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Interviews

Randy Lewis’ Must-Eat Dishes Around The World

The Lahinch-based Canadian chef spills the beans.

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Canadian chef Randy Lewis has cooked his way across the world, from Australia to Brazil, Ecuador to Vietnam, before lowering his anchor in the West of Ireland.

In 2005, Randy ended up in Liscannor Bay when, after leaving Dublin, he was looking for a place to go surfing. The chef has resided in Lahinch ever since but regularly leaves his quiet abode to discover other countries and cultures. His restaurant’s menu reflects his extensive travels, with dishes inspired by Morocco, Thailand, Brazil or Kenya. We asked the globe-trotting chef about the dishes you need to try when visiting these countries, and where to find them.

Samosas In Kenya

“I had the best samosas in Mombasa, in the South of Kenya. Kenyan samosas are quite different from Indian samosas, which are mostly vegetarian. Kenya has a lot of Indian influence as there are a lot of Indian people living there, but their samosas are filled with beef, peas, cumin and coriander. Surprisingly, I found Kenyan food very bland when we arrived in Nairobi. Inland, they generally eat a lot of pulses, beans, goat - but it’s mostly fat and very little meat. But when we went down towards the coast, in Nyali Beach, the food became much livelier and more flavoursome, with a lot of Indian influence.”

Hotpot In Hong Kong

“When I was in Hong Kong, I was mad for hotpots, especially from a restaurant called The Drunken Pot. You have these boiling broths sat in front of you, there can be three or four different broths, and they give you a bunch of raw ingredients, like beef, clams, vegetables and they even bring you live prawns! I also loved dim sum; I have dim sum on my menu in my restaurant and I learned how to make them in Hong Kong. It’s a big toss-up between the two! Dim sums are little pastries filled with crab, pork or different things and steamed, then you have them with soy sauce. The food in Hong Kong, and generally in Asia, is absolutely amazing. Hong Kong has everything you could possibly ever want, it’s one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to in my life.”

READ MORE: My Life in Plates: Grainne O’Keefe

Pulled-Pork Sandwiches In Cuba

“In Cuba, you need to have a pulled pork sandwich. The best place I experienced them was in a town called Holguin. It was so nice and simple, literally just fresh bread with juicy pork that has been marinating for quite a while and is cooked on a stick. They serve it with a little bit of vinaigrette, some lettuce, that’s it. You also find a lot of dishes with black beans in this country as it’s cheap food and Cuba is still a poor country.”

Poutine In Canada

“It’s Canada’s iconic dish and the perfect hangover food. I serve it at the restaurant the odd time; a few customers saw me eating it and they said, “This looks delicious!”. Poutine is basically chips, cheese and gravy but you can add onions or meat. In Canada, we just love a classic roast with potatoes and gravy, but it’s a very multicultural country and in my city Alberta there are 200,000 Chinese people. There aren’t many typical dishes in Canada, but you can find so many different cuisines from different cultures.”

READ MORE: Pork And Chive Dumplings Recipe

Beef Noodle Soup In Thailand

“You can get it at every corner – and also in Cambodia and Vietnam, where it's called pho – it’s one of my favourite dishes in the world. It’s basically a broth that’s been boiling, and they add noodles, meat, fresh basil, bean sprouts. It’s very basic but again, it’s a great hangover cure!”

Biryani In India

“When I lived in India for almost two years, I really liked simple chicken biryani. I was working at a restaurant in Coimbatore and the guys would cook it for the staff lunch, I just loved it. The food in India is full of flavours and colours, I don’t think there is one dish I didn’t like there.”

Koftas In Morocco

“I love Moroccan-style meatballs, which are called koftas and are usually served with a nice slice of fresh bread. I had the best ones in a little town known as Tamraght. At the restaurant, we have our own version with a tomato-based sauce, with onions, cumin, coriander, black pepper and lots of olive oil, and we serve it with pickled apricots. In Morocco I was surprised with some of the ingredients they used, for example, I didn’t expect to see so many olives everywhere. Their olive oil tastes amazing.”

READ MORE: Chicken Tikka Biryani Recipe

Halloumi in Brazil

“In Brazil, you can get grilled halloumi cheese on the beach. The kids come to you with their mini-barbecue and they cook it right in front of you. It’s an incredibly tasty thing!”

Bacon and cabbage in Ireland

“In Ireland, my favourite is bacon and cabbage, sorry for the cliché! It actually took me a while to try it, I was in the country probably ten years before I tasted it. You need to eat it in a mum’s kitchen, it will be better than any restaurant.”

You can follow Randy’s culinary adventures on Facebook and YouTube, or visit Randaddy's, his restaurant in Lahinch.

Author: Élodie Nöel

Élodie is a French journalist who relocated to Dublin about three years ago. She immediately fell in love with the island and its amazing food and has been writing about it on her blog Lemon Lipstick. You can follow Élodie's food adventures on  Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr.