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One city in the US for food, and one city in the entire world for food

OK 2 questions that beg to be answered. live for ever in one city in the us and one in the rest of the world . and why would you choose them

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  1. This is hard. Okay, for the U.S. I guess it would be NYC, for its variety of cuisines, both high and low.

    Internationally---Hong Kong, for the same reason.

    1. San Francisco - it would be New York but for the lack of Mexican; and it would be LA but for the overall ambiance.

      Bangkok - because I could eat really well there and quickly get to Vientiane, Hanoi, Saigon, Calcutta, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul ... It would be Vientiane, if transport were not so much more complex than Bangkok.

      8 Replies
        1. re: babette feasts

          It is hard for me to believe that somewhere in all the buroughs there isn't Mexican food as good as the one or twogood places in San Francisco.....

          1. re: susancinsf

            Sure, there are plenty of really good Mexican places in the boroughs, especially in Queens.

            1. re: E Eto

              i ate at el paso last night, and it was pretty damned good. and the taco truck on 60th and 3rd blew my socks off (and got the approval of the mexican professora i was eating with)

          2. re: babette feasts

            Agreed - Sam is right! (This is speaking only of the food, as these are not my preferred cities to live in!)

          3. re: Sam Fujisaka

            I hate LA so much, but then most native San Franciscans do. Really, getting anywhere here is so difficult, that I'd give it a miss.

            1. re: pikawicca

              >>I hate LA so much, but then most native San Franciscans do.<<

              You all must be masochists - there are so many Frisco-ites in LA that bemoan my home town yet live here anyway - why? I crack up at how folks from other cities/states/countries claim that their home is so much better, yet end up here. If for what ever reason one decides to live in LA, why not be part of the solution instead of the problem? :)

              1. re: pikawicca

                I've lived in both places, and both have their own set of challenges. When it comes to food, I still prefer LA, especially for Chinese and Mexican food. And I don't think there are that many native San Franciscans (or Angelenos for that matter)--it seems most have moved there from elsewhere.

            2. LA for the food and weather

              Lima for the food.

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    I'm editing my US choice. If I can stretch the OP's choosing of city to region, it would be the the communities north of the San Francisco Bay Area. Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties offer amazing choices for appreciative eaters. The focus on quality is so apparent throughout the chain, from farms, ranches, and vineyards, to breweries, wineries, bakeries, restaurants and other makers and suppliers. So many in this general region consider artisan-quality not to be something to be achieved, but rather a starting point from which to build their reputation on. Another big asset of this region is that, in general, folks around here are really really nice.

                  2. Just to go in a slightly different direction, so to speak, Chicago and London. (Good Mexican in Chicago; good Asian in London.)

                    1. wow, being able to live in two cities.... i like it already. And most of us live in the same city for at least most of our lives. Are you suggesting there is no travel permitted at all?

                      For the US, after much thought about LA, NYC, Chicago, and New Orleans, I think I will stay in Honolulu. We really have tremendous variety of food here, from some very fine high end restaurants to broke-da-mouth dives. I would have to give up "great" mexican, and great Indian, but I can get good for both. I guess i would have to have great pastrami and rye bread shipped over once or twice a year.

                      Internationally I guess I would opt for Paris, although someplace in Provence is tempting. London has the benefit of being English speaking, but I can deal with the scorn of the Parisians as i stumble through very sub-par French. Very little I could get in Hong Kong that I can't get here, and lots here that I can't get there. Same for Tokyo.

                      it will be interesting to see how many of us are happy chow-wise with the city we live in, and how that affects our international choice. I probably would have chosen Honolulu and NYC if those were options. LA and NYC may have been wiser choices, but I like living here.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                        I'm not happy chow-wise in Cali, Colombia.

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          but you have the best cuy anywhere (and according to my sister-in-law the most beautiful women, but thats not food)

                      2. NY for variety and quality
                        Singapore (same but more focused on asian and indian foods)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Soup

                          Singapore was second on my list for international cities - alcohol is too darned expensive there. :)

                        2. NYC.
                          Hong Kong or Singapore.

                            1. re: HotMelly

                              Now that interests me. Why? Not challenging you just wondering. I've loved visiting Key West over the years and had many good eats but.... ???

                              1. NYC
                                (and there is more and more good mexican here as the mexican community has grown 100 fold in the last 10 years)

                                hmmmm.. bangkok? paris? london? tokyo?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: thew

                                  I wondered if someone would mention Paris. My feeling is it's Paris, and then pick a US city. My only two choices stateside would be NYC or SF, although if you would just open your eyes and go north of the border, I would add Vancouver and Toronto to that list.

                                2. NYC - the variety and just the pulse that the city has ...

                                  My heart says Miami/ Ft. Lauderdale (where I am originally from) but taste buds have to with New Orleans ...one word ... Mothers! Oh but I love the Cuban cuisine, so hard to choose can I have all three?

                                  Miami for the spirit, the heat, the spice, the cilantro, the mojitos

                                  Lauderdale for the freshness of the seafood and simplicity how it is prepared

                                  And New Orleans for the Cajun and French Creole cuisine, not to mention the red fish, crawfish, oysters, chicory coffee and beignets

                                  1. It is hard to choose between Chicago and NYC. One is in the heartland with all the farmers' bounty providing fresh flavor to the large variety of international and regional cuisines represented. The other is an international city with such a breadth of diversity and yet so lacking in the basics (Mexican? Biscuits and gravy? Cajun?). Too hard to decide!

                                    Internationally I have to go with Vienna. I could live happily the rest of my life on Tafelspitz, goulash, crepes, delicate blossoms stuffed with trout, heavy Dobostorte stuffed with carbs and the other international flavors at the Center of Europe.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: JungMann

                                      i again say it isn;t true about mexican in NYC anymore. 10 years ago - yes. 5 years ago, less so. ALL the line chefs in NYC for over a decade have been mexicans (yes that's a slight bit of hyperbole), mostly from puebla. Now, after years behind the scenes, more and more are stepping out and opening their own places. Does it have the access to mexicana that a place 3000 miles closer to mexicao does? of course not. but that doesn't mean there is nothing.

                                      1. re: thew

                                        There are certainly many more good Mexican restaurants nowadays, but given the proportion of Mexicans in the business to good Mexican restaurants, there is a dearth. And of those good restaurants out there, few of them achieve the type of quality that makes people buzz. I never meant to say or imply that there are no Mexican restaurants, but that there ought to more and better ones.

                                        1. re: JungMann

                                          What about other Latin American cuisines? I don't live directly in the city, but I live north of it and Latino communities abound. We have Peruvian, Colombian, etc. I don't see nearly as much of this kind of Latin American diversity in other areas.

                                          1. re: Avalondaughter

                                            There is a lot of diversity in NYC, as I said, and that certainly makes the city unique in many respects. But while I appreciate the option of Peruvian, Colombian or the Uruguayan I discovered two weeks ago, it is a little mystifying that options are so limited for other mainstream cuisines, such as those I mentioned among others. I can get great pupusas, but no gumbo?

                                    2. Of the cities I know best, I would say New York because of the variety of cuisines available (and the variety of neigborhoods, you can essentially be in Russia and in China the same day with just a short subway ride from my place). Taipei because it is a more livable city than Shanghai (my second choice), has the full range of Chinese cuisines and most other world cuisines available, and it's easy to travel to Shanghai, Suzhou, HK, and SE Asia from there. Food shopping is also a delight in NY and Taipei.

                                      1. For one city in the U.S., I'm going to go with New York for the variety.

                                        For one city internationally, I'd have to say Seoul. I love Korean food (it is in my blood) and could never eat enough it. Plus, I miss the Korean street food.

                                        1. City in the US: Augusta, Georgia, for the pimento cheese sandwich at The Masters.
                                          City in the Whole World: Cali, Colombia, just to hang around in Sam's kitchen until I overstay my welcome and deplete his Flor de Cana stash.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Veggo

                                            You're too easy, Veg. You can travel with your beloved pimentos anywhere, right? But, oh yeah, hanging out at Sam's would be the ultimate --- with all of us bootlegging in food goodies regularly.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              And my international duty free booze order just came in. The bodega is bulging at the seams.

                                          2. I've been super happy with the chowy diversity here in London, been here 1.5 years and haven't scratched the surface.

                                            Singapore (my hometown) is great, not just for the diversity and range, but also because Singapore style Nyona food is unique to Singapore (in Malaysia, you could get Malacca style or Penang style versions, which are great cuisines in their own right are different).

                                              1. Newark, NJ, great ovwr flow from NY and much cheaper and Seoul food. My 2 sons and grandson live there and we love to chow & hike. Gotta have kim chi & so ju, man.

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                  Say what? I live in Newark and I can't figure out what you're talking about. What Seoul food and kim chi??? I don't know any Korean restaurants here. Where?!? I like Newark a lot, but not for food (except the occasional Spanish/Portuguese outing). I almost always eat in NYC. What overflow from NYC is here?!? I'm so confused. If you're talking about neighboring/nearby towns like Clifton (great Lebanese) or Montclair, then isn't that cheating? You have to pick ONE city and stay there, right? Not a whole county or a whole state or a whole area. Am I wrong?

                                                  Anyway, from my limited international experiences, my world pick would be Bangkok, just because I love Thai food so much and it's so good and fresh and plentiful there (although I didn't find any good non-Thai food there, but I didn't have much time). However, I'd love to decide *after* checking out Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong (but I sure hope it's friendlier and less smoky than Chengdu), Taipei, re-checking London, etc., and then comparing them all against Bangkok.

                                                  U.S.: NYC (although like so many others, I bemoan the lack of easily-accessible Mexican on any/every corner like you can find elsewhere, and don't tell me about those places on 10th Ave. because when I've tried them, they sucked, and my visit to Sunset Park was disappointing too). But overall, based on my experiences, you can't beat NYC in the U.S., especially Queens for awesome ethnic variety. I hear about great stuff in L.A. but I don't want to spend half my life stuck in traffic. Gimme a damn subway system.

                                                    1. re: Ike

                                                      Ike -
                                                      Try Jersey City Heights for some great Mexican - I had the most AMAZING Cochinita Pibil recently at Charritos on Central Avenue....and some great taco's Al Pastor at another local hole in the wall...There's also a few Columbian places that have some great stuff

                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                        Hi and thanks for this - I work in the complete and utter culinary wasteland of Secaucus* and am always on the lookout for somewhere even nearish to get good food. *The one exception to this being the fabulous sandwiches from Giovanni's deli, made with their mozzarella still warm and leaking milk...

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          Yummm I could go for some warm muzz!

                                                          I will have to get the names of the Columian places.
                                                          One makes the best Cuban sandwich I have ever had, and another one the best cheese balls I have ever had...
                                                          There is also a Mexican bakery that has some pretty good homemade flan...

                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                            I am so waiting for these names. Nelly, you just may save the day for food in the area, without having to venture into NYC.

                                                            1. re: roro1831

                                                              ha ha....Okay...I pass by the places without ever noticing the names...
                                                              I won't get to Central Ave this week because I'm traveling, but hold tight!
                                                              In the meantime - check out Charritos for Cochinita Pibil!!

                                                            2. re: NellyNel

                                                              It's really something other than else, even better than Queen in Bklyn. Giovanni's Deli, 267 Centre Ave, Secaucus, NJ 07094-3044 (201) 617-5100. If you go tell them that Susan the little redhead sent you. ;-)

                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                Wow - sounds good and thanks so much but - unfortunately I don't have a car, so I can't see myself ever getting there.....but there is a place on Central too for great fresh muzz!

                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                  Carless in Jersey too, commute from Bklyn on the train. I have to depend on the kindness of coworkers to eat anything but the extremely dull stuff provided in the cafeteria in this godforsaken bldg.

                                                        1. Austin, Texas has everything I like to eat pretty much. Lots of variety with Int'l cuisines, too.

                                                          Singapore has everything I like to eat as well.

                                                          1. Boston. For its size, it has probably the most diverse assortment of ethnicities in the nation. Unlike bigger cities, you can get from one ethnic neighborhood to the next very quickly, even on foot. And, most importantly for me, you can get from the city to the country more quickly than in any major city I know. Within a short drive you can get to the source of some of the country's best dairy, meats, seafood, and produce. Boston might not compare to some of the big cities in terms of fine dining, but that's partly because New Englanders like their picturesque scenery. Nothing beats a great meal overlooking the woods in the fall, the rocky shore in the summer, or the mountains in winter - certainly not concrete and asphalt.
                                                            Barcelona. Paris is tempting, but Barcelona is cleaner and more accepting of outside food cultures. I also can't survive that far from the ocean. And I find that good Occitan or French Mediterranean food is far easier to find in Barcelona than in Paris. The low profile architecture also can't be beat, from Early Medieval to Modern and Contemporary. Istanbul is also very tempting, but Barcelona packs just as much into a much smaller city. Florence is tempting, but doesn't have nearly the range of food that Barcelona does. Madrid is also tempting, but, like Paris, just isn't close enough to the ocean. I'm sure there are many non-European cities that I'd find tempting as well, but my travels outside of Europe and North America has mostly been to rural areas. The food culture of Barcelona also just suits my tastes perfectly. And I could use a siesta right about now.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                              Daniel, I'm a fellow Bostonian and agree that Boston is often underrated however I'd have to say that the one area that we are lacking is good Mexican food!

                                                              1. re: CreativeFoodie42

                                                                Definitely true. But Mexican seems to be make or break for many. It isn't for me. I love Mexican food, but I don't really understand the sacrosanct status it has on these boards. It's one of thousands of world cuisines - or, more accurately, it's a few dozen of the thousands of world cuisines. You don't hear people bemoaning the lack of great Italian or Portuguese on the West Coast the way you hear you people bemoaning the lack of great Mexican in the Northeast.

                                                              2. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                Boston is a great food city, you even have good Cambodian places there - none to speak of in NYC. It would be my second choice in the US.

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  Another excellent US food city in which one at least used to be able to get good Cambodian and good representation from the other Southeast Asian Cuisines is Washington, DC. I haven't been there in a while, though, so I don't know the current situation.

                                                                  1. re: Normandie

                                                                    Yep, we seek out Cambodian food when we get to Washington as well. Remember a place in the VA suburbs that was quite good.

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      even better are the Vietnamese choices out in VA (Eden Center)

                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        I lived on the Maryland side, and there at the time (very late '70s and the '80s, after the war refugees arrived and became established) one could find excellent Thai food. But I liked going out with my friends who lived in Alex and Arlington back then because on that side of the city one would see more Cambodian and VN-ese cuisine. All delicious, and reasonable. Have no idea how it's changed, though; I left DC in the early '90s.

                                                                  2. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                    very GOOD THAT'S THE SPIRIT PEOPLE EMBRACE THE KNOW AND UNKNOWN DREAMS ARE JUST THAT LOOK TO THE OUTSIDE

                                                                  3. Nobody's mentioned Italy yet? I never ate so well in my life as I did in my semester there. So NYC (somebody remind me again why I'm moving away?) for all the reasons posted already, and Bologna.

                                                                    1. Chicago - because it's very diverse and close enough to home that I could see my boys easily...

                                                                      Paris - because j'aime la nourriture fran├žaise et Paris est beau!

                                                                      1. Based on my experiences - I'd say New York and Paris -however - I haven't been to Italy yet!

                                                                        1. I would have to say New Orleans, partly because I am from there and miss the food terribly.
                                                                          I could eat roast beef poboys, jambalaya, crawfish (and any dishes made with them) and oysters year round if possible. If my grandmother was still alive and I could eat her cooking everyday it would be a no brainer.
                                                                          New York would be a close second just for the diversity alone.

                                                                          I have only left the country once so I don't have much reference for international places, but I may have to go with Italy since moving to the NYC area I have discovered what Italian can taste like, as opposed to most crappy Italian places in New Orleans.

                                                                          1. I'm quite happy right here in Bloomington, IN: Great chefs cooking lots of different types of food, fantastic ethnic choices (sadly, no Vietnamese), wonderful farmers' markets, and low, low prices compared to the big cities. Overseas, I'd have to go with Berlin. (It would have been Beirut, back in the day.)

                                                                            1. Easy! San Francisco and Istanbul. You gonna send me tickets? PLEEEEEEEEZ....!

                                                                              1. NY and Singapore. Yumyum.

                                                                                Actually living in the culinary wasteland of NJ. There's only so many cheesesteaks and wings a guy can take.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: tomishungry

                                                                                  As a Jersey Boy who returns for good ethnic food, try living in downeast Maine. Culinary wasteland? Bullshit! Have you ever traveled cross country or even west the Delaware River??

                                                                                2. If money was no object I would take London, UK.

                                                                                  "Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life."

                                                                                  1. Chicago (although I'm actually pretty happy with Minneapolis food)
                                                                                    Kyoto (can I be wealthy too in this imaginary scenario?)

                                                                                    1. Economic reality coupled with cultural diversity will probably keep us rooted in San Francisco/Silicon Valley. Wouldn't trade this for anything. And another world class city w/n 5 hr drive is just icing on the cake!

                                                                                      And to above poster who chose London if money was no object...I'll still take SF but w/ condos in NY & London :) Have to rule out Asian cities as I'm highly allergic to shellfish :(

                                                                                      1. Chicago. Mexican Taqueria's abound plus higher end Mex options. Love the options throughout, great Thai at some spots, deep/thin pizza, nice vegetarian spots serving the basic American Classics as well as the typical veggie otions. Big city lots of stuff. I did really enjoy NYC and Denver, just not as much. I live in Chicago, so I am biased.

                                                                                        Paris. The parisan picnic lunch of a fresh baguette and assortments (cheese,tomato & mustard) with a bottle of wine was a great experience. I enjoyed the culture of eating there.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Alan N

                                                                                          I haven't traveled enough as an Houndish adult to answer this question with any authority but I think I'd have to pick San Francisco and somewhere in Mexico, probably DF or the Yucatan. Or maybe Oaxaca. Hard to choose.

                                                                                          I'm pretty chuffed with my current chowing location (Vancouver) despite its serious dearth of any kind of decent Mexican and of my new love Burmese. Our twice-yearly trips to San Francisco help in both departments though :-).

                                                                                        2. new york city is pretty good. i eat here all the time.

                                                                                          it's a tossup between hong kong and rome for "entire world" stuff. neither hk nor rome is the best at anything. still, we go to both every year and feel comfortable. both are great launching points.

                                                                                            1. SF/Sonoma/Napa

                                                                                              1. Tough question. While NYC is tempting, I'd probably have to give the nod to San Francisco/Napa/Sonoma area as I find their produce is superior to those found in NY. I'm still thinking of the most delicious white nectarine I had at a farmer's market in SF years ago.

                                                                                                Internationally, I'd probably say Paris because I can have Pierre Herme macarons every day!

                                                                                                1. Definitely San Francisco in the US. For the rest of the world I'd have to choose somewhere in Tuscany, but not sure which specific town. Or maybe Cinque Terre if I have to live there forever... can't go wrong either way for either food or living.

                                                                                                  1. LA - we have pretty much everything here

                                                                                                    Singapore or Kuala Lumpur -- I love the food from this region and could eat it everyday. Love the whole food atmosphere there!

                                                                                                    1. Very hard to answer but here are my choices:
                                                                                                      US city- Philadelphia- awesome food city without all the bs of NYC...
                                                                                                      World- Sao Paulo, Brazil- two reasons, first it is a large city with many excellent restaurants, you could choose a different place every week and not get bored. Food quality is outstanding and the scene is awesome. Second reason is I used to live there and miss it!

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: foodieinct

                                                                                                        >>US city- Philadelphia- awesome food city without all the bs of NYC...<<

                                                                                                        With all due respect - I know NYC has a reputation for abrasive attitudes, but pound-for-pound, I think folks from Phili have have the market cornered for being 15-grit - at least the ones I've met who've transplanted in LA... :)

                                                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                          The bs is really not about the people in NYC but the attitude in the restaurant world in NY.
                                                                                                          What I mean is you can get a reservation in Philly.
                                                                                                          And if you are lucky enough to live in the city then you get the chance to enjoy wonderful neighborhood restaurants run by really nice and talented chefs.

                                                                                                      2. New York and Paris.

                                                                                                        New York, because you can access anything you'd like, from virtually any cuisine, and of good quality.

                                                                                                        Paris because--well, with deference to all the other wonderful cuisines in the world, I just don't think anyone understands both the science and art of food as well as the French do.


                                                                                                        1. Chicago and New Orleans are best in the US. Can't we just make them one city and have a culinary utopia??

                                                                                                          In the world would have to be Paris. Without a doubt, Paris.

                                                                                                            1. you all kick butt,good choices all....but the real answer is
                                                                                                              anyplace you love in the world for some it is NYC for some it could be Laos it all boils down to what you like there is no one place or two for that matter it is where your heart lives

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: pikiliz

                                                                                                                that's why it's a trick question.

                                                                                                              2. definitely new york city, just because it is so big and had so many different options. as for international, I would have to go with florence, italy. There are so many little restaurants all over and in the 5 months that I was there I never had a bad meal

                                                                                                                1. Los Angeles and Hong Kong: lots of variety.

                                                                                                                  1. For the US - I've always enjoyed the food in Charleston when visiting the States.

                                                                                                                    Rest of the world - London

                                                                                                                      1. Redwood City, CA! (20 miles south of San Francisco), for the best Mexican, Turkish, Indian, Thai, German, and Filipino food (So, ethnic cuisine is tops here, obviously)

                                                                                                                        Best city internationally: Hong Kong

                                                                                                                        1. Los Angeles - So much variety, dangerously authentic Mexican or any South/Central American cuisine. Great Armenian, Chinese, and Thai food.

                                                                                                                          San Sebastian - because I can eat food from Northern Spain for the rest of my life.

                                                                                                                          1. New York for diversity, San Francisco for quality. I moved from SF to NYC in 1990, still miss the good quality Asian foods. Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian. You can't beat the Bay Area for year round high quality ingredients