Top 21 Cities In The World For Food Lovers

Not only is food necessary for every person’s survival, but trying different dishes from several different cultures and cuisines is absolutely amazing, as it brings people closer from all around the world. In this list, we will show you the 21 best cities to travel to if you are a food enthusiast! Our favourites are #16, #9 and #3!

#21. London

For years it has been said that British cuisine – in particular, that from London – does not compete with the cuisine from all the other cities in Europe, mainly due to the fact that it’s not that good. Nonetheless, visitors can try several British dishes – that range from just-caught seafood and just-picked produce, to artisanal cheeses and baked goods – by exploring the famous Borough Market at the south end of London Bridge.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

And if you’re visiting London for the first time, you must have a full English breakfast at one of the various famous cafés in the city, such as the Regency Café. Also, you cannot leave the city without having eaten fish and chips at the Golden Hind, a century-old restaurant. Apart from this, The Hand and Flowers is England’s only Michelin two-star pub, so that is also a must-go!

#20. Tokyo

When visiting Tokyo for the first time, or any time you visit Tokyo for that matter, you simply cannot ignore sushi. The Tsukiji fish market brings tons of fresh seafood from other parts of Japan and from all around the world, and is considered the biggest fish market in the world! You may also take a stroll down Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane) where you may get served chicken skewers directly from the grill in those famous small restaurants!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

It goes without saying that there are a lot of ramen restaurants in Tokyo as Japanese people really love ramen. Not only is it cheap, but it is also tasty, and there are multiple types of ramen based on the type of broth. If you are not sure which one you would like and want to try multiple types of ramen, maybe you should go to Ramen street at Tokyo station or to the Ramen museum at Shin-Yokohama station

#19. Seoul

In Seoul, each popular Korean dish has its own “town”, that is to say, a street filled with restaurants that serve their versions of that particular food. All the dishes are very cheap and some, like barbecue, have a two-serving minimum, so you should bring a friend or two to share the food! If you’re really into the barbecue, try local favorite WooSung Galbi or the more upscale Yeontabal BBQ restaurant.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Gwangjang Market was the first permanent market established in Korea in 1905 and is known to be the oldest continually functioning market in all South Korea. When it comes to the Korean street food available at the market, after walking around for a little while, you’ll notice there are a few different types of stalls that sell a similar assortment of dishes. As there are too many places to choose from, you’ll just have to sit down at the nearest stall and start eating.

#18. Paris

For many people, the best part of visiting Paris is sitting down and eating any of the food it offers, and it is honestly very hard to have a bad meal in Paris. When visiting the City of Lights for the first time, going on a food tour is strongly recommended. These guided tours are a great way to try local food in Paris while getting to know all the ins and outs from a professional. You’ll get to try some of the best cheese, bread and chocolate, among other local foods.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

When walking past any bakery in the early morning hours, you’ll be instantly spellbound by the warm buttery smell of fresh croissants escaping from the air vents at pavement level. This is your cue to step in and get your golden prize, which you can tuck into and savor on your morning walk as the city awakens. Sadly, fewer and fewer French bakeries make their croissants from scratch – they buy them frozen instead – so it’s worth asking to make sure your boulanger still engages in that noble, delicious craft.

#17. New York

When it comes to food, New York brings a lot to the table. Manhattan alone seems to account for many American culinary traditions, including pizza, hot dogs and bagels with lox. But beyond the city, a lot of iconic dishes abound. One of Americans’ many traditions is their particular breakfast made up of bacon, egg, and cheese. To experience the real breakfast, head to your nearest bodega!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Everyone can agree that Eggs Benedict was invented in NYC, as there is no actual proof of the contrary. The signature dish features poached eggs, Canadian bacon and grilled asparagus over buttermilk pancakes with a hearty dose of rich hollandaise. Other variations include artichokes with truffle-porcini sauce; smoked salmon; and Caul Me Benny, with a crispy cauliflower-potato waffle on the bottom.

#16. Rome

Despite the time that has passed since Italy was built, Italian cuisine stands tall over all other types of cuisines of the world for being not only simple but also exquisite. World classics such as pasta and pizza spell Italy all over it. Due to Rome’s expansion throughout the known world, the city has been exposed to very different cultures and cuisines. During the Renaissance period, Rome became known as a center of high-cuisine, with very famous chefs cooking for the Pope.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Eataly is a huge complex located in Via 12 Ottobre, which is known for offering the best produce and food in the whole city. Just as the other stores around the Campo de Fiori, Eataly is really modern and boasts four floors dedicated to meat, cheese, pasta, pizza and more. In each stall, the vendors may offer free servings for you to try all the different dishes, in an attempt to captivate you.

#15. Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, is one of the major hubs in the world if you want to try Thai food. As there are many restaurants and street vendors, it may sometimes be extremely annoying to know which ones are the best. As many restaurants in Bangkok specialize in serving tourists, the quality of the meat and the produce they use is not usually the best. When in Bangkok, you may choose from street shops, restaurants or high cuisine restaurants.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

While walking down any street in Bangkok you may find several stalls offering Thai food at a very low cost. This is your chance to taste local favorites such as bowls of piping hot noodles, fried dishes over rice, Thai curry, and grilled meats. Wang Lang Market is one of the biggest open-air food markets in Bangkok and is located right across the Chao Phraya River, so don’t you dare miss it!

#14. Sao Paulo

In Sao Paulo, one of the biggest cities in Brazil, you may head to the Baixo Pinheiros area to try most of its local foods, as it has the greatest concentration of bars and restaurant. But if you’re not into Brazilian cuisine, you may also try any other cuisine of the world, since the area features a great diversity of restaurants. Outside Japan, Brazil has the largest Japanese population, and as such it has many Japanese restaurants.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Since 2014, the Baixo Pinheiros area has quickly developed. At first, there were only 22 establishments that spanned restaurants, cafés and pubs. Nowadays, the number of establishments has increased thanks to the comeback of the Mercado de Pinheiros, and there is more diversity as the number of pubs has tripled. In fact, even a bakery has opened, so you can truly find any type of food!

#13. Barcelona

If you are visiting Barcelona for the first time and intend to do a food tour, you should not miss Santa Caterina Market, which was built in 1845 to provide the blue-collar community with places to eat. Its name is derived from the Convent of Santa Caterina which became the main food supplier during the post-Civil War period. It was then refurbished in 2005 under the architectural practice of Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Nowadays, Santa Caterina Market offers a mix of traditional food establishments and sleek modern restaurants, which have an incredible variety of delicious food. It opens from 7.30 am onwards from Monday to Saturday, and closing times vary by day, so you should ask before heading there. One of the dishes you should not miss is the Catalan dish “la bomba“, a fried ball of mashed potatoes stuffed with meat—perfect with a glass of smooth vermouth.

#12. Dubai

Dubai food, also known as Emirati cuisine, is the traditional Arabic cuisine from the United Arab Emirates and shares distinctive characteristics with food from neighboring countries, such as Omani and Saudi Arabian cuisine. As it is one of the most modernized countries in the Middle East, Dubai cuisine is known to be cosmopolitan and, as such, offers dishes from all around the world.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

One of the main dishes in Emirati cuisine is seafood. As Muslims are prohibited from eating pork due to their religion, it is not included in any Arab menu, and lamb and mutton are the more favored meats, with goat and beef as runner ups. Popular beverages that are served with food are coffee and tea, which may be supplemented with cardamom, saffron or mint.

#11. Istanbul

Turkish cuisine is very diverse and is known throughout all the world. As Istanbul is a melting point for several cultures, all these influences directly impact the food scene, giving us very pleasant results. While you are in Istanbul, you will completely forget about fast foods, as you have plenty of local dishes you can choose from. For example, Simit is a chewy round bread similar to a pretzel, covered in sesame seeds and is one of Istanbul’s most popular street food snacks.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

While you are here, you should definitely try Turkish pizza, also known as pide. This variety of pizza is cooked in an oval-shaped dough that is folded to hold the ingredients and topped with cheese, meat, and vegetables. It is, in essence, a form of deep dish pizza, though without tomato sauce. After pide, you should go with a Turkish breakfast, which includes a cup of tea, instead of coffee, together with sliced tomatoes and/or cucumbers with white bread.

#10. Singapore

Although the modern state of Singapore was officially founded in 1965, the island and city’s long history dates back centuries before. In fact, it has been a main port in the region since the Middle Ages; and where there are ships, there are traders from all over the world. Considering that “Makan” – which literally means “have you eaten?” – is the main greeting in Singapore, you can immediately tell how important food is for the country.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Your visit to Singapore will not be complete without trying the Chili Crab, as this seafood dish is the most famous food in the country. While there are different ways to cook up the delicious crab, the two most famous styles are Singapore crab with a spicy tomato chili sauce and crab with black pepper sauce. This dish was invented from a pushcart in 1956, by a husband who asked his wife to experiment with other methods of cooking crab other than steaming. After adding chili to stir-fried crab in tomato sauce, their crabs became widely popular.

#9. Madrid

Thanks to its unpretentious food scene filled with hearty, savory dishes, Madrid is a heaven for food lovers. Madrileños love to eat and mealtimes are never skipped. Historically speaking, Madrid has always had a magnetic effect on the remaining regions of Spain. Over the years, the region of Madrid has become a melting pot of people, and thus, it accepts all types of influences from all types of cooking.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Madrid is one of the cities with the highest number of bars and restaurants per head. Thus it’s no wonder that locals consider the streets of Madrid and their countless terraces as their second living room. Madrid’s most delectable breakfast (or late-night snack) can be found all winter long at street stands and in many bars and cafés around the city: we’re talking about chocolate and churros. These crispy, deep-fried sticks of dough are lovingly dipped into mugs filled with thick, steamy chocolate.

#8. Shanghai

What people usually call Chinese or Shanghai cuisine reflects the cooking styles of the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, Fujian, and Jiangxi. Shanghai, the largest city in the People’s Republic of China, incorporates the cooking styles of the surrounding provinces. Through years of culinary practice and the assimilation of the art in other styles of cuisine, Shanghai chefs have also created a style of cuisine peculiar to the region. Shanghai dishes are usually characterized by the use of this heavy and highly flavored sauce.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The use of sugar is another uniqueness found in Shanghainese cuisine and, especially when used proportionally with soy sauce, the taste created is not so much sweet but rather savory. Eastern China is home to “red-cooking,” where food is gently braised in a flavorful soy sauce-based liquid with sugar and spices such as five-spice powder. Many families develop their own “master sauce” for red-cooking that is passed down through the generations.

#7. Osaka

It has been said that the people of Osaka spend more on food than on anything else, and the term “kuidaore” (“eat until you drop”) is used to describe the city’s food culture. At the same time, the locals have high expectations regarding the quality of their cuisine, and restaurants have to maintain high standards or face closure.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Among the restaurants of ethnic cuisine, the Kanidoraku Honten eating house is the most important of them all. Its main specialties are dishes mostly made of crab meat. For those tourists who can not imagine their diet without dainty seafood and delicacies, the place will be of great interest. In the daytime, the restaurant’s guests are offered excellent set menus at affordable prices.

#6. Las Vegas

So many new restaurants are popping up in Las Vegas, that it’s almost hard to keep track of them all. Nonetheless, the good news is that there’s really something for every taste, whether you’re exploring Chinatown, looking for something upscale at Eataly, or shopping at Town Square. You’ve also got a modern take on a classic supper club concept and two old favorites resurrected: one on the Strip and one in Summerlin.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

If you are looking for a modern take in Thai cuisine, you should check out Lamaii restaurant. The name translates to “delicate,” which carries through in Lamaii’s minimalist, modern plating that makes full use of flowers and microgreens. All served in a stylish dining room, where contemporary and imported Thai furnishings complement each other to full effect.

#5. Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the world’s truly cosmopolitan cities. It is a melting pot of native Tanka, mainlanders, descendants of British colonists, and immigrants from every corner of Eastern Europe and South Asia, among other places. In turn, Hong Kong’s food certainly reflects its diversity. You can have dim sum for breakfast, a stodgy pie for lunch at an age-old British pub, a fancy sundowner cocktail overlooking skyline views, and then a home-cooked curry for dinner.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

One of the best reasons you should travel to Hong Kong is to eat dim sum. There is an ancient Chinese tradition of drinking tea, known as yum cha, and it’s quite common to drink it together with little bite-size dishes which are known as dim sum. That’s why dim sum is often served at teahouses and always goes with hot tea. Dim sum can range from braised chicken feet to porky siu mai, to shrimp filled har gao, all guzzled down with hot tea.

#4. Berlin

Germany has a very specific cuisine, and one that may seem an acquired taste. But given their love for meat, potatoes, and sauces, their dishes are certainly hearty and delicious. Berlin is known for its food, from massive schnitzel and pretzels galore to giant steins of beer. In fact, Food in Berlin is everywhere, and as a matter of fact, Berliner means donut!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

One of the most famous dishes in Berlin is the currywurst, which is a matter of national pride for Berliners. There’s even a museum in its honor. On every street, you can be sure to find a place where this cheap, humble grilled sausage is served. The secret lies in the sauce, made from a combination of the three key ingredients: ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and curry powder.

#3. Beijing

Beijing’s cuisine brings Chinese food to a whole new level. Thanks to the many generations of emperors who kept their courts in the city, Beijing’s chefs created plenty of dishes to keep the royals happy, meaning many of China’s iconic dishes originated here. From lavish meals to simple snacks, Beijing’s food will leave you wanting more. No food is more universally renowned than the roasted duck named for the city.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Esteemed by gourmets for its mouth-watering aroma, tempting appearance, and delicate taste, there are secrets behind the cooking, skill in the preparation and serving and delight in the tasting. The crispy skin and the juicy meat leave a deep impression on first-time consumers during their Beijing trip. The essence of this dish is the skin, so there are special techniques for serving and eating the crisp skin for maximum enjoyment.

#2. Rio de Janeiro

Rio’s dining facilities are always ready to amaze its visitors with unusual dishes. Brazilian cuisine is one of the spiciest and most exotic cuisines in the world, so tourists are very enthusiastic about visiting the restaurants devoted to the national cuisine. The typical foods of Brazil are a mixture of influences stemming from Africa, India, and Portugal.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Feijoada, one of the most traditional dishes in Brazil, consists of black beans (feijão, hence the name of the dish) and white rice, foods which make up the base of the Brazilian food pyramid. They also add pork, usually bacon, cooked ground meat and/or sausage. Some people choose to add green cauliflower and there’s always a bit of orange. It is accompanied by another classic of Brazilian cuisine: the farofa, manioc (cassava) flour which is toasted and seasoned in various ways.

#1. New Delhi

If you ask a Delhiite what are two things that stand out the most in the city, they will probably tell you the following: on the one hand, its rich history, and on the other hand, the mouth-watering food. One of the main merits of the crowded and buzzing city of New Delhi is a rich choice of restaurants and bars. Thus, it is one of the world’s brightest gastronomy destinations, and getting to know its culinary traditions is a must for every tourist that visits the city.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Wrapped in the aromas of burning coals and coated with charred marinades, kebabs in Delhi impart a heartwarming feel of Delhi’s flavors. Well suited with the Delhiites attitude of “let the good times roll”, these kebabs are enjoyed both individually and wrapped in rumali rotis, paranthas, naans, and other flatbreads as delicious rolls. And of course, don’t miss the classic masala chai tea. But beware, most dishes are extremely spicy!

  • About Author

    Luke H.

    Certified Translator recently graduated at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.
    Gamer. Bookworm.

    What we do in life echoes in eternity.

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