Do you ever click on those listicles that proclaim to have discovered the best cities in the world to eat, only to discover that they say literally the same thing as every other listicle? Yes, everyone knows that Paris has good food – people worldwide have known that for centuries. Oh, Rome has good food too – good to know.
You already know that Paris, Rome, Tokyo, New York, London, Bangkok and Mexico City have amazing food, so this article will not talk down to you. Instead, let’s list four underrated food cities internationally that you might not have considered, cities that have flown under the radar in terms of journalistic recognition, but that nevertheless offer up some seriously great grub.
The Georgian capital looks as good on paper as it tastes in real life: nestled at a crossroads between Eastern Europe, Southern Europe and the Middle East, its food culture draws from the best of each. Smoky, charcoal grilled meats waft in the air, and does the smell of freshly baked flatbreads. And don’t even think about leaving Tbilisi without trying the Khinkali, a cumin-y beef dumpling that eats like a little bag of joy.
Maybe you’ve heard of this Shandong port city by way of its titular beer, Tsingdao. The city has a rich beer-brewing culture because it was once settled by the Germans, which is also why you can find some striking German architecture around town. Because of its coastal position, you’ll also find ample fresh seafood, like the ubiquitous clams sautéed with chillies, or the roadside roast squid stands.
The Ethiopian capital is also the culinary epicentre of the country, and contains a multitude of amazing restaurants. A typical meal in Addis Ababa centres on injera, a type of spongy bread made with the naturally gluten-free teff flour, around which sit a number of different curries, stews, salads and vegetables. It’s a satisfying, healthy way to eat, and it deserves a spot on any list. Addis Ababa is hot though, so be sure to check out this article on how to survive trips to hot places before you go – it could be a real lifesaver.
Whereas the previous entries on this list earned a spot due to strong culinary heritages, Vancouver earns its spot because it is open enough to contain a multitude of heritages. From the traditional First Nations cuisine of the West Coast, to diasporic contributions from Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, South Asian, Middle Eastern, etc., Vancouver is a true mosaic of flavor. You can grab the freshest sushi in the world for lunch, and then have a Pakistani curry for dinner, all while enjoying the laid-back, sunny West Coast Canadian vibes.
Of course, no list of underrated food cities will ever be comprehensive, but these four cities deserve a little of the spotlight. Paris will always be popular, and their baguettes will always be renowned, but what about Khinkali, clams with chillies, and injera? Why not try something new? After all, variety is the spice of life.
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