Food and travel go hand and hand. It’s not surprising then that our memory of a destination is indelibly shaped by our culinary experiences: a particular dish, spice, drink, or even a restaurant. Most travellers associate a place with a certain food: Chicago is deep dish pizza, Morocco tagine, Montreal bagels (sorry New Yorkers), Granada tapas, and so on.
With that in mind, here are five wild culinary experiences that will impart a lasting memory and make for great stories with which to regale your friends.
Pay it forward: Ogori is a Japanese word meaning to treat somebody else to food and that’s the philosophy at Ogori Cafe in Kashiwa, Japan…with a twist. Patrons can only buy food for someone else, but the trick is that each person is ordering for the person behind them so you never know what you’ll end up with until the food arrives. Trying to stack the deck in your favour will be shut down quickly by the staff, so don’t even bother. Have an open mind and be generous to the patrons behind you, you’ll be surprised by people’s kindness and even meet some folks along the way.
Dining Aloft: Diners at Soneva Kiri Spa Resort, on the Thai island of Kood, have a slew of interesting options, but The Dining Pod is the most innovative of the lot. At 16 feet above ground and constructed of woven rattan, it’s like eating in a cocoon with amazing panoramic views of Kood’s lush tropical rainforest. Parties up to four board the pod and are elevated to the lofty height for a remote and exclusive dining experience served by a flying waiter harnessed to a zip line.
Under the sea: As if the tranquility and beauty of the Maldives with coral reef and sparkling turquoise lagoon aren’t enough, guests at the luxurious Conrad Resort and Spa on Rangali Island are treated to the unique experience of dining under the sea. Ithaa, the resort’s all-glass restaurant is located 16 feet below sea level where diners enjoy not only world-class Maldavian-Western fusion cuisine, but 180 degree reef and marine views.
The most eccentric: Kenny Shopsin, owner and chef of Shopsins in New York City, is a legend in and out of the Big Apple for his eccentric menu, gruff attitude towards patrons and wacky food philosophy. Shopsins menu has a mind blowing 900 items at any given time including Slutty Cakes and Blisters on My Sisters. But the real experience is Kenny himself. Be prepared to follow his “house rules”, which can change at any time based on Kenny’s mood, or you won’t be served. This except from Kenny’s book, Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin, says it all:
“Customers in this country have been raised to believe that they are “always right.” Their neuroses are coddled and their misbehaviors tolerated for their patronage and their money by every restaurateur in America. But not by ME. My approach at Shopsins is the exact OPPOSITE of “the customer is always right.” Until I know the people, until they show me that they are worth cultivating as customers, I’m not even sure I WANT their patronage.”
Ice Bar: Las Vegas holidays are notoriously wild…the pact among friends of “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” comes to mind from several of my jaunts there. When things get too hot at the tables, head to minus5 ice bar, made completely of ice, it’s sure to cool you down. Don your Eskimo gear on the way in and have a blast exploring the icy architectural masterpiece while sipping a vodka cocktail in custom designed ice glasses made from New Zealand artesian water.
NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.