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 countries with the best food?
I have asked a bunch of other travelers what they think are the countries with the best food, and the responses I have received have been very interesting. Among them, you will find mentions of places which are righteously known for being the countries with the best food. 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 countries with the best food (and also, which are the countries with the best food for vegetarians and vegans).
34 Countries With The Best Food
In a list of 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 a few of my favorite regions.
Thanks to the incredibly fertile soil and the great Mediterranean weather, Sicily has an incredible selection of high quality produce (citrus fruits, fish and seafood, vegetables, cheeses, and the oh so good capers among others) which put together create some truly mouthwatering dishes which contribute to make Italy one of the countries with the best food.
The slopes of Mount Etna are the ideal place to grow some of the best grapes in Italy which are strictly endemic to the region and which are used to produce some 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.
If you happen to be in Catania, you may want to go on a food tour there such as this Catania street food tour.
Food in Sardinia is fabulous, fresh and full of flavor. Cities like my very own Cagliari are 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 one of the perks of visiting Sardinia in the fall is the possibility to explore the amazing vineyards and wineries and to attend one of the many village festivals that are a fantastic celebration of local culture, traditions and food. Food and wine tourism are becoming increasingly popular here.
But there’s more: what makes Sardinia one of the countries with the best food is its fantastic wines. From Carignano to Vermentino, from Cannonau to Nepente, Sardinia has some incredible 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.”
If you care to try local food during your trip to Sardinia, you may want to try this Sardinia cooking class.
Rome deserves a special mention in a post about the countries with the best food. Roman cuisine is unique, full of flavor and incredibly earthy and satisfying – and yet, they are usually prepared only using a handful of ingredients.
You will surely have heard of some popular Roman dishes – everyone knows what carbonara is (though few actually get it right), right? But in case you need a quick recap, here are some dishes you need to try in Rome:
Supplì: a staple street food of Rome, these balls of tomato risotto are stuffed with mozzarella sticks and fried until crispy and piping hot. They are incredibly satisfying.
Cacio e pepe: 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). It’s fabulous.
Saltimbocca alla romana: veal cutlets layered with prosciutto and sage and cooked in the pan. They literally melt in your mouth.
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.”
To discover more flavors of Roman cuisine, you may want to try one of these food tours:
- Rome Food Tour with Pizza-Making, Trattoria Tastings & Gelato
- Guided street food tasting tour
- 4 hour food and wine tasting tour
- 4 hour food tour by night
- Food tour of Roman neighborhoods
Spain definitely is one of the countries with the best food.
This is a place where people still take their time to eat – though be prepared, meal times are really late even by Italian standards. 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. In San Sebastian, they have been taken to a gourmet level. 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.
Mexico righteously deserve a proper mention in a post about the countries with the best food. Eating is definitely one of best things to do in Mexico and a good market tour in any city is a good idea to try local specialties.
Mexican food is so unique that it is UNESCO protected. One thing though: forget about the distorted version of Mexican food you may find at a Mexican restaurant at home. There’s no such thing as nachos or chilli con carne in Mexico, and there’s about a million different version of tacos (and none of them is like what we are used to in the rest of the world).
The best places to eat in Mexico are markets, small carts in the streets and local eateries. These are places where a mere 50 Mexican Pesos ($2 USD) will get you a full meal, inclusive of a drink. Now, if this doesn’t make Mexico one the countries with the best food, I don’t know what will!
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 (like 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 that can be found on street corners, there 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 (typically 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.”
You may also want to try one of the guided food tours:
- Mexico City food tour
- Colonia Roma food tour
- Mexico City half day market and street food tour
- Merida street food walking tour
Go on a trip to Israel and you will quickly realize this is one of the countries with the best food.
You see, 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.
Add to this an incredible restaurant scene: Jerusalem is home to Machneyuda, allegedly one of the best restaurants in the world; whereas Tel Aviv is home to all sorts of international restaurants and has a great selection of vegan places, thus making Israel one of the countries with the best food 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 people in Israel find there’s always a good reason to eat these dish made of eggs cooked in a tomato sauce.
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.”
If you are keen on going on a food tour, these are a few good options:
- Tel Aviv vegan culinary tour – perfect to learn more about the local vegan food culture.
- Tel Aviv classic food tour – it goes to all the nicest neighborhoods in town in search of the best food.
Vietnam deserves to be mentioned among the countries with the best food. Vietnam is the reason for my not so mild obsession with pho bo. It’s not an easy obsession to feed, since I can’t easily go back to Saigon any time I want.
That Vietnam is one of the 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. I have tried a few myself – the results were actually decent!
One thing you won’t commonly find in Vietnam is wine. Yet, the lack of it is easily supplemented by “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: the fact that the food is so good, and so cheap, make it one of the countries with the best food.
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 (here comes the French influence) 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.
If you want to learn more about Vietnamese cuisine, you may want to try one of these tours:
- Hanoi guided street food tour
- Hanoi food on foot walking tour of Hanoi Old Quarter
- Hanoi street food tour: the 10 tastings
Cuba hardly comes to mind when thinking about the countries with the best food, yet catches you by surprise when you actually visit. 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 actually Baracoa, a place that is still relatively unknown. 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.
So what are the dishes that make Cuba one of the countries with the best food? The following is just a selection:
Shrimps, lobster or octopus 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.”
If you are keen on taking a guided food tour in Cuba, you may want to consider these options:
Much like Cuba, Nicaragua is a country that you wouldn’t think of adding in a roundup about the countries with the best food. But as a self-proclaimed Nicaragua expert, 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, cooked simply yet incredibly wholesome. 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: typical of Granada, this dish – served on banana leaves – is prepared with pork meat, pork scratchings, yucca and cabbage salad. The name, which literally means vigorous, is a clear reference to the energy you’ll get after eating it.
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) and stuffing it with a salad made of cabbage, pickled onion and finally topping it with a large dose of cream and salt. It’s then wrapped and served in a ziploc bag.
Maduros: typically eaten for breakfast, it’s a very simple dish of slowly pot cooked ripe plantains with a bit of sugar and butter. It’s sticky and delicious.
Most people don’t even know where Guyana is, let alone that it is one of the countries with the best food. You see, this is a country that is a fantastic melting post of cultures – African, Creole, East Indian, Amerindian, Portuguese, Chinese and even European (British). All these cultures are inevitably reflected in the food. Add to this a few drops of Caribbean flavor (this is considered a Caribbean country, and in fact the vibe you get when you visit is very much that) and the use of the freshest ingredients and you get it: food is just oh-so-good there.
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 and Egypt definitely is one of the countries with the best food. Keep in mind that the country has been under Ottoman rule for centuries, so some of the flavors you’ll find there are similar to those of other countries that were ruled by the Turks.
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. Served hot, it’s honestly the best comfort food in the winter.
Hawawshi: a meat pie made with a dough stuffed with ground beef, parsley, onions, and pepper baked in a wooden oven.
Check out my post “Mouthwatering Egyptian Food: 15 Egyptian Dishes You Have To Try.”
*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. Since the country boasts 11 restaurants with three Michelin stars, there is a more delicate side to German cuisine than just ordinary sausage and potato dumplings (kartoffelklöße). While there is a misconception that German meals tend to be hearty and heavy, nutritional diversity makes Germany a fantastic place to eat.
Whether you’re traveling on a shoestring budget or looking to indulge in luxury foods, Germany has got you covered. With countless varieties of German sausage and over 5,000 brands of beer, people here sure know how to combine excellent food with inspired revelry.
Germany easily is one of the countries with the best food, at least in Europe. Munich’s famed Oktoberfest folk and beer festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors who sit at long tables and benches sampling finest beer and delicious dishes, some of which make Germany one of the best countries for food:
- schweinshaxe, or pork knee
- roast chicken
- any kind of wurst.
Due to the Reinheitsgebot (aka German beer purity law) the beer garden culture is a subject of veneration throughout Germany.
Many German cities feature vegan and vegetarian restaurants as well, making it one of the countries with the best food for vegans. Spätzle, spargel, kartoffelpuffer and semmelknödel mit pilzen, just to name a few. If you’re looking for places to eat in Berlin, head to Kaufhaus des Westens or “KaDeWe.” This glittering shopping center offers pretty much anything imaginable from chocolate, baked goods, tea, and coffee to raw oysters and French patisserie.
*Contributed by Ruben of Gamin Traveler
Philippines doesn’t come up to mind very easy 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 Malayan influence because of its location. This is some of the food you need to try when visiting the country:
Sisig: most popular when it comes to tapas for beers or just eating it with rice. It’s friend 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: very close to Pollo, this is 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 Greece is one of the countries with the best food. 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: an oven-baked layer dish with eggplants and ground meat.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg because, in Greek cuisine, you’ll find so many variations of stuffed or fried vegetables, cheese pies, seafood, and other yummy dishes.
Also, 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.
Last but not least, if you have a sweet tooth (who doesn’t?), you’ll be happy to know that Greece has some amazing desserts up its sleeve. Amongst the ones you must try are bougatsa (phyllo pastry filled with creamy custard), loukoumádes (deep-fried doughnuts soaked in sugar syrup or honey), and baklava. These are all highly addictive, but that doesn’t matter because vacation calories don’t count, right?
*Contributed by Erin of Sol Salute
Argentina easily is one of the countries with the best food – especially if you like a simple yet oh-so-perfect steak.
Argentine steakhouses are not only world-famous but can also be found in major cities worldwide. However, to truly experience excellent Argentine steak and cuisine, you have to travel to the country itself. A visit to a parilla, the local name for a steakhouse, is a must.
The multi-coursed steak dinner starts with exotic cuts like sweetbreads and blood sausage served next to a dish of perfectly melted Provoleta cheese. Order one of the most popular cuts, a bife de chorizo (sirloin), for a never-fails, high-quality cut of beef.
Don Julio in Palermo is one of South America’s Top 50 restaurants and grills some of the city’s best beef (they can even render a tough skirt steak tender).
Steak shows itself in a variety of forms across Argentine cuisine. Never pass up the chance to order a few (dozen) empanadas. Cortado a cuchillo means the beef inside is a proper steak finely diced and will offer the best flavor. The northwestern provinces are renowned for their empanadas so look for empanada houses offering empanadas from Salta, Tucuman and San Juan to have the best experience possible. El Sanjuanino in Recoleta makes some of the city’s best empanadas!
Contrasting slightly against the beef culture is a strong Italian presence. 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.
*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!
When visiting South Africa, you cannot leave until you’ve tried these amazing dishes:
Cape Malay cuisine: “Cape Malay” refers to the first slaves that were brought into the country in 1658 from Indonesia, Malaysia and Madagascar (and their descendants). Along with them, they brought an array of spices and cooking techniques. Yet due to limited resources, they had to make do and adapt. Today, Cape Malay dishes are well sought after and rich in both flavor and history. They are usually slow cooked curried meals that are wonderfully aromatic. The best examples include bobotie (spiced minced meat with an egg-based topping), bredie (tomato stew) and sosatie (satay). The best place to eat any Cape Malay meal is in Bo-Kaap in Cape Town, the epicenter of the Cape Malay community.
Braai and potjie: Braai is a South African style barbecue where the atmosphere is as important as the food. A braai usually consists of meat such as lamb chops, pork ribs or boerewors (farmer’s sausage) slow cooked over an open flame. Boerewors is a long coiled sausage made with beef, pork and coriander, while a braaibroodjie is a sandwich made on the fire, chances are it is the best sandwich you will ever have! Don’t say no if you get invited to a local braai. For a great braai, you can go to Middelvlei wine estate, in Stellenbosch.
Potjie is another meal cooked over an open flame but is a stew that simmers for several hours in a cast iron pot. The best way to experience a braai or potjie is with a group of friends. Some hostels and language centers even have braais as a way of experiencing a true South African vibe.
Bunnychow: If you happen to visit Durban, you’ll get a taste of India as it houses the largest Indian community in South Africa. An authentic and extremely filling meal to try in Durban is bunnychow. This is half a loaf of bread with the middle scooped out and a flavorful curry poured into the center. What once was a cost effective way of eating for migrant workers (they used the bread as a container) is now one of the most idyllic meals. Give Oriental Restaurant, Cane Cutters or Capsicum Restaurant a try.
Stiff pap, also known as mieliepap: 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.
Mopane worms: known as real bush food, this African dish that 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 said to be very healthy. You can try them at Gourmet Grubb, Cape Town.
If you want to go fine dining the town Franschhoek is the place to go. 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, it is a real foodies haven. Named ‘French corner’ after the French settlers who arrived here in the 17th and 18th centuries Franschhoek is home to the best European menus in the country, with some chefs using the top quality local ingredients in unique ways to add an African flavor.
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 eating, gorging on street finds, home cooked meals. If you are not so fond of curries, chillies and a burning mouth, I am sorry for you but you may want to reconsider your trip!
Jokes apart, there are a few dishes you absolutely must try when in Sri Lanka. Here is an overview:
Rice and curry: This is basically the one main food you will have in Sri Lankan cuisine. It’s the kind of dish for which each family has its own recipe – and each is just as good. It’s a simple dish 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 is a sort of pancake made of rice flour and mixed with coconut milk and toddy – Sri Lankan palm wine. Hoppers are cooked in a small pan until and 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.
*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.
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.
One of the most unique dishes are tajadas, which use fried plantains – a staple in Honduran cuisine, hopped with ground meat and cabbage. It’s simple but very filling and good cooks use the right spices.
And machuca, found throughout Central America is a delicious fish soup from the Afro-Latino Garifuna culture. With coconut milk and spicy peppers, a typical recipe is with fish but may also include shrimp or conch.
And tortillas are present at every meal. Although as corn is very important to the Lenca community and so most tortillas here are made with corn.
Try to stay away from tourist restaurants, they will offer nuggets or burgers thinking that’s what tourists want. But if you go to the market you’ll find stalls inside or next door that serve typical foods locals love.
*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. Georgia’s 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.
The country’s two most ubiquitous and iconic dishes are khachapuri and khinkali. The former 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.
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. On that note, Georgian cuisine is incredibly vegetarian and vegan-friendly by nature (it’s one of the countries with the best food for vegetarians). Lobio (stewed kidney beans served with pickles and cornbread on the side) and pkhali (minced vegetables blended with walnuts and spices to create a vibrant paste) are must-trys.
Other crowd favorites include Mingrelian specialties such as kharcho (a rich beef stew made with walnuts) and elarji (a gooey, cheesy cornmeal). Mapshalia is the best place to try these in Tbilisi. My personal favorite dish is shkmeruli, chicken cooked in a clay pan with a very intense garlic sauce.
*Contributed by Pauline of BeeLoved City
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:
Bochechas de Porco Preto: if you’re after the true, traditional flavors of Portugal, then it simply doesn’t get better than Bochechas de Porco Preto (Black Pork Cheek stew). This delicious, rich and soft pork cheek stew 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 à Brás: it is no secret that the Portuguese love their seafood. But in terms of fish, one particular is the most favored. Bacalhau, or codfish, is just about Portugal’s national dish and can be prepared in hundreds of different ways. Bacalhau à Brás is one of the most popular varieties. The codfish is shredded and added together with onions, potatoes, garlic and combined with egg and then garnished with black olives and olive oil. Simply delicious! For the best Bacalhau taste experience, visit A Casa do Bacalhau in Lisbon.
Pastel de Nata: last but not least is the world-famous Pastel de Nata pastry. These mouth-watering and crunchy egg-yolk custard tartlets are completely addictive and are a must-try when visiting Lisbon. 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.
*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, so even if there is one or two things you don’t particularly like there is always plenty of things you will enjoy, with dishes packed full of flavors, fiery spices and different textures.
Here are three dishes you must try in Hunan, a region known for having one of the greatest and hottest cuisines in China and that make China one of the countries with the best food.
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, but the taste can vary greatly from one region to another. In Hunan, it is a lot spicier, thanks to 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.
The one place any foody must visit in Hunan is 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. A word of warning though, be cautious in the side streets as it is here you’ll find the most traditional oily and spicy food of Hunan that may be a step too far.
If you travel to Shanghai, there are other dishes you should try:
Xiaolongbao (小笼包) or soup dumplings: the Shanghaiese version, 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 one, place it in your spoon, nibble a small hole in the skin and slurp the stock; then, gobble up the rest of the dumpling with vinegar and ginger strips. While you can find decent xiaolongbao even in food courts, you can still visit Guyiyuan in the district of Nanxiang where the Shanghaiese version was first made.
*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!
One of the most popular dishes is black pepper buns that are 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!
Other popular dishes include wontons, corn of the cob (way more delicious than it sounds!), Taiwanese hamburgers, and green scallion pancakes.
But the most unique (and delicious) Taiwanese food is the 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! Everything blends together well. It is light and refreshing. Even if you don’t like cilantro, you need to give this a try when you’re in Taiwan.
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!
So, where do you find all this delicious food? At night markets, of course! There are night markets in every city, and they normally open around 6pm. 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.
But no matter what night market you visit in Taiwan, you’ll be guaranteed a delicious meal!
*Contributed by Amanda of MarocMama
You can’t write a post about the countries with the best food and not mention Morocco.
‘Jeju black pork’ BBQ: the best place to try it is Jeju Black Pork Street in Jeju City. Jeju’s unique pigs are smaller, with black skin, and provide a juicier, more delicious selection of pork than regular pigs.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 is best and 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. If you want the best bibimbap, you’ll have to travel to Jeonju.
Kimchi: a dish eaten for any meal, it is made from cabbage or radish mixed with red pepper paste, garlic, and other ingredients. It makes a wonderful addition to most meals and is the key ingredient in Korean classics such as kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) and kimchi-jeon (kimchi pancake).
For some of the most authentic (and cheapest) dishes, be sure to check out the traditional markets, including Gwangjang and Myeongdong markets in Seoul.
Most travellers go to Southeast Asia and immediately think of Thailand as the best foodie 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 the island of Penang — declared by Lonely Planet as the best place in the world for foodies in 2014 — Malaysia has some of Asia’s (and the world’s) best food.
Don’t forget the Indian community, who imported all that delicious and spicy Indian 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.
Once you go to Malaysia, you should try at least these 3 popular dishes:
Nasi Kandar: a dish of simple with 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 which are 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.
But a trip to Malaysia really should be about getting on a quest to discover all of its amazing food, and hence the number of favorite dishes is really up to each person. As a suggestion from someone who lived here for over a decade, you should take your time to not only visit high-end restaurants but especially spending time at the local markets, which always have some street food stalls nearby. Truth is, Malaysia really has some of the best street food in the whole world.
Kebab: Hands down the most popular meat-based dish in Turkey is the kebab. The latter comes in quite a few variations, such as adana kebab, shish kebab, doner kebab and many more. A kebab 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 restaurant in Istanbul.
Menemen: Breakfast is perhaps the most popular meal in Turkey. This is why indulging in a traditional breakfast is one of the best things to do in the country. 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.
For a relatively small island, Bali has so much diversity to offer. In case you are looking for great cuisine, worry not! Bali is the place to indulge in food and eat your way through the island! The best eats are 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. This is a great way to sample some mouth-watering local flavors.
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
Andhra Biryani: There are several biryani varieties in India. Out of the many versions, Andhra mutton biryani is the best. Andhra Pradesh is a South Indian state and here, biryani 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 out there. Meat is slowly cooked for 4-5 hours to prepare nihari. It combines a myriad of spices such as ginger, garlic, coriander, and turmeric. You can try nihari at Karim’s in Delhi.
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. The authentic Assamese thali accompanies tenga aanja, a fish curry with delightful notes of sourness. Another unique side dish is aloo pitika, which is mashed potato. Try the Assamese thali at Rajmahal Bhojanalaya in Guwahati.
Finally, with so many vegetarians, India is one of the countries with the best food for people who don’t eat meat or fish.
*Contributed by Margherita of The Crowded Planet
Japan probably has one of the most delicious and well-known cuisines in the world and this is known to be one of the 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, namely 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.
As for sushi, 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. These are conveyor belt sushi restaurants where you order from a computer screen, and then are served fresh sushi to your table.
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.
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
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.
Massaman 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.
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.
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! Mai Kaidee cooking classes are also available in all three cities.
You’d hardly think of Denmark when you think about the countries with the best food, but this is one delicious food destination that often gets overlooked. 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.
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. The national dish is stegt flæsk med persillesovs og kartoffler, which is a crispy pork served with a parsley sauce and potatoes. Other must-try dishes include:
Frikadelle: pan-fried meatballs.
Æbleflæsk: salted pork belly with fried apples.
Smørrebrød: traditional open-faced sandwich served on a dense rye bread.
Danish cuisine is also associated with baked goods like breads, rolls and sweet cakes and pastry. These normal baked items are reinvented with local herbs and seeds, so even a simple breakfast roll in Denmark will highlight new flavors and textures.
New Nordic food is a culinary concept that was pioneered by the chefs at Noma in Copenhagen and spread to high-end kitchens around Scandinavia. It’s a method of cooking that uses traditional, seasonal and local Danish ingredients prepared in innovative and cutting-edge culinary techniques. The New Nordic cuisine represents purity, simplicity and freshness and is meant to highlight ingredients unique to the region’s climate, water and soil.
*Contributed by Nisha of And there she goes again
Swiss cows and their bells have become an international symbol for Switzerland, which is one of the countries with the best food – especially if you consider its cheese! Dairy products influence Swiss cuisine heavily. Most of their traditional dishes involve cheese in one form or another. In fact, 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: one of the best Swiss dishes. Molten cheese slices that you typically eat with boiled potatoes and pickled onions and mini cucumbers.
One of the best things to do in Lausanne is to indulge in cheesy goodness. For getting a cheese fix in the form of fondue or Raclette, go Chalet Suisse. Located on top of the hill, this place serves one of the best fondue and all-you-can-eat Raclette. Feel free to ask the waiters for their Swiss wine recommendations. And as a dessert, you have to try meringue with double cream.
*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. Which can make it tricky to define what exactly Australian cuisine is. However, 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. Diners can feast on 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.
If you find yourself in Geelong, make sure to try a plate of avocado toast at my favorite café in Geelong. 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.
You don’t have to look hard to find a good breakfast in Australia: just pop in to your nearest café. The best ones serve breakfast all day!