Which are the countries with the best food?
Food is such a huge part of our every day life that even when we travel our experience can be made better when we eat well. In fact, some people travel for food, with the idea of visiting a country to try all its local specialties.
Even more so, guided food tours – whether street food or gourmet – and cooking classes are among the most fun things we can do when we travel, and a great way to actually learn about the culture and way of life of the place we are visiting.
But if asked, are you actually able to point to the top 20 countries with the best food?
I have asked a bunch of other travelers, and the responses I have received have been very interesting. And I have come with with a fantastic selection of countries with the best foods.
Among them, you will find mentions of places which are righteously known for having amazing cuisine. But there are others that you’d honestly never think of – and yet, they will take you by surprise with their flavors.
I have summed up the responses in this post. Continue reading to discover which are the top countries with the best food (and also, which are the ones with the best food for vegetarians and vegans).
37 Countries With The Best Food
In a list of top countries with the best food Italy is the first one to be mentioned. You’d think I am biased, but of you visit Italy you will get what I mean: food here is incredibly varied, and while some dishes are known internationally – though their names as well as recipes are often completely butchered – the food is very regional and each city, each village I’d dare say, has its own specialties.
Since food in Italy varies a lot from one region to the other, I’d thought I’d provide a short summary of food in my favorite regions.
Make sure to also read my post The Best Traditional Italian Food.
It’s not by chance that Bologna is nicknamed “La Grassa” (the fat one, in English). Food in the capital of the Emilia Romagna region is rich and comforting (if only a bit on the heavy side in the summer months).
In more recent years, more modern versions of local staples have made an appearance on the menu. But whether you decide to eat at a local trattoria, at a gourmet restaurant, or try street food, you will have ample choice of dishes.
The following ones are only a few of those you should try:
TAGLIATELLE AL RAGU – Probably the most (poorly) imitated Italian dish worldwide, in many countries it became “spaghetti bolognaise”. The real thing is made with tagliatelle pasta (which are egg noodles) and a ground beef and pork based sauce that cooks for hours. They are served with an abundant sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
PANINO CON LA MORTADELLA – A simple sandwich made with a crispy, fresh roll opened in two and filled with thin slices of mortadella, one of the local cured meats.
COTOLETTA ALLA BOLOGNESE – The local version of schnitzel is a battered and fried slice of veal neat that is then layered with a slice of ham, parmigiano cheese and a dash of meat broth.
You should also read my post What To Eat In Bologna.
Thanks to the incredibly fertile soil and the great Mediterranean weather, Sicily has an incredible selection of high quality produce, which put together create some truly mouthwatering dishes.
The slopes of Mount Etna are the ideal place to grow some of the best grapes in Italy which are turned into fabulous wines such as Nerello Mascalese.
Make sure not to leave Sicily without having tried these local specialties:
ARANCINI – A large rice ball mixed with a light tomato sauce and stuffed (the stuffing can vary: I tried one with eggplant and ricotta cheese), then battered and fried. It’s served piping hot and it is a staple of Sicilian street food.
PASTA ALLA NORMA – Short pasta (usually tortiglioni) served with tomato sauce, fried eggplants, salted ricotta and lots of basil.
CANNOLI – A light crispy shell filled with a cream made of ricotta and either candied fruit or chocolate chips.
Food in Sardinia is fabulous, fresh and full of flavor. The island is packed with good restaurants and places where to have a good spritz cocktail.
Most people visit Sardinia in the summer to enjoy its amazing beaches, but did you know that Sardinia produces excellent wine? From Carignano to Vermentino, from Cannonau to Nepente, Sardinia has some unique grapes and a long wine making traditions.
There are a few specialties you should absolutely try when visiting Sardinia:
MALLOREDDUS – A short, toothy pasta which is preferably served with a sauce made with tomato passata, fresh and dry Sardinian sausage, onions and olive oil. You can find a good recipe for malloreddus here.
FREGOLA CON ARSELLE – Fregola is a cous cous kind of pasta made with semolina and saffron. It is cooked in a brothy sauce made of tomatoes and clams, with added parsley and cayenne pepper.
CULURGIONES – A ravioli kind of pasta, it is typically filled with potatoes, mint and a bit of pecorino cheese, and served only with grated pecorino cheese.
SEBADAS – A light pastry filled with mild cheese (typically “dolce sardo”) mixed with lemon grind, then fried and served piping hot with honey.
Make sure to check out my post All The Sardinian Food You Should Try.
Rome deserves a special mention. Roman cuisine is unique, full of flavor and incredibly earthy. You will surely have heard of some popular Roman dishes – everyone knows what carbonara is. But in case you need a quick recap, here are some dishes you need to try in Rome:
SUPPLI – A staple street food of Rome, these balls of tomato risotto are stuffed with mozzarella sticks and fried until crispy and piping hot.
CACIO E PELE – This sauce is made with literally two ingredients – pecorino cheese and black pepper, and a little bit of the water you use to cook the tonnarelli (the best pasta to do with it).
SALTIMBOCCA ALLA ROMANA – Veal cutlets layered with prosciutto and sage and cooked in the pan.
CARCIOFI ALLA ROMANA – Artichokes stuffed with mint and a hint of garlic and cooked very slowly upside down until incredibly soft.
Make sure to check out my post All The Food In Rome You Should Eat: 25 Delicious Dishes.
No list of top 20 countries with the best food can leave out Spain.
In Spain, people still take their time to eat. Food is so much part of the culture that people enjoy having business meetings while savoring some of the best fish caught in the Bay of Biscay; and they accompany their meals with a glass of good wine.
These are some of the foods you really must try in Spain:
PINXTOS – The idea is similar to that of tapas, but they are typical of the North of Spain (the Basque Country). A pinxtos dinner typically has two or three different stops, with various one or two bites dishes.
SPANISH TORTILLA – A large omelette type of dish made with fried potatoes, onions and eggs. In the best ones, eggs are a bit runny.
CREMA CATALANA – The ultimate Spanish dessert is a milky, firm custard.
For more delicious Spanish dishes, check out this post.
Having been to Peru three times, I have no doubt saying this is one of the top 20 countries with the best food. Of course, when thinking of Peru most people imagine the Andes and the lost citadel of the Inka, Machu Picchu. However, trust a foodie and prepare for a wonderful culinary experience.
Does it help if I say that Lima is home to the best restaurant in the world? It’s called Central, it’s run by chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pia Leon, and yes I have eaten there and loved every single bite I had.
However, it’s not just gourmet food in Peru. Street food is absolutely delicious here. In fact, the best places to eat traditional food in Peru are markets and local eateries – besides, they are very budget friendly.
Peruvian food is seasonal and regional, but the following dishes can be found in most of the country, with some variations.
CEVICHE – A popular dish in any coastal town, ceviche is a dish of raw fish marinated in lime juice and served with onion, peppers and a variety of other ingredients. It’s best eaten for lunch, when you know the fish is super fresh.
CAUSA RELLENA – This delicious appetizer consists of a potato salad layered with chicken, crab, avocado, egg, and mayonnaise. Most eat it as an appetizer, but you can actually have it as a proper course.
CUY – If you happen to visit the Andes region of Peru, you can’t skip a good cuy chactado (fried guinea pig). Seasoned with all sorts of herbs and spices, the meat of the guinea pig is very soft and melts in your mouth, whereas the skin is nice, crispy and salty.
For more Peruvian dishes to try, make sure to read my post What To Eat In Peru.
Mexico righteously deserve a mention among the countries with the best food. Mexican food is so unique that it is UNESCO protected. Food here is nothing like the Mexican food you may have at your local restaurant – for example, you won’t find nachos in Mexico!
The best places to eat in Mexico are markets, small carts in the streets and local eateries where you can eat on a very small budget.
Food in Mexico is quite regional, but there are a few dishes that can be found across the country. Make sure to try the following:
POZOLE – As far as soup goes, nothing beats a good pozole. It’s made of hominy (a large kind of corn) and meat (typically pork) – though there also are vegetarian versions; to which cabbage, onions, avocado, chillies, lime and other ingredients can be added.
TACOS – Best eaten at small food carts tthere are various kinds. They all involve some kind of meat, a few drops of lime, chillies, guacamole and lots of nopales (cactus) salad.
TLAYUDAS – Typical of Oaxaca, they are huge flour tortillas toasted to become crunchy, and covered with a spread of refried beans, to which avocado is added, and then meat (pork or beef), Oaxacan cheese and salsa.
For more Mexican dishes, check out my post The Most Delicious Food In Mexico: All The Dishes You Should Try.
Go on a trip to Israel and you will quickly realize delicious food abounds! A visit to Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, or Ha Carmel in Tel Aviv, will hook you to the incredible flavors of this country.
Conditions in Israel are perfect for growing fruits, vegetables, olive trees and grapes – the most typical sight whenever getting out of a city is that of olive groves. This means that two huge staples of Mediterranean cuisine are as good as they get in this small, unique country.
The restaurant scene in Israel is incredible. Jerusalem is home to Machneyuda, one of the best restaurants in the world; whereas Tel Aviv has a great selection of vegan places, thus making Israel one of the countries with the best options for vegans.
These are some of the dishes you should not miss in Israel:
HUMMUS – Common in all of the Middle East, it is made of chickpeas (hummus in Arabic) mashed and mixed with tahina, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.
SHAKSHUKA – Typically a breakfast dish, though it’s eaten at any time of day, it’s made with of eggs cooked in a tomato sauce with lots of spices.
RUGELACH – A delicious pastry made of dough rolled around a filling (best if chocolate).
Make sure to read my post A Complete Guide To Israeli Food.
That Vietnam is one of the top countries with the best food is obvious when you look at the amount of food tours, cooking experiences and home stays travelers sign up for. The variety of food is incredible,
While the country does not produce wine, there is plenty of “bia hoi” (cold beer) which is available pretty much anywhere, and is ridiculously cheap. Just as the rest of the food, to be fair. $2 USD will get you a long way in Hanoi, with enough (good) food for 2 persons actually. Markets and the streets are the best (and cheapest) places to eat in Vietnam.
Here are a few Vietnamese dishes you should try:
PHO BO – A soup made of slowly cooked beef broth. It has rice noodles, and thin slices of beef are added at the last minute and cooked by the heat of the broth. It is served with herbs, bean sprouts, lime and chillies.
BAHN MI – A crispy baguette filled with meat, fresh vegetables and sauce.
GOI CUON – Or else, summer rolls made of rice paper and filled with noodles, crispy salad, pork and shrimps.
Cuba hardly comes to mind when thinking about the countries with the best food. In a country where some ingredients are hard to come by, cuisine has developed to bring to the table the most satisfying flavors and comforting dishes.
Havana and Trinidad have the best paladares (private owned restaurants) but the gourmet capital of the country is the lesser known Baracoa. That’s where Caribbean flavors – think coconut milk, plantains, and all sort of shellfish and seafood – have been put together in the most mouthwatering dishes human mind can conceive.
These are the dishes you must try in Cuba:
SEAFOOD IN COCONUT SAUCE – This heavenly dish is prepared by cooking your choice of seafood in a sauce made with coconut milk and a mix of spices. It is served with white rice – because you wouldn’t dare leave that sauce on the place, would you?
LECHON ASADO – A suckling piglet is slowly cooked on the fire, for hours, until the meat becomes soft and moist and the skin crispy.
ROPA VIEJA – A stew made with beef chucks. It cooks for hours, until the meat literally shreds.
Read more about Cuban cuisine in my post The Most Delicious Cuban Food: 43 Mouthwatering Cuban Dishes.
Much like Cuba, Nicaragua is a country that is not often mentioned among the countries with the best food. But I can assure you food there is actually very good.
Go on the Pacific coast and you will get a great choice of fish and seafood. The Caribbean coast will offer more typical Caribbean flavors. But what about the cities? That’s where you will find local staples – rice, beans, plain grilled meats and the ever present plantains.
The dishes you should try when visiting are:
VIGORON – Meaning “vigorous” and typical of Granada, this dish – served on banana leaves – is prepared with pork meat, pork scratchings, yucca and cabbage salad.
QUESILLOS – A dish that originated in La Paz Centro (where you’ll still find the best one), it consists of two tortillas layered with slices of quesillos (a local mild cheese), stuffed with a cabbage and pickled onion and topped with cream and salt.
MADUROS – Typically eaten for breakfast, it’s a very simple dish of slowly pot cooked ripe plantains with a bit of sugar and butter.
Make sure to read my post All The Nicaraguan Food You Should Try.
Most people don’t even know where Guyana is, let alone that it is one of the countries with the best food. Guyana is a fantastic melting post of cultures – African, Creole, East Indian, Amerindian, Portuguese, Chinese, Caribbean and even European (British).
All these cultures are inevitably reflected in the food. Should you be one of the few that visits Guyana, these are some of the dishes you should try:
BAKE – A bread typically served for breakfast that, despite the name, is actually fried.
COOK-UP RICE – A one-pot dish made with rice and all sorts of peas.
PEPPERPOT – A stew made with meat (can be beef, pork or even mutton), flavored with cinnamon, cassareep (a sauce made from the root of cassava) and other ingredients.
Make sure to read my post 21 Mouthwatering Guyanese Food And Drinks You Need To Try.
Egyptian food is delicious and though most people visit the country in search of pyramids, temples and mosques, local flavors are actually very good. Since the country has been under Ottoman rule for centuries, some of the flavors you’ll find there are similar to those of other countries.
Though you surely know falafel and even kebab there are many other dishes you should try in Egypt. Here are just a few:
MASAA’A – Though the name may resemble that of Greek moussaka, the dish – whose main ingredient is eggplant – is nothing like it. In fact it is more similar to a curry. Other ingredients are potatoes, bell peppers, chickpeas and all sorts of spices and seasoning such as garlic and pepper. It’s vegan!
SAHLAB – This drink (or dessert, depending on how you look at it) is made with milk and orchid root powder and topped with shredded coconut and pistachio. It’s best served hot.
HAWAWSHI – A meat pie made with a dough stuffed with ground beef, parsley, onions, and pepper baked in a wooden oven.
*Contributed by Ivan of Mind The Travel
There’s no way Germany was going to miss out on this list of countries with the best food. Germany has one of the best culinary traditions in Europe.
While there is a misconception that German meals tend to be hearty and heavy, nutritional diversity makes Germany a fantastic place to eat. The country boasts a number of restaurants with three Michelin stars, so there is a more delicate side to German cuisine than just ordinary sausage and potato dumplings (kartoffelklöße).
Whether you’re traveling on a shoestring budget or looking to indulge in luxury foods, Germany has got you covered. You can always count on endless varieties of sausages (wurst) and more than 5,000 brands of beer to pair them with. Dishes you should definitely try include:
SCHWEINSHAXE – Pork knee, or better roasted ham hock (the end of the pig’s leg, just above the ankle and below the meaty ham portion). This dish is especially popular in Bavaria.
ROAST CHICKEN – Yes, a simple roast chicken can be the most delicious dish in the world if nicely seasoned and well cooked!
SAUERKRAUT – Finely cut raw cabbage fermented by various lactic acid bacteria and with a distinctive sour flavor. It’s the best side dish to the schweinshaxe.
Many German cities feature vegan and vegetarian restaurants as well, making it one of the countries with the best food for vegans such as spätzle, spargel, kartoffelpuffer and semmelknödel mit pilzen.
*Contributed by Ruben of Gamin Traveler
Philippines doesn’t often cometo mind when thinking of countries with the best food. However you’ll be surprised about Filipino food if you know what you’re looking for.
Philippines take a lot of influence from Spanish and Chinese cuisine and of course Malaysian influence because of its location. This is some of the food you need to try when visiting the country:
SISIG – Fried pork face and ears with peppers and onions, served sizzling hot and with lime. Original recipes call for no egg and mayonnaise, especially if you talk to locals of Pampanga, where the dish originated.
ADOBO – Chicken or pork marinated in vinegar and garlic and soy sauce. One of the best and easiest dishes done at home.
KARE – Ox tripe cooked with peanut butter and a lot of vegetables, another very popular dish in the Philippines.
If you’re vegetarian, there’s always fruits of the country (the Philippines are one of the countries with the best food also for vegetarians). There’s tortang talong (eggplant with eggs) and bicol express and chopseuy, and many more varieties which become more popular when you visit the Visayas and South regions of the country, and Ilocano cuisine when visiting the North.
*Contributed by Or of My Path in the World
Whether you’re visiting its beautiful islands or the mainland it won’t take you long to realize that food in Greece is delicious. This Mediterranean cuisine knows how to celebrate vegetables (it’s extremely vegetarian-friendly), cheeses, and seafood, and even the desserts will blow your mind.
Starting with a few classics, some of the top dishes you have to try in Greece are:
DOLMA – Stuffed grape leaves.
SPANAKOPITA – Phyllo pastry pie with spinach and feta cheese.
KOLOKYTHOKEFTEDES – Zucchini fritters.
SAGANAKI – Fried cheese served in a small cooking pan.
GARIDES SAGANAKI – Shrimp in tomato sauce with feta cheese.
MOUSSAKA – Oven-baked layer dish with eggplants and ground meat.
BOUGATSA – Phyllo pastry filled with creamy custard.
LOUKOUMADES – Deep-fried doughnuts soaked in sugar syrup or honey.
BAKLAVA – Thin layers of phyllo pastry with various kinds of nuts and honey or sugar syrup.
Be sure to try the local specialties of the island/region you’re visiting. From Cretan salad in Crete to bourou-bourou soup in Corfu to gogges pasta in the Peloponnesos region, there are plenty of delicious foods to devour.
*Contributed by Erin of Sol Salute
Argentina is home to simple yet oh-so-perfect steaks.
Argentine steakhouses are not only world-famous but can also be found in major cities worldwide. However, to truly experience excellent Argentine steaks and cuisine, you have to travel to the country itself. A visit to a parilla, the local name for a steakhouse, is a must.
Here are some popular dishes to try in Argentina:
BIFE DE CHORIZO – Sirloin, this is one of the most popular cuts of beef, ask for it “jugoso” if you prefer it medium rare. Don Julio in Palermo is one of South America’s Top 50 restaurants and grills some of the city’s best beef.
PROVOLETA – A dish of melted cheese that is the perfect started to a steak dinner.
EMPANADAS – These pastries baked in the oven come with a variety of fillings. You can even have them with steak “cortado a cuchillo”, which means the beef inside is a proper steak finely diced and will offer the best flavor. For the best empanadas, travel to the northwestern provinces of Salta, Tucuman and San Juan. El Sanjuanino in Recoleta makes some of the best empanadas in Buenos Aires.
SORRENTINOS – These sort of ravioli aren’t exactly what you’d have in Italy, despite the name. With this stuffed pasta, you will find many other seemingly Italian dishes in Argentina. At the turn of the 20th century, a massive wave of European immigrants arrived in Buenos Aires, mostly from Italy. They brought with them pasta and pizza that is delicious despite no longer resembling authentic Italian fare. It has transformed into something truly Argentinian.
Check out my post 25 Delicious Argentina Food To Try.
*Contributed by Cal of Once in a Lifetime Journey and Campbell and Alya of Stingy Nomads
South Africa is nicknamed “the Rainbow Nation” for a good reason. It’s a melting pot of races and religions with some really unique cultural variations accumulated from its tumultuous past.
South African food is a blend of indigenous ingredients, European techniques, and Southeast Asian flavors culminating in really fantastic palate pleasers. This is what makes South Africa one of the countries with the best food!
If you want to go fine dining head to the town Franschhoek, named ‘French corner’ after the French settlers who arrived here in the 17th and 18th centuries. Known as ‘the food and wine capital of South Africa’ this beautiful town is home to a high concentration of world-class restaurants filled with internationally renowned chefs who use top quality local ingredients in unique ways to add an African flavor.
When visiting South Africa, make sure to try the following foods:
CAPE MALAY CUISINE – “Cape Malay” refers to the first slaves brought into the country in 1658 from Indonesia, Malaysia and Madagascar (and their descendants), who came with an array of spices and cooking techniques. Cape Malay dishes are usually slow cooked curried meals that are wonderfully aromatic. The best examples are bobotie (spiced ground beef with an egg-based topping), bredie (tomato stew) and sosatie (satay). The epicenter of the Cape Malay community is Bo-Kaap in Cape Town.
BRAAI – A South African style barbecue that consists of meat such as lamb chops, pork ribs or boerewors (farmer’s sausage made with beef, pork and coriander) slow cooked over an open flame. For a great braai, you can go to Middelvlei wine estate, in Stellenbosch.
POTJIE – Another meal cooked over an open flame but is a stew that simmers for several hours in a cast iron pot.
BUNNYCHOW – Half a loaf of bread with the middle scooped out and a flavorful curry poured into the center; it’s found mostly in Durban and reflects the presence of the largest Indian community in South Africa.
STISS PAP – Also known as mieliepap, it’s a porridge made from mielie-meal (coarsely ground maize), it is a traditional staple of African people, but is now enjoyed by all cultures in South Africa and is a popular side dish.
MOPAPEN WORKS – Real bush food, this African dish has become a delicacy in recent times. The green guts of the worms are squeezed out, it is dried and cooked with tomatoes, onions and garlic. With a 60% protein content it is very healthy. You can try them at Gourmet Grubb, Cape Town.
Food in Sri Lanka literally bursts with flavor and the country rightly deserves to be mentioned among the countries with the best food. Lovers of anything spicy will enjoy street finds and home cooked meals.
Here are a few dishes you absolutely must try when in Sri Lanka:
RICE AND CURRY – This is the kind of dish for which each family has its own recipe – and each is just as good. It consists of white rice accompanied by a million other condiments – usually vegetable curries (can be with mushroom, lentils, and even banana flowers) and chicken or fish curry.
HOPPERS – Often served for breakfast, it’s pancake made of rice flour and mixed with coconut milk and toddy – Sri Lankan palm wine. Hoppers are cooked in a small pan until crispy at the edges while soft at the bottom. Egg hoppers are by far the best!
KOTTU – Also known as kottu roti, this dish is prepared by cutting a very thin bread called godamba roti in small pieces and stir frying it with mixed vegetables, chicken or crab and spices. Then, it is grilled. It’s served with chili sauce for extra flavor.
Make sure to read my post Food In Sri Lanka: 25 Delicious Dishes You Should Try.
*Contributed by Ayngelina of Bacon is Magic
Although many people think of food in Central America to be lesser than Mexican cuisine, they aren’t eating the right food!
Honduran food is a reflection of its culture and history, which has deep influences from Spanish colonialism but is also heavily influenced by the Caribbean culture on the coast, immigrants from Africa and and the indigenous Lenca population, which exists in Honduras and El Salvador. Such mix of cultures makes Honduras one of the countries with the best food.
The best places to eat in Honduras are markets and local eateries where you will find typical foods locals love.
Breakfast is an important meal in Honduras and you can eat well for little money. Scrambled eggs, beans, plantains, fresh cheese and avocado are very common. Other than that, here are some dishes you should try while in Honduras:
TAJADAS – This dish uses fried plantains – a staple in Honduran cuisine, topped with ground meat and cabbage. It’s simple but very filling and good cooks use the right spices.
MACHUCA – Found throughout Central America, this is a delicious fish soup from the Afro-Latino Garifuna culture, made with coconut milk and spicy peppers. A typical recipe is with fish but may also include shrimp or conch.
TORTILLAS – Present at every meal, alhough as corn is very important to the Lenca community, most tortillas here are made with corn.
*Contributed by Emily of Wander-Lush
If you’re the type of traveller who lets your stomach lead the way, you’ll no doubt have heard about Georgia. There’s a serious buzz around the country’s food and wine scene – and the praise is well deserved. It definitely is one of the countries with the best food.
Georgia is a former Soviet Republic, yet the national cuisine (and the culture and the language) is completely distinct from Russia. Its location in the Caucasus, at the point where Europe and Asia meet, means the food literally combines the best of both worlds.
The country’s topography and varied climate also influences what’s on the menu – diverse communities live in the peaks and valleys of the Caucasus mountains, and each one has its own specialty dishes. They all come to meet in Tbilisi, the capital city, where you can find the country’s best traditional Georgian restaurants.
Here are some dishes you must try in Georgia:
KHACHAPURI – This is essentially a ‘cheese bread’ that comes in a dozen or so regional variations. Adjaruli khachapuri from western Adjara region is the most recognizable. It’s boat-shaped and served open, topped with molten cheese, butter and an egg yolk.
KHINKALI – In their purest form, khinkali are ‘soup dumplings’ with twisted doughy tops, stuffed with a mixture of spiced pork and veal, sometimes with herbs added. Meat-free versions of khinkali (cheese, mushroom, potato) are also popular.
KARCHO – This Mingrelian specialty is a rich beef stew made with walnuts.
ELARJII – A gooey, cheesy cornmeal. Mapshalia is the best place to try these in Tbilisi.
SHKMERULI – Chicken cooked in a clay pan with a very intense garlic sauce.
Georgian cuisine is incredibly vegetarian and vegan-friendly by nature (it’s one of the countries with the best food for vegetarians). Must-try include:
LOBIO – Stewed kidney beans served with pickles and cornbread on the side.
PKHALI – minced vegetables blended with walnuts and spices to create a vibrant paste.
*Contributed by Pauline of BeeLoved City
If you are a foodie, France will be your paradise! Firstly, it’s well known for being one of countries with the best food. France boasts a lot of famous chefs such as Paul Bocuse or Joël Robuchon. It also gave the world condiments we all use everyday like mustard or mayonnaise.
France is a land of culture and traditions and food is a very important aspect of French culture. The French love their food and drinks! Each region of France has different local traditions. In the South West, you will find some more rural dishes with a lot of duck, foie gras and charcuterie. In the South East, you will enjoy more of Mediterranean cuisine. Further north, dishes with beef are the standard!
If you are visiting France, there are typical french dishes you should try:
ESCARGOTS – Literally snails, they are mouthwatering.
BOEUF BOURGUIGNON – A Beef stew braised in red wine (typically Burgundy) and beef stock, flavored with carrots, onions, garlic, and a variety of spices and herbs.
VIENNOISERIES – Things such as croissants or pain au chocolat really don’t need an introduction.
MACARONS – These little sweets must have dropped from heaven. They are light, crispy and moist at the same time and come with a variety of fillings. They will satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth!
*Contributed by Marcos of Travel Boo
Despite its fairly small size, Portugal is a surprisingly diverse country, and the gastronomy that varies from region to region is no different at all. Having experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, Portuguese cuisine has well and truly stepped into the limelight and Portugal became known as one of the countries with the best food.
More and more visitors return home with stories of the fresh seafood, the delicious traditional countryside stews, the sweet and delectable pastries and not to mention the incredible selection of wines and traditional Portuguese drinks!
When visiting Portugal next, be sure to try these dishes for the full Portuguese taste experience:
BOCHETAS DE PORCO PRETO – Black Pork Cheek stew, this dish hails from the Alentejo countryside and is a very popular mealtime option which is paired perfectly with a lovely red Alentejo wine. If you’re visiting the medieval walled city of Évora, the capital of the region, be sure to visit the Cozinha da Catarina restaurant to try this dish.
BACALHAU A BRAS – Bacalhau, or codfish, is pretty much Portugal’s national dish and can be prepared in hundreds of different ways. Bacalhau à Brás is codfish is shredded and added together with onions, potatoes, garlic and combined with egg and then garnished with black olives and olive oil. For the best Bacalhau taste experience, visit A Casa do Bacalhau in Lisbon.
PASTEL DE NATA – Mouth-watering and crunchy egg-yolk custard tartlets. Whilst the original version is still produced by the Pasteis de Belém bakery in Lisbon, the owners of the secret recipe, other bakeries found across the city, such as Manteigaria, offer equally scrumptious Pastel de Nata which are definitely worth sampling too.
Check out my post The Best Restaurants In Porto For The Best Porto Food.
*Contributed by Katherine of Travel With Kat and Nicholas of Rambling Feet
China is one of the countries with the best food, and that is a fact. “Chinese cuisine” is as diverse as China is large, and each region has very different specialities.
If you decide to visit, you soon realize that meals consist of a huge variety of dishes, all packed full of flavors, fiery spices and different textures.
If you are in Hunan, a region known for having one of the greatest and hottest cuisines in China, head to the market on Taiping Street in Changsha, the capital of the region. It’s packed full of stalls selling a range of food beyond your wildest dreams that will take your taste buds on a fascinating adventure. Just be careful as some food may be too oily or spicy.
In Hunan you must try these dishes:
CHAIRMAN MAO’S RED BRAISED PORK – Mao was born in this province and his favorite thing to eat was red-braised pork. Pork belly is popular throughout China. In Hunan, it is made with the addition of chili, as is typical of the cuisine in the province – think succulent, hot pieces of pork coated in a sheen of caramelized sugar.
CHANGSHA STINKY TOFU – This is another well-known Hunan treat. Fermented seasoned tofu is deep-fried so that it’s crisp on the outside and soft inside. It is served sprinkled in finely chopped chili, ginger and parsley. It is not stinky at all and thoroughly delicious!
LOTUS ROOTS – Stir-fried with spring onions and chillies, lotus roots is another favorite, a great side dish with any meal.
If you travel to Shanghai, there are other dishes you should try:
XIAOLONGBAO (小笼包) OR SOUP DUMPLINGS – Dumplings steamed in bamboo baskets, packs morsels of pork in a piping-hot stock. A good dumpling has thin skin, yet it doesn’t break when you pick it up with chopsticks. To eat it, place it in your spoon, nibble a small hole in the skin and slurp the stock; then, gobble up the rest with vinegar and ginger strips. Guyiyuan in the district of Nanxiang is where you’ll find the best ones.
SHENGJIANBAO (生煎包) – Another dumpling that is mostly chewy except for the bottom, which the cook pan-fries to a crisp. Munch on them from a paper bag as you go about your day and explore Shanghai.
If you’re visiting another part of China instead, like Beijing, don’t worry about missing out. Migration has ensured that it’s easy to find dishes from the rest of the country in all the major cities.
*Contributed by Anne and Clemens of Travellers Archive
Hong Kong deserves a special, separate mention in a post about the countries with the best food. Whether Chinese home cooking in the food stalls or star cuisine in the city’s gourmet temples, this is a place that has a lot to offer in terms of cuisine – from roasted chicken and goose to fish and vegetarian dishes.
All dishes are always freshly prepared – often with ginger, sesame oil or spring onions. However, beware: many dishes seasoned properly and often served very spicy.
The food stalls in Hong Kong are called Dai Pai Dong. They are indispensable in the narrow streets of the districts Central, Sheung Wan and Wan Chai. Simple dishes are quickly and tastefully prepared and brought to customers. Add a cold beer and you’re having a typical evening in the narrow high-rise canyons of the big city.
These are some of the dishes to try in Hong Kong:
CHINESE CUCUMBER SALAD AND DIM SUMS – The name “Dim Sum” means something like “small snack” or “touch the heart”. Well, if they are well done, they will. Dim Sums are steamed dumplings, usually made from rice flour, filled with vegetables, meat or fish and seafood and served in bamboo baskets. The are often eaten with tea.
*Contributed by Erica of Travels with Erica
Taiwan doesn’t immediately come to mind when you think of countries with the best food in the world, but it is a foodie’s paradise!
The best places to try Taiwanese food are night markets, which you will find in every city. They normally open around 6:00 pm. One of the best night markets is Dongdamen Night Market in Hualien, because it has seating areas inside the stalls where you can enjoy your food away from the busy market.
These are some of the dishes you should try in Taiwan:
BLACK PEPPER BUNS – Usually filled with pork or beef and slow cooked in a clay oven. There is a long line at every night market to get one, but it is worth the wait!
ICE CREAM BURRITO – Peanut nugget is shaved onto a thin flour crepe, topped with two scoops of either pineapple or taro ice cream, and topped off with cilantro. The crepe is then rolled up, cut in half, and served to you. It sounds like an odd combination of flavors, but it is incredible! It is light and refreshing.
Other popular dishes include wontons, corn of the cob (way more delicious than it sounds!), Taiwanese hamburgers, and green scallion pancakes.
Of course, no trip to Taiwan is complete without bubble tea. It is the country’s most famous drink! There are bubble tea stalls on nearly every street, so you’re always within walking distance of a refreshing drink. Just be sure you know how much sugar and ice you want!
*Contributed by Amanda of MarocMama
You can’t write a post about the countries with the best food and not mention Morocco.
Moroccan food is a mixture of a lot of different influences; African, Middle Eastern and European.
While many people equate Moroccan food to “spicy” the truth is it has a lot of spices but generally is not spicy. Spices are used for medicinal purposes as many Moroccans swear by the curative powers of them yet today.
There are standard types of dishes like couscous and tajine however these terms describe the type of food. There are dozens of variations of each. Owing to Morocco’s large size as well as the geographical boundaries (mountain ranges/deserts etc) regionally there are a lot of distinct foods as well.
But, no matter where you go bread is an ever present and vitally important staple serving not just as a something to eat but as a utensil for eating.
Here are some dishes you must try aside from the obvious couscous or tajine:
TANGIA – Usually found in Marrakech, this is a slow cooked mutton dish with lots of flavor from garlic and preserved lemons.
B’STILLA – Found in Fez, it is traditionally pigeon but now mostly chicken pie wrapped in phyllo.
MEDFOUNA – Sometimes called Berber pizza, it is bread cooked with spices and ground meat inside. You will find it in Merzouga.
GRILLED SARDINES – Commonly found on the coasts of Morocco, you can’t escape fresh off the boat fish and when it’s grilled immediately with some salt and lemon it’s delicious.
CAMEL – Probably the hardest to find on the list and Moroccans don’t eat camel often but if you do find it, it’s something to try at least once.
*Contributed by Joel of In My Korea
Any serious foodies out there can’t resist the delectable dishes on offer in the Land of Morning Calm, more commonly known as Korea. This is definitely one of the countries with the best food.
Fried meats, such as galbi and samgyeopsal, and spicy dishes are very popular. KFC is massive in Korea, which is Korean Fried Chicken, of course.
However, there’s a lot more to Korean cuisine than just these. You can savor subtle tofu tastes, slurp down icy cold noodles, and tackle freshly cut squid legs and raw fish. For some of the most authentic (and cheapest) dishes, check out the traditional markets, including Gwangjang and Myeongdong markets in Seoul.
These are some of the dishes you should try in Korea:
JEJU BLACK PORK BBQ – Jeju’s unique pigs are smaller, with black skin, and provide a juicier, more delicious selection of pork than regular pigs. The best place to try it is Jeju Black Pork Street in Jeju City.
BIBIMBAP – This dish is made of a fusion of vegetables, meat, spices, sauces, and rice, whirled together and served cold or hot. The hot one comes in a stone pot with a raw egg. Mix it all together you’ll get a hot, sticky dish that is perfect in winter. The best bibimbap is in Jeonju.
HWE – A similar concept to Japanese sashimi and sushi. Other than tuna and salmon, you can have raw octopus legs, wriggling live ‘penis fish’, and fermented stingray. The best place to try it is Busan, Korea’s second city – head straight to Millak Waterside Park near Gwangalli Beach.
KIMCHI – A dish eaten for any meal, it is made from cabbage or radish mixed with red pepper paste, garlic, and other ingredients. It is the key ingredient in Korean classics such as kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) and kimchi-jeon (kimchi pancake).
*Contributed by Marco of MonkeyRockWorld
Most travelers go to Southeast Asia and immediately think of Thailand as the best food destination, but it’s Malaysia that wins in terms of its sheer variety of food and thus ought to be mentioned among the countries with the best food.
Think a mix of Chinese, Malay/Indonesian, Indian food, plus a smattering of most of the World’s cuisines: that’s what food in Malaysia is all about.
From Kuala Lumpur’s famous Jalan Alor, lined with seafood stalls that dish up stingrays and fish in the classic Malaysian Chinese staple ways, to Penang, Malaysia has some of Asia’s (and the world’s) best food.
And if you think of going to Borneo for at least 2 weeks you’ll be able to try even more great spins on Malaysian food as prepared by the Dayak communities of Sarawak and the Kadazan-Dusun people of Sabah.
For the best culinary experience, visit a mix of high-end restaurants and spend time at the local markets, which always have some street food stalls nearby.
Once you go to Malaysia, you should try at least these 3 popular dishes:
NASI KANDAR – A dish of simple withe rice garnished with your choice of curries, meats and/or vegetables. The Chinese have their own sub-variety called “economy rice”.
CHAR KOAY TEOW – Flat rice noodles cooked in different styles by different ethnic groups. The Malays, for example, make it basah, meaning “wet”, so as juicy and scrumptious as possible. The Chinese make it more “fried” (that’s what char means) and drier, but still awesome.
CURRY MEE – A bowl of spicy noodles soaked in red or white curry, and garnished with herbs and pork’s blood cubes.
*Contributed by Maria and Caterina of It’s All Trip To Me
Turkey is one of the most diverse countries in the world, a melting pot of cultures where East meets West in the most fascinating way. A unique blend of tastes and aromas, the country’s cuisine is equally exciting and makes it one of the countries with the best food.
With a wide variety of superb dishes, Turkish cuisine is a very good reason in itself to visit Turkey.
When it comes to traditional Turkish food, there are countless typical dishes to choose from. Here are a few you should try:
KEBAB – Hands down the most popular meat-based dish in Turkey, it comes in quite a few variations, such as adana kebab, shish kebab, doner kebab. It is typically made of ground beef or lamb meat grilled on a skewer and then served with vegetables. One of the best places to try top-quality kebab is Zübeyir Ocakbaşı in Istanbul.
MENEMEN – Breakfast is perhaps the most popular meal in Turkey. The centerpiece of an authentic Turkish breakfast is definitely menemen, the Turkish take on scrambled eggs, which are cooked in a thick tomato sauce seasoned with green pepper and spices. Forno Balat serves some of the best menemen in Istanbul.
BAKLAVA – No trip to Turkey is complete without trying the country’s signature dessert. Baklava is a mouthwatering combination of pistachio, butter and filo pastry which come together to create one of the world’s sweetest and most distinct tastes.
*Contributed by Mal of Rawmalroams
For a relatively small island, Bali has so much diversity to offer. Bali is a great place to indulge in food, but for the best food scene head to Canggu and Ubud. New restaurants are popping all the time – make sure you add Moksa Plant-based Cuisine & Permaculture Garden and Avocado Warun to your Ubud Itinerary.
Most restaurants in Bali source their ingredients locally from organic farms and also support local communities. Bali is also a food paradise for plant-based cuisine lovers. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, you’ll love Indonesian dishes with a modern veggie twist.
These two are Bali must-try eats:
NASI GORENG – A traditional Indonesian dish that consists of a portion of rice accompanied by small portions of several other dishes, including different vegetables, beans, peanuts and eggs.
INDONESIAN CURRY – Another great dish to sample in Bali. It comes with tofu or vegetables, and the sauce is based on coconut milk, lemongrass, turmeric and chillies. It is typically served with a bowl of coconut-infused rice.
*Contributed by Zinara of NatnZin
India is one of the countries with the best food, simply because it’s incredibly diverse. In every locality you go, you would find something different.
Every state in India has different cuisines and their own unique dishes. Besides, with so many vegetarians, India is one of the countries with the best food for people who don’t eat meat or fish.
Some of the dishes to try in India include:
ANDHRA BIRYANU – There are several biryani varieties in India. Andhra mutton biryan (from Andhra Pradesh a South Indian state) is cooked with more spices. It’s different from the meatier Lucknowi version or the Kolkata biryani with subtle hints of spice and boiled potato. If you visit, try Andhra mutton biryani at Alpha Hotel in Vizag.
NIHARI – You can try this dish during a food tour in Old Delhi. Believed to be originated during the Mughal Empire in the 18th century, nihari is an oily, slow-cooked meat stew. The mutton version is the most popular one. Meat is slowly cooked for 4-5 hours. It combines a myriad of spices such as ginger, garlic, coriander, and turmeric.
ASSAMESE THALI – Thali is found everywhere in India, where rice or roti based meals are served on a platter. Assamese thali originates in the Northeastern Indian state of Assam. The food here is served on a copper platter with copper bowls. Usually, there is rice with 5-6 side dishes. In Assam, thali comes with tenga aanja, a fish curry with delightful notes of sourness, and aloo pitika (mashed potato). Try the Assamese thali at Rajmahal Bhojanalaya in Guwahati.
*Contributed by Margherita of The Crowded Planet
The US are not often mentioned as one of the countries with best food, due to the (wrong!) reputation that all American food is either greasy, deep-fried or really unhealthy. It is true that many American specialties tend to be meat-heavy and not the healthiest of the planet, but they are GOOD!
America is a land made by immigrants, so it comes as no surprise that many dishes have their roots in cuisines of other countries, but they’ve been reinterpreted in a completely novel, unique manner, making them quintessentially American.
Here are some American delicacies you shouldn’t miss during your next trip to the USA:
TEXAS BARBECUE – Every Texas itinerary should include at least one stop in a barbecue joint! Texas barbecue is unlike any other you’ve had before. Meat is slowly cooked upon hickory or mesquite wood, so slowly that when it’s served it literally falls off the bone! You can choose between pulled pork, sausages or brisket, with a side of beans, potato salad or coleslaw.
NY PIZZA – This is a perfect example of the kind of ‘reinterpretation’ often seen in American cuisine. NY Pizza is unlike any you’ll find in Italy – it’s really big and served by the slice, either with a simple cheese and tomato combination or with more creative ingredients, including mac ‘n cheese!
GREEN CHILI CHEESEBURGERS – A New Mexico specialty, they are cheeseburgers topped with fire-roasted green chilies. Definitely more than the sum of its parts.
NAVAJO TACO – These tacos are made with fried bread, folded like a taco and filled with all kinds of things. Popular fillings are beans, chili, shredded cheese and salad. If you happen to be traveling in the Navajo nation, don’t miss trying it.
*Contributed by Christine of Christine Abroad
Japan is always mentioned among the top 20 countries with the best food. Japanese dishes are known for being sophisticated and always made to perfection. Cooking in Japan is considered an art, where chefs spend a lifetime learning how to cook a certain dish until it’s truly perfect.
While most foreigners might have heard about sushi, there is a wide plethora of dishes to discover. Each region has their own specialities, although quite a few have gained popularity in all of Japan.
Rice is one of the staples as well as various types of Japanese noodles such as Ramen, Udon, and Soba. Additionally, fish and seafood are widely included in Japanese cuisine.
When it comes to meats, Japan is famous worldwide for its wagyu beef, where Kobe beef is the most famous variety. The cattle is bred according to certain regulations and the result is a marbled meat that is also the most expensive in the world.
Here are some dishes you should try in Japan:
SASHIMI – Simply explained, raw fish.
SUSHI – Raw or prepared fish served on a special type of rice. The best chain to try it is called Genki sushi in Tokyo, and if you’re heading for Osaka and Kyoto, there is a similar one named Kura sushi. You order from a computer screen, and then are served fresh sushi to your table.
TAKOYAKI – A speciality from Osaka, in the form of balls filled with octopus.
YAKINIKU – A meat skewer and yakitori is chicken skewer.
RAMEN – A type of Japanese noodle soup known for its savory broth. It can include meat, eggs, and vegetables, served in a bowl.
JAPANESE CURRY – A special type of curry that is served with rice and meat of choice.
TEMPURA – Anything deep-fried, but tempura prawns are perhaps the most common variety.
*Contributed by Wendy of Nomadic Vegan
Known for its complexity and its spicy flavors, Thai cuisine has become popular all throughout the world and it’s a fact that Thailand is one of the countries with the best food. Most Thai dishes are either curries, spicy salads, or soups and other boiled dishes whose names generally start with the word “tom”.
Since Thai cuisine uses lots of fresh vegetables as well as tofu, there are plenty of vegetarian options to choose from, and Buddhist vegetarian restaurants can be found throughout Thailand. In mainstream restaurants, vegetarians and vegans in Thailand do need to watch out for hidden ingredients like shrimp paste and fish sauce.
These are some dishes you should try when visiting:
PAD THAI – The name simply means “Thai stir-fry”, and this popular rice noodle stir-fry dish is a common offering both in restaurants and at street food stalls.
TOM YUM – This hot and sour soup is filled with the fragrant herbs and spices typically used in Thai cooking, like kaffir lime leaves, galangal and chili peppers. It usually contains shrimp, but vegetarian versions made with tofu are also available.
MAMMANAN CURRY – This unique curry has its roots in the 17th-century spice trade dominated by Muslim traders and uses spices brought from India and Malaysia that are not normally used in Thai cuisine. These include cloves, star anise, cardamom and cumin.
One of the best places to eat these dishes is Mai Kaidee’s, a very popular restaurant that started off as a small café and has now multiple locations in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. And if you can’t make it to Thailand anytime soon, they’ve even expanded to New York!
*Contributed by Derek and Mike of Everything Copenhagen
You’d hardly think of Denmark when you think about the countries with the best food, however, Copenhagen restaurants are among the best in the world and the restaurant Noma has held the distinction of Best Restaurant in the World four times. The capital city also has the most Michelin stars in all of Scandinavia.
New Nordic food is a culinary concept that was pioneered by the chefs at Noma and spread to high-end kitchens around Scandinavia. It’s a method of cooking that uses traditional, seasonal and local ingredients prepared in innovative and cutting-edge culinary techniques and is meant to highlight ingredients unique to the region’s climate, water and soil.
Danish food is simple, local and there are a few distinct ways to enjoy it. The traditional Danish food experience is a meal consisting of a protein, usually pork, with potatoes or other root vegetables and a sauce. Local fish like herring or cod is also a common protein as well as duck.
In traditional Danish cuisine, the meats are often salted or cured, and other ingredients are pickled. Danish cuisine is also associated with breads, rolls and sweet cakes and pastry, often reinvented with local herbs and seeds.
Dishes to try in Denmark include:
STEGT FLÆSK MED PERSILLESOVS OG KARTOFFLER – The national dish, it’s crispy pork served with a parsley sauce and potatoes.
FRIKADELLE – Pan-fried meatballs.
ÆBLEFLÆSK – Salted pork belly with fried apples.
SMØRREBRØD – Traditional open-faced sandwich served on a dense rye bread.
*Contributed by Nisha of Nerdy Footsteps.
Swiss cows and their bells have become an international symbol for Switzerland, which is one of the countries with the best food – especially love cheese!
Dairy products influence Swiss cuisine heavily. It is common to have an apéro in the late afternoon which includes different variants of meat, cheese, and wine.
Some of the local’s favorite Swiss dishes are:
CHEESE FONDUE – Molten cheese in a hot pot that you eat by dipping bread using a special fondue fork. Beware, according to Swiss superstitions, losing your bread piece in the cheese brings you bad luck.
RACLETTE – Molten cheese slices that you typically eat with boiled potatoes and pickled onions and mini cucumbers. The best raclette in Lausanne is at Chalet Suisse. Pair it with a Swiss wine for a perfect evening out.
*Contributed by Audrey of See Geelong
As a multi-cultural country, Australia is a melting pot of amazing food with influences from across the globe and definitely one of the countries with the best food.
Nobody does breakfast quite like Australians do and it’s fast becoming a national dish. Eating out is a popular past time in Australia and the country has a thriving brunch culture. These modern and sophisticated breakfasts are healthy, natural, and indulgent all at once.
When in Australia, make sure to try the following dishes:
BRUNCH – A proper brunch in Australia is a feast of farm-fresh eggs, smoky local bacon, grain bowls with chia seeds, organic porridge served with raw honey and grass-fed cream, and wash it all down with the best coffee you’re likely to find anywhere in the world.
AVOCADO ON TOAST – This classic Aussie favorite has lashings of smashed avocado piled on to thick cut sourdough toast, topped with perfectly poached eggs and lemon slices on the side. If you find yourself in Geelong, make sure to it at Café Geelong.
Honorable Mentions – New Countries With The Best Food
Slovenia and the Czech Republic never make the list of top 20 countries with the best food. However, they are slowly but steadily becoming more well known for their culinary offer, so I thought I’d briefly mention them.
Food in Slovenia is a fantastic combination of Mediterranean flavors with Central-European roots. Slovenia is a very green country, and this is definitely reflected in its food.
Dishes to try when visiting Slovenia include
POGACA – Slovenian version of Italian focaccia, it’s absolutely delicious.
ŠTRUKLI – Similar to Austrian Strudel though it can be both savory and sweet.
DUMPLINGS – In Slovenia they are made with buckwheat.
If you are visiting the Czech Republic during the winter you will be delighted to find an incredible variety of comfort food, and the best part of it is that you can accompany every single dish with a good beer for a fabulous tasting experience.
Dishes to try while in Czechia include:
GOULASH – A very rich, thick stew made with beef, onion and spices and slowly simmered for a long time.
VEPŘO KNEDLO ZELO – Roast pork, dumplings and sauerkraut, it’s a dish meant to give you lots of energy on the coldest day.
What do you think are the countries with the best food?