Food, Vila Joya

The Best Food from Around the World

If you eat just one dish while you're there, make it one of these...
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Written by
Jonny Humphreys, Keith Jarman, Lily Bunker & Joyce Choi

One of the best things about travelling is being able to try new food. Savouring authentic dishes that are rarely replicated elsewhere is an incredible experience.

Every country in the world has their own speciality - from classic rice dishes in Indonesia to superb cuts of meat in Argentina.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some of our favourite dishes and picks of the best food from around the world.

Argentinian chef cooking meat

1) Argentinian steak, Buenos Aires

If you’re a carnivore, there is nothing better than a good steak – and we challenge you to find a country that beats Argentina in the steak stakes. Healthy, free-roaming, grass-fed cows provide better quality meat than corn-fed cows. Argentina also use different cuts (such as the flank), and the asado (a type of barbeque) cooking technique produces distinctive, world-beating results.

Argentinian Steak

Whilst you’re in this magnificent city, take the time to explore it’s thriving restaurant, bare and cafe scene, its tango saloons and stylish bars, gorgeous classical architecture and cutting-edge culture.

Pho Bo, Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup, Lime and Chili Peppers

2) Pho, Vietnam

Pronounced ‘fuah’, pho is a light, flavoursome broth, with meat, noodles, vegetables, lemon and chili. You can find it anywhere in Vietnam, from roadside stalls to restaurants, but the best pho is often found in unassuming street cafes packed with locals – pull up a plastic chair and get involved.

Pho, Vietnamese cuisine

Of course, cuisine is just one of the many intoxicating experiences you’ll find in Vietnam. From the historic old quarters and ancient temples of Hanoi and Saigon to the limestone karsts of Halong Bay, there’s a lot of exploring to be done once you’ve fuelled up on your pho.


3) Chocolate, Mexico

Although it may now more commonly come with the word ‘Belgian’ attached to its wrapper, chocolate originated in Mexico (the Mayans used to drink it), and still pops up in quite unlikely ways: cacao is often added to Mexican mole sauce, in which meat is smothered. Of course, you’ll want to get a taco or two in there too…


Mexican cuisine is popular throughout the world for a good reason, but the country has lots more to offer. From fascinating history to pastoral beauty, buzzing festivals and gorgeously secluded beaches, dipping into Mexico really is like dipping into a box of chocolates.

indonesian cuisine satay

The best of the rest

4) Pasta, Italy

As any true Italian will tell you, pasta just doesn’t taste the same outside of Italy. Every region has its own speciality: Puglia, for example, specialises in orecchiette, and Bologna is famous for – you guessed it – fettuccine bolognese. Versatile and delicious, it’s the culinary gift that keeps on giving.


5) Beef rendang, Indonesia

Slow-cooked in coconut milk, this beef is seasoned with garlic, lemongrass, ginger, chili and turmeric to create a sumptuously spicy dish. Rendang originated in Indonesia, but it’s now a worldwide favourite – and with very good reason!

Beef Rendang, Indonesia

6) Sushi, Japan

The sushi you think you know and love will be blown out of the water by the delicious, expertly prepared fare you’ll find in Japan. Prepare to lose all your preconceived notions about this world-famous delicacy.

Japanese Sushi

7) Ceviche, Peru

Another raw fish dish, but of a totally different kind, Peru’s national dish rarely tastes better than when sampled in its native country. The delicate fish – such as sole – is cured in lime or lemon juice and chili pepper, and often served with sweet potato, plantain or lettuce.


8) Bunny chow, South Africa

A hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry, the bunny chow – or just ‘bunny’ – originated in the Indian community of Durban, and is now a street food speciality throughout South Africa. A must-try for visitors to the country.

4roomed ekasi cape town food

9) Penang assam laksa, Malaysia

A spicy broth, Penang Assam Laksa is a soup of poached and flaked mackerel, flavoured with tamarind, chili, lemongrass, onions, mint, ginger and pineapple. A flavour overload – in a good way.

Penang Assam Laksa, Malaysia

10) Scones, England

The argument as to how the word “scone” should be pronounced has been raging for as long as anyone can remember. But whether you think it rhymes with “cone” or “gone”, the fact remains that a sultana scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam is utterly delicious – and utterly British.


11) Nasi goreng, Bali

There are countless fried rice dishes that could be included in this list, but we’ve chosen nasi goreng. This dish is made up of fried rice, chicken, prawn and egg: a fail-safe option when travelling in Indonesia.

Nasi Goreng, Bali

12) Paella, Spain

This delicious dish of rice stirred with an array of vegetables and different meats or seafood (depending on what you go for) is practically impossible not to love. But for a truly authentic paella head to Valencia, where the dish was born on the shores of Lake Albufera in the mid-19th century.


13) Massaman curry, Thailand

A sweet curry with a spicy kick, coconut-y smoothness and rich flavours, Massaman curry is one of Thailand’s most delicious culinary offerings – and that’s quite a claim. Massaman curries are made with coconut milk, meat, potatoes, bay leaves, cashews or peanuts, cardomom,  fish sauce, palm sugar, chili, tamarind and star anise.

Massaman Curry, Thailand

14) Gravlax, Norway

Far more delicate than the smoked salmon you might be used to, this classic Nordic dish consists of raw salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill, and is just sublime served thinly sliced with rye bread and a dill and mustard sauce.

Norwegian Gravlax

15) Tam som, Laos

Although most would associate the green papaya salad with Thailand (where it is known as Som Tam), this dish actually originated in Laos. Shredded unripe papaya is combined with fish sauce, lime, chili, and palm sugar, all crushed up with a mortar and pestle,  for a crunchy, savory salad that regularly features in ‘top dishes’ lists.

Tam Song, Laos

16) Croissants, France

You may be thinking that this is something you could easily pick up at the nearest supermarket. You would be wrong. Parisians in particular would be quick to inform you that nothing matches up to the taste of a hot, freshly baked croissant straight from the local boulangerie. With croissants this good, you wouldn’t even think of adding butter or jam – just let the fresh ingredients and French culinary magic do the talking.

French Croissants at the bakery in Paris

17) Chicken tikka masala, India

Forget about the tomato-sauce-drenched, creamy goo you might get from your local takeaway on a Saturday night. The original chicken tikka involves small, tender pieces of chicken, marinated in spices and yoghurt and grilled over a charcoal fire for a deep, smokey flavour.

Authentic Chicken Tikka, India

Hungry for more? Speak to one of our travel experts today and start designing your dream foodie vacation.