When you’re travelling, meals become more than just a simple practicality in your day. They become a vivid dimension to it, a sensory overload of exotic aromas and flavours previously unexplored by your palate.
But the adventure of local cuisine often falls by the wayside in a world of convenience, where a quick and easy sandwich from a nondescript stall calls your hungry, tired stomach.
As a result, 64 per cent of global travellers say they want to taste and experience more local food when they’re travelling, according to a new survey of over 50,000 travellers from Booking.com.
But when it comes to local cuisine, it’s all about the recommendations. Here is a round up of six epic foodie experiences which all have at least 4,000 endorsements on Booking.com from fanatics from every corner of the globe.
1. Ipoh, Malaysia
Ipoh is the capital city of Perak, a Malaysian state located by the Kinta River. It is a mid-sized town that is quickly becoming the go-to place for a city break among Malaysians, particularly because of Ipoh’s incredible repuation for food.
Ipoh’s new town is the place to head for the traveller seeking out the best local culinary secrets. Sample the popular Bean Sprout Chicken, or head to Kampung Simee for some fried noodles, bursting with flavour that will blow you away.
IF YOU GO
The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is the perfect place for you to unwind when you fancy an escape from the bustling streets of Ipoh. You’ll find this immersive oasis of calm just a 15-minute drive out of town, set in a valley surrounded by the Paleozoic limestone hills.
Take a dip in the geothermal hot spring and treat yourself to one of the indulgent spa treatments on offer before heading to the restaurant for your locally sourced dinner.
2. Lima, Peru
As well as being the capital of Peru, Lima is highly rated for the fantastic local food scene (and the beautiful historical sites and beaches).
If you’re feeling adventurous, try Cuy, or Guinea Pig, a gamey dish often spit roasted or cooked whole. Or enjoy a share plate of ceviche, an iconic fresh seafood dish served both cooked or raw with lime, lemon and chili. The melt-in-your-mouth texture of the fish is lit up by the heat of the chili and balanced by the herbaceous coriander.
A trip to Peru wouldn’t be complete without a sip of the signature Pisco Sour at the end of your meal – this South American classic uses fermented grapes to produce an amber-colored Brandy that is mixed with lime juice, syrup, egg white and bitters, and served over ice.
IF YOU GO
Dazzler Lima is just an eight minute walk from the beach and comes highly rated by travelers for its fantastic location and excellent breakfasts. The outdoor pool is the perfect way to cool off after exploring the streets of Lima in search for the best local dishes.
3. João Pessoa, Brazil
João Pessoa is the third oldest city in Brazil and has fully embraced the food truck trend by devoting a park, known as Green Food Park, to a bubbling metropolis of food bikes and food trucks.
Try fresh, local Brazilian food from one of approximately 80 vendors, or have a stroll along the waterfront of Tambaú and try one of the many local kiosks and restaurants, with the whole experience back lit by live music.
IF YOU GO
Apartamento Tambau a Beira Mar is located a short walk from the beach and its vast range of eateries and bars. Guests have access to the outdoor pool that boasts views of the beautiful sea just in front of the apartments.
4. Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Kaohsiung is gradually becoming a foodie hot spot, with more local food on offer than other parts of Asia. It boasts what is rumored to be the largest night market in East Asia, which can take at least an hour to walk through and offers specialties such as barbecued seafood.
Local popular dishes take the form of taro and pork dumplings and aboriginal sausage. Hakka cuisine, a cooking style focused on the texture of food, is ingrained in the culture of the people in Kaohsiung – so one of the many Hakka restaurants is a must try.
IF YOU GO
The Icon Hotel is a fashionable boutique hotel in the heart of Kaohsiung and is just a short walk from one of the many night markets on offer in town and close to the main shopping center. It couldn’t be closer to the wide range of local restaurants giving you the perfect opportunity to sample to your palate’s delight.
5. Catania, Italy
Catania is an ancient port city in Sicily. The diverse heritage makes it the ideal destination for the curious foodie and the seaside location means it’s certainly the spot for amazingly fresh seafood.
A must-do for any foodie traveller is arancini, a Sicilian street food staple that can be found nearly everywhere on the island. These fried rice balls come with a range of delicious meat and vegetarian fillings to choose from and some of the best can be found in Catania’s historical center.
For those travellers who fancy a sweet treat, cannoli is a must try. This tube of fried dough is filled with sweet ricotta and usually topped with Pistachios or chocolate chips. The crunch of the pastry is a blissful italian experience.
IF YOU GO
Soffitta29offers foodie travellers the opportunity to stay in the heart of Catania. This traditionally decorated apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen, so that you can put your Italian cooking skills to test with the fresh produce you’ve purchased locally.
6. Belgrade, Serbia
Belgrade is a city that can cater for a whole range of foodie travellers, with local taverns for traditional home-made meals or upscale restaurants serving the finest local food. Street food is taken very seriously in Belgrade and you’ll find stalls lining the streets selling everything from ice cream to vegetables and cheeses.
A dish you’ll find at any food markets (but is traditionally made in households) is Kajmak, an unpasteurized cheese that goes perfectly as a side dish or enjoyed by itself with flat bread. It’s a creamy decadent experience that is a must-do in Belgrade.
IF YOU GO
Apartments Petra are ideally located in one of the most popular parts of Belgrade, Stari Grad. This area encompasses some of the oldest parts of the urban city and it’s only a 20 minute taxi from the airport.
The property boasts city views and a fully equipped kitchen in case you fancy trying your hand at some Serbian cooking. If not, then stroll out of the apartment and try one of the many local foodie havens around the corner.