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Authentic European Dishes

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Photo: Roland Bello

These are challenging times for intrepid gourmands seeking the Authentic. Trek halfway around the globe and what do you find?Nobu No. 1,236, or knockoffs of last year’s hits from El Bulli. So where does this leave traditional food—and how are European classics surviving globalization?Hungry for answers, I set off on a grand tour in which culture and scenery would take a back seat to my quest for iconic favorites like bouillabaisse, fish and chips, and Wiener schnitzel. I made it my mission to taste the genuine article in its natural habitat: a working-class chippy in London, a Jugendstil tavern in Vienna. I would not balk at cholesterol counts. What’s a few extra fat grams when you can taste fish and chips fried in beef drippings, as they were meant to be?Nor would I hew to the comfort zone of major cities. Who cares if the road is dusty and drab, when it leads to paella’s Platonic ideal?Not even a two-and-a-half-hour ferry-plus-bus trip could stand between me and Turkey’s most epic kebab. Europe’s classic traditions live on; you just have to know where to look.

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