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There are many reasons to travel. Some of us travel to take a much needed break, others simply to take a holiday, maybe one is on a business trip. But one thing for sure. While on your journey, you will need to eat. Cuisine is an integral part of any local culture. Not liking the locals eats can be a valid reason not to travel to a destination. As culinary travel is one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry, here are some of my favorite foodie towns to enjoy one of my favorite hobbies, eating.
At the crossroads of civilization. Authentic Turkish food, with lots of eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, grilled kebabs and yogurt sauces. The good-size portions should keep hearty eaters happy, while the hot and cold appetizers, traditionally combined to make a mix of nibbles for the whole table, are a lighter meal alternative. For a quick snack try Döner Dürüm, which is roasted lamb or chicken wrapped with tomatoes, French fries, and hot pickled peppers. Kofte, Turkish meatballs are delicious. Karideş Güveç, Turkish shrimp casserole. The areas of Bayoglu and Kumkapi offer excellent dining options.
Making cerviche a worldwide dish, Peruvian cuisine is the world’s new culinary sensation. The fresh raw fish in lime juice is influenced by the likes of the many countrie's immigrants have also influenced the local cuisine. With a large Japanese and Chinese population. Lima has adopted a combination of produce of Peru, and its own unique food, like, the version of Chinese-Cantonese cuisine called , Chifa. In the last ten years, nouveau Peruvian or its current sophisticated Criollo concept was put on the map by world renowned chefs Astrid & Gaston. The husband and wife team incorporate French concepts with Peruvian flavors using local ingredients. Miraflores, the trendy neighborhood of Lima is packed with excellent dining options.
L.A. is home to more than Hollywood. One the most diverse ethnic populations in the world. With more pockets of immigrant neighborhoods, keeping a true identity. Thai Town, Little Tokyo, Little Armenia, even Little Bangladesh, Little Ethiopia, and of course, Korea Town. Los Angeles boasts the largest Mexican, Korean, Aremenian, Thai, Iranian populations in the U.S. I'm sure I am missing a few others. The best Korean Barbeque, east of Seoul is in Los Angeles. You’ll even find a Jewish deli or two. The “City of Angels” has is also adopted the food truck movement. From Venice, on the coast, to downtown Los Angeles, one can now find street food. Can you say Korean Tacos? Like, its neighbor to the north, San Francisco, any type of food can be found in Los Angeles.
Living in both California and Mexico is a blessing as I get to try Mexican food from both sides of the border. To some Mexico City is a large, hustle, bustle city. But Mexico City is a dream come true, especially if you’re a food lover. Constantly voted as a top food city in the world, I’m torn, is Mexico’s gift to mankind, tequila or tacos. Ok, the correct answer if both. In Mexico you’ll never go hungry. There is enough corn and beans to feed the entire population. Try huarache - a boat-shaped tortilla made with blue corn. The corn is crisp on the outside and doughy within. Carne Asada, grilled flank steak is as good as eating gets. I even eat the chilis. Like Bangkok, Mexico City is another street food paradise. Many times it’s the smaller, less crowded off the map restaurants that have the best food. Carnitas in large copper cauldrons where pork carnitas are bubbling away in their own fat. Mole, the Mexican of all dishes. Again, one of my favorite dishes on the planet. This famous dark, rich and spicy sauce actually contains chocolate, and is best served over chicken. Rich soups like Pozole and Menudo can found throughout Mexico City. Bring your appetite.
It’s amazing how the countries along the Mediterranean view eating as a ritual. In Madrid, as in all of Spain, food is taking very seriously, and is an important part of life. The country that brings us tapas, paella , torta espanola, and some of the best meat in the world, chirizo, jambon de serrano, and even a few parts of the cow and pig that you may or may not agree with your palate. Madrid is a foodies delight. Of course, many Madrilenos like to begin there meal with a bowl of Gazpacho, the cold, vegetable soup that remains a staple of the Spanish diet. Madrid is a late night dining destinations. Meals on weekends can begin at 11pm or later as are most of the countries on the Med.
Do you love pesto like I love pesto? The sauce made of basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Like Greece, Italy gives the world food to die for. The cuisine of Genoa is based on traditional Mediterranean cooking. The Ligurians use very simple ingredients when combined together, create meals fit for a king. Salsa di noci , a walnut sauce goes perfectly with ravioli. Focaccia with olive oil, sometimes filled with cheese. Now who can resist that.
A food-lover's paradise. The presentation alone is worth a try. Perhaps Japanese food is the French cuisine of Asia. In Tokyo, upscale favorites like sashimi and robatayaki rule alongside street food mainstays like Gyudon, a beef and onion mixture served over rice. Sushi is now a worldwide sensation. Uni or Unagi , eel, is one of my favorite foods. Presentation is half the draw of Tokyo dishes. Whether it be simple Soba noodles, or the deadly , Fugu, a fish that if not prepared by a licensed expert chef, can kill you, but prepared properly it is a buttery delicacy. Tokyo is filled with interesting food options. Strolling the Ginza or Shinjuku, you will find simple noodle joints to high end dinning.
I love curry, and I love eating off the street. Chicken skewers in peanut sauce, Tom yum, seafood soups, tasty noddle dishes and more. It seems that on every street there is a top restaurant of a delicious hole in the wall. Few places top Klong Toei market. Bangkok was home to the world’s largest restaurant, depending on who you believe. The Guiness Book of World Records claimed that the Royal Dragon Restaurant at least was the world's largest restaurant. Great views and the largest menu that you will ever see. Thai food has become a global cuisine over the past 15 years.
Ok, I may be biased here being Greek. But Athens is filled with restaurants large and small to satisfy your taste buds. Greek cuisine is known for its Meze, small plates of delectable dishes that are not only one of the tastiest foods around, but also one of the world’s healthiest diets. From Octopus in olive oil, fresh fish right out of the Mediterranean Sea. Lamb dishes, garlic dips, Greek salads, Spanakopita, the Greek spinach pie, Feta cheese, Kalamata olives. Perhaps, it’s the soil, terrain, and sea, but everything tastes good in Greece. Greece invented organic. Succulent lamb on a spit with garlic, slow cooked. Try Ouzo, the local Greek licorice liquor and what would be a trip to Athens without Baklava and “mud like” Greek coffee. There is nothing like a warm summer night in the Plaka, Kolonaki Square, Glyfada and Psiri.
Gallic gastronomic grandeur. Try saying that three fast. We all know that the French are famous foodies. I love Foie Gras, and Duck a L’orange is one of my favorite dishes on the planet. and who else but the French can take something so simple as a grilled cheese sandwich, croque-monsier, croque-madame, and turn it into a gourmet meal. Hearty stews, rich sauces. Just walk the streets of Paris and you will be never be far from tasty treats. Sit at an outdoor cafe, bistro, or patisserie, eat and people watch. The bistros in Paris are easy to find whilst walking around in arguably, the most beautiful city in the world. Sit back with some moule frites or perfectly prepared steak frites, and a glass of your favorite French wine. If you want to splurge a little or lot, on perhaps a once in a lifetime mean, you’re in the right city. From street crepes to Michelan Star, haute cuisine, you'll never go hungry in Paris. Breath in the ambiance. Paris is intoxicating, and that includes the food.
About the Author: Nick Kontis, travel expert and founder of the World Travel List: Nick started out as a world traveler at an early age traveling back and forth between California and Greece every summer. But it was a backpacking trip around the world at age 24 that proved to be a life changing experience. After traveling by car, train, plane, bike and, boat around the world, it would be this trip of a lifetime that would lead to a life as a travel entrepreneur and world traveler. Nick has been on both radio and television. Featured on Arthur Frommer’s television show, and referred by Lonely Planet writers. Frequently mentioned as the “father of around the world airfares.” Arthur Frommer once said, “If Jules Verne were alive today he would use Nick to go around the world in 80 days.” Nick and his various travel companies have sent over 10,000 people taking their dream trip through airfare discounts of as much as 50% off the airlines published fares. Now Nick promotes travel through his World Travel List and ‘Trip Rambler’ by World Travel List. Having traveled to over 80 countries Nick hopes to inspire others to travel the world. 80 countries visited and counting follow Nick's "passion for travel" on the World Travel List