For many, food and traveling go hand-in-hand and trying new cuisine and local delicacies are part of the reason for choosing a destination. Whether you want to find the best Pad Thai in Thailand, indulge in chocolate truffles in Belgium, eat traditional tacos in Mexico or try some snake heart vodka (eurgh!) in Vietnam or China, there is a food adventure for you!
Here we’ve chosen some of our favorite foodie experiences that we think should be on everyone’s bucket list. Let us know if you’ve tried any of them or if you have others to add to the list!
1. Eat Lobster
Eating a lobster is one of the most decadent things you can do, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. The very best lobster is when it is fresh out of the water, which usually means as it’s local and therefore cheap! Simply cooked up with some butter, garlic or lemon juice makes for a tasty dish that is fit for a king.
2. Try Kangaroo
If you’re a meat-eater, you’re probably intrigued by some of the more unusual meats available on the market. While things like kangaroo, zebra, and ostrich can be found on some market menus worldwide, there’s nothing like eating the real deal in the country it comes from. The Aussie’s sure know how to cook up a kangaroo steak or delicious ‘roo burger so get yourself down to a traditional BBQ and dine on this lovely local delicacy!
3. Eat Caviar and/or Oysters
When you think about exquisite, expensive foodstuffs, caviar and oysters usually spring to mind. While the idea of chowing down on fish eggs or raw oysters may not seem the most appealing, those in the know would claim that they are indeed worth their price tag. Beluga caviar is the most expensive type which can fetch up to $10,000/kg! Treat yourself to some caviar or oysters with an obligatory glass of champagne and feel like you’re living the high life!
4. Enjoy a French Croissant
Perhaps one of the world’s best smells is that of a French bakery with its freshly-baked baguettes, warm croissants and crisp macaroons just longing to be eaten! A traditional French croissant with its warm enveloping layers, golden shell, and a rich buttery smell will have you salivating in seconds. Stop off at a boulangerie while in France to try one of these homemade treats; dipping it in a chocolate chaud (hot chocolate) to feel like a real Frenchman.
5. Eat Fish and Chips by the Seaside
There is nothing that epitomizes Britain more than the classic dish of fish and chips (ok, maybe the Royal family but nobody wants to eat them!). Sitting on the British coast with the smell of the sea in the air and the sound of waves in your ears is the perfect place to enjoy this traditional dish. Choose from haddock or cod (large and battered, obviously) and pair it with thick-cut chips (definitely not fries) slathered in salt and vinegar. If you’re feeling extremely British, add a side of mushy peas too!
6. Indulge in some Belgian Chocolate
When it comes to chocolate, many countries claim to have the best, but by all accounts, Belgian chocolate truffles are definitely up there. The smooth, silky chocolate with a whole range of fillings are the perfect indulgence on a chilly weekend break in Brussels, Bruges or Antwerp. Head to Neuhaus to try some traditional truffles and ask about their history for an interesting story.
7. Eat a Spanish Paella
Again, this dish is one that epitomizes its home nation and is a must-try when visiting Spain. Traditionally a Valencian dish, paella can now be found across the country with each region adding their own flair to the classic mix of saffron rice, peppers, green beans and meat and/or seafood. Vegetarian paellas are also readily available so you don’t have to miss out if you enjoy a plant-based diet!
8. Eat a Medium-Rare Steak
People could argue the world over about the finest cut of beef and the best way to cook a steak, but most agree that a medium-rare filet is where it’s at. Trying a perfect steak in Robert’s Steakhouse in NYC or Le Relais de L’Entrecote in Paris should be near the top of everyone’s foodie bucket list. Pair with a side of salad and fries and a decent glass of red wine, and you’ll be on to a winner.
9. Pho or Noodle Soup
A cheap, traditional Vietnamese dish that packs a punch is Pho AKA noodle soup. Steaming bowls of these tasty broths can be found everywhere in Vietnam, from fine-dining restaurants to roadside cafes. The delicious broths are stewed for hours on end in order to intensify the flavors and are served with noodles, fresh herbs, spring onions, and chili flakes. Yum!
10. Beachside Donuts (Doughnuts)
When you’re craving a sweet snack, there’s nothing that hits the spot quite like a donut. Britain’s beaches are packed with vendors selling these sticky, sweet treats covered in sugar, chocolate or filled with jam. Pick up a piping hot bag fresh from the fryer and share among friends with your toes in the sand – just watch out for the seagulls though as they’ll want a bite!
11. Canadian Poutine
Created by Quebecois but famous the world-over, Poutine is a hearty dish that comprises of French fries, cheese curds, and gravy. While this dish might not look the most aesthetically-pleasing, there’s no doubt that it is tasty. A box of poutine can set you back less than $5, so it is an excellent option for a filling meal on-the-go.
12. Chip Butty
Whether you call them chips or fries, crisps or chips, putting them in a sandwich is never a bad idea. Chip butties have been around in Britain for years (white bread, butter, and chip-shop-chips) but slowly other countries are catching on and adding their own twist. The Kiwis are adding vegemite, Aussie’s call them a chip sanga and others choose to add ketchup, cheese or curry sauce. This practically nutritionless yet somehow delicious sandwich is worth a try if you’ve never eaten one before.
13. Cotton Candy
A childhood favorite, cotton candy is a fluffy cloud of sugary goodness that will take your mind right back to being at the fair/beach/circus as a kid. Watching the sugar spin round the machine and turn into something magical is genuinely mesmerizing and something that doesn’t get old no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
A classic Greek snack or meal, gyros is a must-try food that should be on your cheap eats bucket list. The word gyros means ’round,’ and refers to the meat on a spit that turns round and round while heating and crisping up. The best gyros come in a fluffy pita packed with pork, onions, tomatoes, fries and a slathering of tzatziki. I defy you to eat just one during your Greek island adventure!
15. Fresh Coconut
When traveling in a tropical country, there’s nothing more refreshing than sipping on a fresh coconut on the beach. Coconut sellers usually pass by the beach offering these cheap treats for a couple of dollars. Sip the cold milk straight from the nut then smash it open to reveal its tasty white flesh which you can munch straight from the husk.
Trying champagne is a dangerous game as it’s hard not to get a taste for this expensive golden nectar. However, everyone should enjoy a glass of champagne at least once in their lives. Trying it in its birthplace in France would be even better as you can visit the great vineyards that have become renowned worldwide. Treat yourself to a bottle for a family celebration!
17. Singapore Sling
Classic cocktails reveal a lot about a destination, and this is no different for the classy Singapore Sling served at Raffles in Singapore. This gin-based cocktail was created by Ngiam Tong Boon while working at the Long Bar in Raffles and has become as iconic to the city as the Gardens by the Bay and the and Sentosa Island.
18. Bubble Tea
A quirky Taiwanese drink, Bubble Tea is a sweet milky cold tea that has tapioca bubbles bouncing around in the bottom. These bubbles are filled with jelly, with flavors such as pomegranate, strawberry and even grass being firm favorites! The tea is drunk through a giant straw that can suck up the bubbles which pop in your mouth to release the fruity flavor.
19. Bloody Mary
Although it sounds like a strange combination (vodka, tomato juice, Tabasco/Worcestershire sauce, and celery) Bloody Maries are surprisingly tasty and work wonders as a hair-of-the-dog cure for a hangover! Each bar and restaurant has perfected their version of this spicy cocktail with some offering sticks of bacon or prawns on the side.
20. Mint Tea in Morocco
Having a mint tea in Morocco is an absolute must. The piping hot beverage is found pretty much everywhere you go in Morocco and is often served in delicately designed glasses and poured (from a great height) from a metal teapot. Serving mint tea in Morocco is part of a hospitality ritual, and it is not proper etiquette to refuse.
21. Guinness in Ireland
No trip to Dublin would be complete without a visit to the Guinness factory and trying a pint of the black stuff. Known colloquially as Vitamin G, Black Magic, and Irish Champagne, Guinness is a firm favorite among the Irish and nowhere does it taste better than at the factory. Slainte!
22. Good Beer
Germany, Belgium, Holland, and even the Czech Republic may claim to have the best beer, but you’ll never know without trying, right? Add a beer trip around Europe to your bucket list to drink your way around the continent in search of your favorite. Why not plan it around Oktoberfest to have full access to all of Germany’s best beers in one place?
23. Fresh Spring Water
There’s nothing quite like drinking cold, fresh water straight from a stream, spring or glacier. If you get the chance, visit one of the mountainous regions across Europe or the Americas to try some crystal-clear water that is full of mineral goodness and doesn’t need a filter to taste great.
Experiences and Encounters
24. Eat at a Michelin-Starred Restaurant
Eating at a Michelin-starred restaurant is most definitely a treat, but it is one that you should try and do at least once in your life if you can afford to. Trying the exquisite cuisine that is well-thought-out and delicately designed upon the plate is something you’ll never forget. You’ll be able to try new flavors, delight in the experience of wine pairings and have tastes explode in your mouth that you never thought would go together! These restaurants are truly a cut above the rest.
25. Eat Gelato in Italy
Trying gelato in Italy is an absolute must. The silky-smooth ice creams are heavenly and enjoying one in the Italian sunshine somehow makes them even better! You can pretty much find every sweet flavor of gelato in Italy from the classic Dulce de Leche or Fragola (strawberry) to modern favorites such as Nutella and Oreos. No artificial flavors are used in traditional, authentic Italian gelato, and they have less fat than American ice cream so really, we could argue that they’re healthy…
26. Sushi in Japan
Where better to eat sushi than it the home of the bitesize beauties? Japan has hundreds of sushi restaurants; from grab-and-go bars to fine-dining restaurants with the world’s greatest sushi. Although it’s not an everyday dining experience for Japanese people, it is definitely worth putting on your bucket list for when you visit. There are a few things to keep in mind though: be respectful of the chef, don’t ask too many questions, mention other sushi restaurants or take pictures without asking first. Sushi restaurants are generally small establishments so you’ll have a genuinely intimate Japanese experience.
27. Eat or Cook a Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving is a huge part of American culture but whether you are American or not, having a Thanksgiving dinner is still a great experience. Whether you choose to take part in the cooking of this epic meal or simply just dine, it’s a perfect time to be grateful for your friends, family, the roof over your head and the food on the table. Sweet potatoes and marshmallows anyone?
28. Rooftop Drinks or Dining
There are rooftop bars and restaurants the world over, and for a good reason too! Enjoying a coffee, cocktail or three-course meal with the vista of a bustling metropolis below you is a wonderful experience. Some restaurants feature 360-degree views, glass floors or even revolving platforms so you can truly enjoy the view.
29. Have a Coffee With a Stranger
Now this one might sound a little strange, but when you open yourself up to crazy experiences, often crazy things happen. You never know who you will meet, what opportunities may open up or what you might have in common with a stranger. Be polite, friendly and honest, and you’ll both probably have a unique, eye-opening experience.
31. Space Needle Tower in Seattle
SkyCity at the Needle in Seattle offers a unique restaurant experience. Perched 500ft above the city of Seattle, the restaurant feature glass walls and floor and revolves so you can enjoy a full view of the streets below. Make a reservation, so you don’t miss out when visiting Seattle. Not one for those with vertigo!
32. Underwater Restaurant
At the other end of the spectrum lies the Ithaa Underwater Restaurant. This glass-walled restaurant sits 16ft below sea level and allows you to dine under the sea with colorful marine life swimming past. Enjoy Maldivian lobster and caviar (ticketing three things off your bucket list in one go!).
33. French Cabaret Restaurant
Enjoying a dinner show at a French Cabaret is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Head to Lido on the Champs-Elysées or the Moulin Rouge for an evening of feathers, frolics, food, and fun! The cabarets feature sumptuous décor, sensual dancers and beautiful choreography. Yes, it is expensive. But, ‘When in Paris!’.
34. Eat at or Host a Supper Club
A supper club is a great way to enjoy home-cooked meals with other foodie lovers, getting to know each other, chatting about cuisine and hopefully trying something new or exciting. Most cities around the world now run supper clubs, so it’s easy to get involved. Supper clubs offer an intimate experience and are often themed so you can dine on everything from Lebanese and Punjab to Mexican, Mayan or Moroccan!
35. Dinner in the Sky
If you want to go one step further than SkyCity why not dine at one of the remarkable Dinner in the Sky experiences? From Vancouver to Athens and London to Sydney, Dinner in the Sky allows diners to enjoy a meal at their Sky Table, 100ft in the air. Guests are seated before being lifted to their 100ft vantage point and served a three-course meal. Not for the faint-hearted, this is a truly unique experience.
36. Cook with Home-Grown Herbs
The feeling of cooking with your own home-grown herbs is so satisfying that once you’ve done it once you’ll wonder why you didn’t start before! Putting fresh rosemary and thyme on top of baked camembert or making a salad with some freshly-picked basil leaves will have your mouth-watering. Invite your friends round and show off your cooking and gardening skills in one!
37. Make Your Own Pasta
When you see the ingredients list for homemade pasta, you’ll think it’s an absolute breeze: just flour, eggs, water, olive oil and a pinch of salt. However, making the dough is the easy part! When you start rolling and discover that you and everything else is covered in flour, you’ll be forgiven for thinking it was a bad idea! But if you persist, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the tastiest pasta you’ve ever tried.
38. Make Sushi at Home
If you’ve completed number 26 on this foodie bucket list, you may be inspired to make your own sushi at home. This is a fun, hands-on experience and you can choose your own fillings to build your perfect roll. Grab a sushi mat, some nori, rice, and your desired fillings, and off you go. It may be best to follow a tutorial for the first time or why not try and cookery class?
39. Brew Your Own Alcohol
This is a fun one to add to your bucket list although it’s unlikely you’ll be making award-winning wine in your garage! Choose whether you want to make beer, wine or spirits, collect the relevant ingredients (foraging for them is even better!) before following the steps to create the perfect brew. You may not have enough to throw a free-flowing party, but you’ll probably learn something along the way.
40. Cook a Three-Course Meal
Depending on your culinary skills this one may be a regular occurrence in your house, or it may seem like climbing Mount Everest. Regardless, cooking a three-course meal for friends and family can be a challenging yet rewarding task. Timing is everything here so make sure you have everything ready and worked out in advance of starting. If you think it’s a breeze, why not add an amuse bouche or palette cleanser for that extra je ne sais quoi?!
41. Try a Vegan Curry in India
Those that think vegan food is bland, flavorless and boring will be eating their words after trying a good vegan curry in India or Sri Lanka. Many locals in these countries tend to stick to a vegetarian diet, so they’re au fait with making a mango, aubergine or potato taste delicious! Grab a friend, find a café, restaurant, or better still, a roadside shack offering vegan food and tuck into a feast of curry, daal, rice, and roti. Yum. (watch out for ghee (clarified butter) being used).
42. Have a Vegan Brunch
Pancakes, bacon and maple syrup, a slap-up full English breakfast or poached eggs and salmon are favorites among brunchers. But have you ever eaten a well-crafted vegan brunch? If not, seek out a local vegan cafe and try smashed avocado, vegan sausages, scrambled tofu, and tasty garlic mushrooms. If you find a good one you may even be swayed to go vegan in future!
43. Eat a Vegan Tasting Menu
Fancy food doesn’t just have to be for meat eaters. Many high-end restaurants are cottoning on to the fact that more and more people are choosing a plant-based diet. Therefore, vegan dishes are making their way onto menus everywhere. Trying a delicately-designed vegan tasting menu will be unlike any other plant-based food you’ve tried before. Imagine celeriac veloutés, carrot and cumin purées and delicious lemon sorbets.
44. Try Raw Cacao and Pure Dark Chocolate
While you may feel as though you’re missing out on milk chocolate when sticking to a plant-based diet, there are still ways you can get your cacao fix. Purists would argue that dark chocolate is the best anyway and once you’ve got used to the bitter taste you’ll probably agree! Try pure dark chocolate from Madagascar, Ecuador or Guatemala, and you’ll be sold. Raw cacao fruit is also well worth trying if only for the mind-boggling experience that it doesn’t taste anything like chocolate! The white fruit is sweet and tangy and can be eaten straight out of the pod.
45. Bake a Vegan Cake
With eggs, milk, and butter often forming the main basis of a cake, it can be a bit of a challenge to bake a vegan cake. However, we’re lucky enough to have plenty of milk and butter alternatives on the market so you can experiment with new flavors and textures. Once you’ve mastered a vegan cake, share it with friends and family and see if they can tell the difference!
The Weird and Wonderful
46. Eat Bugs
Although they may not seem like the most appealing snack, everything from crickets and mealworms to scorpions and spiders are consumed all over the world! Mostly they are deep-fried with a bit of salt and pepper and taste a bit like crisps – who knew?! Crushed mealworms sprinkled on green tomatoes are a favorite with Mexican mescal, and you can buy three scorpions on a stick as a quick snack in China.
47. Try Durian Fruit
Trying local fruits is a must when visiting a new country, from fresh pineapple in Costa Rica to rambutans in Thailand. However, the infamous durian fruit is often one that people want to avoid. This mammoth fruit is said to have a stench so bad that it is banned from many hotels and transportation across Asia! If you do manage to get past the smell to actually try the fruit, it is said to have a taste of onions, cream and caramel all at the same time – strange!
48. Drink Airag in Mongolia
If you visit Mongolia, it’s unlikely that you’ll be expecting nuggets and fries or a can of coke on the menu, but you might not be ready to try fermented horse milk. Airag, the national drink, is a staple of the Mongolian diet and is a sweet and sour alcoholic beverage. It is high in nutrients though and great for those who are lactose intolerant, so…when in Mongolia, right?
49. Try Chicken Feet
A Chinese favorite that you’ll find in markets all over the country, chicken feet are the KFC of China. Crispy on the outside with a fatty layer underneath these may not be for everyone. But I’m told that if they’re flavored properly, they can be pretty tasty… They sometimes even grace the Michelin-starred menu at Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong!
Let us know your pick for number 50, and we will add the best one to this List.