The 10 best countries in the world for foodies
The 10 best countries in the world for foodies
One of the most exciting things about travelling has to be the food, right? Trying local delicacies and new cuisines is an exhilarating way to live like the locals and discover dishes you'd never have tasted elsewhere.
Whether you plan your holidays purely around food, or just enjoy sampling new delights wherever you are, food undoubtedly plays a huge role in most of our vacations. After all, food can make or break a holiday (as anyone who has experienced food poisoning abroad will confirm).
So, if you're looking for the ultimate foodie holiday, where is the best place to travel for the food? Read on to find out how to choose your next gourmet getaway (and what to eat when you get there).
The obvious place for an incredible foodie holiday has to be Italy. Pizza, pasta and gelato – what more could you ask for?
Although Italian food is prevalent everywhere nowadays, there's nothing quite like an authentic mouth-watering pizza or a simple pasta dish with just a handful of ingredients (and that amazing olive oil) that will blow your mind.
Cheesy risottos, focaccia straight from the oven and fresh seasonal salads never tasted better.
Italy is also world famous for its wines and beers, so you won't be short of a tasty tipple to wash it all down.
Best place in Italy to visit for the food: check out Naples for incredible pizza and a less touristy feel than Rome.
With a 9,000 year heritage, the home of tacos and tequila has one of the oldest and most distinctive cuisines of all the countries in the world. Living off the land, staple foods included corn, beans, peppers, fruits and chocolate – all ingredients still prevalent in our favourite Mexican food.
In fact, Mexican food combines different cultures and tastes, bringing together Hispanic and indigenous influences in a melting pot of spicy deliciousness. Make sure you try the many delicious tortillas and tacos, empanadas, zesty guacamole and elote – simple but delicious corn on the cob sold by street vendors.
The possibilities are endless for a foodie holiday in Mexico. And even better news is that it won't break the bank, either, as the best authentic Mexican food is generally cheap and cheerful. Just make sure you taste that salsa before you cover your food in it – just because the locals are doing it, doesn't mean you'll be able to stand the heat!
Best place in Mexico to visit for the food: Puerto Vallarta is an up and coming Mexican foodie destination which has its own taco tours, Restaurant Week and Gourmet Festival.
A foodie holiday to Indian is a gourmet's dream – especially for vegetarians and vegans (you can even do vegan food tours of the country).
Although the cuisine varies significantly in differing parts of this vast country, every region has something delicious to offer and mouth-watering street food can be found on almost every corner.
MapsOfIndia.com is a great place to start planning your Indian foodie holiday. As they explain, in Delhi, you can feast on kebabs, paranthas and chaat, while Kolkata has a cheaper street food offering which features delights such as mutton chops, kathi rolls and irresistible Bengali sweet treats. Mumbai is famous for its vadapav, which is like an Indian burger, whereas Chennai is the place to find a delicious dosa with coconut chutney.
Best place in India to visit for the food: Goa's incredible food scene is matched by its amazing architecture, culture and beaches. Make sure you try the world famous fish curry!
Spanish food has its origins in a mixture of cultures who passed through the country, but it has a distinctly different cuisine to any other nation. Being surrounded by sea, Spanish food features a lot of fish, so if you're a seafood lover it should be top of your wish list for a foodie holiday.
Famous dishes include patatas bravas, paella, Spanish omelette and gazpacho. Tapas can be found everywhere, often free of charge when you order a drink, so you'll get chance to try a host of tasty titbits during your Spanish food holiday.
Best place in Spain to visit for food: try Seville, where the tapas tradition began. Check out the Iberico ham, delicious sandwiches like the montadito de pringa or local delicacy, fried shark!
Most of us love what we think of as Chinese food, but how many of us have travelled to the country to sample the real deal?
Spring rolls, noodles, dumplings, tofu, wonton soup, sweet and sour pork, hairy crab and steamed buns are just a handful of delights you will find if you choose to take a foodie holiday to China. With a rich culinary history which remains largely unchanged since its origins, China's cuisine is truly something to try for yourself and savour (just don't expect your local takeaway to recreate your favourite dishes the same way when you get back home).
Best place in China to visit for food: Chengdu in the Sichuan Province was named by UNESCO as a City of Gastronomy back in 2010, and when you taste its spicy snacks and mouth-watering mains, you'll soon see why.
Classic French cookery is world famous and taught around the world, so it's unsurprising that France regularly tops lists of the best countries in the world to visit for food.
Expect to eat a lot of cheese, cream, bread alongside classic French dishes like coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, moules marinières, cassoulet, nicoise salad and onion soup.
Dating back to the 14th century, French food differs around the country, with each region boasting its own specialities, so head to Lille for mussels, Bordeaux for stews and Dijon for snails. Just make sure you don't ask for French fries, as the French insist they're Belgian!
Of course, if you’re more partial to a top tipple than a memorable meal, you can explore the champagne region of Reims or go for a wine tasting holiday in any of France's famous vineyard areas – you're guaranteed to enjoy some incredible food along the way.
Best place in France to visit for food: if you're looking for a traditional French food experience, head to Toulouse. Rich and classic flavours feature in the region's famous sausages and stews, and meat-lovers will delight in the choice of goose, game and duck on offer.
If you prefer street food to fussy restaurants, Thailand is an incredible place to visit for a foodie holiday. Bringing together influences from China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar, as well as its own rich culinary traditions, Thailand serves up spectacular flavours with a smile.
Pad thai, tom yum soup, red curry, papaya salad and fried catfish are just some of the delights you can expect to find on the menu when you are eating in Thailand, while mango and sticky rice is usually on offer, washed down with sweet condensed milk, if you are in the mood for something sweet.
Best place in Thailand to visit for food: Bangkok constantly appears at the top of the list for the best street food in the world, so any foodie holiday to Thailand should include a visit to its capital.
Fans of beef and wine should head to Argentina for a foodie holiday that will seriously satisfy their tastebuds – after all, any country which boasts barbecued meat as its national dish is destined to be a culinary mecca for carnivores.
The meat in Argentina is said to be up there as the best in the world thanks to its happy, grass-fed cows, so expect steaks and ribs a-plenty, as well as all the chorizo and sausage you can shake a stick at.
Other famous Argentinian food includes its own version of pizza, empanadas and dulce de leche, a sweet spread you'll find in cakes, pancakes, ice cream and even spread on toast.
Best place in Argentina to visit for food: Buenos Aires offers the very best of Argentinian cuisine, but if you have a sweeter tooth, Patagonia is the place to find the best puddings in Argentina.
A less obvious place to visit for the food is Denmark. However, Scandinavia has been gaining a reputation as an up and coming place for a gourmet holiday, and the city of Copenhagen in particular has garnered huge international respect for its foodie scene.
With 21 Michelin-starred restaurants in Denmark, tables are booked up months in advance in the country's hottest spots, so plan your Danish food journey well ahead of time to enjoy the best the country has to offer.
Expect to taste such delights as open rye bread sandwiches, hot dogs, herring, fried pork and Denmark's favourite vegetable, the asparagus. If you've got a sweet tooth, check out the pastries, layer cakes and koldskål, a creamy, lemony pudding served with biscuits and strawberries.
Best place in Denmark to visit for the food: Copenhagen. Just steer clear of the tourist traps that line the downtown area, and instead do your research and discover tantalising street food or Michelin-starred Noma, dubbed the best restaurant in the world.
Home of umami, Japan is definitely a country you should have on your foodie holiday bucket list. In fact, it's so special that UNESCO has added Japanese cuisine to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Sushi, sashimi, tempura, miso soup, soba and udon noodles… the list of incredible Japan food just goes on and on. If you love seafood, this is a great place to visit but there are plenty of options to try, whatever your preferences.
Japanese food is based on the principle of the "rules of five", which means using the same five colours, five cooking techniques and five flavours in every dish – a formula the Japanese believe to be the ultimate in creating a taste sensation.
So the colours you'll see featuring in all dishes are black, white, red, yellow and green, while techniques such as raw food, grilling, steaming, boiling and frying will have been used in the preparation of your meal. The five flavours you will enjoy during your Japanese foodie holiday are sweet, spicy, salty, sour and bitter.
Best place in Japan to visit for the food: Tokyo has more Michelin stars than any other city in the world, so you'll struggle to find anywhere better than Japan's capital to sample its culinary delights.
Where to book your airport parking ahead of your foodie holiday
There's no need to make a meal of booking your airport parking ahead of your foodie holiday, as Airport Park and Ride is here to make it a piece of cake. Browse Park Mark approved car parks serving Glasgow Airport, Edinburgh Airport, Gatwick Airport and Luton Airport right here and book quickly online. Then, let your culinary adventure begin safe in the knowledge your car will be in safe hands.