12 of The Best Cities In The World For The Foodie Traveler
Food, glorious food! There are so many great cuisines out there and amazing dishes to try, and part of the joy of travel is discovering these for yourself and opening up your palate to these new flavors or modern twists on old classics. Sometimes, however, you may be surprised by the places that offer up some of the best grub around.
Here we look at a few of the obvious and not so obvious choices for great food travel.
1. Budapest, Hungary
Often flying under the radar, the food scene in this Eastern European capital is starting to cause a stir thanks to its wide array of palates and (perhaps more importantly) wallets that are catered for. Taking inspiration from both East and West and straddling the Danube river means there have been plenty of food choices to mix it up with.
The Seventh District, also known as the Jewish Quarter, has eateries from around the world while the Ninth District has the Great Market Hall, a three-story emporium filled with meats and cheese and all other sorts of foods for the DIY chef. If, however, you feel like getting fancy, head to the gorgeous Castle District for some of the city's finest restaurants, nestled in amongst stunning medieval architecture.
2. Marrakesh, Morocco
Ideal for those looking for divine street-food, Marrakesh's Jemaa el-Fna square comes alive at dusk, with food stalls sharing their space with snake charmers and musicians amidst the bustle of locals and often bewildered tourists, It's certainly a unique place, though the food is often welcomed by everyone, even if you do stumble across the occasional sheep head.
On the whole, the food is often on the spicy side, with onions and chilies blending into most of the foods, though a favorite of many is meloui, a pancake formed from folded pastry that's served off a hot stove.
3. Austin, Texas - USA
Texas is one of the last places many people think of when they are considering vegan-friendly places but Austin is the exception to the rule as it has opened itself up to lots of vegan-friendly restaurants in the past few years with an explosion of vegan eateries in under a five-year period, so much so that, in 2013, PETA named the city the most vegan-friendly in the entire nation.
Granted, Austin does not have the highest concentration of Vegan restaurants in America but it is a food scene that is on the up and continuing to grow, and it even hosts an annual Veg Fest. This being Texas, of course, there are plenty of steak house and amazing places for the carnivore amongst us, so there is plenty for everyone. Combine that with its unique and amazing music scene and why wouldn't you want to go there?
4. Yerevan, Armenia
Armenia is a tiny country filled with natural beauty and a rich cultural history that should earn it more travelers than it gets. Head to its capital, and you will see that its food is also a burgeoning delight and if you get to Charles Aznavour Square you can pick up local wonders such as traditional Georgian khinkali, large dumplings usually stuffed with ground beef and cilantro, or more international fare like Belgian waffles and French Toast.
The neighborhood around the Yerevan Cascade is filled with cafe's and coffee shops to hop around, but if you want a real taste of the country, Proshyan Street is lined with khorovats restaurants and roadside grills that serve up the meat grilled on a skewer of Armenian barbecues.
5. Detroit, Michigan - USA
Yes, you read that right, the city better known for its auto-industry than its food scene is actually something of an underappreciated gem when it comes to food and districts like Greektown, Hamtramck and Dearborn are all amazing places to pick up some ethnic eats due to the rich and diverse makeup of the city.
If you want a night out, though, Midtown has tapas bars and farm-to-table restaurants galore as well as top quality seafood and some of the best beef briskets in the country while Corktown farmer's market has fresh produce from surrounding farmland and creative concoctions from the local food academy.
6. Santiago, Chile
The mixture of Spanish and indigenous flavors has created a whirlwind of food for thought in Chile and for good eats and fine Chilean wines, the Barrio Lastarria is the place to be for a taste of simple and hearty as well as the finer side of the plate. Foodstuffs picked up in either Cerro Santa Lucía and in Recoleta can provide for some great cooking inspiration for those who wish to get more hands on.
For a unique experience, though, head to Bellavista where there are a wealth of places serving up “ancestral food”—namely pre-Hispanic dishes, and these use authentic ingredients and time-honored cooking traditions.
7. Dakar, Senegal
Senegal is a country that has dealt with a series of colonial rulers and as such its cuisine represents the French, Lebanese and West African styles that have come into its borders. Dakar itself juts out into the sea, and so seafood is rich and plentiful in its bounty. The district of Medina is a warren of shops and street vendors where accara (black-eyed pea fritters) or dibi (spicy roasted mutton cooked with onions and served messily on brown paper) can be picked up for very little.
Ngor is a beachside neighborhood that has the best seafood around with options ranging from sand-front shacks to full-service restaurants but if you want a more upmarket meal, try Plateau where French patisseries, Lebanese mezze, and Senegalese specialties can all be found.
8. Wellington, New Zealand
The capital of New Zealand is so often overlooked for the largest city in the country, Auckland, which is a real shame because it has an amazing coffee scene that is unparalleled anywhere but its food scene also matches up. Cuba Street is a hip district of cafes and restaurants serving up eco-friendly dining, veggie fare, and international eats.
Harbourside Market is perfect for picking up all the best of local ingredients, and the Wellington Sea Market has the best, fresh fish brought in that day. The Underground market is awesome for international street food whilst if you amble down to the waterfront, there are so many great beach eats and classy restaurants as well.
9. London - UK
Once named the world's most vegan-friendly city, London is like New York in the sense that if you want it, it can be found and its size, scale, and multicultural makeup mean that nearly any cuisine on the planet can be found there. Neal's Yard, in between Soho and Covent Garden, and the Seven Dial's areas are both full of amazing veggie only restaurants and raw food eateries.
Hipster districts like Hackney and Bethnal Green also have a wide array of veggie restaurants, and it is the law that every pub, bar, restaurant or cafe have at least one veggie option! The famous Borough Market allows for some of the best fresh produce to be bought as well as some fantastic quality street food and stalls. Being such an international city, it attracts the best chefs from around the globe and, if you have the money to spend, the very best of fine dining can be found.
10. Tokyo, Japan
With more people living in Tokyo than any other city in the world, it would almost be a crime if there wasn't any street food. However, it isn't ubiquitous as it is in other Asian countries, but if you look beyond the many sushi joints and Michelin-starred restaurants, you'll stumble across many side streets dotted with food stalls, while Teppen: Nakameguro, is a must for grilled food.
Cooking the meat in front of your table, the chefs offer a variety of vegetables and meats, but what makes the little-known area great is that it's near the Meguro River, one of Tokyo's most breathtaking spots for flower watching.
11. Paris, France
How could we get through a list of foodie cities without ever mentioning Paris? Impossible! The city of love is also the city of food and to name, but a few districts would be absurd due to the rich vein of fine dining and fabulous cuisine that runs through the very lifeblood of the city! French patisseries, fresh bread, and croissants every morning!
The best of the best of world class chefs in the highest quality of restaurants and even the simple fare from cafes and street markets is amazing. Go there & try everything!
12. Copenhagen, Denmark
Denmark's food scene may be a little more understated than other major European cities, but that doesn't make it any less awesome. For one thing, the organic food scene is really on the rise and many shops and restaurants will have stickers in their window showing their commitment to organic. Head to the Vestboro area of town, to the old meatpacking district and places such as BOB and a whole range of other restaurants, have moved into old industrial areas and made it their own.
Also, let us not forget Danish pastries, and it serves to suggest that the best are found in Denmark. Andersen's Bakery, just opposite the central station, blends Japanese and Danish baking traditions for some absolutely barnstorming sweet treats