Eat up! From dim sum to gnocchi your taste buds will love you!
Mamma mia! Choosing just ten of the world's best cities for foodies was no picnic. In the process, we let our tastebuds wander the globe in search of sustenance. Our definitive list finds cities chosen for their unique dishes – if you hanker for snake, head to Hanoi – others for their celebrity chefs – witness Las Vegas and New York – and still others for creating dishes known the world over – we have Brussels to thank for mussels and fries and Tokyo for superlative sushi and sashimi. Of course, France and Italy are renowned for their local cuisine, so you'll find two stellar cities worth visiting here to sate your appetites; Barcelona, however, gets a nod for its winning combination of design and dining; and Vancouver and San Francisco are recognized for their seafood and stellar Chinese cuisine. Bon appetit – wherever your foodie cravings take you!
As the only city outside of France to have been awarded the prestigious Gourmande award, Barcelona, with its 10,000+ restaurants and nine Michelin stars, is undoubtedly the Mediterranean’s culinary capital. Centered on a Mediterranean diet of olive oil and fresh seafood, the distinctive traditional Catalan cuisine is what truly sets this Spanish city apart, with hearty dishes showcasing an interesting mélange of locally produced, seasonal ingredients.
You can’t go wrong with a frosty mug of Belgian beer and a large plate of frites (or fries, as we call them). But Brussels’ cuisine, influenced by French fare and thought by many to surpass it, offers a gastronomic potpourri for your taste buds, boasting such traditional staples as moules frites (mussels and fries), stoemp (a dish combining rabbit or veal with mashed potatoes and root vegetables), waterzooi (a fish or meat stew), and, lest we not forget, sweet-tooth favorites like fluffy Belgium waffles and exquisite chocolates (Pierre Marcolini Chocolatier wins best in show for its rich and creamy decadence).
If you like your noodles, you’ll fit right in with the noodle-crazed populace in Hanoi. Whether eaten wet or dry, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, noodles infused with the freshest herbs, spices, vegetables, fish, or meat, make up a large part of the Vietnamese diet. Despite this standard staple, you’ll also find more unusual delicacies like dog or snake (considered a male aphrodisiac) paired with lots of alcohol. For an interesting night, you can head to Le Mat (known as “snake village”), to the East of Hanoi, for a seven-course snake meal, including fried snake skin, snake spring rolls, snake soup, and minced snake dumpling – all served with plenty of whiskey.
4) Las Vegas
While Mother Nature originally envisioned vultures circling for scraps in the desert wilds of Nevada, the fantasyland of Las Vegas introduced new feeding ground – and new appetites to boot. In Sin City, where visitors’ whims and wants seemingly have no limit, there is, fittingly, a dish for every wish – be it dining à la française under the Eiffel Tower (at Paris Las Vegas) or savoring alfresco Italian dishes near the waterways of Venice (at The Venetian). Long known for its cheap (if somewhat lacking in the flavor factor) buffets (think $9.99 all you can eat surf-and-turf), Sin City has evolved in recent years to become one of the world’s hottest restaurant cities.
France and great food inherently go hand and hand, but nowhere is the country’s rich cuisine manifested more profoundly than in Lyon, its third-largest city. Situated in the southeast, at the crossroads of the Rhône and Saône rivers, Lyonnais palate-pleasers – think succulent Lyon sausage, Bresse poultry, and tripe – leave even the most hard-to-please gourmands satisfied. It is certain that nobody misses a meal here – the Lyonnais’ love of good food and wine and the region’s rich culinary resources have spilled over into a seemingly unending stream of bouchons (bistros) and restaurants decorated with Michelin stars. Should you choose to be your own chef, strolling one of the city’s 40+ daily markets will also allow you to pick up the region’s freshest produce and make your own repast.
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