I like to travel. I like to eat. I love it when the two result in something amazing…
Some places just seem to combine the two so well. Sunshine, beaches, epic food and a bit of a party… What’s not to like?
Now I haven’t been everywhere but I have done a fair amount of travel and these are my personal favourite spots for chowing down which I’d head back to in a beat.
Malaysia does food so well. The curries and spices of India, the chili burn of Thailand, the sweet and sour of China and even the fried chicken of America. All of this comes together in a fabulous melting pot of temptation in Penang. From the amazing curries of Little India, Char Kway Teow from a roadside cafe or the deep fried spicy chicken from one of the markets there is no end of foodie temptation in this pocket sized city.
Check out the Red Garden food court at the top of Jalan Muntri (the main drag) or the daily markets around the Komtar Centre. Penang also does good coffee, albeit quite sweet, perfect to wash down all that tasty goodness.
Make sure you try Roti Canai, a deep fried bread with a tasty coconut curry which you can get pretty much everywhere. Char Kway Teow is a nicely spiced dish of fat rice noodles and mixed meats which goes down great for brunch with a Penang coffee.
San Sebastian, Spain
Choosing a hot spot for food in Spain isn’t easy, but San Sebastian has a rep which is hard to ignore. The main beach (La Concha) is stunning and the views from Monte Igueldo breathtaking, but it’s the Pintxos bars of Parte Viejo that make Donostia (in the local Basque language) a world apart from the rest of Spain.
Pintxos is a single serving haute cuisine work of art, similar to tapas. Bars across Donostia are lined with some of the most tempting little morsels you’ll ever see which can make a night out in this city a little different to anywhere else in the world. Perfectly fried fillet steak on foie gras, bite sized pieces of lobster, anchovies galore and slabs of goats cheese all washed down with txakoli (cha-kol-ee) the local apple wine.
We went to Narru, right next to La Concha beach, for the lunch menu which was a fantastic deal.
It might be cheating saying that one of the best places to eat is where I live, but really I don’t know where can beat London. For sheer selection it would be hard to top although I imagine New York can give it a close run (I haven’t been to NYC since I was 15 so can’t really compare it).
Global food is in abundance. We’re talking amazing Indian in Whitechapel and Tooting, genuine Korean and Vietnamese in Old Street, the best burgers anywhere in the world at Honest Burger and Patty and Bun and some exceptional takes on modern British fare at places like Chriskitch in Hoxton or Lamberts in Balham. A wander around Brick Lane or Borough Market is like a smorgasbord of phenomenal street food from around the world and then to top it off you can wash it down with some of the best beer on the planet. Grab a Doom Bar or Beavertown Gamma Ray and tell me I’m wrong…
I’ve passed through Dubai only really on stopovers, plus a few days when I bimbled around sightseeing and as a city I haven’t really done it any justice. But for food, it is definitely quite something.
The star of the show for me is the shwarma which you can grab at roadsides across Dubai for around £1 a pop. These are slow cooked slices of marinated chicken or lamb in a wrap with salad and tahini sauce – basically a decent kebab. However as a multicultural hub you can get a bit of everything from all around the world. I chowed down on some proper Indian food like masala dosas and puri masala, a full Lebanese meze spread of hummus and tabbouleh and a Brazilian themed rodizo burger.
I know there are some super high end places to get stuck in which I can’t really comment about, but for street level cafes and snacks it’s up there with the best.
Kerala and Goa, India
OK, so these aren’t cities but as they’re tourist hot spots they’re fair game for this list. India generally for food is awesome. Curry as you may know it in the west doesn’t feature in the subcontinent so you’re gonna be chowing down on phenomenal biriyani, thalis full of amazing little curries, malai kofta dumplings, masala dosa pancakes and idli with sambar.
Pick a city in India and you can find these beauties, but heading to the more sedate destinations of Goa and Kerala you can also add amazing fresh fish and tourist friendly burger and pizza. Oh and some nice beaches too.
If you’re vegetarian then India is a must visit destination, but for meat eaters you’ll be feasting on lovely tandoori roasted chicken and slow cooked lamb curries to top it off.
If you’re looking at flying into a city in India, my personal faves would be Mumbai and Kochi.
Hong Kong: A little while since I was there but the dim sum was pretty amazing and noodle soups with tasty meatballs is a definite highlight.
Rome, Italy: Amazing pizza, amazing pasta, lovely grappa and limoncello and focaccia sandwhiches. Oh yeah and the coffee…!
Auckland, New Zealand: Some great food courts across the city with great sushi plus a culture of meat means some great ribs and steaks.