Food Destinations for the Best Local Cuisines According to CNN

Food Destination

Taipei’s Beef Noodles
Credit: Yuli Chua

Food, in its most basic definition, is anything meant to nourish the body and sustain its functions. But food has always been an expression of the way people live their lives, so it is also a reflection of a local culture and national identity.

In the last decades or so, travel and communication technologies made popular destinations become more attractive places as the world gets wind of what else they can offer, in terms of food. Local cuisine also pushed “unknown” or lesser destinations to prominence as their foods catch the fancy of travelers, who are as likely to satiate their pangs for food as their desire to satisfy their taste for adventure. This development has made cuisines and foods in general to cross borders and boundaries to become the world’s most coveted dishes and delicacies.

One natural consequence of this rising interest on the best local cuisines is where to find the, CNN Travel Section just recently made a poll to give foodies and travelers alike a list of where to go for soul-satisfying gastronomies. The result appears in its post entitled Which destination has the world’s best food?

To highlight the most popular cuisines on the planet right now, we asked CNN readers to vote for their favorite culinary destination in an open Facebook poll.

Clearly, Asian food is on people’s minds these days.

That or we have a lot of readers in the region who want to support their homeland’s culinary prowess.

With the exception of Italy and Greece, every place on our list is in Asia.

Here are the top 10 culinary hotspots according to our voters …

Check out the above gallery for some sample dishes from each destination.

  1. Taiwan: “The island’s food is a mash-up of the cuisine of the Min Nan, Teochew and Hokkien Chinese communities, along with Japanese cooking.”  Do you know that there are about 20 streets in Taipei dedicated to food? Another city to try when you are in Taiwan is Tainan, its oldest city that is hailed as the “food capital” of the nation.
  2. Philippines: This country is known for its 7,000 plus islands, giving it an incredible access to a great bounty of ingredients from the sea. The country’s cuisine is a delicious and exotic fusion of Spanish and the classic Southeast Asian recipes. Lechon is a star in almost every Filipino celebration and feast. Adobo is omnipresent in every household.
  3. Italy: No best food list is complete without the world’s oldest cuisine – Italian –  in it, so that you’ll find Italian restaurants scattered all over the planet serving staples and favorites – pizza, pasta and gelato.  But Italian cuisine is more than these. The country has about 20 regional cuisines; each has a unique taste and character reflecting its culture.
  4. Thailand: “With influences from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and a royal culinary tradition, Thai cuisine is the best of many worlds.”  Thai dishes are infused with flavors using a varied array of spices and herbs making the tastes complex. Pad thai and Isaan dishes are a must taste when in Thailand.
  5. Japan: “Japanese apply the same precision to their food as they do to their engineering…” and their food presentations take the forms of art making them visually appealing. Their sashimi, made from the freshest tuna, is making headlines all over the world. Its modern kyodo ryori is making waves, something you must try when visiting Japan.

The 6th – 10th places: Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, Greece and Vietnam.

Malaysian cuisine is an amalgamation of influences such as Indian, Chinese and Malay.

Hong Kong is home to a wide array of food items ranging classic dishes amalgamation foods; each is as mouth-watering as the next.

India is known for its complex flavors, a result of the interplay of savory spices. Exotic regional varieties are enormous – Goa’s seafood, Kashmir’s wazwan and Kerala’s rich coconut concoctions.

Greece is home to “olive oil” cooking, a trademark of the healthy Mediterranean dishes and more.

Vietnam is where you can splurge in a throng of exotic and unique local specialties. The best place to try them? The cheapest and one of the most delicious places to encounter authentic Vietnamese cuisine is in a traditional open-air market.
But of course, you may not agree on CNN’s list. Most certainly, each of these cuisines is listed in another site’s best cuisines in the world. If the flavors in any of this world’s bests is not to your taste, it’s all a matter of preference and experience. Try not to criticize because that is tantamount to insulting a culture and a race, a totally unacceptable behavior in a civilized world.

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