Top ten travel destinations for foodies 2014 from ceviche and mangoes in Trujillo, Peru, to summer-sweet Limoncello on the Italian Amalfi coast, to spicy tamarind-chickpea chaat and syrup-sweet ice gola from beachside vendors in Goa: there’s a destination for every taste. And every year thanks to new food trends, recently crowned top chefs, and budding tourism industries, there are more places to explore where hungry travelers have yet to devour the last bawan dumpling, glass of organic wine, or slice of reindeer salami. Whether a vacation means local markets or Michelin Star restaurants, here are the top ten foodie destinations to explore in 2014, both on and off the beaten path.
Located twelve hours north of Lima, Trujillo is isolated enough to feel exotic but established enough to accommodate tourists, even those who don’t speak Spanish. Trujillo is the country’s northern beach destination and is also home to the country’s best ceviche. The family-run restaurants are affordable, generous and offer incredibly fresh versions of the national dish of lime-marinated corvhina or lenguado fish with braised sweet potatoes, fresh chili peppers, and fat white Peruvian corn. Don’t miss the local markets with heaps of mangoes, custardy guanabana, and butterscotch-like lucuma fruit, the latter being found only in Peru.
There was a time when everyone wanted to eat pizza in Napoli, savour gelato in Venice, drink Barolo in Piedmont, and devour spaghetti (Lady and the Tramp-style) in Rome. But like too many great romances, the passion faded; everyone and his dog had been there, done that. Then celebrities started buying up villas and opening agroturismos, inviting travelers to experience the “real” Italy—a land of rustic cuisine, proud farmsteads and idyllic villages outside major cities. North America especially fell back in love with all things Italian, seeking out areas of the country with long-established gastronomic specialties, including the lemon-flavoured liqueur, Limoncello. Much more accessible than Italy’s other homemade hooch of choice, Grappa, small-scale producers of the sweet dessert liqueur are shipping bottles to a thirsty North American market where it’s showing up in cocktails and on digestivo menus at hip Italian trattorie. Add to that the fact that the gorgeous Amalfi Coast is home to the only lemons that should be used in the drink, and suddenly you have a foodie destination. Go before everyone and his dog comes back for “Vacation: Italy, Part 2.”
Street food and beaches are the main attractions of this off-the-beaten-path destination. Long a draw for backpackers, the tropical paradise has a strong tourism industry in place already to support its growing popularity. Chaat vendors stroll the beach hawking newspaper-wrapped cones of spicy chickpeas with sweet tamarind and cooling mint chutneys, puffed rice, and yogurt. Others sell gola—shaved ice treats with sweet flavoured syrups.
Lovers of fine dining, take note! Melbourne is home to the highest new entry on the S.Pellegrino & ACqua Panna Top 50 Restaurants list: Attica restaurant. Chef Ben Shewry’s eight-course tasting menu changes regularly, but cross your fingers for snow crab, the “Simple potato cooked in the earth it was grown,” or “Red kangaroo tended by the hands of our cooks.” Since snagging a table is tough, it’s a good thing the city also boasts a slew of other top toques, including Andrew McConnell of Cumulus Inc. with his homemade charcuterie and communal slow-roasted lamb shoulder.
San Francisco, U.S.A.
This top food city is trending right now, with a new crop restaurants serving surprising and creative American cuisine. Not to be missed are dinners by top chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski at State Bird Provisions, espresso at Iron & Steam, and charred, sour, and just dense enough artisanal sourdough at Tartine Bakery.
Flushing, New York, U.S.A.
Why would you trek an hour out of Manhattan for Chinese food when you could a) go to Canal Street—Manhattan's own enormous Chinatown—or b) just go to China? Because nowhere else in the world is every nook and cranny of China so well-represented—and in shopping malls, at that. Besides, where else do South American restaurants stand next to Jamaican, Taiwanese, South Indian, and Korean establishments, all offering food equally homemade and delicious? Within a ten-minute walk of the subway stop there’s everything from organic juice and vegetarian dimsum to tongue-tingling Szechuan pork, northern lamb with hand-pulled noodles, fine dining Cantonese-style, and Taiwanese mountains of ice, mango, sherbet, and condensed milk.
In this city known for its accomplished Scandinavian restaurants (e.g. Olo and Luomo), a relatively little-known but essential foodie destination is the Kauppatori Market. Here, find moose, reindeer, and bear salami; chocolate infused with salted black licorice; and herring delicacies. Head to the food stalls at the back of the market away from the dense crowds to enjoy your salmon soup, grilled fish and potatoes, and local strawberries in peace.
Ningxia Night Market, Taipei, Taiwan
In Taiwan, cool evenings are much needed respites from sweltering days. And when Taipei finally relaxes its suffocating hold on its citizens they head to evening markets. Join them and experience Taipei like a local, avocado milkshake in hand. Walk the aisles of street food and salivate over the pork belly buns, yam balls, and oyster omelets. The bawan dumplings and fish balls are not to be missed. Unique among night markets, Ningxia is even a little green: it offers eco-friendly chopsticks and has an inceptor that keeps grease from entering sewage systems.
Croatian Wine Routes
Though overlooked in the past in favour of neighbouring Italian options, the Mediterranean country is ideal for winemaking, which, unbeknownst to most of the world, Croatians have been doing for a long time. Wineries such as Krauthaker, Saints Hills, and Bolfan are even producing stellar organic, biodynamic and natural wines that sommeliers and wine-lovers in the know are clamouring to get their hands on. From age-worthy reds from hand-harvested hillside terraces to cooler-climate northern whites, the unique Croatian varietals are for anyone interested in getting out of the cab sauvignon/chardonnay box.
Taguig City, Pasig City, Philippines
According to both Bizarre Foods host, Andrew Zimmern and cookbook writer/ food diva, Gwyneth Paltrow, Filipino cuisine is going to be hot in 2014. So before vinegar- and soy-doused stewed pork, chicken, beef, and fish take over the world, try adobo—the national dish—at Adobo ‘To in Pasig City where it’s served simply with two large scoops of white rice. Or try a version there with cheese sauce, coconut milk, or shrimp paste. For a more upscale interpretation of the dish, head to Sentro 1771 in Taguig City.