Best Destinations for Foodie Vacations
Food and Travel. Travel and Food. The two are a match made in heaven.
One of the best ways to learn more about a place and its local culture is through an authentic and delicious dining experience.
So, acquaint yourself with Jacada's favourite destinations for foodie vacations. They're sure to tantalise your taste buds...
1) South Africa
For superb cuisine and top-class wines, the Winelands in South Africa are the perfect choice. This gourmet hotspot, with its lush boutique vineyards and delectable Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons, is a must for any wine buff. Meanwhile the restaurants here, such as La Residence, are deemed some of the best in all of Africa, promising an abundance of delicious indulging. ‘Rainbow Nation’ South Africa also enjoys a rainbow food industry that is constantly expanding, with Cape Town boasting a booming eating scene.
Whether you’re craving trendy market grub or award-winning cuisine, a tasty coffee or scrumptious soul food from the back of a truck, Cape Town will impress. We can arrange an array of foodie experiences that get you the best seat in town, from the eminent Test Kitchen to Mount Nelson‘s lavish afternoon tea. When you’re not out on a foodie walking tour or lunching with culinary creatives, discover the city’s year-round food and wine festivals.
Arguably the most universally loved culinary traditions in the world hail from Italy. As the land that gave birth to pasta, pizza, parmesan, pesto, chianti and prosecco, it’s no surprise that Italy has a gourmet reputation. Practically every region has its own specialities, so get ready to do the rounds and feast your way through Italy.
Naples is the place to get the world’s best Pizza, Puglia specialises in orecchiette pasta and Bologna in tortellini. Wine-wise, Tuscany is known for it’s mouthwatering Chianti wines and Piedmont for the Barolo wine region. Whatever you do, don’t forget Italy’s golden rule when it comes to food: eat seasonally!
Standing at the crossroads of India, China and Oceania, Thailand blends the varying tastes and flavours of these regions to create an intense and diverse dining scene. Its capital, Bangkok, is regarded as one of the best dining destinations on the planet with its truly authentic and yummy street food. Chances are you’ve tried (and enjoyed) the odd Thai green curry or Pad Thai at home, but nothing beats the zingy flavours provided by the real thing.
In just a single Thai dish you can experience everything from sweet to spicy to salty to sour flavours, not forgetting that unmistakable tang that is so typical of Thailand. Signature ingredients here include garlic, chillies, lime juice and coriander. These fragrant spices come together to guarantee powerful aromas and tasty feasts in everything from flavoursome curries to hearty soups.
Known for its superfoods, Peruvian cuisine is made up of high quality ingredients with a serious attitude. Amaranth, Quinoa, Maca and Lucuma are all native to the Peruvian soil, while Ceviche is an authentic seafood dish popular throughout the country. There are few things more magical than sampling some of the nation’s best dishes in Cusco‘s beautiful dining spots.
Cusco’s central market is well worth a visit for foodies looking to experience a thriving gourmet scene. For sit-down affairs, there are also plenty of refined restaurants to enjoy – our particular favourite is the sophisticated Limo.
The pretty Basque seaside town of San Sebastian is nothing short of heaven for gourmands, specialising in pintxos. This truly delectable form of tapas is traditionally served resting on a slice of baguette and ranges in variety from Spanish omelette to scampi, ham, chillies and risotto squares. People will typically visit three or four bars, and pair their pinxtos with a glass of txacolí – the lightly sparkling wine typical of the Basque country.
For oenophiles, don’t miss Spain‘s beautiful and diverse wine region of La Rioja, with more than 500 wineries nestled amongst its verdant hills. It’s not just the world-famous wine that makes this region worth the trip – it’s also home to some world-class produce and cuisine, including the Michelin starred restaurant at Hotel Marques de Riscal.
Melbourne should be on anyone’s list of cities to dine in, and the foodie scene in Australia is rapidly gaining momentum. The cultural vibrancy and restaurant diversity make for some delicious dining experiences, and rules go out the window when it comes to what you can and can’t do with food. Melbourne’s standout though is its coffee, with the delicious scent of roasting coffee beans filling the air wherever you go. With hipster cafes on every corner and delicious delis of every nationality filling the streets, you won’t ever eat the same thing twice (unless, of course, you want to).
To really get a sense of Melbourne’s culinary identity, we can send you on a day’s tour with a local foodie expert, taking you through the city’s fascinating food scene from Italian to Greek, Chinese and Vietnamese, and even diving into an underground city cheese room.
If food is important to any country, it’s Vietnam. With rice as the nation’s staple product, it provides the backbone for Vietnam’s economy and so has become an inextricable part of its culture. Eating authentic street food alongside locals is one of the most enjoyable ways to immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture.
Vietnamese street food is internationally renowned and a real highlight of any trip. Popular dishes include the light and subtle Pho, rice paper and Ho Chi Minh‘s Banh Xeo, otherwise known as tasty rice pancakes with pork and prawns.
As the birthplace of chocolate and boasting corn and bean based dishes – think tacos, enchiladas and quesadillas – Mexico certainly is a top-notch culinary destination. The historic region of Oaxaca is home to some of the country’s finest restaurants. However, laid-back food markets and street stands also offer delicious, dynamic cuisine.
The island of Mauritius fuses Creole, Chinese, European and Indian flavours for a rich range of cuisine. Curries and chutney are taken from India, rice and noodles from the Chinese and the island’s former rulers of the French have left their legacy with dishes such as Coq au Vin.
In this island nation, visit open air markets for delicious produce and quaint fishing villages for fresh seafood lunches. Mauritius is full of unforgettable tastes and foodie experiences.
Tokyo is a constellation of Michelin stars, with more starred restaurants than any other city in the world, but you don’t have to blow the bank to satisfy your tastebuds here. The atmospheric local izakaya (Japanese-style pubs) can serve up tastes as exciting as those in the city’s top restaurants.
Capture the city’s delicious culinary diversity by shopping the treat-filled stands at Borough Market, stopping for Monmouth Coffee in Seven Dials, lunching on curry in Brick Lane, sipping your way around the city’s innumerable experimental cocktail bars or dining at central London’s top restaurants.
Curry fans will want to hot foot it over to India asap to try the real thing, but prepare yourself for a flavour explosion that goes far and above anything you’ve ever tasted back home. Every region specialises in different flavours and styles, so tuck in and enjoy your curry with plain rice or flatbread, raitha to cut through the spice, chutney or poppadoms.
14) New Zealand
Here you can taste some world-class wines and meet some of the innovative food producers drawn there by the rich soils and warm growing conditions. Sampling the delicious produce here is a truly delectable experience.
Malaysia’s colourful cuisine is a direct reflection of its vibrant and multicultural population. Chinese, Portugese and Indian influences fill typical Malay meals, alongside a wealth of rice due to its fertile terraced land.
Despite the simple cooking style, spices and fiery chilli are well represented – and well loved by the people – ensuring your tastebuds will be entertained here.
Long and vast Chile is home to a wide array of food and drink, ranging from the Pacific coastline’s scrumptious seafood to Santiago‘s haute cuisine restaurants to the globally renowned central wine valleys. Pisco Sours, Pastel de Choclo and Curanto are some popular culinary treasures.
The word “cuisine” quite literally comes from France, so intertwined is the nation with the very concept of gastronomy and fine food. For the most delicious experiences that France has to offer, take yourself to Lyon, possibly the most gourmet city in all of France and loved by Michelin starred chef Michel Roux Jr.