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A Guide to Neopian Cuisine

by dianacat777


Also by jonjon902101

Hello, readers! I'm so happy to be here! My name is Dianiia, and as for why I'm here today...

Well, almost everyone else in my family has been in the Neopian Times at some point or another, and I admit, I felt a little left out. So I started a project. Over the past few weeks, with a little help from my siblings, I've travelled Neopia and sampled the many dishes and flavors its cultures have to offer. The fruit of this wide and exciting trip is a list I've compiled of the many lands of Neopia, underlining the highlights of their foods and rating them on a scale of one to ten. Some lands have wonderful flavors and delicacies for you to enjoy. Others... do not.

So without further ado, let's begin. The first land I'll rate is my native home...

Meridell: 3/10

As loathe as I am give my home a poor rating, I have to confess – Meridell eats modestly at best. Gruel, porridge, and plain vegetables are common fare here, and the things they'd consider wonderful treats tend to be the sort of things that Neopians would take for granted as a normal meal – like a full plate of turkey and gravy. That's not a feast fit for a king, even if it is hearty – it's what I'd expect my owner to give me for an average dinner. No wonder Skarl's so grumpy, if this is all they have...

I was appalled to see how many overripe or moldy vegetables were for sale here; 'pre-squished' is not a good things for tomatoes to be. And pies shouldn't be made from sludge or dirt! That's just misleading. There are lots of items on the market that could qualify as Gross Foods – Mortog Stew, zeenana peels, buckets of slop, fruits covered in icky black goop. But the worst thing is yet to come – they sometimes serve Draik Eggs here! There are living Draiks inside those eggs! I didn't see one during my time shopping, but if I had, I would have fled with it and hatched the baby Draik, safely away from crazed, vicious 'gourmets'. It makes me wonder – was I born safely, or did I narrowly escape such a fate?

Given that I – and my three siblings – are Draiks, I understandably find this practice quite barbaric! So for those unfortunate facts, I'm going to have to give Meridell a paltry three out of ten.

As for its sister kingdom,

Brightvale: 6/10

I personally find Brightvale's foods an utter delight! All variety of fruits and vegetables greet you here; melons, berries, all sorts of tasty juices and jams. The Magenorb and Dewy Apple have to be my personal favorites. The Squibble Berry surprised me with a face full of squirming tentacles when I cut it open, but I was assured by the shopkeeper that that was a natural feature of the fruit, and that an angry eldritch abomination had not snuck into my meal.

While I'm perfectly happy with all of these fruity treats, Brightvale doesn't serve much else. You won't find any meats or heartier fare here, and even I was longing for a nice slice of toast after eating here for a few days. I was inclined to give them a higher rating – fruits are healthy and delicious! - but the rest of my family wouldn't let me hear the end of it until I finally agreed to give them a six for the lack of anything else.

Next, we visited the rocky crags of

Tyrannia: 4/10

Unfortunately, these guys haven't really learned the fine art of cooking yet. If you like your meat raw – and my brother Mehrcer does, eurgh – you may enjoy snacking on the various giant dinosaur bits and fish they serve here. I think I've even seen them serve what might have been a stick of Mynci, eek – those Tyrannians aren't picky about what they eat. I've seen fishes covered in tar, still-live mollusks, and meats even they proclaim to taste terrible. And even Mehrcer won't touch Tekel's stew – a stamp of proof on how 'questionable' that stuff really is.

Tyrannia does have a variety of tasty plants that they serve, though, and that was a welcome reprieve. The Honey Blossoms in particular are delightful, and a Cactus Blossom is a yummy, albeit difficult to eat, treat. Completing the non-meat scene is... rocks. Yes, Tyrannians seem to believe that rocks can be served as food. I trust you all know better than to try and eat them.

Overall, Tyrannia isn't picky about what they eat, but they do have a couple of natural gems. And if you're an obligate carnivore, you'll probably love everything that I didn't. If not... well, I'm giving it a four out of ten for a reason.

Next to Tyrannia stands

Terror Mountain: 4/10

I just don't get these Neopets. Terror Mountain is freezing – why do they only eat cold things? Do they ever need to warm up? Chilly food wasn't that appealing after a long hike up the mountain's slopes, but then again, a lot of it wasn't that appealing at all. The desserts and ice lollies are delightful, coming in all sorts of flavors, but the food itself is a swindle – they'll take everything interesting about a meal and replace it with cold, flavorless snow. What's so appetizing about that?

There's a reason you never restock, Super Happy Fun Icy Snow Shop. I'm on to you.

So overall, I have to give Terror Mountain's foods a measly four out of ten. I'll bump it up to six out of ten if you include the Slushie Shop down in the valley – delicious, but I didn't need a brain-freeze in addition to my everything-freeze, and the Squid Slushie is horrid.

We understandably wanted something warm after that, so if there's any greater whiplash, let's go from the icy regions of Happy Valley to the boiling hot caves of...

Moltara: 1/10

Okay, first things first – somebody needs to teach these Moltarans that magma is not a condiment. Spicy things taste hot; they do not literally burn your mouth off. I would probably be in the Neopian Hospital if I had dared to try some of their more painful dishes.

I don't think they've realized that 'It tastes like burning!' is not, in fact, a compliment.

Moltaran foods tend to come in two prevalent flavors – various minerals, metals, and rocks, and roots. The first could only possibly be appetizing to a Magma pet, and it's frustrating for the rest of us when you see a perfectly ordinary and tasty treat like lasagna, spaghetti, or hot chocolate, only to find that molten rock has somehow found its way into the ingredient list. As for the second... well, honestly, they're not bad, but it's not something I'd want to eat every day, and they seldom do a good job to promote it to outsiders. And come on, guys. Butter Gears? They're gears. Made of butter. Last I checked, a Stick of Butter was a Gross Food. Does sculpting it into an endearing-but-overused steampunk shape suddenly make it not grimace-worthy?

Also, why does everything they serve need to be on a gear? That's cute and all, but we already know we're eating Moltaran for dinner. Most likely because our meal is on fire.

For the general inedibility and utter 'what-were-they-thinking' vibe I get from their foods, I'm going to have to give Moltara a one. Sorry, guys, but people generally don't like to eat waffles made out of metal.

Next, let's check out

Altador: 7/10

The food here can be a bit tangy and sharp, but it's good. They've got Stuffed Grape Leaves and several kinds of fresh bread anyone should be happy to try. They have an unfortunate tendency to arrange food in the image of their own cultural icons and characters, though. It's cute at first, but after a few Hero Gyros, you have to wonder if there's anything here that is neither sculpted after nor endorsed by Altador's heroes. Everything has to be a sun, or a pillar, or a picture of King Altador's face staring out at you from your plate. Be sure to try the Pomegranate Jelly, though. It's delicious.

Oh, and remember – the 'mallows' in Stuffed Mallows are leaves. Don't get too excited there.

Overall, I give them a seven. Tasty, but not really my taste, and things can get rather repetitive.

Crossing the mountains, we'll move to the

Haunted Woods: 2/10

Okay, eesh. I'm a perfectly ordinary Faerie Draik. Maybe I'm a little biased here, but I'm no fan of... let's see, slime, eyeballs, tongues, parts of other Neopets, and foods that are as liable to eat me as I am to eat them. And if the food's not horrifying, they try to make it look horrifying – I couldn't even bring myself to touch the Aggressive Casserole, it looked so likely to bite me. It's like they're trying to get people not to buy their foods. These guys could give Alien Aishas a run for their money.

There are a few treats nestled in between the general horror of Haunted Woods cuisine, such as the Apple Lantern and Candy Corn Classic. For this... I'll give you a two. You know how to serve the denizens of the Haunted Woods, definitely, but you have a long ways to go before you appeal to the greater masses.

But let's move away from the Deserted Fairgrounds (which were probably deserted because of the food), and towards...

Neovia: 7/10

Unlike the rest of the Woods, Neovia knows how to eat! Well, like normal Neopets, instead of vampires and ghouls and eyeball fetishists. The town itself may be gothic and a little gloomy, but I guarantee you that the Crumpetmonger's shop will always be a delightful place to visit! Many agreeable flavors of scones, toasts, and crumpets will greet you there – buttered and plain, or all sorts of tasty fruits. These are, without a doubt, some of the best I've tasted – the Breadmaster may have a wider range of stock, but even he can't hope to match a fresh, buttery croissant straight from the Crumpetmonger's oven.

Still, one cannot subsist on crumpets and pot pies for all eternity. For the lack of variety, I can't give Neovia any better than a seven.

Moving on, geographically, let's visit...

Faerieland: 9/10

While Faerieland may have fallen from the clouds, its cuisine hasn't suffered a bit from the whole ordeal. This was one of my most anticipated stops along the trip, and for good reason!

While it can take some time to get used to the food floating around, I think that my encounter with spooky foods rather dulled my sense of surprise when it came towards trying to chase my food around. It can get a little annoying, and I do wonder why everything has to either have or be in the shape of faerie wings, but the taste is so good I'm not going to question it. Faerie dust really does give everything that extra oomph!

Most faerie food is light and fluffy, but then they have heartier fare with tacos, burritos, and delicious sandwiches – the Bacon Belly Buster is downright heavenly. The only fault I can find is that these things are rather hard to find amidst the general sugary goodness and lighter treats that make up most of Faerie cuisine. They get a nine from me – delicious!

Heading south, we then reach...

The Lost Desert: -1/10

Stop trying to get us to eat sand.

It doesn't work.

Not even gonna dignify you with a rate, guys. I'm moving on straight to

Qasala: 7/10

Unlike their neighbors, Qasala has more sense than to try and slip sand into your every meal. The flavors here are, unfortunately, a bit limited – expect to see a lot of queela and qando. Also, the greater Lost Desert's marketing schemes seem to have rubbed off on Qasala for a few items – I was aghast to find a Canteen of Sand for sale, and the mere sight of it filled me with inexorable fury and forced me to smite Qasala's rating with my divine rage. Guys. Sand is not edible. How these marketing schemes even turn a profit, I'll never know...

There are also some rather dodgy items, such as the Cursed Coffee Service, that seem to share in some of Qasala's more... sordid history. I'd avoid those, if you value your health and/or sanity. And you may want to inspect what you're purchasing at the markets – I've caught some rotten Queela Fruits among the bunch, and it'd be a shame to buy something only to find out it's no good. But there are a number of decadent treats to enjoy here, like chocolate fondues, various cakes, and tasty fountain drinks, so I'm giving Jazan's delightful little corner of the desert a seven. You wouldn't have expected Qasala to be a center of desserts, but they excel at it – and a Fruity Shaved Ice is just so nice after a long day in the desert heat.

The next place to visit was

Shenkuu: 8/10

Shenkuu's got a tasty and refreshing cuisine, but I've got to ask one question; why are the tentacles still squirming?

Other than that, I love it. Some things were too strong for my taste, but the rest... rice often balances out spicier dishes, and I ended up liking things I was a little afraid to try. There are a lot of fish dishes for you to enjoy, if you're into that sort of thing; no place is better to get sushi than Shenkuu. Remember, though; some things are all-around delicious, but others have stronger flavors that you may not be used to. Be careful with what you try to eat at first.

If you can find some Negg Noodles, try them. The fish sauce goes deliciously with sliced fish neggs – from what I understand, though, this dish is quite rare!

Overall, I gave them an eight out of ten. Delicious, but it comes on a bit strong to the unrefined palate.

After this, we headed over to

Mystery Island: 8/10

I was afraid that Mystery Island was going to suffer the same problem as Brightvale – lots of fruits and nothing else. Not so, though! While Mystery Island boasts an ever-changing array of fruits, courtesy of the local holiday Gadgadsbogen. Trying to catalogue these seems almost meaningless, as in the future, the fruits I ate during my stay will no doubt be replaced by wholly different – but no less exciting – fruits. However, let me tell you – if you can get your hands on a Twirlyfruit, they're juicy and delicious! I also tried an Octopepper, which was surprisingly delicious despite its rather daunting appearance. You can also purchase foods made with these fruits, like pancakes or crepes – the ones I had were delicious. However, the tropical foods stand does have some other dishes – mostly seafoods. The Pickled Eel is surprisingly tasty, once you get past the slippery texture, and the Shrimptail with Kelp Sauce is a lot tastier than it looks.

During my stay, I was lucky enough to sample a Doughnutfruit. Simply heavenly – I see now why those Hasees are so crazy for them! Alas, they're not that easy to find, and I don't think I'll have another chance to try them.

I'll rate Mystery Island's foods an eight – delicious, but there are a couple of things you'll want to avoid. The Star Fish Sundae has fish-flavored ice cream, yuck!

After that, we took a plunge into

Maraqua: 7/10

Well, Kelp, to be specific. And for Kelp, I can say this; tasty but oh so pricey! Everything here is delectable – the Braised Turkey Cutlet's a personal favorite – but it'll make a serious dent in your bank account, even the drinks! It gets a seven from me for this reason – the flavor gets a ten, but the price bumps it down a few notches. This isn't a place you can regularly afford to visit.

There are some old Maraquan foods you can find that didn't come from Kelp, like the Gummy Amoeba and Boiled Sea Serpent, but they're bound to be even more expensive due to the fact that production ceased when old Maraqua was destroyed in a whirlpool, and that was a long time ago.

And I'm not sure how good those are, either. What is a Scoop Chop, anyway?

We tried to visit the Golden Dubloon next, but the Lupe at the counter was... well, rather frightening to be honest, and he was not pleased that I didn't have any dubloons. I don't understand – aren't Neopoints the universal currency? In any case, I understand that the Golden Dubloon of Krawk Island is similar to Kelp, in that it's an expensive restaurant with gourmet foods. However, the place had a rather intimidating atmosphere, and we decided to go straight to our next stop,

The Space Station: 5/10

Um. Okay, I suppose I could call these foods 'out of this world', but I don't think they were worth going out of this world for. I cringed at what I saw on my plate at first – it looked like a bunch of multicolored blobs. The Vegetable Deluxe was actually pretty good once I dared to taste it, but I still don't know what I was actually eating. And this ends up being the case with a lot of the food you'll eat here. If it's not weird-looking space creatures with more tentacles than I like eating, it's mashed mystery meat or something that's been processed so many times you can't even tell what it is anymore.

Grundo's Café also sells fare for robots – metal pizza and oil slushies, and so on. Since they serve food for normal Neopets as well, this is a point in their favor – the Moltarans could learn something from this.

Now, there were a few gems – there always are! Gargarox's Cherries Jubalee was delicious and sweet, and the Sugarbunny Surprise is wonderful! Marshmallow Grundos are adorable and tasty if you can find one, and while I don't know why the manicotti is purple and green, it's yummy. And I didn't eat the Sloth Surprise, but it was cute and made me laugh. The problem is, the Space Station's foods generally don't care much for aesthetics – they'll cram everything into cubes, blocks, or little bits of rehydrated I-don't-even-know-whats, and even if they actually are delicious, you aren't going to want to try them after taking a look at what's on the plate. If what you're looking at actually takes away your appetite, well, you're not going to enjoy it as much as you would otherwise. If you even bring yourself to eat them, that is.

For that... Sorry, Gargarox, but you get a five.

And I've saved the best for last, the only Neopian land to get a perfect ten from me...

Neopia Central: 10/10

What's that? Yes, you heard right. I'm giving boring old Neopia Central the perfect score on cuisine. It's not boring at all! There are a wide variety of flavors and dishes, from pasta to sushi, chocolate milk and juice, chocolates and baked goods, hot dogs, pizza – and best of all, nearly all of it's safe! You won't have to pick through your foods to make sure there's no bits of magma, eldritch horrors, or tongue inside of them, and your spaghetti will be topped with marinara, not snow. You could do all your shopping for foods here, and your Neopets will love you for it; there's enough variety so that it would never get old.

There are plenty of shops in Neopia Central that contribute to this diversity. Hubert's Hot Dogs and Pizzaroo are rather straightforward; they sell exactly what it says on the tin. The Chocolate Factory sells not only chocolate, but all kinds of candies, gummies, and confections. The Bakery is stocked with a variety of baked goods, ranging from baguettes and toast to cookies and cakes – and what grand cakes they are, too! The Smoothie Shop is another title-drop store, with all sorts of smoothies that cater to the health fanatic to the oddballs to the casual Neopian looking for a tasty drink on a hot summer day. The Health Food shop may not garner the most enthusiasm, but there's no better place to go when you're cooking and want fresh ingredients. And finally, of course, there's the Food Shop, which sells a little bit of everything – breakfast, lunch, dinner, fruits, vegetables, burgers, pasta, and even ice cream. Whatever you're in the mood for, Neopia Central has it.

Well, that's a wrap! Hopefully, this guide will have given you some ideas on some new cuisines to explore and where you should treat your Neopets.

And where not to. I'm still picking sand out of my teeth.

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