Traveling for the love of food can be hit or miss in any part of the world. Some cities are over-hyped as foodie havens while others offer next to nothing in terms of a unique identity. If a rich and diverse food scene is important to you, you’ll want to head for these tried and true top foodie destinations. From Europe to South America, these cities are cooking up some of the best meals that should be on your bucket list.
If it’s Michelin-star restaurants you want, it’s Michelin-star restaurants you’ll get in Japan’s bustling capital. The city boasts more restaurants that have earned the highly coveted (and rare) rating than anywhere else in the world. And it’s no coincidence: Japanese chefs have been garnering acclaim for their ability to set global dining trends. With a strong emphasis on seasonal ingredients and theatrics, diners in Tokyo are privy to an unending choice of restaurants and markets serving up everything from sushi to tonkatsu (fried pork cutlets). What makes Tokyo a top foodie destination is also its diversity. You can feast at a five-star restaurant for a pretty penny or cozy up in a local izakaya (a Japanese style pub) for a more budget-friendly, yet scrumptious meal.
Frequently voted the best food city in Europe, Paris is also one of the top culinary stops on the planet. From gastro wine bars to brasseries and cafés, Parisians have made a habit of creating dishes that are both aesthetically pleasing and delicious. The food scene does all the little things right, from bakeries adhering to strict guidelines protected by law to outdoor farmers’ markets selling the freshest possible produce, olives, meats, and more. Toss in a love for fine wines, cheeses, and brightly colored macarons and Paris is sure to never, ever leave you hungry.
New York City, USA
Often referred to as “the food capital of the world,” New York City is almost like a one-stop shop for the best food on the planet. You can dine on food from all over the globe, like tasty Indian takeout in Curry Hill, soul food dinners from legendary spots in Harlem, or dim sum restaurants in Chinatown. Thanks to New York City’s diverse makeup, foodies uncork a wide range of culinary experiences. Then there’s the fact that some of the greatest chefs in the world have restaurants in New York, including Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Sirio Maccioni and many more. All that adds to ensure epicurean visitors to the city can easily sit down to tables but have trouble leaving post meal.
Over the years, Lima has drummed up a reputation as THE foodie spot in South America, and for good reason. The city has embraced its positioning on the Pacific Ocean, serving up some fine seafood, especially ceviche. From grilled meats to quinoa, Lima places a strong emphasis on quality and seasonal ingredients. The town’s chefs draw on Andes and Amazon ingredients and cooking techniques, as well as the surprising and tasty influences from the many Chinese and Japanese immigrants, to offer gastro-tourists some of the best meals not just on the continent…but in the world.
If you think Bangkok is just one vat of Pad Thai, think again. The Thai capital is so much more in terms of its food scene. In fact, Thai culture is largely centered on high-quality food. Filled with aromas that make stomachs rumble, travelers can feast on it all, from mouth-watering street food like Moo Bing (grilled pork skewers) to Michelin-starred chef restaurants specializing in classic french cuisine. Throw in the loads of open-air markets and you have the makings for a tasty food culture that is also incredibly affordable.
From pan au chocolat in Paris to sushi in Tokyo, a bad meal is hard to come by in these iconic foodie havens. While you might come home a few pounds heavier, you won’t regret having tasted paradise.
Have a favorite foodie destination? Share your pick with us in the comments below.