The way to any foodie’s heart is through their stomachs. This list of the best foodie cities in the world is curated for the wanderer who loves to eat. Good food and travel are a heavenly pair. So, when you’ve discovered a city that has both exciting attractions and appetizing food – you’ve found nirvana.
Most foodies will agree that food is a love language and something that brings joy. When you have good food on a trip, your experiences there become even more magical and unforgettable.
Top Culinary Destinations
The foodie culture has been thriving in recent years with food trucks, food carts and food markets popping up all over the world. As a result of this food revolution, some cities have established themselves as global gourmet destinations.
With so many delicious dishes to try, it can be difficult to narrow down which foodie city is best for you. To help you decide where to travel next, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite 20 best foodie cities in the world!
This list will help ease your burden of searching for these idyllic destinations, and instead, speed up your search for the next available flight out. Here are the best cities in the world all foodies should visit – be prepared for a mouth-watering read.
Good food and drink are intricately woven into the ‘Bay’ region’s history and traditions. This West Coast city is known for its Dungeness crab, abalone and clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl.
San Francisco restaurants have been a driving force in global culinary innovation for decades, and there are countless examples of local establishments leading the way in creativity and most importantly, delicious cuisine. The city also boasts some of the best coffee shops in the world.
Hong Kong is the master of Cantonese food. Dim sum sets the pace with a variety of dumplings and fried treats.
However, beyond the Dim Sum legacy that engulfs the streets of Hong Kong, char siu pork, soy sauce chicken, and roast goose make the city a great place for meat lovers.
With so many restaurants, cafes and bistros to choose from in Paris, it can be hard for visitors to know where they should eat. From French classics like escargot and croque monsieur, to modern twists on traditional dishes like crêpes with goat cheese & honey or steak tartare; there are plenty of delicious options available throughout the City of Lights.
Whether you’re interested in Michelin starred fine dining or trying out new food trucks, Paris has it all! Some examples include: Le Cordon Bleu, a pioneering culinary school, literary cafe Les Deux Magots and L’As du Falafel food truck.
If you have a sweet tooth, make sure to try macarons at Ladurée or Pierre Hermé.
New York City
If you’re a foodie traveling with a picky eater, don’t worry. New York City has some of the widest assortments of food on offer.
The best of New York food is not their gourmet side (although that is good too) – rather, the essence of this city’s cuisine is in its classics. Bagels, New York pizza and pastrami sandwiches are timeless, tried, and true.
But, since the Big Apple is the nation’s ultimate melting pot, some of its best restaurants serve food more typically eaten in countries like China, Japan, India, Israel, Italy, and South Korea.
Located on the Bay of Biscay in Spain’s Basque Country, San Sebastian has been recognized as one of the world’s best food destinations. Eat fresh seafood to your heart’s content, join a Pintxos crawl, and drink lots of Rioja wine as soon as you land. You won’t regret a single spoonful.
In Northern Thailand, the city of Chiang Mai has some of the most renowned street food in the world. The streets are enveloped in a hypnotic fusion of spicy and sweet aromas.
The food scene here is quick and casual. But, no matter how fast the food is prepared and served, the culture around eating here doesn’t accept shortcuts.
The sight of aromatic cooking being prepared in front of you is sure to set your taste buds tingling. Try Khao soi, a soup made with yellow egg noodles and a creamy coconut curry.
The distinctive food in New Orleans is nurtured by the city’s colorful and mixed heritage. Seafood plays a vital role in the city’s cuisine and is one of the reasons why travelers love to visit NOLA.
One of the many popular dishes inNew Orleans is the Po’Boy. This is a sandwich filled with fried seafood such as shrimp, oysters, catfish, soft-shell crab, or roast beef, and completed with brown gravy, shredded lettuce, and tomato served on French bread.
Mexico City is another contender for excellent street food. The city offers plenty of food stands selling tacos and fried corndogs.
If you’re in the mood for some fresh produce, Mercado Merced is a gigantic market filled with avocados, peppers, and moles, enough to satisfy a lifetime of Mexican-themed food dreams.
L.A. is quickly gaining popularity when it comes to well-made Mexican and seafood dishes. The city of angels offers an extensive variety of global cuisine due to its rich ethnic and cultural mix. From food carts to Michelin stars, Los Angeles is one of the best food cities in the United States.
With L.A.’s high accessibility to the ocean, you can devour platefuls of seafood. And you’ll find plenty of great seafood restaurants to choose from, as the city is full of them.
South Africa is a country with a rich cultural heritage and nowhere is this clearer than in Cape Town. This city is home to many cultures. And depending on who makes the dish, and what their culture is, you’ll get a delightfully different dish every meal.
A common thread around South African tables is that meals are served family-style. Meals are mostly shared amongst family and friends, so be prepared for copious amounts of food.
Some of the best foods to try in Cape Town include biltong, a dried meat, boerewors sausage cooked on a braai (South African barbeque) and malva pudding with Rooibos tea.
London, the capital of England and a city that never sleeps. It’s a place where you can enjoy amazing food from all over the world, from Lebanese to Indian cuisine.
The next time you visit London make sure to try these popular foods: fish and chips, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, or Cornish pasties. London has an amazing food scene, which you can discover at its many markets. From Borough Market to Portobello Road Market and Camden Food Market, there is always something new to try!
The culinary scene in SoCal is all about fish tacos, Nonna’s gnocchi, and beer. And thanks to the city’s historic fishing industry, just one bite of a fresh fish taco will renew your tastebuds.
In the bustling Little Italy neighborhood, you can enjoy a craft draft beer before digging into a plate of pasta – served straight from a cheese wheel.
Ho Chi Minh City
The city of Ho Chi Minh is known for its distinct street food, as well as its fine dining establishments. It is in the streets of Ho Chi Minh where you can find the best variety of great Vietnamese cuisine.
While the two more widely known dishes here are bahn mi and pho, you’ll be surprised by the wide array of other dishes that can be found in the city.
the city of Tel Aviv has become a major culinary destination for those eager to taste authentic Israeli food with a modern twist.
If you’re crazy about hummus and falafel, Tel Aviv should be your number one pitstop. Tel Aviv offers more than good traditional food – it transcends it.
Buenos Aires is the home of grilled meats and red wine and you should sample plenty of both while you’re here. Thanks to the city’s robust immigrant population, you are sure to experience all sorts of culinary excellence. Cuisine from the Mediterranean, Italy, Asia, and Spain are all present in the city of Argentina.
Be sure to finish every meal with an alfajor. This is an addictive cookie sandwich that’s glued together with sweet dulce de leche.
Lyon is arguably the food capital of France and has been beckoning foodies everywhere to enjoy their dishes for decades.
And in true French fashion, the city lives and breathes French cuisine at all levels. From its fresh produce markets down to its finest gourmet restaurants, Lyon is feted for its traditional dishes.
Enjoy them in the bouchons lyonnais, casual restaurants that serve homemade comfort food like pâté en croûte and salade Lyonnaise – the city’s namesake salad with frisée, lardons and a poached egg. Finish with a delicious pink praline tart.
With a nickname like La Grassa (the fat one), Bologna may very well be Italy’s most gastronomic city. Bologna is situated in the region known as Italy’s Food Valley.
Bologna is praised for its fresh pasta and is justifiably famous for products like gelato and mortadella – the inspiration for baloney in America. Try it with a shakerato, an Italian drink made with espresso, sweetened condensed milk and ice cubes.
The Tsukiji Fish Market alone would be enough to make Tokyo a foodie destination. This is where 5 million pounds of fish are sold every day, mostly to be served as sushi.
Arguably, Danish food solidified its place on the foodie world map because of the critically acclaimed restaurant Noma. A pioneer of food foraging, Noma is a three Michelin star restaurant by chef René Redzepi.
However, Noma exists because Copenhagen is a city that has refined its palate and offers an impressive range of restaurants catering to every taste. It’s also the heart of the Nordic food revival with a thriving café culture.
Make sure to try the smørrebrød, open sandwiches made from rye bread topped with cheese, fish or meat.
There are trendy bars in the Kalamaja district, medieval style restaurants in Tallinn old town and contemporary eateries such as Noa overlooking the bay.
Estonia is known for its dark rye bread, craft beer and smoked sprats. Beetroot, egg and potato salad, rosolje, is another popular dish. If you visit for Tallinn Christmas markets, try the grogg, a mulled wine, as well as the marzipan.
Whether you’re taking a stroll through one of the winding alleyways of the medina or checking out one of the many evening food stalls in Jemaa el-Fna, Morocco is an aromatic spice haven. And there is certainly no shortage of good food to be found here.
The colorful sights and smells of dried spices in the souks, combined with the plethora of fresh produce lining the streetside make it clear that this city has plenty of culinary surprises waiting to be discovered.
Try a tasty tagine cooked in a clay pot or a couscous dish, washed down with fresh mint tea.
Final Thoughts on the Best Foodie Cities in the World
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, many of us can agree that food is a part of the adventure. The cities mentioned here give foodies the opportunity to try cult favorites or indulge in some unique gastronomic experiences.
So, whether you live to eat or if you’re dying to try some good food, these cities will have you feeling satisfied… and perhaps coming back in an hour, asking for seconds.
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