If you live for the moments when Netflix drops new seasons of Chef’s Table and Ugly Delicious, and your travels are informed by series like these, our bucket list for foodies is perfect for you. Forget gastronomic monoliths like Italy, India and Thailand, we’re challenging you to think outside the box and take your tastebuds off-the-beaten-path to destinations that are carving out a name for themselves and sparking the interest of some of the world’s greatest chefs. So, if you want to be ahead of the pack, check out these three places now!
Canada hasn’t quite established itself as a top gastronomy destination, but the local food scene is on fire and has made waves with famous international foodies. The late Anthony Bourdain often championed Canadian food in his shows about global feasting.
Travel from east to west, north to south, and you’ll find chefs dishing out some of the best meals and all sorts of farmers bringing about all the homegrown feels . The dedication and passion of these chefs and farmers are second only to locals intent on eating and drinking their way through the country.
You need only visit Bellwoods Brewery in Toronto to get a taste of how serious the locals are about their craft beer. There’s wine too! In Prince Edward County, the residents spend their summers sipping crisp glasses of local wine and eating freshly made pizzas alfresco. And this is just a speck on the tip of the iceberg, speaking of which, ice wine is also a thing in Canada.
Thanks to its sheer size, Canada is rich in a diversity of landscapes where a massive selection of artisanal and straightforward ingredients are grown and cultivated. You can sample cuisine that celebrates all things Canada in a list that could go on and on.
- Maple syrup
- Peameal bacon sandwiches
- Lobster rolls in Nova Scotia
- Wine in the Niagara region
- Bison in Alberta
- Elk in Yukon
- Bagels in Montreal
- Farm-to-table food in Victoria
2. Sri Lanka
You may be familiar with Sri Lankan staples like steaming-hot rice, coconut milk and roasted spices, but did you know that Sri Lanka is a gastronomical melting pot?
Plenty of cuisines have been shaped by history, culture and exploration, but when you consider Sri Lanka’s geographical location, the different influences on the country’s culinary evolution will pique your curiosity. Foreign traders brought different ingredients, and neighbouring countries like Malaysia were also a source of inspiration for Sri Lanka’s dishes. All of which has evolved into a captivating foodie experience.
The wealth of Sri Lanka’s food scene lies in its cultural diversity and accessibility. Dietary and health requirements are easily accommodated without any compromise on flavour: vegetarian curries are a staple, and famous recipes like hoppers are gluten-free because they use rice flour. You’ll find an exciting restaurant scene in cities like Colombo and Galle, and come to appreciate subtle regional differences in typical dishes thanks to the availability of different spices and fresh local ingredients.
The tropical climate and the geography provide Sri Lanka with an incredible bounty of ingredients that inform its signature dishes. Curried concoctions of coconuts and fish are a must but make it a point to try the following dishes:
- Mud crab curry
- Polos aka jackfruit curry
- Lamprais – a Dutch Burgher dish indicative of the country’s colonised past
- Fabulous street food like kottu – a famous shredded roti and curry dish
Ecuador has one of the most diverse ecosystems, allowing for all kinds of produce to flourish. You can experience everything from the ancient food traditions of the Amazon Jungle and the Andes to sophisticated restaurants in cities like Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca. And don’t forget, the country is also “hailed as the birthplace of chocolate.”
Most travellers pass-through Ecuador on their way to the Galápagos Islands, but this is a mistake, especially for foodies. Begin your culinary journey in Quito, at an altitude of 2850m; this is the world’s highest capital. Full of heritage and culture, Quito plays a vital role in Ecuador’s food scene. The best way to take it all in is by booking a culinary tour that lets you experience famous districts and dishes on food.
What you eat will change in every region, so take advantage of each place by sampling as much local produce as you can. In the tropical climates where fruit and seafood are readily available, dig into ceviche and wash it all down with some fresh juices.
You can’t leave Ecuador without enjoying cacao in all its forms. If you are a chocolate lover, you can take a deep dive into its virtues by doing a homestay at a cacao farm.