Food Prices: One Year After

Best food markets around the world

A car bomb that killed 18 people in the capital also destroyed one of the new restaurants, opened by native restaurateur Ahmed Jama. Jama had opened his restaurant The Village in an effort to showcase the great cuisine and culture of his home country, serving traditional Somali dishes. 5Lebanon iStock At the moment, the U.S. State Department advises travelers not to visit Lebanon, as the risk of “spontaneous upsurge in violence remains.” But while the potential dangers of traveling to are not to be taken lightly, neither are the culinary temptations that the country has to offer. Lebanese food is often considered the most familiar Middle Eastern cuisine, with traditional dishes such as falafel and shawarma sold in countries around the world. But in the capital Beirut, a wide range of upscale restaurants have made the city a sought-out destination for fine dining and a buzzing nightlife. At Lux, accessory designer and restaurateur Johnny Farah serves Mediterranean fare, and ingredients are harvested at his own organic farm in the Lebanese mountains. And after establishing locations in London and Paris, Franco-North African Momo opened in Beirut, serving modern and elegant versions of mezze; the restaurant also arranges popular events such as dance parties at night. 6Afghanistan AP The latest Travel Warning for Afghanistan warns U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan, as the risk of kidnapping and terror attacks still remains high. But when it comes to food, Afghanistan has plenty of flavorful dishes to offer. The country is known for its variety of kebabs and pulao rice cooked with meat, chicken, or vegetables. In the Bamiyan region, the main bazaar in Shahr-e Nau, has a good variety of food vendors offering traditional cuisine such as kebabs, pulao, and the beef and bean soup shorwa. 7Iraq iStock Though the Iraq war that started in 2003 has officially ended, the U.S Department of State reports that some violence and threats against U.S. citizens persist, and U.S.

One of the market’s more popular restaurants, Daiwa Sushi, sells fresh sushi to long lines in the early hours of the morning. READ MORE: World’s tastiest food museums 14. Kreta Ayer Wet Market, Singapore This Chinatown market is known for being spotlessly clean. It is called a “wet market” because it is regularly hosed down for hygienic purposes. The fare includes a wide range of unique animals, like turtles, frogs, eels, and snakes (did we mention that some are still alive?) The market also sells local items, like Chinese herbal remedies and Asian vegetables like bok choy. The upstairs area offers local breakfast dishes, including a spicy noodle soup. Other local dishes available include chili crab and Hainan chicken rice. 15. Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City Ben Thanh Market, a destination for many tourists, is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the area. Located in a lively area of the city, visitors can stop by the market to enjoy textiles, souvenirs, handicrafts, and of course, local cuisine. Many of the vendors are cooking up fresh food that’s made to order. Visitors stop here for a “real Vietnamese meal,” like entire fish that are deep-fried. Many stalls also sell Vietnamese prepared beverages, like smoothies and iced coffee.

Among many other initiatives, last October FAO hosted a ministerial summit to discuss food prices, co-organized with the Government of France who played a leading role in establishing AMIS. In 2007-8, increased use of maize for biofuel production was pressuring food prices, excessive speculation on futures markets accentuated price volatility and panic buying and export restrictions led to prices spinning out of control. But, in 2012, these elements were generally controlled and good sense prevailed in markets. The importance of linkages between food and energy markets has been recognized and the costly biofuel policies implicated in pushing up food prices in recent years are being questioned in a number of countries, including the USA. In another change, widespread public outrage over excessive speculation with food prices led many banks to review their positions and made some of them publically renounce that practice. In fact, today, speculation on futures markets seems to have diminished and played little role in recent price volatility. It could, however, re-emerge depending on financial and monetary conditions, so we need to ensure that these markets are transparent and suitably regulated. Different ways to avoid excessive price volatility and to guarantee availability of food are also being discussed, with the setting up food reserves as an option. Does the current situation mean that our food price problems are over? No. International prices are still higher than their historical trend — higher than the peak in 2008, for example. On the other hand, regardless of price levels, excessive price volatility presents additional challenges, especially for small-scale farmers in developing countries with restricted access to financial mechanisms to contain the impacts of low or negative returns. The G20 Leaders’ Declaration at the St Petersburg Summit was right to recognize that the agricultural market situation still needs close attention.