Where can you bite into the planet’s premiere pizza? Or delight in the globe’s most delectable dumplings? Or taste tapas that people cross oceans to experience? In other words: what are the best cities for favorite foods?
These are all great questions—especially if you’re one of a growing number of people who believe that an essential component of good travel is good food. And, if you are, you might enjoy some of the thoughts of food/travel writer Simon Farrell-Green, who recently posted some of his thoughts on this mouth-watering subject for CNN Travel.
What are some of the best cities for certain culinary pleasures (in Simon’s mind, at least)? Here are 5 (including a few surprises) that we thought deserved a special call-out:
- When in London, try the bone marrow salad. Once a place that hard-core foodies avoided, London, in the last 20-30 years, has become a serious food center. On one hand, the choices are far more international with great Indian, French, Italian, and Spanish restaurants. On the other hand, the city’s British food also shines. Farrell-Green is particularly partial to Henderson’s St. John, a restaurant that features such items as ox heart with beetroot or Jerusalem artichokes, gently roasted. “But, as he notes, “the bone marrow salad is what defines this place: chunks of shin, roasted, served with chopped up parsley and sourdough. Deadly simple, and sublime.”
- In Shanghai, the dumplings are to die for. Here, all the dumplings are good, but Farrell-Green considers xiaolongbao, which can be found all over the city, the best. These are filled with crab or pork and soup stock, carefully closed at the top, and steamed. His favorites are served at Jia Jia Tang Bao, a bare-bones place with no English sign and no English menu but dumplings he calls “heavenly.”
- In Barcelona, try the tantalizing tapas. Here, in the city that invented tapas, the quality can vary widely, so research always helps. Farrell-Allen’s choice for the place that “captures the essence of the city” is El Quim, where the service can be abrupt but the tapas terrific.
- When in Sydney, think Thai. In most places around the world, Farrell-Allen reports, Thai food is ordinary, but, in Sydney, the city’s best chefs have “created something magnificent.” Two restaurants he recommends are Spice I Am, where the food is “punchy, fresh, and not expensive,” and Longrain, which started the Thai food revolution in Australia 13 years ago and which remains busy every night.
- Stop in Naples for pizza with pizazz. “Neapolitans didn’t exactly invent pizza,” says Farrell-Allen, “but you could say they defined it.” Yes, they were the first to put both Mozzarella and tomatoes on it. Today, the pizza here is wood-fired and hearty, and Farrell-Allen’s eatery of choice is Da Michele, which dates back to a 19th Century pizzeria and only serves two types of pizza – Margherita and Marinara – both of which Farrell-Allen proclaims are “mind-bogglingly good.”
Is there a best city for a food that fills your soul as well as your stomach? If so, send us a post. And, if you can add the name of a restaurant that does a particularly good job of preparing that food, all the better. We’d love to get your recommendations. And, when we’re in the neighborhood (whatever the continent), we’d love to act on them. We’re always hungry for good food ideas.