My Top 10 Foodie Travel Destinations

If you love travel, you must love food. So why not ensure your travel food experience is never boring, but tasty, adventurous, and even slightly weird?

Here are 10 foodie destinations that are well worth booking a plane ticket for.

1) Brazil

The land of gorgeous bodies is also teeming with tropical food to keep you cool or nourish the belly.

This former Portuguese colony is influenced by the original indigenous population, Portugal, Africa, and even the available resources (cassava).  I dracank my supply of fresh coconut juice, açaí shakes or sweet guava juice.

Nosh on collard greens or Acarajé: black-eyed peas formed into a fritter, deep fried in dendê (palm oil), then stuffed full with Vatapá (a paste of shrimp, bread, milk, coconut milk).  Not for the faint hearted.

Acai by smelliesocks

2) Turkey

After witnessing a call to prayer at dawn or so, breakfast might include olives, tomatoes, bread and kaymak (slow boiled milk turned into a cream).

A portal for civilizations, many cultures have made their mark on Turkey, but the one that lasted is the Ottoman Empire.  The Ottomans enjoyed fresh vegetables, nuts and yoghurt.

Meat was only consumed at weddings, but since commercial agriculture, it’s now common to see minced meat on the table.

My recommendations: eat a meze (an assortment of food served as an appetizer) or gorge on rice pudding at the Lale in Istanbul.

Meze by kake_pugh

3) Italy

Oh amore!  Italy’s cuisine varies by region, but what variety!

I can’t stop thinking about risotto in Venice or pasta all Norma from Sicily. Or how about a traditional Neapolitan pizza?

Eat your way to a larger waistline, from a culture that established food origins as far back as 4 BCE.  Italy is romantic for a reason. The food.

Italian seafood by vascellari

4) France

Since I’m not a meat eater, it was tempting to leave out France. But, you just can’t.

Sure regional vegetables such as eggplants, potatoes or carrots come into play, but French chefs turn meat dishes into a fine art. Lamb, poultry, beef, encompass a three course dinner along with wine and cheeses.

It’s about savoring flavors and enjoying the company over a lengthy period.

Foie gras or Hachis de Boeuf Parmentier are historical staples (potato stuffed with onion beef mixture).

French beef by roland

5) China

Where else can you get boiled chicken feet or stinky tofu?  Nowhere.

China also boasts some diverse cuisine from Szechwan to Hunan to Shanghai.

The bases are usually a meat/seafood, garlic, ginger and a rice or noodle to absorb all that yummy goodness.  My fave is shark fin soup or a mushroom hot pot.

Steamed fish dish by madhatrk

6) Vietnam

My memories of Vietnam were untouched beaches on a Saturday and sailing into the arms of morning mist on a bus ride through the mountains.

And the food. It’s not just all phở, but bánh bao (steamed bun stuffed with meat, mushroom, onion) or rice with clams, commonly served in Huế.

My faves had to be the seafood hot pot I devoured in Nha Trang or sticky rice soaked in coconut milk found anywhere.  That’s a lot of yum factor.

Vietnamese Pho by jimmyhsu_tw

7) Panama

Panama lies between two continents, which is rife with unique native tropical plants and fruits.

Maize, plantains, rice, beef, and corvine (a saltwater fish) make up the core ingredients in cooking.  Empanadas can either be savory or sweet.  I seriously want to try Arroz con bacalao, a dish of rice and cod slow cooked in a large pan with saffron and garlic.

Doesn’t that just whet the appetite? Visit Panama for the gripping history and diverse cuisine.

Fish and plantain by justonlysteve

8) Nepal

Well known for the amazing trekking, Nepal sees its share of travelers.

Instead of passing through, consider staying for the chilled out atmosphere and to-die-for Dal.

Dal is a spicy lentil soup served on rice, with vegetable curry, fermented pickles, spiced chutney, lime or lemon and chili peppers.A stomach of iron may be needed, but don’t fret.

You can also have a light snack of Momo, a steamed dumpling stuffed with various fillings like cheese, potato or meat.  Trek and eat.  I like that combination.

Momo by xiangxi

9) Ethiopia

Not many travelers think Ethiopia merits foodie status, but it does merit vegetarian honors.

Because Ethiopia institutes fasting periods during religious occasions, vegetarian dishes are insanely common.

As you explore this hot, arid country eat a meal consisting of different varieties of wat (veggie or meat based stew) served on injera, a large flatbread made from teff flour.

Wash all that down with some tej (honey wine). What may sound strange is delicious and won’t make you feel overfull.

Wat and injera by 71494338@N00

10) Mongolia

This country is on everyone’s radar these days.  A country not overly explored or exploited, still invoking that explorer spirit, what exactly is the food like?

What Mongolia lacks in mass tourism certainly makes up with interesting cuisine.  This Russian ally takes cuisine notes from them and heartily uses local resources.

A friend of mine ate yak cheese and drank yak milk. Mutton is often cooked in the rural areas, while boiled dumplings stuffed with meat is popular in the cities.

Salty milk is the daily drink, which can be turned into soup by adding meat or rice.

You’ll be happy to know the main Russian influence is vodka.  Ypa!

Mongolian cuisine by harunire

What are some of your top foodie destinations?  What’s the tastiest dish you’ve ever eaten traveling? Tell us in the comments!

If you liked this you might also like: 11 School Lunches from Around the World

Main image: Cannoli, Sicily

33 thoughts on “My Top 10 Foodie Travel Destinations”

  1. Glad to see Nepal making the top 10. I couldn’t get enough of the Dal and Garlic Soup for breakfast, it seemed to keep any altitude sickness at bay! Also not surprised to see the Ukraine not making the list! Si @ NoMad Rush

  2. Great informative post. I’m a food lover and thats one reason why I travel. You just included some of my favorite cuisines. I really love Turkish, Japanese, Italian , and Mongolian foods. Thank you very much, you made my mouth watery. LOL!

  3. Umm…not sure I would have included Mongolia in this list for food! If you’re thinking of restaurants like Mongolian BBQ in North America, it’s not like that. As a vegetarian you’d have a hard time…their idea of vegetarian dish is picking out the meat (usually mutton) from the already bland dish (and good chance you’ll still find a rogue piece in there). The two best meals I had were in Ulan Bator, one from a German restaurant and one from a Korean restaurant.

    Of course everyone will have their own opinion, but I’d throw in Mexico. The food varies (like many other countries) from region to region, and is not at all like Mexican food in US/Canada.

  4. I haven’t visited all the countries that you listed so it’s probably not fair for me to choose. But from my travel experiences, it has to be Italy. Italians know more about cooking and enjoying food than any place that I’ve visited.

  5. I pretty much ate my way through Greece. The traditional greek salads are amazing because of the feta they use and fresh veggies. And on Santorini the fava bean dips are addictive. Having fresh fish & grilled squid by the sea is heavenly. Greece was great having long meals, mostly outside… simple dishes with friends and wine.

  6. Hello!

    I’m the author of this article and want to thank you for the gastronomical comments. Reading them leaves me hungry constantly. I know Mongolia seems left field, but adventurous food lovers have to visit the unknown once in a while, right?


  7. If you have a chance to try Pulpo (octopus) Gallego ….. It is worthy of being on a list with all these other great foods. Northwest Spain is the best place to get it but it is served in a lot of places.

  8. Hello!

    You are totally correct about Italy But you should come to Egypt one day, it is marvelous & you will sure add it to yr most foodie travel destinations :)) U R welcome anytime :)

  9. Hi, loved the list, especially nice to see Ethiopian food on there!

    Just a slight correction – kajmak (which you’ve mis-spelt as kaymak) is actually SERBIAN, not Turkish. The Ottoman empire exported the process from Serbia to Turkey after they invaded in the late 1300’s.

    Kajmak is also one of many foods that can only be called by that name if it is produced in a particular region or country, and for it to TRULY be Kajmak, it must be produced in Serbia!

  10. Thank you for this informative article. I’m here for the blog carnival, and you have inspired me to (yet again) try my hand at making injera. It’s really, really hard, by the way, but soooo worth it when its done right.

  11. Yum and a half! This is one tasty post. I always look forward to trying out new foods when I travel. In fact, I’m heading to Italy & Spain in a couple weeks and my tummy is really looking forward to it.

    Thanks again for joining in on the Saturday Show & Tell blog carnival over at Mental Mosaic. I hope you will keep contributing!


  12. Great list of top countries by their cuisine. I know what you mean about France. I spent a month in Normandy and I have never eaten so well.

  13. great list but i am missing thailand! i think every single thing i eat when im in thailand is somehow good, even if its just a pack of sticky rice from the street :)

  14. It’s VERY nice to see #7 on the list, as it’s the land of my (maternal) family/ancestors. ;-)

    Biased against #9; ate it once, it didn’t taste good, and it made me sick. Too bad; thought it’d be better.

    Good list though. Never thought of some of these cuisines. :-)

  15. Good list………..but, no foodie list would be complete without Spain. In my opinion, has to be #1 or #2 foodie destination.

  16. I’m hungry after reading this article. I’ve tried a lot of these aside from the Brazilian dish you mention. My favorite would be Turkish food. I personally found Nepalese food a little bland.

  17. Seriously, I can’t even fathom how Korean food didn’t make this list! Have you never been there? And I’m not even talking about the typical things you get here, like kalbi. Even their street food is to die for!

  18. and Peruvian food is not in the top 10? Sorry but you’ve either not tried it or you don’t know about it!

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