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    Best 2017 Oktoberfests in North America

    Best 2017 Oktoberfests in North America

     

    Oktoberfest began over 200 years ago in Munich, Germany when local residents celebrated a royal wedding. Today, Munich’s Oktoberfest attracts about 6 million people to the city for the multi-week festival. Featuring food, beer, music, rides, and games, Oktoberfest has become a worldwide celebration. While nothing can compare to the 18 days of Oktoberfest in Munich, cities around the world have put their own spin on the German “Volkfest.” The time for celebration is upon us, and this list details some of the best Oktoberfests in North America.

     

    Oktoberfest by the Bay | San Francisco, CA | September 22-24

     

    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - oktoberfest by the bay

     

    Located on the coast of the San Francisco Bay, Oktoberfest by the Bay features live music by The Chico Bavarian Band and the Internationals. Traditional Bavarian dancing takes place every few hours, helping attendees get lost in the true spirit of Oktoberfest. Since demand for the festival is so high, Saturday has two sessions: one from 11am-5pm and another from 6pm-midnight. So whether you’re a day person or a night owl, Oktober Fest by the Bay has an option for you. Food and drink fferings include pretzels, dinner plates, beer, and wine. Many festival-goers wear Trachten to help foster an authentic Bavarian atmosphere.

     

    Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest | Ontario, Canada | October 6-14

     

    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - kitchener waterloo oktoberfest

     

    The Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest is the largest Oktoberfest in North America. Drawing about 700,000 visitors over the span of 9 days, the festival is best known for its beer-based celebrations and major parade. The parade is held on Canadian Thanksgiving and attracts upwards of 150,000 people. Both the cities of Kitchener and Warerloo have histories rich with German roots, making the spot an ideal location for the festival.

    Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest also offers live music, dancing, a 5K race, barrel race, pancake breakfast, and traditional Bavarian food. A Miss Oktoberfest is chosen by a panel of local applicants, while University Night provides all-night transportation to local students who want to join the celebration. The festival’s official mascot—Onkel Hans—has a mustache and sports traditional lederhosen.

     

    Oktoberfest Denver | Denver, CO | September 22-23 & September 29-30

     

    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - oktoberfest denver

     

    The 48th annual Oktoberfest Denver is scheduled to take place over two consecutive weekends in late September. With delicious food offerings that include bratwurst, turkey legs, pizza, warm pretzels, sauerkraut, and more, the festival has something for everyone.  And of course, there’s plenty of beer to go around. Live music plays throughout a day, and a schedule of performers is available on Oktoberfest Denver’s website.

    For festival-goers who crave a superior experience, Oktoberfest Denver offers VIP tickets. These packages include all you can eat and drink along with a free stein, T-shirt, and hat. In total, close to 350,000 people will make it out to the festival over its two weekends.

     

    Wurstfest | New Braunfels, Texas | November 3-12

     

    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - wurstfest

     

    Located just outside San Antonio, the Wurstfest festival began in 1961 and attracts tens of thousands of people each year. A multitude of live musicians perform throughout the 10-day festival, and the beers available include German, Texan, and domestic varieties. Food trucks and a craft beer garden help ensure everyone has plenty of delicious food and thirst-quenching beverages. In addition to dancing, there are also games and carnival rides that provide fun for the whole family. If you’re feeling ambitious try the Bavarian Masskrustemmen challenge—which requires contestants to hold a liter of beer while maintaining an outstretched arm for as long as possible.

     

    Reading Liederkranz Oktoberfest | Reading, PA | September 27 – October 1

     

    best 2017 okbtoberfests in north america - Reading Liederkranz Oktoberfest

     

    The most popular Oktoberfest in the northeast, this festival boasts a comprehensive menu of Bavarian favorites. With a roast pork platter, bratwurst platter, goulash mit noodles, schnitzel dinner, and more, the Reading Liederkranz Oktoberfest provides attendees with an authentic food experience. Family entertainment includes magic, juggling, balloon animals, and ventriloquism, while musical entertainment features both accordion artists and full bands.

     

    Oktoberfest Zinzinnati | Cincinnati, OH | September 15-17

     

    best 2017 oktoberfests in north america - oktoberfest zinzinnati

     

    No list would be complete without mentioning Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, which is the largest Oktoberfest in the United States. Friday brings The Running of the Wieners, a must-see event that features 100 dachshunds racing against each other for wiener dog supremacy. Also on Friday are fun games like the beer stein race and the beer barrel roll. Opening Ceremonies on Saturday are followed by the keg tapping, and Sunday concludes with the World Brat Eating Championship and the World’s Largest Chicken Dance. In 1994, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati set the world record for largest chicken dance with an unbelievable 48,000 people—a record that still stands today.

    Over 500,000 people routinely attend Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. Unfortunately, this year’s event already took place from September 15 – September 17. On the bright side, there’s always next year.

    Best Fall Dishes for 2017

    Best Fall Dishes for 2017

     

    As the outside temperature cools down and the leaves start to change colors, it’s evident that fall has arrived in spirit. Summer fixtures like berries and melons are on their way out, while autumn food will continue to become more popular. The following list includes some of the best fall dishes that restaurants should be featuring on their menus.

     

    Apples

     

    best fall fishes for 2017 - apples

     

    Thanks to apple festivals and apple picking, these delicious fruits are possibly the food that’s most associated with the fall season. Coming in many iterations, apples boast the versatility to be used in a wide range of culinary creations. Classics like freshly squeezed apple juice can be easily made with an electric juicing machine, while perfectly baked apple pie only requires some bakeware and a commercial oven. Hot apple cider boasts a distinct autumn taste and is even more delicious when served from a dispenser like this one. A large stock pot is ideal for making chunky applesauce, while a blender is perfect for smooth applesauce. Other essential apple-based items include sweet apple fritters and caramel apples. And of course—you can’t go wrong with a good-ole fashioned, regular apple.

     

    Pumpkins

     

    best fall dishes for 2017 - pumpkin

     

    The only food that can contend with apples as far as fall food popularity, the pumpkin also has a multitude of festivals that celebrate its existence. The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival is likely the most well-known, but the giant pumpkin festivals and weigh offs are also great events that should be experienced by everyone at least once. While eating raw pumpkin is not such a common occurrence, nearly everyone enjoys other pumpkin-based dishes. Baked delicacies like pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin muffins are always a treat. If you’re looking to add a kick of flavoring, pumpkin spice might just be perfect for you. Pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin cheesecake make for perfect dessert dishes, while roasted pumpkin seeds are rich in nutrients and ideal for snacking on. For those who prefer pumpkin-based liquids, a pumpkin-spiced latte can help start the day, and a pumpkin beer can help you wind down from it.

     

    Squash

     

    best fall dishes for 2017 - butternut squash

     

    While pumpkin is technically part of the squash family, there is pretty clear difference between the two as far as diners are concerned. And although different types of squash are harvested throughout the year, the arrival of fall means some of the more popular types of squash have matured and are ready to be plucked from the ground. A great substitute for carb-dense pasta, spaghetti squash can be served in lasagna or in a tasty sauce. Butternut squash has a delicious sweet taste and is an excellent source of both Vitamin E and Vitamin A. With properties that lend themselves well to making soup, butternut squash can also be roasted and goes well with garlic flavoring.

     

    Turkey

     

    best fall dishes for 2017 - turkey

     

    This classic Thanksgiving Day entrée has been a fall season staple for thousands of years.  Capable of being cooked in a variety of ways, turkey can be deep fried, roasted, slow cooked, or steamed. For flavoring, the delicious bird can be wrapped with bacon or stuffed with fresh herbs. Chefs who really want to go all should try making a turducken. Popularized by football legend John Madden, the turducken consists of a deboned chicken inside a deboned duck that’s inside a deboned turkey.  It’s an ambitious endeavor, but by all accounts is completely worth the effort.

    A serving of turkey is incomplete without a healthy helping of gravy. Giving the meat a fuller, more flavorful taste, gravy can be made sweet or spicy. Make sure to check out our large selection of gravy boats for the perfect tool to pour your gravy.

     

    Brussels Sprouts

     

    best fall dishes for 2017 - brussel sprouts

     

    This cruciferous vegetable offers a wide range of health benefits and is at its freshest and most delicious during the fall season. This is due to the Brussels sprout’s preference for growing in cool weather where there’s least six hours of daily sunlight. Brussels sprouts are most commonly roasted but maintain more moisture when sautéed. Many people enjoy the fall vegetable with a dipping sauce or a cheese like parmesan. While sriracha and lemon-flavored sauces are popular choices, garlic and bacon flavoring are also prevalent.

     

    Potatoes

     

    best fall dishes for 2017 - potatoes

     

    Whether you prefer sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, russet potatoes, or fingerling potatoes, fall is the perfect time to get your fix. With harvest beginning in early September and lasting through late October, potatoes will be plentiful and delicious for the foreseeable future. Roasted potato wedges are ideal for complimenting a variety of different dishes, while mashed potatoes are a bit more labor intensive to make but offer a delicious payoff. There’s no going wrong with the classic baked potato, which is still the standard side dish for mouth-watering steaks.

     

    Beets

     

    best fall dishes for 2017 - beets

     

    Offering numerous health benefits, beets are in season from the summer through late fall.  An extremely versatile side dish, the rooted plant is a great additive to salads and can be even made into hummus or mustard. And if you can appreciate beets for their nutritional value but are not a big far of their taste, try making this ginger-beet sorbet. For vegetarian restaurants, a beet burger provides diners with an innovative food option that likely isn’t available at many other places.

     

     

    Make sure to take advantage of the fall harvest by crafting meals around food that’s in season. Before you know it, spring will be here and you’ll be yearning for the fall foods that are no longer available. 

    Best Food Cities in the United States

    Best Food Cities in the United States

     

    The United States is a cultural melting pot with no shortage of cities that offer a wide range of diverse food. With many cities ranking among the best in the world when it pertains to food, the culinary culture of the U.S. has something for everyone. The following list contains just a few American cities that are well-known for their delicious food offerings.

     

    New York City, NY

     

    nyc food

     

    While New York is famous for its bagels, hot pretzels and thin-crust pizza, it’s the city’s large collection of high-quality restaurants that makes it deserving of a spot on this list. No matter what your favorite type of food is, New York has almost unlimited restaurants that can satisfy your cravings. In addition to its classic American offerings, New York has a multitude of neighborhoods that specialize in foreign food. Among these are Little Italy, Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Guyana, Little India, Little Odessa, Little Australia, and Little Poland.  

    The city that never sleeps is full of quirky 24-hour diners and all types of street venders. No matter what time of day or night it is, you can find a delicious dish. Restaurant chains like Nathan’s Famous, Shake Shack, Benihana, T.G.I. Friday’s, and Sbarro’s, all started in NYC before expanding. Nathan’s Famous is particularly associated with the city and is home to the yearly Hot Dog Eating Contest held on July 4th.

     

    New Orleans, LA

     

    best food cities in the united states - new orleans gumbo restaurant

     

    One of the most culturally-rich cities in America, New Orleans is as much known for its food as its music. Combining elements of creole cuisine, Cajun cuisine, and soul food, New Orleans offers a distinctly unique cuisine. Seafood is a staple of many meals, and New Orleans’ location on the water ensures fishermen always have easy access to a variety of fresh fish and shellfish.

    While classic meals like gumbo, jambalaya, poboys, crawfish etouffee, and shrimp creole have helped cement New Orleans as a food city, novelty dishes like fried alligator and turtle soup are also relatively popular. And since the city is so heavily steeped in jazz culture, many local restaurants provide live musical performances.

     

    Chicago, IL

     

    best food cities in the united states - chicago deep dish pizza sky deck

     

    The capital of the Midwest, Chicago has always been an innovator when it comes to food. Responsible for inventing deep-dish pizzas, Italian beef sandwiches, and Chicago-style hot dogs, the windy city is also renowned for a wide range of outstanding restaurants. Like New York, Chicago has a myriad of different neighborhoods known for distinct food—Chinese, Italian, South Asian, Mexican, Polish, and Vietnamese restaurants.

    Many Chicago restaurants are also rich with history. The Mill Cocktail Lounge, which is still a popular venue that often features live jazz and poetry performances, was one of Al Capone’s favorite hangouts during the prohibition era. Another well-known Chicago venue is the Billy Goat Tavern, which gained notoriety when its owner and his goat were ejected from Wrigley Field during the 1945 World Series. The owner allegedly put a curse on the Cubs franchise, which was lifted last year when the Chicago won the World Series.

    Steak-lovers in particular flock to Chicago for the plethora of high-profile steakhouses. The city celebrates all things food in July by holding the Taste of Chicago—a five day food festival that attracts millions of attendees and features several live musicians.

     

    San Francisco, CA

     

    best food cities in the united states - san francisco restaurant

     

    One of the big advantages of dining in San Francisco is restaurants receive meats, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and wines from local farms just outside the city. Consequently, meals are made with only the freshest ingredients. The city’s mouth-watering dungeness crabs are prevalent when in-season from November-July and go great with San Francisco’s classic sourdough bread.

    San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest in North America and considered the origin of western Chinese food. As one would imagine, Chinese food still makes up a large sector of the city’s culinary offerings.

    There are also a variety of food trucks throughout San Francisco, and many carry ethnically diverse gourmet street foods. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is based in San Francisco and is the perfect place to visit for sweet tooths.

     

    Charleston, SC

     

    best food cities in the united states - charleston sc restaurant husk

     

    While at first glance Charleston might seem out of place on this list, the reality is the city’s culinary scene has been making waves over the past few years. So much so that the city is having difficulty with worsening traffic, skyrocketing rental prices, staffing shortages, and increased tourism. Locals believe all this is a direct result of Charleston showing up on multiple “Best Food Cities in America” lists.

    The city is possibly best known for its shrimp and grits, a dish prepared with a unique approach by every chef. Also popular is the she crab soup, which features a heavy cream and crab meat. Combining shrimp, corn, sausage, and potatoes, Charleston’s frogmore stew is a classic southern creation that’s beloved by nearly all who try it. Many of Charleston’s restaurants boast a southern charm that you’ll find in only a few other places.

     

    Portland, OR

     

    best food cities in the united states portland oregon food trucks

     

    Although most people associate beer and coffee with Portland, the northwest enclave also possesses a thriving culinary culture. If the city has a signature dish, it’s locally caught salmon.  But really, Portland is best-known for embracing the evolving diner preferences that are becoming more prevalent. Concepts like organic, vegan, sustainable, and farm-to-table are embraced by a large portion of Portland restaurants.

    Along those same lines, Portland has adapted to busier and more demanding diners by turning to food carts. With unique carts that offer everything a hungry Portlandian could ever want, the city has figured out a way for busy customers to quickly pick up and eat a diverse range of quality food.

     

     

    There’s no need to fret if you don’t see a city close to you on this list. There are excellent food cities throughout the United States, and this list is in no way comprehensive. Furthermore, there are cities around the world that are worth visiting for any true culinary connoisseur. There’s no need to limit your food scope to the U.S. alone when there are thousands of other food centric cities scattered throughout the world.

    Streamline Your Small Space with Vulcan Kitchen Equipment

    Streamline Your Small Space with Vulcan Kitchen Equipment 

     vulcan kitchen

     

    A restaurant kitchen is command central.  Everything a restaurant does -- the food it serves, the morale of its staff, and the smoothness of its overall operations -- depends on what’s happening in the kitchen. It follows that setting up your kitchen in the most effective, efficient way is a critical imperative for any foodservice business.

    While designing a restaurant kitchen can be challenging under any circumstances, these challenges are multiplied for restaurants with small kitchens. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make the most of your commercial kitchen -- even when space is limited.

    Read on for four tips aimed at maximizing your restaurant kitchen space, along with how innovative equipment from Vulcan can help you achieve your goals.

     

    1. Lead with your Layout

    While there’s no precise formula for designing restaurant kitchen, the majority of restaurants use one of three basic commercial kitchen layouts, including the following:

    • Island-style, which puts all major pieces of kitchen equipment in one shared, central space, aka “the island,” and other kitchen sections placed along the perimeter walls;
    • Zone-style, which organizes the kitchen into blocks with principle pieces of equipment placed along the walls in an order that optimizes flow; and
    • Assembly line, which is organized in a linear fashion progressing from food preparation to service areas.

    While many experts agree that the assembly line layout -- which locates non-principle areas, such as cleaning/washing and storage/receiving, behind the assembly line so they’re out of the way -- best suits smaller kitchens, the right design for any foodservice operation relies on a number of factors, including the type of restaurant and number of seats.

     

    2. Design a Mindful Menu

    In its report  Small Wonder: The Case for Smaller Restaurants and How to Maximize Them, the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration instructs, “Design your menu to require only a few, flexible pieces of equipment. A well-crafted menu not only pleases your guests and generates good contribution margins but also makes effective use of the equipment you have. Eliminate any item on the menu that is the only dish that uses a particular piece of equipment.

    Think about equipment that inherently offers flexibility: sauté ranges, griddles, combi ovens or convection ovens.  In other words, the food you serve is a factor of the space you have available to you, and the space that you have available to you is largely reliant on the equipment you use.

     

    3. Choose the Right Equipment

    Which brings us to our next point: Kitchen equipment. All kitchen equipment is not created equal. But just because you have to think small in terms of square footage doesn’t mean you have to think small in terms of the performance of your equipment. This is what makes Vulcan equipment a wise investment for any commercial kitchen.

    Equipment like Vulcan’s modular V Series Range Line and compact-but-mighty MinijetTM Series Mini Combi oven are the embodiment of mindful.

    Meanwhile, equipment which makes use of countertop space, including Vulcan’s Hand Tilting Counter Kettles and CEF Countertop Fryer, free up premium floor space without sacrificing convenience, practicality, or output.

     

    4. Store Smarter

    Smart storage -- and a mindfully organized storage area -- further supports kitchen efficiency. But splitting your storage area into cold, dry and non-food storage sections is just the start of taking your storage setup to the next level. Consider Vulcan’s visionary Refrigerated Chef Base/Stand with Drawers, which performs double duty by serving as both countertop space and cold storage for the ultimate in multitasking functionality. Or, you can even place equipment on top of the bases for an added space-saving option.

    While a small restaurant kitchen has its difficulties, it’s not all downsides. (After all, Cornell University did declare small restaurants to be “small wonders.”) By following the four tips above, you can turn obstacles into opportunities in order to design a commercial kitchen capable of doing much more with much less.

     


    About Vulcan Equipment

    Vulcan, a division of ITW Food Equipment Group LLC, is a leading manufacturer of cooking equipment in the U.S. with a broad line of products including fryers, ranges, ovens, griddles, charbroilers, steamers, kettles, braising pans, heated holding and combi ovens.  Vulcan sells both to the foodservice and food retail end-user segments, including chain and independent restaurants, hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, K-12 schools, colleges/universities, hotels, casinos, recreation, corrections, and grocery stores.

    7 of the Best College Town Restaurants and Why Students Love Them

    7 of the Best College Town Restaurants and Why Students Love Them

     

    As thousands of college freshman arrive to campus and bid farewell to life under their parents’ roofs, they’ll be overwhelmed with an insatiable desire to explore. After making new friends in the dorm, they’ll soon check out the campus from end to end. It’s at this point that they’ll discover the dining hall’s offerings likely pale in comparison to the home cooking they’ve grown so accustomed to. The next logical step is to see what food’s available off campus. What they discover varies from school to school, but most colleges have a special restaurant or two that is just part of the culture. The following list is comprised of college restaurants that are thoroughly ingrained in the fabric of their local institutions.

     

    Louis Family Restaurant - Brown University - Providence, RI 

     

    louis family restaurant

     

    Although Louis Family Restaurant has a rich history that includes visits from JFK, Steven Spielberg, and George Harrison, the classic old-school diner mostly serves locals and Brown University students. Featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, the restaurant was praised for its unique barbecued chicken ravioli and granola pancakes.

    Louis Family Restaurant has been family owned and operated for over 60 years. Open from 5AM-3PM daily, the food joint’s early opening time is directly responsible for inspiring the “Louis Challenge.” The Louis Challenge has become a time-honored, Brown University tradition in which students pull all-nighters to grab breakfast as soon as the restaurant opens.

     

    Bat 17 - Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

     

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    This modern bar/sandwich shop combines a stylish décor with delicious food and an enormous selection of beers. Voted best restaurant in 2017 by The Daily Northwestern for a fifth-straight year, Bat 17 is best-known for its giant burgers and vegetarian offerings. Using locally-sourced ingredients and keeping 19 beers on tap, the versatile restaurant is perfect for nearly any occasion.  

    Not at all ashamed of its Northwestern roots, Bat 17 is decked out in Wildcat paraphernalia and frequently shows the university’s televised sports games. While it might be a little pricey for some students, the restaurant is more than worth it according to the multitude of repeat customers who swear by it.

     

    Helen’s Roast Beef & Pizzeria - Tufts University - Medford, MA

     

    helen's roast beef & pizzeria

     

    While Tufts might not have the name recognition of some its neighbors like Harvard and Boston College, it is the only school that can claim Helen’s Roast Beef & Pizzeria as its own. Despite striving to offer a mix of healthy Mediterranean and American cuisine, Helen’s is best-known for its Blue Zone—a buffalo chicken calzone with Ken’s blue cheese dressing and a secret blue zone sauce. The go-to meal for students after a night out at the bars, the blue zone becomes a highly sought-after commodity on campus during early morning weekend hours.  

    Helen’s Roast Beef & Pizzeria only uses fresh ingredients that have been purchased locally. Open from 11AM-3AM seven days a week, the restaurant delivers until 2:30AM. While the family-operated restaurant has only been open since in 1996, it has already entrenched itself as part of Tufts University lore.

     

    Collegetown Bagels - Cornell University - Ithaca, NY

     

    collegetown bagels

     

    With several locations throughout Ithaca, Collegetown Bagels has been a place for students to eat bagels, drink coffee, and study for tests since 1976. While the bagel shop only offered bagels and cream cheese at the time of its opening, it did not take long before it grew into the juggernaut it is today. Collegetown Bagels offers a wide range of quirkily-named breakfast sandwiches, deli sandwiches, paninis, smoothies, and more.

    The owners of the bagel joint attribute their success to the staff, which is representative of the entire Ithaca community—from locals to high school students to college students. That community-oriented approach spills over into the procurement of ingredients. Committed to green business practices, the forward-thinking bagel shop strives to give local farmers and suppliers priority when it comes to purchasing fresh ingredients.

     

    Zingerman’s Delicatessen - University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI 

     

    zingermans delicatessen

     

    The University of Michigan is renowned for its abundance of delicious food offerings throughout Ann Arbor. By all accounts, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is indispensable as any. Satisfying the appetites of thousands of students each year, this historic deli is located across the street from the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market. The deli is a lot smaller than you’d think, but that doesn’t stop it from making a big impact.

    A self-proclaimed Ann Arbor institution, Zingerman’s filled an important void around the school’s campus when it was co-founded by a University of Michigan alum in 1982. Today, the deli offers a wide range of unique sandwiches in addition to beverages and desserts. A large part of the local community, Zingerman’s Delicatessen hosts food-related events each month. The arrival of September will bring the 32nd Annual Fiesta de España, which will teach attendees how to cook traditional Paella.


    Dinosaur Bar-B-Que - Syracuse University - Syracuse, NY

     

    dinosaur bar-b-que syracuse, ny

     

    This legendary barbecue joint first opened in Syracuse in 1988. Following its success, the restaurant promptly became a chain and popped up in several other cities. Although Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is beyond walking distance from the Syracuse campus, its location has never deterred students from piling into cars with the goal of achieving barbecue bliss. The restaurant rarely disappoints.

    Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is also a biker bar, so don’t be surprised when you see a bunch of motorcycles lined up out front. With interior decorating that features a retro theme, the bar often hosts live music. The kitchen utilizes a wood-fueled barbecue to cook succulent ribs and BBQ chicken. The restaurant tends to get crowded—especially when school’s in session—so try to get there on the early side.

     

    Lyn’s Food Truck - University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia, PA

     

    lyn's food truck - upenn

     

    For years, Lyn’s Food Truck has been providing UPenn students with the fuel they need to handle an Ivy League course load. Students from all over campus flock to Lyn’s—located between 36th and Spruce near the lower quad gate—to consume the food truck’s tasty all-day breakfast items. The classic bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich is always the best seller, but an assortment of other creative options are also available.

    The food truck gets its name from its owner—Lyn, a gregarious woman who has a gift for remembering faces and custom orders. While students will never be able to get enough of the delicious sandwiches offered at Lyn’s Food Truck, it’s also the friendly service provided by Lyn that keeps them always coming back for more. The truck is open for business M-F from 7AM-3PM.

     

    Each college has its own unique culture and tradition. The local food joints that have stood the test of time are special. Students come and go, but they’re all connected by the same experience of dining a particular restaurant.  

    Best Fall Food Festivals in America for 2017

    Best Fall Food Festivals in America for 2017

     

    With the official start of fall less than a month away, it’s about time to start planning trips to fall food festivals. Perfect for enjoying delicious food with your friends and family, America’s fall food festivals celebrate harvests and tradition while also featuring scenic autumn backdrops. Whether you look forward to attending several festivals or only have time for one, every food enthusiast deserves to experience the amazing atmosphere that accompanies these amazing celebrations. The following list contains just a few of America’s best 2017 fall food festivals.

     

    New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival – Laconia, NH – October 13th & 14th

    Best Fall Food Festivals in America for 2017 - New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival

    Formerly known as the Keene Pumpkin Festival, this yearly gathering was founded in 1991 and routinely attracts over 40,000 attendees. With more than 80 food and craft vendors, festival-goers have plenty of fall food offerings to choose from. The festival also includes live bands, races, haunted attractions, games, and rides. But the event’s main attraction is the lighting of jack-o-lanterns.

    After setting the Guinness World Record for number of lit jack-o-lanterns an astounding eight separate times, the Pumpkin Festival was finally dethroned in 2006 when a public jack-o-lantern lighting ceremony in Boston Common resulted in 29,952 jack-o-lanterns being lit. It wasn’t until 2013 that the Keene Pumpkin Festival recaptured its title by lighting an unfathomable 30,128 jack-o-lanterns.

    While the festival took place in the college town of Keene, New Hampshire from 1991-2014, the Keene City Council voted not to welcome back the festival following riots caused by college students. As a result, the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival now calls Laconia home.

     

    National Apple Harvest Festival – Adams County, PA – October 7-8 & 14-15, 8AM-6PM

    best fall food festivals in america - national apple harvest festival

    There’s simply not enough time in a day—or even a weekend—for all the fun at the National Apple Harvest Festival. Held rain or shine in scenic South Central Pennsylvania, this celebration of all things apples features apple jellies, apple syrup, applesauce, candied apples, apple cider, apple pies, and more. If you’re looking to eat something a little more substantial than an apple-based dish, barbecue like chicken, pork, and ribeye steak sandwiches are also available.

    Hay rides, petting zoos, and puppet shows provide fun for the whole family. With over 300 arts and crafts vendors, there’s something for everyone at the National Apple Harvest Festival. Car buffs will be glad to know a variety of antique automobiles will be on display.

    Kids under 12 gain free admittance to the National Apple Harvest Festival, and adults are charged a very reasonable $10 fee. 89% of proceeds go to charitable funds, while the remaining 11% are kept in reserve for emergencies and to fund next year’s event.

     

    Harvest on the Harbor – Portland, ME – October 19-22

    best fall food festivals in america for 2017 - harvest on the harbor

    The Harvest on the Harbor is a multi-day festival that features several unique eating experiences. With tickets to each event sold separately, the festival gives attendees the freedom to choose exactly what they want to attend. The ‘Flavors of Maine’ tasting event lets diners sample a variety of offerings from distinguished local chefs in a more formal environment, while the ‘Market on the Harbor’ experience lets participants casually taste food and sip drinks from an assortment of tables.

    New for this year, the ‘Harvest Crawl’ is ideal for those who want to taste delicious food while also experiencing local bars and restaurants. Other events include the ‘Maine Lobster Chef of the Year,’ a professionally judged competition that allows you to taste some of the best lobster in Maine. And of course—the ‘Harvest Happy Hour,’ combines local food with spirits from members of the Maine Craft Distiller’s Guild.

     

    Warrens Cranberry Festival – Warrens, Wisconsin – September 22-24

    best fall food festivals in america for 2017 - warrens cranberry festival

    Kicking off festival season on the day of the fall equinox, the Warrens Cranberry Festival features food, shopping, contests, tours, parades, and more! The festivities go from 7AM-6PM each day, with the weekend culminating in a Sunday parade that features marching bands and drill teams. Food offerings include unique treats from about 100 different booths. Cranberry-related dishes include pancakes with cranberry syrup, cranberry cream puffs, deep-fried cranberries on sticks, and—of course—classic cranberries. And for those who aren’t crazy for cranberries, chicken, steak, burgers, pizza, and other classics are also available.  

    With a flea market, farm market, and arts & crafts section, the Warrens Cranberry Festival venders offer a wide variety of items. Marsh tours are another popular aspect of the festival. Lasting about one hour, each tour gives attendees an up-close look at how cranberries are grown. Since the tours are so popular, it’s advised that festival-goers purchase tickets when they go on sale at 7:30 AM Friday and Saturday. The Warrens Cranberry Festival is run by a non-profit organization that strives to improve the welfare of Warrens citizens by donating proceeds to a variety of local causes.

     

    Sonoma County Harvest Fair – Santa Rosa, CA – October 6-8

    best fall food festivals in america for 2017 - sonoma county harvest fair

    Celebrating its 43rd year, the Sonoma County Harvest Fair celebrates is the largest regional wine competition in the U.S. Treating attendees to the local area’s best wine, beer, and cider, the fair features over 300 distinct wines—which compete against each other in a taste-off. Each wine is judged blind by some of the most renowned tasters in the country. Award winning wines are available for tasting by attendees at the Grand Harvest Tasting, while gold medal winning wines will be available for purchase at a discount.

    For those who’d rather eat than drink, a food competition showcases some of Sonoma County’s best artisan chefs. Judged by a panel of blind tasters, award winning dishes are paired with drinks and served in the Tasting Pavilion throughout the 3-day festival. The schedule of events at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair also includes seminars, workshops, chef demonstrations, wine tasting seminars, and the Harvest Awards Dinner.

    If you’re looking for a little more physical activity during your festival celebration, team up with a partner and vie for grape stomping supremacy. It’s $40 per team to enter the World Championship Grape Stomp, but the winning team receives a cool $1500. If you’re not feeling so confident about your team’s grape-stomping skills, focus your effort on creating uniforms. The best-dressed team always receives a special prize.  

     

    These are just a few of the larger, more popular national food festivals taking place this fall. If none of these events are within traveling distance, be sure to look out for local county fairs. While they might be smaller in scope, they still have the same celebratory atmosphere that makes the festivals on this list so popular.  

    fall foliage road

    Maintaining a Commercial Refrigeration Unit During the Summer

    Maintaining a Commercial Refrigeration Unit During the Summer

     

    maintaining a commercial refrigeration unit during summer heat

     

    While the summer heat is ideal for pool parties and beach vacations, it can also wreak havoc on commercial refrigeration equipment. If a refrigerator or freezer has an issue and stops working properly, the results can be catastrophic for any restaurant or foodservice. Luckily, there are several steps restaurant operators can take to ensure their refrigeration units remain working optimally throughout the hot summer months:

     

    Proper Maintenance

     

    maintaining a commercial refrigeration unit - proper refrigeration maintenance

     

    Performing proper preventative maintenance throughout the year will help prepare your commercial refrigerator or freezer to handle the hot summer weather. Checking the unit’s interior temperature to make sure it’s within proper range is essential. If your refrigerator or freezer has a higher temperature than normal, it could be indicative of a faulty unit.

    Maintenance also entails checking the discharge, liquid, and suction lines of your refrigerator’s condensing unit. Thermostats and pressure controls should always be working properly, and refrigerant levels should be routinely checked. Constantly needing to add more refrigerant to your unit is a sign that there’s likely a leak. If not repaired, the compressor can become overheated and potentially incur damage.

    Be sure to thoroughly clean and lubricate motors. Consistently cleaning coils and drain pans ensures your equipment can remove unwanted heat, which will help keep the unit’s pressure and temperature low.

    This video shows how to properly clean the condenser of a True TRCB Chef Base Table: 

     

    Alarm Monitoring

     

    alarm monitoring - refrigerator temperature alarm

     

    If a refrigeration system fails, there’s usually only about four hours before its food perishes. Outfitting your commercial refrigeration equipment with an alarm ensures you’ll be alerted if your units malfunction. Monitoring suction pressures, compressor run status, coil temperatures, and energy usage, these alarms protect restaurant owners’ investments while also providing peace of mind.

     

    Location

     

    maintaining a commercial refrigeration unit during summer - location

     

    Freezers and refrigerators should be positioned in cooler spots that are away from exterior walls and windows. If units are placed too close to the exterior, they can be negatively affected by heat that comes in via poorly insulated windows or walls.

     

    Power Interruptions

     

    maintaining a commercial refrigeration unit during the summer - power interruptions

     

    During especially hot summer days, some power companies cut back on the power provided to your restaurant or food service. Since compressors require high current to start a compressor, this power reduction can be problematic. The compressor’s motor winding can falter, which can lead to a complete electrical failure of the unit. If brown outs are common or lights tend to dim in your building, contact your power service and raise your concerns.

     

    Keeping The Doors Closed

     

    maintaining a commercial refrigeration unit during the summer - keeping the doors closed

     

    While leaving your cooler doors open for deliveries might be convenient, it also puts extra stress on your refrigeration unit. If humidity and temperatures are high enough, your system will be at risk for leaks and damaged oil. Make sure to minimize the time doors are left open during summer months.

     

    Caring for your commercial refrigeration unit takes time and energy. But if you follow this list of steps, your freezer or refrigerator should be ready for even the hottest heat wave.

     

    maintaining a commercial refrigeration unit during the summer - iceberg

     

    How to Cater a Football Tailgate Party

    How to Cater a Football Tailgate Party

     

     how to cater a football tailgate party

     

    With the start of football season only a few weeks away, a palpable excitement can be felt growing throughout the country. Whether we’re talking about high school, college, or pro football, fans everywhere are anxiously awaiting that first game. Thousands of spectators will flock to stadiums, all in the name of supporting their local team.

    While there’s no denying these fans love the sport of football, they’re almost certainly looking forward more than just the 60-minute game. Many people will gather in fields and parking to tailgate with friends and family for the hours leading up to each game. Eating, drinking, and playing games to their heart’s desire, these large groups often take great pride in preparing their own food. But not all of them do. If you your foodservice is in a college town, NFL city, or anywhere in Texas, the football season presents an opportunity to expand the scope of your businesses and bring in new customers.

     

    Food Offerings

     

    how to cater a football tailgate party - tailgate food

     

    Tailgaters often take their food choices almost as seriously as they take their football fandom. As a result, it’s your responsibility to offer everything they could possibly want. As long as your specialty is barbecue, you should be alright. Offering a menu that includes steak, burgers, chicken, pork, ribs, sausage, hot dogs, and chili is will help ensure all parties have food they can salivate over. For side dishes, consider offering corn, fries, onion rings, nachos, and maybe even a small salad—as blasphemous as that may sound.

     

    The Right Equipment

     

    how to cater a football tailgate party - the right equipment

     

    If you want to feed dozens or even hundreds of people at a time, you’re going to need the proper restaurant equipment. Your equipment choices should depend on whether you plan to cook on site or prepare food in a commercial kitchen beforehand and transport it. For cooking onsite, one or several portable outdoor grills can help you maintain a rapid pace of food output. Propane-powered units are ideal, as they don’t require hookup to external gas or electrical sources. Storage and transport items like ice transport buckets and insulated food carriers  are also necessary to ensure food remains preserved at an ideal temperature. Other essential tailgating tools include turners, gas steam tables, cold food tables, and soup wells. If you’re planning to prepare and serve alcoholic beverages, bar blenders will also be necessary. A large truck or van will help safely and efficiently transport equipment.

    Foodservice operators that prefer to prepare meals in the comfort of their own commercial kitchens would benefit from insulated food holding and warming equipment. These units help keep prepared food hot while its transported and waiting to be consumed by hungry football fans.

     

    Catering to Every Need

     

    how to cater a football tailgate party - cornhole

     

    Football fans expect more than just delicious food and refreshing drinks from a tailgate experience. People are there have fun, so part of your job will be helping ensure everyone has a good time. By going the extra mile and supplying fans with popular tailgating games like Cornhole, KanJam, and Ladder Toss, you’ll give customers every reason to have you cater future home games. Make sure to bring footballs too, as fans will likely want to toss a pigskin while they work up their appetites. Each tailgating game you bring can be branded with the name of your foodservice, enabling you to achieve further notoriety among eaters.

    For owners that really want to spoil fans, make an unforgettable impression by bringing a booming sound system for music or an enormous TV so fans can watch other football games. It’s even feasible to bring both, and put the TV on mute while the speaker plays music.

     

    Thousands of Hungry Fans

     

    how to cater a football tailgate party - michigan stadium

     

    Universities like Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Tennessee LSU, Alabama, and Texas have football stadiums that can hold 100,000+ spectators. Consequently, football games being held at these and other similarly sized stadiums attract no shortage of hungry fans—a large of portion which will be tailgating before the games. NFL stadiums are a generally bit smaller than the behemoths found in college football. Regardless, NFL games remain great candidates for catering tailgates. High school football games are also excellent options—especially in Texas, where many stadiums have seating capacities that exceed 15,000.

     

    Marketing

     

    how to cater a football tailgate party - flyer marketing

     

    Spreading word of a new business offering is never easy. Luckily, the customers you’re trying to reach are all fans of the local team. If you want to reach tailgaters at college games, marketing on college campuses is a fantastic way to contact your desired market. You can also hand out fliers at the entrance to games, where you’ll rapidly come into contact with thousands of potential in customers. Online forums and social media accounts associated with teams also provide a medium by which you can reach a multitude of fans. Another option is to hire an ex-player to help promote your business. Once fans hear that one of their heroes made an appearance at a tailgate of yours, they’ll be lining up to book your catering service.

     

    Labor

     

    how to cater a football tailgate party - tailgate chef

     

    Especially if you’re going to be preparing meals on-site, it’s of paramount importance to employ experienced workers who won’t be distracted by the game day excitement. Your chefs should be capable of consistently cooking large quantities of food to perfection while also wearing a smile when interacting with tailgaters. Knowledge of the local football team certainly wouldn’t hurt either, as it would only further endear your chefs to passionate tailgaters.

     

    Local Regulations

     

    how to cater a college football tailgate party - police tailgate

     

    Before committing to any business plan, check your local bylaws to see what’s allowed and what’s not. Each state and county have their own rules as to what’s acceptable, and some locations might not be as conducive for operating a successful tailgate catering business.

     

    Only a Few Days per Year

     

    how to cater a football tailgate party - georgia tailgate

     

    Since football seasons are so short, foodservice owners have minimal time to capitalize on the opportunity to earn new business. But by showing customers that you can consistently deliver delicious food and outstanding customer service, you’ll be more likely to be hired for other catering jobs throughout the year. This also means that your business’s performance on a few select Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the football season can potentially have a significant impact on your business. Much like the players on the field, how you respond to that pressure will determine your success. Just make sure to prepare thoroughly, work hard, and always wear a smile.

    5 of The World's Most Expensive Restaurants

    5 of The World’s Most Expensive Restaurants

     

    Dining out at a fancy restaurant is always a treat. Between the food, ambiance, and service, it’s easy to understand why people pay such a premium for these fleeting experiences. But while most diners try to keep their meals on the more affordable side, other patrons have no such concern. With an unlimited budget, any and all restaurants are options. This post details 5 of the most expensive restaurants in the world and sheds some light on why they’re all held in such high regard.

     

    SubliMotion – Ibiza, Spain

     

    world's most expensive restaurants - sublimotion

     

    Located within the Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza, SubliMotion is the undisputed priciest restaurant in the world. Featuring an assortment of lights, props, and projections that put on a virtual reality show throughout each meal, this revolutionary restaurant seats a maximum of 12 diners at a little over $2,000 per person. For the insane price tag, diners receive a whopping 20-course meal compliments of double-Michelin starred chef and owner Paco Roncero. Each meal is prepared using molecular gastronomy, which has been dubbed by Business Insider as the future of cooking. Combining science with cooking, molecular gastronomy enables chefs to create dishes that were previously thought to be nothing but pipe dreams. For example: hamburger buns made entirely from egg whites.

    The entire SubliMotion experience lasts about three hours, and diners are routinely awed by the light shows on display via the walls and tabletop. The restaurant primarily serves Haute cuisine—food that was born out of France’s high society meal preferences in 17th century. A winner of the Hospitality Awards Best Innovation Award in 2014, Sublimotion continues to change its menu offerings each season to keep the experience fresh for repeat diners. Unfortunately, the restaurant is only open for the summer months. So if you want to experience the life-changing meal experience provided by SubliMotion, you better go soon.

     

    Masa – New York, New York

     

    5 of the world's most expensive restaurant - Masa new york

     

    This Japanese restaurant specializes in sushi and can be found on the fourth floor of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. Although its prices pale in comparison to SubliMotion, Masa meals still average an outrageous $595 per person. Fortunately, tips are not expected or accepted as a result of traditional Japanese customs.

    Owner and Chef Masa Takayama operates Omakes style—which means there’s no menu, and he makes all the choices. Utilizing seasonal ingredients in addition to exotic items like Kobe Beef, Takayama flies the majority of his fish in Japan. He also documents customers’ individual reactions to his meals, enabling him to further cater to their personal tastes in the future.

    An in-house $260,000 sushi bar is made of rare hinoki wood that’s been imported from Japan. Diners who wish to reserve a spot at the sushi bar are recommended to do so at least three weeks in advance. Frequented by the rich and famous, Masa was named the Most Expensive Restaurant in the U.S. by Forbes from 2005-2009. The restaurant also received an impressive three Michelin stars, making it the first Japanese restaurant in the U.S. to accomplish that feat.

     

    Ithaa Undersea Restaurant – Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

     

    5 of the World's Most Expensive Restaurants - Ithaa Undersea Restaurant

     

    This undersea oasis of a restaurant is nestled 16 feet beneath the Indian Ocean’s surface. Located on an island southwest of India and Sri Loaka, the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant provides diners with a unique 270° panoramic view of the underwater world and the creatures that inhabit it. The restaurant was voted “Most Beautiful Restaurant in the World” in 2014 by the New York Daily News. But with a six-course meal that costs a minimum of $320 before drinks or tips, beauty comes at a steep price. Restaurant offerings include luxurious food like Black Angus beef tenderloin and reef fish caviar. Although the restaurant’s food has evolved over the years, its most recent dishes can be described as European with Asian influences.

    If dining at the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is a bucket list meal that simply can’t be ignored, you’ll want to budget $500 per person to be safe. Dress code is “smart,” and children are welcome at lunch but not during dinner. The restaurant only holds 14 people, so be sure to make a reservation in advance. The Ithaa is also commonly used for weddings and private parties, so both of those are also options. As a result of its unique location, the restaurant is not expected to last more than 20 years. Since it was built in 2005, enthusiastic eaters still have eight years or so before Ithaa ‘goes under.’

     

    Aragawa – Tokyo, Japan

     

    5 of the World's Most Expensive Restaurants - Aragawa Tokyo, Japan

     

    This Japanese steakhouse is best known for its mouth-watering Wagyu beef—or Kobe Beef, as it’s known in the United States. Beloved by just about everyone who has the opportunity to try it, Wagyu beef is taken from a local farm that goes through a long and detailed process of raising cattle. This process includes massaging the cows, feeding them well, and just generally treating them like royalty. Since this ridiculously good-tasting beef is in relatively short supply, it can fetch up to $800 per pound. While one might expect this high price tag to deter diners, nothing can be further from the truth. It’s not uncommon for it to take weeks or even months to get a reservation at Aragawa. All for a steak and glass of red wine that’ll run you close to $700. They must be doing something right.

     

    Restaurant Le Meurice – Paris, France

     

    5 of the World's Most Expensive Restaurants - restaurant le meurice

     

    The pride and joy of award-winning chef Alain Ducasse, the Restaurant Le Meurice oozes opulence by way of antique mirrors, crystal chandeliers, bronzes, frescoes, and marbles. The restaurant overlooks the beautiful Tuileries gardens through its mammoth windows. But of course, diners come for more than just the ambiance. Offering classic Haute cuisine, Restaurant Le Meurice has a collection menu—which includes three dishes, cheeses, and dessert—for 380 Euro (or $447.34 American). But since the 2 Michelin star restaurant also has such an extensive wine selection, you’ll want to budget for drinks as well.

     

     

    While a night out at any of these restaurants requires significant spending, the experience will certainly be something you’ll never forget. Whether you’re traveling in the area of a restaurant or want to make a special trip, dining at one of the world’s most expensive restaurants is an opportunity most people aren’t fortunate enough to have. If you can even make it to just one of these restaurants, you’ll have a story worth telling for the rest of your life.

    Weird Meals From Around the World

    Weird Meals From Around the World

     

    While those living in the U.S. enjoy classic American cuisine like hot dogs, hamburgers, and apple pie, citizens of other countries are indulging in unique local dishes of their own. The following list includes an assortment of weird meals from around the world that might not exactly spark your appetite.

     

    Chicken Feet – East Asia, Caribbean, South America, and South Africa

     

    weird meals from around the world - chicken feet

     

    Popular in Chinese food, chicken feet are versatile enough to be served as a beer snack, cold dish, soup add-in, or entrée. They are usually deep fried or steamed before being simmered in mouth-watering sauce. Mostly made of skin and tendons, chicken feet have a gelatinous texture that’s very different from traditional chicken meat. The dish is a delicacy in Indonesia, where it is commonly served in a spicy traditional soup known as Soto. South African chicken feet, also known as “runaways” and “walkie talkies,” are prepared by removing the outer layer of skin, seasoning appropriately, and then grilling. Caribbean and South American cuisine commonly use chicken feet in soups and stews.

     

    Khash – Middle East, Europe, and Turkey

     

    weird meals from around the world - khash

     

    While Americans have no issue eating steak, they might be apprehensive about indulging in this cow-based stew. Khash contains boiled cow feet and head along with an assortment of other items. Salt, garlic, lemon juice, or vinegar can be sprinkled in, while lavash (an unleavened bread) is sometimes crumpled and added to the stew. Peppers, pickles, cheese, radishes, and fresh greens are also common additions to the dish. Traditionally a nutritious meal during winter time, Khash is now a delicacy that appears at festive winter meals. Many eaters prefer to forego the use of utensils and consume the dish entirely by hand. The stew is usually accompanied by vodka and mineral water to help wash it all down.

     

    Haggis – Scotland

     

    weird meals from around the world - haggis

     

    Haggis is a Scottish pudding that features a sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs. Onion, oatmeal, suet (raw, hard fat around the sheep’s heart and kidneys), spices, and salt are also commonly used to add an extra kick. Ingredients are traditionally mixed with stock inside a sheep’s stomach and boiled for a few hours. Although the origin of Haggis is unknown, the meal has cookbook recipes dating all the way back to 1430. Folklore has it that wives of Scottish cattle drovers used to cook up haggis and store in the sheep’s stomach so that their husbands would have well-preserved, readily available food during long journeys to the marketplace. The United States outlawed imported haggis in 1971 because the dish includes sheep lung.

     

    Hakarl – Iceland

     

    weird meals from around the world - hakarl

     

    This Icelandic national dish elicits a strong response from seemingly anyone daring enough to try it. Icelandic for fermented shark, Hakarl features a Greenland shark (or other sleeper shark), which is cured via a unique fermentation process and hung to dry for 4-5 months. The long process is necessary because these sharks are poisonous when fresh. Butchers ferment the meat by gutting and beheading the shark then burying it in a shallow hole beneath sand. Placing stones atop the sand ensures the poisonous fluids of the shark are forced out of its body. After fermenting like this for 6-12 weeks, the shark is hung up for drying.

    Hakarl is widely available in Iceland throughout the year and is always served at Icelandic midwinter festivals. With a strong smell of ammonia, Hakarl has alienated its fair share of eaters. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain called the meat, “the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing” he’s ever had. Some people say the meat smells a lot worse than it tastes. As a result, first-time Hakarl eaters are advised to pinch their noses while consuming the shark.

     

    Wasp Crackers – Japan

     

    wasp cracker

     

    These Japanese rice crackers, also known as senbei crackers, are packed with exactly what their name suggests: wasps. With a higher percentage of protein than any other edible insect, wasps are caught in traps laid by wasp hunters. They are then boiled in water, dried, and finally added to the cracker mix. Tasting better than one might expect, these Japanese crackers are available in select stores and can be also bought online. The wasps are said to taste similar to raisins, but their flavor is a little bitterer.

     

    Fried Spider – Cambodia

     

    weird meals around the world - fried spider

     

    Certainly not for arachnophobic diners, fried spiders are popular in Cambodia where they are a regional delicacy. Attracting tourists to the town of Skuon, this unorthodox snack didn’t become popular until the late 1990s. Spiders are fried in oil that’s flavored with crushed garlic and then seasoned with MSG, sugar, and salt. About the size of a human palm, a fried tarantula consists of crispy legs and a meaty center. Its taste has been described as a cross between chicken and cod.

     

    Fugu – Japan

     

    weird meals from around the world - fugu

     

    Also known as the putterfish, the Fugu is a potentially lethal sea creature that is well known for making an appearance on The Simpsons. The fugu harbors poisonous tetrodotoxin that must be carefully removed before the fish is cooked. Japanese law requires restaurant chefs to complete at least three years of training before they’re allowed to prepare this fish for consumption. While the fugu’s liver is considered by many to be the most delicious part of the fish, it is also the most poisonous part and consequently has been banned from being served in Japanese restaurants since 1984.

     

    Starfish – China

     

    weird meals from around the world - starfish

     

    It’s hard to imagine someone taking a bite out of a prickly starfish. But once a starfish’s hard outer shell is broken off, the green meat inside waits to be devoured. In China, starfishes are usually deep fried and commonly come on sticks. The taste of starfish is commonly compared to that of a sea urchin or river grab. Mostly a tourist attraction, starfish in China can be found at several street food vendors—especially those in the Qindao area.

     

    While these meals may appear weird to Americans, there are surely citizens of other countries that would raise an eyebrow or two at the idea of a hot dog. If you see food on this list that you’d like to try but traveling is out of the question, try researching to see if there are any local establishments that offer the dish.