Let’s Taste the World! 12 Spots Where You’ll Love the Food More Than the Scenery!

For the epicurean traveler, a culinary tour is a journey through the soul of a culture. This guide traverses the globe, spotlighting 12 destinations where food is an art form. From the well-known gastronomic capitals to lesser-known culinary gems, each location offers a unique taste and experience.

1. Oaxaca, Mexico

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Oaxaca is a vibrant hub of Mexican culinary tradition, known for its complex mole sauces and richly flavored dishes. The city’s markets brim with fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and an array of chilies. A culinary tour here often includes cooking classes focusing on traditional Oaxacan cuisine, visits to local mezcal distilleries, and tasting the region’s famous chocolate. The experience is a deep dive into the heart of Mexican food culture, where ancient techniques meet contemporary flair.

Insider’s Tip

Don’t miss trying the local mezcal with your meals. 

When to Travel

October to March for pleasant weather. 

How to Get There

Fly to Oaxaca via Mexico City.

2. Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Chiang Mai offers a culinary scene that goes beyond the typical Thai fare. The city is known for its Lanna cuisine, with dishes like Khao Soi and Sai Oua. Culinary tours here often include visits to local markets, traditional Thai cooking classes, and street food crawls. The city’s food is characterized by bold flavors and fresh, locally sourced ingredients, providing an authentic taste of Northern Thailand’s culinary heritage.

Insider’s Tip

Explore the local markets in the early morning for the freshest ingredients. 

When to Travel

November to February for cooler weather. 

How to Get There

Fly to Chiang Mai International Airport.

3. Marrakech, Morocco

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Marrakech is a sensory feast, known for its aromatic spices, vibrant markets, and rich culinary traditions. A culinary tour in Marrakech might include exploring the souks for spices, a tagine cooking class, and sampling traditional Moroccan pastries. The city’s cuisine is a blend of Berber, Arabic, Andalusian, and Mediterranean influences, creating a unique and flavorful dining experience.

Insider’s Tip

Experience a traditional Moroccan dinner in a Riad. 

When to Travel

March to May and September to November for mild weather. 

How to Get There

Fly to Marrakech Menara Airport.

4. Bologna, Italy

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Bologna, the culinary heart of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, is famed for its rich cuisine, including tortellini, ragù alla bolognese, and mortadella. Culinary tours here often involve pasta-making workshops, visits to local Parmigiano Reggiano cheese producers, and exploring the city’s historic food markets. Bologna’s food culture is deeply rooted in its history and traditions, offering a genuine taste of Italian gastronomy.

Insider’s Tip

Visit a traditional acetaia to learn about balsamic vinegar production. 

When to Travel

April to June and September to October for pleasant weather. 

How to Get There

Fly to Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport.

5. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Ho Chi Minh City is a melting pot of culinary influences, offering a vibrant street food scene alongside traditional Vietnamese cuisine. A culinary tour in this bustling city might include exploring local markets, street food tasting, and cooking classes focusing on Vietnamese staples like pho and spring rolls. The city’s food blends flavors and textures, reflecting its rich cultural tapestry.

Insider’s Tip

Try the street food, especially the local specialty, Banh Mi. 

When to Travel

December to April for dry weather. 

How to Get There

Fly to Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

6. Lyon, France

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Lyon is often regarded as the gastronomic capital of France, known for its refined cuisine and high-quality produce. Culinary tours in Lyon typically include visits to local markets, tastings of regional specialties like quenelles and Lyonnaise salads, and dining in renowned Michelin-starred restaurants. The city’s culinary scene blends traditional French cooking techniques and modern innovation.

Insider’s Tip

Reserve a table at a traditional Bouchon to experience authentic Lyonnaise cuisine. 

When to Travel

April to June and September to October for the best weather. 

How to Get There

Fly to Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport.

7. Cape Town, South Africa

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Cape Town offers a diverse culinary scene, influenced by a variety of cultures including Dutch, Malay, and indigenous African. A culinary tour in Cape Town might include sampling traditional dishes like bobotie and biltong, exploring the vibrant food markets, and enjoying the city’s contemporary dining scene. The city’s cuisine is a reflection of its multicultural heritage, offering a unique and flavorful dining experience.

Insider’s Tip

Explore the Cape Winelands for a taste of local South African wines. 

When to Travel

September to November and March to May for mild weather. 

How to Get There

Fly to Cape Town International Airport.

8. Istanbul, Turkey

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Istanbul’s culinary landscape is as diverse as its history, straddling the line between Europe and Asia. Culinary tours here often include tastings of Turkish delights, kebabs, and mezes, visits to spice bazaars, and traditional Turkish coffee experiences. The city’s cuisine blends Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, and Balkan flavors, offering a rich and varied dining experience.

Insider’s Tip

Try a traditional Turkish breakfast in one of the city’s old cafes. 

When to Travel

March to May and September to November for comfortable weather. 

How to Get There

Fly to Istanbul Airport.

9. Kyoto, Japan

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Kyoto is the heart of traditional Japanese cuisine and is known for its kaiseki dining, tofu dishes, and matcha tea. A culinary tour in Kyoto might include a visit to the Nishiki Market, a kaiseki dining experience, and a sake-tasting session. The city’s cuisine is characterized by its emphasis on seasonal ingredients and aesthetic presentation, offering a taste of Japan’s culinary artistry.

Insider’s Tip

Participate in a traditional tea ceremony for a unique cultural experience. 

When to Travel

March to May and October to November for the best weather. 

How to Get There

Fly to Kansai International Airport, then take a train or bus to Kyoto.

10. Lima, Peru

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Lima is the epicenter of Peruvian cuisine, known for its innovative dishes and use of native ingredients. Culinary tours in Lima often include ceviche tastings, visits to local markets, and dining in some of South America’s best restaurants. The city’s cuisine is a fusion of indigenous, Spanish, African, Chinese, and Japanese influences, creating a unique and diverse culinary landscape.

Insider’s Tip

Don’t miss trying ceviche, Peru’s national dish. 

When to Travel

May to September for dry weather. 

How to Get There

Fly to Jorge Chávez International Airport.

11. Penang, Malaysia

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Penang is often hailed as the food capital of Malaysia, known for its diverse street food and Peranakan cuisine. A culinary tour in Penang might include sampling dishes like Char Kway Teow and Assam Laksa, exploring the street food markets, and trying the unique fusion of Chinese and Malay flavors in Peranakan dishes. The city’s food scene is a vibrant blend of cultures, offering a rich and varied dining experience.

Insider’s Tip

Explore the street food scene in George Town for authentic local flavors. 

When to Travel

December to February for the best weather.

How to Get There

Fly to Penang International Airport.

12. Tbilisi, Georgia

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Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, offers a culinary scene that is relatively undiscovered but immensely rich. Georgian cuisine is known for its breads like khachapuri, hearty stews, and unique cheeses. A culinary tour in Tbilisi might include visits to local bakeries, wine tastings of traditional Georgian wines, and sampling dishes like khinkali (dumplings). The city’s cuisine is a hidden gem, offering a blend of Eastern European and Middle Eastern flavors.

Insider’s Tip

Try a traditional Georgian supra (feast) for a comprehensive taste of local cuisine. 

When to Travel

May to October for pleasant weather. 

How to Get There

Fly to Tbilisi International Airport.

The Bottom Line

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As you embark on your culinary journey across the globe, remember that each destination offers a unique window into the culture and history of its people through food. From the spicy markets of Marrakech to the refined kitchens of Lyon, your adventure will be as much about the people you meet and the stories you hear as it is about the flavors you experience. Embrace each destination with an open mind and an empty stomach, and you’ll discover new foods and perspectives. Bon voyage and bon appétit!

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The post Let’s Taste the World! 12 Spots Where You’ll Love the Food More Than the Scenery! first appeared on elpasoNY.com.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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