It’s worth traveling to California
to swim with sharks
. It’s worth traveling to Brazil
to experience the vibrant street art
. And it’s worth traveling to France to paraglide over the Pyrenees
, or to bike through the architecturally magical city of Paris
, as well as the Palace grounds of Versailles
But what makes travel that much better is food. From the food-centric city of Los Angeles to the cheese-heavy mountain villages of France, with the help of savvy guides, GuideAdvisor has come up with a list of local delicacies you simply can’t pass up while traveling abroad. Not only are tour guides fountains of knowledge pertaining to history and heritage, and not only do they know how to adventure to the fullest (want to trek through Nepal? Hire a guide; want to do yoga on top of the ocean? Hire a guide), they’re perhaps the best sources of learning what to eat where.
Read on to learn what food guides in Los Angeles, New Zealand, Singapore, Hawaii, Delhi and San Francisco say about the best thing they’ve ever eaten in their respective locations.
Before giving us the scoop on what to chow in Los Angeles, Summer Davis
, an LA born-and-bred lover of all things ethnic food, admits, “There are so many delicious dishes and unique items to be found [here], it’s really impossible to pick one best thing.” She would know: her and her husband Youssef Iferd, own Los Angeles Urban Adventures, a guiding company that won Los Angeles magazine’s best Food Walking Tour award in 2013. However, with GuideAdvisor’s needs weighing on her, Summer forcibly singled out one dish that gets her every time: fusion tacos.
Summer pinpoints Chef Brock’s duck confit tacos (or black cod or short rib, for that matter) because “the flavors are intricate and delicious, not too complicated and all good…plus, they come with a side of chips, wasabi guacamole and pickled jalapenos.” With her audience now drooling, Summer thankfully reveals where to find the SoCal delicacy: “At the Yamashiro Farmers Market grill on Thursday nights from May through September.” Before signing off with “Don’t miss these [exclamation point],” Summer kindly shares that parking and a free shuttle to the market are available at the Mosaic church on La Brea and Hollywood.
New Zealand has its fair share of interesting foods (to name just two: pavlova, a meringue cake, and hokey pokey ice cream, a flavour of the frozen treat that consists of plain vanilla ice cream with small, solid lumps of honeycomb toffee), but local guide and wine-connoisseur Phil Parker
has another unique favorite.
Phil is a wine writer who offers award-winning guided trips around some of the best New Zealand wineries. But when it comes to local delicacies, he prefers Whitebait Fritter, a fried delicacy in which the main ingredient is small silvery-white fish. Why? “It is a unique New Zealand seafood speciality, and it’s delicate and delicious!”
, the mastermind behind Singapore’s Chinatown Food Adventure
that treats guests to the likes of rice cakes, spring rolls, and freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, reports that one local delicacy he could never tire of is hainanese chicken rice
. He says, “I love the tasty and silky soft meat (drenched with sesame oil and light soya sauce) that blends perfectly with the warm and aromatic rice that is cooked in chicken stock, not to mention the accompanying chili sauce that is made from ground chili, garlic, vinegar, lime, soya sauce, sesame oil, sugar and salt. Five words: take me to Singapore now!
Hawaiians may have a soft spot for fresh fish and poi, a thick paste made from taro root, but the best thing Koa Kahili
, a cacao farmer and chocolate maker on the north shore in Kilauea who offers tours of his plantation
, has ever eaten in Hawaii is [insert drum roll] “Kauai grown and made chocolate.” Koa says, “It is my favorite because it’s super yummy and very satisfying, and it gives me fantastic energy.” And with flavors like coconut milk curry, mint butter cream, and tahitian lime, we understand why Koa claims his chocolate “makes ones day so much brighter and happier.”
Not only does Delhi food tour guide Anubhav Sapra
divulge his favorite Indian foods, he teaches us something few know about the Indian metropolis: “The beauty of Old Delhi food joints is that each specializes in only one dish…this gives them an edge over other food joints, and, by cooking the same thing for many years, they can achieve perfection.” Anubhav’s favorite dishes are the butter chicken
from Aslam Butter Chicken in Jama Masjid, and the kheer
from Bade Miyan Ke in Chawri Bazar. Butter chicken is chicken that is marinated overnight in a yogurt and spice mixture, after which it is cooked in a tandoor over, and served in a creamy “tomato gravy,” and kheer is a rice pudding flavoured with cardamom, raisins, saffron, cashew nuts, pistachios or almonds. Go on, drool away.
Serena Bartlett, a foodie in Oakland and San Francisco whose favorite pastime is taking travelers to unique local restaurants and cafes, says, “The Bay Area is a complete taco mecca with every possible regional influence.” But while Serena praises the tacos from La Borinquena, Tamarindo, Tacos Sinaloa, Mi Gruillense, Huarche Azteca, and Torta Gordo, she could never pass up the Naughty Cream donuts
from Doughnut Dolly, or a sourdough pizza
, especially considering San Francisco is known for the tangy goodness.
As a former driver of a New York City Checker Cab, Ben Wagenberg
definitely knows the ins and outs of the city. But his knowledge reaches far beyond the road system: Ben is one clued-in guide when it comes to food, especially New York’s renowned bagels, as his Lower East Side Everything Bagel Tour
To supplement his locale’s unbeatable fresh hot bagels, Ben enjoys feasting on knishes (fried dough filled with the likes of mashed potato, ground meat, sauerkraut, onions and cheese) at Yonah Shimmel’s Knish Bakery, as well as the famous pastrami at Katz’s Delicatessen. Ben says, “Russ and Daughters…has the best smoked salmon, fish spreads and herring in New York,” but he also likes to visit (and insists on taking his guests to) “Streit’s Matzoh factory where they gladly give out very hot and fresh matzoh straight from the baking ovens.”
To top off his self-proclaimed “food parade,” Ben heads to the Pickle Guy, which he says is “the last true shop that both makes and sells all types of pickles, [including] pickled veggies and fruit,” Kossar’s for bialys (a chewy bagel-like roll filled with diced onions and other ingredients), and, finally (you can breathe a sigh of relief soon, dear Stomach), Economy Candy for “candies that you haven’t had since your childhood.”
may return home to Hawaii once per year to one, eat her mother’s cooking, and two, visit her family – shh, don’t tell her parents that’s the order – but her favorite foods can be found in her current residence: Seattle. When she’s not taking visitors to eight unique tasting spots in Seattle on her Pioneer Square Food and Cultural Walking Tour
, Roen can be found eating geoduck
(a large, edible, saltwater clam that is prized for its meatiness) in the city’s sushi restaurants, or via Tom Douglas, the area’s most famous chef, who “featured it at his Tanaka San restaurant as Geoduck
Ceviche, which had sour orange mayonnaise, smoked Ikura, radishes, onion and cilantro.”
Geoduck aside, Roen says, “Lately I’ve been loving what I think is the best fried chicken in Seattle: Ma’ono Fried Chicken & Whiskey.” On their website, Ma’ono Fried Chicken & Whiskey admit their fried chicken isn’t the cheapest, but they’re pretty darn adamant that it’s worth every penny, and Roen couldn’t agree more. Plus, the atypical sides (house-made kimchi, fragrant rice, and Hawaiian-esque dipping sauces) make it that much more completely and utterly fabulous.