Food Tour: Quest for Exciting Eats
At the beginning of the New Year there are inevitably some Neopets pondering what their New Year's resolutions might be, such as: climbing the volcano of Mystery Island, visiting any of the training schools, exploring the dunes of the Lost Desert or fighting dire Lupes on the endless plains.
However we are past the halfway mark of Y19, and many of those Neopians have now reached the point where they realize they haven't done any of those things. With that said, these adventures need to be absolutely spectacular to make it into your personal history book. So here I am with a few refreshing and exciting suggestions for those Neopians who still want to make Y19 the year they'll remember for the rest of their lives.
For those who are willing to experience the best food Neopia has to offer, I'm presenting to you places that do not simply serve you your dish, but also provide you a unique dining experience so fantastic you'll go home wondering how it was possible you spent these past months reaching absolutely none of your goals. I guarantee these places will give you a one-hundred percent life-changing foodie experience!
So now I ask: what are the food trends of Y19 compared to Y18? Who are the rising stars of the Neopian food industry this year? Where are the hottest, juiciest, and most mouthwatering dishes popping up in Neopia? Are we going to see a continuation of the simple yet alluring foods from Mystery Island like last year? A year where the island's food stalls saw almost triple their seasonal commerce. Or is this the year for a more food-innovative kitchen such as Kreludor Cafe?
If you answered I don't know to any of the above questions, don't worry. I've taken the liberty of investigating a few of these rising food stars for you!
Without further ado, here are a few trends seen so far this year.
1. The return of the Tchea Fruit, Ummagine, Bagguss and other Lost Desert classics.
There you go, I said the most unexpected thing ever. The Y1 fruit frontrunners are going to be smoking hot this year in all foodie hot spots.
These babies follow the trend set by the Mystery Island fruits from last year: simple fruits. They're easy to get your hands on but still maintain their exotic air, and can easily be sliced and diced into nearly any dish; from Grilled Ummagine Chips to Cheops Chopped Salad. I personally recommend you try the Puntec Fruit Salad and Sweet Ummagine Roll, they're absolutely to die for! If you're looking for a lighter snack, make sure to try Baggus Dip with some Grilled Ummagine Chips—it's a sensational pairing! The Bagguss fruit is not only healthy but is a good chocolate substitute if you're searching for a non-dairy alternative!
But we're not out of the desert yet! I would like to direct your taste buds out of Sakhmet and across the dunes to the city of Qasala.
Back in Y1 no one was aware this mysterious, out of the way city still existed! With the resurgence of her leader, King Jazan, Qasala has found herself back on the food map with the absolutely divine Queela Fruit.
To reinvigorate the rustic Lost Desert cuisine, you need creativity—creativity sells—and boy oh boy let me tell you what: Qasalan Delights knows what they're doing!
At first glance, the Queela fruit looks alien with its beautiful purple skin, little yellow bulbs, and demure green stem; but trust me when I say you will not find a more exciting taste. The fruit has an astonishing kick that gives so many of the dishes prepared with it a thrilling taste. While this savory fruit is not as spicy as many peppers boast, the sweet aftertaste the Queela provides is splendid. I recommend trying the Qasalan Flatbread Delight, Meat and Fruit Kebab, as well as the Queela Torte; all three dishes are sure to keep you coming back for future visits!
So heed my words: Lost Desert fruits will take over Neopia this year!
2. Molecular gastronomy from Kreludor & Virtupets
Cafe Kreludor is mostly known as a grundo hangout, largely because the Moon of Neopia, Kreludor, is home to the Grundos; but rarely do any other species set foot on the moon or in the Cafe, otherwise this cuisine would have made it to the foreground way faster. But with several renowned Grundo Neopian Times journalists now dedicated to spreading their unique but excellent fare, it will rapidly become a hot spot!
What I love about this restaurant is that all its food is space themed! I can't get enough of eating food that is literally out of this world. Where the Queela fruit merely looked alien, you can be sure that all of Cafe Kreludor's food is in fact alien. The dishes are appealing and the oranges and purples compliment each other, providing not only a feast for the eyes, but also a feast for your mouth.
Your space voyage is not complete until you take a bite out of their famous Meteor Meat Pie, slurp down the one of a kind Grape Slurpship, and spoon your way through a Zero Gravity Parfait. But wait!
There isn't just Cafe Kreludor to fuel your space food exploration! The next stop on our galactic gallivant is the Grundos Cafe on the Virtupets station—which is, you guessed it, another Grundo hangout. But don't worry! Everyone is as welcome here as they are at the Kreludor Cafe. However you should be prepared to be the odd duck around there, a price that comes with being a food pioneer in the space food scene.
Grundos Cafe has been the main space food proprietor up until the Grundo Rebellion only a handful of years ago. And while the Kreludor Cafe offers some new and interesting innovation in the universe, Grundos still knows what its customers will surely enjoy. So treat yourself to an electrifying Electric Taco, or perhaps you'll be excited to know that there is in fact a moon made of cheese with Grundos signature Full Moon Cheese. No meal is a complete without an exciting Milkyway Shake!
What can you expect from this food trend? Anything. These food styles are explosive, creative, and colourful; the word tasty was probably invented just to describe these foods. Forget all your usual restaurant and cafe expectations because they don't serve your ordinary food at either of these otherworldly eateries. Nothing is too crazy there, and with almost nine-million Grundo's across Neopia, you can expect a lot variation.
Y19 is the year where hopefully more Neopians will discover those unique places out of this world!
3. Shenkuu herbs and spices
Where the Lost Desert kitchen mentioned earlier will make its comeback with old favorites and simple dishes every Neopian knows, I predict the exotic Shenkuu dishes spiced up with local herbs will tease plenty of palates!
Korbat Tofu might look ordinary but the exquisite combination of local Shenkuu herbs makes it a dish for only the expert foodie. Shenkuu isn't a place for a pretender food expert with the large range of textures and flavours they offer. This is the place that separates the beginners from the expert. Are you currently shaking your fist and saying that you can handle everything Shenkuu has to offer you?
I suggest you try a favourite of Bonju, Shenkuu Shrimp-Fried Rice or Spicy Cabbage Pancakes. Both of them are jam-packed with interesting textures and special spices that will make you realize why one of the few drinks they have on the menu is River Wave Breeze.
But enough about the actual food. Shenkuu offers an entirely exotic experience. Expand your gourmet horizons while you sit at your table, surrounded by enchanting scenery that will surely lure you into entirely different atmosphere—a breath of the wild, if you will—while you enjoy those spiced dishes.
All of this of course at dazzling heights! Shenkuu is the number one tourist destination and is, of course, prepared for all of its tourists, providing plenty of choice eating spots all around its peaks with gorgeous views. The most spectacular spot, in my opinion, is near the lunar temple where you could rope down 25 meters from a cliff to reach the unique eating location. For those whose stomach can't handle something so exciting as rappelling: you don't have to climb the cliff! There is an access tunnel by way of the lunar temple!
This region of Neopia requires a lot of walking, but physical exercise is healthy for both the body and mind—something the the citizens of Shenkuu live by! How else do you plan to explore this once hidden city? As the saying goes: when in Shenkuu, do as its citizens do!
Food trend conclusion? Exotic is in!
In all this adventure, don't forget to bring a proper backpack and food box to transport your delicious leftovers!
Now that you've had a first look into what amazing eats will surely be the best this year has to offer, it is this foodie's sincere hope that this food journey will inspire you to make those New Year's Resolutions, and fulfill everyone of them.
Go out and spice up your life!