Apart From India, 7 Best Countries To Travel To For A Culinary Experience
As a foodie, it's my mission in life to travel to places to stuff my face with some of the yummiest foods made across the world. From dining at a Michelin star in France to buying a kebab on the streets of Turkey, and everything in between is my pursuit of happiness. From the most complex dishes to the simple ones, from the fanciest platings to the rustic ones, my search for authentic, delicious and inspiring food that'll leave my taste buds tingling for more is what I want my culinary experience to be.
Although India is a pandora box, full of extravagant flavours, spices and culturally inspired cooking techniques where each region has a diversely rich story to tell, these 7 Countries have some of the best cuisines to offer. They are not only known for their finesse and skilled executions but also for their deep understanding of indigenous ingredients.
Vietnamese cuisine is complex in flavours but simple to make and the same dishes can be found, both on the streets as well as fine-dine restaurants. You can't talk about Vietnamese food without mentioning Pho but Pho is also not the only dish we should talk about. Vietnamese cuisine features a plethora of exotic options, both sweet and savoury.
Bahn-Mi is a baguette sandwich filled with various meats, cucumbers, fresh herbs and pickled veggies. Bun Cha is a vermicelli noodle to be dipped in a bowl of sweet & savoury sauce packed full of greens like lettuce, Vietnamese shiso, cilantro, bean sprouts and banana blossoms. Egg coffee is the Vietnamese version of Créme Bruleé that shouldn't be missed. The secret behind other popular dishes like Bun Bo Hue, Bahn Xeo and Bahn Cuon is the balance of sweet, sour and savoury notes. So, when in Vietnam, these dishes are a must-try.
The national dish of Spain, Paella is an integral food dish that's synonymous with community eating. Each city has its own versions of tapas, wine and desserts. From Patatas Bravas, a humble Spanish Omelette to the classic gazpacho, perfectly cured ham, tortillas, flans, tarts and churros, the heart of Spanish cooking is in the rustic nuances of its deep flavours. A walk through its farmer's markets is a sight for sore eyes where one can spot fresh, seasonal produce with the prominence of local ingredients flooding its counters.
For many of us travelling to a place, depends on the food it offers and in Spain cities like Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastian seem to be the answer to a foodie's culinary discovery.
Naples is known for its Pizza, Rome for its Spaghetti, Venice for Tiramisu, Verona for its Gnocchi, Sicily for Arancini and Cannolis and well, Gelato from all over. The culinary underdog in Italy is the city of Bologna, that derives its delicacies from ancient traditions. An early morning espresso shot or a frothy cappuccino for breakfast led by a rich egg-based pasta in a meat broth-sauce or a Lasagna for lunch, brioche as a snack, hand-rolled tortellini with a marsala infused sponge cake as dessert for dinner is what a bolognese day looks like. Land of Polenta, Ravioli, Pasta, Wine, Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar, Italy sure doesn't disappoint.
You're in for a journey of delicacies inspired by Ottoman heritage to Turkish delights from Istanbul; this place is every food lover’s dream. Food is spicier and richer in the south and east, whilst in the west, olive oil, seafood and vegetable dishes are more prevalent. Turkey is also called the breadbasket of the world, with 30,000 years of history attached to it. No meal in Turkey is complete without bread; Yufka, a piece of unleavened flatbread is common across households in Turkey. Pide, also called the Turkish Pizza, topped with meat and cheese, is one of the favourites too. Kofta, Kebab, Baklava, Mezze, Dolma, Pilaf and Künefe can easily be found wherever you go in Turkey.
Dating back to a thousand years, Greek food is majorly influenced by Persian and middle-eastern cuisines. Therefore, dishes are heavy on yoghurt, dips, sauces and spices. There is something for all; succulent dishes for meat lovers, leafy greens for vegetarians, baked, fried, grilled, steamed seafood for seafood lovers. And, if you're a dessert fanatic, satisfy your sugar cravings with Revani, loukoumades, kataifi, Galaktoboureko that are culturally rich in the art of pastry making. Feta Cheese is the only thing that comes to mind when Greek food is talked about. It's the Feta Kingdom with salads, desserts and main courses predominantly bringing robust flavours together.
Divided into 5 culinary regions: North, Northeast, South, Central Plain and Bangkok, Thailand is a culinary paradise. Unlike the southern region, north doesn't use coconut in their cooking. They have less seafood and more red meats, generally eaten with sticky rice. In the northeastern region, beef is popular with cooking methods like roasting or broiling; Papaya is a common ingredient here. The southern region has abundant amounts of seafood, coconut milk and tropical fruits like pineapples and mangoes. The central region is high on rice and noodles with chicken and beef prevalent in dishes. Bangkok is a mecca for street food and has a little bit of everything from each region. It is not loyal to a particular type of food or dessert and is highly inspired by Chinese cuisine.
Japan is known for its culture, art and lifestyle but for a foodie, it proves to be an excitingly unique journey on its own. To the world, it is famous for sushi and ramen, but the diverse and intricate flavours of its street food are incomparable. It is a meat-loving nation and dishes like Sabu-Sabu and Yakitori are delicious proofs of that. Japanese cuisine can be a very 'acquired taste' kinda cuisine where Octopus balls, Grilled Eels, Blow Fish and various parts of pigs are enjoyed by locals. Sushi, Ramen, Tempura, Miso, Udon, Gyoza and Soba noodles are Japan's gift to the culinary world. Matcha is a common flavour for teas and desserts across the country.
Although India has some of the best international cuisines right here, for a foodie it's just not enough. The countries listed above are ranked some of the best countries to travel to for a culinary experience. Infact, these are the cuisines one must try before they die. So, get packing and get binging.