Whether you prefer a fancy, dressed-to-the-nines-required restaurant or a taco stand on the side of the road, there’s never been a better time to be a foodie. From Asheville to Oaxaca to Hong Kong, palates are expanding and chefs are pushing the envelope on dishes, redefining classics and creating new ones. In the process, they’ve become rock stars in their own right and have turned places across the globe into must-visit destinations. Here are 10 spots worth the trip.
Asheville, North Carolina
Tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains, this small city has a dining scene that rivals that of major metropolises around the world. Surrounded by farms, you’ll find a plethora of craft breweries and restaurants taking advantage of Asheville’s location. Head to Wicked Weed Brewing and sample their selection of sour beers before chowing on classic barbecue at 12 Bones Smokehouse.
At just 300 square miles Singapore is easy to see in a few days, but the city-state is one you’ll want to return to over and over again for the food. The city’s open-air markets, called Hawker Food Stall Centers, are famous for inexpensive dishes created from recipes passed down generations, and in recent years Singapore has gotten into the craft cocktail scene. The hidden bar 28 Hong Kong Street is one cocktail lovers will not want to miss.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Yes, there’s steak and malbec in Buenos Aires. Yes, you should definitely have both, but there’s much much more to this cosmopolitan city. Start your days at one of the city’s many cafes and you’ll be treated be some of the best coffee and culture in the world. Café Tortoni, the oldest café shop in Buenos Aires, dates back to the 1800s. From there the city is truly your oyster. Buenos Aires’s European and Latin American influence means you’ll find twists on everything from empanadas to pasta to pizza, but if you only have 24-hours in the city make sure you attend a backyard barbeque.
Bangkok is serious about its street food. It basically invented it. Head to Yaowarat road and wander up and down the stalls until something smells so tasty you have to try it, or if you’re not feeling super adventurous, sign up for one of the many food street tours and have a local give you the insider tips on where to eat.
Driving through Emilia-Romagna it would be easy to think you’re in a fairy tale. Rolling hills flatten to vast fields dotted with farms. This is the birthplace of fettuccine, tortellini, Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto, and so much more incredible food. For a truly magical experience spend at least part of your trip on a farm-stay where you’ll see and taste first-hand how some of your favorite Italian food is made.
Slightly off the beaten tourist path, the little fishing town of Dingle is not only charming but full of amazing eats. Here farm-to-table has never been a trend, it’s always been a way of life. Those with a sweet tooth will want to visit Murphy’s, where all the ice cream is made by hand, while whiskey lovers will want to find a local pub, of which there are many, serving Dingle whiskey. It’s virtually impossible to have a bad meal here.
Hong Kong, China
No list of world foodie destinations would be complete without Hong Kong. Here, dining out, whether at a fancy restaurant or food stall, is an art form. For breakfast, one of the most traditional meals is rice porridge and oil-fried bread sticks. For both lunch and dinner you’ll find every type of dish you could want in Hong Kong but don’t leave without having dim sum, sweet and sour pork, wonton noodles, and of course visiting a traditional tea house.
New York, New York
Come hungry to the city that never sleeps. From famous spots like April Bloomfield’s The Spotted Pig to hidden gems like the Upper East Side’s Uva, which has a backyard garden that will make you feel like you’ve hopped a plane to Italy, to the thousands of food carts, there is a dish or two or more of whatever you’re craving in New York City. Pro Tips: make reservations well in advance at the spots you have to try and head to Smorgasburg to sample the best dishes from the city’s food artisans in one place.
If Mexican cuisine ranks as some of your favorite you need to visit Oaxaca, but once you do you’ll never want to leave. Chiles, chocolate, and tomatoes have been growing here for centuries, and the southern Mexico state has perfected dishes with them. Start your day with champurrado, the Mexican version of hot chocolate. Snack on garnachas, bite-size corn tortillas fried and topped with slow-stewed shredded meat, salsa, queso fresco, and fresh vegetables and indulge on tamales and enchiladas in various mole sauces.
Think Seattle and you’re probably thinking rain and coffee, and while the Pacific Northwest city has a lot of both, it’s also full of chefs and mixologists creating inventive menus. Spend a leisurely day strolling around Pike Place Market (snap a pic at the original Starbucks store and watch the guys throwing fish) before heading to Foreign National for cocktails and apps followed by dinner at Elliott’s Oyster House which has some of the best seafood in the city and a spectacular view of the bay.