After spending the last decade traveling the world in search of the best local places to eat, we thought it was time to round up our recommendations. Here are some of the top foodie destinations around the world, perfect for all foodie travelers – people who love to travel for food and drink.
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How To Travel For Food
For a long time, I hesitated to use the word foodie. It was a word that started to get a bit of a bad rap. But, whether you use the word foodie traveler or food-loving traveler, we still wanted to create a guide to some of our favorite destinations.
When planning a foodie trip, it’s important to do research about what to eat and where to eat (and drink) in that destination. But, a food vacation doesn’t have to be one that entirely revolves around eating. It can involve taking cooking classes or visiting food and drink-focused museums to learn more about the local culture through its gastronomy.
If you travel for food, does that make you a foodie? Well, in the end, I know the word foodie has fallen out of favor with many food lovers. I am still okay with the word.
Whether you call yourself a food lover or a food traveler, it’s really someone who chooses a destination because of the food. Or, they might research where to eat and what to eat when traveling. For us, it’s the most important thing when we research upcoming trips.
Vacations For Foodies – Activities Besides Eating During Meals
The best food vacations involve more than just looking for the best places to eat in a city or region. As foodie travelers, when we travel, we like to figure out other ways to learn about the cuisine in a destination.
This means looking for food tours or cooking classes or wine tastings or craft beer tours. It means visiting the local market and trying to understand the local ingredients that are used in the local cuisine.
It also means learning about what to eat in a destination, and what not to eat. For example, did you know there is no such thing as spaghetti bolognese and that no one in Italy eats spaghetti and meatballs? These are the things you learn when traveling for food.
How We Choose Our Foodie Destinations
Travel for foodies starts with choosing a destination. Oftentimes, these destinations aren’t the capital or the most popularly visited city in a country.
These are just the destinations we’ve fallen in love with. Some of these are the places we’ve visited over and over again. All of them have provided us memories of eating and drinking that leave us craving more!
Have a food lover in your life, check out our recommendations for the best gifts for foodies?
Our Top Food Destinations
Best Places To Eat In Western Europe
Western Ireland – Wild Atlantic Way
This part of Ireland is not only our home but has some of the best eats when it comes to traditional Irish food and seafood. Ireland is one of the world’s best vacation spots, particularly for Americans looking to trace their heritage.
There’s Irish food and what people think is Irish food. While dishes like corned beef and cabbage are enjoyed outside Ireland, you’ll have a difficult time finding them on a menu in Ireland. Along Western Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way freshly caught seafood is all the rage. Up and down the coast locally sourced mussels, salmon, and oysters are plentiful. Enjoyed in a hot seafood chowder or on their own, they’re a must eat.
Best Dish To Eat On The Wild Atlantic Way: Hot and delicious seafood chowder and Irish brown bread with creamy Irish butter
Check out our Irish Food Guide for more tips
Best Place to Eat Along the Wild Atlantic Way: Vaughan’s Anchor Inn Liscannor, Co. Clare. Just down the road from the Cliffs of Moher, stop here for some of the creamiest seafood chowder along the Wild Atlantic Way.
San Sebastian, Spain
San Sebastian is a city built on food. From Michelin Star dining to its world-famous bite-sized treats, called pintxos. There’s certainly no going hungry in the Basque Country’s capital city. With the unintentional invention of the first pintxos, the “Gilda,” San Sebastian has been a pilgrimage destination for food lovers. In a food-crazed country like Spain, San Sebastian is arguably the best of the best.
The pintxos bars in San Sebastian are true restaurants for foodies. Although most of the tourist traffic is driven into the old quarter, there are good places to eat around the city. The best atmosphere, though, is in the old quarter.
Best Dish To Eat In San Sebastian: Cochino, slow-roasted suckling pig. Juicy and tender with sinfully delicious crispy skin.
Check out our San Sebastian Food Guide for more tips
Best Places to Eat in San Sebastian: La Vina in Old Town San Sebastian. Go for their pintxos, but stay for their world-famous Basque Burnt Cheesecake. It’s light, airy, and highly addictive. For a taste of pintxos history, head to Casa Valles to sample the pintxos that started it all, the Gilda.
Check out our Spain Food Guide – What To Eat In Spain
Bologna is one of the best food destinations in the world. Simply put. Some of the most iconic Italian dishes and ingredients and some of the best food to eat in the world come from Bologna or other nearby towns in Emilia Romagna.
Overshadowed by more popular cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice, Bologna is without a doubt, Italy’s best culinary destination. The capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, Bologna is referred to as la grassa, the fat. A fitting nickname for a food destination.
It’s also fitting that many iconic Italian dishes such as ragu, lasagna, and mortadella come from Bologna. Only 30 minutes by train from Florence, Bologna is a culinary paradise.
Best Dish To Eat In Bologna: Lasagna. Layers of fresh spinach pasta, rich bechamel, and proper meat ragu stacked high.
Check out our Bologna Food Guide for more tips
Best Places to Eat in Bologna: Trattoria da Me is a 3rd generation family-run restaurant in the city center. Home of the best lasagna in Bologna since 1937, plan to spend a couple of hours enjoying a proper Emilia-Romagna feast.
Best Places To Eat In Asia
Labeling any one city in Japan as the best food city in Japan is bold. So let’s be bold and say, for us, Osaka is the best food city in Japan.
Every Japanese city is bursting with great food, but Osaka is just different. There’s a feeling in the air that lets you know how important food is in Osaka. Legend has it people in Osaka would rather eat than do nearly anything else. With a mindset like this, why wouldn’t you label Osaka as Japan’s best food city?
Best Dish To Eat In Osaka: Osaka is famous for okonomiyaki and takoyaki but for us, the best thing to eat is kushikatsu. Also known as fried stuff on a stick, it’s crunchy, tasty, and great with a cold beer. It’s also one of the reasons why Osaka is one of the best foodie destinations in Japan.
Check out our Osaka Food Guide for more tips
Best Places to Eat in Osaka: Kushikatsu Daruma Dotonbori a.k.a. Angry Chef. Located in the heart of the famous eating street, you’ll find the best kushikatsu in Osaka. Kushikatsu Daruma has everything from fried chicken skins to fried pork ribs and our personal favorite, fried pickled ginger. But remember, no double dipping in the communal sauce.
Taipei is another one of the top cities for foodies in Asia, particularly if you like street food.
Ask the question which is the most underrated food city in Asia and the answer hands down is Taipei. I’m not sure why but it shouldn’t be. Taipei is loaded with food. It has more night food markets than you can count. The cost of eating is low. And best of all, there are tons of dumplings and noodles. Taipei is a must for anyone who travels for food.
Best Dish To Eat In Taipei: Dumplings, specifically the soup-filled, lighter than air, irresistible Xiao Long Bao, also known as “soup dumplings”. Pro tip, let them cool down before you bite in. You can thank me later.
Check out our Taipei Food Guide for more tips
Best Places to Eat in Taipei: Miaokou Night Market, Keelung. The hour direct train ride from Taipei to the Miaokou Night Market is worth it, trust me. The proximity of the nearby fishing port means the market is bursting with fresh seafood. Miaokou can get crowded but the amount and variety of food stalls more than makes up for the crowds.
Seoul, South Korea
Korean food is often overlooked in terms of the great cuisines of the world. It’s unlike any other cuisine including others from Asia. Korean cuisine is influenced by Korea’s rough terrain and harsh climate.
No other Korean dish symbolizes this more than the national dish, kimchi. A fiery fermented cabbage that’s served at every meal. If you haven’t heard of Korean food, you certainly will.
Best Dish To Eat In Seoul: It’s all about Korean BBQ (Gogigui). Pieces of grilled pork cooked tableside enjoyed with traditional Korean side dishes, including spicy kimchi.
Check out our Seoul Food Guide for more tips
Best Places to Eat in Seoul: Head to Gwangjang Market in the evening to sample a wide range of delicious Korean street food treats. Enjoy dumplings, Korean pancakes, and best of all handmade noodles. Go hungry and say yes to everything.
Foodie Destinations In Africa
Located off the coast of Africa and on the trade routes from India and the Middle East, Mauritius is perfectly situated to have it’s cuisine influenced by numerous outside forces. This certainly shows in dishes like Mauritian curry. While many people travel to Mauritius for the sun, sand, and water, it’s their food they will have you coming back.
Best Dish To Eat In Mauritius: Mauritian curry. This is not Indian curry nor Thai curry. While Mauritian curry has influences from India, it’s uniquely Mauritian that you have to taste for yourself.
Check out our Mauritius Food Guide for more tips
Best Places to Eat in Mauritius: Mauritius is filled with many hotels offering outstanding local Mauritian dishes. While we always advocate getting out and eating like a local, unless you are staying in Port Louis, this can be difficult. The Heritage Le Telfair Hotel in particular has several amazing dining options on their property.
Flavorful. That’s Moroccan cuisine. Not that other international cuisines lack flavor, it’s just that Moroccan cuisine perfectly incorporates tons of amazing spices like cumin, turmeric, and ginger. Let’s not forget that the tagine might be the most underrated cooking vessel in the world. Add in a long history of outside influences and you’ve got an incredible cuisine.
Best Dish To Eat In Morocco: Tagines and couscous are easily the most recognizable Moroccan dishes. If you are in Fez, make sure to look for their specialty, pastilla or b’stilla. A sweet and savory dish, shredded chicken is wrapped in a thin pasty, fried, and topped with cinnamon. Heaven!
Check out our Moroccan Food Guide for more tips
Best Places to Eat in Morocco: In addition to being the home of pastilla, Fes is the culinary capital of Morocco. It doesn’t hurt that traders have been bringing spices, produce, and cooking through Fes since 700 AD. In that time, a lot of culinary influences have been left behind waiting for new visitors to discover.