“What’s the best thing you’ve eaten?” I can’t remember how many times I’ve been asked this question since I began writing about food and travel. Until now, however, I’ve never written about the ultimate culinary highlights of my various global getaways, so when Destination2.co.uk told me about their world food campaign, I just had to get involved. The long haul luxury travel operator is encouraging bloggers to think about the best foods they’ve eaten while travelling, and the foodie destinations they can’t wait to tick off their travel bucket list.
Food is one of the biggest reasons I travel, and I often choose where to visit next based on the kind of cuisine they’ll be dishing up. When I actually sat down and thought about the best exotic dishes I’ve ever tasted and my favourite foodie destinations, I realised exactly just how much world food I’ve managed to eat my way through over the past eight years or so! I’ve had the pleasure of sampling so many different foods around the world, choosing just a handful of countries to showcase as my favourite destinations has been quite the challenge.
5 Wonderful World Food Destinations
Here are five amazing places to go if you love trying different world food:
Jamaica sits right at the top of my world food travel bucket list because the three amazing months I spent in Montego Bay and Negril back in 2014 were what prompted me to start writing about my foodie travel adventures in the first place.
Jamaican cuisine centres upon rich, hearty dishes packed with chicken, goat, fish, pork and seafood featuring heavily on the menu, although veggie dishes like callaloo and ackee are also popular. I lived off juicy jerk chicken and pork, crispy fried chicken, fruity brown stew chicken with yam and rice n’peas, goat curry, coco bread sandwiches and Juici Patties while I was there.
My favourite restaurant in Negril was Pushcart Restaurant and Rum Bar at The Rockhouse Hotel. Perched on the West End Cliffs, this restaurant served traditional Jamaican cuisine with an upmarket flair, like this assorted jerk platter of prawns, pork and chicken with mixed veg and festival dumplings.
Even after three trips to Portugal, I’m still not tired of Portuguese cuisine. I’ve already written a brief guide to eating out in Lagos, Algarve based on my previous visits to the region, and I’d go as far as to place the country within my top three foodie destinations.
I can’t visit Portugal without eating copious amounts of pork and clams, peri peri chicken, fresh fish, shellfish, pasta and pastel de nata.
My most memorable meal in Portugal was on Christmas Day 2016, when my best friend Sarah and I spent the festive season in Lagos and we ate Christmas dinner at Restaurant Dom Henrique, tucked away on one of the winding cobbled streets in the town centre. We shared starters of tuna carpaccio (pictured above) and a duo of salmon and swordfish, before polishing off a rack of lamb (pictured below) and a beef fillet for our mains. Dessert wasn’t required, as we had a stash of freshly baked pastel de nata waiting for us in our hotel room, ready to be guzzled up and washed down with a glass of Port.
As a big fan of Indian cuisine – the spicier, the better – I always knew I had to visit India. At university, I had a friend who lived in Kolkata and when we graduated and she returned home to India, I always said I would visit her one day. When she told me she was getting married, I realised I’d better start making some bookings! I spent two weeks in India, during which time I visited Kolkata, Agra, Jaipur, Delhi and Varanasi, before spending three fun-filled days celebrating my friend’s marriage at the end of my trip.
I managed to pack a lot into the relatively little amount of time I had – and I’m not just referring to my schedule! I ate my way through tonnes of irresistible Indian cuisine, although admittedly I dodged the street food vendors because I didn’t want to get ill and ruin my short stay; I heard many of them cooked using tap water and after my stomach began to feel like it was full of razor blades after accidentally ordering ice in a drink one night, I thought it best to play it safe!
I loved the homemade veggie thalis I got to taste when I was staying with my friend in Kolkata at the beginning of my trip.
Of all the dishes I ate in India, there is one in particular that I’ve never been able to forget. I scour the menu of every authentic Indian restaurant I come across looking for this dish and occasionally I spot it, but the dish never actually lives up to my expectations; I am still yet to find the real deal outside India. So, what is this wonderful culinary concoction? Allow me to introduce you to the murgh malai tikka kebab – large chunks of succulent chicken breast marinated in yoghurt and cheese and grilled in a clay oven. Once cooked, the yoghurt and cheese marinade forms a web-like casing around the chicken pieces, giving it a delicious, creamy flavour. I’d go back to India just for this! I ate it a few times throughout my trip, but the best version I tried was at Royal Jaipur Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
I recently went on a fabulous foodie press trip in Belfast, Northern Ireland in collaboration with Tourism Ireland. While I was there, I spent three glorious days eating my way across Belfast. along with fellow Welsh food and travel blogger, Munchies and Munchkins. We went to BelFeast Food and Drink Festival, ate Ulster fry on a stick and drank Suki Tea in St. George’s Market, wined and dined over the tasting menu at Michelin-starred OX Belfast, indulged in a spot of Saturday afternoon beer and cheese tasting with Boundary Brewing Co. and Mike’s Fancy Cheese Co., and learnt how to make authentic seafood chowder at Belfast Cookery School – just to mention a few highlights from our trip!
The highlight of our foodie adventure in Belfast for me, however, was digging into this mountain of a Sunday roast at the Bull and Ram in the Queen’s Quarter; the sister restaurant of the award-winning restaurant by the same name based within an Edwardian butcher’s shop in Ballynahinch, County Down. We knew we were in for a treat when we ordered pork crackling for starters, and it kept popping while sitting on the plate. When our roast dinners arived, we let out a chorus of ‘aah’s’. The Yorkshire pudding was actually almost as big as my head, and any roast dinner that comes with both roast and mashed potato, and extra gravy, gets my full seal of approval. Stay tuned to my blog over the next week or so to hear more about my culinary adventures in Belfast!
You might be surprised to see London in my top five destinations for world food, but London is actually the ideal place to go if you love tasting different foods from around the world. Home to thousands of people from all over the world, from different nationalities and cultural backgrounds, you can practically eat the world from London without so much as stepping foot on a plane.
From the street food stalls of Camden Market and Portobello Road, to the fancy eateries of Covent Garden and Soho, London has something to suit all palates and budgets.
The most unforgettable meal I’ve ever eaten in London was at Native in Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden. With a focus on sustainable eating and a commitment to minimal waste, this contemporary restaurant prides itself on wild produce and foraged seasonal foods. It costs no extra to sit on the Chef’s Table, but it’s well worth it to gain first-hand insight into the culinary techniques and ingredients used by the chefs.
On my visit to Native last year, I sampled around three or four of the small plates and a couple of the mains and desserts from the ever-changing menu. The dishes that stand out in my mind are the Dorset hake with seashore vegetables, celeriac, lovage and naked barley (pictured above), and the 62 degree hen’s egg, pickled girolles, alliums and chickweed (pictured below).