Thursday, February 24, 2011

Foodie vacations -- a dream list of destinations

Where do (healthy) foodies like to vacation? Places where the food is exceptional, of course. Luckily there are many wonderful destinations to choose from.

A reader sent a link to an article about top foodie vacation destinations from his site, best colleges online. Here's his list, of which I've tried only a few but among the ones I have been lucky enough to experience, Paris, New York City, Chicago and Tuscany (especially Florence) were utterly fabulous -- places where you should never have a bad meal because great ones are so easy to find! My photos show the Florence Market from our 2009 Italian trip and a shot of the Windy City, home of many favorite restaurants, led by Frontera Grill.

Thanks to Tim Handorf for this info, and be sure to check out his site (link above)!

  1. Vancouver: Vancouver should be on all foodies' radars. This lovely coastal city has a diverse cuisine that believes in using local and seasonal foods, such as wild spot prawns, wild salmon, Pacific oysters and sea urchins. Top off your meals with one of the many delicious coffee drinks this city has to offer.
  2. London: London may get a bad rap for its bland food, but foodies who are willing to spend a little more than average can get some top-notch meals. Foodies have to try a couple things to make their trip complete: Indian food (London's top cuisine), fish and chips, and shepherd's pie.
  3. New Orleans: New Orleans may be known for Mardi Gras, jazz and football, but this city is not short on good food. Foodies can't go to New Orleans without trying their signature Cajun and Creole style dishes, such as gumbo, po' boys, jambalaya, Gulf oysters and "French doughnuts," called beignets.
  4. Mumbai: Curry, err, hurry on over to Mumbai, where the curry dishes are to die for. Sink your teeth into one of the many Mumbai curry dishes that come with seafood, coconut and various spices to kick up the flavor and heat.
  5. Chicago: The Windy City has a lot to offer hungry travelers. While you're sightseeing, grab a Chicago-style hot dog served on a poppy seed bun with mustard (no ketchup) and tasty toppings. The next big decision is deciding where to go for your slice of traditional deep-dish pizza.
  6. Tuscany: Enjoy a healthier kind of Italian food in Tuscany. Foodies will adore the simplicity, but pure deliciousness of Tuscan food, which focuses less on pasta and heavy sauces and more on grilled meats, salads and broad beans.
  7. Paris: If you're a true foodie, then Paris is most certainly on your vacation radar. From street food to gourmet dishes, Paris has it all. You must try all the crepes, pastries, caviars and escargots you can stomach!
  8. Bangkok: Foodies haven't lived until they've gone to Bangkok for authentic (and affordable) Thai food. If you're a fan of spicy foods and exotic flavors, you'll fit right at home in Bangkok. Traditional Thai food doesn't let anything go to waste, so if you're feeling adventurous try some boiled chicken legs, pork intestines and deep-fried water roaches. This city is truly an adventure for your tummy.
  9. Tokyo: Foodies visiting Tokyo will have a wide variety of delicious foods to choose from, including fresh sushi, warabi mochi, umi-budo, miso chirashi-don, tempura and much, much more. Finish off your meal with some sake or mocha ice cream. If you're feeling really adventurous and not so squeamish, try some basashi, raw horsemeat.
  10. Rome: Rome is the place for quintessential Italian food and foodies won't be disappointed by the rich cuisine. When in Rome, you've got to do as the Romans do and eat everything from pizza to pasta, gelato, cannolis and cappuccinos. Your taste buds and tummy will be in heaven.
  11. Morocco: Foodies won't be disappointed in the variety and deliciousness of Moroccan food. While you're there, get your couscous fix with one of the many scrumptious varieties, topped with a spicy stew of vegetables, lamb chicken or fish. Try a big bowl of stewed lentils with crusty bread or stewed white beans, and wash it down with a cup of mint tea.
  12. New York City: Foodies have to take a bite out of the Big Apple and then some. New York City is filled with good food everywhere you look. Whether you want a big slice of New York-style pizza, a hot dog with sauerkraut or a New York strip steak, you can find this and more in the city that never sleeps.
  13. Barcelona: Barcelona is a snacker's paradise, thanks to the abundance of tapas, Spanish snacks. From olives and cheese, roasted peppers, chorizo and fried baby squid, there are tapas for every foodie craving.
  14. Houston: Take a trip down south to Houston for some one-of-a-kind barbecue and Tex-Mex, as well as international cuisines. When in Houston, foodies must munch on smoked brisket, chips and salsa, enchiladas, fajitas and just about any other delicious dish you can sniff out in this wonderful Texas town.
  15. Athens: Greeks eat much more than just gyros. In fact, foodies will fall in love with the wide variety of Mediterranean dishes that Athens has to offer. Meals typically consist of lamb, fish and olive oil, but there are also many stews, casseroles, souvlaki, grilled cuts of meat and much more. Treat yourself to baklava, kataifi and fresh fruits for dessert.
  16. Napa Valley: Make all your foodie wishes come true in Napa Valley, California, where every delightful meal is paired with a glass of wine from local wineries. Here, you'll get a hefty dose of wine education and a nice variety Cal-Italia meals and fresh fusion foods.
  17. Argentina: Argentina is a foodie's paradise, especially if you're a meat lover. Argentine cuisine is full of delicious grilled meats, specifically beef ribs, steaks, barbecue and chorizo, as well as lamb and goat. The cuisine may vary depending on where you are in the country, but you can rest assured that you'll find dulce de leche, empanadas, Asado, yerba mate and other traditional Argentine foods wherever you are visiting.
  18. San Francisco: San Francisco is rich with culinary diversity and bold flavors that foodies will fall in love with. Enjoy fresh seafood, sushi and Chinese food, as well as local favorites – Crab Louis salad and clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. Don't forget to treat yourself to some Ghirardelli Chocolate or ice cream at the historical Ghirardelli Square.
  19. Hong Kong: Take a gourmet adventure to Hong Kong to experience the wonderful Cantonese cuisine. Your taste buds will come alive when you try the delicious array of dim sum, including steamed pork spareribs, steamed buns with roast pork, shrimp dumplings and other delicacies. Make sure to stop in at an outdoor cooked-food stall for simple and traditional seafood, noodle or rice dishes.
  20. Belgium: Foodies will enjoy the Belgian emphasis on big cuisine rather than fine cuisine, which means they like big portions and good quality without the fuss. This mean more bang for your buck. While in Belgium, you have to try their claims to fame like French fries, Belgian waffles and Brussels sprouts and carbonnades flamandes, a Belgian beef stew with beer.
  21. Vietnam: Foodies will be blown away by the fresh and delicious cuisine of Vietnam. Fish sauce, soy sauce, rice, noodles, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables are all staples in traditional Vietnamese dishes. Indulge in a hot and savory bowl of pho that comes with your choice of meat, and cool down with fresh spring rolls.
  22. Seattle: Seattle may be known for its rainfall and Starbucks headquarters, but this lovely coastal city is no stranger to producing great food. Foodies will love the fresh seafood and sushi that comes out of this area, as well as the wide variety of vegetarian dishes. Seattle's clam chowder or smoked salmon chowder gives others' a run for their money. Don't forget to try the regional specialty, geoduck, a large saltwater clam.
  23. Mexico City: Mexico City's claim to fame is their tacos, and rightfully so, because they are well worth the trip. The bustling capital is specifically known for their tacos al pastor, which consist of carved pork meat that has been marinated and served with either cilantro, chopped onion, fresh salsa or pineapple. You can find these and other tasty tacos at any local taquerias in Mexico City.
  24. Shanghai: Even though Shanghai doesn't have a cuisine that's all their own, it does include Hu cai, a popular style of Chinese cuisine, but with a twist. A signature food in Shanghai is steamed dumplings. These delicious dough balls are filled with hot broth, ground pork, crab meat or vegetables and are to die for. Another traditional Shanghai dish you have to try is "drunken" meat and fish that have been soaked in spirits and are served raw or lightly cooked.
  25. Istanbul: Spit-roasted meat is Istanbul's specialty and foodies will be fans in no time. Sink your teeth into a traditional doner kebab, which consists of grilled mutton atop buttered rice. Sit down to enjoy this mouth-watering meal, or get one on the go from a street vendor that comes wrapped in a pita bread with lettuce and yogurt sauce.


  1. Mexico City for tacos?


    Barcelona for tapas?

    How unique.

    And New York for, uh, can I really type this - New York style pizza, hot dogs and, uhhhhhhh, New York Strip steak??????!!!!!!

    Seriously, this may be a nice idea for a fun, enlightening, informative feature - but that is the most sophomoric, ill-informed and unimaginative stab at it I can possibly even imagine.

    Total. Utter. Epic. Fail.

  2. haha -- I didn't write the piece but do understand where you're coming from. I haven't been to most of these cities but I'd say something different about the ones I have tried, that's for sure.