Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to world cuisine; be it Spanish pinchos or Japanese ramen, we have our pick of the crop. But if you want to sample the real deal in traditional surroundings, these are the countries – and their best dishes – every foodie should have at the top of their travel list.
Ceviche has really taken off in the UK, but if you want to sink your teeth into the dish on the surf-lashed Pacific coast, a trip to Lima is a must. You'll get to sample a variety of local raw fish soaked in zesty lime juice with a hint of chilli and the colourful plates of Peruvian fare will take your breath away. Look forward to exotic Andean lamb with quinoa and avocado, anticuchos – skewers of grilled, marinated meat; alongside Asian fusion dishes including lomo saltado – strips of beef marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, spices and chillies; and tiradito – Peru’s sashimi-style Japanese cousin; all, of course, washed down with a few punchy pisco sours.
From pizzas and pinchos to burgers and bangers, London is awash with all kinds of foodie delights. There’s everything from Michelin star menus to cool street food hangouts and everything in between. If there’s one thing you can guarantee on a trip to London, you will never go hungry. Looking for inspiration? Here’s our ultimate guide to the capital’s hottest eating and drinking spots…
Tel Aviv, Israel
There’s something comforting about tucking into Middle Eastern mezze, and Tel Aviv’s moreish selection of smoky, spice-infused cuisine is some of the best you can get. Food comes sharing style, which makes it all the more fun when you’re dining as a group. Sample everything from pickled chillies, crunchy falafel and spiced houmous to grilled meat shawarma and hearty plates of bubbling shakshuka filled with peppers, tomatoes and baked eggs.
Boasting more Michelin stars than any country in the world, you know you’re in for a treat when dining in Japan. Particularly in Tokyo, where you can take your pick from the freshest sashimi and sushi, crispy tempura, theatrical Teppanyaki, as well as Japanese pancakes, tapas-style titbits and bowls of steaming tonkotsu ramen cooked for hours on end, infused with intense pork broth, soft noodles and finished with a tea-stained egg. A nirvana for food lovers.
The city that put street food on the map. Bangkok’s bustling street markets come with all kinds of wondrous, spicy concoctions. Queue up for punchy Pad Thai, rich massaman curries and fiery Tom Yum soup. Food that cleanses the soul.
From giant pans of paella brimming with fresh seafood to tasty tapas plates of cured meats, Padron peppers and crunchy croquetas, Barcelona is one of the dreamiest cities for long, drawn out dinners. Sink a few sangrias before the main event for an authentic experience.
A cornucopia of wondrous foodie delights, Bologna is known in Italy as “La Grassa”, which means “The Fat One”, as a result of its food, which is considered to be some of the best in the country. Specialities including Bolognese, tortellini, mortadella and ragù all originated here, so look forward to quaint trattorias serving up spaghetti with lashings of Parmesan and street markets teeming with cured meats and smoked cheeses.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is a carnivore’s dream, with thick cuts of succulent sirloin, fillet and T-bone on tap, served up alongside spicy chorizo sausage and bubbling slabs of melted cheese. Paired with their superlative red wine selection, and you’re in for a night of mouth-watering, meaty deliciousness. Be sure to sample some of the street food – the Choripán is a beef and pork sausage sandwiched between two chunks of crusty bread, and their empanadas are to-die-for – savoury pastries traditional to the region and packed with spicy, meaty fillings.
Fresh, zingy and full of flavour, Vietnamese cuisine is a haven for health-conscious foodies. Their Pho is kind on the calories whilst still delivering a heavy hit of Asian flavour. Hanoi’s old centre is one of the best places to sample the sweet, sour and spicy flavours of Vietnam. Local dishes include pho tiu noodles with sweet and sour soup, pork and fish sauce; banh mi baguettes brimming with slow-cooked brisket beef; and com tam with broken rice, grilled pork and egg in a fish sauce.
One of London’s most renowned Indian chef’s Vivek Singh lived and worked in Jaipur in the late nineties, so if you’ve sampled his delectable fare at any of London's Cinnamon joints, you’ll get a taster of Jaipur-inspired cuisine. Traditionally, much of the food is made by chargrilling and barbecuing, so expect lots of smoky meats and fish, served with dense, flavoursome curries. One to try is Laal maaas – a fiery Rajasthani goat curry with garlic, onion and yoghurt.
New York, USA
Just like London, you get the cream of the crop in the Big Apple. From Jewish delis serving fresh bagels with salt beef and pickles to fresh oysters baked with lardons and bubbling cheese. New York’s superlative dining scene is one not to be missed. Here are some of our favourites…
With more Michelin stars than you can wrap your head around, you know you’re in safe hands when it comes to Parisian cuisine. The great thing about Paris is that there’s so much on offer – you’ll be spoilt for choice with an array of decadent French dishes. From crispy confit duck to rustic moules frites, there are cafés, vintage bistros, wine bars and restaurants galore, all with a heavy hit of Parisian style.