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I have a food crush on this international city:________

Inspired by the US city food crush thread. I thought I'd give this discussion a passport and a plane ticket!!
Please share your crush or ongoing love affair.

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      1. Brussels. Great beer, great seafood, great chocolate. The champagne is almost as cheap as in Rheims due to the centuries old smuggling. Far fewer tourists than Paris, so you have a chance at more bang for the Euro.

        Edged out Florence based on the chocolate.

        1. Cairo
          Baja CA state in Mexico

            1. Lima
              Sao Paulo

              I'm stunned to see Cairo mentioned. I have never had anything resembling a good meal there.

              10 Replies
              1. re: travelmad478

                Heading to Istanbul in June with the intention of eating and drinking our way through it. We were there briefly on a tour and it just whetted our appetites.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Check out the website Istanbul Eats (in English). They have some great reviews.

                  1. re: travelmad478

                    I've seen that!!! Thanks. We were going to Ciya Sofrasi one night but wound up in an unsuccessful search for a particular food.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Ciya Sofrasi is very fine and the neighborhood around it (Kadiköy) is very similar to the open-air restaurant neighborhood in Beyoğlu, only cheaper. Super pleasant in summer to sit out at the picnic tables, drink Efes beer, and eat mezes.

                      1. re: travelmad478

                        Also, part of Zeytinburnu is the de facto East Turkestani (Uyghur, from China) neighborhood. If you're down to trying manty and lagman, that's a good place in that part of the world to do it.

                        Indeed, Istanbul's got some very nice food finds. Even if you've just got a short time, taking the metro from Atatürk to any stop from Yenibosna (which takes less than ten minutes to get to from Atatürk) towards the city will offer sufficient eating options.


                  2. re: c oliver

                    Istanbul Eats also offers food tours. We did the Kebab Krawl. It was one of our trip's highlights.

                    1. re: dmjordan

                      Thanks. Could you elaborate? I'll look into it also. We'll be there a week so have lots of wiggle room. TIA.

                  3. re: travelmad478

                    I'd love to get a bowl of koshary right now - but other than that, I agree that restaurant meals aren't so amazing.

                    1. re: cresyd

                      I was a fan of the standard issue standing room-only places, offering grilled eggplant, vegetables, pita, and pomegranate juice.

                      Koshary was nice too, but ful is also a reason for me to go back.

                      1. re: BuildingMyBento

                        For me my best food memories were koshary and mango juice - I've found other places in the Middle East do better with pomegranate juice. While I love many different food variations in the region - I find that unfortunately most of the best food across is found in people's homes and not restaurants. Of my times in Egypt - I have very few amazing food memories, some good food memories - and unfortunately some really awful food memories.

                  4. Barcelona, hands down! We never ate or drank anything that came close to disappointing.

                    4 Replies
                      1. re: alliegator

                        Lovely food :) We were there nine days and every meal out was tapas...and cava, of course :)

                      2. re: c oliver

                        Yes x 1000! Down to the baked sweet potato street snacks!

                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                          Ooh, missed that. Next time. Barcelona is a city we could go to regularly. I'm thinking any time we're in Europe we should begin or end there.

                      3. I didn't share mine, doh!
                        I've been having ongoing affairs with Bangkok and Penang, Malaysia.
                        The street food junkie in me has a crush on Singapore, but the sit down diner in me crushes on Rome.

                        1. Mine would be Rangoon (Yangon).
                          Loved the street food there.
                          Have an unrequited love affair with Penang at the mo.
                          Love Malyasian food and I'll get there soon,

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Paprikaboy

                            Do get to Penang soon, it's beyond fabulous. We're planning to retire there, but with a median age of 39, things could change the course for the mr. and me.

                          2. Vienna and London - just for starters.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: John Francis

                              We were in London in January of 2012. The food and restaurant choices were amazing. A far cry from the only other time I had been there... in 1983!

                            2. Helsinki. I liver there for 5 years and cannot find Finnish food in the US (Except for the UP.). Very earthy and creative.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                I am in total agreement with you Passa; my years in Helsinki were food bliss! The markets, the fish, the sausages, the berries. The (ooooh!) reindeer. My daughter's going to be doing some work at the Ateneum this summer and next and all I can think is: how can I get her to smuggle me some savuporo?

                                (BTW, I "liver'd" there, too...that home-distilled koskenkorva is a wallop-packer! <very big grin>)

                                1. re: cayjohan

                                  We've been expanding our bucket list. Should check out Helsinki.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Oh, do so! Lots of marvelously fresh market goods, and a lot of foodstuffs you won't find anywhere else. Be aware: it's spendy (even from my experience of 25 years ago). But high-summer food in Finland is, for me, about as good as it gets.

                              2. Charleston (it's international for me)

                                London (it's international for you)

                                Venice (it's international for both oif us)

                                1. Hong Kong/Kowloon was pretty fantastic, though we were on a tour with Martin Yan and the brilliant, bitterly missed Shirley Fong-Torres, so got in only a little bit of freelance exploring. The high point for me was not the Mini-Imperial Banquet we were served on the last night, but the meal of even more courses in the "fishing village" complex of fish-mongers and restaurants at water's edge in Kowloon, across from what was then still Hong Kong's airport. Martin explained that if one wants to eat there, one normally makes a restaurant reservation then goes shopping for fish, telling each seller which restaurant to send it to. I'd sure love to go back and do that!

                                  Paris was a treat, and needs some more visiting, but Nice and its immediate neighbors served up some splendid and not at all refined fare, both native Provençal and some from La Réunion. The big covered open-air market was a place I could spend the day, too. Imagine a stall selling only olives, bin after bin of them, a different variety in each one …

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    That market sounds like the one in Barcelona ('cept theirs if covered but open on the sides). I still go back and look at the pix. Total sensory overload for folks like CHs :)

                                    A woman we know spends a couple of months in Nice every year and adores it. Takes her little dog with her who is welcome everywhere...except parks!!!! Seems people don't 'pick up' after them :(

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      The market in Nice is just like that. Fun when it's raining, as long as you aren't parked three blocks away!

                                      Some of Mrs. O's French relatives had a house there, up the hill from a fun museum, and a very swell pad it was too, but that was sold eons ago. Nice was a good walking town, if you don't mind some hills as soon as you get off the Promenade Anglais.

                                    2. re: Will Owen

                                      Olive stalls are commonplace in Spanish markets - even the open air one in the small town near where we usually stay in Mallorca has two stalls.

                                      1. re: Harters

                                        The most amazing olive stalls I have ever seen were in the market in Athens. There were a surprising number of different olive varieties and curing methods, and everything I had was delicious.

                                      2. re: Will Owen

                                        I miss Hong Kong for street food. When I was there our group of friends would go to the food streets, and sit on plastic chairs in the street outside one of the restaurants. It didn't matter which restaurant, because everybody would go to a different place on the block, order whatever they wanted and bring it back to the group. Carry-out dim sum, char siu, pot stickers, grilled cuttlefish and seafood of every description, all washed down with cold Tsing Tao on a sweltering Hong Kong night... almost unbeatable.

                                        But it's not my favorite. My top vote goes to Taipei. Taiwanese night markets have to be seen to be believed. Imagine a lot the size of multiple football fields, crowded with stalls selling every kind of greasy street food you could want. Spicy fried chicken, sweet xiang chang sausages, rice noodles in seafood broth, oyster omelets, meatballs and fishballs of every provenance, washed down with shaved ice for dessert. I really need to get back to East Asia.

                                        1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                          Great description! I wish others would elaborate just a teensy bit on why.

                                      3. Berlin--just to get a Döner Kebab again...

                                        7 Replies
                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                              I'm pretty sure you can get those at one oçakbasi or another. Ya just hafta ask.

                                              And yes, I know what you did there.

                                            2. re: linguafood

                                              I need to DO IT as well. In all the time I spent in the Republic of Czech, I never made it to Berlin. *smacking forehead with fist*
                                              But first, I have a date with a minor crush--Goa. That encounter happens in late Sept.

                                              1. re: alliegator

                                                If you go to Berlin, do it in the summer. You may have nice weather.

                                            3. re: Bada Bing

                                              Have those in Istanbul/Turkey also. Evidently it's the rare Turkish family who doesn't have some family who were expatriated to Germany so not surprising.

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                Turks are the largest immigrant group in Germany, probably followed by Italians. That's why our food has improved tremendously :-)

                                              1. Lisbon, Munich, Thessaloniki

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: prima

                                                  What's good for you in Munich?

                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                    The coffee, pastries, kuchens, chocolates/pralines, maultaschen, plum dumplings, breads, Dallmayr, wild boar, the food halls in their department stores, Kaiserschmarrn. I don't remember having any disappointing meals in Munich.
                                                    In some other European cities, I've ended up with disappointing meals if I don't stick with the restaurants I've found through pre-trip online research, but in Munich, Thessalonika and Lisbon (I could also add Brussels, Berlin, Cologne, Marienbad, Istanbul, Innsbruck, Zurich, Metz and Nancy to the list of cities where I can eat well without needing to plan ahead), even the restaurants I've never read about, with no significant online presence, served me delicious food. When I've winged my meals in Athens, London, Nice, Venice, Madrid or Paris, I've often ended up with mediocre food.

                                                    1. re: prima

                                                      Ok I thought southern Germany was all beerhalls and sausages. You like baked goods the most there it appears. Is that Munich's strong point?

                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                        Beer and sausage are probably the food most visitors would order in Munich, sort of how many visitors might seek out cioppino and sourdough bread in San Francisco. I don't seek out sausage in restaurants while I'm in Munich or anywhere else in Germany, because I don't like most European sausages enough to order them in a restaurant. I'm more likely to order gulasch/schweinebraten/rouladen/chicken/lamb/duck/goose/trout/dumplings/mushroom dishes. For sausage lovers, I'm sure sausage would be the strong point in Munich.

                                                        While Vienna and Salzburg are better known for their pastries, similar high quality pastries/tortes/etc can be found in Munich.
                                                        Dallmayr's goods are beautiful and top quality, and I'd think any foods they sell would rival foods sold at Fortnum & Mason.

                                                        I've only eaten at a couple beer halls (the Paulaner and the Augustiner), so I can't really comment on the beer halls. I usually end up dining at moderate-to-upscale German restaurants when I'm in Munich.

                                                2. Sydney
                                                  Baja Mexico
                                                  Moorea, Tahiti

                                                      1. Kuala Lumpur & Vienna

                                                        1. Kinsale Ireland - great seafood restaurants all over town. Fishy Fishy Cafe comes to mind.

                                                          1. Has to be International CITIES:

                                                            Hong Kong
                                                            San Sebastian
                                                            New York

                                                            1. Madrid - seafood, wine, jamon ..

                                                              1. Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Chaing Mai, Saigon.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: DWB

                                                                  +1 on Saigon. I was only there once, 17 years ago, and I still dream about it as a food destination. We didn't speak or read a single word of Vietnamese, and would just point to random things on restaurant menus and eat whatever showed up on the table. Every single place we went to had a completely different menu, so we never did get a handle on food words! But it was all delicious, and so varied. I had one of the best croissants I've ever eaten in Saigon, in fact.

                                                                  1. re: travelmad478

                                                                    I'm glad to read this. Knowing you can point and grunt is a good thing :)

                                                                2. Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Delhi, and Mumbai.

                                                                  Unrequited love (cities I have never visited but would love to go just to eat): Seoul, Hong Kong, Saigon, Hanoi, Bangkok, Port of Spain, Mexico City, Bahia, Melbourne

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. Seoul.
                                                                    Street food, BBQ houses, Kimchee and seafood galore. All washed down with copious amounts of soju.

                                                                    1. Hong Kong
                                                                      San Francisco, CA
                                                                      Richmond, VA

                                                                      I won't say that I have a crush" though

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        *International* cities (meaning outside of the US in this case).

                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                          How about for those non-US based folks?

                                                                          1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                            Well, if it's a crush on a US city, there's another thread for that. You know, the one that inspired this one.

                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                              Then a US city as a response is still valid in this thread, based on the title...

                                                                              1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                Obviously, ANY city would qualify as "international". Maybe the OP should change their title to "I have a food crush on this city:______", without the qualifier.

                                                                                As for US cities, since there *is* an existing thread, why not respond there:


                                                                              2. re: linguafood

                                                                                Since pomegranates are seasonal, it would depend anyway. I just appreciated that a glass of the stuff was around $.30!

                                                                                Oh right, and something else about Istanbul- vişne suyu, or sour cherry juice. Big fan of that, though often disappointed that sugar is added.

                                                                                1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                  OK, but this post is mos def a reply to some other thread, no?

                                                                              3. re: linguafood

                                                                                "International* cities (meaning outside of the US in this case)."

                                                                                Not for me, it doesn't ;-)

                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                  Theoretically, Harters, not for me, either.

                                                                                  Just sayin'.

                                                                            2. Florence and Sienna, Italy (and environs)

                                                                              1. Bangkok. I loved the street food, especially since I couldn't read anything in Thai. Looking for large numbers of Thais and pointing at whatever was cooking led to some delicious experiences. I'm looking forward to heading to Vietnam next year.

                                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                    I was going to say Istanbul, with vendors selling saffron rice-stuffed mussels, little bony fish cooked on the wharf, chewy chocolate icecream...
                                                                                    but it seems to be taken!
                                                                                    Melbourne has wonderful food from pretty much everywhere, but I especially loved the pho, served with forests of Thai basil and coriander, Lebanese za'atar 'pizza' on Sydney Road...
                                                                                    and Queensland mangos.
                                                                                    And great coffee, since the place is packed with expatriate NZ baristas!

                                                                                    1. Osaka!!!

                                                                                      But I have to say I am not 100% looking forward to eating the next time I go to Japan. Right after returning from my last visit, I found that I was gluten intolerant, and that rules out quite a bit of things that I love. So I am a bit apprehensive.

                                                                                      1. Paris. Always, Paris.

                                                                                          1. This is an interesting question. My wife and I travel a bit and have no trouble finding good-to-great places to eat wherever we are.

                                                                                            We keep visiting a little rental apartment on the Via Giulia in Rome. We shop at the local markets, know the restaurateurs and generally take a lot of things for granted that day trippers will never have a chance to enjoy. Rome can be special.

                                                                                            Hong Kong, like Rome, is a place where a traveler never has to spend big bucks for a decent meal. My wife and I lived in Seoul for a few years and continue to return. The food there is pure comfort. Singapore is food obsessed. I like it. Tokyo is a tough nut to crack but I like it, too. Budapest, with its affinity for coffee, pastries, wines and meats (liver in all of its manifestations!) is a hoot.

                                                                                            Lots more places but you get the idea. I'm a culinary chameleon that thrives wherever I am.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: steve h.

                                                                                              Lots of ink in the passport, too!

                                                                                              1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                Barcelona, hands down. Close runner ups are Hong Kong and London.

                                                                                                1. re: emptybelly

                                                                                                  I think "Barcelona, hands down" were my exact words :) We'll go back again and again. And it's such an easy city to get around.

                                                                                                1. Oslo. Not. Very expemsive and not very creative. Fried cod cheeks and tongues? Lutefisk?

                                                                                                  1. Barcelona

                                                                                                    San Sebastian (and environs for all those **** :)

                                                                                                    Paris, of course




                                                                                                    1. Singapore
                                                                                                      San Sebastian

                                                                                                        1. Bali! coconut shell griled fresh caught fish and lobsters. exotic spices and curries cooked with exotic ingredients, simple nasi goreng...so so good...the fragnant of the island still lingers in me even after years.

                                                                                                          Brussels, hundreds of great beers, chocolates, moule frites, waffles...what not to like?

                                                                                                          Other cities are Nice, Paris, La Baux, Tokyo, Busan, Hong kong...I did have some great food in Vienna and Salzburg.

                                                                                                            1. Absolutely, positively Tokyo.

                                                                                                              1. Beijing
                                                                                                                San Sebastián

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: jill kibler

                                                                                                                  +1 for Bruxelles :-)

                                                                                                                  I don't have the privilege of visiting San Sebastian yet.

                                                                                                                2. Manado, Tokyo, Istanbul, Mexico City, Shenzhen, and somewhere in Western Europe (maybe in Belgium or Germany) for its supermarkets.

                                                                                                                  I don't necessarily like all of those cities, so it's all about the food.