I've always had an awesome relationship with food. My parents began teaching me and my sister to cook as soon as we were tall enough to reach the stove. Both my parents are quite skilled in the kitchen and had parents that were fonts of knowledge and kitchen wisdom. My maternal grandfather was known for his fabulous meringues; my dad's mom was from Nawlins and was forever feeding us red beans and rice, gumbo and étouffée . Her homemade pralines were a thing of beauty, and when my great aunt came to live with us after Katrina (she was well into her 80s at the time, had an insurance payout, and wanted to spend her last days with my grandmother, her last sibling) we got an influx of even more cajun and creole food from a town known for ridiculously amazing noms.

I've always been an adventurous eater. I'll try anything once, literally any. thing. It's how I tried horse that one time, and fell in love with traditional mochi.

I, personally, am particularly fond of East Asian, SE Asian (including India), and North African/ME foods. Some favorites, in no particular order:

mochi (Japan) — these chewy, sweet been paste filled balls are awesome. Not so sweet to send you into a diabetic coma, but enough to hit the spot. Restaurants often have ones filled with ice cream, which can be fun, but I'm partial to the real deal.

Kibbeh/kebbe (Lebanon/ME) — delicious bulgur filled with meat. Simply yumtastic. When I worked at the hotel in CLE, we had a ME delegation in house. One night they had a gigantic feast and gave us lovely staff a ton of leftovers. These gems were among them.

Kunafah (Lebanon/ME) — Another treat from the delegation. A desert that is creamy, crispy and all delicious.

Unagi (Japan) — grilled eel. Can't go wrong.

Pho (Vietnam) — The best soup you've ever had. It's the broth and fixins that make it special.

Lumpia (Phillipines) — I had a Filipina coworker that would always make these spring rolls. Sometimes with veggies, sometimes with pork, sometimes a dessert kind made with banana. Crispy, flaky, and nommable by the dozen...

Any Indian curry because zomgyes. — I take mine at medium heat with some paratha, thank you very much.

Apple rabdi/rabri — a smooth dessert made with apples and cooked down with milk, pistachios and cardamom. Aromatic, refreshing and can be served hot or cold.

Papas bravas (Spain) — potatoes. The most amazing tomato sauce ever. Nuff said.

Arroz a la cubana (Spain originally, but regional versions in SE Asia where the Spanish empire settled) — Rice with a fried egg and sofrito (seasoned tomato sauce cooked in olive oil). Such simple. So yum. Much nom.

Queso relleno (Yucatán, Mexico) — A ball of Edam cheese is gutted and stuffed with pork, capers, raisins, onions and tomato. The cheese that was removed is used to make a sauce. The stuffed ball is baked in the oven, then served over rice with the sauce. You will die happy once you have had this. No lie. For real.

So tell me, what are your favorite foods? Are they family traditions, or cool things you had while abroad? Is your attachment sentimental, or do you just like how it melts in your mouth?