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Full Belly, Happy Heart

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Food is never just about the meal itself; it's part of the essence of a place and one of the things that defines a culture. I recently took a trip around the world, visiting 6 countries on 4 continents in 30 days. An aspect of the trip that stood out to me most, with being in varying cultures in such a close proximity time-wise, was the culinary variety and how people express themselves through food. I love knowing about local, insider places to eat when I travel-the inspiration for this list!
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150 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011, New Zealand
"Institution" doesn’t begin to describe this eatery, where patrons are followed by TV cameras, the staff giggle and scream with laughter, the passers-by pretend not to see who’s eating there and the wine just keeps on flowing. SPQR...
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169 Haven St, Moeraki 9482, New Zealand
Straight from the boat to your plate, it doesn't get any better than this. Fleur Sullivan's fantastic restaurant on the water in tiny Moeraki Village on the coast of North Otago (near Dunedin) is truly a destination restaurant. Plan your trip...
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Coripata, Cusco, Peru
Cherubs hang from the ceiling and flying pigs decorate the bar. Aquarium bathtubs covered in glass are the tables and funky, modern art with Christian themes decorate the walls. Behind the bar a disco ball glitters the rows of liquor bottles and...
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503 Thanon Samsen, Dusit, Khet Dusit, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10300, Thailand
The place to go for curries—with lotus shoots or with crabmeat—Krua Apsorn is a favorite restaurant for me and for some members of the royal family. The decor is not very exciting, but the food is. See all ofTanongsak “Dtong” Yordwai’s favorite...
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2414 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77098, USA
Not too long ago, I was in Texas for four days, and managed to eat beef fajitas from Lupe Tortillas seven times. And that is from a Texan-turned-New Yorker who is edging closer and closer to vegetarianism—they are just that good. I love Tex-Mex...
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Rua Pacheco Leão, 812 - Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 22460-030, Brazil
Jojö is a great place to try contemporary Brazilian-Asian fusion cooking. I love the risotto with shrimp and pepper mixed with curry. The place is tiny, maybe five tables. The owner, Joana, always makes sure I get a great dinner—and a treat, like...
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Leblon, Rio de Janeiro - State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A new addition to the hopping Leblon neighborhood, Brigite’s is perfect for a low-key bite. Parquet floors and an open kitchen complement dishes that range from namorado whitefish with flaxseed farofa (a mix of flour and yuca) to steak tartare...
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R. Maria Angélica, 57 - Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 22470-201, Brazil
My grandfather used to come here. The restaurant specializes in Portuguese cuisine and serves consistently good traditional dishes, including the bestpicanha(steak) in Rio. The food is simple, but you know it will be amazing. It reminds me of...
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2A-2P Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
During my recent trip to Hong Kong I was on a quest for local culinary adventure, as I always do when traveling. After an exciting morning in the busy area of Mongkok, the smell of greatness took me to a little restaurant called D.i.F. The fact...