Sure, international travel ostensibly means examining dusty relics and paintings of chicks the world now considers totally fat, but really you're just biding time before exotically stuffing your face. So why bother with a plane ticket, which you could just follow the lead of Man Bites World
Without leaving the area, Man Bites World chronicles an out-of-work LA playwright's quest to eat at least one traditional meal from a different country "every single day, for as many days as I can" (62-deep, and going strong), mostly at authentic restos, sometimes in peoples' houses (home-cooking invasion). Beyond Japan, France, and other obviousness, he's also feasting on loads of random cuisines, like those of
- Uzbekistan (Tashkent Grocery): This obscure North Hollywood specialty supermarket serves to-go platters of Uzbek rice pilaf w/shredded carrots, cloves of garlic, and pot-roastish meat, a "moist, tender, and expertly seasoned" combo that'll contribute to U-Stan's most notable export, natural gas.
- Burma (Golden Triangle): In Whittier, GT serves 3-7 course feasts, including paratha chicken curry, the dried shrimp and crushed chili "Ngapi Kyaw," and a stir-fried ground sour pork dish known as "Wet the Chin", because no one would order the "drool all over your self".
- Nicaragua (El Nido): The narrow back-alley journey to this South LA spot yields a heavy, sweaty meal highlighted by "Bulls Egg Soup", a fatty yellow concoction brimming with brains (yes, brains) and a mystery meat that might or might not be testicles. The author says it's delicious, but also says, "Looking for testicles in yellow broth is something I never pictured myself doing, and also sounds like the worst David Sedaris book ever."
Coming soon: an attempt at eating at 11 different regional Chinese spots in 11 hours, and a 12-person Thanksgiving dinner -- an all-American gorge-fest that produces people the world now considers totally fat.