Hungry all the time? Yeah, us too. We feel the pursuit of great food is one of the most delicious reasons to travel the world. If dining out, cooking, visiting food markets, learning about ingredients, and meeting chefs is your jam, be sure to ask your advisor about trips that include these amazing foodie destinations. Here are our top bucket list trips for foodies!
Try all the street tacos in Mexico City, and explore historic neighborhoods like Colonia Roma, San Angel, and Polanco to taste a bit of everything the country has to offer. Check out James Beard award-winning restaurants like Pujol and Quintonil. Then head to Oaxaca to visit beloved food markets like Puerto Escondido and Mercado Sanchez Pascuas. Then take a cooking class to learn how to make world-famous mole sauces from more than 20 ingredients.
Visit the ancient cities of Fez, Casablanca, and Marrakech to learn about Moroccan spices in their sprawling medinas (food markets). Take cooking classes to learn how to make specialties like clay-roasted tagines, richly spiced with preserved lemons, and pastilla, a chicken-and-almond phyllo pie dusted with sugar. Taste decadent bakery treats that rarely leave the country, and dine under the stars in the Agafay Desert, enjoying Berber cuisine and hospitality.
Explore colorful Tel Aviv neighborhoods like Kerem Hateymanim and Neve Tzedek to try endless spreads of Israeli hummus, breads, and fresh salads in all their fresh and magical forms. Relax over Israeli wines or Israeli coffee at seaside cafes along Rothschild Avenue. Don’t miss the amazing food-filled flea market in the historic town of Jaffa, and discover treasured spices, produce, and snacks at Tel Aviv’s epic Shuk Ha’Carmel (Carmel Market).
Taste your way through miles’ worth of street foods—like steaming pho (noodle soups), banh xeo (fried rice pancakes), and chewy-soft bahn mi sandwiches—in Hanoi‘s Old Quarter and the markets of Ho Chi Minh. Also be sure to start a Ho Chi Minh morning with a dish of “broken rice” topped with pickled veggies and/or grilled pork. In coastal Hoi An, hit the city’s famous night market, join a basket-boat fishing excursion, and learn how to cook elaborate Vietnamese seafood specialities.
The food of Thailand, no matter the region, aims to include sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavors at every meal. Wend your way through the lively night markets of Chiang Mai, trying steamed chive dumplings and grilled coconut-chicken and chili-beef skewers, and maybe testing your ability to handle spice like a true Thai. In Bangkok, check out the “disappearing” Maeklong Railway Market set on a working train track, and buy produce from a long-tail boat at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
Wander some of the 400 food market stalls in historic Old Delhi, tasting local specialties like golgappa (round, crispy balls filled with tamarind-infused water) and paratha (flatbread stuffed with potato, cheese, or radishes). Some Old Delhi restaurants have been around for centuries, so be sure to save some room for proper meals. In the street-food mecca of Mumbai, explore the Khau Gullies (food lanes) to try classic street snacks like bhel puri (puffed rice in a tangy tamarind sauce) and pav bhaji (a spicy, mashed vegetable mix). In Rajasthan, take cooking classes to learn how to make authentic red curries, create delicate sweets, and bake a ubiquitous lentil-wheat bread called dal bat churma.
Get primed for an Italian food trip with a spin through Stanley Tucci’s CNN show, Searching for Italy. Eat your way through Rome enjoying treats like cacio e pepe, pasta carbonara, fried artichokes with lemon, and porchetta sandwiches, being sure not to miss the gleaming Mercato Centrale food hall in the Termini train station. The Tuscany region is a must-do (Florence included), diving into bread-focused dishes like ribollita stew and panzanella salad, and snacking on local Pecorino cheese and hand-crafted salumi. The Sicilian city of Naples is the spiritual home of wood-fired pizza, the Ligurian city of Genoa is famed for pesto, and everywhere is a good place to pause for gelato.
In Paris, follow your nose through the markets, patisseries, and cafes of the Latin Quarter, Saint Germain, and the Marais. The Provence region is famed for simple dishes with insanely fresh tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and olives, while Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France, is known for market cafes called bouchons, where spicy pork dishes, poached seafood dumplings, and delicate cream sauces are just some of the delights. In Atlantic-coastal Normandy, learn about camembert, scallops, oysters, and how to use apples in almost everything; in the Pinot Noir- and Chardonnay-producing region of Burgundy, tuck into hearty wine-based dishes like boeuf bourgignon; and taste duck and goose pates in the southwestern region of Dordogne, also known for black truffles and walnuts.
San Sebastian is not only gorgeous, it’s also the heart of Basque Country, known for bar snacks called pinxtos, as well as salt cod, hearty stews, Idiazabal cheese and Txakolina (chah-kuh-LEE-nah) wine. The country’s finest seafood comes from the northwestern region of Galicia, including gooseneck barnacles and spicy-grilled octopus. Barcelona, as the city center of the Mediterranean-cuisine region of Catalonia, is full of acclaimed food markets like La Boqueria and Mercat de la Llibertat, and wildly popular restaurants like the James Beard-awarded Disfrutar. Three hours south of Barcelona, the seaside city of Valencia is known for paella, which appears in a myriad versions in beach cafes throughout town.
Love cheese and chocolate? This is the country for you. Geneva and Zurich are full of excellent chocolate producers, and you can spend whole days touring chocolate shops and patisseries. Switzerland is known for cheesy specialties like raclette and fondue that use Swiss cheeses like Emmental, Gruyere, Vacherin, and Appenzaler, but don’t miss delights like rösti (fried grated potatoes) and cloud-like meringues made with double cream. Switzerland’s cuisine is influenced by several countries, especially in these foodie-friendly cantons (or states): Lucerne by Germany; Valais by France and Germany; and Ticino by Italy.
REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA
Bordered by Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Black Sea, the cuisine of this European country has been influenced by centuries of trade between Europe and Asia. The capital, Tbilisi, and the Khaketi region (Georgia’s wine country) enable you to stay in comfort while enjoying comfort foods like khinkali, hearty wheat-flour dumplings filled with meat and broth, and fresh-baked khachapuri, generally a boat-shaped bread topped with Georgian cheeses like imereti or sulguni. Walnuts, chili, red beans, chicken, eggplant, tomatoes, and dozens of types of breads commonly appear in huge feasts called supra, meant to be shared in a spirit of joy.
Nicknamed “The World’s Food Fair,” this formerly Chinese city on the South China Sea is all about what’s to eat, from Dai Pai Dong street-food stalls to lauded restaurants like the artfully creative Chinesology or the Mandarin Oriental’s Michelin-starred Man Wah. Locally beloved Cantonese dishes include garlicky Wind Sand Chicken, steamed har gow dumplings, pineapple bread (which contains exactly zero pineapple), and steamed-milk custards. However, you’ll also find foods here from all over Asia, as well as India, Europe, and America. Be sure to visit traditional tea shops, have at least one egg tart, and indulge in dim sum.
A melting pot of Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, and Malay cuisine, this gleaming city-state is famous for its hawker centres—huge covered food courts that teem with options. For pennies on the dollar, gorge yourself on Hainanese chicken rice, chili crab, char siu (barbecued pork), pohpia (fresh spring rolls), sticky-spicy rojak (a Malaysian fruit salad), oyster omelets, thunder tea rice, and dozens more snacks, dishes, and desserts. Offerings in hawker centres tend to vary according to their neighborhoods, such as those in Little India and the Muslim quarter. Enjoy at least one breakfast of kaya toast, a hot sandwich of white bread, butter, and coconut jam, often paired with strong coffee and soft-boiled eggs.
Japan is home to a galaxy of Michelin-starred restaurants, with 212 in Tokyo (the most of any city on Earth), 110 in Kyoto, and 96 in Osaka. Cuisine throughout the country emphasizes variety and balance through “the rules of five:” the use of five colors (black, white, red, yellow, and green); five cooking techniques (raw food, grilling, steaming, boiling, and frying); and five flavors (sweet, spicy, salty, sour, and bitter). Sushi is an obsession here, and so is the multi-course kaiseki ryori, an elaborate feast of tiny, gorgeous and seasonal dishes. However, you could spend whole days exploring varieties of udon, soba, ramen, yakitori, tempura, sukiyaki, onigiri…you get the idea!