If food is your way of life when you’re at home, then it’s likely your way of life when you’re away too.
Whether you’re looking for exotic flavours and authentic rustic street food, or the absolute cream of haute cuisine, there’s a perfect holiday destination for you.
Have a look below to find the one for you.
Singapore is a fabulous melting pot of cultures, European as well as Asian, and this pot produces some of the best and most flavoursome food in the world.
Its strong Chinese, Indian and Malay influences, as well as its location and strong trade which allows for almost any ingredient to be found somewhere in the city, makes for some authentic dishes as well as punchy fusions that are always fresh and packing a punch.
You can pick up a bowl of noodles or chilli crab for next to nothing in the wet markets across the city.
Recommended eating: satay from Boon Tat Street, also known as Satay Street
2. Bari, Italy
A town smaller than Dublin, Bari is the capital of Italy’s Puglia region which has some amazing local ingredients, including olive groves and wheat.
Come here to sample the absolute best in Italian cooking, with the best in olive oils and tomatoes, and pastas unique to the region such as orecchiette, which you’ll find sold in the old town. A fishing town, expect fish to feature heavily on the menus too.
Recommended eating: oricchiette pasta
3. Istria, Croatia
The Istrian peninsula is fast-becoming a string of touristy resorts, but there are still some great spots for exploring this beautiful country’s food and wine – made all the easier by the fact that Ryanair fly into the regional capital of Pula.
For something upscale, check out the rural villas and vineyards (like Villa Meneghetti, who also offer cookery classes), or head to Paladini to explore the world’s most expensive ingredients, truffles, which are native to Istria. For homey eating utilising the rich seafood of the area, head to Motovun and its old town taverns.
Recommended eating: boskarin, or ox meat
4. Oaxaca, Mexico
Oaxaca is a small city in south Mexico, and is known as the home of slow cooking the backbone of authentic Mexican food. If the extent of your knowledge of Mexican food are burritos and guacamole, prepared to have your horizons seriously expanded: come to Oaxaca for a huge variety of the traditional Mexican sauces: moles.
It’s also home to world-famous Mexican chocolate, the serious and rich bars that form the basis of simply incredible spicy hot chocolates.
Recommended eating: chapulines – fried grasshoppers with chilli
5. Pézenas, France
A stunning little town a little off the beaten track in Southern France (the Hérault region), Pézenas has a rich history as an spot for artists and writers to be inspired, with quite a significant part of the inner old town still existing as artist studios.
Though sometimes a little touristy, its late-night markets fill the town with local artisan food as well as the work of local artists, as well as some amazing sweets. Nestled in the middle of mountains, there are stunning views and a hundred villages packed with local cheeses and other dishes in the area.
Recommended eating: petit pâté de Pézenas, classic sweet mutton pie
6. Mtskheta, Georgia
One of the oldest towns in Georgia, Mtskheta is particularly known for its incredible traditional food, in particular the delicacy Khinkali – a type of dumping filled with spiced meat cooked so that their juices remain in the dumpling (be prepared to lose all the respect of the locals should you let any of this juice on the plate).
While Georgian spiced meat stews are fabulous, what really shines in this rustic cuisine are the huge varieties breads and cheeses. In addition, the city’s ancient monuments have been designated a UNESCO Word Heritage Site in Danger, so it’s somewhere worth seeing soon.
Recommended eating: khinkali or khachapuri, a bread filled with cheese
7. Budapest, Hungary
For something a little different in terms of European cuisine, look to Budapest. There is a strong history of traditional Magyar cooking here, but what makes it fascinating is its drawing together of this with influences from Slavic, French, Germanic and Italian food.
The main native spice in Hungary is paprika, so keep an eye out for hearty stews and goulashes spiced with paprika. The real stars of Budapest, though, are the coffee-houses, such as Gerbeaud: established in 1858, it’s at once traditional coffee-house, confectioner and Michelin-starred bistro.
Recommended eating: coffee and pastries at Gerbeaud
8. Beirut, Lebanon
It would be easy to fill a list with the European and East Asian capitals for food tourists, but it would be wrong to leave out the Middle East and its stunning colours and flavours.
Lebanon is the ultimate in foodie destinations for its huge array of restaurants, markets and bars redolent of spices, fine oils, garlic, lemon and masses of herbs, both fresh and dried. Not forgetting of course that Lebanon is also the home of so many of the foods we love here in Dublin, like falafel and hummus.
And the baklava. Oh the baklava.
Recommended eating: baklava accompanied by a strong Turkish coffee
9. Haifa, Israel
If the Holy City is not your thing, try making your way to the beautiful Haifa. Sample Israel’s cuisine, which has the hallmarks of Middle-Eastern food with a distinct Mediterranean influence and explore the Baha’i Gardens.
Recommended eating: falafel in pitta from the street markets
10. San Sebastian, Spain
A small city but the absolute king of fine dining in Europe, San Sebastian has it all: sunny beaches, stunning scenery, and more Michelin-starred restaurants than you can shake your paella at.
However what really makes San Sebastian special is the sheer volume of incredible pintxo (similar to tapas) bars in the Old Quarter of the city. It also has some serious gastronomical pedigree: it’s is the home of the too-frequently overlooked Basque cuisine, and was the first city to offer a university degree course in Gastronomy.
Whether haute-cuisine or street-cuisine, this city is a must for any dedicated foodie, and 2016 will be a great place to visit it as it will share the title of European Capital of Culture with Poland’s Wroclaw.
Recommended eating: fill a plate with everything you fancy at a pintxo bar
11. Osaka, Japan
Known as the ‘kitchen of Japan’, Osaka much less touristy than the capital, and has a simply awesome array of street food. Its residents are food-mad and -proud, keeping quality high in restaurants and on the streets, and are said to spend more on food than on anything else, though it is also a good bit cheaper than Tokyo.
Recommended eating: takoyaki (street dish with batter, octopus, tempura and pickled ginger)