The Best Dishes We Ate in 2012

(And those we can't wait to eat in 2013)

Tamale hot dog at Fat Johnnie's in Chicago.
Arthur Bovino
Dishes that made this 2012's list run the gamut from a hot dog from Chicago's Fat Johnnie's to Din Tai Fung’s xiǎolóngbāo in Taipei.

During the course of 2012, The Daily Meal's staff has eaten some tremendous meals. Editors have sought out the best of every meal. And with each staffer tucking into some 1,095 meals this past year, that makes it no small task to distinguish which dishes were really far and away, better than all the rest. But with an intrepid someone-has-to-do it dedication, we looked back through the course of the year to determine the best dishes we ate in 2012.

Read More: The Best Dishes We Ate in 2012

For fellow professional eaters, or even casual food enthusiasts, pinpointing just one dish or meal that sent their eyes rolling and their taste buds reeling can be near impossible — as futile as trying to settle on just one restaurant as a favorite. It's the equivalent of asking a music industry pro to list a favorite song of the year, or a movie critic to recommend just one film. Tough, but fun.

Those in food service or part of the media that reports on it are always looking for the next transcendental food experience. And inevitably, whether it's reconnecting with a friend or meeting someone new, one of the first topics of conversation will certainly be, "What's the best thing you've eaten lately?" in some form or another. On the spot, this question can be a stumper, but with the past few weeks to consider the question, our editors settled on their favorites, or at least, narrowed them down to a collection of dishes from restaurants across the country in 2012.

The best dishes we ate in 2011 were dominated by seafood, with toro sushi from Sushi Gen, the lobster roll from Pearl Oyster Bar, and The John Dory's oyster pan roast all making the cut. Like picks from The Daily Meal's staff the year before (2010), this year's selections were much more varied — there really wasn't any one discernible pattern that ran through them (except a definite interest in chef Sean Brock's Husk in Charleston). The food that made this year's best dishes list runs the gamut from a strawberry and blue crab soup at Charleston's Husk to Din Tai Fung’s xiǎolóngbāo in Taipei.

You'll want to check out the list of dishes and comments from The Daily Meal's editors in the accompanying slideshow. And to help kick off the new year stomach-first, our editorial team also chose the dishes they're most looking forward to devouring in 2013.

We've shared our picks, now we'd love to hear from you. What were YOUR favorite dishes eaten in 2012? Let us know in the comments below, or send us an email. Have any tips for dishes we should seek out next year? Let us know those, too.

Arthur Bovino is The Daily Meal's executive editor. Follow Arthur on Twitter.


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