Calling all foodies. If your idea of wanderlust involves eating your way around the world, we’ve rounded up the best countries for gastronomy adventures. From Morocco to Mexico, Europe and SouthEast Asia, these are the culinary journeys worth traveling for.
Foodie Destination: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
San Miguel de Allende has been ranked as one of the world’s #1 cities to visit. With its cute cobblestone streets and Moorish-influenced Spanish colonial architecture, this UNESCO World Heritage site is always worth traveling for. Especially given its thriving food scene where you’ll find restaurants helmed by top chefs and menus featuring the best, fresh local produce.
Expect a delectable mix of international cuisines, from Peruvian through to Thai, and everything in between. When it comes to Mexican food, the offering ranges from amazing street food to high-end restaurants. San Miguel is now home to over 300 restaurants where talented Mexican chefs serve up incredible gastronomy in beautiful settings like rooftop restaurants with epic views, gorgeous courtyard eateries and food trucks you need to experience. Like the famed Tacos San Francisco truck (called Andy’s) in a tree-filled central square, Tacos Don Felix set high on a hill in Independencia, which is one of the city’s legendary eateries started by a family selling tacos from home.
Signature Dishes: Barbacoa Tacos, chilaquiles, enmoladas and gorditas.
Foodie Destination: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Known for its beautiful ancient temples and striking mountainous landscape, Chiang Mai is awash in natural wonders (including Thailand’s tallest mountain Doi Inthanon), home to two different tribal villages, as well as the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary you need to explore.
After numerous visits to this beautiful country filled with dramatic natural landscapes including picturesque beaches and lush jungles, we can confirm a Thai cooking class is the best way to kick off the trip. Northern Thai food draws influence from surrounding countries of Cambodia and Laos. Most of the cooking schools start by taking you to a local market to shop for fresh ingredients from local merchants. It is a great way to learn about the flavors and ingredients you may not already be familiar with. If you are not a fan of spice it is good to know that the food in Northern Thailand tends to be less hot than the food in the south. The beauty of this Northern Thailand hot spot is that you’ll have incredible foodie experiences at every price point. While pad thai is the favorite in southern cities, the must-try food in Chiang Mai is khao soi, a rich, spicy noodle dish with coconut milk. For those with a sweet tooth, you will never get tired of creamy coconut milk sticky rice with freshly sliced mango and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Signature Dishes: Khao Soi, Gaeng Hang Lay, and Sai Oua
Foodie Destination: New York City, USA
Considered to be one of the most culturally diverse, thrilling cities in the U.S New York is an epicenter of exciting experiences and it’s true, is awake 24/7. Stroll through Central Park, visit some of the 83 museums exposing you to art and history (the MET is the fifth largest museum in the world), and dive into the myriad of restaurants and bars that await.
New York’s epic culinary scene is one of the best reasons to visit. If you can dream it you can probably find it here. The list of New York’s best restaurants is too long to mention but our guide to New York City includes many of our absolute favorites. If you’re craving international cuisines, you will find them on your doorstep in NYC. Curious about Egyptian food? Try Casa La Femme. For the best Thai in the city try Ayada Thai in Elmhurst. If you can’t make up your mind, head to the waterfront Time Out Food Market for everything from ramen to Mexican or Italian. Then of course there’s your New York food classics like an NYC bagel, chop cheese, or snag a late-night dollar slice.
Tribe tip: Grab a drink at one of our favorite rooftop bars for some of the most magical views of the city that never sleeps.
Signature Dishes: Dollar Slice, bagel, pastrami on rye, and Black & White cookies
Foodie Destination: Buenos Aires, Argentina
When we think of Argentina, we think of a vibrant culture that exposed us to the tango, cinematic masterpieces, breathtaking landscapes, and a menu of globally recognized dishes (and of course Malbec). Plus, Buenos Aires (Argentina’s capital) is on another level of its own and a must-visit with its world-class museums, hip restaurants, and a broad range of architecture.
Argentine cuisine is a melting pot of flavors. Patagonia, home to mountains and icebergs, is where seafood, lamb, fruit, and chocolate are produced. But ask any Argentinian and they’ll claim to be the masters of the best steaks in the world. So naturally, visiting a traditional parrilla steakhouse in Argentina to taste their famed Asado (barbecue) with chimichurri is high on any foodie traveler’s bucket list. Plus, Argentine cattle are grass-fed, giving you a more delectable and easier digestive experience. You can’t leave Argentina without eating Asado but there is more to the menu than steak. Insert provoleta, a soft block of sharp, pungent cheese baked and served in a cast-iron skillet to caramelize the edges that are typically served with olives, bread, and chorizo. And be sure to visit a Buenos Aires bakery to sample some of their classics like alfajores, two biscuits held together by a thick layer of dulce de leche, or endless varieties of empanadas like spicy meat, cheese, and onion or sweet cream corn.
Signature Dishes: Asado, tamales, empanadas, choripán, and Locro
Foodie Destination: Delhi, India
The political center of India, Delhi is a commercial, transport, and cultural hub with a multitude of forts and monuments, including India Gate, and one of the oldest neighborhoods in India, chandni chowk.
The vibrant streets of this magical city are bursting with flavorful items. There is great debate over who holds the title of the best culinary destination in India. However, Delhi consistently wins for both its street food and quaint cafes. Before doing anything else, get yourself a delicious masala chai, a milky, heavily spiced black tea that is popular throughout the country. After your chai, you’ll be flooded with choices on where to go and what to try. Some of the most popular Delhi street foods are aloo chaat, jalebis, chole kulche, and parantha but really the list goes on and on. There are many common misconceptions when it comes to tasting street food in Delhi. Our biggest tips are to eat from places that are busy and join a Delhi Food Tour.
Signature Dishes: Aloo Tikki chaat, parathas, butter chicken, kebabs, and Chole Bhature
Foodie Destination: Santorini, Greece
Greece, one of the most popular travel destinations, especially after this summer when Instagram was filled with social media-worthy snapshots. Travelers flock to Santorini for its amazing views of the Aegean sea and stunning sunsets that line the sky with brilliant oranges, pinks, and purples. Find whitewashed villages set atop rugged cliffs and tons of local restaurants for indulging in signature cuisines.
The most popular wine region in Greece may also be home to its very best food. Greek food has an elegant simplicity all its own. Dishes are created to highlight seasonal local ingredients like fava beans, white eggplant, and tomatoes. While Greek food is consistently considered some of the healthiest in the world, there are still dishes of pure indulgence. A personal favorite is a saganaki or fried cheese wrapped in phyllo dough topped with honey. The food is truly as beautiful as the surroundings. Even just simply enjoying a midday greek salad on the beach or grabbing a gyro from a street stall will leave you pleased with your decision.
Signature Dishes: Saganaki, Fava me Koukia, Tomato Keftedes, and Apochti
Foodie Destination: San Sebastian, Spain
Famed for its beaches, quaint Old Town, and impressive landmarks and cathedrals, San Sebastian offers cultural events and has a clear character. To find the best local eateries, markets, and shops, Old Town is our go-to (and the most popular district in the city).
This small seaside Spanish city may very well be the best culinary destination in Europe. With more Michelin stars per square mile than any other city in Europe, San Sebastian is known for gastronomy innovation. The stunning seaside location provides abundant access to fresh seafood and all appear in their signature dishes from shrimp and salt cod to squid and sea urchin. There is an undeniable buzz around food here. Much of that comes from its favorite style of dining, the pintxo. Pintxos are bite-sized delicacies often served on a skewer. Here you are encouraged to spend an evening bouncing from one restaurant to another trying just a pintxo or two at each. If you are new to Spanish food we highly recommend joining a pintxo tour which will help you through the experience. Lastly, don’t forget to try some of the amazing ciders.
Signature Dishes: Txuleta, Anchoas, Alubias de Tolosa, and Pastel Vasco
Foodie Destination: Hanoi, Vietnam
A vibrant nightlife, artisans, ancient pagodas, and an excellent city for exploring on foot, Hanoi is a French-colonial city located along the banks of Vietnam’s Red River. There are endless activities within the city center, but when looking to explore the countryside, you only had to take a short drive to find lush parks, gorgeous mountains, and traditional villages. We highly recommend visiting the iconic Ha Long Bay.
With motorbikes whizzing about just getting to dinner can feel like an adventure in Vietnam’s chaotic capital. While Hanoi is not known for its friendliness towards pedestrians it is known for its culinary scene. Tiny plastic chairs spill out over the streets as each block is packed with restaurants and cafes. The savory broth and freshly made rice noodles in Pho make it an absolute favorite. Everyone has their favorite kind and of course favorite place to eat it. Talk to locals and you’ll be shocked how willing they are to share their favorite pho places in Hanoi with you. While pho is delicious my favorite is bun cha a spiced pork and noodle dish that comes with loads of sides. Fun fact, bun cha is the dish Anthony Bordain and Barack Obama shared at Hu’o’ng Lien during their visit to Hanoi.
Signature Dishes: Bun Cha, Cha Ca, Pho Bo, and Xoi Xeo
Foodie Destination: Bologna, Italy
Narrowing down the best destination for foodies in Italy is difficult. When the topic of food travel comes up everyone flirts with the idea of visiting vineyards and eating slices of pizza on cobblestone streets. While there is much stiff competition, we think Bologna is the best destination for foodies in Italy. If it’s wine you’re after, visit Tuscany if it’s primarily the views heard to the Amalfi Coast but if it’s to eat, Bologna is the place.
Located in Northeastern Italy, Bologna is at times overlooked. What you’ll find makes the city special for visitors is the vast opportunity for food experiences. Yes, you will find the Michelin star restaurants like I Portici but you will also have the opportunity to tour a parmesan factory or take a pasta-making class. The one thing you can not leave without doing is visiting the historic Mercato di Mezzo. Browsing the streets flooded with freshest ingredients is equal parts history lesson and inspiration.
Signature Dishes: Tagliatelle al Ragù Bolognese, Mortadella, and Lasagna Verde al Forno
Foodie Destination: Tangier, Morocco
Tangier, Morocco’s most-loved port city is home to the Grand Mosquée and has a rich history with dizzying streets made for meandering. Located on the Atlantic Ocean it’s so close to the Spanish border, you can see Spain from the beach and easily board a fast ferry to enjoy lunch on a different continent.
In Tangier, Morocco’s best foodie destination if you ask us, lunch is the biggest and most ceremonial meal of the day. Expect to indulge in a series of courses accompanied by dips, fresh bread, and olives. The main dish is usually tagine, a traditional meat or seafood stew served in a ceramic pot accompanied by veggies and best enjoyed by scooping it up in khubz bread. The pot is what helps bring this signature dish to life, sealing in moisture and unearthing its delicious flavors.
Signature Dishes: Couscous, Tajines, Harira, Brouchettes, and Pastilla