If the only cities you can name as foodie destinations are ones like Paris or NYC then I’m here to tell you that there is so much more to explore! My travels are few and far between, but here’s a list of underrated food cities you and I can visit.
Filipino food has slowly been gaining momentum in the food world and it is very easy to see why. Most of the food found in the Philippines is savory and robust. Manila is the hub where you can find almost every Philippino dish ever. It’s such a huge metropolis that if you ordered a signature dish like Chicken Adobo at two different restaurants, you’ll get two completely different iterations. Visit The Aristocrat for truly Philippino dishes.
You can find Mexican food almost everywhere in the US, but whether it’s “good” or “authentic” is up for debate. If you truly want a taste of Mexico, Oaxaca is a good place to start. Oaxaca has vibrant street markets that all boast the very best that Mexico has to offer. Tamales, tacos, and moles can be found aplenty. To get the full experience, grab some Chapulines while you’re there. A little bit of fried grasshopper never hurt anyone 😉 Visit Casa Oaxaca when you’re in town.
While Paris gets most of the attention for its food, thanks to some of the top chefs residing there, Lyon is definitely a low-key option for a foodie. With its abundance of farm fresh food, this small town hosts everything from fine dining to family-run bistros. You’ll find a lot family-style dining with the obvious rustic flare. When you’re there try sausages in a cream sauce or a charcuterie plate. Check out Daniel and Denise for local dishes.
San Sebastián, Spain
San Sebastián is the ultimate food destination in Spain. Madrid and Barcelona have incredible restaurants, but San Seb has the highest concentration of Michelin star restaurants per capita. You’ll find the most exquisite fine dining while also indulging in the traditional tapas. From grilled shrimp to lamb chops, the taste of Spain can be found at its best in this city. Definitely check out Bodegon Alejandro or Borda Berri for a taste of Spain.
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Found in the state of Minas Geris in Brazil, Belo Horizonte is the sixth largest country. Much more laid back than Sao Palo and Rio, Belo is still full of the same vibrant, colorful vibe as the others. Known for its local bar scene, BH has some of the best comfort food Brazil has to offer. From its tasty bar food to local weekend markets, this city wants you to feel at home. If you find yourself in BH definitely visit Xapuri!
Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An is like a time capsule with its ancient canals still intact and French colonial buildings spread throughout. A clear example of an East Asian trading port, Hoi An is filled with the very best Vietnamese food. Very much a tourist destination, Hoi An still keeps its low-key appeal. Home to the very best Bahn Mi restaurant, according to Anthony Bourdain, Banh My Phuong is a must visit. Morning Glory is where you can find upscale versions of traditional Vietnamese dishes.
Along the coast, Bergen is a large city that showcases small-town charm. With its laid-back atmosphere nestled between sea and mountains, you can guess Bergen has some good seafood. Traditional Norwegian food with other cultural influences can also be found here. Along with the amazing eats, you have to take a walk along the Bryggen, which provides the best scenic view. Visit Bryggeloftet & Stuene for seafood and 1877 for local dishes.
Arequipa, unlike Lima which hosts Asian inspired Peruvian food, is widely known for their regional dishes. They focus one hundred percent on traditional food, most of them showcased in local picanterías. Picante translates to spicy which is appropriate since Peruvian dishes are known for their heat. To really experience the cuisine, take a trip to La Tradicion Arequipeña.
Seeming smaller compared to its bigger siblings, Palermo keeps up with Florence, Rome, and Naples. Not that it’s a competition, but this city can hold its own. With shops filled with fresh, handmade pasta, cheese, and wine, Palermo is the worst kept secret. Home to L’Ottava Nota and Torquemada, this city boasts incredible regional dishes.
Melbourne is a hub for all types of cuisine. Sydney gets all the attention most of the time because of its high profile restaurants, but the food in Melbourne is just as good. If you’re looking for the most instagramable brekkie (breakfast) photos then y’all should definitely make the trip to this city. Try Maha for some fine dining or the Queen Vicotria Market for cheap eats.
Filled with rich history, Calabar is a port city with a lot to offer to tourists and locals alike. Nigerian food is hearty and filling pulling from their natural resources. Beans, yams, rice, and meat are the centerfold of the cuisine. Nigerian food is all about family, community, and culture. Kalu and Sons should definitely be on your list and if you’re down for some Lebanese food with a Nigerian flair, Freddy’s is the spot for you.