IF you’re anything like me, part of the joy of travel is experiencing the food of other cultures.
I’ll never forget touring Japan with a busload of Singaporeans — every single restaurant on the itinerary was Chinese. I kept wanting to wail “why???” But it wouldn’t have done me any good, as the tour guide only spoke Cantonese.
The food and travel website Thrillist has released its guide to The World’s 18 Best Food cities. The criteria: “uniqueness of traditional food/drink style, quality of restaurants/bars, diversity of cuisines, and also, for the most part, a feeling that it is changing and improving.”
1. Bordeaux, France
Must-try: duck confit at La Tupina; entrecote at Brasserie Bordelaise; fresh seafood at Bistro Le Petit Commerce; and the oyster and sausage plate at Chez Phillipe.
2. Bologna, Italy
Must try: pasta at All’Osteria Bottega; mortadella and fresh cheeses in Mercato di Mezzo.
3. Mumbai, India
Must-try: the street chaat foods, like pani or bhelpuri; a mutton Frankie at Tibbs Frankie.
4. London, England
Must-try: Meat Fruit at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal; steak at Hawksmoor; any protein at St John; lunch at Borough Market; a tasting menu from Gordon Ramsay.
5. New York, United States
Must-try: a slice of pizza on the street; a Reuben at a Jewish deli.
6. Marrakesh, Morocco
Must try: good khobz; roast lamb Mechoui style; cod tagine at Bô-Zin.
7. Cartagena, Colombia
Must try: fritos; oysters and cholados on the beach; ceviche at the Malagana Cafe in Getsemani.
8. Istanbul, Turkey
Must-try: a sebzeli kebab at Zubeyir; baklava from Diyar Burma; a meal at Ciya Sofrasi.
9. Tokyo, Japan
Must-try: sushi at Tsukiji fish market; tsukemen (dipping noodles) at Rokurinsha
10. Barcelona, Spain
Must-try: Dos Palillos, which blends tapas with Asian influences; jamón Ibérica at La Boqueria; former elBulli wunderkinds’ Ferran and Alberto Adrià’s new ventures, Tickets and Bodega 1900.
11. Hong Kong, China
Must try: steamed flower crab at The Chairman; BBQ pork buns at Island Tang or Tim Ho Wan;
12. Copenhagen, Denmark
Must-try: smørrebrød from Aamanns; Døp’s hot dogs; Noma.
13. Montreal, Canada
Must try: dinner at Au Pied de Cochon; a bagel from St-Viateur or Fairmount; Schwartz’s Special at Schwartz’s Deli.
14. New Orleans, United States
Must-try: a po’boy at Domilise’s; a Sazerac at the Sazerac Bar; lunch at Galatoire’s.
15. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Must-try: parillas at Don Julio; empanadas at Peron Peron; choripan sandwiches from a street stall.
16. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Must-try: a breakfast banh mi with fried egg; bun that nuong; soft-shelled crab at Cųc Gąch Quán in District 1.
17. Melbourne, Australia
Must-try: Wagyu beef tartars at MoVida; chilli baked mussels at Cumulus.
18. Penang, Malaysia
Must-try: Ong Cheng Huat Seafood’s garlic steamed red snapper; “hawker foods” such as pan mee or assam laksa.