12 Of The Best Culinary Destinations In The World
Cuisines, in general, are symbolic to a country’s culture, heritage, and history. It fuels and inspires people, enduring decades of societal transformation and getting passed down through generations. Joining or going on self-guided food tours is a great way to eat outside of the comfort zone, sightsee along the way, learn more about the history and origins of the community, and support small and local businesses. Listed are some of the best foodie destinations around the world, from underrated cities to vegetarian options.
Food tourism in Japan has slowly grown in popularity for the past few years as foreign tourists visit the country for its diverse cuisine. Japanese food has been deemed the healthiest in the world because it uses little to no salt and lots of seafood and vegetables. Some famous Japanese food to try in Japan are ‘omurice’ (Japanese omelet rice), ‘sushi,’ ‘udon,’ ‘ramen,’ ‘Kobe beef,’ ‘gyoza,’ ‘chicken karaage’ (Japanese fried chicken), and ‘kare raisu’ (Japanese curry).
Japan also boasts healthy cuisines such as ‘green tea,’ an anticarcinogenic, ‘natto,’ which improves digestion, and ‘miso,’ which reduces cholesterol. For street foods, foodies must try ‘okonomiyaki,’ ‘dango,’ ‘takoyaki,’ ‘onigiri’ (Japanese rice balls), and ‘yaki tomorokoshi’ (charcoal-grilled corn).
With influences by cuisine from neighboring countries, such as China, India, Burma, and Vietnam, Thai dishes are renowned for combining sweet, salty, sour, spicy, and bitter flavors using various ingredients like coconut milk, lime leaves, fish sauce, and ginger. This wide range of flavors and versatility to different dietary preferences make it convenient to cater to other people.
Without a doubt, Thailand’s most famous dish is ‘pad Thai’ (stir-fried rice noodles) but tourists and foodies should try out ‘tom yum goong’ (hot and sour Thai seafood soup), ‘Khao pad’ (Thai fried rice), ‘Khao soi’ (Thai curry), ‘tub tim grob’ (Thai red ruby dessert in coconut milk), and ‘Khao niaow ma muang’ (mango sticky rice). Finally, a trip to Thailand would not be complete without experiencing Thai street food, such as ‘kuay teow rueu’ (traditional boat noodles) and ‘Khao moo daeng’ (barbecue pork and rice).
Vietnamese cuisine is known for using fresh vegetables, herbs, dipping sauces, and the abundance of broth and soup-based meals. Tickle your taste buds and try some of the famous Vietnamese dishes like ‘bánh khoai’ (Vietnamese cassava cake), ‘cha gio’ (Vietnamese spring roll), ‘Bánh bao bánh vac’ (white rose dumpling), ‘cha cá lã vong’ (Vietnamese grilled fish), and ‘nem nuong’ (grilled pork sausage). Vietnam is also one of the largest coffee exporters in the world, so it’s no question that tourists should try ‘Vietnamese black coffee,’ ‘coffee with coconut milk,’ and ‘coffee with yogurt.’
With aromatic flavors and bold tastes, street food is a hallmark of Vietnamese cuisine. Visit some local food markets around Ho Chi Minh City and have a taste of ‘pho’ (Vietnamese pho noodles), ‘bánh mì’ (Vietnamese baguette), ‘cha giò’ (Vietnamese egg rolls), and ‘bánh khot’ (Vietnamese mini pancakes).
Much like other cuisines in this list, Filipino cuisine reflects the history and culture of a region or island. It is one of the world’s most distinct cuisine, using ingredients that are easily found within an area with influences from Chinese and Mexican traders and Spanish and American colonizers. Some of the most notable Filipino cuisines are ‘pork adobo,’ ‘sinigang,’ ‘lechon,” morcon,’ ‘pancit molo,’ and ‘bibingka.’ For Filipino street food, ‘balut’ is the perfect dish for foodies looking for something exotic. The Philippines is also one of the world’s largest archipelagos, so food tours to neighboring cities and provinces are a must. These include trips to Pampanga, the country’s Culinary Capital, Roxas City, the Seafood Capital, and Guimaras Island, the Mango Capital.
India is known for its diverse flavors, the myriad spices, and the unique specialty each region offers. The complex, diverse, and delicate yet simple dishes using various culinary techniques captivate foodies worldwide. Some of the best foods to try while visiting India are Hyderabad’s ‘Hyderabadi Biryani’ (mixed rice dish), Kolkata’s ‘macher jhol’ (spicy fish curry), Mumbai’s ‘vada pav,’ Agra’s ‘petha,’ and Delhi’s ‘nankhatai’ (shortbread biscuits) and ‘dal makhni.’ Like other countries, foodies are encouraged to take on Indian street food. The inexpensive food prepared and served in front of the customer represents the local food scene. Some of the most popular Indian street food are ‘pani puri,’ ‘kathi roll,’ ‘samosa,’ and ‘kachori.’
South African cuisine is an exceptional fusion of flavors stemming from outside culinary techniques and flavors and cultural influences, resulting in a unique and diverse culinary heritage and innovative chefs that use traditional cooking techniques with modern flavors and styles. Some South African foods that foodies might want to try to include ‘braai’ (South African-style barbeque), ‘bunny chow’ (a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with spicy curry), ‘biltong’ (dried and cured meat, similar to beef jerky), ‘koeksisters’ (deep fried pastry), and ‘melktert’ (sweet and creamy custard tart). To experience the country’s vibrant culture and diverse culinary scene, hit the streets and have some of South Africa’s popular street foods like ‘boerewors rolls’ and ‘samoosas.’
NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA
With a long history of immigration, the USA has become a melting pot of diverse cultures. This diversity has led to the blending of different culinary flavors and techniques that create unique dishes. Each region of the USA also has its own regional specialties, adding to the country’s diverse culinary experiences. This variety of techniques and specialties, including the quality ingredients produced and the innovation of traditional cooking methods and flavors, make the USA an exciting place for foodies to explore and enjoy. Some of the country’s regional specialties include ‘deep-dish pizza’ from Chicago, ‘bagels’ from New York City, ‘gumbo’ from Louisiana, ‘barbecue ribs’ from Texas, ‘Philly cheesesteak’ from Philadelphia, and ‘lobster rolls’ from Maine. American cuisine is also popular for ” American ” dishes,” like ‘biscuits and gravy,’ ‘apple pie,’ ‘macaroni and cheese,’ ‘hamburgers’ and ‘hotdogs.’
Mexico has several world-famous dishes that are enjoyed by foodies around the world. The unique and vibrant flavors from various herbs, spices, and chilies using traditional cooking techniques are why Mexican dishes are famous worldwide. Mexican cuisine also has deep cultural significance, with dishes that are served today dating back for centuries. Famous dishes from Mexico include ‘guacamole’ (dip made with mashed avocados), ‘tamales’ (a dough made from corn that is filled with various ingredients), ‘enchiladas’ (tortillas filled with meat, cheese, and spicy tomato sauce), ‘quesadillas’ (tortillas filled with cheese), and ‘tacos’ (tortillas filled with various ingredients such as beef, chicken, pork, fish, or vegetables).
Peruvian cuisine has a long culinary history with influences from indigenous cultures, Spanish colonialism, and other international cuisines. Paired with the country’s unique ingredients, including native fruits and vegetables, herbs, spices, and grains, many of which are not found anywhere else, Peruvian cuisine is one of the most distinct worldwide. Fusion cuisines are a must-try in Peru, like ‘arroz chaufa’ (Peruvian fried rice), ‘juane’ (a tamale made with Amazonian rice), and ‘tacacho’ (mashed plantains mixed with pork cracklings). This shouldn’t stop foodies from trying traditional dishes like ‘ají de gallina’ (Peruvian chicken stew) and ‘anticuchos’ (grilled skewers), and modern cuisine such as ‘chupe de camarones’ (shrimp chowder) and ‘causa rellena’ (mashed potatoes filled with seafood or chicken salad).
Spain is famous for its tapas culture, where small plates of food are served as snacks or appetizers, often accompanied by wine or beer. This allows visitors to sample a wide variety of dishes in one meal. Tourists can try various molecular gastronomy dishes as Spain is known for its avant-garde cuisine, which incorporates scientific techniques and unconventional ingredients to create new culinary experiences.
Fusion cuisine is also popular in Spain, where cosmopolitan cities blend traditional Spanish flavors with international influences. But traditional dishes can also be enjoyed in Spain, as with the country’s rich culinary heritage. Some of these include ‘paella’ (a Valencian rice dish made with saffron, vegetables, and meat or seafood), ‘tortilla española’ (Spanish omelette), ‘gazpacho’ (summer cold soup), and ‘churros con chocolate’ (fried dough pastries served with a hot chocolate dipping sauce).
Italy’s rich culinary heritage, fresh local ingredients, artisanal production, creative chefs, and culinary tourism industry make it a must-visit destination for foodies and tourists. The country has a wide variety of regional specialties and traditional dishes dating back centuries that today’s local chefs reinterpret in new and exciting ways, honoring the country’s culinary heritage.
Culinary tourism is nothing new in Italy, with many visitors visiting the country to enjoy its food and wine and learn more about Italian culinary traditions and techniques. Some traditional and modern Italian foods that tourists might want to take a bite of are ‘pizza margherita’ (a classic Neapolitan pizza), ‘lasagne alla bolognese’ (layers of pasta sheets with Bolognese meat sauce), ‘Arancini’ (fried rice balls), and the classing ‘gelato.’
Australia has established itself as a foodie destination thanks to its vibrant culinary scene consisting of several award-winning restaurants, native Aboriginal ingredients, and fresh produce and seafood. One of the best cities to visit in Australia is Melbourne, the country’s food capital and a melting pot of diverse food and culture. Melbourne is known for its coffee culture, where local baristas serve some of the best coffee in the world. Some of the best Aussie coffee to try are ‘flat white,’ ‘long black,’ and ‘iced coffee’ with a scoop of ice cream.
In addition to the country’s famed coffee culture, award-winning restaurants, and local seafood, try sampling some traditional Aboriginal food. Join guided tours and learn about Aboriginal heritage while dining with native Australian ingredients like ‘crocodile,’ ‘green ant’ and ‘saltbush.’
Culinary tourism is a booming market around the world, with more and more tourists traveling to get a unique gastronomic experience. The world is full of incredible foodie destinations that offer unique and delicious culinary experiences. From the diverse flavors of South Africa to the classic Italian dishes, from the fusion cuisine of Peru to the spicy and flavorful Mexican dishes, and from the innovative American cuisine to the traditional Spanish tapas, there is something for every palate. Whether you are a seasoned foodie or just starting to explore the world of food, these destinations are sure to delight your taste buds and leave you with unforgettable memories.
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