The 21 Best Meals I Ate in 2014 (Happy New Food Year!)

By Mark Wiens 51 Comments
21 Best Meals in 2014

Happy New Year to you and your family and greetings from Thailand!

You’ve probably already browsed through a few end-of-the-year photo articles.

But since we’re obsessed with food, I thought I would do a little recap and share the 21 best meals I ate in 2014.

What were some of the best meals you ate in 2014?

Where we traveled in 2014

Yangon
Enjoying the food in Yangon, Myanmar

United States: This year, my wife Ying and I started in the US, where we spent some time visiting family in both Arizona and Hawaii.

Japan: From Hawaii, we flew to Japan, where we spent a couple weeks of wandering and eating as much as possible in Tokyo. I was blown away by the quality and care put into the food in Japan, and if I ever get a chance to return, I would love to explore more of the country.

England: From Japan, we returned home to Thailand, where we spent a month until taking a quick trip with to London for a Chowzter food event.

Thailand: From London we came back to Thailand, where we spent a few months, doing a number of freelance projects, including a rewarding and learning experience being the host of a Thai food TV show (BTW: we are done filming, but I’m still unsure where the show will air or how it will be distributed – but I’ll let you know if I find anything out).

Myanmar: Just a quick flight from Bangkok, Ying and I spent a few weeks in Yangon, Myanmar. I had been there about 3 years before, but it was good to return again and eat more delicious food.

Vietnam: Our final trip of the year was to Vietnam, and this trip was focused on Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). I’m still in the process of gathering all my food photos and editing food videos, but lots more Vietnamese food from Saigon coming in the following months.

Ending 2014, Ying and I are traveling around northern Thailand (we’re in Nan at the moment), and I can’t wait to share some food and travel guides from around Thailand in the coming months.

Ok, let’s get into the best meals of 2014…

All the meals listed here are pretty much in order of when I ate them, starting at the beginning of the year.

Mexican sandwich
Torta

1. Tortas – Arizona, US

When I lived in Arizona going to University, probably my favorite thing to do in life was eat Mexican food.

So when I was back for a visit, along with my buddy Carlos, we headed to Los Reyes De La Torta, a restaurant we had frequented years ago, specializing in monstrous meat filled Mexican sandwiches.

Once again, it didn’t let us down.

Plate lunch in Hawaii
This is called a plate lunch!

2. Plate Lunch – Hawaii, US

In Hawaii, while I ate at some old favorites, my Aunt and Uncle introduced me to one of their longtime favorite plate lunch spots – St. Louis Drive In.

The food was simple, but just good local Hawaiian style.

best food in the world
Fresh tempura in Tokyo

3. Tempura – Tokyo, Japan

Moving on to Tokyo – and what an incredible food experience it was.

After getting a recommendation to eat at Tenmatsu (and also something pretty cool, if you check out their website they included our video on the homepage!) from my friend Yukari, I knew I needed to check it out.

I had eaten tempura many times before, but never had I experienced this kind of quality and care.

Sukiyaki
Luxurious quality sukiyaki in Japan

4. Sukiyaki – Tokyo, Japan

Again, just like the tempura, I had eaten sukiyaki before outside of Japan, but it was the quality of the ingredients, the precision of the preparation, and the atmosphere that made this sukiyaki meal so delicious.

Japanese food
The freshness of food in Japan was incredible

5. Sushi / Sashimi – Tokyo, Japan

When it comes to the purest of all foods, for myself it just can’t beat fresh sashimi and sushi in Japan.

I’m a spicy kind of guy, and normally most of the food I love is extremely flavorful and pungent – I love things like raw garlic and chilies.

But if you take a single ingredient, without the need of any alteration or seasoning, it can’t get better than fresh sashimi.

Kobe beef
This Kobe beef was mind blowing!

6. Narisawa – Tokyo, Japan

This year Ying and I had the opportunity to dine at Narisawa, one of Tokyo’s world famous restaurants, rated one of the best in the world.

The entire meal experience, food and presentation, was outstanding. The Kobe beef, which was cooked by hot olive oil spooned over the meat, was so good, I almost fell out of my chair as I ate.

Thanks to Jeffrey from Chowzter.com, who knows the chef at Narisawa and who sponsored our meal.

duck confit
Duck confit sandwich in London

7. Borough Market – London, England

Ying and I were in London for just a short trip, but we really enjoyed out time there, and one of our highlights was eating through London’s legendary market.

The duck confit sandwich at Le Marché du Quartier was one of my favorites, the duck was tender and melt-in-your-mouth rich.

Eggplant salad
One of the greatest roasted eggplant salads I’ve ever had

8. Nang Loeng Market – Bangkok, Thailand

For years now, one of my favorite restaurants for normal Thai rice and curry is a restaurant at Nang Loeng Market.

When I went there one day this year, I had their version of yam makua yao (ยำมะเขือยาว), which is roasted eggplant salad, which I got with a hard boiled egg.

It was so good, I had to get a re-fill immediately.

restaurants in Bangkok
Soei – one of my favorite restaurants in Bangkok

9. Soei – Bangkok, Thailand

Of all the food in the world, there’s nothing I’m more passionate about than Thai food.

This year, for the first time, I ate at a restaurant in Bangkok called Soei, now one of my favorite restaurants in the city.

Everything is delicious, and the chef, P’Soei, prepares nothing but bold and flavorful dishes, which my taste buds can’t get enough of.

khao soi
Delicious khao soi in Chiang Mai, Thailand

10. Khao Soi – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Khao soi is a famous northern Thai dish that’s kind of hit or miss for me; Sometimes it’s very good, other times it’s not my favorite (especially when it’s too sweet or oily).

The version at Khao Soi Khun Yai in Chiang Mai, was deliciously rich, and the curry was extremely flavorful.

I’ve since tried a few more khao soi versions throughout northern Thailand, which I’m excited to share with you soon.

Burmese goat curry
I couldn’t get enough of this goat curry

11. Feel Myanmar – Yangon, Myanmar

If you ask someone from Yangon where to go to get a meal where you can choose any Burmese food you can imagine, it won’t take long before they recommend Feel Myanmar.

The restaurant is home to any and every type of Burmese dish you can imagine.

I went a little crazy ordering when I saw the vast display of curries available, and they were all good, especially the goat curry.

Rakhine Seafood
Rakhine seafood feast in Yangon, Myanmar

12. Rakhine Seafood Feast – Yangon, Myanmar

When I asked on a YouTube video where to eat in Yangon, one of the places many of you recommended was Minn Lan Restaurant, serving seafood dishes from the Rakhine state of Myanmar.

Our full seafood feast was incredibly delicious.

freshwater prawns
Incredible freshwater prawns

13. Freshwater Prawns – Ayutthaya, Thailand

Freshwater prawns are one of the most delicious gifts to the world, ever.

Ayutthaya, about an hour drive from Bangkok, is famous for its freshwater prawns. This year, I had the chance to go to a restaurant called Ruay Goong Pao (ร้านรวยกุ้งเผา), where I had probably the best grilled freshwater prawns I’ve ever eaten.

If that wasn’t enough, after that stunning meal, I had the best tom yum goong I’ve ever had too. I’ll be writing more about that later.

Steamed beef
Steamed beef, served with galangal dipping sauce

14. Lab Sanam Keela – Chiang Rai, Thailand

Chiang Rai is a city in northern Thailand that I had wanted to visit for years. Finally, in 2014, Ying and I were able to spend some time there.

One of my favorite meals was at a restaurant that serves some amazing meat dishes, including steamed beef that tasted like the Thai version of a Sunday roast.

Yunnanese food
Yunnanese style braised pork leg

15. Braised Pork Leg – Mae Salong, Thailand

While in Chiang Rai, Ying and I rented a car and drove to a small Thai Yunnanese village in the mountains.

Our first stop was lunch at Im Pochana Restaurant (ร้านอิ่มโภชนา), where Ying and I chowed down a huge plate of tender excellent braised pork leg.

The Yunnanese style fried noodles were equally magnificent.

The food was good, and the mountain fresh air also contributed to having such a memorable meal.

hor mok
Hor Mok – steamed fish custard – traditional style

16. Hor Mok – Bangkok, Thailand

Hor mok is a traditional central Thai dish, that’s a fish custard, steamed in a banana leaf. You’ll find it at many Thai restaurants, and I had eaten it many times before.

But this was by far the best version I’ve ever had, homemade, using all fresh ingredients, no sugar (so it wasn’t sweetened like it sometimes is these days), and it was packed with flavorful spices, and thick coconut cream.

It was unbelievably good, rich and creamy.

kanom jeen nam ya
Southern Thai fish curry with fresh rice noodles

17. Nam Ya Kati – Chumphon, Thailand

Nam ya kati is a southern Thai curry, made with deboned fish, curried in spices like turmeric and lemongrass, and usually served over kanom jeen rice noodles.

In the southern Thai province of Chumphon, I was able to eat an incredibly thick and rich nam ya kati with homemade kanom jeen noodles – a first for me. I can’t even begin to describe its deliciousness in words.

Note: The purple color of the rice noodles is from the addition of rice berry flour.

Bun Rieu
Vietnamese dish of Bun Rieu

18. Bun Rieu – Saigon, Vietnam

Before taking a trip this year to Vietnam, I had heard of, and eaten dishes like bun thit nuong and banh mi, but never had a I heard of or tried bun rieu, a crab based noodle soup.

Bun rieu is now probably my favorite Vietnamese noodle soup so far.

I haven’t had a chance to write about it yet, but it’s coming soon, video too.

Vietnamese duck congee
Chao Vit – duck and congee

19. Chao Vit – Saigon, Vietnam

Hanging out with Kyle from Kyle Le Dot Net, one day in Saigon we headed a bit out of the city to eat at a restaurant known throughout the city for its delicious chao vit, or congee and duck.

Kyle did the ordering, and it turned out to be a duck feast that I won’t forget. I especially loved the herb salad, a nice Vietnamese touch to our meal.

Oc
Oc – A meal of Vietnamese sea snails and shellfish

20. Oc – Saigon, Vietnam

Sea snails are one of the many incredibly popular meals to eat in Saigon, and when Ying and I visited, we had a number of feasts that included all sorts of different snails and shellfish, some of which I had no idea what I was eating.

Not only did I enjoy the snail dining experience, but I also loved the culture and atmosphere, like so many other meals in Vietnam.

Northern Thai food
Northern Thai cuisine in Lampang

21. Northern Thai Cuisine – Lampang, Thailand

Now we are in the end of 2014, and Ying and I have been doing a lot of traveling around Thailand.

While in Lampang, a city not too far from Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, we ate lunch at Mae Hae, a local restaurant where Grandma serves northern Thai food.

I ate, what was probably the best gaeng hanglay, a northern Thai curry of pork in a tangy ginger and pickled garlic sauce, that I’ve ever had.

Cooking heroes
I was able to meet Khun Joong Borigan, one of my cooking heroes

Here’s a video of the top 10 meals, which we made videos of in 2014 (if you have a few minutes check this out)!

Thank you!

It’s been an incredibly rewarding year, thanks in a huge part to you – for watching our videos, for reading our blog posts, and for sharing them.

Thank you very much, I’m extremely blessed to have your support.

Also, I can’t thank my wife Ying enough. She’s often behind the scenes of Migrationology, yet she does so much, and she is truly a blessing to my life in every way.

I wish all of you the best going into 2015!

Are you signed up for my newsletter?

In 2015 I will be sharing lots more delicious food and exclusive travel tips by e-mail. If you’re not already on it, just type in your e-mail, and click “I’m in!”

Thank you for reading this end of the year re-cap of meals.

I would love to hear from you too – what was your most memorable meal or delicious food of 2014!?

51 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • FoodTaliban

    6 years ago

    Thanks for another great year of food/travel inspiration in SEA.
    I will try walk in your foodspooting tracks next month when I go to BKK.

    Here are some of my best bites 2014.

    Thailand:
    Yam Hoi Nang Rom – Oyster salad
    Moo Manao – Spicy pork with Lime

    Cambodia:
    Amok – Seafood curry
    Prahok Kh’tih – Khmer dip

    Myanmar:
    Pennyworth Salad
    Tofu Thoke

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Great to hear from you, thank you for the support and for sharing your top dishes of 2014 – all of them sound delicious. All the best for 2015!

  • Rahman @ Destination Iran

    6 years ago

    Thanks Mark for the interesting list and nice photos. I wish you a great New Year and more such posts introducing the food of various nations. As a vegetarian, I think I won’t be disappointed in most of the countries (East Asia) you’ve mentioned!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Raham, thank you very much, glad you enjoyed this video. Yes, many of these countries also have delicious vegetarian food as well.

  • De’Jav

    6 years ago

    OMG some of these dishes look to die for and I could eat them every day. Good work on getting a collection of the tops together. Yum yum

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Huge thank you De’Jav. All the best for 2015.

  • wolf

    6 years ago

    Hello Mark,
    Again it was a great pleasure to read and enjoy your fantastic photos, excellent done and looking very much forward to receive the next
    package and therefore stay healthy and have a happy new year 2015…!
    Kind regards
    Wolf

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Wolf, thank you very much, Happy new year to you as well!

  • Elaine

    6 years ago

    There is a lot of excellent meals out there in the world … thanks for documenting them. Happy 2015 Mark!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thank you Elaine, Happy New Year to you as well.

  • Juhani

    6 years ago

    Thank you so much for your fantastic blog
    Best Meal number 16: Hor mok
    Which is the restaurant ?
    Hor mok one of my favorite thai foods

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thank you very much for following Juhani – that was at one of my friend’s houses. His aunt and relatives are experts at making hor mok, they live in Nonthaburi – but this was at their house.

  • Rebecca

    6 years ago

    Yum, yum, yum!! I can’t believe it’s even possible, but I had forgotten about tortas until I saw your post. I devoured them when I was in Mexico seven years ago – how could I have forgotten??!! Thanks for the memories! 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Rebecca, great to hear from you, thank you very much for reading, and glad this brought back memories of Mexico. I’m dreaming of a torta right now. Happy New Year!

  • Renuka

    6 years ago

    I have been following your blog for quite a long time, and being a foodie, I relish all your posts. Love your 21 best meals of 2014. I wish you visit India soon and taste its variety of cuisines. 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hello Renuka, thank you very much, it’s been great to connect with you. I would love to come back to India, some of my favorite food in the world!

  • chris

    6 years ago

    Nice Job Mark! I love your YouTube channel. In a few Weeks i will fly to Bangkok and Myanmar to travel and eat delicious food. I will try all the food you have showed in your Videos. Nice greets from austria

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Chris, thank you for watching, great to hear from you. Hope you have a great trip, and enjoy the food.

  • Nala Singham

    6 years ago

    Greetings from New York City and wishing you and your family a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous 2015. Great Job….Keep up your good work.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Nala, thank you very much, happy new year to you as well!

  • Tamara

    6 years ago

    Happy New Year, Mark and Ying! Loved seeing your round-up and watching the video as well. You always make us hungry. Thanks for the continuing inspiration to travel and eat.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Tamara, thank you very much, we really appreciate it. Happy new year!

  • waldemar

    6 years ago

    hej, Phantastic Pictures Mark, thank you so much for your Videos and Pictures, they always make me smile.
    Best Picture the sukiyaki with the shiny egg in front.

    Happy new year and many regards, you are a inspiring example human.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Waldemar, great to hear from you, thank you very much for your kind words. Wishing you and your family a happy new year!

  • Dale

    6 years ago

    Though there’s not much for my vegan eyes to devour, what I enjoy about this post (and your posts in general) is the diversity of choice amongst all of the dishes between one culture to the next. Food is such an important part of life (and travel), so seeing what people eat is especially interesting to me.

    Also, I send my thanks to Ying also for helping you deliver some of the best quality travel/food articles out there.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Dale, thank you very much. I fully agree, the diversity of food from culture to culture, is what keep me hungry to keep exploring and learning. Hope you’re doing well, and Happy New Year!

  • Kevin

    6 years ago

    Now you’ve done it Mark! You made me wanna travel to all these places and eat all the food even though I can’t!

  • Emiko

    6 years ago

    You had my kind of year! I could eat plate lunch and anything from Japan forever, although my best bites of this year where in N. Thailand and Turkey. Can’t wait to follow more your eats in 2015!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Emiko, good to hear you love Japanese food and plate lunches too. Happy new year!

  • Kaila Yu

    6 years ago

    I only traveled to Costa Rica this past year and nowhere else :(. One of the most amazing meals I ate was at a locals spot off the beaten path at Soda Jaco Rustica – delicious home-style cafeteria food

    Your list definitely has some of my foodie favorites! I love spam and the plate lunches in Hawaii and I agree that practically everything in Tokyo is amazing, its on another level. I love how raw eggs come with many of the meals in Japan. Uni Udon at Little Tokyo in LA’s Monzo is a top pick.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Kaila, thanks for sharing, that meal in Costa Rice sounds and looks delicious. Glad to hear you love spam and food in Hawaii as well!

  • ning_d

    6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing, Mark.
    You’re very inspiring and it would be amazing if i can travel more and of course, eat more!
    Merry Christmas 2014 and Happy New Year 2015 😀

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thank you Ning, happy new year to you as well!

  • Shayne Austin

    6 years ago

    Mark – What a year of hard work you and your team have done! your work is amazing and very inspirational. Every time i watch you i smile and feel great, you have a talent in drawing people in and allowing them to feel the passion! Awesome work.
    Would love meeting you one day! your a super star.

    Happy new year and all the best

    Shayne Austin

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Shayne, I really appreciate the encouraging words, thank you for following this year. Would love to meet you in the future as well. Happy new year!

  • Peter

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    maybe it is time to explore real Mexican food in Mexico City. I would love to read about future experiences from you.

    Many regards
    Peter

    Munich, Germany

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Peter, I would love to experience Mexican food in Mexico City. Not sure when, but I really hope to go in the future. Have you spent time there?

  • Davina

    6 years ago

    Been to Sri Lanka twice and I must admit I loved the pol sambol as well. Hoppers are also fantastic but cant find a pan in the uk to make them. Hoping to go back again next year. Have a Happy New Year and enjoy your travels in the future

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Davina, great to hear you love Sri Lankan food too. Hope you can visit again. Happy new year!

  • Ashley

    6 years ago

    I love this post and video, Mark! I remember watching your Hawaiian Poke Bowl video- which looked so delicious- and I’ve been trying to find a restaurant that serves it ever since! Thanks for sharing and for giving me an endless list of dishes to try when I travel!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Ashley, thank you very much, really appreciate it. Hope you can get that poke bowl soon, I know you’ll enjoy it. Hope you have a great new years and best for 2015.

  • Robson Cadore

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark!
    This is a damn Yummy list!!!!
    I’m trying as much as possible here in Thailand and so far the Northern food is my favourite!
    BTW,Your pictures are stunning!
    Happy 2015!!!!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thank you Robson. Oh nice, glad that you love northern Thai food – it’s an amazing branch of Thai cuisine. Happy new year.

  • May Vang

    6 years ago

    Mark, you are living the dream…traveling the world to eat (as if you didn’t know that already :/)!!! Everything looks so wonderfully delicious and your video blogs are proof! I am inspired and will be that one tourist with a list of restaurants and good eats in my hands! Bangkok, Thailand is my next destination. The husband and I plan on visiting next spring. Dinner on us if you’re willing to show us around!!! ;D

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey May, thank you very much, and glad that you love to eat when you travel too. Yah, let me know when you’re in Bangkok – I’m not sure of my plans that far in advance, but would be great to meet you.

      • May Vang

        6 years ago

        Thanks awesome! I will definitely let you know. Hope to meet you and your wife one day! May the new year bring you much luck, peace and more great eats! ;D

  • Renee

    6 years ago

    Mark,

    I am literally salivating!! Everything looks delicious but also very healthy. These photos made me realize how much I’ve missed visiting your beautiful blog. Keep up the great work!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thank you very much Renee, great to hear from you. Hope you are doing well, and happy new year.