Deep down, there’s a part of all of us that wants to be Anthony Bourdain (minus the maggot fried rice). We’re hungry for experiences that combine travel and food, with a new-found focus on authenticity. Travellers today aren’t interested in sticking to Michelin guides or familiar chains from home – instead we want to immerse ourselves in a local culture via the tastes and smells of its food.
Culinary travel is a trend on the rise. Whether touring vineyards and orchards, taking cooking courses, sampling urban street food, or exploring regional delicacies at farmers’ markets, foodie tourists are an increasingly large market.
“Anthony Bourdain has singlehandedly changed the landscape of travel,” Charles Wolfe, senior travel advisor at Direct Travel Vacations in Florida, told Travel Weekly. “Before him, travelers were looking at Michelin guides to find the best of the best. But now people are asking to go deeper, to experience the local culture through the cuisine.”
“People today are looking for an authentic experience,” agrees Leigh Elizabeth Bryant, president of Avondale Travel, also based in Florida. “They don’t want to go to another chain restaurant. They want to experience the local foods and the local culture they find within the flavours of the food.”
“Have fork, will travel,” is the motto of modern jet-setters. Accommodation booking site Booking.com recently found that over three quarters of its users say they’d likely travel somewhere renowned for great food and drink when choosing their next travel destination. Millennials are particularly interested in combining their passions for travel and food, gobbling unidentifiable street treats and five-star delicacies with equal delight.
Using more than 118 million user reviews, Booking.com identified the top foodie destinations most recommended by globetrotting gourmands. Add these 25 cities to your bucket list and don’t forget to pack your appetite (and a bigger pair of pants).