York (2), Israel (2), Caught fish (2). Said no to insects in Bangkok (not my thing), had kaiseki meal in Tokyo.

  • Comment number 8.

    Cornish pasty; Djamaa El Fna square in Marrakech; Fish and chips; Mansaf; pastéis de natas, Belém; Falafel – awarding myself 2 points, never been to Israel but have eaten them in the souks in Aleppo, Damascus & Beirut; Bobotie (& more to the point, Cape Malay food); Welsh tea; Borough Market; Kalamari; Self caught fish.
    I make that 23
    Why on earth would a foodie buy a rotisserie chicken on the rue Mouffetard, even if it was done in a movie? There is good food, to be had, some great bars, why go for those horrible greasy dives at the metro end? Arguing about the points definitely over-foodie! Oh dear!

  • Comment number 9.

    Smoked beef sandwich and maple syrup icecream in Montreal; lobster in Nova Scotia, blue cod and chips in Kaikoura, New Zealand; sobrosada in Menorca; smoked eels and gjetost in Norway (not together!); fish and chips in Wells-next-the-Sea, or Rick Stein's place in Padstow; cassoulet in Carcassonne; Nasi Goreng in Singapore.

    We just travel in different areas!

    I have had a kaiseki meal in Japan (although not Kyoto) - as well as tempura and okonamiyaki!

  • Comment number 10.

    Can we allow for slight variants? Done the NY deli but it was corned beef not pastrami - still worth the points isn't it? Does the Falafel in the Jewish quarter in Berlin count? I think oysters straight from their beds on Carnac Beach in Brittany is worth two points - an extra point if the French fisherman shucks them for you.

  • Comment number 11.

    WOW, 33 points, should have got extra points for eating a goats head in Djamaa El Fna square in Marrakech and kanafe at 12am in jordan with the rest of the city's male population. There is still so many places to visit and foods to eat.

  • Comment number 12.

    So apparently I'm the world's least adventurous eater...
    No - actually I'm a permanently skint single mum who chooses to try and feed her child properly rather than spend all her money on passports and expensive trips abroad. Snobbery and one-upmanship - not what I had grown to expect from this board. Cheers guys.

  • Comment number 13.

    What a load of tosh

  • Comment number 14.

    BigBlueTruck and Cherrytree. If you don't like the game don't play. O sorry - I forget but sneering is your game and this is part of it!

  • Comment number 15.

    Colin, the last two suffracourgette wingers have also vented thier spleen on the food messageboard too and like a cucumber are repeating on me something rotten. zzzzz. Sadly they seem to missing the point ie GAME!

    If I may be still allowed to play I forgot to mention Paul Bocuse's truffle soup enjoyed in his Lyonnaise restaurant back in 1979 and he gave me the recipe too! Minus 2 points for snobbery;)


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