If you're like us, there are just too many different types of food to pick just one favorite. That's why we take friends to restaurants. We pretend to be social as their food shifts from their plates onto ours.
Yet, it seems that decision isn't so difficult for everyone. Last week, NGO Oxfam released the results of a survey, determining that there is indeed a resounding favorite. Over 15,000 people in 17 different countries were asked to give their top three food choices. Although there were variations between country, global results greatly resembled those of the US and UK.
So what food is so delicious, and so universal that it spans the world from Australia to Spain to Tanzania?
The answer would be pasta.
The Italian noodle dish bested local dishes in countries like Guatemala, Brazil, South Africa and Germany. Strangely, it even beat out Italian, which came in at number nine. Meat and rice came in at numbers two and three, respectively. Other foods in the top ten were vegetables, chicken, Chinese, and Mexican. For the United States, pizza, steak, chicken, and Mexican all came before pasta.
It all illustrates the world-wide rise in food prices and the degree to which Western diets have spread across the world, says Oxfam, the anti-hunger group that did the survey. But we're not entirely convinced their creative word clouds really correlate with food supply patterns.
To examine the issue more closely, we asked some local restaurateurs, as well as a few customers, why they think pasta was such a popular pick, and where Miami fits into all of this.
Jarrod Orduñez, a manager at Big Cheese in South Miami, wasn't surprised by the poll's results. "There are so many different varieties. Whatever you think of putting in will go well."
Orduñez's place gets a lot of business, too. On any given night, he says 300-400 customers will eat in, and up to 100 more will place orders for delivery or takeout. Every other order contains one of the restaurants 30 different pasta dishes.
And it's not just all at Big Cheese. A Yelp search of "pasta" in Miami yields 347 results.
"It's easily accessible, easy to make, and cheap," says Orduñez. "In Miami, it's hard to say, because there are so many different cultures, but it's definitely top three."
One Big Cheese customer, who chose to go just by Tim, finds pasta a favorite dish because it's comforting and filling. "It was a poor person's dinner in Italy. It's cheap food that could fill a family of immigrants in the past."
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Casa Larios owner Jorge Larios doesn't consider pasta Miami's favorite dish. "For Cubans, you can probably have pasta no more than once a week. I think in Miami it's black beans and rice, absolutely."
Now we want to know, what's your favorite dish?