Immigration: What brings you to China? Me: Chinese food.
There are some people who might think traveling all the way around the world just to eat is crazy. This article is not for those people. This article is for the people who believe there is food so unique, so rich, so special and utterly delicious, it’s worth flying anywhere, even just for a couple days of enjoyment. We’ve hand picked 15 exceptionally perfect places, where food may not be the main source of tourism, but it could be! In no particular order, these are fabulous choices…
Don’t get us wrong – you’re going to love the food in Italy wherever you go, but ask an Italian and Bologna is the key to everything. After all, where do you think bolognese came from? In the heart of the Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy, this is your best bet for authentic, season Italian food at it’s very best. And with incredible cities and getaways nearby, you could spend weeks! Oh, and just FYI, Osteria Francescana is only about an hour away in Modena!
This is so much more than sushi and really, this should be so much more than just Tokyo. Japan sets standards for the preparation of food like few other places on earth. Attention, care and honor go into every morsel, resulting in simple presentations with the most outstanding flavor. Come for the sushi, but leave with an understanding and respect of true tempura, soba and pastry.
Lima is the only city in the world with two of the world’s top ten restaurants. An incredible food revolution is underway in Lima, combining age old Latin classics with a fusion of Japanese flavors and modern presentation. If you love fish, this may be the greatest city on earth. If you love flavor, the answer just might be the same.
You think you know foodie cities, and then you go to Melbourne. Around almost every corner or quaint alley sits yet another kitchen cooking up beautiful food from scratch. You’ll easily find some of the best Chinese and Thai food outside of Thailand but it’s the coffee shops, bakeries and new Australian cuisine which wowed us. This is one of the only cities where it’s harder to have a bad meal than a good one. Hit up St. Kilda for refined dining.
Basque food is the insiders favorite. The real thing isn’t always easy to find outside of Spain, but in San Sebastian it’s everywhere. From simple snacks to Michelin feasts, San Sebastian offers some of the best value for money. Almost every street is lined with simple pintxos bars, where guests can find simple, rustic and powerful food that will make you seek residency.
Paradise and powerful cuisine in one place? You bet. Zanzibar was recently ranked the very best vegetarian spot on earth in a comprehensive study and there’s no argument here. Produce grows with abundance on this magnificent island leading to strong fusion dishes, with inspiration from India, Africa and other Spice Route countries. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll never be disappointed.
Much like Tokyo, it’s really not fair to isolate just one city. Vietnam offers some of the most potent, flavorful and unique dishes of any country, made with the freshest ingredients you’ll find anywhere. At every corner of the country, you’ll find a unique local staple, unlike anything you’ve ever tried. Food is a way of life here and you’ll find that in the simplest roadside huts to the finest tables in the city. If you love spicy, zingy, herby and delicious food you can’t do better.
Before you say: Texas? This is Austin. Almost an autonomous region in an absolutely massive state, Austin has attracted a major scene with tech, film, music and finance all moving in at once. And of course, there’s always SXSW. The city is bustling with hip restaurants putting their own modern twist on American and fusion classics. Barbecue may take top billing, but you’ll find refined French, Mexican, Japanese, Peruvian and just about anything else you’re after.
Travel to any of India’s 29 states and you’ll find 29 unique takes on intense flavor. It’s hard to pick just one, but if there’s one that symbolizes street food – it’s Mumbai. Home to the legendary Vada Pav, Mumbai offers an interesting fusion of the flavors of India both North and South. It’s often said that the best upscale food in India is served in hotels, and with five star options lining the city, you’ll have plenty to choose from, if the delectable street food doesn’t cut it.
Mexico City, Mexico
Ask the world’s top chef’s “where’s next” and many fingers will point directly to Mexico City. There’s a food revolution going on in this city, with restaurants such as Pujol redefining the everyday perception of “Mexican food”. From the simplest tacos with fresh lime to refined black mole sauce over charred delicacies, this is a city not to miss. It’s safer and more exciting than ever. You’ll never be able to have a corn taco anywhere else, trust us.
Sure, the best Chinese food may be in Chengdu, and the best Malaysian food may be in Malaysia, but if you want to sample an exceptionally good variety of regional cuisine, it’s really hard to beat Singapore. The city is a melting pot for Southeast Asian and Chinese cultures, with the addition of British influence. The food is everything from authentic and inspired to quirky, with one thing in common almost everywhere: it’s delicious. From the cheapest michelin starred meal to the most expensive you’ll find it all here.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
You simply don’t know steak until you’ve been to “BA”. It’s almost as if the city comes alive around cuisine, with the greatest buzz taking off from 9PM as the trendy inhabitants flock to the copious supply of eateries. The Italian food is off the charts, the steakhouses will make you cry upon return to your home country and the art with which the top chefs work is remarkable. From Palermo Soho to San Telmo and Recoleta the only challenge to good food, is a reservation.
Home of the Sichuan pepper, Chengdu is the root of many of your favorite dishes. Chengdu is a city where you can smell food all day. Power packed peppers, chilis and spice float through the air, making every moment feel like the perfect time to dive in. Hot pot is king here, but you’ll be able to find everything from filling street side treats, to the finest Michelin quality Szechuan cooking. If you’re headed for China, you can’t miss Chengdu – if you’re a foodie of course.
Before even touching down at Vancouver International Airport, it will all make sense. The Pacific Ocean to one side, the bountiful hills of British Columbia on the other. Throw a cultural revolution with rampant immigration from the Far East into the mix – and you get the splendor of BC food. You’d expect the smoked salmon to be good, but you’ll be blown away by authentic Cantonese food, farm to table fine dining and totally underrated wines from nearby Okanagan region.
The Cote D’Azur is famous for many things, and aside from French gangsters, wild boat parties and fantastic weather, Michelin starred chefs follow close behind. Nice offers one of the highest concentrations of fine dining restaurants per capita anywhere, and when you add in the stunning seaside setting, perfect weather. Close proximity to local Italian and French ports offer incredible fresh seafood, and the French flare for art means it will always be plated brilliantly.
It’s not just a tourist paradise: Cape Town is a travelers best bet for affordable fine dining. The Test Kitchen kicked things off, La Colombe continues to climb and every day a new inventive restaurant highlighting the incredible local produce kicks open the doors. There’s an incredible bohemian scene in Cape Town and when that mixes with thriving art scene and abundant produce, incredible things happen. Throw in the South African wine, and you may never leave. Just book early, otherwise you may leave before you can get a table.