Travel

Chef Andrew Zimmern's dishes that define a destination

Picks by chef Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations on TLC Southeast Asia

Chef Andrew Zimmern, known for travelling the globe to discover the most unique tastes, is back with Season 5 of Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations, which airs Monday at 9.55pm on TLC Southeast Asia.

This time, the US celebrity chef is travelling to popular holiday destinations to uncover the most exotic and iconic local dishes that define the location and reveal the secrets and stories behind these legendary meals.

Here is Zimmern's guide to foodie spots you should visit when you are in.


SANTORINI, GREECE

 
 

A popular honeymoon destination, Santorini's picturesque Aegean Sea holds much allure for travellers.

Besides frolicking by the beach, make sure to head to The Fishermans' Cave House on the southern end of the island for their famed kakavia or fish stew. Named after the kakavi, a three-legged Greek cooking pot fishermen used at sea, Santorini's version of fish stew uses sea bream, local vegetables such as zucchini and tomatoes, which have a smoky flavour due to the island's volcanic ash soil, and a healthy splash of olive oil.

Another must-try when you are in the Mediterranean is grilled octopus.

According to Chef Zimmern, Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna, which he visited in an episode, is the best place to sample this staple mezze, a selection of small dishes.

This place cleans the octopus with sea water, infusing it with salt at the same time, and then slow grills it before dressing it with vinegar, oregano and olive oil.

HELSINKI, FINLAND

Chef Andrew Zimmern's dishes that define a destination
PHOTOS: TLC SOUTHEAST ASIA
Chef Andrew Zimmern's dishes that define a destination
PHOTOS: TLC SOUTHEAST ASIA

Helsinki is a vibrant and progressive seaside city with modern style and rustic tastes.

A trip to "the pearl of the Baltic Sea" will not be complete without a taste of fresh seafood such as the rapu, a freshwater crayfish that is boiled and served whole.

If you are there during summertime, do not miss out on the rapujuhlat, a traditional crayfish feast. Many consider Restaurant Sarkanlinna, located in a fortress on the island of Sarkka, the place to go for this traditional delicacy.

Another national treasure is the vorschmack, a unique mix of minced beef, lamb and pickled herring that is served as an appetiser or a main dish. Legend has it that the vorschmack was introduced to Finland by war hero and gourmand Marshall Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim at the Restaurant Savoy overlooking the Helsinki Esplanade.

Intense in flavour and served with baked potato, beetroot, pickles and a dollop of smetana (sour cream), the traditional recipe has not changed much since the dish was first served in the 1940s.

Finns are big fans of pastries, and the classic Karelian pie is a must-try. An open, thin rye crust pastry filled with savoury rice porridge and crowned with eggs and butter, this delicious and salty snack is best paired with strong aromatic coffee.

Stop by Cafe Ekberg, Finland's oldest patisserie-cafe, for a bite of this Finnish favourite.

VENICE, ITALY

Chef Andrew Zimmern's dishes that define a destination
PHOTOS: TLC SOUTHEAST ASIA
Chef Andrew Zimmern's dishes that define a destination
PHOTOS: TLC SOUTHEAST ASIA

Considered one of the most romantic and most visited destinations in the world, this Italian city is best known for its charming waterways and canals.

Apart from the popular tourist sights, one of the best kept secrets of Venice is its food.

A birthplace of many Italian favourites, there is no better way to kick-start your Venetian food adventure than with the classic beef carpaccio at La Cantina.

Prepared using lean cuts of tenderloin that has been aged to enhance its flavour, the meat is expertly sliced so it is 3mm thick and spritzed with seawater so it retains its tender texture.

Next up on the list is pasta alla granseola or tagliolini tossed with spider crab meat. The granseola (crab) is first boiled till tender before being sauteed with olive oil, garlic and onion.

To add a hint of sweetness, the crab meat is also flambeed in white wine and brandy.

For this local speciality, Chef Zimmern highly recommends dining at the Poste Vecie, a restaurant that has served up quintessential Venetian dishes since 1992.

To round-off the perfect Italian getaway, one must make the trek to the town of Treviso, a 20-minute drive from Venice, to sample its tiramisu.

Touted as the birthplace of tiramisu, Le Beccherie is the ultimate spot to savour the espresso-infused dessert.

MANHATTAN, US

Chef Andrew Zimmern's dishes that define a destination
PHOTOS: TLC SOUTHEAST ASIA
Chef Andrew Zimmern's dishes that define a destination
PHOTOS: TLC SOUTHEAST ASIA

Mention New York and Manhattan is usually the first place that comes to mind.

Manhattan, the borough that never sleeps, is home to world-famous attractions and top-notch restaurants.

Don't miss out on classic deli fare like the pastrami, corned beef and matzo ball soup from Sarge's Delicatessen & Diner, a 24-hour Jewish deli that opened in 1964.

Its fourth-generation owner churns out 590kg of brisket a week for hungry New Yorkers.

Another Jewish snack that Chef Zimmern recommends when in Manhattan is the knish, a comforting blend of mashed potatoes, onions and seasoning.

He describes the knish from Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery as light, fluffy and absolute perfection.

For those with a sweet tooth, the black and white cookie from Zaro's Family Bakery is a must-try.

Evenly coated with chocolate and vanilla fondant, it is the iconic symbol of New York in one bite.

TOURISM & TRAVEL