Food. Cuisine. Gastronomic delights. One of my favorite aspects of travel is the diversity of culinary offerings found all across the world. From those famous dishes we know and love to the exotic and unknown, I’ll try anything twice in search of palate-pleasing foods that set your tastebuds ablaze and expand edible horizons. Here’s a list of a few favorite cities around the world that offer delicious dishes to pair with their distinctive dining culture.
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
New Orleans is a cultural gumbo – a flavorful, flamboyant mixture of numerous ethnicities and heritages that give the city and its amazing food a matchless character. A magical blend of French, African, Caribbean, Cajun and Creole influences provide the zest and spice to some legendary signature dishes: gumbo, jambalaya and the Po-Boy to name a few. Situated in a delta where the mighty Mississippi meets the Caribbean Sea, oysters and catfish are among the local specialities while many spots for fine dining can be found in the famous French Quarter.
The coastal capital of Peru is home to two of the top 10 restaurants in the world (three in the top 50!) based on 2018 rankings, and these are just the tip of the endless options in this sprawling South American city. The diversity of food here is seen through a mixture of Spanish, native and Pacific influences which give a familiar yet distinctive take on a variety of tastes. Traditional dishes include Lomo Saltado and stand-out ceviche while Nikkei cuisine brings an intrepid meld of Japanese/Peruvian flavors unique to this area of the world. Anticuchos and picarones can be found on many street corners and are more than recommended local classics.
The street-food scene in Marrakesh is legendary with the sights and smells filling the air of the Jemaa el Fna square like a mystic fairytale. Vendors selling spices and local dishes fill the area every night, and the grandeur of the market makes it seems as though you could have a different meal every day of the year. The options in the markets are cheap and endless with roasted lamb, kebabs, couscous and tagine being some of the favorites. Many more gourmet options abound away from the vibrant markets making Marrakesh a captivating location for any food-loving wanderer.
Tokyo is home to the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, and it has a reputation for offering some of the best old-style food in the world alongside modern and innovative adaptations of its legendary traditional cuisines. The competition for greatness amongst the city’s many restaurants and vendors drives quality to an extremely high standard, and it’s rare to find a dish that underwhelms in this bustling metropolis. Seafood and sushi are staples and options range from the most well-known spots in the world to corner stalls that serve traditional ramen and soba that will transport you to a different era. Japan has the luxury of producing much of its own food supply resulting in fresh, seasonal and abundant dishes year round.
The United Kingdom is not traditionally known as a hub for gastronomy, but due to the ever-expanding and exploratory nature of the food scene in the capital, London makes the list. New restaurants are popping up virtually every day, and the sheer variety of options makes the city a food-lover’s delight. Trendy and sometimes bizarre offerings come and go at a fast pace leaving locals and visitors constantly searching for which hotspot is currently on the radar. The variety and number of choices can be dizzying but hiding amongst that London fog sits something for nearly every indulgence.
Written by Caleb Summeril