Bucket List Destinations for Foodies

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hand holding cup of pasta with fork pulling it out with venice canal in background
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GOURMET GOALS

Most of us enjoy eating, but not so much that we’re willing to go to the ends of the earth for a favorite dish or new sensation. If you’re the one who needs to choose the restaurantwhen going out, or talks for 20 minutes without taking a breath if someone asks about a favorite food, you may be the kind of true foodie who will want to check off these bucket list destinations on a quest for deliciousness. Better start setting airfare price alerts.

interior of mercato albinelli
Photo credit: Courtesy of facebook.com/Mercato Storico Albinelli

MODENA, ITALY

Located in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, Modena is the home of balsamic vinegar, Ferrari and Lamborghini, and a rich opera tradition. In fact, the tourism board of Modena uses the slogan “Art, Food, and Cars” to showcase its diversity of delights. Be sure to carve out plenty of time to explore Mercato Albinelli, the historic indoor market where you can shop and sample the region’s legendary cheeses, salumi, wine, produce, pasta, baked goods and more.

close-up of dish at ostrera francescana
Photo credit: Courtesy of facebook.com/Osteria Francescana

MODENA, ITALY: DON’T MISS

Not only is some of the world’s best wine, vinegar, and cheese (ever heard of Parmigiano?) made here, but Osteria Francescana, considered by some to be the world’s best restaurant, is here as well. If you’ve seen the “Chef’s Table” episode on Netflix, you’ll understand why you should book a ticket immediately.

Gardens by the Bay, Central Region, Singapore
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SINGAPORE

Singapore’s world-class attractions include vibrant shophouses on Haji Lane to the “supertrees” in Gardens by the Bay to the world’s second-largest tunnel for indoor skydiving. For foodies, Singapore is special because the flavors of Malaysia, China, Indonesia, India, and beyond collide into a diverse set of unique dining options.

singaporean laksa soup
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SINGAPORE: DON’T MISS

Foodies roaming Singapore can enjoy dishes such as Laksa, a spicy coconut noodle soup, and Singapore’s iconic chicken rice. Whether you want to dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant or open-air hawker center with rows of food stalls — or better yet, food stalls with Michelin stars and nods — food lovers will be thrilled at their options. If possible, plan a trip in April around the World Gourmet Summit, one of the oldest events in Singapore, featuring some of the world’s best chefs and wine experts.

Copenhagen, Denmark
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COPENHAGEN

You’ve probably noticed all the cooler-than-cool people on your Instagram feed visiting Copenhagen in the past few years. Along with historic and beautiful sites such as Nyhavn or The Little Mermaid statue, there are renowned cultural spots such as the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, the beautiful Amalienborg Palace, and cobblestone streets lined with houses from as early as the 16th century. From inexpensive bites such as the beloved street snacks rød pølse (red sausage) or shawarma to renowned high-end hot spots (there’s a total of 19 Michelin stars among 15 restaurants), you’ll have plenty to savor.

Tasting Menu, Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark
Photo credit: Candice K./yelp.com

COPENHAGEN: DON’T MISS

Along with lovely bakeries (look for a sign that says “bageri”), coffee shops, and cafes, Copenhagen is home to the Torvehallerne market, 60-plus stands selling everything from fresh fish and cheese to meat, spices, and chocolate, and plenty of spots for a quick lunch. On the higher end, there’s Noma, the two-Michelin-star restaurant known for wildly creative, locally foraged dishes that’s held the title of the world’s best restaurant for multiple years. The restaurant recently relocated and reopened with a renewed focus on seasonality and its own urban farm. Reservations go fast, so mark your calendar — seatings for the summer months of 2019open up on February 12.

crowds pass through Kabukicho in the Shinjuku district in Tokyo, Japan
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TOKYO

This city mixes futurism and tradition and boasts splendors such as the gardens at the imperial palace, along with sweeping views from the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, a 54-story skyscraper that houses companies such as Google Japan, Pokemon, and The Mori Art Museum. Whether you’re a tech nerd, a history buff, or simply someone who likes public transit that runs on time, Tokyo is the place to be. There are seemingly endless ramen shops, sushi spots at every price point, and other tasty traditional noodle options.

Tokyo Ramen Festival in Tokyo, Japan
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TOKYO: DON’T MISS

The world’s largest fish market, Tsukiji-shijo, should definitely be on every foodie’s itinerary. If you’re looking for something to plan your trip around, the Tokyo Ramen Show, in late October to early November, is an excellent way to get a feel for the many styles of ramen native to Japan.

beach in west of tangalle, sri lanka
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SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka may not be the first spot you think of for foodie paradise, but food is one of several reasons to go. Lovers of all-day hiking can find trails with majestic waterfalls, surfers can find uncrowded surf breaks along the coast, and those that just want to relax by a pool will be delighted by the abundance of luxury and boutique hotels.

photo of crab dish from ministry of crab
Photo credit: Courtesy of facebook.com/Ministry of Crab

SRI LANKA: DON’T MISS

Love crab? There’s a whole restaurant devoted to it, calledMinistry of Crab. And, considering the island grows more than a dozen kinds of rice (down from hundreds just decades years ago) there is a wide range of delicious rice-based dishes to be explored. Zen foodies who love their warm beverages can stay at the Ceylon Tea Trails, a mountain luxury resort amid tea fields. Think Napa, but for tea.

Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy
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ROME

Rome, the eternal city! There’s a reason it’s been idealized for centuries — Rome is beautiful, historic, and has an abundance of sensory pleasures to offer. Even if you just go to the iconic spots, it could take you days to finish: the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, The Vatican, and Sistine Chapel, and more. Even if you just stuck to side streets and tucked-away trattorias serving incredible food, Rome would win your heart.

hands making pasta shapes
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ROME: DON’T MISS

There’s almost no prospect more exciting to a foodie than eating one’s way through Rome. Just the pasta dishes could delight you for a lifetime. Along with eating every one you can find, why not learn how to make your own pasta with a class from natives Gianni and Cesare? You’ll meet them at Rome’s most famous food market, shop for ingredients together, then make a four-course lunch or dinner to be enjoyed with wine.

Portland, Oregon
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PORTLAND, OREGON

Portland, Oregon has outgrown its grungy reputation and become a foodie destination for small, personality-driven restaurants as well as unusual attractions. It may be hipster heaven, but it’s pretty fun for the rest of us too. Check out Cathedral Park, the Japanese Gardens, and the ruins spookily named Witch’s Castle for a look at what Portland has to offer.

Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon
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PORTLAND, OREGON: DON’T MISS

Portland has a foodie reputation is for a range of cuisines at various price points. That includes a food cart scenewith everything from traditional taco trucks to breakfast sandwich stops with cheeky names such as “Fried Egg I’m in Love.” For dessert, there’s the famed Voodoo Doughnut or the smaller but equally wonderful Pips Original for some made-to-order doughnuts and a house-made chai flight.

Paris
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PARIS

Paris has a lot of hype. And, why not? It’s the city of lights, the city of love, and the city of all things delicious — from spectacular pastries, baguettes and cheeses at every turn to legendary temples of haute cuisine that have inspired chefs the world over. If you ask us, the hype is deserved — especially if you spend your time exploring beyond the “must hit” spots everyone goes to.

hand passing out plate of fresh croissants on street during Paris by Mouth tour
Photo credit: Courtesy of facebook.com/Paris by Mouth

PARIS: DON’T MISS

Paris has something magical to offer everyone when it comes to gastronomy. For those with a chunk of change to spend, the restaurant Arpège

http://www.alain-passard.com/en/

has been named one of the world’s 10 best by CNN and USA Today. For those who want to explore all the deliciousness a neighborhood has to offer, try a food tour of Paris with Paris by Mouth.
Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles
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LOS ANGELES

Sunny L.A. is known for beaches, movie stars, and a sprawling expanse of possibility. And there’s really no bad time to visit. Go in July and beat the not-too-oppressive-heat with a beach day. Go in January and all you need is a light sweater — the sun is still in charge. From hybrid Mexican-Korean taco trucks and food-centric enclaves teeming with amazing eateries like Thai Town, Koreatown, and Boyle Heights, to high-end restaurants with tasting menus that incorporate flavors from around the globe, the food in Los Angeles is wide-ranging with a diversity of price points. In recent years has come to be recognized by the press and foodies alike as the most exciting food destinations in the world.

people shopping at santa monica farmer's market
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LOS ANGELES: DON’T MISS

Those with a culinary bent can’t leave L.A. without visiting the city’s beloved and abundant farmers’ markets, including the popular Santa Monica Farmers Market where you’re just as likely to rub elbows with your favorite celebrity chef as you are to spot a movie star. With stunning produce available year-round, there’s no better bucket list destination for true foodies.

Lima, Peru
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LIMA, PERU

When most of us think Peru, we think of the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the wonders of the world, but there’s more to the country. Lima is Peru’s largest city and home to more than a quarter of the nation’s 30 million people, as well as to beaches, parks, museums, and even more architectural marvels to gawk at. The city also offers a rich diversity of delicious food options, including flavors that draw influence from indigenous, Spanish, and Japanese traditions among many others.

cuy roasted and ready to eat
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LIMA, PERU: DON’T MISS

Lima is arguably the culinary capital of South America. There’s zesty, fresh ceviche, cuy (guinea pig) for the adventurous, and two of the world’s top 10 restaurantsaccording to some — Central and Maido.

Louis' Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut
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NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT

New Haven is home to an Ivy League university, several breweries, museums, hiking, and more. It reinvents itself every day, but there’s no reason why this charming New England city shouldn’t be on a foodie’s travel bucket list right now. You’ll find everything from beloved casual eateries like Louis’ Lunch — which lays claim to being thebirthplace of the hamburger — to upscale favorites like Union League Cafe.

Miya's in New Haven, Connecticut
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NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT: DON’T MISS

New Haven has an incredible Japanese restaurant — Miya Sushi, which calls itself the world’s first sustainable sushi restaurant, and offers delicious food made with local ingredients (including some invasive species). Easily the most famous food in New Haven, though, is pizza — locally known as apizza. If you’ve never heard of something called “clam pie,” head to Frank Pepe’s and order yourself a clam pie.

Crawfish boil from New Orleans, LA
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NEW ORLEANS

The Big Easy is for anyone looking to let the good times roll — and savor delicious eats along the way. From the French Quarter to Bourbon Street to the Garden District, you’ll find nightlife, food, and music that will make you never want to leave. Along with its famed Cajun and Creole cuisine, New Orleans has culinary options ranging from Vietnamese to Israeli.

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience in New Orleans, LA
Photo credit: Morgan F./yelp.com

NEW ORLEANS TREAT

While there’s plenty of fine dining options to explore, even gas stations in New Orleans offer not-to-be-missed culinary treasures, most famously po’ boys and fried chicken. And don’t miss the famed muffuletta Central Grocery & Deli, a low-key favorite since 1906. If you head down for the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience this spring (April 3-7), you’ll get a taste of many of the city’s legendary restaurants, along with perfectly paired wines.

colombian lechona in front of beach
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COLOMBIA

Most Colombian tourist destinations, including Bogota, Medellín, Cali, and Cartagena, are in the “green zone” least affected by the nation’s notorious crime. Beaches, jungle, mountains, or a thriving metropolis full of excellent culinary options —from fried buñuelos for breakfast to a feast of roasted lechona at night — can be enjoyed trouble free.

seated tourist in coffee shirt in front of table of coffee beans
Photo credit: Courtesy of Facebook.com/Experiencia Cafetera

COLOMBIA: DON’T MISS

Love a good cup of java? Go straight to the source. While planning a Colombia trip, make sure to book a coffee tour to see where your morning savior is grown and meet the people making it happen. Many also include a typical lunch of the region, and, of course, unlimited coffee. Look into WakeCup or El Ocaso for English-speaking options.

Golden Gate Bridge with recreational boats
Photo credit: Ron_Thomas/istockphoto

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Do we really need two California locations on our bucket list? Yes. In Northern California, there is verdant farmland, stunning wine country, Silicon Valley, and lovely San Francisco. Wine lovers, nature buffs, and tech nerds alike will feel instantly at home.

cheese plate and white wine glass in napa valley
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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: DON’T MISS

Napa is iconic for a reason. Set up a wine tasting, especially at world-class vineyards such as Heitz Cellar, Stag’s Leap, or the tech-savvy, family-owned Palmaz. Add lunch to the tasting at the bucolic Long Meadow Ranch, which uses full-circle organic farming. Nearby Sonoma also offers a wealth of wineries and the world-famous cheese trail. Book a table at the legendary Chez Panisse in Berkeley and, if you’re up for more wine, visit Berkeley natural winery Donkey & Goat too.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
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THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

With stunning, white sand beaches, whale watching, and luxury resorts with legendary nightlife, the Dominican Republic is just the place for a little well-earned R&R in the Caribbean. You’ll find a wide range of great, often inexpensive, culinary options, including empanadas, locrio (a paella-like rice dish often made with chicken) and La Bandera, a national favorite (the name translates to “the flag”) that features rice, beans, stewed meat and a variety of side dishes.

tasting at dandelion chocolate
Photo credit: Courtesy of facebook.com/Dandelion Chocolate

THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: DON’T MISS

Book a tour of Dandelion Chocolate, a San Francisco bean-to-bar producer, and explore the Dominican Republic with locals, enjoying beach swims and touristy spots while learning how cacao is grown and processed. You even get to harvest your own cacao pods.

Aspen, Colorado
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ASPEN, COLORADO

Aspen, Colorado, is a Rocky Mountain ski resort town and year-round destination for lovers of the outdoors and culture alike. For a relaxing if usually pricey getaway featuring brisk days on the trails and nights spent savoring the various culinary options, Aspen is lovely.

table of snacks from 2018 food & wine classic
Photo credit: Courtesy of facebook.com/FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen

ASPEN, COLORADO TREAT

The famed Food & Wine Classic returns to Aspen this summer (June 14-16). Many of your favorite food celebrities are bound to be there, to say nothing of all the incredible things to eat. If you’re just going to one food festival, this should be the one.

New York, New York
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NEW YORK CITY

Broadway, legendary sports teams, Fifth Avenue shopping, historic architecture, internationally renowned art museums, and more: Rather than asking New York City has, it’s easier to ask what it doesn’t — especially when it comes to food. Welcome to culinary heaven. Whether you choose to feast on dumplings and genre-defining pizza slices or tasting menus at Michelin-starred restaurants, you’ll experience some of the world’s best.

close-up of various plates on table at eleven madison park
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NEW YORK CITY: DON’T MISS

For an upscale meal you’ll never forget, tryEleven Madison Park, reputed to be one of the world’s 10 best restaurants. To learn how to cook your own feast, take a one-day class at the International Culinary Center, where alums include Dan Barber, David Chang, and Christina Tosi.

Closeup of orange tulips in Amsterdam
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AMSTERDAM

Amsterdam isn’t just windmills and wooden shoes. Wander the elaborate canal system, visit the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh House, and rent a bike to explore the city like the locals. If you go during the spring, take a train to visit Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower garden.

cheese handler at gouda cheese market
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AMSTERDAM: DON’T MISS

Take a trip with Cheese Journeys to explore Gouda and beyond. You’ll see Keukenhof, tour the facilities of top cheesemakers, visit historic cheese villages, and most importantly, relax and explore in the company of other cheese and food lovers.

Vermont
Photo credit: Sean Pavone/istockphoto

VERMONT

Vermont attracts skiers, beer fans, and nature lovers. This charming New England destination displays each season beautifully. Burlington, the largest city in Vermont and a university town, also offers historic museums, a delightful downtown and plenty of great food options, including top-notch farm-to-table options like the heralded Hen of the Wood.

Ben & Jerry's Factory
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VERMONT: DON’T MISS

The Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury is a dairy mecca for ice cream fanatics with tours including aflavor graveyard where you can pay your respects to your favorite “dearly de-pinted flavors.”

Bangkok, Thailand
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BANGKOK

Bangkok is one of the world’s most exciting destinations — think exceptional street food, vibrant nightlife, and stunning Buddhist temples. With dozens of millions of tourists every year, it’s a dynamic city that’s instantly captivating.

dessert at gaggan restaurant
Photo credit: Courtesy of facebook.com/Gaggan

BANGKOK: DON’T MISS

Learn how to make your Thai favorite dishes at the Silom Thai Cooking School. Bangkok’s famed street food is satisfying, delicious, and inexpensive, but the award-winning and renowned Nahm and Gaggan are also in Bangkok if you’re looking to drop some cash on an unforgettable meal.

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