We love to travel, and we need to eat. But, there are those who travel precisely for the purpose of discovering new flavors and aromas. In this list you won’t find generic recommendations such as an Italian pizza or a Parisian croissant. Instead, you’ll find interesting and diverse culinary gems that are sure to arouse your taste buds and have you booking a flight in no time.
We’ve gathered all of the major food groups – alcohol, meat, magnificent carbs of all sorts, desert, and, we’ve even found vegan heaven. Are you ready for the best culinary destinations around the world? Foodies, this one’s for you!
You’d be surprised, but Japanese food has more to it than just sushi and ramen. Welcome to one of the world leaders in Michelin star restaurants, where you can find anything bathed in tempura and crab is king of your plate. Dining in Japan can be a cultural experience, especially if you choose to eat Kaiseki style. The traditional multi-course meal typically consists of 13-14 dishes, and is served in ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) and small restaurants called ryōtei.
Another must dining experience is grilling your own meat and vegetables on a tabletop grill Yakiniku style. Japan is also home of the Matcha. Traditionally, the green powder is used for tea, but nowadays it’s a popular ingredient in many dishes including ice cream, chocolate and pastries.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Israel’s culinary scene is quite diverse, but when considering the Middle Eastern country’s flag dishes – Humus and Falafel, both completely vegan dishes, one can understand how Tel Aviv became the capital of vegan food. Tel Aviv hosts the world’s largest vegan festival and was recently ranked the #1 Best Destination for Vegan Travelers by The Daily Meal.
When traveling to Tel Aviv, other than traditional Israeli food, you’ll find that the city is full of completely vegan restaurants, and even vegan street food in the form vegan shawarma. Also, every self-respecting restaurant offers a variety of vegan dishes for the appropriate audience, and you know what, also non-vegans enjoy the occasional vegan meal.
When you go to Cuba, you dance! But you also eat empanadas, Cuban sandwiches, and fresh lobsters straight out of the Caribbean Sea. The Cuban kitchen draws its influence from the African, Spanish, French, and Arabic cuisine. You won’t find complicated aromas or essences, but basic flavors such as olive oil, lemon and tons of garlic. The Cuban cuisine is basically based on two main ingredients – rice and black beans, you’ll find a combination of these elements in most dishes.
When you walk the streets of Cuba you’ll find it is full of delicious food typically served in cones; roasted peanuts, fresh potato chips, and the heavenly churros are often served by street vendors. Also, remember that Cuba is home of exotic fruits such as banana, mango, pineapple, etc. and even more exotic cocktails such as the famous Cuba Libre and Pina Colada. So light up a local cigar and sip some rum, because you’ve reached Caribbean heaven.
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Home to the famous gumbo soup and jambalaya rice dish, is just too exceptional to pass, as it offers absolute nirvana for your taste buds. In New Orleans you’ll find plenty of meat and fresh seafood, many of the dishes are fried, and you just can’t pass on the unbelievable Oysters Rockefeller baked in their shell with herbs and tons of butter.
Start your morning with THE absolute must – Café du Monde’s world famous Beignet – people stand in line for these pastries. Also, be sure to try the iconic Hand Grenade, New Orleans’ most popular drink (just make sure you are the appropriate drinking age).
This Arabic cuisine features a variety of flavors, spices, herbs, and one traditional super sweet mint tea. The most famed dish of all is couscous, made out of grained durum wheat and served with vegetables, chickpeas and meat. Don’t miss the b’ssara and harira soups, and the unique b’stilla, which is a combination of meat (usually pigeon) and sweet flavors such as cinnamon and sugar all wrapped up in one pie.
Two iconic Moroccan dishes, Tagine and Tanjia, are slowly cooked in clay pots and can be found in any self respecting local menu. When it’s time for desert, simply go to any local market and seek shebakia, these flower-shaped fried sesame cookies are dipped in honey and they are everything that is right in this world.
Where the sun shines and the beaches are packed, amazing street food and light dishes are constantly served. If there’s one thing Greece is famous for, it’s souvlaki. You haven’t been to Greece if you haven’t eaten a piece of grilled meat in pita bread with veggies and tzatziki on top. Another delicious local dish is moussaka; with layers of eggplant, meat, vegetables and cheese, it seems that nothing can go wrong.
Olives are big in Greece, true Greeks LOVE their olive oil and would add it to most of their refreshing salads. This Mediterranean cuisine prides itself with fresh vegetables and cheese (especially Feta), which happen to be the components of the famed Greek salad, which is the centerpiece of every true Greek meal.
Start your day with a nice traditional breakfast, chilaquiles (it has eggs in it, which makes it count). Continue your day with tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, and enchiladas – each a variation made of corn tortillas with a mix of meat and cheese. If you’re obsessed with guacamole, tomatoes and lime (limon by natives), Mexico is definitely the destination for you.
Of course, no Mexican cuisine is complete without some local tequila. There are five main categories of tequila: Blanco, Joven, Reposado, Anejo, Extra Anejo. To get the full Mexican experience, you should probably try them all. Or, simply drink margaritas, which is a lighter way to sip excellent local tequila.
Now that your taste buds are aroused – book that flight.