We all think of barbecue as an All American pastime. It’s a staple every 4th of July and a typical occurrence in most American backyards. But grilling isn’t something that only Americans love to do. The skill to cook tasty meat with charcoal, smoke, and tongs is something that can be found the world over. There’s a whole world of grilling out there that’s just waiting to be discovered. Let’s take a look at the best grilled food you’ll ever eat that’s not in America.
If you’re ever in Japan, your visit definitely won’t be complete without a taste of their delicious eats. Now, when most people think of Japanese food, their thoughts invariably lead to sushi. After all, that’s what they’re famous for. But there’s a lot more food that deserve a taste in this country, namely their yakitori – grilled chicken. Japan’s weekday warriors can often be found winding down after a hard day’s work with some yakitori and a deliciously cold beer. There are different types of yakitori – bite-sized pieces of chicken meat that came from different parts of a chicken – that can be found all over Japan, in many restaurants and food stands along the streets. You can have these served seasoned with salt or a sweet sauce.
Hungary for some bacon? Yes, we went there. Unlike our version of barbecue that requires a grill, some tongs, maybe an apron, a brush, and some fancy marinade, Hungarians only need an open fire, a stick, some bacon, onion, and bread. Simple fare but oh, so tasty.
Fire, grill, and meat – a combination that we Americans know and love. And this is something you’ll find at an Argentine Asado – a tradition of grilling meat, sometimes even whole animals, over an open fire. The meat, seasoned with just a pinch of salt, is served with chimichurri (a sauce filled with herbs) some salads, and grilled veggies.
The Philippines: Lechon
If you love roasted pig, then you definitely have to drop by the Philippines for a taste of their lechon. The crispy skin and the juicy meat are often served with a sweet gravy made of liver and a side of rice. Even travel chef Anthony Bourdain has claimed it as the “best pork ever.”
India: Murgh or Chicken tikka
A popular dish in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, this particular barbecue is made up of boneless chicken marinated in yogurt and spices (red chili powder, ginger, lemon juice, garlic paste) before getting grilled over hot coals or inside a buried clay oven called a tandoor.
One of the best things about visiting Indonesia is getting a taste of Satay, their national dish. Satay is basically a dish made up of meat (beef, pork, venison, shrimp, chicken, rabbit, turtle, etc.) skewered on a stick and cooked directly over hot coals. There are numerous variations to the Satay and it can be bought from a street vendor using a cheap portable grill, a small roadside restaurant, or even an upper-class one.
Asia is a hotbed of grilled meat as you can clearly see and Korea is definitely one of them. Galbi-gui generally refers to marinated short ribs (beef or pork) that is then grilled on top of a fire or cooked on a griddle. The barbecue is served with some lettuce to wrap the meat in which is then dipped in a fermented bean paste.
Chuanr are small pieces of meat (lamb, pork, chicken, beef, or seafood) roasted on skewers on top of a charcoal or electric grill. The meat is often seasoned with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, cumin, and sesame oil. Just walk along the streets of Beijing and you’ll find plenty of street vendors around that will give you a taste.
Colombia: Lomo al Trapo
The literal English translation for this BBQ dish is “beef tenderloin in a towel.” Salt is all the seasoning that is given before it’s wrapped up in a towel and thrown directly onto a fire to be cooked. You’ve got to see it AND taste it to believe it.
Jerk is the style of seasoning and cooking a piece of meat that is followed in Jamaica. Typically, the meat is marinated in allspice and scotch bonnet peppers plus some other spices before undergoing some low and slow cooking over pimento wood. You’ll easily find several jerk huts or shacks if you step food in Jamaica and they’ll all try to convince you which jerk is the best.
There are loads more barbecue for us to discover. Just you wait. Welcome to global grilling!