You’d have to have a pretty conservative and obstinate stomach in order to be able to travel without indulging in the offer of local dishes and delicacies. Food and food preparation is a huge part of most cultures, and sticking only to dishes that are ‘international’ or familiar to the palate would mean that you are missing out on an essential part of the travel experiences. And while most travelers are happy to enjoy the local fare as a bonus to seeing amazing new places, there are more than enough travel destinations that are worth visiting based on their cuisine alone. And if you’re worried that you won’t have much to do except to stuff yourself in these destinations, don’t worry, they all have more than their fare share of sights as well. Here are a few travel destinations with remarkable cuisine that is reason enough to visit them.
South Korea might be small and fairly underrated in comparison to its larger and more touristy neighbors, but when it comes to cuisine, it can put any other country to shame. Some of the dishes might sound a bit bizarre for those who are not used to foreign cuisines, but even the weirdest dishes manage to be surprisingly delicious. Try the bibimbap (the one made in Jeonju, Jinju, and Tongyeong are really famous), kimchi and bulgogi.
Panama is a lovely destination for outdoorsy people, offering pretty much the same type of holiday activities like neighboring Costa Rica: trekking through the jungle, adrenaline-pumping extreme sports and lounging on the beach. But if you are a sworn fan of fried foods, you can have all the deep fried delicacies you want in Panama: corn fritters of many types, empanadas, hojaldres (pork-filled fried sandwiches) or carimañola (yucca empanadas filled with beef).
Desserts are a very important part of a country’s cuisine, some might even argue that it is the most important part. When it comes to desserts, you can’t go wrong with Belgium. Belgian chocolate is world famous, and taking a stroll through Antwerp, Brussels or Bruges will reveal that there are more patisseries and chocolateries in one place than you’ve ever seen before. Pack your lunchbox full of truffles and chocolates, and head out on a scenic bike trip around the windmill-filled countryside.
Come night, Jemaa el-Fnaa market in Marrakesh turns into a foodie paradise. Dozens of food stalls whip up tantalizing local specialties, from links of handmade lamb sausages and harira to snails prepared in various ways. The atmosphere of the market, lit with lanterns and oozing delicious smells makes it an irresistible tourist attraction, but Moroccan cuisine eaten anywhere is just as tasty.
It would be silly to travel to Japan only to taste the cuisine, considering how much more the country has to offer in terms of art and culture, but actually in Japan, cuisine could well be considered an art. From dainty sushi dishes and carefully fileted sashimi to hearty home-cooking like the Japanese curry or the miso soup, Japanese cuisine is just what you need after a long day of sightseeing.