If your desire to travel the world is fed more by an appetite for superb food than seeing world-famous sights, then congratulations: you’re most definitely a foodie. From the most popular tourist attractions to tucked-away towns, your ability to sniff out local specialities is second to none.
A well-seasoned foodie probably has their go-to food destinations figured out, but if you’re a connoisseur in the making about to start their first culinary journey, here are five superb places to put on your travel menu next time your stomach’s rumbling.
With a cuisine as diverse as its cultural make-up, New Orleans’ unbelievable fare is stamped with Creole, Cajun and soul food influences. Spicy, rich and truly indulgent, the list of New Orleans’ signature dishes goes on and on. The classic gumbo and jambalaya are probably the first things that spring to mind, but give the po’boy a try too. A stuffed sandwich overflowing with fried shrimp, crawfish, oysters and crab, the locals swear by this incredible take on the French loaf.
Elsewhere, if past attempts have proven too slimy for you, go for Oysters Rockefeller, a New Orleans creation that bakes the oysters with butter, parsley and bread crumbs, and is truly delicious. On the sweeter side of things, the beignet (pronounced ben-yay) is a real treat; a pastry made from deep-fried choux pastry, smothered with powdered sugar. Believe it or not, this is eaten at breakfast too.
Often called the food capital of the world and for good reason, Lyon is brimming with mouth-watering meals of such superb quality, you won’t have tried anything like them before. Dotted with bouchon, family-owned bistros serving hearty, homemade food, and home to chef Paul Bocuse, the man who introduced the world to nouvelle cuisine, Lyon’s culinary credentials are second to none.
From coarsely cut tripe sausages known as andouillette, to quenelle, a creamed meat dish, the food might sound odd at first, but sample a few dishes and you’ll soon be converted to Lyon’s food masterpieces. And with plenty of Beaujolais to wash it down with, make sure to put Lyon on your wishlist next time wanderlust kicks in.
Ho Chi Minh City
Bustling with street food treats, the life and vitality of Ho Chi Minh City also plays host to some excellent fine dining. Recently, the fragrant, simple flavours of Vietnam’s most popular dishes have made their way over here, but for the real thing, a trip here is well worth the distance.
The banh mi is a great place to start. Though introduced by the French, it’s an unmistakable Vietnamese classic; between French bread, you’ll find everything from pork belly, grilled chicken, and sausage, enriched with pâté, pickled carrots, cucumber and coriander. Pho, a fragrant noodle soup revitalises and warms, while bún riêu, a tomato and crab-based broth, has a fresh, sour flavour that’s impossible to resist.
It would be a disservice not to include the birthplace of pizza on this list. Rustic and cooked with love, the beauty of Neopolitan cuisine lies in its simplicity. Considered the ‘soul of Italy’ by many, you’ll find aubergines, artichokes, courgettes and sun-dried tomatoes in abundance here, baked with cheese and herbs to create hearty, filling dishes with deep, rich flavours.
When it comes to pizza for the Neopolitans, the holy trinity is fresh San Marzano pomodori tomatoes, fragrant basil, and creamy buffalo mozzarella. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and when it comes straight out of a wood-fired oven, bubbling away with slightly charred dough and a bit of extra bite, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Of all the cuisines on this list, you might not have expected Copenhagen to pop up. Nevertheless, the capital of Denmark features cuisine that easily curries favour with its visitors. Copenhagen boasts an impressive 15 Michelin-starred restaurants, and Noma consistently ranks as one of the best restaurants in the world. When it comes to food cred, Denmark is up there with the finest around.
Alongside the traditional frikadeller (hot dogs) and smørrebrød, (open-faced sandwiches packed with meat), Copenhagen’s cuisine is marked by innovative, artistic experimentation. Local produce is mined for its flavours and presented in stylish, eye-catching ways. Chefs in Copenhagen feel so strongly about New Danish Cuisine, there’s even a manifesto written about it.
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