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Our top foodie destinations for 2024

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If there’s one thing all peoples and cultures around the world have in common, it’s a love of food – when you’re travelling, it’s the perfect way to communicate without words and get in tune with the local way of life.

With that in mind, we’ve gotten together our top foodie destinations for 2024 to whet your appetite for the coming year. You’ll spot some old favourites here, alongside less-expected picks with a burgeoning reputation for incredible gastronomy. If you’re inspired by what you read, remember to get in touch with our locally-based experts who can plan a bespoke trip that revolves around everything delectable and delicious.

Read on to let your taste buds lead you to new and unexpected destinations…

Lima, Peru

Peru is known for its effervescent ancient trails, legendary historic sites (Machu Picchu, anyone?) and colourful markets adorned with local handicrafts and artisanal fabrics. Capital Lima, however, has built a solid reputation in recent years for its culinary excellence.

Memorable eats come in all forms here; from local street food stalls to the glut of ever-evolving restaurants in the Miraflores or bohemian Barranco districts. Renowned Michelin-starred restaurant Central, for instance, is famed for its exquisite dishes based on ingredients from different altitudes and ecosystems, and is consistently named one of the best restaurants in the world. Also in Miraflores, Maido is known for its exemplary fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cuisines, called Nikkei – think sushi with fresh, Amazonian accompaniments.

When it comes to more down-to-earth fare, Mercado de Surquillo is crammed with plenty of opportunities to try authentic local delicacies. Chomp on moreish empanadas or tempting dusted churros, and slurp on a fresh fruit smoothie as you meander stalls piled with artisanal goods.

Of course, at TravelLocal we’ll always champion food that celebrates local heritage, and in Peru, that’s ceviche. A vibrant plate of cured fish marinated in lime juice and often served with avocado and coriander, it’s a zingy and addictive lip-smacker. Each stall or restaurant will offer its own take on ceviche, so you can get your fill over and over when exploring the Peruvian capital. Chase it up with a famous pisco sour to round off your gourmet Lima experience.

Tbilisi, Georgia

With its fresh herbs, meaty dumplings and doughy, cheesy delights, Georgia is an underrated comfort food destination. Not only is it nicknamed both ‘the Breadbasket of Europe’ and ‘the Cradle of Wine’ due to its fertile grain, wheat and grape crops; its position on the ancient Silk Road between Europe and Asia makes it one of the original sources of fusion cuisine. What more reasons are needed to tuck in your bib and head straight to Tbilisi?

For a well-rounded view of Georgia’s scrumptious fare, you can’t go wrong with the nation’s capital. The Dezerter Bazaar is the perfect place to peruse Georgia’s hero ingredients at their freshest: bright buckets of warming spices, sprigs of dill and tarragon, piles of pomegranates and walnuts, and delectable cheeses and yogurt (called matsoni).

You’ll soon catch a glimpse of one of Georgia’s most famous treats; the cheese and egg-filled pastry boat named khachapuri. Each bakery and eatery has their own version – and they differ throughout the country – but the traditional boat-shaped delicacies are commonly eaten in Tbilisi. Mix the cheese and egg filling, then tear off the warm, bready handles to dip – truly indulgent.

The smell of fresh bread will lure you into bakeries all over the city, so follow your nose; but leave room for the national dish, khinkali. This large, moreish dumpling filled with soup and meat should be carefully slurped, much like the popular Shanghai dumplings over the border, and is widely sold in local eateries.

If you’re after an upscale dinner, some great restaurants in the capital serve exquisite dishes of Georgian food with Mediterranean and Asian influences. Put simply, there are abundant ways to tantalise your taste buds in these parts.

Helsinki, Finland

For foodies in search of adventurous Nordic feasts, Finland gladly offers up its bounty. The changing temperatures drastically impact Finland’s forests and lakes, meaning authentic local fare is very in-tune with nature – bursting with fresh fish, wild berries, potatoes and rye. The flavours are wild, pickled, tart, earthy; a plate which represents the true meaning of hunting and foraging.

Dig into your fill of Finnish flavours on a visit to the capital, Helsinki. In the market square, Kauppatori, you can purchase traditional street foods such as fried vendace – a fish in a crispy coating similar to whitebait – or browse artisan stalls to nibble on famed local cheeses like juustoleipä, the local ‘squeaky cheese’. If you’re travelling in October, you can peruse the herring market fair (Silakkamarkkinat) for local fish dishes prepared in delicious, mustardy marinades during herring season.

Helsinki’s growing farm-to-table movement allows you to get your hands on impeccably-prepared local ingredients, for a true foodie experience that champions sustainability. Lots of restaurants are specialising in this – Juuri, for example, offers delicious, seasonal small plates known as sapas – while trendy Grön has its own farm, for shifting menus that reflect the current crops. Expect food to be freshly cultivated, harvested and hunted – the likes of wild salmon, smoked reindeer, seaweed, lingonberry, and blackcurrants.

Finland is a truly wild destination – get in touch with our local experts to focus on the incredible food on offer during a trip here.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Countries all over Southeast Asia enjoy their fair share of foodie recognition, and Vietnam is no exception. The food varies from north to south, combining robust ingredients (Thai basil, lime, peanuts, chilli, etc.) with the bread- and pastry-led influence of French colonial rule. One thing the food has in common nationwide, however, is its supreme balance of citrus, spicy and umami flavours – you’re sure to eat well wherever you are in the country.

To feast in true Vietnamese style, meander the street stalls of Hanoi. The city is chaotic and utterly beguiling – and once you get to grips with its bustling maze, you’ll realise the sheer culinary diversity on offer. Munch on glorious bun cha – pork slices with noodles and a sweet dipping sauce; grab baguette-style banh mi sandwiches packed with pickles and sriracha; or snack on the satisfyingly light, rice paper spring rolls, banh cuon.

Of course, you may have tried the quintessentially Vietnamese pho – a tangle of noodles and meat immersed in a deeply flavourful broth, garnished with fresh coriander, mint and chilli – in a restaurant where you live. In Hanoi, however, nothing beats sitting on a plastic stool among locals and slurping down a phenomenal bowl of the real deal.

Finally, special mention goes to the coffee. Small glasses of the thick nectar, sweetened with condensed milk, usually arrive topped with their own drip filter – or you could try a famous Hanoi egg coffee for another rich, creamy treat. Enjoy it while you can when travelling Vietnam; the food is so tasty and reasonably priced, you’ll be craving a bite when back home.

Amman, Jordan

It’s only in the last few years that the Western food scene has embraced the delectable experience of a Middle Eastern mezze, and indeed, the glory of small plates. To sample the goods at source, head to the capital of Jordan, Amman.

Jordanian food is thrilling in its boldness – think rich lamb cuts with flavourful rice, warm falafel, unctuous hummus and a burst of pomegranate seeds. The best place to sample a range of local goods is street food stalls, so try the downtown area of Al Balad for a flurry of tempting choices. Jordanians have a sweet tooth, so expect a range of glazed, pistachio-dusted pastries and knafeh (a sweet, custardy dessert served with rose water or orange blossom), as well as savoury favourites such as kebabs and shawarma.

Open-air souks such as Souk Jura, for instance, are usually abundant with locally-sourced delicacies so you can absorb the local atmosphere while tasting whatever’s on offer. Sample figs and citrus fruits, pastries and sticky baklava, falafel sandwiches, spices and condiments.

Foodie tours in Amman offer a great way to squeeze all the gastronomic joy you can out of a trip to the city. You’ll typically stop at bustling food markets, authentic eateries on Rainbow Street – a bohemian area packed with trendy cafes and restaurants, and traditional Jordanian cafes or tea houses for a hookah and cardamom coffee. Get in touch with our local experts in Jordan to do just that.

Oaxaca, Mexico

Mexico is often mentioned when food is the focus, but with an ever-evolving culinary scene, it consistently earns its place on any modern foodie list. For a long time, much of the world was only familiar with an Americanised, Tex-Mex version of Mexican food – though this is quickly changing. Nowadays, the zingy, multi-faceted flavour profiles of Mexican dishes have us hungry for more – and you’re bound to taste delicacies all over Mexico that you’ve never before come across.

For a mouthful of gourmet Mexico, head straight to Oaxaca (pronounced, wa-ha-ca). The city is the culinary soul of Mexico, offering food as thrilling on the taste buds as it is fun and unpretentious to eat. Oaxaca’s speciality is its moles – deeply flavourful sauces often made from chillies, chocolate and concoctions of spices, which are drizzled over meats and veggies. Oaxaqueño-style tamales are often filled with mole and wrapped in banana leaves – while a tlayuda, much like a ‘Oaxacan pizza’, is a giant tortilla grilled over coals and covered in the classic Mexican fusion of meat, beans, cheese, tomato and avocado.

The markets in Oaxaca are a sensory experience – piles of watermelons and buckets of spices draw your eyes and nose in every direction. If you’re feeling extra-adventurous, why not try out the local snacks – fried insects. Grasshoppers, maguey worms and ants can be seen as a good source of protein here, and are actually quite tasty when crisped up with chilli and pepper.

Wash it all down with a potent shot of Oaxaca’s deliciously smoky spirit, mezcal – and maybe even head to La Mezcaloteca for some artisanal samples of the famous tipple. Bottoms up!

Make it happen

To help you follow your taste buds around the world, our locally-based experts know exactly what’s what when it comes to authentic culinary experiences. Get in touch with them today by clicking on the destination links above.

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