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Surprising Foodie Destinations Around the World

Kennebunkport, Maine

History buffs and trivia collectors are familiar with the story of how lobster used to overrun the country, how it was seen as a vermin and fed to prisoners to the point that it was banned for being "cruel and unusual." That's hard to imagine today, given the dish's status as a delicacy, but in Maine, the lobster is fresh, abundant, and affordable. The state also hosts a large blueberry farming industry that translates into pies that go well with seafood. It's like all of nature and history converged to make Maine perfect.

(image via yzukerman, CC)

Little Rock, Arkansas

Arkansas gets short shrift in lots of ways, but it has much to offer visitors. Consider its cheese dips (which sounds like the punchline to an Arkansas joke, but we swear it isn't), the barbecue culture (not to be overshadowed by the likes of Texas and Tennessee), and burgers at places like Big Orange, whose commitment to local sourcing extends even to their buns.

(image via Southern Salt Food Company)

Lagos, Nigeria

Nigerian food is tons of beans, rice, and meat spiced to the point of radioactivity (to cut through the previously mentioned beans and rice). Native flora like palm oil, plantains, and roselle are all relatively uncommon in parts of the US, but add fantastic depth and variety to the cuisine.

(image via satanoid, CC)

Louisville, Kentucky

While looking at eateries for Louisville, we were struck by how many niche, fusion, chef-driven restaurants there were in the city. They've doubled down on name-brand chefs and New American cuisine like they had something to prove, and the locals are loving it. Something that people forget about the so-called "flyover states" is that farm-to-table is infinitely easier when you live near the farmland.

(image via Ewan Munro, CC)

Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand continues to be magical in every possible way. Its cuisine isn't necessary "underrated" so much as "unfortunately not taken into account at all," maybe because the scenery is so breathtakingly distracting. But you'll find that the nation's seafood is unique, as are its fruits—from familiar favorites like the kiwi and passion fruit to the less-known feijoa.

(image via tom_hall_nz, CC)

Houston, Texas

We tried to roll out a couple of Houston eateries in our "Weekend in Houston," but truth be told, there's too much food to take in over a scant few days. Urban Texas mainstays like taco trucks do abound, but Houston secretly harbors a burgeoning foodie scene that sometimes lies in the shadow of nearby Austin.

(image via houstonentree, CC)

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico's cuisine has been boiled down to a handful of dishes in the United States, and it still manages to dominate the food scene in many parts of the country. Head to Mexico City to get the full picture. The country takes up a huge amount of space and encompasses 31 states, and that diversity is never on such full display as it is in the Federal District.

(image via criminalintent, CC)

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad is a Caribbean islandcomplete with all the great island cuisine that its very nature entailsbut it's also had a rotating tour of traders coming through for centuries. Food influences have come from as far away as France, India, China, and more. There are curries, doubles, and a melting pot of incredible street food.

(image via Aioli)

Detroit, Michigan

Articles about Detroit tend to be handwringing polemics on the city's economy, possibly with an emphasis on how the hipsters are either going to save or ruin it. Regardless of whatever else is happening in Detroit, a great food scene is blossoming, complete with more options for high-quality, authentic Mexican food than you'd expect this far north.

(image via twohungrydudes, CC)

Lima, Peru

Lima's been getting attention in foodie circles for awhile, as it combines a long tradition with techniques from around the world. Having some 3,800 varieties of potato at their disposal doesn't hurt, nor does the Asian influence employed in popular dishes like Lomo Saltado.

(image via lelebella, CC)

Mendoza, Argentina

This place is a significant wine hub. Many of the top wineries even offer some impressive multi-course wine lunches. Foodies can enjoy the three pillars of good travel here: good food, wine, and adventures.

(Image via Flickr)

Manila, Philippines

One of the things you usually wouldn't immediately think of when Manila comes to mind is that it's a major street food metropolis. There are so many different street food specialties that it would be almost impossible to list them all. El Nido on the island of Palawan is a major Philippino foodie hub. The more you island-hop, the more incredible food you'll experience.

(Image via Flickr)

Copenhagen, Denmark

A must-see destination on any foodie's bucket list is Copenhagen. There are tons of incredible restaurants across the city, many of which have landed on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list. Food trucks and stalls line Refshaleøen, the industrial area of the city, where there is a wide array of international dishes.

(Image via Flickr)

London, England

London is considered a food capital of the world. You won't find the variety of international food options, dining experiences, and food activities that London provides. You also have the opportunity to take part in the famed afternoon tea; London has 1,500 spots where you can experience it across the city. So you'll have plenty to do!

(Image via Flickr)

Catalunya, Spain

Spain is a country vastly rich in culture, heritage, and fantastic food. Catalunya's food culture is so complex, one area of the city has an entirely different selection than any other part. Catalunya is a place to become wholly immersed in wonderfully rich food culture.

(Image via Flickr)

San Sebastian, Spain

Not exactly a major cosmopolitan city like Madrid, Paris, or London, San Sebastian is considered one of the greatest food destinations in the world. San Sebastian has more Michelin stars per capita than any other city and is, in general, a foodie paradise. Just an hour from this major foodie destination is the Rioja wine region of Spain for all of the wine lovers out there.

(Image via Flickr)

New York City, NY

NYC is considered a culinary capital of the world with incredible food everywhere. Michelin-starred restaurants brush up with street vendors and some wildly outrageous options that any foodie would love to explore.

(Image via Flickr)

Hawaii, USA

Did you know that Hawaii has a ton of really incredible food trucks? For food truck fans, this is the place to be. The food truck wave crashed over Hawaii, bringing in new flavors, food concepts, and eating options to the Hawaiian Islands. Oahu is primarily known for all of these incredible food trucks.

(Image via Flickr)

Tokyo, Japan

If you've got major love for sushi, then Tokyo will provide you with only the freshest and the best sushi you can find. The Tsukiji fish market is a must-see for foodies, and there's always the opportunity to participate in a traditional tea ceremony in the Hamarikyu Gardens.

(Image via Flickr)

Bangkok, Thailand

Thai dishes are almost meant to be enjoyed at a night market or street vendor, and there are plenty of those lining the streets of Bangkok. Not only that, but Bangkok has plenty of opportunities for cooking classes, food tours, and a few Michelin star restaurants. One thing to definitely be on the lookout for floating markets. Thailand's floating markets are a huge thing, so be sure to look into them!

(Image via Flickr)

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Stellenbosch is an area brimming with top chefs who create masterpiece dishes to pair with the famous Stellenbosch wine. If you're a wine person, then this is the place to go. Whether you're taking a tour or just chilling at a table, someone will be there to pour you a legendary glass of wine.

(Image via Facebook)

Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan

Japan has more beloved dishes than you can count, but this single street in the city of Osaka is the star of the country. Dotonbori is a premier foodie destination in Osaka covering about eight blocks jam-packed with restaurants, food stalls, and street vendors selling every type of food Japan is known for. Odds are, no matter what you're looking for, Dotonbori will have it.

(Image via Flickr)

New Orleans, Louisiana

The famous NOLA expands way past your ordinary, everyday American cuisine. A style and culture all its own coupled with an abundance of chefs and unique dining experiences, you'll have your work cut out for you. In addition to the southern cajun food and the sophisticated cocktail scene, you'll get some first-hand experience in that classic southern hospitality that New Orleans is known for.

(Image via Flickr)

Mumbai, India

Mumbai has long been hailed for its legendary street food. Thousands of food stalls line the streets for the ever-growing Mumbai population, offering spicy, tangy dishes to both locals and tourists. One of the favorites here? Chaat, a dish of fried noodles, pulses, onions, coriander, and chilies seasoned with chaat masala spice mix. If spice is your taste, this is a pretty good place to check out.

(Image via Wikipedia)

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

You'd honestly be hard-pressed to find something that Kuala Lumpur doesn't have. High-end restaurants bump up to an endless stream of street food stalls and carts. Variety really is the spice of life in this city. The national dish, nasi lemak, is the top meal here but there's plenty of other things to try!

(Image via Wikipedia)

Toronto, Canada

Toronto has an ever-changing and ever-evolving foodscape, so what you can get may change pretty frequently. Chefs here love to experiment with menus based on unusual ingredients, so there's always a new must-eat dish every week. If you're looking for a place with out-of-the-box options, Toronto's your place.

(Image via Facebook)

Munich, Germany

Munich is best known for Oktoberfest, so Bavarian food is super popular in the city. Pretzels, stewed sauerkraut, and weisswurst are all extremely popular dishes in this city. If you're looking to lay into the carbs, this is your place.

(Image via Flickr)

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is a cheese lovers paradise. If you're a foodie who's in search of the gouda things in life, then this is the place to be. Or, if you have a sweet tooth, Amsterdam's got you covered for dessert, too. With food trucks and stalls lining the streets, you'll have your pick for anything your little foodie heart desires.

(Image via Flickr)

Seoul, South Korea

The capital of South Korea, Seoul, offers a multi-faceted metropolis that is filled to the brim with a wide variety of food. Toting 26 Michelin-starred restaurants alongside countless street food markets, you're sure to find something that appeals to your taste buds. Make sure to try out the famous bulgogi and kimchi that Seoul is known for!

(Image via Flickr)

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon's food scene is rich with seafood thanks to its location on the Atlantic Ocean coast. Sardines, cod, and octopus roasted with olive oil are all super popular. Portugal is also famous for its tarts. This place is a must-see for foodies who crave some fresh-caught seafood.

(Image via Flickr)