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For some people, a huge part of their getaway is the active pursuit of finding mouthwatering delicacies that accessorize the memories they make on vacation. This could involve sampling traditional dishes that a destination is renowned for or discovering unique culinary treasures that the location offers to the world. 

Everyone has their own qualms about which place or cuisine is the best, each with their own personal hierarchy. So, how did Wego curate a list of the top 10 countries for foodies? 

We considered the rich culinary traditions passed down through generations in various countries and their unique contributions to global cuisine. Additionally, we took into account factors such as UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, the number of Michelin-starred restaurants, and other prestigious accolades. 

Join Wego as we trace out the best countries for foodies and make a plan for your next getaway.

*The Featured Image is AI-generated*

France 

Whenever we celebrate any big event in our lives, there is a chance that we are celebrating it with a French gastronomic meal. This typically includes a full-course meal that commences with an aperitif and ends with a drink, featuring at least four successive dishes in between, namely a starter, fish and/or meat with vegetables, cheese and dessert. 

Key elements of a French gastronomic meal include dishes from a wide range of recipes passed down through generations, using high-quality, preferably local ingredients, and, most importantly, strengthening social ties by bringing people together. 

UNESCO has designated French food as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

What makes France a foodie destination?

There is something akin to an invisible string that pulls France and food together and makes them a great companion in our minds. Perhaps it dates back to Catherine de Medici, who brought Italian cuisine and fashion to the French court in 1547, leaving behind a legacy that remains evergreen. 

Maybe France’s natural topography helps grow the key ingredients of a great meal—grapes, cheese, wheat, and nuts. Or perhaps France being the home of ‘the Michelin star’ and culinary tourism cements its association with fine dining. 

Whatever the reason, it cannot be argued that France is synonymous with great food in most of our minds. 

France has 639 eateries with at least one Michelin star, making it the country with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. 

Places to visit and restaurants to try in France

  • must visit places for foodies: 
    • oldest Michelin-star restaurant in the world: Georges Blanc in Eastern France in Vonnas commune. Discover the magic behind the restaurant that started it all.  
    • newest Michelin-star restaurant in France: Bistrot des Fables in Paris. Experience the charm of a typical Parisian bistro with a Michelin-star flair. 
    • in East-central France, to Burgundy, to visit the home of mustard—Dijon. Visit Chez Leon to try out local delicacies like coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon. 
    • South of France has no deficit of beauty or bistronomy. If we had to pick one city or town from Le Midi, we would pick Toulouse. From Michelin-star restaurants on rooftops to local cafes and restaurants on the streets, Toulouse has plenty to offer. 
  • must-try food: local food from the South of France, Opera cake, macarons, coffee and croissants from Paris. 
  • must get food souvenirs: butter from local supermarkets. 
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Italy 

Bits and pieces of Italian cuisine, such as pizza, pasta, and ice cream, are part of our everyday meals. However, when it comes to looking at Italy from a culinary tourism lens, we have so much to uncover.  

What makes Italy a foodie destination?

Rome was not built in a day, and Italy has given so much to the Western culinary world. Whether your flight of fancy to Italy started with Giovanni Boccaccio Decamerón, or to Bologna when you first learned about Garfield’s bolognese or with Naples and their wood-oven legendary pizzerias—you cannot deny the status of Italy as a foodie destination. 

A significant part of Italian culture, the Mediterranean Diet, has been recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Also part of the same list is the Art of Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo,’ which includes four stages that begin with the preparation of making the dough and conclude with the social gathering where the Neapolitan pizza is shared. 

There are 395 Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy, including 13 Michelin Green-star restaurants. 

Places to visit and restaurants to try in Italy

  • must visit places for foodies: 
    • oldest Michelin-star restaurant in Italy: Arnaldo – Clinica Gastronomica in the  Province of Reggio Emilia is Italy’s longest holding Michelin star restaurant.
    • newest Michelin-star restaurant in Italy: Pizzeria Salvo may be a new addition to the Neapolitan pizza scene in Naples, but their cheesy wholesomeness with the added Michelin star will make you choose them over many veterans in Naples. 
    • Bologna, in Northern Italy, is hailed as the culinary capital of Italy. It is the birthplace of tortellini, a filled pasta dumpling inspired by the Goddess of Love—Venus; tortelloni or the larger version; tagliatelle al ragù or Spaghetti Bolognese; and other delicacies. Bologna is also the birthplace of other culinary staples like Parmigiano Reggiano and balsamic vinegar. 
    • Milan: one of the traditional fashion capitals and home of Risotto alla Milanese.  
    • due to its location, Venice offers a wide variety of international food. One must-try dish is bigoli, a traditional Venetian dish for seafood lovers and rici e bisi or rice and peas, a classic Venetian staple. 
  • must-try food: Cacio e Pepe, Pasta Carbonara, and Pasta Amatriciana from Rome.  
  • must get food souvenirs: balsamic vinegar and olive oil from supermarkets. 
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Spain 

Just reading the word paints a picture in our mind that has many elements, and tapas, salsa, paella, tortillas, churros, and margaritas are most certainly the key players in that picture. 

What makes Spain a foodie destination?

Spain’s uniquely divergent cuisine features delicious dishes with several ingredients, including meat and fish that can be tasted by the sea, with the sunshine and the salty air adding extra flavor. The Mediterranean diet, listed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage, illustrates how delicious and healthy Spanish food can be. 

Spain also gifts the world most olive oil each year. 

Spain boasts 270 Michelin-starred restaurants and received the most Michelin stars in the 2024 Michelin Guide, including several Michelin Green Stars. 

Places to visit and restaurants to try in Spain

  • must visit places for foodies: 
    • oldest Michelin-star restaurant in Spain: Arzak, in the fashionable seaside resort city of San Sebastián. Experience Basque traditional food inside a centuries-old family mansion. 
    • newest Michelin-star restaurant in Spain: La Taverna del Clínic in Barcelona, presents a luxurious fusion of traditional cuisine mixed with a modern flair. 
    • visit the Andalusian Islands to try out culinary gems like Gazpacho, a traditional Andalusian soup, mangoes and oranges, garlic aïoli from Málaga, and fried aubergine with sugarcane syrup from Córdoba.
    • Asturian cheese is popular all over Spain. Other foods to try out when in the Asturia region include ahumado de pría cheese dipped and fried with cinnamon, casadielles, or Spanish pastry rolls with walnuts and tortos. 
    • once a part of the trading routes, the Canary Islands present a melting pot of culinary traditions in their cuisine. Food that cannot be missed includes papas arrugadas, or wrinkly potatoes served with the famous mojo picón sauce or mojo verde sauce, roasted cheese with mojo from La Palma, escaldón poured over gofio from Tenerife. 
  • must-try food: tapas from Madrid’s La Latina district and Barcelona’s Poble Sec, Passeig de Sant Joan and caramelized torrija, rice pudding, and rabo de toro from the Andalusian islands.  
  • must get food souvenirs: dried fruits and chocolate from supermarkets.
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Mexico 

Another country that is synonymous with great food is Mexico. Whether your flight of fancy to Mexico started with the first time you tried food at Chilli’s or Taco Bell or every time you admired a painting of Frida Kahlo—you cannot deny the intrinsic nature of colors and culture in everything we adore about Mexico. 

Why is Mexico a foodie destination?

Although the Michelin Guide made its debut in Mexico in 2024, 18 restaurants have already earned Michelin stars. However, it must be noted that Michelin-starred restaurants that serve Mexican food have existed for a long time outside of Mexico. 

Traditional Mexican cuisine, deeply rooted in ancestral community culture and exemplified by the Michoacán paradigm, which highlights its role in sustainable development, is recognized on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

Through their knowledge and techniques, Mexican cuisine practitioners express community identity, strengthen social bonds, and foster local, regional, and national pride.

Places to visit and restaurants to try in Mexico

  • must visit places for foodies:
    • oldest Michelin-star restaurant in Mexico: Taquería El Califa de León in the San Rafael neighborhood, Mexico City, is the first taco stand in Mexico to be awarded the Michelin star. 
    • newest Michelin-star restaurant in Mexico: Rosetta, is located in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City. 
    • you will find traditional Mexican cuisine all across the country, especially in the state of Michoacán.
    • things to try at a farmer’s market in Manilaco: pancita, a deeply savory beef broth with chunks of tripe finished with fresh oregano and a squeeze of lime juice; quesadillas stuffed with squash blossoms; heirloom tomatoes, chicozapote, a red-fleshed fruit, fresh-squeezed orange juice. 
    • Puebla, Oaxaca and Tlaxcala are all said to be the birthplaces of mole, so you can judge which place among the three has the best mole. Puebla is the birthplace of mole poblano, which is made with 17 ingredients, including sesame, toasted tortilla, raisins, and chocolate and served with chicken dripping with soy sauce and honey. 
  • must-try food: Manila mangoes with chilli powder, mole, mole poblano, enchiladas, tacos, tamales, quesadillas and coffee made with locally grown and roasted coffee beans. 
  • must get food souvenirs: Mexican coffee and hot salsa from supermarkets.

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USA 

The United States of America is made up of 50 states and the District of Columbia. For most of us, when we think of the USA in terms of food, milkshakes, burgers, and french fries in old-school diners, Tex-Mex and backyard barbeques are what reign supreme. 

Why is the USA considered a foodie destination?

The US is a rich tapestry of diverse cultures and traditions, as people from all around the world live there. The cuisine of the US is multifaceted, just like the people, be it in street food or big restaurants.  

Many Michelin-star chefs in the US cook food from their native country in their restaurants. At present, there are 193 Michelin-starred restaurants in the US.   

Places to visit and restaurants to try in the USA

  • must visit places for foodies:
    • longest holding Michelin-star restaurant in the USA: Le Bernardin, a French fine dining restaurant in New York City. 
    • newest Michelin-star restaurant in the USA: Taqueria Chingón, a Mexico City-inspired restaurant in Chicago.
  • New York City: New York pizza slice, New York cheesecake, New York-style hot dog (particularly ‘Nathan’s Famous’ at Coney Island), banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery, and dim sum, especially at Chinatown.
  • California: In-N-Out double-double, fish tacos, garlic ice cream, apple pie, Korean BBQ, California-style pizza, cioppino, crab Louis, and fortune cookie. 
  • Chicago: Chicago-style hot dog, Chicago-style pizza, Italian beef sandwich, and francheezie (a variation of a Chicago-style hot dog). 
  • Washington: Food made with rhubarb, red raspberries, Rainer cherries, apples or fresh fruits from the state available at farmer’s markets. 
  • must-try food: local pizza and hotdogs from food stalls and small restaurants, biscuit’ n’ gravy from the states in the south of the USA, chicken fried steak of South Texas, New Mexican flat enchiladas and fresh fruits. 
  • must get food souvenirs: chocolates.  

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Morocco 

You may or may not have several cues available to connect the dots when we say Morocco and a foodie destination simultaneously, but allow us to paint a picture! 

Why is Morocco a foodie destination?

Morocco is one of the oldest countries and monarchies in the world. It is a melting pot of cultural potpourri, and Moroccan cuisine is a unique blend of flavors, marrying influences from Europe, Africa and the Middle East with its own spices. 

Morocco’s argan tree and practices and know-how concerning the argan tree are part of the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The tasks associated with the argan tree, considered informal education, are part of the intangible cultural heritage. This includes the traditional method of extracting oil, its uses, cultivation, and tool crafting, all of which contribute to fostering social cohesion. 

Argan oil is also given as a wedding gift and used in festive dishes.

Couscous, knowledge, know-how, and practices pertaining to its production and consumption in several countries, including Morocco, have also been included in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

Morocco does not have any Michelin-star restaurants, but it does have Michelin-star chefs working their culinary magic in various restaurants within the country. 

Places to visit and restaurants to try in Morocco

  • must visit places for foodies:
    • visit  Royal Mansour Marrakech to step into an opulent fairytale and get a taste of food made under the guidance of Hélène Darroze, a chef renowned for her six Michelin stars. 
    • Chefchaouen or the Blue City: Couscous is considered the national food of Morocco, so you are guaranteed to find a delicious plate anywhere in the country. However, Chefchaouen’s couscous might have a tiny bit of a Spanish twist. Other foods to try include—freshly baked bread from wood-fired ovens, salads, and sweet mint tea. 
    • Imlil is famous for its bissara, a soup of peas to keep you warm. 
    • Casablanca’s Central Market and the local food stalls of Marrakesh are must-visits if you want to try some delicious local food, such as tagine and chebakia (Moroccan dessert).
  • must-try food: zaalouk with bread, brochettes (unique Moroccan kebab), and kefta tagine. 
  • must get food souvenirs: spices from supermarkets. 

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Turkey 

Turkish dry fruits and coffee are perhaps in their individual fields, but allow us to show you the bigger picture. 

Why is Turkey a foodie destination?

Turkey has 108 Michelin-star restaurants. However, what truly makes Turkey a destination for food enthusiasts is the deep-rooted traditions and culture intertwined with its cuisine.

The culture of making and sharing flatbread amongst one’s communities is a tradition Turkey shares with several other countries. This tradition is recognized on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  

The flatbreads come in four common varieties, namely lavash, katyrma, jupka and yufka. 

The culture and traditions associated with Turkish coffee are also included in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

Turkish coffee is made using special techniques and served in small cups in coffee houses where people meet to converse, share news, and read books.

Places to visit and restaurants to try in Turkey

  • must visit places for foodies: 
    • oldest Michelin-star restaurant in Turkey: Turk Fatih Tutak in Istanbul mixes contemporary techniques with age-old Turkish recipe
    • newest Michelin-star restaurant in Turkey: Urla Vino Locale in Izmir sources its raw ingredients from local producers and changes its menu every 6 weeks inspired by the season. 
    • some of Antalya’s famous foods include piyaz salad, shish meatballs, piyaz-pumpkin dessert, hibeş, an appetizer containing tahini, lemon juice and spices—it is spread on bread and also served with meat dishes. Alanya Bohçası, in which breakfast materials are stuffed inside a crepe-like bag, and finike banana dessert. 
    • some delicacies you ought to try in Istanbul include simit or Turkish sesame bagel, katmer, dessert made with clotted cream and pistachios, menemen, sucuklu yumurta, breakfast treat that includes spicy dried sausage with garlic and spices then fried with eggs, and rahat-ul hulküm or Turkish Delight. 
    • must-haves at Ankara includes yaprak manti (similar to ravioli), beyti kebab, pide, mardin köfte, dolma, zeytinyagli dolma (dolma with olive oil).  
  • must-try food: Turkish delight, Turkish coffee, various kinds of kebab including şiş kebab, çöp şiş kebab, adana and urfa kebab, iskender kebab,  köfte ekmek, kumpir, lahmacun, halka tatlisi, pide.
  • must get food souvenirs: baklava, coffee and sweets. 

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Singapore 

The Lion City will uplift your spirit with its diverse experiences and charm you with its delicious street food and a variety of colorful restaurants offering an array of exquisite cuisines. 

In Singapore, if you are on the lookout for the best food spot or restaurant, you will find yourself immersed in a culinary paradise, with options ranging from the familiar to the delightfully unfamiliar. 

What makes Singapore a foodie destination?

Hawker culture in Singapore, which includes community dining and culinary practices in a multicultural urban context, is included in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

Hawker centers welcome people from all walks of life, serving everyone at their counters. They play a crucial role in enhancing community interactions and strengthening the social fabric. 

These centers serve as “community dining rooms” where individuals gather for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Beyond dining, these centers also host activities like chess-playing, busking, and art jamming, fostering a vibrant communal atmosphere.

Singapore is home to 293 Michelin-star restaurants including street stalls and hawker centers that have been awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand distinction.

Places to visit and restaurants to try in Singapore

  • must visit places for foodies: 
    • oldest Michelin-star restaurant in Singapore: Les Amis, located opposite the Tanglin branch of HSBC Bank, is a fine dining restaurant. 
    • newest Michelin-star restaurant in Singapore: Zhup Zhup at Macpherson Road, serves traditional local food with a modern twist. 
    • first Michelin-star street food stall: Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle is a street food stall in Kallang, Singapore. This is the first-ever street food stall in the world to be awarded this honor. 
    • newest Michelin-star street food stall: Delhi Lahore at Tekka Center, Buffalo Road, serves exceptional Pakistani and North Indian food. 
    • notable places that have famous hawker stalls: Maxwell Food Center, heart of Chinatown, Hong Lim Food Center in Chinatown, Chinatown Complex Food Centre, Tekka Center in Little India, Changi Village Hawker Center in Changi Airport, East Coast Lagoon Food Village in East Coast Park, Tiong Bahru Food Market Center, and Albert Center Bugis Street Food
  • must-try food: char kway teow or stir-fried rice noodles (Malaysia’s popular hawker dishes), hokkien prawn mee or hokkien noodles (a specialty of Singapore’s Chinese community), rojak (Javanese salad), oyster omelet, roti prata or flaky flatbreads along with some sort of curry or sweet or fruit (Indian specialty). Satay or grilled meat, cendol, a dessert with green rice flour jellies served in an icy bowl of coconut milk and jaggery syrup with pineapple, sweet red beans, jackfruit, and various jellies sprinkled on top, are also beloved dishes. 
  • must get food souvenirs: kaya jam, nasi lemak cookies from the supermarkets.

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Japan

The various themed restaurants and cafes featuring beloved characters like Sanrio, Peanuts, and Doraemon are enough to entice food enthusiasts to visit at least once in their lifetime. 

The unique themes, combined with a fusion of contemporary and traditional techniques and dining options such as omakase and kaiseki, make Japan a must-visit destination on most culinary tourism lists. 

What makes Japan a foodie destination?

There are 414 Michelin-starred restaurants in Japan. However, what makes Japan a true destination for foodies is perhaps the seamless blending and upholding of age-old Japanese traditions and techniques related to food with modernity, creating a harmonious and refined dining experience.

Washoku, a traditional Japanese dietary culture notably celebrated for the New Year, is now part of UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

Japanese people observe Washoku traditions during New Year celebrations by engaging in various preparations. These include pounding rice cakes and meticulously crafting beautifully decorated dishes using fresh ingredients, each imbued with symbolic meaning. 

Places to visit and restaurants to try in Japan

  • must visit places for foodies:
    • oldest Michelin-star restaurant in Japan: Ginza Koju (銀座小十) in Tokyo, serves traditional Japanese dishes in an artful manner in a minimalist ambiance. 
    • recommended places for lip-smacking Japanese food: 
      • ramen:  Ichiran in Osaka’s Dotonbori district (will let you tailor your entire ramen experience to the T), Hakata’s tonkatsu ramen, and 40 kilometers outside of Kyoto will lead you to ramen wonderland Ore No Appare. 
      • sushi: Tokyo, known as the birthplace of sushi, and Sushi Hayata in Osaka. 
      • gyoza: Utsunomiya, with over 200 gyoza shops and Tokyo. 
      • takoyaki: Osaka, the birthplace of takoyaki, Tokyo, and any street food market. 
    • recommended marketplaces in Japan include Kushiro Washo Market (Kushiro Washo Ichiba) in Hokkaido, Nishiki Market (Nishiki Ichiba) in Kyoto, Kuromon Market (Kuromon Ichiba) in Osaka, and Kochi’s Sunday Market (Nichiyo-ichi). 
    • Depa-chika and Konbini (convenience store): Depa-chika essentially refers to the food and grocery stores of department stores that are located either on the ground floor or in the basement. Food is displayed behind glass, making it easier to purchase what you want. Depa-chika and Konbini usually sell kara-age, bento boxes, snacks and sweets, beverages, and more. Konbinis, particularly, are available in almost every Japanese city and are usually open 24/7 for ease of access. 
    • outdoor food stalls and street food carts: As you walk around most cities and towns of Japan, you will come across makeshift food stalls and street food carts at various times throughout the day. These carts usually sell freshly made dishes that can be had on-the-go and drinks. 
  • must-try food: ramen, sushi takoyaki, okonomiyaki, onigiri
  • must get food souvenirs: special edition Kit-Kats and other sweets that are available only in Japan

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India

India and Indian cuisine, a multitude of symphonies creating a harmony everyone is aware of but perhaps not well versed with. Despite being an underdog in the epicurean and gastronomy world, India is renowned globally for its dedication to adding variety to the palate. 

What makes India a foodie destination?

Indian cuisine is as varied and colorful as the peninsular country’s terrain and climate. The diversity in soil, climate, culture, ethnic groups, and occupations directly impacts the local availability and usage of spices, herbs, vegetables, and fruits used in the cuisine. Historical events and religion also heavily impact the country’s cuisine. 

Various elements of Indian cuisine, like spices and techniques, have inspired international dishes and cuisines like European, Middle Eastern, North American and more. 

While India might not be visible in the famed awards category, the influence of Indian cuisine on global gastronomy cannot be denied! 

Places to visit and restaurants to try in India

  • must visit places for foodies: the 4 major megacities of India, namely Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata. 
  • must-try food: sweets like roshogolla (soft sweet meat made with cottage cheese dipped in sugary syrup) and mishti doi (sweet yogurt) from Kolkata; Bombay falooda (Mumbai’s take on a Persian dessert); vada-pav and paav bhaji from Mumbai; chaats like dahi papdi chaat and kebabs and rolls from Delhi and benne masala dosa (crispy crepe stuffed with a spiced potato filling and fried with butter), bisi bele bath (hot lentils and rice along with vegetables, spices and ghee) from Bangalore. 
  • must get food souvenirs: spices, chips and sauces, and filter coffee.

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