By Nidhi Sinha:
You know you are a foodie when food placates the appetite of not just your belly, but also your senses. The foodie seeks that which is tantalizing to the taste buds and does not hesitate to experiment. This culinary curiosity is what leads him to travel; with each new place comes a food territory to discover and explore — in short, a food lover’s paradise.
You might be an avid culinary explorer, but there is always that one dish, just the name of which makes your mouth water, or that one cuisine you can never be disenchanted of. Favourites are our safe place, but they should not kill the zeal to explore. And surely, there is nothing better than eating a dish in the place where it was invented.
With that in mind, here are the top 10 food havens from around the world that should be on your culinary checklist.
1) Paris, France
In France, food is an art form. The city offers the most exquisite quality of fine dining with restaurants like L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon or Pierre Gagnaire, and dessert spots like Pierre Herme or Laduree. But that far from covers the culinary scene in the city — it would be incomplete without the neighbourhood cafes and their crusty croissants. From top Michelin star restaurants to casual bakeries, Paris has it good and has it all.
2) Naples, Italy
With pizza shops around the corner in most parts of the world, customization of the delicious Italian dish has been unavoidable. This is what makes Naples, the place of origin of pizza, indispensable to this list. The authentic pizza is a must have, along with other specialties such as gelato, zeppole donuts, and Moka-pot coffee.
3) Oaxaca, Mexico
Dig deep into the heart of Mexico to Oaxaca, known as the country’s culinary capital. Dozens of ingredients go into making complex sauces and dishes like mole. Add to that street foods like crispy corn tortillas and spiced drinking chocolate. Mexican food is apt for those with a penchant for spicy food and surely those who wish to experiment!
4) Barcelona, Spain
This beautiful coastal city flaunts mouth-watering seafood cooked to perfection. Apart from that, there are the ever-popular tapas, and one can always count on lively late night pubs. Specialties include Spanish wine and Spanish olives. Other dishes like paella and tortillas are prevalent in Barcelona, although both dishes are traditionally more famous in other cities of Spain.
5) Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is the unmatchable sushi centre of Japan; brownie points to the biggest and most renowned fish markets in site, which make for the freshest sushi ever. With the population density of sushi experts in the city, the dish is a guaranteed recipe for success. Ramen noodles, udon noodles and tempura are other popular foods of the city and definite must haves.
Singapore is one of the food centres of the world, heavily influenced by the rest of South Asia and South East Asia. Traditional Asian dishes like noodles, skewered meats, and seafood get spiced up into dishes like spicy laksa noodles, satay barbeque meat sticks, and best of all — chili crab. Hawker food stalls cater to locals with curries, rotis, and desserts made with ice, fruit, and syrups.
7) New York
The ‘Big Apple’ has a sprawling culinary scene that is the site of fierce competition among several world famous restaurants. America is the home of fast food, or junk food, and NYC offers the most prolific variety of the same, with bountiful take away places and fast food chains. Hot dog is the most famous street food, but don’t be surprised if you find samosa stalls somewhere near a hot dog stand. The city harbours Michelin star restaurants that serve cuisines from around the globe.
8) London, UK
Although the food in England was the butt of jokes for a very long time, the culinary scene in the city has been receiving much acclaim in recent years. In fact, numerous celebrity chefs call London home. Take for example, Gordon Ramsey, the host of ‘Hell’s Kitchen’. The traditional British fare is certainly available, but many of these chefs have taken these staples and added a modern flair to them. In addition, excellent variations of international cuisine are readily available, and there are certainly plenty of pubs in which to find the perfect pint.
Bombay boasts of the most colourful culinary scene in India. Wildly popular street food such as batata vada, bhel puri and the innovative ‘Bombay sandwich’ are delicacies that won’t be heavy on your pocket! For fine dining, you have perfectly cooked crabs and other seafood, fresh out of the ocean.
10) Montreal, Canada
The culinary scene in Montreal is a unique blend of local and international. It is the home of poutine, a combination of French fries, cheese and sauce, a dish that has gained local and international platform. French influence is abundant in the country and inevitably influences food. Thus dark chocolate and gelato are at their best. The city also boasts of bagels better than New York’s; they are smaller and sweeter than the New York ones.
With this list in hand, you are fully equipped to begin your culinary voyage across the globe. And when in doubt, follow your stomach!