Because if you like to “eat your world,” you’ll definitely want to “eat everywhere.”
Try this delicous “Ice-Breaker” dish—kaeng som, or sour curry—the next time you get Thai food.
Guys, it’s time for some real talk. We don’t know how to put this, but there’s something we gotta get off our chests: We don’t always know what to order at a restaurant.
I know, I know. We’ve dedicated the better part of the past two decades to eating around the world, studying cuisines, visiting countless restaurants in New York City, where you can find almost anything. But there are so many cuisines (and regional cuisines within them), and so little time! Particularly if it's food from a place we haven't yet traveled to and it's not super accessible to us in New York, we're in new territory.
So if we’re in a Haitian restaurant, a Bolivian restaurant, a Fujian (Chinese) restaurant—what do we try? What’s a guaranteed delicious order? What’s Fujian food even known for? (Answer: rice wine sauce.) And then—because we are people who enjoy doing this—what can we order like a “local” that will surprise our server?
Griot, or fried pork, is always a smart order in a Haitian restaurant (this one was in Florida).
In the past I’d do a good bit of research before walking into a new-to-me-cuisine restaurant. I’d ask the server and look around at what others are eating, but we dine as a family of four these days, and meals out are pricey enough without wanting to risk a so-so dish (not to mention I have to order fast, before the kids get antsy). Well, what if the info I need was already distilled and downloaded onto my phone?
What if there’s an app for that? (You see where I’m going with this.)
There IS an app for that! It’s called Eat Everywhere, and that’s exactly what it helps you do. And this is where I disclose that I helped create this app alongside an extremely knowledgeable food-writing team led by Chowhound.com founder Jim Leff.
Eat Everywhere—now free to download on the App Store and Google Play—is organized by cuisine, with 75 cuisines to start (the first 10 are free; it's $4.99 to unlock them all). For each cuisine, important background info is given (“Things to Know”), followed by the juicy stuff: the best things to try (“The Short List”), delicious veg-friendly orders (“Vegetarian Survival Dishes”), smart orders for both kids (“For Super Fussy Eaters”) and adventurous diners (“Adventurous Eating”), plus those really insidery orders that will surprise and delight your server (“Ice-Breaker Dishes”) and quick dishes that help you tell if it’s worth sticking around for a meal (“Litmus Test Dishes”). There’s also “More Info” given for each cuisine, a selection of highly curated links to fabulous sites around the web for deeper reading.
In short, these are crazy-informative, useful, and even entertaining-to-read rundowns of 75 world cuisines so you can walk into an Ethiopian/Jamaican/French/Turkish restaurant and order confidently (and damn well).
It is NOT a restaurant guide or review site. It’s designed to be just as helpful to someone eating Vietnamese food in an Ohio suburb as someone eating the same in New York City or London. (Or Hanoi, for that matter.)
Winning Vietnamese dishes (chao tom pictured top right)
Which brings me to another point: The app has obvious benefits for someone who's new to many cuisines, but even if you’re a well-seasoned eater/traveler, it's still super valuable. For example, we’ve traveled to Vietnam (granted, a long time ago) and eat Vietnamese food semi-regularly in Queens. I’d say we’re pretty familiar with that cuisine. But! We all sometimes fall into the trap of ordering the things we love, especially at the neighborhood restaurants we know, and this app has encouraged me to try other things. So one day I took the app’s advice and ordered chao tom, shrimp paste on sugarcane.
This is a “Short List” dish on the app (i.e., a must-try), yet it had the effect of an “Ice Breaker” in that it genuinely surprised and pleased my Vietnamese server ... maybe because it was so buried on the lengthy menu. And it was incredibly delicious and fun to eat! Even my (shrimp-obsessed) 4-year-old agreed. Why weren’t we ordering that regularly?? (We are now.)
I can’t think of a person who wouldn’t benefit from this app, and I’m not just saying that because I worked on this thing. I really, truly think it’s a fantastic resource, and I use it often.
Eating Sichuan food with kids? Get this soup!