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World's best destinations for seafood lovers

Written by
Jane Dumble, Alex Carey, Jennifer Richt & Byron Thomas

Records suggest that humans have been preparing and eating seafood for at least 165,000 years, so it’s no surprise that some countries have gotten pretty good at it.

In New Zealand, crayfish is so renowned there’s even a town named after it.

From snow crabs in Japan’s Kanazawa to freshly shucked oysters in Galway, this is our guide to the world’s best destinations for seafood lovers.

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1) Crayfish in New Zealand

The town of Kaikoura on New Zealand’s South Island is renowned for its crayfish. In Maori, ‘kai’ means food and ‘koura’ means crayfish, so it’s no surprise that Kaikoura is renowned for its seafood. Some of the best places to seek out the town’s crayfish are the ‘seafood caravans’ along the surrounding highways. These vans sell crayfish and the catch of the day – you can’t get fresher produce! 

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There are few experiences in New Zealand that beat looking out to the Pacific Ocean with fresh crayfish in hand. Kaikoura’s sumptuous crayfish isn’t the only reason to visit this township though – nestled between the mountains and sea, this town is home to a whole host of wonderful seafood.

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2) Kanazawa’s crab

During the winter season, Japan’s coastal city of Kanazawa turns its attention to the local delicacy of Kano crabs, or snow crabs. ‘Crab season,’ typically starts at the beginning of November and is one of the best times of the year to visit. Street stalls and restaurants serve only the freshest crab, so it’s never hard to find. 

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Usually served either grilled or boiled, the Kano crabs are served alongside a sainbazu dipping sauce – a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. The city’s Omicho Market is the place to hunt for seafood, housing an estimated 200 shops and stalls. It’s well worth it to experience a satisfying dish of Japanese Kano crab.

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3) Oysters in Galway

Ireland’s Galway has put itself firmly on the map as a seafood destination since hosting the first Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival in 1954. Held every September since its inaugural year, this festival is a celebration that attracts oyster lovers from around the world. Native Irish oysters are in season from September to April though, so even if you don’t make it to the festival, there’s still a good chance you’ll be able to taste a freshly shucked mollusc.

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Local Galway oysters are large and flat, and are a favourite amongst seafood connoisseurs due to their rarity, meaty texture and notes of seaweed. Gigas, or rock oysters, are available year-round in Galway so if you appreciate more subtle flavours, you’ve plenty of options. On a Galway food tour, travellers can indulge in the local delicacy before wandering through the seaside suburb of Salthill in Galway Bay, the source of the area’s famous oysters.

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4) Ceviche in Peru

Today, one of Peru’s biggest worldwide exports is ceviche. Peru’s signature dish, ceviche is a dish consisting of raw fish and seafood marinated in lime and lemon juice. The acid in the citrus juice cooks the fish to an extent, so the dish is served cold or at room temperature. A variety of types of fish can be used in preparing ceviche, with some of the more unusual choices including octopus and scallops.

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It is thought that ceviche may have been invented by the Moche tribe of Peru some 2,000 years ago. The Moche used to marinate their seafood with the fermented juice from local banana passionfruit, in a similar way that chefs use citrus juices today. Whatever the history of ceviche, today it is a delicious seafood dish enjoyed both in Peru and across the world.

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5) Fresh catches in Mauritius

As an island nation filled with open air markets and quaint fishing villages, it’s no surprise that Mauritius is full of unforgettable seafood experiences. Surrounded by an astonishing 2.3 million square kilometres of Indian Ocean, Mauritius is surrounded by marine life. Seafood delights form the backbone of Mauritian cuisine, and there is a wealth of delicacies to discover.

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Smoked marlin is reminiscent of Scottish smoked salmon, lobsters are widely enjoyed and the rare delicacy of the Kono Kono mollusc is thought to be one of the most effective aphrodisiacs in the world. Whatever seafood delicacy is your favourite, you’re bound to find it in Mauritius.

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Feeling inspired? Our expert travel designers are always on hand to help you plan your next foodie vacation.

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