Food8 January 2024
For every traveler who loves to savor new flavors while on the go, there's a country that steals their heart. It could be the delightful baguette in Paris or a top-notch Michelin-starred restaurant in Tokyo. For those who consider eating a mission, their top destinations are always linked with food, and this is commonly known as gastronomy tourism.
So, are you curious about which countries stood out in 2023 with their incredible food and became among the best travel destinations for food enthusiasts? Let's explore together.
Renowned as one of the most cutting-edge cuisines globally, French cuisine has a myriad of classics. Croissants, macarons, baguettes, and onion soups are now available worldwide, but of course, the joy and flavor of enjoying them on-site are entirely different.
Take Lyon, for instance, hailed as the "gastronomy capital of the world." Surpassing the entire country in the number of restaurants per capita, Lyon was a frontrunner in gastronomy tourism last year. If you find yourself in Lyon, we suggest trying the local sausages, Quenelle meatballs, chocolate soufflé, and cream cheese.
With over a century of culinary culture, Spanish cuisine is a fusion of incredible flavors, textures, and colors. The first dish you must have in Spain, a country worth visiting solely for its dishes, many of which are globally renowned, is, of course, Paella, the national dish. Tapas, Manchego cheese, Pisto (Spanish ratatouille), garlic shrimp, and Gazpacho are also essential components of this cuisine.
Following Spanish cuisine is the Italian culinary scene, which is a delight for pizza and pasta enthusiasts. Italy, where you can enjoy these dishes in their most splendid forms, boasts a highly diverse cuisine with limitless possibilities. Cheeses, smoked meats, gnocchi, tiramisu, carbonara, risotto, Fiorentine beef, and many other dishes resembling works of art were sufficient to make Italy one of the most delectable stops in gastronomy tourism last year.
Most people are acquainted with the names of Mexican cuisine, as it's possible to find it in various parts of the world. But is this popularity a mere coincidence?
Mexico has rightfully earned a reputation for its deeply rooted traditions and rich cultural heritage. With over 60 different types of chili peppers, Mexican cuisine excels at crafting incredible flavors from ingredients sourced from every region of the country. Tacos, enchiladas, burritos, salsa, habanero, and many other sauces and dishes are the primary reasons people fall in love with Mexico.
We adore Peru in every sense of the word. While many might not be aware of its culinary fame, in 2023, Peru received top marks from numerous taste enthusiasts. Peruvian cuisine, characterized by unique flavors and ingredients, guarantees an authentically distinctive gastronomic experience.
Brazil, one of the world's major economies, boasts an incredibly diverse culture that blends influences from Europe, Asia, Africa, and indigenous communities. Each region in the country has its distinct culinary character, renowned for its assortment of beans, various meats, and seafood. Feijoada, Coxinha, Cassava, and Brigadeiros are must-try dishes in Brazilian cuisine, where fruits, spices, and sweet-savory flavors take center stage.
Argentina, renowned for serving some of the world's finest steaks, has rightfully earned its place on this list. Argentine pizza competes with Italy's best, accompanied by steaks featuring the iconic "chimichurri" sauce, and the delightful Dulce de Leche stands out as a culinary gem. Don't overlook the famous Fugazzetta pizza, crafted with white onions, abundant mozzarella cheese, garlic, and oregano.
Japan, a standout in the global gastronomy scene, maintained its position among the top countries in culinary tourism last year. The diverse range of ingredients, a blend of traditional and modern cooking techniques, and the abundance of fresh seafood, courtesy of its island status, make Japan an excellent destination in this realm. For adventurous travelers in Japan, raw fish, dishes with salted vegetables and sauces, and deep-fried meats (especially Kobe Beef) are essential culinary experiences.
Noodle soup, green papaya salad, coconut soup, chicken with cashew nuts—Thai cuisine can revolutionize your palate if you're open to new flavors. Thailand boasts one of the finest cuisines in Southeast Asia, featuring spicy dishes with robust aromas. Rice, noodles, starch, sauces, herbs, spices, and fruits take center stage in Thai cuisine, captivating even those initially distant with its powerful and flavorful offerings.
A captivating fusion of Japanese and Chinese culinary influences, South Korea earns high praise from travelers, particularly for its vibrant street food scene. The real magic of South Korean cuisine, where rice and meat are staples, lies in its array of spices. Sesame, soy, garlic, and ginger play a prominent role. A typical South Korean table offers soups, rice porridge, main meat dishes, and side dishes like kimchi (akin to small snacks). When hitting the streets, make sure to sample the spicy rice cakes, brown sugar pancakes, and the famous vegetable toast.