Do you have a taste for travel and adventure? We came across this recent article by Time Out and thought, what are the most underrated foodie destinations to travel in 2023? The world is full of traditional foodie destinations from cities like Paris to Hong Kong. That being said, we’re all about exploration – we want to try as much food from as many different places as possible. So when we think of underrated, a few cities come to mind. We’re talking about the cities that have pushed the boundaries in food, but for whatever reason continue to be overlooked.
Good food is never hard to find cities like these. From the understated city of Chiang Mai to the home of gastronomy in Lyon – food has always been an integral part of the lifestyle in these places. Even a Canadian capital city made the list! So before you rush into buying your plane tickets, check out our list of the 10 most underrated foodie destinations to travel in 2023.
When thinking about where to travel in Spain, you’ll often hear about three cities: Barcelona, Madrid and Seville. While those cities are undeniably gorgeous and have a sprawling food scene, you might want to explore the coastal city of Valencia. Home of the famous paella, this city has mastered all things grilled by the sea. Fish, oysters, squid and octopus are just a few foods you can find in abundance around this understated food capital.
A port city like no other, Lagos is the most populated city in Nigeria, as well as West Africa. It’s home to some of the largest street markets anywhere in the world with tons of food options to explore. Famous to Nigeria (and other West African countries) has to be jollof rice – a delicious medley of spices and herbs. Don’t miss out on adding this foodie paradise to your bucket list in 2023.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Dubbed Bangkok’s little sibling, in terms of size and population, Chiang Mai stands its ground when it comes to delicious food. Chiang Mai has an array of exotic fruits and vegetables in local markets. Don’t miss out on trying the famous khao soi – a coconut curry noodle soup. Everything in Chiang Mai is an adventure in flavour if you’re willing to look.
If it looks like Paris, walks like Paris, is it still Paris? Above all else, Lyon might be the ultimate foodie destination. Dubbed the birthplace of gastronomy, Lyon is one of the oldest cities in France, with the longest standing history of French food culture. While Paris might house the most Michelin-star restaurants in all of Europe, Lyon continues to be the place chefs far and wide gather to learn from the best of the best. Only a short train ride away from Paris, we suggest visiting this food capital next time you’re in the city of lights.
It is undeniable that some of the best Mexican food hails from Oaxaca. While the origins of Mexican mole might be disputed, one thing is for sure – Oaxacans are pros at making it. From the spice markets to open-faced grills, the food scene in Oaxaca is nothing short of a food lover’s dream.
Flic en Flac, Mauritius
If you’re willing to take the 20+ hour flight to get there, we guarantee Mauritius will be an unforgettable experience. Home to some of the best beaches in all of Africa, Mauritius offers a wide variety of food from across different cultures. Historically, the island has been influenced by Dutch, French, English, Indian and East African food culture. So if you’re into coastal food with a fusion twist, Mauritius should be at the top of your list.
This colourful and quaint capital of Prince Edward Island is an unsuspecting foodie paradise. Fans of fresh lobster and crab will adore the cozy restaurants along the shoreline, while basking in the east coast sun. The island is big on potatoes, so naturally they are the masters of the beloved French fry. While you might be tempted to visit Halifax or St. John’s, we suggest stopping by Charlottetown instead.
Seoul, South Korea
It’s no secret that we’re fans of the delicious flavours of gogi-gui or Korean BBQ, but that’s not the only food South Korea is known for. Seoul is known for having some of the best night food markets in Asia. Tons of vendors offering dishes like gamjatang (pork soup) and jeon (savoury pancakes) can be found everywhere. We recommend adding Seoul to the top of your travel list ASAP.
Fancy a trip down to the southern tip of South America? Look no further than Patagonia, Argentina. This vast mountain scape is the perfect location for all things fresh and foraged. Freshwater lakes provide the best quality fish while the rich soil grows the healthiest of herbs and vegetables. If you’re looking to take in all of what nature has to offer, take a trip to Patagonia.
You’ve probably heard cities like Naples, Rome and Florence reign supreme in terms of food. However, at the southern most state of Italy rests a coastal city known as Catania. This gorgeous community is the seventh largest city in Italy and has some of the best food south of Rome. Best known for their arancini, these delicious rice balls are the perfect snack for the active traveler. We suggest taking the extra few hours of flight time and travel down south to Catania.