The Latest Foodie Hotspots in Four Iconic Destinations

As Anthony Bourdain made abundantly and mouthwateringly clear, travel and food go hand in hand. In fact, there are few better ways to experience a destination than diving into its unique and varied culinary offerings.

While many destinations around the world have a long-established foodie reputation, those same destinations have also become somewhat predictable, say the experts at Audley Travel, a company that specializes in tailor-made vacations and private tours.

With that in mind, the company recently tapped its various country specialists and product team members for insights regarding the latest foodie hotspots around the globe, places rank and file travelers may not yet have discovered.

Here are the foodie haunts to put on your radar, according to the on-the-ground experts from Audley Travel.

Bologna, Italy

While Naples may be the birthplace of pizza, and Piedmont is famous for truffles, many travelers have yet to discover the fact that Bologna is also home to fantastic and unexpected foodie experiences, says Audley Travel.

The capital of Italy’s northern region, Bologna has been given the unique and fitting nickname “La grassa,” which translates to “the fat,” a reference to the rich food culture.

Some of the traditional recipes in Bologna include the famous tagliatelle al ragu, which is the ancestor of the westernized spaghetti bolognese and tortellini in brodo. Some of the best food choices to sample in this region are the beloved prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano from nearby Parma, as well as balsamic vinegar from Modena, said Cara Webster, Audley’s Italy country specialist.

“Visit Michelin starred restaurant ‘Ristorante Marconi’, the chef is a (badass) woman,” said Webster. “Her name is Aurora Mazzucchelli and she is the only starred woman chef in the area! I recommend ordering the Parmesan cheese tortelli with lavender, nutmeg, and almonds which is simply mouthwatering.”

Need still more inspiration? Check out the company’s Culinary Highlights of Italy tour here.

Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru is the culinary capital of South America and rightfully so. In addition to hosting one of the most important food fairs in Latin America, its culinary variety delights locals and visitors alike.

Famous for iconic dishes such as ceviche and tiradito, Lima is a prime destination for those who love good cuisine, and the city offers a great variety of venues ranging from five-star hotels to local restaurants, ceviche joints, chicken shops, and markets, says Katie Wolfe, Audley’s Latin America Country specialist.

“Visitors must make a reservation at Central, one of the top five best restaurants in the world, and try their take on ceviche, which some believe to have originated in Peru among the Moche civilization,” said Wolfe. “If you’re really hungry, opt for the 16-course tasting menu which mimics the dramatic changes in altitude from the coast into the high mountains, the first dish featuring clams found at 10 meters above sea level and ending with a medicinal digestif made from medicinal plants growing at 3,600 meters above sea level in the Andes.”

Audley also offers a food-centered tour in Peru.

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is the ultimate destination for food lovers. From nondescript shop houses to Michelin-starred restaurants, Bangkok is home to a variety of quirky and tasty gems including a 24-hour supermarket with its own famous diner and a new mall devoted to all things artisanal and hip, says Lauren Coppola, Audley’s Southeast Asia product executive.

Whether you’re dining on the street or in a stately dining room, Bangkok will deliver a stellar eating experience.

“Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin is a must visit,” says Coppola. “The Michelin star restaurant serves a delicious red curry ice cream! Travelers should also go to one of the many street food stalls for a cheap bowl of duck noodle soup, which is one of my favorites.”

Audley’s 16-day culinary tour of Thailand offers a chance to sample much of what the country has to offer.

Penang, Malaysia

Penang, Malaysia has often been referred to as the culinary capital of Asia, and for good reason.

Having absorbed Indian, Sri Lankan, Chinese, and Malay influences, the region is unique in its love of good food in all forms. Combine this with the city’s collection of historic buildings in various styles, from old English colonial mansions to classical Chinese shophouses and Islamic mosques, and you have a city made for walking and eating, says Audley’s Malaysia and Borneo Country Specialist, Becky Edwards.

“For an authentic Peranakan meal, I recommend visiting Kebaya for their four-course menu, housed in a converted Chinese shop house,” said Edwards. “I wouldn’t be able to visit without indulging in Tang Yuen for dessert, my favorite Malaysian sweet that’s simmered in syrup sugar known as gula melaka.”

Need even more inspiration for Malaysia? Check out Audley’s 16-day culinary tour of the country here.

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