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Gourmet getaways

Food radar - the best places to eat worldwide

Clive Wedderburn July 3, 2018

Floating market

Put these new flavour sensations on your travel radar and be tempted by authentic local specialities in our guide to the best places to eat worldwide.

Santa Monica - boulevards and bistros

Santa Monica is Los Angeles’ easy-going coastal city, the culinary trendsetter where you can eat like a health food guru.

Top tip and must eats: 

  • Hire a bike and cycle around the food haunts of Santa Monica, burn those calories, soak up the views and live the California lifestyle. 
  • Oysters and scallops don’t come fresher than at either at Melisse 1104 Wilshire Blvd, or Herringbone on 1755 Ocean Ave. 
  • You can get to Los Angeles by train on the Expo Line in no time at all. So, if you’re staying in Santa Monica you can leave your car behind, instead of being gridlocked on the freeway.

Ask any celebrity chef and they’ll tell you Santa Monica is a haven of healthy eating. Start your day offering sun salutations at the organic breakfast hub, The Hive, sampling their signature smoothie the Hive Master containing lion’s mane, an ancient Chinese medicinal mushroom. Coffee-addicts, head over to Main Street, to Dogtown Coffee for a slice of skate and surfing history.

Third Street Promenade

California loves its seasonal, locally-sourced foods, from sustainable sources. Visit the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market that opens on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Drift through the stalls here sampling fresh produce and spotting a celebrity chef or two.

At lunch time, the Caribbean flavours of Cha Cha Chicken on Ocean Boulevard is famous for seducing visitors with its spicy aromas drifting from its grill on the in-shore breeze.

Serving a fusion of flavours fresh from the Farmer’s Market in true Californian style, is Native, a New American Bistro on 620 Santa Monica Blvd. This cornerstone of the Santa Monica restaurant scene is the perfect place to round off your food adventures with a cocktail or two. As the sun sets you’ll be glad you added Santa Monica to your West Coast tour.  

Lima - Peruvian fusion

Pioneering chefs combine technique with exciting local flavours and authentic recipes. A South American new kid on the block getting the global recognition it deserves.

Top tip and must eats:

  • Try a Pisco Sour in Lima. This sharp Peruvian classic is a concoction of fresh lime juice, sugar, egg white and Angostura bitters and Pisco. 
  • If you haven’t tried ceviche before then you certainly must try it here, in the coastal district of Barranco; fresh fish, sharp herbs and good times. Waft it under your nose before devouring. 
  • Street food is the wellspring from which all this gastronomic invention derives. Wander among the colourful markets and eat where the locals eat. Local favourites like Sanguche de chicharron (pork-scratching sandwich) is another example why Peru is a foodie’s paradise, with a twist.

Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley are familiar names on the traveller’s must-visit list. But Peru’s culinary awakening is yet another reason to visit the capital, Lima. Here you’ll find some of the most feted gourmet experiences, featuring three of the top 50 restaurants in the world, with two in the top 10. We suggest you reserve a table (well in advance) at Centrale in Miraflores.

Another string to Lima’s culinary bow is its Japanese-Peruvian food scene. The Japanese settled here in the early part of the 20th century and brought their culinary style with them. Today, Peruvian-born Mitsuharu Tsumura’s Maido restaurant, also in Miraflores, practising Nikkei Peru-Japanese fusion, has become a globally recognised destination for purveyors of exquisite cuisine.

Bangkok - the culinary capital of the world? 

Awesomely accessible. The best food experiences are not the most expensive. Jump in a tuk-tuk and discover the best street food in the world.  

Top tips and must eats:

  • Absolutely without question, the locals know best – follow their lead (and your nose) and eat where they eat.
  • Grilled snapper and jasmine rice. From a street vendor. It won’t be bettered in any Michelin-starred restaurant.
  • Bangkok is a sprawling, sultry city, an open kitchen of competing Asian flavours. Average temperature is a sticky 32 degrees; but the food can get much hotter. So grab a bottle of water, take a deep breath and allow this bustling metropolis to work its exotic magic on you. 

 

Start with the street traders that push carts along the bustling streets. The entry point must be a simple Pad Thai – stir fried rice noodles with fish sauce, lime, ground peanuts, egg, spring onion and bean sprouts, topped with tofu, meat or seafood.

Floating Market

Travel out to one the floating markets. This is a totally unique way of consuming food. Anyone can sit at a table and tuck into a Thai delight – but can you balance your dish of Khai Jiao (omelette) and crispy spring roll type parcels (Thai Golden Bags) on your lap while your boat is bumped by traders offering fresh fruit?

On your way back into the city, pause at Sukhumvit Soi 38, Rachawat Night Market. Fill up on life-affirming bowls of Rad-Na-Mhoo (rice noodles with pork in broth). Enjoy with ice-cold water and a chilled bottle of Chang beer.

Finally, we suggest the five star Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok; an impressive hotel thrusting up and above the capital. The jewel in its crown is the roof-top restaurant and bar, Vertigo. Eat late into the night with the city sparkling around you.

Vertigo Bar in Banyan Tree, Bangkok

Mumbai - where food is a matter of pride

Patties, puris, kebabs and lassis, vada pav, sev puri, pav bhaj idlis and dosas. Yes, you have arrived in food heaven. These local dishes are a sensation of taste like no others.

 

Top tips and must eats:

  • On your food tour of Mumbai,hire a driver who knows how to avoid the traffic. You want to spend more time eating, than sitting in a jam. Also, taking a food tour at the beginning of your holiday in India will ensure you know which food to try throughout your trip.
  • Pav Bhaji on Chowpatty Beach -mixed vegetables (bhaji) cooked in a spices and served with soft bread (pav) shallow-fried in butter.
  • Mumbaikars are proud food-lovers and hospitable so they will always offer you more helpings.

 

At Lalbaug Spice Market you’ll see ladies patiently waiting with their family recipes and bags full of spices ready to be crushed and mixed together, making enough to last 6 months to a year. The spice-mixing area is a sensory experience that every cook will adore.

The Khau Gully street food tour starts at one of the remaining Irani Cafés in the city, Kyani & Co. It was established in 1904, making it one of the oldest Iranian cafés in the city. Chai tea has made its way to UK shores, but drink it like the locals with a khari (similar to puff pastry). Stop off for a well-deserved ice cream, too. Taj Ice Creams is a family run business which has been around for about 125 years.

Mumbai Beach

Spend an evening on a street food tour of Chowpatty Beach. The India diet is carb-rich and the vada pav dish certainly lives up to this – think of a hash brown sandwich paired with sweet chutney, green chutney and chili on the side. It certainly isn’t for the heat-intolerant.  Luckily the next vender along sells rabdi kulfi, an ice cream-like treat that cools the palette.

mumbai gateway of india

If you're tempted to travel to broaden your culinary horizons visit our Foodie holiday page for your next hungry-holiday abroad.