14 Jun Food Bloggers’ Favourite Cities
Food Bloggers Reveal Their Favourite Foodie Cities Around The World
by Amy Watson
An enriching and fascinating part of any travel experience is the food encountered along the way. Whether this is a light snack from a local deli or a five course meal in a Michelin star restaurant, the food we sample on is an important element in engaging the senses when travelling. We asked some lovers of food, travel and the written word to tell us about their favourite city for great food.
Read on below to get your taste buds tingling!
Now I’m a sucker for seafood, there is no denying that done right, it is unmatched. And as an ex dive instructor, living by the Caribbean sea, I have been pretty spoilt. Recently, however, I went to visit my parents, who have just moved to Capestang, southern France. As a treat, to celebrate their new life, they took me down to one of their favourite spots on the coast for some local cuisine.
Our destination was the seaside town of Bouzigues. Bouzigues, a commune in the Hérault department of southern France, part of the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the country, is a quaint little village that lives mainly on its cultivation of oysters and mussels. Its origins date back to the time of the ancient Greeks, where the earliest fishermen are said to have lived in troglodyte caves along the shore. This small village, located on the Etang de Thau (a salt water lagoon), has kept its traditions and old world charm. It has a fifteenth century church, a charming harbour and long narrow beach, perfect for tootling along after a leisurely lunch.
But the real gem of the day, were the filter feeders that call the Etang de Thau their home; the oyster. On the horizon, square wooden frames on stilts, sunk into the sea bed are where the oysters thrive. And the restaurants that crowd the water’s edge, offer them fresh from their salty beds. Served with shallot vinaigrette, crusty brown bread and butter, they are quite divine. And with a glass of crisp local white to wash them down, it’s a degustation’s dream.
Well this is a very hard question for me to answer, but I’m going to have to pick one of my favourite cities in the entire world; Florence, Italy. I lived there over a year and a half, and it’s honestly made it hard for me to eat Italian food anywhere except for when I’m in Italy. Especially since I’m currently traveling South-East Asia, and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a worse pizza. Don’t worry, I’ve learned from my mistake; always stick to the local dishes!
Anyway, getting back to Florence—there are tons of incredible restaurants, panino shops, and delicious gelateria’s to choose from. I’m obsessed with Italian food, although my waist-line would prefer otherwise. I have two particular recommendations for anyone heading to Florence.
1. You absolutely must try one of “Pino’s Sandwiches” at Salumeria Verdi. Pino, the owner of the shop, is one of the nicest Italian men I met during my time in Italy, and also makes one of the most delicious sandwiches you’ll ever try. He slices all the meat in front of you, and all the ingredients are super fresh. My personal recommendation, try “The Best”!
2. For a nice restaurant, there’s no better recommendation than to head to “Ristorante La Spada”. I used to live down the street from there, and would eat there on a very regular basis. When you go, make sure you order “The Bruno Special”! It basically is a family style feast that comes with giant servings of three different types of their pasta, as well as large portions of different types of meat & perfectly seasoned potatoes. Oh, one last thing – it includes bottomless wine.
When it comes to food, Florence definitely will be a highlight! Trust me; get yourself on a plane to Italy! Buon Viaggio!
My focus is London and the old stereotype that London has terrible food is definitely long out-of-date. If you haven’t been to London recently, or haven’t stepped out of your comfort zone to try new restaurants, you’re really missing out! London has had a huge culinary renaissance in the last few years, and it’s probably impossible to find a type of food that isn’t available in the English capital now.
Some of my favorites include: delicious, authentic Indian food at Tayaabs in the East End, where you can BYOB(everage of choice); mouthwatering American-style hamburgers and fries at raucous Meat Mission in Hoxton (home of the hipsters!); and a modern take on traditional British bangers and mash at Mother Mash in Soho. I even found both authentic Shanghai Xiao Long Bao and delivery Americanized sweet and sour chicken! London has welcomed chefs and styles from around the world, created different types of restaurant infrastructure (delicious short-term popups as an alternative to opening a brick-and-mortar investment restaurant), and can please even the most picky and/or food sensitive eaters.
The next time someone claims that London doesn’t do food, send them my way. I’ll gladly hop across the pond to give them the ultimate tour to prove otherwise.
I fell in love with Berlin the second I arrived. At 6:30 in the morning after a sleepless night on an overnight train, it was already 30 degrees when my partner and I stumbled out of the Hauptbahnhof. If I’m honest, given the circumstances of our unceremonious arrival, Berlin had a fair amount to do to make a good impression. It succeeded, starting with the rich coffee and white chocolate cookie purchased from the central station, and carrying on via what have to be the most fabulous nachos I have ever consumed, courtesy of Palm Beach bar on Kurfürstendamm (admittedly not a German dish, but bear with me).
One of the best things about Berlin is stumbling upon unexpected (and tasty) surprises. This began when we discovered a small food stall in Adenauerplatz U-Bahn station which offered six Quarkbällchen for €1.50, delicious deep-fried Bavarian style donuts with a hint of vanilla. Then, on an afternoon wander, we happened upon a small book fair under a railway bridge, and had a browse. I spotted a fast food van, (the kind of thing that here in the UK usually sells salmonella burgers and tea so strong you could use it as an effective drain cleaner) and noticing it served Currywurst we decided to have a go. Now, I’d heard about Currywurst before we arrived in Germany, but nothing had quite prepared me for it. It’s simple but utterly unforgettable, consisting of a lightly fried Bratwurst (pork sausage) seasoned with curry ketchup and curry powder and served with fries. I’m struggling to conjure superlatives; it was that good. Washed down with a Sprite – from a glass bottle, I might add – it was fabulous.
Later in the week we ventured south of Alexanderplatz, and in a side street we discovered a line of bars & restaurants that occupied old railway arches. Selecting one at random, we went for a cocktail and a Flammkuchen; a pizza with a thin base, made with crème fraîche or plain yoghurt instead of passata and topped with onions and lardons. It was superb; the base crumbled in the mouth and the cool, creamy topping was a delight. It had none of the heaviness pizzas occasionally can, and all of the flavour.
A final note; if you are at all into beer, you are in for absolute sensory overload in Berlin. I tried numerous German beers while I was there, too numerous to list, but highlights were certainly a huge tankard of Warsteiner, and an ice-cold pint of König Ludwig Kristall. The latter is a smooth, full bodied pilsner style lager that left a pleasant, citrus aftertaste and no hint of the chemical lewdness of the majority of commercial beers available in the UK.
For me, food has always been an intrinsic part of the travel experience; experiencing local colour, culture and cuisine go hand in hand. It would therefore have been rude to leave Germany without sampling a traditional Bratwurst. From behind the counter of a kiosk near Brandenburg Gate emerged the most enormous sausage I’ve ever seen. Complete with mustard and ketchup, it was nothing short of phenomenal.
I love Italy and its food is so diverse, with each region offering its own specialities, it’s hard to choose which is the most exciting. I could talk of pizza in Naples, tortellini in Bologna and gelato in Rome. But the place I go back to again and again is Venice.
People are surprised I go so often. Isn’t it crowded? Isn’t it smelly? Isn’t it expensive? Well, of course, ‘yes’ could sometimes be the answer to all these questions, but the delight of returning regularly to a favourite destination is discovering what lies behind the tourist façade. At my hotel I eat breakfast in a tranquil courtyard. I can wander through nearby alleys and piazzas where locals shop or stand talking. Venice is full of quiet and soothing places if you head off the tourist track. And then, of course, there is the water. The shimmering water, reflecting the magnificent buildings, offers its own sense of stillness and calm. There is a lightness to Venice that lifts the spirit. Think of all that wonderful music Vivaldi wrote there; surely he must have felt the same too.
As for eating, here you will find polenta is often served instead of potatoes with dishes like Fegato alla Veneziana (liver with onions). Risotto is popular in Venice, especially alla mare (of the sea). Delicious black pasta is made with the ink of cuttlefish. But the most exciting thing for me is a table by the edge of the Grand Canal at Osteria Bancogiro early evening as the sun begins to set.
Perfection is a plate of ciccheti (small snacks), including some gorgeous baccalà mantecato (creamed cod) – a Venetian speciality – and maybe some local San Daniele prosciutto, with a glass of prosecco – a drink of the Veneto.
When I was first planning a trip to Thailand, I always knew I wanted to include a cooking class. I love Thai food and where better to learn, but in the country itself! Chiang Mai is best known as the place to take a cooking class. It was nearer towards the end of my trip and so, by then, I was really looking forward to the class…it certainly did not disappoint!
I signed up for a class at Baan Hongnual Cookery School. The school is located in a country-side village in the Sarapee district, about 15-20 minutes from Chiang Mai. It is located in a beautiful Lanna-style teak house, with enough cooking stations for about 30 people. Before arriving at the school, we went with our instructor to a local market to learn about the food and spices. We also picked up all the ingredients needed to prepare 4 dishes: tom yum soup, green curry (gaeng kiao waan), pad thai, and papaya salad (som tam).
Baan Hongnual Cookery School
First, we made tom yum soup and pad thai. Our instructor showed us first how to make each dish and then we started off on our individual stations. There were 3 kitchen assistants to go around and help us as well. They did a great job of explaining the recipe step by step as we prepared each dish, and then took a break after the first two dishes to eat!
Then, we made chicken green curry and a fresh papaya salad. We were able to choose how spicy we wanted to make our food, so I made mine quite spicy. If I had realised how much we would be eating, I wouldn’t have eaten for 2 days ahead of time!
I wanted to include a recipe as well, so here is the recipe for papaya salad. Hope you enjoy making it!
Curry and Papaya Salad
Ingredients: 100 grams green papaya, peeled and shredded. 3 cloves garlic. 3-5 fresh or dried red chilies. 1 long green bean, cut into 1 inch long pieces. 1 tbsp dried shrimp. 1 tomato, chopped into bite sized pieces. 2 tbsp fish sauce. 2 tbsp lime juice. 1 tbsp palm sugar. 2 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts.
1) Pound garlic, chilies and long bean until well crushed, using wooden or clay mortar and pestle.
2) Add fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. Taste and, if necessary, add more chilies, sugar, lime juice or fish sauce.
3) Added shredded green papaya, dried shrimp, roasted peanuts, tomatoes and lightly smash together.
When asked about my favourite city for food, I immediately thought of my favourite city in general…New York City. Every time I am booked to visit New York, all I can think of is the food I plan to eat. Now running a blog with ‘Food’ in the title you would think I am some sort of food connoisseur, however that is far from true. I simply love junk food, a burger here, a pizza there, a milkshake everywhere….and therefore New York is perfect and has every dish I could desire.
Whereas I might be happy with a cheeseburger from Shake Shack I understand this might not be everyone’s idea of a perfect meal. So if you’re a little more adventurous when it comes to your eating habits don’t fret, NYC will still cater to you. It’s not called the ‘Food Capital of the World’ or referred to as the worlds ‘melting pit’ for nothing now is it? In New York you’ll find food from every corner of the world and your taste buds won’t quite know what’s happening. From Chinese to Korean you’ll be sure to find something that suits your needs.
When we look past the burgers you’ll find me lurking around the sweet shops, whether it’s the incredible selection of cupcake stores, doughnut shops or my personal favourite…Fat Witch. Fat Witch is a small brownie bakery located in Chelsea Market and serves what can only be described as little pieces of heaven.
My first food memories from Tel Aviv are already from my childhood. I traveled to Israel with my family and we spent many days on the beach in Tel Aviv. Our routine was to wonder around Carmel-market, a colorful food and vegetable market, and to buy fruit and biscuits and have a picnic on the beach. I still remember the taste of the sweet grapes melting in my mouth.
It is difficult to find a bad restaurant in Tel Aviv. There are so many restaurants, cafes and bars in the vivid city that the bad places simply die away. The Israeli people love eating and they don’t want to pay for mediocre food. I could spend my time in Tel Aviv just eating. I love to eat in my old favorites and to discover the new places which are always there when I return to the city approximately once per year.
Tel Avivians go out a lot. The places are full of people even in the middle of the week, often until late in the night. It feels as if no one works in this city. In the weekend they like to start their day with a lazy breakfast, a huge meal with the best to offer, probably accompanied with a breakfast cocktail. There are even restaurants specialized with breakfasts, they sell only breakfast, 24/7.
(Benedict, several branches, http://www.benedict.co.il/en/)
* Start your day with the Israeli breakfast which is an institution: fresh bread, fresh orange juice, various cheese, olives, finely chopped vegetable salad, an omelette, some sweet things to finish with. A big meal which will leave your stomach with not a millimeter of empty space.
* Eat shakshouka! In addition to the traditional reddish tomato-bell pepper-egg dish there are new inventions such as green shakshouka. The most famous is Dr. Shakshouka in Jaffa but you can get equally good shakshouka in many restaurants. http://www.frommers.com/destinations/tel-aviv/restaurants/863698#sthash.6yASMcPv.dpb
* Try the “white pizza” at Ha’basta in the Carmel market. Generous slices of truffels top the naan bread coated with goat cheese and asparagus.
* Spend one evening in Sarona, the new entertainment area with cafes and restaurants. Beautiful architecture combined with nice atmosphere.
After all this incredible advice, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hungry. In my opinion, the next best thing to discovering somewhere is to visit and enjoy a place recommended by somebody else, and I’m keen to get started! For more tips, visit the bloggers above to see what they’re up to and how their travels can inspire you.