In some cultures, a fly in one’s soup would elicit compliments, not criticism. There are regions where a cricket in the house is not only good luck, but a good snack. Insects that would have someone clambering to the safety of a chair in one country would make stomachs eagerly growl in another. Here’s a look at how people around the world prepare insects to eat – and it doesn’t bug them at all.

According to a Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations report, insects are the ideal food of the future. The Entomological Society of America asserts that insects are an abundant resource, and also contain more protein and less fat than conventional meats. There are an estimated 1,462 species of edible insects, including arachnids. Insects and arachnids that are savored around the world include crickets, grasshoppers, ants, worms, scorpions and tarantulas. Although insect-eating may be regarded by some as a novelty, 2 billion people worldwide would disagree. They consider insects to be a dietary staple – and even a delicacy.

Insect eating, or entomophagy – a somewhat new term – is a word that cannot be found in the Oxford English Dictionary. Its first usage in relation to human behavior may have occurred as recently as the 1950s. Interestingly, there are no words that equate to entomophagy in the cultures that consume insects, because those peoples don’t distinguish between insects and food. Here are a few of those cultures, and the insects they savor.


Insects have been eaten in Japan since ancient times. This custom was probably initiated in the Japanese Alps, which were filled with edible aquatic insects. Thousands of years ago, the area contained a large human population, but lacked sufficient animal protein. However, the area had no shortage of aquatic insects, so they became a vitally important protein source.

The Japanese still use recipes containing insects. A few of these delectable dishes include boiled wasp larvae, aquatic insect larvae, fried rice with field grasshoppers, fried cicada and fried silk moth pupae.

Kwara State, Nigeria, West Africa

People from this region gobble up termites, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, palm weevil larvae and compost beetle larvae. If they collect numerous termites, the critters are sold at local markets. People of any age are permitted to eat the winged, reproductive termites. The queens, however, are delicacies reserved for adults. To prepare them for consumption, termites are roasted over a fire or hot coals, or fried in a pot. After they’ve finished cooking, the wings are detached, and salt is added to taste.

Crickets are removed from soil tunnels they’ve built, and are roasted over a fire or hot coals. Their insides are removed before eating. There are members of the Yoruba Tribe, however, who believe in taboos related to eating crickets. Many worship the iron god, Ogun, who forbids ingesting animals lacking blood. Others feel that eating crickets is merely childish.

Grasshoppers, however, have no taboos related to them, are eaten by people of a variety of ages, and are more prevalent than crickets. They’re prepared and consumed in a manner similar to that of crickets. There are even some farmers who will eat uncooked grasshoppers, providing that the insides have been removed.

The palm weevil larva is a hefty edible insect. It can be four inches long and over two inches wide. Mature larvae, which are collected from palm tree trunks, are fleshy, grublike, high in fat, and are fried in a pot or frying pan. Supposedly, they’re quite delicious.

The compost beetle larvae can even outsize the palm weevil larvae. Home sweet home, to them, is a garbage heap, manure pile or swampy area. The guts, which are contained in the end of the abdomen, are detached prior to cooking. The larvae are then washed and fried.

The Cirina Forda Westwood larva is regarded as the most important and widely eaten insect in certain areas of Nigeria. Often referred to as Kanni, the insect is a caterpillar collected from the shea butter tree. Before it is eaten, it’s boiled and dried in the sun. In this region, Kanni is popular as a vegetable soup ingredient. The most popular edible bug in Africa, it costs twice as much as beef.


Dragonflies and damselflies are the foie gras and caviar of Bali. But since dragonflies are not going to just fall into someone’s hands, techniques have been developed to catch these aerial acrobats. To capture a dragonfly, latex – a sticky juice from the jackfruit tree – is applied to the end of a slim stick. By tapping the stick against a resting dragonfly, the insect sticks to the plant juice. Catching dragonflies by hand can be a bit trickier – you must be very quick and very quiet.

Dragonflies are sometimes cooked directly on a charcoal grill’s grate. Another popular technique involves boiling dragonflies with ginger, garlic, shallots, chili pepper and coconut milk. Prior to cooking, the insect’s wings are removed, unless they’ll be getting charcoal roasted.

Other countries’ customs

In Cambodia, tarantulas are deep-fried, and are a traditional delicacy. Only the head and body are consumed, since the abdomen is filled with a brown muck containing eggs, organs and waste matter. Silkworms in South Korea are boiled and then offered in small cups at street marketplaces. Another marketplace treat consumed in Mexico are chapulines – spicy grasshoppers roasted with chile and lime. They’re also a popular snack served at sporting events.

In Thailand, mealworms, grasshoppers water bugs – and even scorpions – are served roasted, fried or spiced. In Australia, witchetty grubs – that are as long as a man’s palm – are considered to be a delectable tidbit that can be eaten raw or pan seared. And cockroaches – though not the kind you recoil from in your home – can be toasted, fried, sautéed or boiled. They’re said to taste just like – you guessed it – chicken.

So, in the future, instead of getting ants in your pants or a bee in your bonnet – you just might be eating them from your plate. And liking it.

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Tacos are a fun and versatile food. You can easily get most, if not all, of the main food groups into one serving. Traditionally, the most popular version of tacos are filled with ground beef, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, however it is not uncommon to hear of ground turkey, chicken, or fish tacos as well. 

Tacos can go into either a hard or soft shell. Theoretically, you can fill the hard taco shell or soft flat-bread version with anything you want, even going for the unusual.

In the mood for tacos, but want to try something a little different? Here are some ideas.

Tofu, cheese and beans

Not in the mood for meat, but want to get a good dose of protein? Try sauteing some diced tofu with a bit of onion and garlic with tofu and bean tacos. Firm or extra-firm tofu will work best and any seasoning you sprinkle on the mixture will absorb nicely. Once you cook the tofu to the desired consistency, add your favorite beans to the mix and heat thoroughly. Top your tofu taco with shredded cheddar, or other preferred cheese. 


Sauteed mushroom tacos are another excellent option for vegetarians per Runner’s World. You can toss in with mozzarella or your favorite soft cheese for a unique taste. 

Chickpea tacos

Chickpea tacos are another great meat alternative per Vegetarian Times. The options are many when it comes to chickpeas. You can have chickpeas and rice, chickpeas and corn salsa, or even chickpeas and potatoes (or sweet potatoes for an even more unique taste). Blend with cumin and some chili powder, or experiment with your own flavors.

Pizza flavored tacos

For a kid-friendly option, try building pizza tacos. Substitute the salsa and/or taco mix for a bit of tomato sauce. Simmer in ground beef, turkey, sausage or whatever suits your fancy. Top off your filled shell with your favorite pizza toppings and don’t forget the cheese.

Mix it up!

One of the best things about tacos is that you can get truly creative with the fillings, as the options are limitless. You can combine a blend of flavors to satisfy any craving.

Try barbecued pork with yellow corn and beans sprinkled on top. Or perhaps a bit of stewed or breaded eggplant, topped with mozzarella and sliced black olives. If you don’t like eggplant, try dicing up some breaded chicken cutlets.

Another easy and unique way to prepare an unusual taco is to use leftovers from the night before or whatever is in your fridge. The sky’s the limit! The possibilities are many.

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When new people want to try new things, there is nothing as rewarding as the experience of a French restaurant. Believe me, the French take a pride in their cooking.


Crepes are a real tradition in France, and here they range in varieties from savory crepes made with brown flour, through to the sweeter crepes, served up with Chantilly cream and bananas, chocolate sauces, or your choice of filling. Crepes are a national recipe, and the French excel at making them inventive to the extent that some restaurants in rural France challenge people that want to come and eat to providing inventive fillings for their own original crepes.

A La Carte menus

Here, the customer gets the choice of what is on the menu. It may seem a strange concept that there is any other kind of eating, but believe me, there is. Most French restaurants do a set menu, though the A La Carte menu lets you choose from an exciting range, each restaurant trying to outdo the next. Steaks are traditionally served red, so if you like your steak well cooked be sure to ask for it. Wines to complement the meal are not always easy to choose, and here a good French restaurant will have knowledge of those wines which go with the meal.

Set menus

Set menu restaurants provide a set menu of up to 5 courses at a very reasonable price, and here the French excel, simply because the standard and quantity and value for money are unbeatable. Cooking in this fashion French restaurants are able to offer superb value, with starters, appetizers, main meal, salads, cheeses and dessert. These are the best meals on a day to day basis and I would challenge anyone to provide such quality food at such a price.

Nouveau cuisine 

The nouveau cuisine movement in Paris and elsewhere is fashionable eating at fashionable prices. Believe me, the experience is worth a try, though on a regular basis would be far too expensive. Chefs use inventive ideas to present your food, and what is interesting here is that in between courses you are invited to try little nibbles that the chef has invented and wants feedback on. The nibbles are free, the food isn’t generous and in general although the experience is a fun one, you really don’t get value for money. You do get good original quality, all laid out wonderfully, and there is a certain air of snobbery in nouveau cuisine restaurants, but it makes for a talking point for the next year, which probably justifies the expense.

Farm food

The traditional recipes such as Pot of Fire or a vegetable stew are extremely well cooked, and delicious. These restaurants offer the client traditional recipes at affordable prices, and if you want to try the local delicacies, these really are super restaurants that are proud of their local fresh food and traditional secrets.

A French restaurant doesn’t have to be boring. In France there are many restaurants, and the choice is enormous, and if asked to compare the restaurants in France with the alternative of food choices, then check that the chef is french and if he is, sit back and enjoy your meal.

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Food is a matter of personal taste. Therefore, what I happen to like might not appeal to some other people and visa versa. For those of you who do not know, a cheeseburger is merely a patty of ground meat, usually beef, which is cooked to the desired level per your request. Some kind of cheese is subsequently added to the patty and together they are inserted between two halves of a bun. The end result is called a cheeseburger, which might also contain other condiments, like peppers, mushrooms, onions and lettuce. Some people would rather have horseradish, sour pickles, honey nustard or some such mustard dressing, ketchup, hot sauce, hot peppers and a host of other forms of flavoring. I also like many other combinations the cheeseburgers that I do purchase and have purchased within the past.

American cheese is the most popular kind of cheese as part of the cheeseburger, but any kind of cheese can be added to your sandwich. I prefer pepper jack, blue cheese or Swiss cheese on my hamburger. If you do not already know, at one time or another, the major fast-food chain restaurants all put those other kinds of cheeses on their various kinds of hamburgers.

From my point of view, I like the burgers from all of the fast-food restaurants. You must admit that each cheeseburger is somewhat different in size, shape, meat, cooking process and taste.

Then again, my favorite cheeseburger is a variety known as a Swiss burger. Briefly, that is a meat patty topped with Swiss cheese and also added to the sandwich is tartar sauce, grilled onions, mushrooms and lettuce. The half pound size ground beef patty cooked to the level of being well done is my meat of choice. I could eat one of those each day for the rest of my life, but few restaurants make such a delight. I have to custom order, beside the beef patty, what I want on my sandwich and most restaurants are most agreeable with that request.

You see, they most certainly want my business and I was never disappointed with their final result, no matter what kind of bun that they use to complete the construction of my most favorite cheeseburger. As a matter of fact, rye bread, Texas toast, Italian bread or even pita bread is perfectly fine with me.

So you know, any kind of French fries on the side is also quite agreeable with me. You should also know that I am not an expert in fine dining. Then again, the simplest foods served hot right from the grill and fryer is perfectly fine with me.

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Texans do everything big. Big hats, big belt buckles, big tires on our trucks, and of course food is no exception. Texans love their food, and love sharing it too. There is something wonderful about having great friends over to share a table full of fresh food on a warm Texas evening. No matter if you live in the Lone Star State or just want to bring a little taste of Texas to your guests, a large Texas dinner party will be sure to be something that everyone will enjoy.

The first thing about Texas food that you have to think about is the meat. Texas is known for delicious BBQ, steak, chili, and, well, just about anything else made from cattle. That said, beef products will be something that guests will expect to see at your party. Barbecuing a brisket is demanding work, requiring knowing how to season the meat, hours of making sure a mesquite-fired pit is kept at just the right temperature to keep the meat from drying out and a good working knowledge of how to make good, Texas-style sauce (or at least know where to get a bottle of it). Serving guests a dried out brisket covered in KC Masterpiece will not give them a true Texas experience, so you may want to steer clear of this unless you really know what you are doing.

Steak dinners are great ideas, but remember the good cuts. T-bones and ribeyes are what you are going for, and let it bathe in Shiner Bock and your choices of spices for a “good long while” (Texan for quite a bit of time). Cook these slabs of beef just long enough for medium rare, allowing everyone a nice, juicy steak that requires no sauce.

If you are going to serve chili, do it right. Texas chili is made without beans, usually without tomato sauce (I like mine with a few chunks of tomato), with a little garlic, and always with plenty of chili powder. Other spices are added for the taste that you like and will require experimentation. The meat can be either in chunks or coarsely ground, it is up to you. Serve your chili in bowls, with saltine crackers, and only in the winter.

Another great idea for beef is to use hot links for your dinner. They are easy (just heat them in the pan), and they are also pretty cheap.

Beef is certainly not the limit for red meat in Texas. Many Texans eat the venison they shot themselves or their friends share it with them. Venison is incredibly low in fat, making it very healthy. It also has great flavor and can be used many ways. The neck and forelegs make great chili meat. You can use the backstraps and tenderloins by seasoning them with a dry rub to lock in the moisture and either grilling or pan searing them. The hams can be used for delicious roasts, including my German-style roast that can be found right here. Sausages made of venison can be used for popular appetizers as well. Serve deer in late November through February, to make sure that the meat is still fairly fresh.

Pork is another great favorite in Texas. Breaded pork chops are a classic Southern dish, and you can grill them to make them healthier. You can take pork a step further by using feral hogs, animals that can be found all over Texas and the South. You can use the hams on wild hogs for delicious roasts, and the backstraps and tenderloins are simply fantastic. There is an open season on Texas feral hogs, so serving them any time of the year would be quite appropriate.

Texans love eating birds too. Chicken is usually served fried. Bread it with a flour and egg mixture, then fry it until the batter is just a little crispy. “Chicken-fried chicken” is almost always served with white gravy. Dove are popular game animals in Texas, so if you can get your hands on plenty of dove breasts then wrapping them in bacon and marinating them in Italian dressing before grilling them will give you a great Texas appetizer. Quail are commonly eaten as well, and they are usually grilled by the half.

Fish is a popular summer food in Texas. Anglers love bringing home bass, catfish, and crappie. Frying the fish in a cornmeal batter is a go-to choice. I also like to coat my fish in a layer of salsa followed by cheese and tortilla chips and then bake it in the oven. “Salmon patties” and “salmon fritters” (pronounced SAL-mon in many places in Texas) are also a great idea for a fish meal. They are made with canned salmon mixed with egg, cornmeal, and seasonings and are fried in small patties until the outside is just a little crispy.

Next comes the bread. For steaks and wild game it would be best to serve rolls. My personal suggestion would be the frozen rolls that come in a pie pan. They melt in your mouth and guests will want plenty. Cornbread is the right choice for hot links or meals heavily-focused on vegetables. Make it in a pie pan. You do not have to, but it gives guests a feeling of rustic East Texas when you use one and serve the cornbread in wedges. Use biscuits for fried chicken and pork chops. Biscuits in Texas are served with either fruit preserves or honey for dinner meals.

Vegetables give you endless options in Texas. Texans grow plenty of them fresh, and you have all sorts of options for sides with them.

Beans are a staple of most Texan diets. Pinto beans are usually the bean of choice. True Texas beans always have thick juices and are sweet and spicy.

Potato salad is another Texas favorite. Made with large chunks of potatoes that have been boiled to be slightly al dente, it also includes mustard, mayonnaise, pepper, celery salt, and sometimes small chunks of pickles. It varies by region and is a very versatile side and can be served with almost any main course.

If you are serving chicken, fried fish, or BBQ then you may want to include coleslaw. Standard coleslaw, with its thick, white dressing is perfectly acceptable, but German-style coleslaw from the German communities in Central Texas works too.

Fried okra and squash are great for meals that include a lot of down home, Southern flavor. Sliced tomatoes and onions can also be served, as many Texans eat these fresh with many meals.

Dessert is one of the most exciting parts of a Texas dinner. In the summer you should serve peach or blackberry cobbler. Note that you should always get the peaches fresh and never canned, and blackberries picked wild will give you the height of freshness. A spoonful of vanilla ice cream can be added on top as well. In the winter you can make a delicious pecan (pronounced pe-khan, not pea-can) pie. Banana pudding is another Texas favorite, with Nilla Wafers being mandatory to go along with it for the full effect. 

Drinks are also important. Sweet tea is almost mandatory, as Texans drink it like water. Dr Pepper, made right in Texas, can be included as well. Texans also love Coca-Cola products, so grab a 12 pack. Texas beers, such as Shiner Bock (or Black or any of their other beers to suit your taste), Lone Star, and Southern Star should be on the menu if you plan to serve alcohol.

When serving your party in true Texas style, you should always have family style meals. Lay your food out on the table and allow everyone to take their portion while passing each plate around. Make extra, as people may want seconds. Serving the food in the pot, pan, etc that it was cooked in is perfectly acceptable for all but the most formal Texas dinners. Serve appetizers, I would reccomend salmon patties, dove breast, or grilled bacon-wrapped, cream cheese-filled jalapenos, to get your guests excited while the rest of the meal is almost finished. If you really want to get the full Texas experience, make sure to offer your guests seconds and thirds before their plates are even close to empty. Good Texan hosts make it a point of pride to make sure that their guests do not leave the table still hungry.

Consider playing some Texas country music as your guests arrive and during your meal at a level that still allows for normal conversation. Remember that Rascall Flatts, Taylor Swift, and Toby Keith are not Texas. George Straight, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Robert Earl Keen, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Randy Rogers are. It is a distinct sound and is important for authenticity.

Have fun making your Texas dinner for friends and family. Whether you are in Dallas or NYC you can have a great Lone Star experience right in your own home.

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Texans love our “cookin'”. In the spirit of “everything being bigger”, we have one of the widest varieties of cuisine anywhere. Cultural influences from all over Europe, the Southern States, Mexico, and increasingly more and more Asian cultures help shape a culinary tradition wider than a West Texas sunset. There are the Texan staples of chili, steak, barbecue, and chicken fried steak that stand out so much in the minds of people outside of the Lone Star State, but wild game and regional delicacies are also very important parts of the Texan culinary tradition.

Chili, being the official state food, is an almost essential part of any Texas winter, where Texans want something to warm themselves from the “frigid” temperatures that may hover around the freezing point. Traditionally made with meat that has been either ground or cut into bite-sized chunks, properly-made chili also includes plenty of chili powder and other spices. Tomatoes are optional, but beans are not to be included in traditional chili. It is usually served in bowls with cheese and onions on top and saltine crackers on the side.

The leader in beef production needs to boast this with great steaks. Cooked over propane, charcoal, or a smoky wood like Mesquite, Texans love their steak. There is almost always a steakhouse in any Texas town you visit, and some take their meat to extremes, like the steakhouse in Amarillo that serves a 72 ounce porterhouse and will give it to you free if you can finish it, your salad, potato, roll, and glass of sweet tea in an hour.

Barbecue is something that people from Texas, Kansas City, Tennessee, and South Carolina will always argue over. Each place thinks they make the best, but Texans have quite a claim to this. Texans love their beef brisket, and slow cook it for hours to get a piece of meat that literally falls apart. Smoked with a sauce that is a great mix of spicy with just a little sweetness, It is sold by the pound in many restaurants, while others serve a specified pre-priced amount of slices or chopped beef. BBQ sandwiches, popular for their low cost, are usually made with chopped beef and are best eaten smothered in sauce. Chicken, sausage, and sometimes quail are also popular alternatives that are all equally delicious in their own way. Texas barbecue even influences the beer, with Shiner’s Smokehaus brew that, in the words of my brother, “tastes like you’re drinking barbecue.”

Chicken frying is a very popular style of preparing meat in Texas and the rest of the South. The process of chicken frying beef, deer, or any other meat is almost identical to making fried chicken. The batter is made with eggs and flour, it is coated thick over the meat, and is then fried until the batter is nice and crispy. Chicken fried steaks (or chicken fried chicken…you would think it is a redundant name until you have had it) is usually served with a thick cream gravy made with milk, flour, and fat and usually seasoned heavily with black pepper. Remember to always call it by its proper name. It is “chicken fried”, not “country fried”. Texans usually judge and avoid restaurants that call it by the latter and quite improper name.

Wild game can be found all over Texas. Many Texans live for the moment when the sun comes up on September 1st to mark the start of dove season, the chilly days of November and December for deer season, and those days where they decide to make good use of the all-year, no limit feral hog season. Other animals, such as quail, pheasant, duck, pronghorn antelope, and alligator are hunted in Texas regions that those animals thrive in, but the first three animals are the ones most consumed by Texas hunters and those lucky enough to know a hunter willing to share.

Dove is hunted not only for the challenge of hitting a small, fast bird, but also for the tender breast meat that makes a fine appetizer. Usually wrapped in bacon, dove breast is left on the bone and is grilled or broiled in the oven. Some people also marinate it in Italian dressing to further lock in the flavor.

Venison is eaten in a variety of ways. The hams are usually roasted slowly over low heat to keep the meat from drying out. The back straps and tenderloins, usually known as the best parts of the deer, are grilled or pan seared and have immense flavor. Deer ribs are commonly chicken fried, as there is little meat on them and it would dry up if cooked other ways. Other parts of the deer are usually ground to make chili or sausages.

Feral hogs have overrun much of Texas after years of living in the wild. They do a great deal of damage to properties ranging from farms to golf courses. Texas has an open season on these destructive beasts, and hunters use rifles, shotguns, pistols, dogs, knives, traps, and now helicopters to take them down. People will often pay hunters to come kill the hogs on their land. These destructive critters multiply like rabbits, and the old saying is that “for every six piglets that are born, seven survive”. Along with being a fun adventure for many hunters seeking different ways to hunt with a little danger involved, hog meat is also incredibly delicious. Eaten much like deer, hogs can also be used for their bacon, and pork chops a plenty can be had with a successful hunt.

Regional cuisine in Texas varies from place to place. East Texas (essentially everything east of Dallas) has a strong culinary connection to the rest of the South. Pork chops, catfish, cornbread, and fresh vegetables are all staples here. Central Texas has varying cuisines, with local German and Czech populations giving Texans the chance to have authentic schnitzels, bratwurst, kolaches, and other fare from the old world. The Gulf Coast offers a wide range of seafood, both commercially and recreationally caught. Mexican food in Texas varies by region, with many cities further south offering authentic Mexican food like menudo and carne guisada and places further north offering “Tex-Mex”, which is nothing but Mexican food which has been “Americanized”. In cities like Houston, Richardson, Killeen, and College Station there is a large population of Asian immigrants who have their own markets and restaurants to suit their tastes. You might not expect to be able to get great bulgogi or pho in the same place as you would some of America’s best BBQ, but you would be surprised if you really go out and see the “little Seoul” and “little Saigon”s that have sprung up in Texas cities.

Along with food, Texans have to have great drinks. Dr. Pepper is headquartered here, and it, as well as Dublin Dr Pepper that is made with sugar cane instead of corn syrup, is very popular. Sweet tea is a must in many homes and dining establishments, and Texans will often drink it like water.

Texans are passionate about beer and wine. Breweries like Shiner, Lone Star, (512), St Arnold, and Southern Star all grace Texas with great beers. Almost any sort of beer imaginable is made in Texas, from the standard Shiner Bock to the specialty (512) Pecan Porter (think Guinness with notes of pecan). Texas also has several wineries, with most common wine styles being produced here.

Of course it would be wrong to not mention Whataburger when talking about Texas food. Whataburger is more than just a hamburger joint. It is a part of Texas culture. Texans love Whataburger and often have traditions of coming to these orange and white buildings after high school football games, church, or after a long night of partying with friends. Whataburgers are open 24/7, and serve their wide, mustard and mayonnaise-clad hamburgers, “Whatachicken” sandwiches, chicken strips, and the rest of their lunch and dinner menu all day and night. Breakfast, with favorites such as taquitos and the “breakfast on a bun”, is served right alongside the rest of the menu from 11pm to 11am.

Texas has a cuisine that is as large as the state itself. Texans will know exactly what I mean, and people outside of the Lone Star State would be well-served to come find out.

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It has to be said, Armthorpe despite being the birth place of Kevin Keegan, is a rather less salubrious part of Doncaster when compared to say, Bessacarr or Bawtry. That’s not being mean, just realistic, so it’s a pleasant surprise to see Elachi with its smoked-glass windows and ultra-modern interior nestling alongside a dreary-looking shopping mall.

Proudly announcing its Bangladeshi heritage (in fact, most Indian restaurants in the UK are of Bangladeshi origin), Elachi has slowly been gaining prominence in the local Curry scene. Some achievement considering Doncaster is now one of the top ten Curry ‘hot-spots’ in England. Hot-spot? See what I did there?

For a Thursday night, it was much more busy than we expected but we were seated straight away. Drinks were dispatched and menus perused. Starters were priced up to about a fiver, mains upwards of seven pounds and most of it was typical curry house fayre. Biryani, Dhansak, Madras, Tikka Massala, are all present and correct. It’s no bad thing of course as it’s all down to the implementation and everyone has their favourites don’t they?

The obligatory popadoms and pickle tray were priced at 50 pence and two quid respectively so we were on the back foot straight away. A lot of the Indian restaurants we frequent usually provide some kind of condiment for free. Oh well, never mind, as the popadoms and pickles were delicious and obviously home-made. A bonus point straight away. The yoghurt and mint raita was singled out for it’s combination of soothing yoghurt coolness spiked with a pleasant warming spice. A very nice dip indeed and we were disappointed when the ceramic dishes were taken away.

Don’t judge us as we were absolutely ravenous, but we ordered starters as well as mains. I fancied the Mirchi Paneer at a tad under a fiver which was bread-crumbed chillies filled with cheese and then deep-fried. My wife went for the Chicken Chat, again at just under a fiver. The Chat was a lovely dish, served on a warm flat-bread and a dreary-looking salad on the side (the same one as served with my starter, incidentally). Ignoring the salad, small pieces of chicken were wrapped in a rich, full-flavoured sauce and the bread was outstanding. Not too spicy and well within my wife’s ‘hotness’ tolerance but still packing a neat heat kick. A great starter and the best dish of the night.

My Mirchi Paneer was not so great. It only took one glance at the plate to realise they had been plucked from the freezer. Bread crumbs do not freeze well, becoming very dense and unbreadcrumb-like when fried. The resulting dish was unspectacular to say the least. It tasted reasonable enough and had a very spicy sweet chilli sauce drizzled over the top but I couldn’t help thinking it was just a Jalapeno popper that I can get in any chain-restaurant Tex-Mex joint. I’ve had fried Paneer before that verged on the sublime but this one smacked of laziness.

We had barely finished putting the cutlery down on the starter plates when they were whisked away and our mains were presented before us. I went for one of the house specialities Nawab Bangla which is a dish of tikka chicken in a sauce of minced beef with peppers and chillies and a nice dish it was too. Quite unusual and reminded me of a spicy ragu sauce with bits of chicken in. That’s a bit unfair and I am underselling it as it was a solid dish. The chicken was lost in translation slightly being surrounded by such a meaty, beefy sauce but it all came together well and not quite as disjointed as it sounds.

My wifes Lamb Passanda was also good with the lamb benefitting from a long-slow braise. The highly-coloured sauce was just a little too sweet though and became tiresome before the end was reached.

The Nan bread was lovely, as good as we’ve tasted in an Indian restaurant and the rice adequately cooked. Chips were, well, frozen but cooked decent enough, seasoned and we didn’t eat a whole lot of them. Come on, do Indian restaurants really need to serve chips any more? I wouldn’t have thought so. Didn’t stop us ordering them though so we’re to blame as well.

Service was exceptional, a little too exceptional in fact. We couldn’t help feeling more than a little rushed and our dining experience came in under an hour. For a fifty quid, three-course (almost) meal, that *is* quick. We would have preferred a little more time to digest each course and as a result, we took home more in a takeaway bag than we ate at the table.

To conclude, Elachi is doing some things well, and others, not so well. The Chicken Chat was outstanding and the home-made pickles were a delight. The mains, in particular my chicken dish, were good solid examples. It’s a shame these high-points were let down by a poor starter, unimaginative accompaniments and over-hurried service. A little more attention to detail and Elachi will stand out from the crowd.

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Over the last couple of weeks it has been so humid in Warsaw I haven’t really felt like cooking any food at all so we have been living off various types of salads. On Friday evening my husband decided to be adventurous and booked a table for two at an Indonesian restaurant on ul. Jasna. Number 22 to be precise. It’s a long time since I have eaten Indonesian food and wasn’t really sure what to expect but he had been told that this cuisine at the Galeria Bali was authentic.

Driving in the city is a nightmare at the weekend so we hopped on a tram into the centre of town and then had a short walk to the restaurant. As we walked down ul. Jasna I could see the front of the restaurant lit up with silver fairy lights and gold statuettes of Indonesian icons. This all looked bizarre and as we entered the interior I did wonder if the decor inside was going to be over the top.

I felt myself smiling as it was like walking on to a set from the King and I and I expected Yul Brynner to come from behind the bar and do a little dance on the wooden floor. Gold Buddhas and praying monks were dotted around the restaurant and wooden carvings adorned the walls. Rays of golden light sifted through the hand made coconut lamps and Indonesian music drifted quietly in the background.

A very tall young Polish waiter came towards us dressed in full Bali attire. The fabric of his garment was beautiful – batik with gold embroidery on the sleeves. Although the traditional dress was lovely this young man didn’t look quite right in it – far too tall I think. I was a little disappointed that all the waiters were Polish and not from Bali.

Our waiter was very polite and showed us to a table in the corner of the room on the right hand side of the restaurant. The table was facing a window which overlooked the street and had a gold Buddha sat on the window sill. The icon was posed in prayer. The table was set for 4 and everything seemed over sized. As I sat at the table I felt like I was in that scene in Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. My chair had a very high back and the plates which were painted gold and only for decoration were huge as were the glasses. At the side of my plate was a gold serviette folded through a gigantic imitation ruby ring. I assumed that all the decorations were from Bali but to be honest I didn’t really like any of them. They were rather vulgar and tacky.

Once we had sat down the waiter came with the menu and this was a joke. It was the size of an Encyclopedia Britannica and just as heavy. While I was trying to balance the menu on my lap the waiter cleared the table of all the gimmicky decorations and re-set it. This I thought was strange and a little annoying. Skipping through the menu I began to wonder whether the food was going to be freshly cooked or microwaved because there is no way a chef would be able to work with a menu of that size.

While we were deciding what to order food wise the waiter took our drinks order which was two large glasses of beer. These came straight away served on a tray. Cold, delicious Polish draught beer. No complaints here except for the price – 12 zloty per glass which is the equivalent of 2.50. I know this isn’t expensive by UK standards but it is for Poland.

After studying the menu which seemed to take ages we finally chose our starters, a bowl of Soto Ayam and a plate of Ayam Satays. Soto Ayam is a chicken soup flavoured with coconut, lemon grass, shallot onions chili and kaffir leaves. As the waiter came from the kitchen with the soup on a tray I could smell the lemon grass straight away. It is a refreshing sweet smell and as this was my husband’s starter I was dying to try some. The bowl the soup was served in was very attractive – a highly glazed type of pottery – probably faience. My husband started to tuck in and then the satays arrived so I didn’t get a chance to try his soup until later.

The chicken satays were a little disappointing. Four pieces came served on a plate with a cucumber salad and a small pot of peanut sauce. The chicken was well cooked and very tasty. I could tell that the meat had been marinated in a spicy paste but not in peanut butter. I prefer the chicken to be cooked in a peanut sauce – not to have it separately. The salad was very nice, consisting of shallots, cucumber and bean sprouts which had been dressed in a mixture of lime juice, chili and sesame oil. As there were 4 satays I saved two for my husband and we swapped plates so I could eat some of his soup.

What did we think of the soup – not a lot! It was a very large bowl and I knew that it was too much liquid for one person to eat. Again, the pieces of chicken were very smooth and tender but the taste of the soup was dominated by lemongrass and coconut which was far too sweet and sickly for me. There was a slight hint of ginger in the soup which gave it a bit of zing but overall I wasn’t impressed with the flavour. I will give the soup 4/10 and the chicken satay’s 7/10. Price of the satays was 30 zloty which is 6 and the soup cost 25 zloty (5).

As the menu was so vast I struggled to make a choice and made a big mistake by ordering a chicken dish. In retrospect I should have ordered a beef or pork dish. The dish I ordered was Ayam Jawa which is a yellow chicken curry. The curry was presented to me in a large earthenware bowl which was highly glazed and very attractive. Inside the bowl was an enormous amount of sliced boneless chicken floating around in a sauce made from yellow curry paste. The aromas from the dish were wonderful but the taste wasn’t. I can’t fault the delicate taste of the chicken pieces and I did taste shallots, bean sprouts and a touch of cumin. But the overall taste was bland and the texture of the sauce was watery. I wanted to enjoy my meal but I found myself twirling my fork around the dish and eating very slowly. A sure sign that I wasn’t enjoying my food. My husband kept asking me if everything was okay and I just nodded my head and sweetly smiled because I didn’t want to put him off his food.

So what did my husband order? On this occasion he had the savvy to order something different than chicken. He ordered Beef fillet with ginger and oranges. Sounds exquisite but was it? It smelt delicious and looked exotic and the taste was not bad at all. You know why? There wasn’t any coconut or lemon grass added to the ingredients. I also liked the carrots and shallots which are a nice colourful combination together with the zesty orange sauce. Yes, the beef dish gets the thumbs up. To accompany both of our dishes we had a bowl of steamed jasmine rice which was cooked to perfection. soft and not sticky – just the way it should be. Rice side dishes cost 7 zloty (1.50).

I didn’t finish all of my chicken yellow curry as I really didn’t enjoy it and I felt bloated so when the waiter asked me if I wanted the dessert menu I definitely said NO. We didn’t order wine either with the meal because it is very expensive in restaurants here in Warsaw and I begrudge paying through the nose for wine.

Prices for both main meals were; 59 zloty for the beef dish (12) and 49 zloty for the chicken curry (10).

I really wanted to enjoy the food served in the Galeria Bali but I didn’t. If this is classed as authentic cuisine then I am very disappointed with it. It is very bland and most chicken dishes seem dominated by lemon grass and coconut. Perhaps this is the norm for these types of dishes – I don’t know as I am not an expert on the cuisine of Bali, Burma and Java.

As for the decor of the restaurant it is well presented but just too tacky for my individual taste. The waiting staff were polite but didn’t seem to have much charisma. I think it may be another one of Warsaw’s restaurants that fades away into the distance. On the other hand if you like Buddha statuettes, praying monks, batik and gilded masks then this might be for you.

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Basically, this recipe is for the infamous “Chicken Phall” well-known at the Brick Lane restaurant in New York; designed to set your mouth on fire!  

Gather these ingredients: 


Diced chicken

Scotch bonnets  


A mixture of normal chilies and peppers




Careful chopping up the Scotch Bonnets because just the vapor will make your cry and irritate your skin.

Casserole all of the above and bake for an hour-and-halfish on 170 stirring every twenty minutes. Muck around with the weights and measures – this is still nice as  a mild curry so you’d skip the habaneras for that. 

Also, never over do it with the ketchup because this makes it too sweet, you’ll get it right in the end.  Put mild curry powder in for flavor – don’t need the strong stuff as the chilly peppers will deal with that. 

Serve with rice and a huge dollop of natural yogurt if you need to cool the curry down. The hottest form of curry, the Phall – meaning fire – originated in the Indian restaurants in the UK using the large quantities of standard chili peppers, habanero chilies and even the scotch bonnet!

The Brick Lane Curry House in New York has a “P’Hall of Fame” providing customers with a free beer and certificate when they have completed the meal. Described on Brick Lane Curry House’s menu as “an excruciatingly hot curry, more pain and sweat than flavor. For our customers who do this on a dare, we will require you to state a verbal disclaimer not holding us liable for any physical or emotional damage after eating this curry.”

Scorchingly hot, you will shed tears, suffer pain and sweat it all out; the only way to eat the infamous “Phall” is to scoff the thing as quickly as possible and then run for it!

Brick Lane is really a street in the East End of London and is the heart of the city’s expatriate Bangladeshi community. Sometimes called Banglatown it is famous for its many curry houses and the name was derived from the brick and tiles manufactured there dating back to the fifteenth-century.

Synonymous now with “curry” the Brick Lane area was important in the second wave of development of the fusion between Anglo-Indian cuisine. Alcohol is often not sold in some of these places will not sell alcohol because many are run by Muslims though the area is now becoming more vibrant and fashionable with students and offers considerable exhibition space for artists. 

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Amaro is a lovely restaurant in the old part of Merida in the Yucatan in Mexico. You eat in the courtyard of an 18th century colonial style house; it is located just one block from the more expensive main plaza and just off of the lively Calle 60 (with lots of bars and live music at weekends). As well as a range of international dishes it also has a huge selection of local Yucatan dishes that you won’t find elsewhere in Mexico or Central America. There is also a lot of vegetarian choice, which is great as I had eaten cheese quesadillas two days in a row. Ingredients include Chaya which is like spinach and unique to the region. Sadly that was off the menu on the night we dined there, and I never saw it on a menu again.

There were several other dishes that were not available on the menu, and whilst this is frustrating there are plenty of other options available. However, wherever restaurants have fresh ingredients you can run the risk of something not being available, particularly in this part of the world and I think I would rather have this than something ready prepared and just heated up. Amaro does claim to always use fresh ingredients.

They have a range of licouardos which are fruit drinks with milk or purified water. Often they are large and quite filling. They also offered Mexican wine, which I was keen to try but they did not have any chilled so we had to plump for the more expensive Chilean wines. Subsequently I tried the same Mexican wine as they offered and can confirm it is worth paying that bit extra for the Chilean varieties! The wine we had was delicious and probably cost the equivalent of 10 which is quite expensive compared to the food. The local wine was about 5-6 a bottle. They also offer a good range of cocktails and local and imported beers.

They did a large range of starters, which I did not have. Judging by the size of them they were almost meals in themselves but very reasonably priced at the equivalent of just a few British pounds and include nachos and salad.

Dishes to look out for include those that come with mole sauce. Fear not, veggies, this is not a sauce made of small, blind subterranean dwelling mammals but a spicy chocolate sauce made from Mexican chocolate. Regrettably I didn’t try this and also never saw it on menus outside of Merida. Other specialties include Aubergine Meshe which is basically a stuffed aubergine with cheese and a local white sauce served with rice. Some of our party ordered this and found it delicious. They also did vegetarian fajitas but I plumped for an Aubergine curry. This is nothing like an Indian curry at home but more of a mild, creamy tomato based sauce with cheese and rice. I thought it was absolutely gorgeous and an absolute bargain at $62 (approx 3.00). This was a typical price for a veggie meal, with meat and fish dishes coming in at a pound or two more.

The meat dishes include typical dishes like enchiladas and fajitas, as well as grilled chicken with mole sauce, beef dishes and local fish dishes. Most dishes are served with rice and frijoles which are refried beans and will appear everywhere throughout Mexico and Central America. You can easily get bored with them! They also have a range of pizzas and some varied salads.

There are English versions of the menu, though not all the staff are fluent, they are happy to help with questions. Don’t expect service to be as prompt as in the UK, this is also typical of the region as a whole.

We ate there on a Sunday night; I believe they have live music on some other nights of the week.

I would heartily recommend this restaurant on many counts not just do you have a varied and exclusive menu offering local dishes freshly prepared but it is in a beautiful and romantic setting. They also cater easily for groups, and I would suggest booking if you are in the area over a weekend.

Restaurante Amaro
Calle 59 por 60 y 62 Centro Histrico.
Mrida Yucatn Mxico
Tel: (999) 928-24-5

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