There’s no better way to experience a new culture or destination than through food. It’s a universal language for understanding and connecting across diverse boundaries. You can learn a lot about a new place by exploring the flavors and cuisines most beloved by its locals.
So, pack your bags, passport, and most importantly, your appetite for a satiating adventure around the world. Expand your horizons (and stomachs) to new culinary destinations. Here are our top picks for the world’s best food cities.
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
New Orleans may be known for its vivacious Mardi Gras celebrations, but its cuisine is definitely the life of the party. Combining soul food with classic French influences, NOLA is full of cultural diversity and heritage. This city is truly a melting pot of flavors just waiting to be tried.
Start off your trip with staple Cajun and Creole dishes such as jambalaya, red beans and rice and plenty of gumbo (especially local favorite, Dooky Chase). Make sure to save some room for the iconic po’ boy too. Whether it’s topped with fried shrimp, oyster, catfish, soft-shell crab, or roast beef, there’s no such thing as a bad po’ boy here. Finally, no visit is complete without trying the quintessential beignets at Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter. When in NOLA, let the good times roll and the good eats keep on comin’.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
With its world-class steakhouses (or parrillas), Buenos Aires is one of the top destinations for anyone looking for a truly indulgent dining experience. The national dish is asado, or barbecue, so you know that’s an absolute must in this city. A typical meal involves a variety of grilled meats, including matambre arrollado (thinly sliced beef), matambre de cerdo (pork flank steak), ojo de bife (ribeye), asado de tira (short ribs), and entrana (skirt steak).
Don Julio is a favorite among locals, and it’s not hard to see why. Each cut of grass-fed beef is cooked over a grill by an expert asador and practically melts in your mouth. Just as satisfying as the fine dining, Buenos Aires’ street food scene is full of tasty and budget-friendly treats. Go ahead and get your fill of empanadas, choripan sandwiches, and copious amounts of chimichurri sauce.
While Paris may be the more well-known destination, Bordeaux is quickly becoming one of the best food cities to visit in France and in the world. Beyond just a wine lover’s paradise, Bordeaux is a captivating and diverse destination for all foodies alike. Find all the classic dishes that French cuisine is famously recognized for in this rising city.
Head to La Tupina for decadent confit de canard (duck confit) and pan-seared foie gras (duck or goose liver). Pair these dishes with a nice red Bordeaux for a match made in food heaven. Seafood is another must-try in this coastal city, with fresh catches coming in from the Atlantic daily. Le Petit Commerce serves heaping platters of fresh oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, and langoustines every day. A glass of white Bordeaux, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, is the perfect pair for any seafood dish.
For those craving an unforgettable food experience, look no further than Tokyo. This city has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world – 227 to be exact! Combining age-old traditions with modern innovation, Tokyo chefs are skilled masters at mixing the new and old into world-class creations. Whether you’re eating at a simple ramen shop or at a Michelin-starred sushi restaurant, you can expect a top-quality meal with the freshest, seasonal ingredients.
Be sure to visit the legendary Sukiyabashi Jiro headed by chef Jiro Ono, also featured in the popular documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Chef Jiro handmakes each piece of sushi himself and teaches guests the art of consuming sushi. It’s an authentic dining experience that you won’t soon forget. Not a big sushi fan? Head over to Tsuta instead — the world’s only Michelin-starred ramen restaurant. Tsuta makes its ramen in-house and uses a combination of chicken, beef, and hamaguri clams for its dashi broth. The shoyu ramen is the most popular choice here, but you can’t go wrong with their seasonal specials like tsukemen (dipping ramen).
If you’ve never thought about visiting Marrakech before, you’re going to want to book a flight after this. Drawing its culinary influences from France, Africa, and the Middle East, Marrakech has some of the world’s most diverse cuisines. This city is filled with aromatic spices and unique flavor combinations. It’s the perfect destination for adventurous foodies looking to try something new.
Street food is an essential part of Moroccan culture, and there’s no better place for it than the Jemma el Fna square. Here, you’ll find an interesting mix between traditional kebabs and couscous and not-so-ordinary dishes like sheep head and snail soup. When you’re roaming down these streets, grab a bite of b’stilla (pigeon pie), harira (lentil, chickpea, and lamb soup), and makouda with harissa sauce (deep-fried potato balls). After you’ve had your fill of street food snacks, visit Al Fassia Aguedal for some Moroccan home cooking. Enjoy traditional dishes like tagine (chicken, lamb, or beef clay pot) and the signature roasted lamb shoulder.
Tasting local cuisines is one of the best parts of traveling internationally. Make sure to add some of these top restaurants to your foodie destinations and experience what it’s like to eat like a local wherever you go.