Matt Pre­ston:

Gal­vanised by scorn for fake news, Matt Pre­ston puts the al­leged world’s top-ranked foods to rights and takes us around the globe one dish at a time.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASSIE LIVING - @mattscra­vat @MattsCra­vat

Re­veals his picks of the world’s 50 best dishes

I’M SORRY but I’m about to have a whinge.And at the risk of sound­ing scar­ily like Trump, I’m go­ing to whinge about CNN.The net­work might be jolly good at run­ning a 24-hour news chan­nel, but it’s rub­bish at com­pil­ing a list of the world’s 50 best dishes.

How can you re­spect a list that has but­tered pop­corn and po­tato chips among the great­est foods in the world yet omits the far su­pe­rior caramel pop­corn and any num­ber of other junk-food del­i­ca­cies from across the globe in­clud­ing our Twisties? It also in­cludes ketchup, English fish and chips, and toast with Mar­mite, but no bar­be­cue sauce, the far su­pe­rior Aussie fish and chips or toast with Veg­emite.

I’m in­censed by this list every time it pops up in my on­line searches so, rather than whinge, I’ve com­piled my own list – The World’s 50 Best Dishes Ac­cord­ing to Me.

1. STEAK AND CHIPS

France has been chal­lenged by other coun­tries as the home of the world’s best cui­sine, but it’s hard to go past one dish it gave the world, ex­pertly cooked steak frites, es­pe­cially if it comes with a clas­si­cally made tar­ragon-scented Béar­naise, or even a more vin­tage mush­room, green pep­per­corn or brandy and cream sauce. Heck, even just mus­tard and horse­rad­ish rocks my boat. Add a vinai­grette-dressed but­ter let­tuce salad and you have the ideal meal. Use prop­erly aged, grass-fed Aussie beef and it’s some­thing very spe­cial in­deed.

2. PEK­ING DUCK

Pork crack­ling and crisped-up fish or chicken skin – there’s joy in these brit­tle sheets with the added plea­sure of a thin layer of ten­der fat on the un­der­side and a lit­tle salt.And so it is with Pek­ing duck. Take thin sliv­ers of duck that are mainly bronzed skin with just a lit­tle meat, wrap them in gos­samer-like pan­cakes with straws of spring onion, a ba­ton of cu­cum­ber and the barest lick of plum or hoisin sauce for three bites of per­fec­tion. En­joy the duck flesh stir-fried with noo­dles and turn the car­cass into a soup to com­plete the Pek­ing duck tril­ogy.

3. SUSHI

While other dishes re­quire ex­ac­ti­tude in their cook­ing, the best sushi re­lies on sourc­ing top seafood and then treat­ing it with the ul­ti­mate re­spect – al­low­ing it, rather than rice or a sauce, to shine. The sum should be a quiet riot of tex­ture and sub­tle flavours.

4. PIZZA

A true Neapoli­tan pizza is about so much more than the per­fect puffy and slightly chewy crust.A ju­di­cious se­lec­tion of just a few in­gre­di­ents, such as the milki­est, su­per-fresh moz­zarella, is part of it, but more im­por­tant still is the tomato sauce made with sweet yet acidic San Marzano toma­toes. Ac­cept no sub­sti­tutes!

5. MALAYSIAN SA­TAY

No more than skew­ers of rab­bit, chicken, lamb or beef cooked over hot coals and served with a sim­ple peanut sauce, sa­tay is cook­ing at its sim­plest, but there’s just some­thing about the spic­ing on the meat com­bined with the creami­ness of the sauce. It’s per­fect with the tra­di­tional but beau­ti­fully gen­tle ac­com­pa­ni­ment of com­pressed rice and chunks of cu­cum­ber.

6. GNOCCHI

Italy had a num­ber of con­tenders for the top 10, but gnocchi at their an­gelic, pil­lowy best re­ally show off the skill of the cook and their un­der­stand­ing of re­straint – how lit­tle flour is added, how lit­tle time the gnocchi spend in the wa­ter, and what they might be served with. For me, burnt but­ter and a drift of finely grated parme­san, or a sim­ple fresh tomato sugo is all they need, but if you force a blue cheese sauce on me I won’t mope.

7. TACOS

Soft or crisp. Vege­tar­ian or meat-laden. Unadorned or loaded with the full bo­nanza of sal­sas.From Maroochydore to Mex­ico City, I’ve yet to eat a taco I didn’t like. (I might have met a cou­ple I didn’t trust. I’m not sure eye­balls have a place in my taco. I like see­ing my food; I’m just not keen on my food see­ing me.)

8. DUMPLINGS

While my per­sonal favourite are those snowy-white, su­per-fluffy bar­be­cue pork buns, this is a de­li­cious group of dishes that in­cludes har gow loaded with fat, springy prawns, those scald­ing soup buns, xiao long bao, and Ja­pa­nese gy­oza.

9. HAM­BURGER

It might be one of the most abused culi­nary con­cepts, but a ham­burger done right – a chunky patty that’s juicy but crusty-charry at the edges, a veil of melted cheese, the sharp bite of pick­les or ketchup, fresh let­tuce and tomato, per­haps a rasher or two of smoky ba­con – and you have some­thing quite sub­lime. Pineap­ple or beet­root? Your choice. Burg­ers are from the US and demo­cratic.

10. CHICKEN RICE

It’s all about the broth and that rice, sticky with chicken fat,whether you have the roast or steamed chicken va­ri­ety of this dish.They’re both loved equally in Malaysia, In­done­sia and Sin­ga­pore where chicken rice is held with the same rev­er­ence as chicken soup in other cul­tures. For the full list of Matt’s world-beat­ing dishes head to de­li­cious.com.au/travel.

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