Sightseeing is nice, shopping is good, scenery is lovely, but what do I really want to do on vacation? Eat! Lately, the foodie scene is taking hold in some unexpected cities. Read on for the world’s best cities for food lovers; some classic, some surprising.
Melbourne, Australia— With so many incredible fine-dining establishments in one place and what seems like the record for number of restaurants per capita, it’s no wonder Melbourne is called the food capital of Australia. This is a classy dining city, one that true diners will love. There are so many award winners it’s hard to be disappointed…unless you can’t get in, so plan your trip and reserve accordingly.
Hong Kong–One (hyphenated) word. Dim-sum. No other place on earth even comes close to recreating the steamed dumplings so perfectly. My roommate and I stuffed ourselves until we couldn’t breathe. Add classic Asian dishes with a trendy twist, and Hong Kong is well on it’s way to being the food capital of the world. And that’s before you’ve even reached the street vendors. Here, the options are overwhelming and the combinations creative. Feeling like roasted goose? If the answer is no, try it anyway. Head to Yung-Kee, where they serve more than five-thousand plates of the dish each day. For the five-star crowd, there are plenty of Michelin restaurants to choose from as well.
Mumbai, India–Mumbai is India’s melting pot when it comes to cuisine. Seafood to curry, tandoori nan to kebab, or really almost any flavor you can imagine, can be found in the cities street stalls and restaurants. India is home to so many flavors, your taste buds will be overwhelmed but delighted. Just know how much spice you can handle before you go crazy on the vindaloo!
Rome, Italy–Italians have a love affair with food, babying their buffalos to produce the best mozzarella, worshipping a good tomato, and whipping out pizzas that are so simple yet so impossible to recreate perfectly elsewhere. Tradition is heavy, but that’s because the traditional dishes are so good. From the five-star restaurants to the family run tavernas, the pastas are classic and the ingredients are key. And don’t forget the wine. Pick up some of most renowned bottles for a fraction of the price at home.
Sydney, Australia–Fish and veggies dominate the markets in Australia, as the great climate makes it easy to grow fresh, local produce year-round. The Fish Market is great for picking up the daily catch, or for grabbing some of the world’s best sushi to go. Restaurants pride themselves on using local products, (not that they have a choice, as virtually no produce is imported), and the eateries around Sydney provide a world-class dining experience. Eating fresh is always in-season.
Montreal, Canada–The French might have the most renowned cuisine on the planet, but Montreal shows it off best. Guess that’s what happens when you colonize a people. Soft cheeses and fresh, hot baguettes are at their finest here, accompanied with sweet wine and rich sauces. The cuisine is classic French, but the dining experience is more modern and relaxed. A perfect combination.
New Orleans, Louisiana–Cajun meets French, what could be better? Almost nothing. That’s why New Orleans has been on the foodie map for years. You simply can’t find gumbo and jambalaya this good anywhere else in the US. And the beignets! Fried pastries, like little doughnuts, filled with chocolate or cream and topped with a hefty sprinkling of powdered sugar. You’ll be thirsty after all the Cajun spices, so make your way through the French Quarter and down Bourbon Street for one of the country’s favorite bar-hopping strips. As if New Orleans needed more on its resume, it’s home to Tabasco, and tours run seven days a week for a mere $1.
Bologna, Italy–Rome, Venice and Florence are worshipped among Italian tourists, and rightfully so, but food lovers will be seriously missing out if they don’t make it to Bologna, the root of some of the country’s greatest dishes. Bologna is home to pasta bolognese, a tomato meat sauce that is simple in concept, yet full of complex flavor. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese comes from this region, and Italy’s best markets are here, selling Parma ham and balsamic from neighboring Modena. Don’t be shy about tasting before buying.
Tokyo, Japan–Tokyo is an obvious choice, even if you end up eating sushi every meal. It’s that good. The Tsukiii fish market handles more than 2000 tons of seafood per day, transferring billions of dollars worth to the rest of the world each year. Unsurprisingly, the best restaurants get the best fish, so splurge on a five-star dining experience. That being said, no matter where you eat the sushi will probably be better than wherever you’re coming from, so explore and stock up on the unique fish combinations. The elaborate plate presentations are stunning, and oh so Instagram worthy.
Austin, Texas–Austin has been known for music for years. That and being the outcast in Texas. But lately, the food scene has been picking up speed and praise. Think true Mexican flavors served gourmet style. A far cry from the rest of the state’s Tex-Mex. Trendy lounges and swanky bars play nicely with places like Lucy’s Fried Chicken, where tacky becomes cool as pink wine is served on tap and everything is fried to perfection. Then, there’s the BBQ. Nowhere does BBQ better, and the best is at the Salt Lick, a bit outside the city but worth it for the lip-smacking, soulful goodness.
New York, New York–New York is a running favorite on the foodie list, but that’s because the scene is constantly changing. The city has it’s staples, (a bagel rivalry and famous pizza amid famous chefs), but it’s not afraid to try something new. Nowhere else in the world can you find the diversity offered in New York. Home cooked Italian or authentic Yemeni. It’s all here. And there’s something for every price range, from famous spots to the hidden wonders of Chinatown. For breaking barriers, young talented chefs and a multitude of ethnic cuisine, everyone loves New York.