Signs you may be a bonafide food lover:
- You get giddy at the thought of all the amazing food you're about to eat
- You love seeing the different cuisines of various cultures
- You eat a lot
If any or all of the above apply to you, then guess what? You're probably a food lover.
I happen to know I am a food lover, aka "foodie," and I also happen to be a travel addict. So, when you combine the two, it begs the question, what are some great cities for foodies? Where can we go and just eat all the food? Well, I have a few places in mind. Here are 10 cities I think are a must for food lovers.
Cape Town, South Africa
I did not have one bad meal during my time in South Africa. Not one. But Cape Town, in particular, is where my foodie experience was overall the best. You have casual eats like Neighbourgoods Market to more upscale dining like The Test Kitchen and everything in between. My favorites: The Codfather and my amaaazing cooking class with Zainie Misbach.
I don't know if it's disloyal to say this, considering I'm a longtime New York City resident, but Chicago is easily one of the best food cities I've ever been to. Easily. Yes, you have the classic deep dish pizza but you also have so much other fantastic food. In particular, I LOVE Girl & The Goat. Seriously, go here, eat everything and then let me know how you liked it.
Singapore is the city state where street food is your best friend. There are so many hawker centres to choose from, and they're full of so much good food. When I was there, I visited the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre and Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre – both so good! You also have your high end dining options as well, but my preference is to keep it simple and casual, head to a hawker centre and chow down.
Several studies have shown a Mediterranean diet helps you live longer and healthier. Well, what better way to get your Mediterranean food fix than on a beautiful Greek island? Santorini not only has unreal, 360-degree views, it also has fresh, heart-healthy and delicious food like Greek salads, feta cheese, gyros, fish, tomatoes and all the olive oil your EVOO-loving heart desires. My favorite places in Santorini are Taverna Katina and Skala.
New York, New York
The city so nice they named it twice is also one of the food meccas of the world. And though it can be an expensive city, New York can also be a really cheap one. My favorite meals have ranged from the dirt cheap (but delicious) to the pricey (still delicious) and everything in between. And while I have great meals all over the city, I'm particularly fond of my borough Queens, which has the best food of all! Head to Astoria for Greek, Jackson Heights for South Asian, Flushing for East Asian and Jamaica for Caribbean, and you're all set.
I probably write about Lisbon in every other blog post, but I'm obsessed so we're all going to have to deal with it. One of the reasons I'm obsessed is because of Lisbon's food. I probably would love all of Portugal's food but I haven't ventured out of Lisbon so I can't say that with any certainty. What I can say is that anyone who considers themselves foodies or who has a deep love of seafood should visit Lisbon. And when you go, head to Cervejaria Ramiro and the Time Out Market.
London, United Kingdom
I recently wrote about my last visit to London and all the food I ate while there, so I think it's probably obvious I hold London in high regard when it comes to the restaurant scene. It's not a place of bad British food but actually amazing food of all kinds. My forever favorite is the toasted cheese sandwich from Borough Market, and a recent addition to my favorites list is The Grenadier in Belgravia. Go there, eat and be merry.
In addition to being one of my favorite cities in the world, Hong Kong is the perfect place for the hungry traveler. You've got so many food options, you will end up overwhelmed in the best way possible. During my first visit, I arrived on a Wednesday night extremely hungry and had no idea where to go, so I followed the crowd to a local spot, Man Fai, for some shrimp wontons and noodles. I loved this place so much, I returned during my second visit to Hong Kong four years later. Another favorite: Yardbird and the already well known Tim Ho Wan.
I realize Trinidad is an island nation, not a city. But it's an island with some damn good food, so on this list it must go. The kind of food that makes you giddy with happiness. When I went to Trinidad to visit my friend who lives there, I told her to just take me around and give me good food — and she delivered. After days of roti, doubles, shark and bake, pholourie and so much more, I was stuffed but so giddy. There's no happy like a food happy.
Okay, so this is a premature inclusion because I've never actually been to Tokyo, but I will be going there later this year and I'm a foodie, so I felt like it was appropriate to include. Also, I know of numerous food lovers who've been and had their fill of sushi, sashimi, noodles, rice, okinomiyaki and many other Japanese dishes, and they loved it. I have a feeling I will love it. I have to. I eat Japanese food at least once a week, so I'm bound to love it, right? Fingers crossed.
As a food lover, I fully realize there are MANY other great places around the world to get amazing food. If I could make my list endless, I probably would. I think about the food I've eaten in Morocco, France, Spain, Italy, Malta, Jamaica, the Philippines and elsewhere, and I know there is good food to be found pretty much everywhere. That's the beauty of traveling and discovering different cuisines — you're bound to be blown away by a culinary moment, either when you expect it or when you least expect it. This list is just a start, a very tasty start.
What are your favorite food cities?