The 9 best cities around the world for foodies

The 9 best cities around the world for foodies

Love a fabulous meal? Love visiting foreign cities? Combine the two, armed with our list of the ultimate international destinations for food lovers.

Love a fabulous meal? Love visiting foreign cities? Combine the two, armed with our list of the ultimate international destinations for food lovers.

Two of life’s great pleasures are enjoying delicious food and visiting new places. So taking a trip to a city renowned for its local produce is a great way to combine the two.

And with our nine delicious destinations, all you have to do is get out the calendar and start planning…

1. Marrakech, Morocco

The cuisine in Marrakesh is a combination of Arabic, Andalusian, North African and French influences. Spices are used extensively – and to memorable effect.

The huge outdoor spread of food available at The Jemaa el-Fnaa square in Marrakech is a feast for the eyes, nostrils and taste buds with a dizzying array of fresh street-food to sample. From meatballs (kefta) to slow-roasted lamb (méchoui) and fried aubergine, to fragrant couscous and buttery hot meloui pancakes, it’s hard to pick a favourite dish. And the elaborately decorated cookies and pastries are to die for.

For those who prefer a sit-down meal with a traditional Moroccan tagine, dress up and head for one of the pricier but stunning restaurants outside the city walls, such as Bô-Zin, located in a sumptuous mansion.

2. Copenhagan, Denmark

With world-famous Michelin-starred Noma and many of the city’s best restaurants, such as Geranium, Relae and Kong Hans Kaelder being pre-booked months ahead, Copenhagan is a city that takes food seriously.

New Nordic Cuisine is famous for purity and freshness, and for raw and sometimes unconventional ingredients sourced locally, so it’s well worth making a reservation before you travel. But leave some room for a smørrebrød, the widely available open-faced sandwich of dark sourdough rye bread, piled with fish, meat, or vegetables, or organic hot dogs from popular hot dog shop Pølse Kompagniet.

Also make sure you visit Torvehallerne, Copenhagen's first covered food market, where you can sample smoked fish, artisanal cheese and dishes from many of the city's top restaurants.

3. Penang, Malaysia

Penang, and especially its capital, George Town, has become a magnet for foodies due to its tempting mix of traditional Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes cooked using methods that date back hundreds of years.

Its hawker centres, where food is served in an open-air complex, are the go-to places for tasty fried dishes and a delectable variety of soups, including everything from pork and duck with anise to mackerel with chilli. Look out for legendary char koay teow, made of flat rice noodles stir-fried with prawns, cockles, scrambled egg, bean sprouts, strips of fish cake and chili paste.

Meanwhile, healthy Malaysian Indian food served on banana leaves can be found in restaurants around Little India.

4. Lyon, France

People rave about Paris for its romance and the sheer choice of eateries, but in fact it’s Lyon, France’s second largest city, that’s internationally recognised as France’s gastronomic capital – and with good reason. The Lyonnais cuisine is defined by its simplicity and rich, heavy qualities: for example, a local delicacy is creamy pike quenelles with crayfish sauce, and even a healthy salad comes with lardons, croutons and a poached egg.

There are plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants in Lyon, but head instead to one of the bouchons, the often family-run bistros that are integral to the Lyon food scene, and known for their distinctive homemade cuisine, atmosphere, and décor.

High-quality wines come from the neighbouring Beaujolais and Rhône Valley regions. And don’t leave without a visit to the city’s quaint markets, including the Quai Saint-Antoine and the Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, where you can get high-end foodie treats.

5. San Sebastian, Spain

You could spend a week in San Sebastian without eating in a restaurant thanks to the amazing quality of its pintxos – small bar snacks often served on skewers. Unlike tapas, which tend to be shared, you keep your pintxos all to yourself – which you’ll consider a real bonus once you discover how tasty they are.

Chefs prepare more elaborate dishes to order, meaning items such as squid sandwich (hamburguesa de chipirón) and infused lobster (rosa) are freshly made to gourmet standards.

And let’s not forget the city’s excess of restaurants with three Michelin stars, such as Arzak, which is famous for its molecular cuisine, with dishes such as foie gras bonbons and volcanic oysters with smoked vegetables.

6. Tokyo, Japan

For the most unforgettably fresh, traditional Japanese sushi, Tokyo is hard to beat. It’s also the city that boasts the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world.

Mixing techniques passed down through the generations with ultra-modern styles, Tokyo chefs are experts at creating world-class dishes. From soba bowls in noodle shops to top-notch (and top price) sushi, you’ll find great food pretty much wherever you go, made from the freshest, most seasonal vegetables.

Look out for local speciality tonkatsu, a crispy, juicy deep-fried pork cutlet, usually served with fluffy white rice, finely shredded cabbage, pickles and miso soup.

7. Turin, Italy

Lovers of Italian food may rave about pizza in Naples and prosciutto in Parma, but for gastronomic excitement, head to Turin – or Torino – in Piedmont, a region that brings together culinary influences from France, Switzerland, and Italy.

You’re less likely to find pasta dishes, but if you like the sound of rich truffle risottos, gooey fondues, potato dumplings and meats stewed in fine Barolo wine, you won’t be disappointed.

What’s more many of Italy’s celebrated wines are produced in the area, including Barolo, Barbaresco, and Asti Spumante. And dessert is no less exciting, because Torino is the home of gianduja, a rich combination of chocolate and hazelnut that’s used extensively in Turin’s confectionery.

8. Santiago, Chile

Never tried Chilean cuisine? Well you’re in for a treat, especially if you love seafood. Chile has 2,650 miles of Pacific coastline and you can take full advantage of its rich bounty at Santiago’s Mercado Central. At lunchtime, chefs at the food stalls serve fresh ceviche or fish stews such as caldillo de congrio.

If you’re eating out, look for scallops stewed in a traditional sauce of tomatoes, chilies and pepper (pebre, or Chilean salsa), or braised beef stew. For dessert try leche asada – baked custard with caramel sauce. Or a great restaurant for traditional indigenous Mapuche fare is Silabario, with dishes such as potato, pumpkin and beef stew (charquicán).

9. New Orleans, USA

Famed for its fusion of Creole, Caribbean and Cajun spices, with culinary influences from a population that has long included French settlers, Africans, and Native Americans, New Orleans cuisine is a happy product of its multi-faceted heritage.

Dishes that must be sampled while you’re in The Big Easy include gumbo, a stew of West African origin, and jambalaya, a spicy Cajun or Creole mix of seafood, meat, vegetables and rice.

For chargrilled oysters head to Acme Oyster House and Drago's Seafood Restaurant. And make sure you end your meal with New Orleans’ signature pastry, the beignet, a super-tasty version of the doughnut.

This article has been brought to you by Fixodent, which empowers women to live confidently, discover new things, and to get out there and have new adventures.

What local cuisine do you love? Share your tips and tell us about your favourite cities for eating out in the comments section below…

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