Traveling the world can provide a plethora of new experiences. Indeed, immersing yourself in a different culture can open your mind and help unlock new areas of interest and hobbies. Traveling alone especially can help bring out your inner confidence and change your outlook on the world. Moreover, seeing things outside of your own perspective and comfort zone can give you a newfound appreciation for everything around you. And above all, tasting cuisines around the world beyond your usual palette can truly enrich your travel experience.
Choosing where to go can be difficult! Especially when there are so many places offering so many different landscapes, cultures, and experiences. So, choosing based on cuisine and culinary delights can be a great way to narrow down your options. Let's take a trip around the world in eight world foods to decide which countries provide the greatest culinary experiences!
Indian food has become a staple of many people’s diets. The UK even voted Chicken Tikka Masala the nation’s favorite dish, and curry houses are a popular feature of almost every town there. But the Indian food we can taste outside of India is really just the tip of the iceberg. The ways of cooking Indian food in India vary from region to region. Each provides an explosion of spices and flavors that tells a rich culinary story.
As Deliveroo shows, even curry accompaniments – from chapati to naan – can change a meal and help bring out its different flavors and sensations. Whether choosing a korma or a vindaloo, every Indian dish tells its own story. So if it's history and tradition you seek on your travels, then India and its cuisine should be your top destination.
The beauty of Mexican food is that a few simple ingredients can be combined into an enormous variety of different dishes. Most people's minds jump straight to the spicy chilis that often add a bit of fire to many Mexican dishes. And indeed, hot food is a common theme across the country.
From tacos to burritos, empanadas to enchiladas, the basis of Mexican food is spicy tomato sauce with meat or beans. As a result of Mexican cuisine's growing popularity around the world, there have been new and exciting takes on it. However, if you really want to experience next-level spice, Mexico is the only place where you'll get the real deal.
Chinese food is one of the most popular cuisines around the world. From dishes based around noodles and rice, to those that star beef, pork, chicken, or seafood, the options on Chinese menus are almost endless. Authentic Chinese food is eaten with chopsticks and is often bought in bustling markets -- two differences that heighten the experience of discovering another culture through food.
Chinese food also varies widely from region to region. In the Zhejiang Province, there's a popular dish called Beggar’s Chicken, which is essentially a roasted chicken in a lotus leaf. In the Yuannan Province, you can find a delicacy known as bamboo rice. Meanwhile, the 1000-year-old egg is a popular delicacy across the country. Its taste is not for the faint of heart, but if you're prepared to experiment, then China is a good bet!
American cuisine is arguably the newest on the block. Primarily consisting of fast food, it has been propelled to popularity around the world by various American-led chains. From burgers and fries to fried chicken, hot dogs and Chicago-style pizza, American food has a lot of fans. Visiting America offers a prime opportunity to try the various different versions of this large country's cuisine.
For example, the burgers served in Louisiana differ from those served in health-conscious LA. Pizzas in New York and Chicago have a distinctly different base. And the fried chicken of Georgia's traditional home cooking is different from its Kentuckian counterpart. If you’re not one for fast food, a selection of American-invented salads, such as the Cobb salad, could do the trick instead. But essentially, if comfort food is your bag, you'll enjoy traveling the US.
French cooking is globally renowned for its richness and its romantic connotations. Whether it's in the standard ratatouille that made its way from the provinces to the big cities, the armada of cheeses and wines, or the garlic-heavy stews and soups, French bistros pride themselves on turning simple ingredients into culinary masterpieces.
Take the croque-monsieur, for example. Ostensibly, it's just a fancy ham and cheese toastie. But it symbolizes the way the French see cooking and food as a sensation for the senses, not just as a means to an end. For the adventurous, there are always frogs’ legs and snails to help take you out of your comfort zone. But in essence, France is all about romance and love - for food.
The Italian cuisine is one of the most recognizable, and nobody can resist its appeal. Every take on pizza is different and every pasta dish has its own merits. You could go truly traditional and try the original Italian pizza, with just tomato sauce covering the pizza base. Alternatively, load on the toppings or even choose a chocolate-flavored version. As for pasta, there’s spaghetti, tagliatelle, ravioli, and more. With sauces ranging from simple olive oil and garlic to tomato-based arrabbiatas and classy carbonaras. All can be accompanied by their fine drinks (did you know that Italians have one of the youngest drinking age in the world?).
Not unlike India, China, or France, though, Italy's cuisine differs vastly from region to region. The North is home to the famous Risotto Milanese, luxuriously made with saffron. Panzanella, a summer salad made with hunks of leftover bread, is a Tuscan tradition. And arancini, deep-fried balls of rice, meat, and cheese, bedeck the market stalls of Sicily. Eating in Italy is mostly about authenticity and staying true to your roots - but Italians are also big fans of quantity. So if you're willing to unbuckle that belt and dig into the country's rich culture with your teeth, Italy's for you.
Greek dishes are composed of what was traditionally grown - and what continues to grow - in the country. As such, oregano is a huge part of Greek cuisine, as are olives and olive oil. The meat dishes on offer – moussaka, kleftiko, souvlaki - are cooked according to ancient recipes. These specialties are based on the animals available and the flavorings that bring out the best of each cut of meat.
But for non-meat eaters, nothing compares to a traditional feta-based Greek salad, complete with a selection of those locally-grown olives. It may not be the first that pops to mind when thinking of cuisines around the world, but if you live for sustainability, why not give Greece a try?
Thai food may be one of the more recent cuisines to have reached the western world and taken it by storm, but it's been worth the wait. Traditional Thai food has helped to spread the concept of "street food", which refers to batch-cooked food - such as portions of curry and rice - served in markets.
Most people lean towards Thai green or red curry, but Thailand is also known for such delicacies as the mincemeat and rice dish laap, fish sauce and phad Thai rice noodles, as well as the spiced papaya dish som tam. If you've been enjoying the street food trend for some time now, putting your well-honed skills to the test in a traditional setting will be right up your alley.
Eating like the locals is a key aspect of traveling anywhere. Taking a trip around the world can be made just that bit more special by also turning it into a culinary trip. The flavors and tastes of each country and each region of the country help tell the story of its culture, widening your perspective and bringing you out of your comfort zone and what you're used to.
So, how did you like your trip through cuisines around the world? I hope that I've helped you foodies decide on your next destination. If you like it, don't forget to share this with your fellow food lovers and follow me for more guides to come!