This week we bring you eight mouth-watering overseas destinations for the globetrotting gourmands out there. Everyone travels for different reasons and for many of us it’s food. If your Bucket List is full of items like crepes, dim sum, curry fish and pad Thai, then this gallery is for you. While many of us can sample the world’s menu without traveling too far from home, truly reaping the rewards of an adventurous palate is best earned through your passport.
Paste Travel’s Bucket List columnist Lauren Kilberg is a Chicago-based freelance writer. Her travels have found her camping near the Pakistani border of India and conquering volcanoes in the Philippines.
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There are plenty of reasons to travel to India and food is certainly one of them. While the country's cuisine varies greatly from region to region, Mumbai is a great place to start. The city is often touted, although passionately contested, as the food capital of India. What's great about Mumbai is that your options are abundant, from traditional dishes to fusion, you won't go hungry. The city is especially famous for a type of savory street food known as chaat. If your feeling overwhelmed by all the varieties, start with aloo chaat, pani puri, dabeli pav (pictured), aloo tikki and samosa chaat. Other local delicacies include Bombay duck curry, masala bhaat, vegetable pulao, fish and vegetable curries, roti, prawn tikki and Bombay fish fry.
Photo by Adam Cohn, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Defending the merits of Tokyo's culinary scene requires little effort. Japan's capital contains the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, but it's also home to corner noodle bars and train station bento joints. Like many of the destinations on this list, Tokyo's culinary culture is as much about the food itself as it is about the different and unique experiences surrounding mealtime. No trip would be complete without eating sushi. Head to Tsukiji fish market, the largest of its kind in the world, for an early morning meal of raw fish or other seafood. Kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi) is another must-have dining experience while in Japan. Next to sushi, many who visit are there for the noodles. Whether soba or udon, look for a tachigui noodle shop where you order your meal via vending machine and stand and eat whatever you selected. Finally, if you're in a rush or heading out of town, bento boxes are an iconic way to stay fueled along the way. Other must eats include ramen, kushiyaki and gyoza, to name a few.
Photo by George Alexander Ishida Newman, CC BY 2.0
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Within the borders of Bangkok it's possible to take a culinary tour through the entirety of Thai cuisine. The capital has a reported 50,000 places eat, from street stands to five-star restaurants. The swanky Sukhumvit district is where you'll find the best upscale establishments, but the small stalls down alleys and parked on the side of more popular thoroughfares are where you'll truly taste what puts Thai food on the culinary map. The list of must-try dishes is long, but the good news is that it won't cost you much. A few classics include tom yam kung soup, pad Thai, satay and massaman curry, to name only a few.
Photo by Alex Wright, CC BY-NC 2.0
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Two words: dim sum. When it comes to exploring the culinary offerings of Hong Kong, this what most are after. This staple of Cantonese cuisine features a bounty of flavors and textures. Top picks include barbecue pork buns, steamed dumplings, fried steamed chicken feet, rolled rice noodles, turnip cake, egg tarts and of course Chinese tea. Other Hong Kong delicacies that should be on your list are congee, wonton noodles, chicken feet and roast pork belly.
Photo by Stefan Lins, CC BY-NC 2.0
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Singapore's culinary culture is a reflection of the the melting pot of people who call the place home. The global menu of offerings include dishes rooted in Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, French and American cuisine, among others. It's not just the food itself that sets Singapore apart as one of the best destinations for foodies, its the entire culture that exists around eating. No visit would be complete without a meal or two at one of Singapore's famous hawker centers. It's where you'll find a plethora of local favorites in one place and all at an affordable price. Must eats include laksa, chili crab, curry fish head, fried carrot cake, kaya toast, satay, chicken rice and, if you're really brave, durian.
Photo by Steel Wool, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Vegetarians be warned, Buenos Aires is for meat lovers. Argentina is famous for its beef, so deciding what to eat is truly a question of how you prefer it prepared. Whether asado or parrillada, head to a parrilla to sample the best of Argentinian roasted meats. Choripan is another dish not to miss, featuring chorizo sausage on a french roll. Make sure it comes with chimichurri, a popular green salsa, either on the side or smothered in it. Empanadas are another must eat. These delicious pastries can be found stuffed with everything from cheese to meat or vegetables. For dessert, alfajores and dulce de leche are where it's at. Besides wine, yerba mate is a nation drink of choice. This tea vitamin and mineral-packed tea is made from the leaves of the mate tree and famously served with a straw in gourd.
Photo by Joshua Blount, CC BY 2.0
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From breakfast to dessert, France does food very well. So well in fact, UNESCO added French gastronomy to its list of intangible cultural heritage. In Paris alone there are some 9,000 restaurants, along with countless street stands, markets and patisseries. There's the almost too pretty to eat pastries, breads, artisanal cheeses, wine, as well as a variety of mouth-watering seafood and meat dishes all begging to be sampled. Must eats include crepes, baguettes, duck confit, moules marinieres, macrons, croque monsieur, steak frites, blanquette de veau, to name just a few.
Photo by Ângelo Pereira, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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From local cafes serving menu del dia (set menus) to post-siesta tapas, Barcelona is a food lover's playground. The latter allows you to take a culinary trip through the country's cuisine essentially all in one sitting. While tapas originate from Andalusia, there is no shortage of spots serving these small plates in Barcelona. For more authentic Catalan cuisine, look for items like calcots with romesco sauce, paella, esqueixada and follow those with crema Catalana for dessert.
Photo by Steph Matthews, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0