The Best Meal Andrew Zimmern Ate In 2023 - Exclusive

Andrew Zimmern smiling with glasses
Andrew Zimmern smiling with glasses - Jeff Schear/Getty Images

Andrew Zimmern, the award-winning culinary mastermind and TV star, has eaten a lot of excellent meals, but there is one that stands out amongst the crowd. Tasting Table sat down with Zimmern at this year's New York Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) for an exclusive interview, where he treated festival-goers to a food demonstration featuring some of his signature culinary specialties, including roasting unusual fish and making delicious Asian-inspired sauces.

As we look toward the year's end, Zimmern reflected on the meals he's eaten during 2023, specifically the one he'd rank the highest. "The best [meal]?" Zimmern asked. "As someone who consumes so much food in so many different places, that's really, really hard. However — and I've given this answer a thousand times — I do so much eating and I live in food that frequently it's whatever I've most recently had."

Zimmern, who is based in Minnesota, was at the season opener for Upland game hunting when he created his surprise best meal of the year: "A roasted partridge dish." The partridge was prepared in his outdoor kitchen, where he was filming "Andrew Zimmern's Wild Game Kitchen" for the Outdoor Channel. "Something that I do a lot living in Minnesota is hunting, and then taking that food back, or fishing or foraging, and then taking wild foods back to the kitchen," he shared.

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The Art Of Roasted Partridge

quail in cast iron pan
quail in cast iron pan - Mironov Vladimir/Shutterstock

Early humans hunted game as their primary source of nourishment, but the pastime continues to be a staple across many regions around the world. Zimmern's best meal of the year, roasted partridge, was the product of a game hunt and his preparation of the game meat is one he wants home cooks to take note of.

"Everyone's like: 'Oh, you can't grill partridge. You can't, you can't, you can't. It's not fatty enough, it's too lean. It's too this, it's too that.' Wrong," Zimmern stated. If you've never grilled partridge before and are looking for some tips for where to begin, Zimmern had some easy-to-follow guidance. "Pluck your partridge, keep the skin off it, and just mark it on the grill and let it slowly roast at the edge of it," he advised.

For Zimmern, nothing comes close to the taste of that partridge. "I would eat that every day. It's so much better than chicken. The char on that skin is so fantastic I just adore it. And so yeah, that first partridge of the year kind of has my vote right now," he declared.

Andrew Zimmern's Best Restaurant Meals Of 2023

shrimp and squid in wok
shrimp and squid in wok - Thepalmer/Getty Images

If you don't have access to game hunting in your area, Zimmern has recommendations for excellent restaurants in New York to sample. When he reflected back on the eating he's done this year, two restaurants that are new to the city took the top spots on his list.

"The squid and shrimp fry at Mitr Thai in Midtown is one of my favorite new dishes in Manhattan. I mean, I just go bonkers for it," he said. Mitr Thai is an expansive Thai restaurant serving traditional food from Northern and Southern Thailand.

Additionally, Zimmern ventured to Flushing, Queens for another exquisite meal. "There's a Chinese restaurant out in Elmhurst that I went to called Ju Qi, that's some of the most innovative and modern Chinese cookery I've eaten in a long time," he shared. "Spectacular. They do fried rice that has Chinese sausage and squid ink in it that is just second to none."

While Zimmern's restaurant picks delight him, he said he's still consumed with that partridge. "I just keep thinking about that one piece of bird on the grill — [that] kind of does it for me," he confessed.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.