HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Travel anywhere in the world to eat...where to go?

Got 2 weeks in September for birthday vacation...need some fresh ideas.
Loved to know where you all would go...your fave places and what to order.
Coming from San Diego..
Many thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. my first choices are the most obvious for Americans - Paris/France and then Italy.

    If I wasn't counting out where I've already been - my next choice is southeast asia, not 100% sure where I'd pick exactly but it is on my food bucket list.

    1. San Sebastian, Spain
      Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido...Japan
      Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai...China

      6 Replies
      1. re: Charles Yu

        Love both of your places for great eats!

        1. re: Charles Yu

          Oooh, picking Shanghai over Beijing. I smell a food fight.

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Isn't their a Wynn property in Macau?

            1. re: Beach Chick

              I typed two words into the search engine GOOGLE: WYNN MACAU



              1. re: thegforceny

                My bad...just got done responding to 10+ posts..
                I'm a Wynn LV gal and I bet the Wynn Macau is off the chain.
                Thanks again thegforceny!

            2. re: Charles Yu

              Oh yeah, you guys, and then on to Australia for the lamb and shrimp- or is that just a culinary cliche any more?

            3. l will be in France in September, one week in Basque country just over the border from San Sebastian, rest of the month in Paris. Thus the advantage of both France and northern Spain. l would add Hanoi as a possibility for some of the best food ever eaten, and damn near free.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                I was going to rent an apartment in the 7th for the month of September and bring my dog but just don't have enough time..
                Love your trip your doing in Sept...have a wonderful time!

                1. re: Beach Chick

                  I'll be in the 7th in June and then again in July after being in Cannes. My fave restaurant in Paris--Frenchie. I've had the best lamb AND the best Chinese food in Sydney, Australia. However, Morocco is the one place I would love to go to so I could enjoy the food!!!

              2. I would go to Morocco! The spices, the markets, the colors...The thought of exploring the Djemma al Fna in Merrakech sounds like heaven.

                1. Spain. But then I love Spain and usually visit once or twice a year.

                  That said, I've never planned a holiday on the basis of eating. It's always been, first, where do I want to go and, second, what can I find that's OK to eat there.

                  1. Portugal - best value in all of Europe and the food and wine is amazing. Plus, you can hit all the great food spots in 10 days (we got to most of them in 7 but that was quite a whirlwind). The Algarve, Lisboa, Coimbra, Porto, and you MUST hit up Mealhada and have the leitao assado (roasted suckling pig). Here is a link to a NYT article about the writer's journey to Mealhada and his meal there - http://travel.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/...

                    Know that you will encounter very few Americans and folks don't generally speak English. It's a beautiful country, very rich in history, architecture and food culture. Have one of their pastel de nadas (light, flaky egg custard tart) and you'll fall in love, I promise.

                    I detailed my trip there back in '08 in a 3 part blog post. Here is a link to the first: http://mamaliciouseats.wordpress.com/...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: lynnlato

                      I loved the food in Lisbon and Porto. I definitely think Portugal offers the best value in western Europe.

                      I also love the food found in Crete and on some of the off-the-beaten-path Northeast Aegean Greek islands.

                      Always very happy with the food I've ordered in Austria and Germany (most frequently in Munich and Berlin). Less tourist traffic seems to mean less tourist traps.

                      The best meals I've had in Paris are always a result of doing my research on CH or another site, and most times I wing my restaurant choices in parts of France popular with tourists (most recently in Paris and Nice), I end up with a disappointing meal. I have had great meals that I've found by chance when travelling through parts of Alsace-Lorraine and Brittany.

                      While I love high quality French and high quality Italian food, I really like being able to travel to a region where I can show up at a random auberge, taverna or gasthaus and end up with a good meal, rather than having to plan out where each of my meals will take place, in advance.

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        Thanks lynn and prima...Portugal is right up my alley...

                      2. Sicily or the Amalfi Coast, Sicily first.
                        Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur or Penang

                        3 Replies
                          1. re: Beach Chick

                            Portofino is stunning, beautiful, and expensive. We camped nearby.

                          2. I've been to a few places, but what stands out, foodwise, has already been mentioned; Spain in general and San Sebastian in particular.
                            A few years back, we landed in Madrid and acclimated to food and drink culture. Overland to Burgos and Pamplona then San Sebastian. The tapas bars of Parte Vieja alone merit a trip.

                            1. If you carefully plan a trip you can have a wonderful food-based trip to almost anywhere. Paris is a rewarding destination but you have to carefully plan where you eat and be prepared to shell out. The same applies to Switzerland. I loved my various trips to Vienna and the food itself, but some people may find it to heavy and simple.

                              I'd have to vote for Italy, Vietnam, Thailand and Hong Kong as the most consistently rewarding destinations from the perspective of being able to wander into a random restaurant or street kitchen or street stall and leave very happy. Vietnam and Thailand were dirt cheap and every meal, great and small, was wonderful (in other respects Vietnam is a difficult country to travel around but the food is worth the effort). Italy is still filled with local family owned restaurants with a grandmama overseeing the kitchen (although the food is now more often than not cooked by immigrants).

                              1. My first choice would be Spain. Spain has a wide variety of gourmet restaurants serving creative dishes. We love Italy for it's fabulous food but it's mostly about regional Italian food.
                                If we did not live in Manhattan our first choice would be NYC!!
                                So many great restaurants, so little time!!

                                1. If you haven't been to N. Portugal or N. Spain why not go there? For a real culture shock, in the best of ways, check out the small towns in 'Basque Country'. This is where to get authentic Basque food.

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                    Puffin3, I have to ask, have you been to Reykjavik and had puffin? It's excellent and does NOT taste like chicken. Reykjavik has some excellent restaurants but it's a bit too small to be a foodie destination.
                                    We've been to Lisboa and found the local cuisine a bit too bland for us. Last Winter in Sevilla and Barcelona was outstanding restaurant wise.

                                    1. re: Motosport

                                      Not Puffin3, but l have eaten puffins, also known as Mutton Birds in New Zealand. Sort of native to an area near Invercargill on far South Island. Yes, they were a bit fishy for poultry, but not as much as muskrats were some years earlier. Would not make a journey for them IMHO.

                                      1. re: Motosport

                                        Cutting in here :-)
                                        - Reykjavik is excellent and actually all of Iceland is a wonderful destination to sample very delicious food. And - if you find the time ( September might be still fine) make a side trip to Greenland ( 2 days is sufficient) to eat the best seafood of your life along with tasting the best of Danish cuisine.

                                        (And while in Iceland - Puffin with a Blueberry sauce is certainly something to be sampled along with Whale...)

                                        1. re: RUK

                                          Had whale sushi in Tokyo at a nothing but whale restaurant.

                                          1. re: RUK

                                            How's the Icelandic economic status...better?
                                            Reykjavik got my name all over it..

                                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                                You can take Iceland Air to Paris, and do a stopove in Reykajavik for a few days coming or going. Airline let's you stay over for same price of ticket. Great deal!

                                                Non-stop from SEA to Paris, Fr. So you could connect to this flight from San Diego...

                                                1. re: gingershelley

                                                  I've done this trip and can honestly say adding Reykajavik to the itinerary before or after Paris is a cultural home run. If you can, rent a car in Iceland and drive across the tundra to some of the smaller, outlying towns. At times, you'll wonder if your still on planet earth. The people are wonderful and you will remember this trip for a long time. Just don't disturb the Fairies.

                                                  1. re: Leper

                                                    With you Leper. it was a nice decompress after Paris. Loved the outlying areas.. the glacier's and hotsprings! And the 1am Vodka drinking, which is not something I tend to do in Paris!
                                                    And I am SURE I saw some of the Fairies, tho we left each other in peace:)

                                                    Super reasonable and different addition to the itinerary!

                                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                                      This is exactly what we did. Iceland Air to London, with a 2-day stopover in Reykjavik and returning from Paris the same way (but no stopover on the way home). It just happened to be the least expensive flight at the time but now I'd do it anyway just for the Iceland part. In Reykjavik we rented a car and did some exploring, plus the beautiful Blue Lagoon hot spring. But the food! Crazy! Great lamb, plethora of fish and sea creatures - including whale - and the best hot dogs I've ever eaten. Absolutely fun and wonderful.

                                                      But on the original topic: Portugal. You can easily spend 2 weeks there and the food is wonderful and cheap compared to most of the rests of Europe. I'd go back in a heartbeat. Posted about my trip on the Spain/Portugal board but I'm too lazy to hunt it down right now.

                                              2. re: RUK

                                                I have to throw in my 2 cents for and about Iceland. I was very impressed by the the quality of the basic ingredients. The vegetable matter often leaves a lot to be desired, except in the priciest of restaurants, which have hothouses, but the meat, dairy and seafood is phenomenal. I fell in love with eggs, butter, skyr and herring while in Iceland. Lamb, horse, langoustines, goose, puffin, venison, trout, char, cod cheeks and jowls. It was all pretty damn tasty. It helps that virtually all farming is organic. Animals roam free and graze on whatever plants cover the wild terrain. The air is unpolluted, the water is glacial run-off and there is plenty for everyone, so no unnatural farming techniques are necessary to increase production. People celebrate whatever is seasonal and await it's return next year once the crop is done, or else preserve for later consumption. It's all very beautiful. We should all go live there ... except for the months of winter darkness, harsh weather at any time of the year, and the remoteness. On second thought, we should all just visit sometime.

                                              3. re: Motosport

                                                No I haven't had puffin. Are puffins harvested then put in leather bags guts, feathers then buried to preserve them? Not my idea of good time. LOL

                                                1. re: Puffin3

                                                  You are thinking of the rotten whale meat washed down with a shot of black death. Puffin's are cute little penguin type poultry. Very tasty.

                                            1. 'Fresh ideas' would imply you've done some traveling, and you are looking for something 'new to you' and not on the standard honor roll of typical foodie destinations.

                                              Cities have the advantage of being able to taste a lot of regional food in one location. In Beijing, for example, you could dine on a different regional cuisine every day: go to 3 Guizhou Men for Guizhou cuisine, Noodle Loft for Ja Jiang Mian or Shaanxi noodle dishes, and others for Sichuan, Xinjiang, Yunnan, Hunan, Dongbei, Hakka, and the list goes on. I would love to find a Xinjiang restaurant in the States, but I am not sure if anyone is doing that.

                                              In the countryside, however, you can explore a single cuisine very thoroughly. The Hunan Province is easy to travel around and provides a huge variety of ingredients.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. A Swiss chalet for fondue and lots of white wine. Preferably in front of a roaring fire on a cold Alpine night.

                                                1. Hey, another Virgo! Happy birthday to both of us, though I'm certain I've celebrated a lot more of them than you. By several country miles!

                                                  My strongest suggestion is that before you pick a destination, think about what you want out of the trip. A cyberfriend recently returned from a carefully planned food centered vacation in the Provences of France, at top ranked restaurants. He was very disappointed. Based on this, I would say "don't tie yourself down" too much.

                                                  Another frequent complaint is that "top" restaurants around the world are coming dangerously near to all tasting alike. I'm a menu browser/collector of great restaurants all over the world, and this is more apparent with every passing year. But if tasting menus and such are your thing and budget is no problem, then hey, Spain for El Bulli (I think they are reopened), certainly England for Heston Blumenthal (but I personally would not walk across the street to eat Gordon Ramsey's food at any price), though it's no longer three stars, I do love tradition, so in Paris, Tour d'Argent would be high on my list. For super-chic ultra plus restaurants, Google "Best Restaurants in the World" and you'll get an amazing list. Scandinavia ranks high.

                                                  My FAVORITE kind of vacation is just to pick a destination, rent a car, play the nomad stopping in villages, eating where the villagers eat, picking up bread and fruit at little shops, and oh... the MOST important thing of all -- buying TWO dictionaries for whatever language is spoken locally and English. Belritz phrase books are uselessly stupid. When I first moved to Greece, I quickly learned that when I ask a question in passable Greek from thphrase book, I'm answered in fluent Greek and don't know any more than I did when I asked the question in the first place. It may be slow for each of your to look up words one at a time in a translating dictionary, but by golly, you'll get the answer you're after! I've travelled this way in Greece, Turkey, Germany, a bit of England (but I was mostly in the shelter of family arms as their pet-relative-tourist), and of course, Mexico. I find I come home with MUCH richer memories, have had MUCH better food, and know more about the people than I would learn in cities and city restaurants. But hey, maybe this is just me.

                                                  My FAVORITE city in all of the world is Istanbul, Turkey. Native food to die for, but some great "international" restaurants, but don't forget at least a day in the country with a cab driver who knows the great out-of-the-way places to eat. It would be my top pick for a city destination.

                                                  In most countries, it's not too difficult to find an English speaking cab driver who can be hired by the day. They know the neighborhood restaurants that have GREAT food. It was a German cab driver who took me and my first husband out of Frankfurt and out in the country to a small 400 year old family owned inn where I had the most fabulous venison I have ever had in my life. The chef even shared the recipe with me. This type of travel is also great if you're interested in the history and culture of different countries because it gives you room for the sites and museums YOU want to see instead of what is convenient for the tour company. And -- voice of experience here -- you get MUCH better information and education from a cab driver and a museum catalog than you will get from most of the tour guides in the whole wide world.

                                                  Anyway, this is how I'd spend my vactation if I was still young enough and spry enough to get away with it! Ranking destinations, I'd go with:
                                                  Greece and Balkans
                                                  Portugal, Pyraness and Basque country (GREAT cooking, and I do love lamb)
                                                  Italy, Sardinia, Sicily, Amalfi Coast, it's hard to go wrong in Italy. Go northern Italy and you can
                                                  work in a raclette and fondue in Switzerland too.
                                                  Canada, Quebec especially
                                                  Hong Kong (and my favorite dish is Dong Po Rou)
                                                  Japan, but not Tokyo, and in view of recent events, maybe Formosa and the southern parts,
                                                  otherwise Japan would be MUCH higher on my list.
                                                  Chile and the Andes Mountains

                                                  Most of all, enjoy, have fun and half the fun will be in the planning. You have time to change your mind dozens of times!

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                    I haven't been to Sardinia or Sicily yet (they're both on my wishlist!), but it's quite easy to end up with an underwhelming meal in Venice, Florence and Rome if you don't have a carefully planned restaurant itinerary and a big dining budget. My best meal in the Venice area was at a 3 star hotel's restaurant in Mestre, where I was the only anglophone in the dining room. My meal in Mestre was much tastier than the more expensive-but-relatively-moderately-priced meals I ended up with in Venice closer to the Grand Canal and on Lido. I found it much easier to find good food with relatively little effort in Bologna! ;-)

                                                    1. re: prima

                                                      I've alwys found a good rule of thumb is, "If you're not the ONLY tourist in the place, go some place where you are." And I love countries where, if you don't speak the language, they take you to the kitchen and you point. I've had some incredible meals that way. Unfortunately, I couldn't memorize the names of the dishes, so I could never order it again. Well, unless I went back and pointed! '-)

                                                    2. re: Caroline1

                                                      Virgo chick...proud of it..16th of September..Mexican Independence Day..
                                                      Thanks Caroline1 and always enjoy your posts...astro.com is one of the best from Zurich.
                                                      ; )

                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                        Caroline, you have the best itinerary ever..

                                                      2. I'd like to go to the North Pole and have a bowl of blubber with the Eskimos.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: arktos

                                                          Been there and done it. Walrus blubber is much more toothsome than whale blubber.

                                                          Right out there on the tundra with Nanook and your favorite husky pup, man there's nothing better.

                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                            Did you take some sort of packaged tour? Or just winged it? I'd really like to go there and chew the fat (so to speak) in an igloo with the Inuit.

                                                            1. re: arktos

                                                              It might be easier with a Cree in his house...

                                                            2. re: arktos

                                                              I doubt you'd enjoy it much. LOL It's not an culinary experience that's on my 'bucket list'.

                                                            3. Hey BC, I can see you're planning early :-)

                                                              Mexico City
                                                              And your own back yard...Baja

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                Great list DD!
                                                                Having my birthday/aninversary on the biggest day of the year in Mexico, it's a lot of fun and I so love their food and culture.
                                                                Spain and Portugal is calling my name too..
                                                                ; )

                                                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                  BC, my birthday is Sept. 16 also. I pretend that all the parades in every little Mexican town that day are all for me...;) a few streets, too.

                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                    OMG Veggo...knew you were one cool dude!

                                                                    I love going to Mex on 'our' birthday...they start at midnight, the President gives a huge fantastic speech in the square and the whole country is partying like I've never seen for days on end..
                                                                    I pretend too that all the parties are for me too...must be a Virgo thing!

                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                      Totally OT, but my birthday is July 4th, and I assume all of the parades across the US are for me!

                                                                  2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                    You forgot KL and Penang. :-)

                                                                    As for Singapore vs KL vs Penang re: Street Food, there are opi nions about it - like this one: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8131...

                                                                  3. I vote for Vietnam. I had some of the most consistantly excellent meals there. The food is much better than you can get in most places in the U.S.

                                                                    I also vote for San Francisco, NYC and Vancouver.

                                                                    I found that Italy can be more inconsistent than I expected, though I had some great meals there.

                                                                    Germany was better than I expected.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: veggielover

                                                                      Vietnam is high on the list....thanks so much!

                                                                      1. re: veggielover

                                                                        Vietnam is high on the list..thanks veggielover!

                                                                      2. Sapporo, Japan
                                                                        Hot springs and some of the best food in Japan (or the world for that matter).

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. Oaxaca. MEXICO
                                                                          New York, NY, USA
                                                                          San Sebastian, Spain
                                                                          Copenhagen, Denmark (though two weeks prob too much)

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. Love love love all your fab responses..

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                              Israel for falafel. Some of the falafel stands put French fries in them. What could be better? Dripping with techina and sauerkraut and pickles...omg, I'm drooling. And then piece of rich, sugary halvah? Oooohhhh... :)

                                                                            2. my birthday is in april, but i'm doing my trip end of sept/beginning of october... originally, i had my eyes set on San Sebastian and the Basque region. now i'm going to england for something very specific. i def recommend San Sebastian...

                                                                              or, in Asia, bounce around -- Thailand, Camobodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Bali, etc.

                                                                              other vein -- Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador

                                                                              or, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile...

                                                                              1. Thanks for all the great responses..
                                                                                We're looking into a 'round the world' ticket..surprisingly, it's cheaper than you think and we can eat and drink quite well for cheap...Vietnam, France, Italy, Turkey, Hong Kong, Peru, and a couple more places.
                                                                                ; )

                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                  Alternatively. Save the money and explore all the possible restaurants within a 30 mile radius , (or half radius if you live on the beach) of home. There will be undiscovered gems.

                                                                                  Also visit all the wine merchants and ask for a sample case, maybe with notes, of their most interesting wines.

                                                                                  You will be surprised, pleased, know more about your community and plough money back into it.

                                                                                  If you must go away then. Fly to London, which has world class world wide cooking, (big Empire) then train to northern Italy, stopping in Paris, Lyon, Marseilles, Milan and ending in Venice.

                                                                                  1. re: Belsize

                                                                                    London is Expensive.
                                                                                    Otherwise, only European food?

                                                                                    1. re: Belsize

                                                                                      I doubt that the food is her only concern. The setting surely matters too.

                                                                                    2. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                      No Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia? ;-)

                                                                                      (Or India or China [other than HK] or Taiwan or Korea or Japan?)

                                                                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                        Around the world - wow - that is ambitious - I hope it's a long vacation - otherwise you'll be spending most of your time on airplanes. I do understand the seductiveness of such a trip. I worry that you will miss a leisurely, unhurried trip. No time to be caught up in the moment.

                                                                                        1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                          In TWO WEEKS? Girl, you will be a blur of jet lag, 'if it is Tuesday-what-city-is-this?" Seriously, an around the world trip deserves three months at a minimum!

                                                                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                            I concur with gingershelley...in TWO WEEKS?.
                                                                                            Lets see, you mention Vietnam, France, Italy, Turkey, Hong Kong, Peru and a couple more places. Thats 8 stops. 14 days. 42 hours per "stop". Lets say a mere 12 hours flying time (I asume flying, not trains/busses/boats) between stops, thats 30 hours per stop.
                                                                                            I guess thats do-able {;-/)

                                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                                              LOL...the post was written before we realized it's almost the same to go around the world vs. one destination..been to most places but any excuse to go again.
                                                                                              So...3+ weeks..maybe a month. ; )
                                                                                              Loving all your responses...and yes, Indonesia is so in the mix.

                                                                                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                It all depends on where your one destination is...but yeah if you find yourself in Asia, xport cost to keep on going around the world isn't a *big* difference.

                                                                                                We planned a trip a few years back (it was before this internet thing really caught on...) where the RTW ticket sure sounded fun and was seriously considered. When you sit down and study the logistics, you may realize it isn't quite worth the novelty.
                                                                                                We went through the South Pacific as far "west" as Australia. From there its almost the same price retracing your steps back (somewhat), as heading to asia, europe, and across the Atlantic.
                                                                                                For us, giving up time on certain places in order to visit asia/europe on the same trip was not worth it.
                                                                                                BTW, IMO, 3 weeks is still slim, but thats me.

                                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                                  I'm with porker.
                                                                                                  For me 2 weeks is enough for a portion of one country and 2 weeks could include a portion of another. IMO, it doesn't matter if the price of a round the world ticket is competitive. The little time allotted for such distance, around the world, is enough to destroy a relationship.;) Pick a country or two and slowly, lazily, and perhaps romantically enjoy.

                                                                                                  Edit: I hope I'm not coming off sharp - I truly want you to have a great vacation!!

                                                                                          2. Around the world is fun, but unless you have the time, trying to capture the culinary highlights will be extremely difficult and you'll end up with memories of mostly airports, taxi's and bland hotel rooms...trust me. My suggestion would be one or two regional destinations. My top pick would be Southeast Asia (emphasis on Singapore and Bankok...ideally including the PRC via Hong Kong (Shanghai over Beijing). Depending on how you arrange your travel, I would use London as an extended layover (with a possible side trip to Italy on the way over or back). I realise this is awkward from San Diego... but hey, you asked! My logic...(IMHO) Singapore and Bangkok are without a doubt the world's most culturally diverse (Singapore) and affordable (Bangkok) places when it comes to exceptional global cuisine. You can also make a quick trip to several other countries while there (Vietnam, Bali, Malaysia etc.). I know I'm going to take some heat for this next bit...but despite the UK's reputation for somewhat bland and uninspiring food...the reality is in the last 10-15 years, it has surpassed Paris and New York as a centre of excellence when it comes to food quality, diversification and innovation (again, just my opinion). Yes, you may end up paying a premium depending on your choices, but unlike most other world class destinations (certainly NY and Paris), you can mitigate the damage in London with a bit of advance planning (and perhaps luck). Of course, if you have the time and inclination to leave the bright lights and big cities, there are too many suggestions to consider. As far as Italy is concerned...well, i'm not sure any further explanation is required...it's Italy.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: StayThirsty

                                                                                              Not as illogical as you would think. There is a daily non-stop from SD to London and there soon will be a non-stop SD to Tokyo. Totaly doable, but as you noted, pretty time consuming on the transportation pieces.

                                                                                            2. Barcelona and San Sebastian (base for Basque food), Spain. Lot's of good threads on Spain board.. including my comments. Went 2 years ago, and ate AMAZING FOOD in both cities. Also, both are just wonderful destinations for culture, people watching, great weather and beaches. Pretty much what I look for in an interesting destination.

                                                                                              Paris, FR of course. Again, the boards can really help here.

                                                                                              Venice, Italy, and surrounding region (Treviso, Verona, Bergamo). I am not one to whirlwhind-tour too much area in one trip. Like to go to a region and get to know it.
                                                                                              Puglia, Italy. The heel of the boot. Check out my friend Sly's cooking school and blog for info on this area; awaitingtable.com. Also the Italy boards...

                                                                                              Let us know how your plans shape up!

                                                                                              1. Istria, Croatia. Having been to Europe many, I really adore the food most places but why not try somewhere that is a hot up and comer? The food is awesome plus the country is absolutely gorgeous. It is far less commercialized than many countries.

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                  Croatia is a great choice. I have mad love for Vietnam. China really needs more than 2 weeks. If food is a high priority I'd suggest choosing either a European or Asian vacation. You can visit 2 or 3 countries in 2 weeks, preferably only 2. I'd spent an entire 2 weeks in Vietnam or Spain, but would urge you to combine Croatia with Slovenia and either Bosnia or Montenegro. It's really beautiful. Turkey is also a really fine option.

                                                                                                  1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                    I agree with Croatia and Slovenia/BiH/Montenegro. Underrated and so lovely. We know Croatia well as we own a house there. We have yet to visit Turkey but that is next on our list.

                                                                                                    1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                      Turkey is unforgettable. I spent 5+ weeks there about a decade ago and really enjoyed nearly every place I visited, and I went to the far east of the country, the Black Sea Coast, Konya, and other cities and towns well beyond the standard tourist loop. Istanbul has so much to offer. It's a great next step if your travel experience is mostly western Europe and North America.

                                                                                                      While I enjoyed my time in Central America, I would not single out any country as a foodie destination. Certainly, there were treats in each country, but by and large, I found the food pretty uninspiring. I can't comment on El Salvador, though. I have not been there.

                                                                                                      I quite enjoyed the food in Tunisia. It has similarities to Moroccan food, but is decidedly less heavy handed with the sweet fruits and honey in the dishes. I prefer spicy and savory to sweet, so Tunisian food was right up my alley.

                                                                                                      Asian countries have my heart. I have been to Vietnam, China, Laos and Cambodia. Cambodian food didn't blow me away, but Laos has some interesting offerings. China and Vietnam are so rich when it comes to culinary offerings, I wouldn't even know where to start ...

                                                                                                      1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                        Turkey is on our list for 2013 as we have our 2012 trips already planned. It intrigues me in so many ways, including its food and food culture. I have not been to Tunisia either but from what I have read and heard it sounds like the kind of place that would draw me in as well.

                                                                                                        1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                          Sweetpea, I lived in Turkey for four years. The hilight of my life!

                                                                                                  2. For not so far afield... I was talking to a friend day before yesterday who is a world traveler, and then some. He may not have been to Australia or Antarctica, but I'm not certain about either, but he has been to just about every place else. He was chatting on his cell phone with his brother from time to time, trying to help him figure out best routes and connections for an upcoming trip to Africa. This thread popped to mind, so I asked him what his very favorite city in all of the world is, the one he would most like to return to often. His answer surprised me, but then again it didn't. What is it? Quebec! Just thought I'd toss this into the mix. He said the food is fantastic.

                                                                                                    1. Showing a bias here but I think India is a top destination for any food lover. One thing though, as a tourist you will have to try hard. Most tourists eat in hotel restaurants and completely miss out on the really tasty stuff that the locals are eating. So do some research on the places you are going first!

                                                                                                      1. Has everybody forgotten about South America. Seafood in Chile and Peru. All things protein in Uraguay. Beef, beef, and more beef in Argentina. And the wines. Like most , they keep the best wines at home because they cannot make enough for the export trade.

                                                                                                        Or you can go to my favorite secret in Europe, Brussels. Most tourists look at the town square, eat some fries, and head to Paris or Amsterdam. Spend a week in Brussels exploring the colonial culinary history as well as all things chocolate and chefs starting out. Best are in old houses near the Palace of Justice. Most only last a year before graduating or going back to the sous. Then a couple days each in Paris and Amsterdam. Return via Reykjavik.

                                                                                                          1. If you like simply prepared but unbelievably fresh seafood, a week in Nova Scotia and PEI is fantastic. Over a week, I had amazing fried clams, Digby scallops, Oysters Rockefeller, fish chowders, clam chowders, lobster rolls, lobster clubs, fish & chips, fresh biscuits, sticky toffee puddings and pies. Best part? Most of the lobster club sandwiches and lobster rolls I ordered in Lunenberg and along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton cost $12-$15, when the going rate for a lobster roll is often closer to $28 in NYC, and most lobster rolls I saw in Maine and Boston last summer were in the $18-$25 range.

                                                                                                            I also was pleasantly surprised by the food I encountered during a 6 day stay in Devon and Cornwall in the SW of England, including the most amazing fish & chips, excellent sausages at breakfast, pheasant, Cornish pasties and classic English sweets such as Victoria Sponge, Banoffee Pie & parfaits. Every restaurant in Devon and Cornwall seemed to have a daily parfait, which is a nice change for me, as I live in a part of the world where every restaurant seems to serve creme brulee, every day.

                                                                                                            1. Where will you be heading for your birthday vacation, Beach Chick?

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: prima

                                                                                                                  A little Aloha in the islands, Palm Springs, Vegas Baby and a little later to keep the party going, Paris.

                                                                                                                  Loved loved loved reading all your responses and hopefully very very soon, checking off each place with restaurants that you all so kindly provided.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                    Whoa, whoa, whoa...
                                                                                                                    Are you even *allowed* Hawaii (I assume Hawaii with the Aloha comment), Palm Springs, or Vegas? I mean nobody mentions these places in the thread!

                                                                                                                  2. Eaten all over the world. If it's the very best food on the planet IMO, it has to be Shawl Bay, Broughton Archipelago, BC
                                                                                                                    50 degrees, 51' 16.88" N, 126 degrees, 27' 59.23 W
                                                                                                                    The freshest cleanest sea food caught literally from your front door served with harvested that day vegetables and berries in one of the most pristine/peaceful/beautiful areas on earth.

                                                                                                                    1. I'm fresh home from the Balkans and the Baltics. I was surprised by how much I loved all the Russian-influenced food in Lithuania and Latvia, though things got a little game-y for me in Estonia (as I'm vegetarian).