If you’ve missed it, my Facebook group, Travelers Tell All (yes, please join), has been running tournaments to keep ourselves amused while we can’t travel. We first decided what the best city in the world was, then the best US national park, the best man-made wonder, the best museum in the world, the best natural wonder in the world, and the best item on the ultimate California bucket list. Now it’s time to delve into my greatest love – food – with the best cuisine of the world! I included both national and regional cuisines to get to 64. There were no qualifications for who could vote, or criteria they had to use. It was just a plain old popularity contest!

I divided the tournament into four “regionals,” seeded one to sixteen, and named after four of the taste buds: Sweet, Sour, Salty, and Umami. The seeding is fairly arbitrary, made by me based on what I think should be seeded where, not necessarily how I would personally rank things. Let’s examine the results by regional.

Italics won in the first round. Underlined italics won in the second round. Bold underlined italics advanced to the regional final by winning in the third round.

Sweet Regional

The Sweet regional first round looked like this:

(1) Italian vs (16) Nigerian

(8) Californian vs (9) Taiwanese

(5) Brazilian (12) Lyonnaise

(4) Moroccan vs (13) Romanian

(3) Southern vs (14) Egyptian

(6) German vs (11) Singaporean

(7) Hungarian vs (10) Colombian

(2) Chinese vs (15) Fijian

The 3-seed, Southern, lost in the first round, along with the 5, 6, and 7 seeds, allowing second seeded Chinese and top seed Italian to cruise.

Regional Winner: (1) Italian def (2) Chinese

Biggest Surprise: Singaporean winning a couple of matches as an 11.

Peking Duck in Beijing

Sour Regional

The Sour regional first round looked like this:

(1) Mexican vs (16) Welsh

(8) Portuguese vs (9) Provençal

(5) Filipino vs (12) Polish

(4) Creole/Cajun vs (13) Panamanian

(3) Greek vs (14) Russian

(6) Puerto Rican vs (11) Scottish

(7) Swiss vs (10) Turkish

(2) Vietnamese vs (15) Ghanaian

This one went mostly according to seed, though Greek over Vietnamese was a surprise to me.

Regional Winner: (1) Mexican def (3) Greek

Biggest Surprise: None, really.

Tacos in Mexico City

Salty Regional

The Salty regional first round looked like this:

(1) Japanese vs (16) South African

(8) Oaxacan vs (9) Norwegian

(5) Israeli vs (12) Yucatán

(4) Cuban vs (13) Mongolian

(3) Indian vs (14)

(6) Salvadoran vs (11) Dutch

(7) Szechuan vs (10) Danish

(2) Spanish vs (15) Canadian

Another dull regional by upsets, although Indian defeating Spanish was just wrong. Jamon is everything.

Regional Winner: (1) Japanese def (3) Indian

Biggest Surprise: Not a one.

Sushi in Tokyo

Umami Regional

The Umami regional first round looked like this:

(1) Thai vs (16) English

(8) Hawaiian vs (9) Swedish

(5) Argentine vs (12) Indonesian

(4) Persian vs (13) Cambodian

(3) Korean vs (14) Tanzanian

(6) Ethiopian vs (11) Peruvian

(7) Baja Californian vs (10) Hong Kongese

(2) French vs (15) Nicaraguan

The 3 seed Korean losing early likely didn’t make a difference, as French was the strongest 2 seed, almost taking the region.

Regional Winner: (1) Thai def (2) French

Biggest Surprise: 11th seeded Peruvian won two matches, including taking out Korean.

Classical French in Lyon

Final Four

Match One: (1) Mexican def (1) Italian

Match Two: (1) Japanese def (1) Thai

Final: (1) Mexican def (1) Japanese

My personal top two met here, with Mexican defeating Italian in a close match, and then going on to take out Japanese fairly easily in the final. Do you agree with Mexican as the top cuisine in the world?

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