With Eaten experts now operating in over 116 countries, there are a wealth of international dishes to marvel at on the world’s most innovative foodie app - but what about when you want to explore what’s on offer first hand? I’ve come up with a selection of some of the best cities to head to for the ultimate foodie feast.
Let’s start with a cuisine that most of us are familiar with. Mexican food can be found all over the world, but in order to truly experience this simple yet flavoursome cuisine, you really should head to the capital, Mexico City.
Wake yourself up with a breakfast plate of shimmering-yolked huevos divorciados (literally ‘divorced eggs’) or grab some tacos al pastor for a light lunch. Traditional Mexican food is often plainer and less extravagant than its Tex-Mex cousin but it’s this simplicity that makes the food so damn good.
Can’t decide on one dish? Head to Coyoacán Market to sample a range of fresh produce and drinks, including café de olla (traditional clay pot coffee) and tlacoyos (bean-stuffed patties).
For grumbling bellies, content yourself with a giant sandwich known as a torta - and if you’re feeling brave, wash it down with a shot of Mexico’s most popular spirit after Tequila, Mezcal. Definitely not one for the faint-hearted.
Although the UK in general isn’t necessarily known for its culinary prowess, London, on the other hand, is a city in which you’ll never go hungry. I’m yet to visit anywhere with more culinary diversity than our capital.
Whether you’re looking for dim sum in Chinatown, a traditional Sunday pub lunch, or taking in the incredible aromas of the Turkish grill wafting down Green Lanes, you’ll find food from anywhere and everywhere.
One of the best ways to experience this diverse cuisine is by visiting one of London’s street food markets. From Camden to Borough Market, Maltby Street to Victoria Park, you’ll find everything from Sri Lankan curries to Venezuelan arepas, crafted carefully by those who know their local food best.
We may not have the best gastronomic reputation out there, but never underestimate London’s food scene.
Kuala Lumpur is an impressive city, with its modern skyline full of glitzy high-rise buildings. It’s lucky then, that the food is equally as exciting.
For an absolute street food feast, you must visit the pedestrianised street Jalan Aloor, home to some fantastic, yet unassuming hawker stalls and restaurants. Huge pans holding brightly-coloured dumplings and incredible fresh seafood line the streets. Grab a bite on the go, or sit down to eat at one of the casual-dining plastic tables nearby.
One dish that really shouldn’t be missed is Laksa, a rich and creamy curried noodle soup flavoured with coconut milk and spices. You’ll find this broth with a range of toppings such as shredded chicken, tofu, shrimp and bean sprouts. Petaling Street – KL’s very own Chinatown - is a great place to get your hands on it, along with other dishes such as Hokkien Mee (noodles) and Ikan Bakar (grilled fish)
The Basque Country is a part of Northern Spain that often loses out on publicity to the likes of Barcelona, the Costa del sol and Valencia, but it boasts an underappreciated culinary scene.
We’ve all heard of tapas, but what about pintxos? Pintxos are a signature of Basque cuisine – basically still tapas, but the original idea being that these finger foods would come as a small slice of bread topped with meat, fish or veg, and a toothpick through the middle holding it all together. Nowadays, pintxos encompass more than just this simple dish but you can still find them in bars all over the Basque country.
San Sebastián is the place to go for the full-on pintxos experience. Hop from bar to bar savouring every slice of heaven you can get your hands on. You’ll find them piled high on bar counters, and common toppings and dishes include white asparagus, various types of fish, cheese and morcilla, or black pudding.
Portugal is a place that often gets lumped together with Spain. But it shouldn’t do. From the people, to the scenery, to the food on offer, they both have their own unique selling points.
Lisbon should be your go-to place for all thing seafood. Fish stews and fresh clams are just a couple of the highlights, and to sample a few dishes in a chilled location, visiting the Time Out food market is a must. There, either stick to what you know, or opt for more adventurous choices such as octopus hot dogs!
Of course the famous Pasteis de nata, or custard tarts, also deserve a mention. Hailing from Belém, a western district of Lisbon, these eggy tarts should be slightly crispy on the outside, with a thick custard centre and a blistered top. Best enjoyed cold, there’s nowhere better in the world to try them.
Think of Argentina, and one thing springs to mind - no, not Argentine Tango – but steak. Gaucho (loosely-translated as ‘cowboy’) culture means that cattle-rearing has always been a significant part of the country’s story and so it really is the best place to tuck into a juicy hunk of meat.
The meat is typically cooked on a parilla, or cast-iron grill, where patience and slow-cooking are key. There are a huge number of parilla restaurants in Buenos Aires that offer life-changing steaks, or if you’re up for sharing, an asado – a mixed grill of steaks and other cuts of meat including sausages. Palermo is a trendy and popular neighbourhood that, if you don’t mind it being pretty touristy, has a large number of great steak restaurants.
Once you’re all steaked out, try traditional empanadas, or grab a choripán (chorizo sausage in a finger roll) from any number of street stalls. Finally, for a sweet treat on the go, indulge in some alfajores (soft, sandwich cookies, often with chocolate or dulce de leche filling).
Our ideas about food in the US are often reduced to supersized portions of uninspiring fast-food, but amongst their 50 states are elements of regional cuisine that can’t be found elsewhere. You’ve got bbq brisket beef in Texas, cheesesteaks in Philly, and lobster rolls from Maine, but there’s one city that plays host to a huge number of drool-worthy foods.
Many of those stand-out dishes in New Orleans have Cajun and Creole influences, fusing an eclectic mix of European, African and French-Canadian flavours.
Meat-eaters should grab a muffuletta – a large sesame-crusted sandwich packed with mountains of meat. For a more seafoody sandwich, try the classic po’ boy, this time filled with fried seafood and relish. You’ll find every fishy delight from prawns to oysters, catfish to crab. If you want to go carb-free, try the oysters alone, eating them raw, chargrilled or smothered in buttery sauce.
And you can’t possibly leave town without trying the US’ favourite pastry – the beignet, a crunchy choux pastry with a doughy centre, covered in snowy powdered sugar. Bakeries and cafés in the French Quarter are the best place to find these delicious treats.
Instagram has become a kind of breeding-ground for the aesthetically satisfying bowl-food craze. Maybe it’s a ‘Buddha bowl’, could be a ‘burrito bowl’, or perhaps one of South Korea’s tastiest dishes – bibimbap. Found in restaurants throughout the capital, these neatly divided bowls usually feature beef and sautéed vegetables nestled amongst warm rice and chilli pastes, and topped with a delightfully round egg yolk.
The country is probably most famous, however, for its grilled meats. Upon being seated, you’ll find a charcoal grill in the centre of your table, allowing you to cook your own meat just as you like it. Samgyeopsal, or fatty slices of pork belly, are one of the easiest and most popular meats to get right yourself.
Pescetarians never fear, for Noryangijin Fish Market has you sorted. The largest in the city, you’ll find all manner of fish and seafood, including the weird and wonderful. Lonely Planet highlights the gaebul – ‘a type of sea worm that strikingly resembles a particular part of the male anatomy…’
Moving swiftly on, not to neglect our sweet-toothed friends, you should head to the Jongno-gu district of the city to try out hotteok, a small pancake with a deliciously gooey brown sugar filling. Seoul really does seem to have it all.
Perhaps a bit of a dark horse on this list, Beirut should not be underestimated. Many of the typical foods to be found here have now made their way into restaurants around the world, particularly in the form of meze. Meze is a Middle Eastern version of tapas, ie small plates. Upon your table you’ll find chunks of halloumi, spicy sausages, hummus and aubergine dishes to name but a few. It’s a great way to indulge in a big, sharing feast.
You’ll also find the perfect sweet breakfast to start the day in knafeh. This cheese-based dessert is soaked in a super-sweet syrup and then wrapped in crispy vermicelli-like pastry. Pistachios top it off and it’ll certainly keep you full until lunchtime.
For the best street food around, grab a shish tawook to stave off your hunger. You’ll find yourself with a super garlicky chargrilled chicken shish kebab marinated in various spices and stuffed into a pita. It’s the ideal way to fuel your body after a big night.
A constant hit with international tourists, Bangkok has so much to offer on the food front.
When you’re done lapping up all the green curry you can find, head to W Market global food courtyard. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of this buzzing area with live music and street artists, and the real star of the show – rich, creamy Massaman curry. Typical curry spices are enhanced by the addition of galangal, shrimp paste and tamarind, and coconut cream gives it its smooth, nutty finish.
For a lighter way to satisfy your senses, you’ll want to try the city’s finest salad. Som tum is a green papaya salad with both sweet and salty flavours that packs a fiery punch. With crunchy peanuts, refreshing papaya and shrimps hidden within, you’ll find it from street vendors throughout the city.
And before you leave, be sure to taste the wonders of mango sticky rice. Stodgy, sweetened rice with fresh, juicy mango, this is another dish that you’ll most commonly find at street stalls rather than in restaurants. Find a comfy spot, take a seat and tuck into your new favourite dessert.
And there you have it, our list is complete. This list is by no means definitive – there are an incredible number of food-fantastic cities waiting to be discovered all over the world, however this is a snapshot of some that definitely do not disappoint.
So, whether you’re planning on venturing to the other side of the world, or simply just to the new restaurant at the end of the street, never stop exploring the world of wondrous food that’s out there.
And don’t forget to let your fellow Eaten foodies know exactly how it was!