Biting USA — America’s Best Food Destinations

***This is post was contributed by Dial a Flight.


From the fresh seafood of New England to the iconic BBQ of the Lone Star state, or the lavish hotel buffets of Las Vegas, to the sidewalk hot dogs of NYC, or even in the city that has it all and people booking flights to Orlando, the USA boasts an intimidatingly delicious global melting pot of cultures and cuisines. A reputation for large portions and fast service might be misleading; the assumption often being that emphasis is on quantity, not quality. Those who have sampled molecular gastronomy, sushi or haute cuisine in any of America’s cities will know this to be anything but the case. Read on for a sampling of some of the most iconic stateside fare.


Jambalaya on the Bayou

Louisiana Creole cuisine is as wild and spicy as its carnival, a blend of French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Native American and African influences. The best time to eat in New Orleans is in fall, when the ingredients tossed into the thick, rich gumbo and colorful jambalaya are at their best. For a superior sampling of some traditional tastes The Royal House Oyster Bar or Galatoire’s are both a good bet.


Key Lime on the Keys

The sunshine state yields dishes influenced by Jamaican and Caribbean cuisine, with the emphasis on sweet, tropical fruits, seafood, freshness, sizzle and spice. Stone crabs, conch, key lime pie and orange juice may all sound familiar, but intrepid foodies should also try something new. Deep-fried gator tail, anyone?


The Steak Sandwich

The Steak Sandwich is a 5-Star Treat!


Cliché and frivolity in the windy city

For a typical all-American meal, you can’t beat Chicago, where the triumvirate of USA cliché cuisine — pizza, burgers, and the steak sandwich — has been perfected. To dine out on cheesy slabs of perfection, make for one of the city’s downtown diners. For a fresh and frivolous degustation, on the other hand, Alinea will blow your mind, with its helium-filled floating apple balloons, or its fourteen texture dishes.


There’s nowhere like the States for culinary diversity. It would be a crying shame to stick to the fast food outlets you can find anywhere, so stray from the beaten path, seek out tradition and provenance for your plate, and your palate will thank you for it.



Image by adactio, used under Creative Commons license. 


Cuba A Cultural Mix

***This is post was contributed by Holiday Hypermarket.


Christopher Columbus pronounced that Cuba was the “most beautiful land that human eyes had ever seen” when discovering the island in 1492. Some 500 years later and the sun-drenched Caribbean island with sparkling waters attracts almost three million visitors per year. The largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba offers a unique vacation experience in what has been described as a cultural paradise with a diverse population mix. This diverse mix of island inhabitants, including Chinese and Japanese, gives the island a unique cultural heritage and those from Far East countries will find some particular points of interest for their Cuba holidays:



China’s influence on Cuba


The Chinese have a long history with Cuba and migrants arrived to work on the island as far back as 1847 before settling permanently. Chinese-Cubans are part of the culture of the island and visitors will find many businesses, restaurants and shops. The city of Havana has its own ‘Barrio Chino’ or Chinese neighbourhood where the Chinese influence can be seen in the architecture, restaurants and beauty parlours. In this area of Havana there are also museums where you can learn some of the history of the importance the Chinese had on creating the Cuba we know today.


Diverse island cuisine


Cuba offers a wealth of cuisine options thanks to the diverse population mix. You can easily find a restaurant to suit your taste whether you’re looking for Chinese, Japanese or Korean food. Of course you may wish to try some traditional Cuban dishes although the ‘traditional’ dishes are actually influenced by many nationalities including Spanish, Portuguese, African, French and the Chinese. Classic Cuban dishes rely heavily on spices and a sofrito sauce that gives the chicken and meat dishes their unique flavour; try the Carne de Cerdo, a slow roasted pork or the beef hash for a taste explosion.



The world’s most beautiful beaches


One Cuban attraction that will appeal no matter which country you hail from is the fantastic beaches. The island beaches are regarded as some of the best in the world and include the idyllic 2.5 mile long Playa Paraiso at Caya Largo. This uninhabited island lies just southwest off the coast of Cuba and with a single bar serving rum and cigars, what more do you need?  If you don’t fancy the boat trip to Caya Largo then check out other slices of paradise such as Playa Ancon near Trinidad or Caya Jutias, which is about as serene a beach as it gets.


From the vibrant city atmosphere of Havana to the year round high temperatures to the beautiful beaches, it’s not hard to see why Cuba is a top holiday location. An 11 hour flight is all that stands between the Far East and experience this incredible island.



Images by Neiljs and Artur Staszewski used under the Creative Commons licence.


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