In this special travel issue, we celebrate the vibrant cuisines of beaches around the world, from the shores of St. Croix to Vietnam, from Puerto Rico to Zanzibar.
My first food memory is of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the beach. Every morning during summers on the coast of South Carolina with my cousins, my mom would make PB&Js using the whole loaf of sliced white bread and stack them back in the plastic sleeve for a beach picnic. No matter how much we tried to avoid it, they were sand magnets. Occasionally, my dad would bring a tray of foil-wrapped chili dogs down to the beach “for the adults.” If this was adulting, I wanted an upgrade. By the 1990s, I got one: Dinners at the beach rental grew epic in scale, with my grandmother and aunt, dressed in their muumuus, one-upping each other with Italian spiedini or sh stew. It was a time of prodigious shing and gloppy sunscreen by day and cheap Chardonnay and aloe by night.
Those formative family vacations established my love of beach food. Everything tastes better with a view of the water, whether it’s BBQ oysters at e Marshall Store on Tomales Bay in California, platters of raw scallops at Gatto Nero in Venice, or, as I recently discovered, tacos by the white sands of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. In November at Rosewood Mayakoba on the Yucatán Peninsula, I attended Taco Academy, a three-day immersion in all things tacos and tortillas taught by resort chef Juan Pablo Loza and guest chef Enrique Olvera, chef-owner of Pujol in Mexico City. One of the simplest tacos we learned to make featured salpicón, a basic salsa, to which one can add grilled shrimp, pulled pork, or steak. It was simple and perfect—as is so much of the world’s best beach cooking.
In this special travel issue, we celebrate the vibrant cuisines of beaches around the world, from the shores of St. Croix to Vietnam, from Puerto Rico to Zanzibar. And also Rhode Island, for that state’s homely (but delicious) clam stu es. After all, everything, even PB&J, tastes better at the beach.