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17 Best Food Cities in the World in 2024 (Foodie Paradise!)

A picnic setup with wine, cheese, fruits, and a croissant on a riverside near the Eiffel Tower on a sunny day.

Hello, fellow foodie! Today, I’m taking you on a tour of the best food cities in the world! As a lifelong foodie who has tasted hundreds of dishes from dozens of different cultures and cities, I’m thrilled to share my insights with you!

I researched and handpicked 17 best food cities by continent, included the top dishes and food markets in each one and topped that with the best restaurants so you know where to eat when the road takes you there!

We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

IMPORTANT: Don’t read on an empty stomach!

Quick Picks for Your Stay

Can’t read the whole article? These are the top 3 food cities worldwide:

  • Tokyo
  • Barcelona
  • Mexico City

Best food cities in Asia

I must say right away that Asian food is my favorite food in the world! At least 5 of my all-time favorite dishes come from Asia.

I may have been biased when making this list, but hey, Asia is home to 60% of the world’s population, so it’s only logical to have so many great foodie cities!

1. Tokyo, Japan

Woman with pink hair and sunglasses enjoying a bowl of seafood at a street market in Tokyo, Japan.

Konnichiwa, Tokyo! If I had to pick one city to call the foodie capital of the world, I’d go with Tokyo! Technically, Tokyo is considered the sushi capital of the world, so I wouldn’t be too far off!

Tokyo’s food scene is amazing in the way it blends traditional flavors with modern twists. The streets of Tokyo are filled with enticing aromas from food stalls serving creative dishes like takoyaki (octopus balls), yakitori (chicken skewers), fluffy pancakes, mochi rice cakes, and many delicacies with flavor combinations you never would have thought existed!

Oh, and sushi lovers can attend the top master-class workshops in the world or eat authentic sushi 24/7! I don’t know about you, but I’d move to Tokyo only for that!

Must-try foods: sushi, ramen, yakitori, tempura, takoyaki and monjayaki
Food markets: Ameya-Yokocho (map), Tsukiji Outer Market (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Narisawa (map)
$$: Yakinikutei Rokkasen Shinjuku Nishiguchi 2 (map)
$: Ichiran Shibuya (map)

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2. Bangkok, Thailand

Family laughing and sharing a meal at a bustling night market in Bangkok, Thailand.

The capital of Thailand must have the most eclectic food scene in Southeast Asia! From classy rooftop restaurants to vibrant food stalls with recipes passed down for generations, Bangkok’s culinary delights will steal your heart from Day 1!

Most Bangkok restaurants use locally sourced, organic ingredients, with more and more professional chefs being women!

FUN FACT: In Thai cuisine, every dish has at least 2 of these ingredient styles: salty (shrimp paste or fish sauce), sour (lime), spicy (pepper, chilly), and sweet (fruits, palm sugar). Incorporating at least 2 is the secret to achieving the perfect balance in flavors!

I personally love the combination of flavors in Thai dishes, like red curry and coconut milk with chicken (a dish called gaeng daeng). If you’re a fan of sweet and sour, you’ll have a great time tasting food in Bangkok!

Must-try foods: pad thai, tom yam, banana roti, som tam
Food markets: Khlong Toei Market (map), Wang Lang Market (map), Chinatown Night Market (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin (map)
$$: The Sixth (map)
$: Rongros (map)

3. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Close-up of hands preparing a banh mi sandwich at a street food stall in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Hanoi may be the administrative capital of Vietnam, but Ho Chi Minh is definitely the foodie capital!

Much like other foodie cities on this list, Ho Chi Minh is the melting pot of cultures and different cuisines, with French, Chinese, Cambodian, and other influences. Combine the fusion of flavors of these different people who lived in the area, and you get the enticing food scene of Ho Chi Minh!

Best of all, Ho Chi Minh has a really strong street food culture, so you’ll find street food markets everywhere!

Must-try foods: banh mi, pho, bun bo
Food markets: Ben Thanh Market (map), Ben Nghe Street Food Market (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Cloud Nine Restaurant (map)
$$: Soul Ben Thanh Restaurant & Bar (map)
$: Pho Viet Nam (map)

4. Istanbul, Turkey

Chef slicing meat from a vertical rotisserie at a food stall in Istanbul, Turkey.

Istanbul is a foodie’s paradise once you know where to look for food! I’ve spent years visiting Istanbul and eating in touristy restaurants, never knowing that the most delicious food is not on the main streets (think Taksim Square), but around them.

Fans of grilled meats, fresh seafood (caught by fishermen on the Galata Bridge), and delicious Turkish sweets like baklava will have an amazing time in Istanbul!

Of course, a staple of any authentic Istanbul stay is the Turkish breakfast featuring cheese, eggs, sausages, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, honey, jam, fruits, and Turkish tea. I loved the Turkish breakfast at Namli Gurme (map) restaurant, so I wholeheartedly recommend that one!

Must-try foods: Turkish breakfast, dolma, wet burger, lahmacun, manti, kunefe
Food markets: Kadikoy Carsi (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: 360 Panorama Restaurant (map)
$$: Gulhane Sark Sofrasi (map)
$: The Ottomans Kitchen Cafe Restaurant (map)

5. Mumbai, India

Street vendor cooking a large pan of pav bhaji at a vibrant market in Mumbai, India.

Across centuries, many different peoples have conquered the land of India. Think Portuguese, British, Parsi… Although they all lived in different centuries, the traces of their cuisine can be found in today’s diverse food scene across Mumbai.

Often called street food paradise, Mumbai’s streets are filled with food stalls serving local delicacies, best of all, at affordable prices!

Also, Mumbai chefs are known for their culinary innovations, mixing traditional and modern flavors and styles.

Must-try foods: vada pav, panipuri, bhelpuri, akuri, pav bhaji
Food markets: Muhammad Ali Road (map), Crawford Market (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Tanatan Juhu (map)
$$: Rama Krishna (map)
$: Choice Restaurant (map)

6. Singapore

Display of various seafood dishes at a food stall in Singapore.

You probably got it by now: the best foodie cities in the world are most often those with mixed heritage and cultures. Singapore is no exception.

Due to a large number of expats, Singapore has an insane amount of international restaurants, from Middle Eastern to Italian to French to Indian for every taste and budget!

Of course, you can also try local dishes in its street markets and traditional restaurants. I love their hawker centers and open-air food courts with food stalls serving local specialties.

Must-try foods: chili crab, kaya toast, Hainanese chicken rice, satay
Food markets: Maxwell Food Center (map), Tiong Bahru Market (map), Pek Kio Market & Food Center (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Man Fu Yuan (map)
$$: Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh (map)
$: Soi Aroy (map)

7. Dubai, UAE

Hand reaching for dates among a variety of traditional dishes at an Iftar meal in Dubai, UAE.

Dubai is a melting pot of so many different cultures and nationalities, you can try different foods for weeks without eating the same thing twice.

You’ll find over 200 nationalities residing in Dubai, and most of them have their presence in Dubai’s culinary scene!

We all know that Dubai is a prestigious destination praised for luxury, but you can still find great (and cheap!) street food places if this is what you prefer. So I think it’s safe to say that Dubai is a foodie haven for pretty much all travelers!

If you decide to visit Dubai, we have a special article on 5 best areas to stay in the city, so feel free to check it out!

Must-try foods: shawarma, luqaimat, knafeh 
Food markets: Last Exit Al Khawaneej (map), Time Out Market Dubai (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Doors Freestyle Grill (map)
$$: Al Khayma Heritage Restaurant (map)
$: Mama’esh Business Bay (map)i

Best food cities in Europe

The Old Continent is home to some of the best food cities in the world with hundreds of years of culinary traditions.

8. Rome, Italy

Woman in a hat smiling while holding up a forkful of pasta at an outdoor restaurant in Rome, Italy.

One of the gastronomic centers of Europe, Rome never ceases to amaze me with its food offer. It’s so famous for its food scene, we even have a special article on the best restaurants to eat in Rome that you can read here!

The food scene in Rome reaches so far in history, but today Rome is without a doubt the mecca of pasta and pizza lovers.

Carbonara and cacio e pepe, two of the most popular pasta dishes, originated in Rome!

It’s easy to get lost in all the delicious pizza and pasta eateries, but don’t forget to try the crispy roast meats that Rome is also known for!

Must-try foods: cacio e pepe, carbonara, pizza al taglio, pizza Romana
Food markets: Mercato Trionfale (map), Testaccio (map), Eataly (map), Mercato Centrale (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Ristorante Ad Hoc (map)
$$: Cipasso (map)
$: Bono Bottega Nostrana (map)

9. Barcelona, Spain

Woman in a red dress enjoying tapas and a glass of wine at a food market in Barcelona, Spain.

Barcelona’s food scene has stolen my heart from the first time I visited.

Its vibrant street food markets with irresistible aromas and the outdoorsy culture (you’ll find everyone sipping their coffee or sangrias in bars and cafés across Barcelona day and night) are some of the reasons I’ll always gladly return to Barca.  

Barcelona has over 20 Michelin-starred restaurants, more than any other Spanish city!

There’s probably no better place to eat delicious Mediterranean cuisine with fresh ingredients, so if you’re into seafood, veggies, and stews, you better get going to Barcelona!

Must-try foods: paella, tapas, jamón ibérico, crema catalana
Food markets: Mercat de la Boqueria (map), Mercat de Sant Antoni (map), Santa Caterina (map), Ninot (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Restaurant L’Olivé (map)
$$: El Nacional (map)
$: Colom Restaurant (map)

10. Paris, France

Hand holding a green macaron with raspberries, with the Eiffel Tower in the background in Paris, France.

Classy, sophisticated, delicious…These are the first adjectives that come to my mind when I think of French cuisine. As the leading fine dining destination in the world, Paris raises the food quality bar high.

Food is deeply ingrained in modern French culture, and you can learn so much about the art of cooking from the locals. One of the lessons I remembered during my time there is quality over quantity!

Whether you’re into hearty foods, cheese and wine, or desserts, Paris has got you covered with 118 Michelin restaurants (more than any other city in the world)!

Must-try foods: steak frites, crepes, croissants, escargots
Food markets: Marché Couvert des Enfants Rouges (map), Food Society Paris (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Sphère (map)
$$: Comptoir de la Gastronomie (map)
$: Bouillon Pigalle (map)

11. London, UK

Three cones filled with different styles of fried fish, labeled with numbers at a food stall in London, UK.

Remember that Asian thing where the best foodie cities are those with mixed cultural heritage? Well, London also falls right into that category!

With so many expats living in London, you can find a restaurant of pretty much every cuisine you can think of in the world. All that while having access to the many traditional pubs serving iconic fish and chips paired with local beers.

If you’re planning to visit London, check out our article on the 11 best areas to stay in the city!

Must-try foods: fish and chips, English full breakfast, tea with scones
Food markets: Borough Market (map), Bang Bang Oriental (map), Seven Dials Market (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Hawksmoor Air Street (map)
$$: Flat Iron Covent Garden (map)
$: Govinda’s Pure Vegetarian Restaurant (map)

Best food cities in the Americas

Brace yourself, we’re heading to some of the most exciting (and authentic) food capitals in the world!

12. Mexico City, Mexico

Woman preparing traditional Mexican tortillas topped with various sauces at a street food stall in Mexico City, Mexico.

I spent hours researching and reading about different traditional food markets and restaurants in cities worldwide, but only a few had as many popular options as Mexico City. I immediately felt the urge to go there!

International restaurants aside, I was amazed by the sheer volume of traditional eateries with such amazing ratings.

Mexico City has a really strong street food culture, plus it’s slowly becoming a fine dining capital of the world with more and more Michelin restaurants around. So whether you’re traveling luxury or budget, I’m sure Mexico City’s food scene will blow you away!

Must-try foods: tacos al pastor, pozole, chilaquiles, elote, churros
Food markets: Coyoacan Market (map), Mercado Roma (map), La Merced Market (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Contramar (map) or Ling Ling by Hakkasan (map)
$$: El Cardenal (map)
$: Los Callejeros (map)

13. New York City, USA

Woman serving large pizzas at the Feast of San Gennaro festival in New York City, USA.

I love cities with a strong food market culture, and New York has so many of them I’m literally considering a foodie trip to NYC just to visit them all! If you want to travel the world but lack the means, a quick trip around NYC’s food markets will help you do that through cuisine!

In New York City, you’ll find restaurants from 94 different countries!

Although I’m not a fan of American classic dishes (too dry for my taste), NYC is one of the few cities where I’d be excited to try sandwiches and hot dogs! And don’t get me started on the diners. There are just so many great ones! Although, they will be expensive, much like all other restaurants in NYC.

Must-try foods: pastrami sandwich, sliced pizza, hot dogs, bagels
Food markets: Chelsea Market (map), Gotham West Market (map), Essex Market (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Gramercy Tavern (map)
$$: Ellen’s Stardust Diner (map)
$: Joe’s Pizza (map)

14. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Close-up of hands holding a sausage sandwich topped with herbs and cheese in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A strong Italian influence that blends with traditional flavors and a super passionate population when it comes to food are guaranteed to bring a special culinary experience! It’s what you can expect in Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires is a food paradise for meat lovers, with their asado barbecue gaining popularity in all corners of the world!

From parrillas (traditional steakhouses) to international restaurants to vibrant street food markets, Buenos Aires can keep any foodie busy (and full) for days!

Must-try foods: asado, empanadas, alfajores, mate
Food markets: Mercado del Progreso (map), San Telmo (map), Mercat Villa Crespo (map
Top restaurants:
$$$: Nuestro Secreto (map)
$$: El Ferroviario Restaurant Parrilla (map)
$: El Boliche de Nico (map)

15. Lima, Peru

Smiling woman at a street food stall displaying various fried pastries in Lima, Peru.

Peruvian cuisine is a mixture of Japanese, Chinese, African, Indonesian, and traditional Andean flavors. Some of the country’s most iconic dishes (like aji de gallina, spicy chicken stew) are a testament to the rich cultural influences present in Peru and its capital.

Lima is also slowly becoming a foodie hotspot in the world, especially after its chefs have started gaining worldwide recognition for adding modern twists to traditional Peruvian dishes.

Probably one of the biggest surprises on this list (at least for me), Lima’s markets and high-end restaurants are so enticing you’ll want a special gourmet food tour once you’re there!

Must-try foods: ceviche, lomo saltado, ají de gallina
Food markets: Mercado de Surquillo (map), Mercado Central (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Social Restaurant & Bar (map)
$$: La Mar Cevicheria Peruana (map)
$: Nuevo Mundo Bar (map)

Best food cities in Africa

Now, Africa may not be the most popular travel destination, but it certainly has a diverse food scene.

The top 2 food cities on the continent offer really different foods, and I’m super excited to introduce both!

16. Johannesburg, South Africa

Close-up of a dish being handed over at a restaurant in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Johannesburg (or Joburg, as the locals call it) has emerged as South Africa’s foodie capital for its thriving restaurant scene. Here, you’ll find blends of many worldwide cuisines like Portuguese, Malay, Chinese, and Indian.

Whether you’re into fine dining, hipster eateries, or farmers markets, Johannesburg has a lot to offer! But where the Joburg food scene really stands out are steakhouses and seafood restaurants.

FUN FACT: South Africa has another must-visit foodie destination, and it’s Franschhoek! Many South Africans actually consider this city as the country’s gastronomic capital, so be sure to add it to your itinerary and see how it compares with Joburg!

Must-try foods: boerewors, bobotie, biltong, melktert, koeksisters
Food markets: Fourways Farmers’ Market (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: Marble Restaurant (map)
$$: Mikes Heritage House (map)
$: Cafe 28 (map)

17. Marrakech, Morocco

Man with open arms behind a colorful display of sweets at a market in Marrakech, Morocco.

If you’re a fan of interesting spice combinations, slow-cooked meats served in clay pots, and couscous, Marrakech is a must-visit destination! With Persian, Mediterranean, and West African influences, Marrakech offers quite a unique blend of flavors and ingredients.

I first tried Moroccan cuisine in a restaurant in Paris and I immediately fell in love! The meat was so tender, and their desserts were so savory and always paired with mint tea. I found the whole meal experience so comforting!

NOTE: If the road takes you to Morocco, make sure to stop by the city of Fez. Marrakech has the largest food scene in the country, but Fez definitely has the most authentic, traditional eateries!

Must-try foods: tajine, couscous, harira, mint tea, dried fruits
Food markets: Souk Semmarine (map)
Top restaurants:
$$$: L’Ô à la Bouche (map)
$$: Al Fassia (map)
$: Café Babouche Medina (map)

Start planning your visit to the best food cities

Hand holding a colorful gelato cone with a canal and buildings in the background in Venice, Italy

Our virtual journey through the best food cities in the world has come to an end. Now, it’s time to take some actionable steps and start planning your ultimate culinary adventure!

I was happy to help you pick your next destination and am even more excited to help you plan your trip further! You’ll find tons of useful guides for most of the cities I talked about on our blog; just type in your destination for easy access to the best hotels, activities, areas, and more!

But before you go, tell me, what food city are you most excited to visit? Are you more interested in street food or fancy restaurants? Share your thoughts in the comments below! I can’t wait to read them!



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