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Will Travel for Food: Top Ten Cities in The World for Foodies


As a food lover, exploring new culinary experiences can be one of the most exciting and enjoyable parts of traveling. In fact, recent food tourism statistics show 95% of U.S. citizens are interested in trying new and different cuisines. Many regions cater to both die-hard food enthusiasts and those just looking to tantalize their tastebuds with new culinary delights.

Whether you’re a fan of spicy curries, fresh seafood, or mouth-watering desserts, there is something for everyone on this list. Grab a fork, loosen your belt, and get ready to explore the world’s best cities for food.

What Is Culinary Tourism

Just like you might visit a museum to see famous artwork, many tourists want to visit restaurants to try the local seasonal dishes unique to the area. It’s not always about eating a fancy, luxurious meal; it’s more about eating adventurously and experiencing new cultures through food.

Market Data Forecast reports that culinary tourism is becoming increasingly popular as people seek unique cuisines to enjoy on their trips. The global culinary tourism market was worth $1.136 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $1.796 billion by 2027. According to Le Cordon Bleu, travelers are becoming increasingly focused on regional cuisine as an artistic expression of the area.

Top Ten Culinary Capitals of The World

Asher & Lyric created a Global Foodie Index that grades cities on five metrics important to foodies when picking a city to visit. The metrics are the number of Michelin-starred restaurants, the number of the world’s best restaurants, cities with the most national cuisines, the cost of a meal for two, and the number of restaurants per capita.

Many of these lists concentrate on bigger cities, so they did their best to dig deep to find the local cuisines and represent all areas. Sometimes the lesser-known destinations offer some of the best cuisines. The Michelin star rating tends to favor Asian and European cities, but it is the gold standard for foodie culture and therefore was used as a ranking factor.

Tokyo, Japan

Japan is the leader with three of the best foodie destinations, and Tokyo is top of the list. It boasts 436 Michelin-starred restaurants in Tokyo alone, and travelers can enjoy 120 different types of cuisines.

Tokyo is well known for its Edomae sushi which is bite-sized pieces of fish that are slightly pickled on rice that has been soaked in red vinegar. Edomae refers to Tokyo Bay, where most of the fish came from.

Paris, France

With 423 Michelin-starred restaurants, Paris comes in a close second. If you have ever been to Paris, you know that food is central to its culture. You can’t walk down a Parisian street without being tempted by the smell of fresh pastries and baked baguettes.

Alexandrea Sumuel, from Wander with Alex, says, “The city of Paris proudly flaunts its French culinary heritage with delectable dining options that will satisfy even the most sophisticated bon vivant. Sweet treats like salted butter caramel crepes will make your mouth water, while saucy savory classics such as coq au vin can be relished at hidden gems like La Jacobine.”

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok has a vibrant food scene, from street vendors to high-end restaurants, and is known for its exotic cuisine. Some of the more popular ingredients are fish sauce, chili peppers, lime leaves, shrimp paste, and sour fruits.

If you love Pad Thai in the United States, you must try authentic Pad Thai, as Bangkok is the best place to get this dish. Remember the Mango Sticky Rice for dessert.

New York City, United States

Visitors to New York can enjoy 118 different types of cuisine and choose from 452 Michelin-starred restaurants. The Big Apple has long been a city for culinary travel, and for a good reason, since it is a hub for some of the best foods in the world.

Whether you want to experience a trendy Birria taco from a taco truck or wait to score a reservation at your favorite Italian spot in the Bronx’s Little Italy, the wait can be very long.

Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is Thailand’s second top foodie city, and fantastic food is engrained in its culture. The island provides plenty of fresh fish, seafood, and tropical fruits and vegetables. Here you will find Thai food, Malay food, Chinese food, and even Indian food.

Make sure to catch Mee Hokkien, a delicious fried wheat noodle dish loaded with seafood, pork slices, greens, and a savory broth. Topping it with a just-cooked egg takes it over the top. For dessert, get the Oh Eaw, a twist on shaved ice made from banana starch and kidney beans.

Singapore

Singapore’s food culture is a popular draw for tourists worldwide. Here you can find all types of food, from food stalls, traditional restaurants, and award-winning luxurious eateries to modern fusion spots. There is something for everyone.

Be sure to find some delicious wok-fried dishes like coffee pork ribs or clay pot pork liver. Or you might indulge with an elegant burger made from a combination of black Angus beef neck, ribeye, and wagyu. This is quite a splurge but so worth it!

Osaka, Japan

Osaka has been nicknamed the “Nation’s Kitchen,” and eating is a favorite pastime here. It is less stuffy than other cities in Japan yet still very charming. You can enjoy many annual food and drink festivals here, such as the Tenjin festival and the Aizen summer festival, which all showcase local culinary delicacies.

Make sure you experience the traditional Japanese multi-course meal called Kaiseki. Light dishes, like appetizers, are made with seasonal ingredients and simple seasonings. You can expect soups, noodles, rice, and bite-sized sushi.

Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong’s food reflects its rich heritage with Cantonese, Chinese, and European flavors. Food is heavily reliant on fresh vegetables, fish, and tofu.

Must-try dishes are dim sum, a selection of small plates with a classic such as steamed shrimp dumplings, barbecued pork buns, and Chinese dumplings. Take advantage of the fish balls in a hot curry at street food stalls.

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul has an impressive 171 Michelin-starred restaurants and something to satisfy every taste bud. Korean food relies heavily on fermented foods, so expect to be served kimchi at most meals. Luckily it is healthy and very good for digestion.

If you are a fan of kimchi, be sure to try the kimchi stew called Sundubu Jjigae. This spicy and flavorful soup contains delicious tofu and red chili flakes.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chaing Mai is known for its temples, lush rainforests, and elephant sanctuaries, but the food is not to be missed. The quintessential Thai dish of Khao Soi Khun Yai is made from crispy and soft egg noodles in a curry sauce made from coconut milk.

If you like donuts, be sure to sample the Pa Thong Ko. These Thai donuts are typically sold as street food and eaten for breakfast.

Whether you are a foodie or not, it makes sense to seek out these culinary experiences when you plan your travel. Look for more than just the most exclusive fancy meals; seek out street food and local fare, which is often just as good or better. Who knows, it might change your travel plans altogether.

This article was produced by Seasonal Cravings and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


Karen Kelly is the gluten free food blogger and health coach over at Seasonal Cravings.  She is a busy wife and mother to three teenagers who loves creating gluten free recipes in her kitchen outside of Washington, D.C. She has a wealth of resources on how to manage a gluten free diet.


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