05/02/14 10:33am

Chowzter Aims to Find Tastiest Dishes on Earth


Chez Wong’s ceviche took top honors at the Chowzter Awards in London.

Last November I had the privilege of taking Jeffrey Merrihue, founder of Chowzter, and Richard Vines, Bloomberg’s U.K. food critic, on a whirlwind food tour of Queens. The goal of the tour was to showcase the best Queens had to offer. We only made it to about ten of the stops out of the 16 I’d planned, but we had a blast doing it, hitting such Flushing favorites as Taipei Hong’s secret fried chicken and  Soybean Flower Chen along the way.

Finding the best food item in Queens is a daunting nigh impossible task. After all it’s a vast diverse borough, and really what’s best for me—balut, tripe to name a few—might not be best for you. Leaving aside the issue of subjectivity, one thing’s for sure, I don’t ever like to eat anythings subpar. Seeking out the best is also the mission of the Chowzter app and web site. It aims to showcase the top places to eat local food in more than 70 travel destinations around the world from Lima to Singapore and points in between. I am honored to be the Chief Chowzter for Queens, which is how I found myself at the second annual Chowzter Awards in London this past weekend.


We pregamed for the awards with a gigantic fish and chips luncheon.

One of the coolest things about the entire affair was being able to meet food bloggers and writers from around the world. We may have different voices, writing styles etc., but the Chief Chowzters stand united on the front of deliciousness. Before the awards ceremony we had a group discussion at Fish Central over fish and chips to discuss the future of the venture. Taking down the entire order of fish and chips may have been a tactical error, espcially since I had two breakfast beforehand The golden batter encased fish was as big as my forearm, but I couldn’t stop eating it.


Pad thai at Pad Thai Thip Samai, Bangkok took top noodles.

By the time we got to L’Anima Café food wasn’t really on my mind, but something curious happened as I watched the awards videos: I started to get hungry. I think it was the description of the smokey pad Thai from Pad Thai Thip Samai  that did it. Actually, that’s a lie it was the stuffed lechon from Pepitas in Manila, Philippines, which took home Best in Asia that got me going. Heck, who am I kidding? Each and every single dish made me hungrier and hungrier as I watched the awards ceremony. I am especially proud Difara’s Pizza in Brooklyn won Best Pizza in the World.  For a full list of the winners click here.

The winner for the tastiest dish was the truly amazing sounding ceviche at Chez Wong in Lima, Peru. It’s a restaurant that’s run out of the chef’s house where the ceviche’s made on the spot from Pacific sole. I love ceviche but this transcendent version sounded so good I wanted to leave London immediately and hop on a plane,  jet lag be damned.

Jeffrey and company thanks for a wonderful time in London. In case you’re wondering I still haven’t found the best dish in Queens. I’m not sure I ever will, but I won’t let that stop me from trying.

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