5 Incredible Foodie Destinations
April 16, 2019
When it comes to vacations, there are two types of people: those who see food as fuel for their adventures, and those who see food as the adventure itself. If you fall into that second category, your plans for the summer might already include a trip or two to food-focused locales. If you’re still planning out your travels for the months ahead, here are five of the most remarkable and delicious foodie destinations in the world—and the flavors you can’t miss in each one!
1. Paris, France
In the realm of incredible food destinations, there’s no place more quintessential than Paris. The City of Lights is also the epicenter of French cuisine, and its restaurants have earned a whopping 141 Michelin stars in total. However, you don’t need to shell out hundreds of euros to have an incredible meal on your French vacation.
Pop into one of Paris’ countless patisseries for a sweet start to a day of sightseeing. We recommend Pierre Hermé for rainbow-hued macarons, or Du Pain et des Idées for traditionally made pastries. For lunch, don’t miss shawarma, kebabs, and (of course) falafels at L’As du Fallafel, followed by the city’s best ice cream at Berthillon. If you’re feeling fancy come dinnertime, consider splashing out for a meal at Comice, a fine dining gem that won’t completely blow your budget. In between, grab a chair at a sidewalk café, order a Kir Royale, and plan your next meal.
2. San Sebastian, Spain
Incredible seaside views, phenomenal Spanish wine, and the most Michelin stars per capita of any city in the world—there are plenty of reasons to love San Sebastian! Located in the Basque country of northern Spain, San Sebastian is famous for pintxos, a unique style of tapas. Pintxos are small pieces of bread topped with local ingredients like ham, cheese, chorizo, prawns, and anchovies. Each one costs around €1-3, so you can spend a very affordable evening filling up on small bites and glasses of Rioja in the city’s countless pintxo bars.
Thanks to its seaside location, San Sebastian is also known for incredibly fresh seafood; local specialties include cod, squid, and barnacles. Finally, there’s no shortage of haute cuisine for fine dining lovers. Several restaurants in the region, including Akelarre, Arzak, and Martin Berasategui, have earned three coveted Michelin stars.
3. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is world-renowned for its incredible street food, but there’s much more to the cuisine of Thailand’s capital city. In 2018, seven Bangkok restaurants were awarded Michelin stars. Plan a visit to Nahm for an elevated and experimental take on Thai cuisine, or enjoy traditional dishes prepared to perfection at Saneh Jaan.
That said, you definitely should not leave Bangkok without visiting at least a few of the city’s beloved street vendors! Head to Wang Lang Market, Chinatown, and Silom Soi 20 for spicy soups, homemade noodles, papaya salad, tropical fruit, and more Thai staples. Food & Wine also (surprisingly) recommends checking out mall food courts, where many popular street carts have offshoots with the added benefit of icy cold AC. If you’ve ordered any dishes “Thai hot,” you’ll want a refreshing dessert to end your day of eating. Cool off with fruit-infused ice cream at Nataporn, or sticky rice and mango at Kor Panich.
4. Mexico City, Mexico
In the last few years, Mexico City has been making headlines for its exploding food scene—and for good reason. Mexico’s sprawling capital offers much more than tacos these days (although you certainly shouldn’t miss those!). From smoky mezcal to the sweetest street food ever, there’s a lot for foodies to love. Right now, Pujol is the most talked-about restaurant in Mexico City. Chef Enrique Olvera is serving up a beautifully reimagined version of traditional Mexican cooking, from the familiar (mole) to the adventurous (ant eggs!). Can’t snag a table? Try your luck at Quintonil, another spot that’s pushing the envelope on contemporary Mexican cuisine.
When it comes to tacos, the city’s options are incredibly overwhelming, with thousands of street carts serving up their takes on the seminal dish. Luckily, Eater published a helpful guide to spotting a top-notch taco stand. Barbacoa? Al pastor? Whatever your filling of choice, be sure to load up on fresh salsa and tart lime slices. Finally, don’t miss out on the city’s sweetest destination: Churreria El Moro. This dessert institution has been serving up hot, fresh churros for 80 years; grab a table and pair them with hot chocolate for the best sugar rush in town.
5. New Orleans, LA, USA
For our final foodie hot spot, we’re keeping things a little bit closer to home with the jewel of the American South: New Orleans. Creole cooking, classic French cuisine, and Southern comfort food combine to make this city one of the most delicious and indulgent destinations on the planet. While it might feel like a tourist trap, Café du Monde remains an essential stop on any foodie tour of New Orleans. Steel yourself for the crowds and start your day with their airy beignets and a cup of chicory coffee. After that, it’s time to sample a few more of the Big Easy’s iconic dishes. Don’t miss out on a po’boy at Parkway, crawfish and gumbo at Harbor Seafood, turtle soup at the legendary Commander’s Palace, a Muffuletta at Central Grocery & Deli, and jambalaya at Coop’s Place.
Still hungry? New Orleans also boasts a thriving fine dining scene. Sample Creole cuisine with a Caribbean twist at Compere Lapin, helmed by Top Chef alum Nina Compton, or head to Herbsaint for French-Southern dishes from Chef Donald Link. In the mood for something sweet and/or boozy? Hit the drive-through (yes, the drive-through) at New Orleans Original Daiquiris to try one of the city’s classic frozen cocktails. For something a bit more sophisticated, order a bottle of your favorite wine and settle in on the patio at Bacchanal Wine Bar. Finally, we recommend cooling off with the city’s famous icy treat: the snowball. (P.S. If you still have room for more, pick up arguably the best sandwiches in America at Turkey and the Wolf for a snack before your flight home.)
Written by Caroline Lees for Knockaround.