For some travelers, a vacation is centered around sightseeing. For others, the most important aspect of traveling might be experiencing local culture, shopping, or enjoying local nightlife.
For many experienced globetrotters, the biggest attraction in any vacation destination is the food. The highlights of a food-centered vacation might include wandering aimlessly through local markets, tasting street food, or spending time working through a menu at one of the destination’s best restaurants. It is possible for intrepid travelers to literally eat their way around the world; circling the globe and stopping for a few days in each the world’s greatest culinary cities.
What cities would be included on this type of food-lover’s ’round-the-world dream vacation?
Spain is one of the best countries for eating in Europe, and Barcelona is one of the best places to eat in all of Spain. Some people estimate that there are more than 10,000 restaurants within the city’s limits. Fresh, healthy Mediterranean cuisine can be found everywhere in Barcelona, though other international cooking styles are also on the menu. Like elsewhere in Spain, eating is a day-long activity in Barcelona. Huge lunches are eaten at 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. This is followed by tapas (light eating and drinking in the early evening) and then a nighttime meal at around 9:00 or 10:00 pm.
Tokyo has always been a great place to get sushi, ramen, and other Japanese favorites. But, in recent years, it has really become a world-class culinary destination. The famous Michelin guide has rewarded Tokyo restaurants with more stars than almost any other city in the world. This is actually not surprising when you consider that this city has a huge array of eateries serving cuisine that puts a premium on freshness, taste, and attention to detail. If you love to eat, Tokyo has to be high on your to-visit list.
For Romans, cooking and eating are art forms. Rome is a tourist city that has its share of large, impersonal restaurants, but there are many local cafes and trattorias (small, neighborhood eateries) that cater to local tastes with hand-made pastas and breads, impossibly fresh seasonal ingredients, and cooking methods that have stood the test of time. Rome is the best place to try authentic versions of some of the world’s most popular dishes.
If you take pleasure in sampling diverse cooking styles, Singapore might become your favorite destination in the entire world. The city-state’s status as a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, and Indian culture is displayed in its cuisine. Traditional dishes from each culture are widely available, and enjoyed by all Singaporeans, regardless of race. Only-in-Singapore dishes, which mix all the cooking styles together, are also served city-wide. This place has its share of fine restaurants, but the real magic happens in “Hawker Centers,” which are food courts where individual vendors sell their single-dish specialties to hungry locals and tourists alike.
Melbourne is an international city with a deep sense of culture. Visitors can, quite literally, try food from anywhere in the world on the streets of Australia’s second largest metropolis. From Chinese to Greek to Lebanese to Kenyan, Melbourne offers it all. High end Australian and fusion restaurants are what truly make Melbourne a treat to eat in. Some of the continent’s best chefs are plying their trade in Melbourne kitchens, dishing up newsworthy plates that will have foodies thinking excitedly about a return trip.
Argentina’s capital city is a great place to eat. This cosmopolitan town has more than its share of cutting edge eateries with forward-thinking chefs serving up exciting dishes. However, the city’s real magic is in its meats. Argentina is a meat-lover’s country, and B.A. boasts an endless array of sausages, nicely-spiced cuts of beef, and aromatic slabs of meat cooked over a traditional barbecues. Small restaurants serving this type of food are found all over the city.
French cuisine has traditionally been labeled as one of the world’s best. Though some hardcore food-lovers prefer the fresher ingredients of rural France, Paris can still be a wonderful place to eat. The city’s cafes, bistros and neighborhood eateries deliver up great cuisine, from French favorites to more modern dishes. People might be surprised to find that much of the stereotype of French culinary arrogance is completely absent from these welcoming small restaurants and cafes. Another stereotype is very evident at these eateries: Parisians appreciate good food and take great joy in eating the best that their city’s kitchens have to offer.