What's a well known (at least fairly well known) type of food or style of cuisine you've never, or only recently, tried?

Reading the ’ Educate me about burritos, please’ thread got me thinking. I’m a pretty adventurous eater, and I’ve tried many different styles of cuisines; do I have gaps in my culinary experience? It took me awhile to think of anything that’s not at least reasonably well-known that I’ve never, or only very recently tried.

I thought of Pho-- for years I heard a lot of rapturous descriptions of how good it was, but never got around to trying it until just a few years ago, when a job I started at had a Pho restaurant down the street. It had ‘Pho’ in the name, and had good reviews online, so I figured it would be a good place to lose my Pho virginity. I enjoyed it, and went back for lunch several times afterward, but it didn’t wow me as much as I had hoped it would-- I think all the good things I had heard about Pho over the years kind of built up my expectations a little too much.

Then there’s Jerk Chicken. I’ve made it myself from online recipes for many years, but I’ve never been to Jamaica, and had no idea if the chicken I made was at all close to the real thing. Then, the same office I mentioned with the Pho place nearby also had a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant called "Fenton’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken’ nearby, made from a family recipe, that had the best chicken and peas & rice I had ever tasted. I realized i did not, until I ate there, know what real Jerk chicken was. That became regular lunch stop a couple times a month, and I’ve posted in other threads my attempts to reverse-engineer the recipe and method of cooking to get my Jerk chicken close to Fenton’s (I’ve gotten close, but still fallen short of perfection). Sadly, Fenton died a couple years ago, about a month before the pandemic lockdown started, and Fenton’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken is no more.

Then there’s the ’ New Orleans Po’ Boy: Need Answer Fast’ thread. I’ve seen Po’ Boy sandwiches advertised or on the menu at various places, but I figured here in Michigan they would be pale imitations of the real thing. So I’ve never had a Po’ Boy. Never been to New Orleans. I need to go someday and try a real authentic Po’ Boy and a Muffeletta sandwich. Also try some real Gumbo and Jambalaya, because I’ve made my own for many years, and had it in local restaurants, but like the Jerk chicken, have no idea how close I’m getting to the real thing. Unlike the Jerk Chicken though, I think my Gumbo is pretty on the money.

Filipino food. A Filipino friend of mine recently started selling lumpia. Not only have I never had lumpia, but I don’t think I’ve ever had any sort of Filipino food.

Ethiopian. I even have an Ethiopian cookbook, and STILL haven’t tried Ethiopian (…any recommendations?.

Hm. I can think of ethnic cuisines I’ve never tried (including Filipino), but none of them is what one might call a “major cuisine” outside of their native regions.

Actually, come to think of it, I can think of one: The only times I’ve ever had poutine, I’ve made it myself, and both of those times, the Montrealan in my department wasn’t able to make it to the potluck, so I have no idea how good my approximation was. I’m quite confident that I’d like the real thing, though, because with ingredients like that, how can you go wrong?

Greek - we have a couple local restaurants that offer Mediterranean and Greek food. There’s also a Gyro place that’s been in business since the 1980’s.

I haven’t tried it yet. Keep saying I will. Someday.

I’m not very adventurous with food. I almost went with coworkers for Gyros at lunch. The place was packed and we grabbed pizza buffet instead.

Neither have I, and coincidentally, I had the local news on in the background this morning, and there was a feature on new local restaurants to try in the area in 2022, and one of them was a Filipino restaurant- Isla, in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

If you happen to find yourself in Ferndale, Michigan, The Blue Nile is one of my wife’s and my very favorite restaurants. Unfortunately it’s been having trouble hiring help and staying open during the pandemic, and I see now the website says “closed until February”. I hope they manage to not close permanently. We like to get the Ethiopian Feast, which is a large number of different types of vegetables and meats (vegetables are all you can eat-- meat is added a la cart).

The Ethiopian feast is difficult to emulate at home because there are so many different things offered, and because there are no utensils- everything is eaten using a type of flat bread called injera, made with a grain called Teff that’s hard to find (I think can be ordered online though). I did try to emulate part of the Ethiopian feast at home, making spicy beef, red lentils and using buckwheat flour to make a simulation of injera.

You could make Chicken Doro Wat at home-- your cookbook likely has it and a recipe for berbere spice as well, but if not, here’s a couple recipes from a site that I’ve tried that turned out really well (the berbere is better than berbere I’ve bought pre-made):

Yeah, that’s another one I’ve been wanting to try, that sounds fairly simple to make, but until you try it from an ‘authentic’ poutine place, you have no idea how close it is to the real thing. For one thing, I’ve heard you need to use cheese curds so fresh that they squeak when you rub them together.

(pronounced Coh-EEN-see-DAHNCE)

I stopped in at a local tavern/eatery and they had poutine and other North Woods dishes. It was over-the-top tasty and unhealthy.

Gotta say, if anyone reading this hasn’t tried it… well, your cardiologist is glad you’ve avoided it so far.

Surely at some point you’ve had some feta cheese or a bit of pita! A Greek salad even?

Thanks for the tip, I’ll look it up. I have some berbere spice blend - can’t for the life of me remember what I bought it for. I’ll see if I can buy the flour online.

Thought of another - Korean. We don’t have a tradition of eating Korean food in the UK (not many Koreans live here), and whilst it has become more fashionable in recent years, in that time I’ve kind of gone luke warm on East Asian flavours, so just haven’t gravitated towards it. I mean, I’ve had kimchi because it’s hard to avoid, but other than that, not that I can think of.

I probably did as a side dish with a meal.

I haven’t eaten a complete meal at a Greek restaurant. I will eventually. I’m waiting for a chance to eat authentic food. Not Billy Bob’s version. :joy:

You should try making a moussaka. It’s a bit like making a lasagne - a bit of time and effort, but the reward of a lovely shareable comfort food that’s always a crowd pleaser.

I’ll look up moussaka recipes online. It would be fun trying something different.

Reading this thread, I’m reminded that I’ve never had poutine.

I can’t think of one. Food is a big part of the pleasure of travel for me.

You know, I was gonna say that I can’t think of anything well known that I haven’t tried but I thought of one: I still haven’t had a bowl of proper restaurant ramen (like tonkotsu ramen or shoyu ramen or whatnot.) Only the ubiquitous four-for-a-dollar stuff. I’ve been meaning to for years, but every time I end up going something else, like for a bowl of pho or kimchi jjigae or a spicy Sichuan beef noodle soup when I’m in an East Asian soupy kind of mood. And those ramen restaurant have popped up all over the place here a few years ago. I have no excuse.

I haven’t had Inuit. No muktuk, no fermented seal flipper or seal of any kind, no seabirds.

I’m sure I’ve missed quite a few other niche cuisines, and hope to try most of them eventually, but I think I’ve tried most of the more common ones including Sri Lankan, Nepalese, Ecuadoran and Peruvian, southwest native american, etc.

I did once-- a ramen place opened up near a place I used to work at and I ate there for lunch exactly once before I left the place for a different job. It was too far out of the way to go afterward (one of the things I hated about working there was the 60 mile round-tip commute).

It was a tiny place in a strip mall- I was glad I got there early, because soon after I got a table, a long line formed out the door (and this was on a bitterly cold winter day, like 5 degrees Fahrenheit).

I ordered seafood ramen and was brought a giant bowl of steaming hot soup. I mean it was almost still boiling hot in the bowl. It was great on such a cold day to just warm myself with it. The experience was great, and the ramen itself was very good, but I don’t know if it was really all that much better than the 4-for-a-dollar ramen packs I’ve doctored up myself with my own broth and ingredients…? Maybe my palate is just spoiled on having eaten so much cheap ramen in college.

I have. I just wasn’t that Inuit.

hehe, sorry, couldn’t help myself.

Ethiopian is the main one I haven’t gotten around to yet. It took a while for it to get to New Orleans. I think the handful of local Ethiopian places all opened after Katrina (2005) – really, more like in the last seven or eight years.

Peruvian is another one I haven’t tried. I’ve heard of “Peruvian chicken” (Pollo a la brasa?) via food-television programming, but have never eaten it. New Orleans has two new Peruvian restaurants (open <5 years) that we haven’t made it out to yet.

Irish. I went to P. J. Mcintyre’s on Cleveland’s west side. I was looking for a nice corned beef sandwich. They have a decent Irish menu and I got the shepherd’s pie which was delicious. I have had it before but this was a great presentation - baked in a ceramic dish with the mashed potato crust perfectly browned. But what I really need to go back for is the Full Irish Breakfast. Two eggs, hashbrowns, imported black & white pudding, bangers, rashers, grilled tomato, baked beans, mushrooms and toast. I’ve seen many photos of full English breakfasts and always wanted to order one.

Honestly, I’ve had French onion soup or even ratatouille (when it was at a buffet in a restaurant at Disney World after the movie was released) but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a traditional French meal.