The Most Underrated Foodie Cities, According To 250 Chefs and Experts
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

The Most Underrated Foodie Cities, According To 250 Chefs and Experts

Australia , Melbourne , Australia , Canada , Montreal , Canada , China , Hong Kong , China , Hungary , Budapest , Hungary , Italy , Mexico , Mexico City , Mexico , Norway , Bergen , Norway , South Africa , Cape Town , South Africa , Spain , San Sebastian , Spain , Chicago , United States , Naples , United States , Napoli
Parker Diakite
Parker Diakite Nov 18, 2020

When you think of a top foodie destination, you probably think about cities in West Africa, Italy, Spain, or destinations in the Caribbean. These are probably what comes to mind first. 

And while these are all great countries for an ultimate foodie vacation, there are plenty of other destinations that simply don’t get the love they deserve.

The founder of Chef’s Pencil, an online resource where chefs share their favorite recipes, asked 250 chefs, and foodies a place they thought was the most underrated food destination.  Respondents were allowed to name countries, cities or regions.

Once Chef’s Pencil received the responses, the team put a country list together where you’ll find some of the best food destinations in the places you least (maybe) expect.

Here are the top 10 places:

It is the premier South African city for food, catering for every taste and style – haute cuisine, street food to die for, eclectic pop-ups, according to the experts.

Being a port city and sitting on the Dutch East India’s Spice Route, its food has been flavored by spices and cuisines from around the world – the true Mother City of the Rainbow Nation.

While the rest of the world may be sleep to the food paradise in Budapest,  Michelin has had an eye on the place for a while. Budapest received six Michelin-starred restaurants in 2020 alone, one with 2 stars.

The Windy City is home to  24 Michelin-starred restaurants, 52 Bib Gourmands, and 103 awarded the Michelin Plate in 2020.

Chicago is home to Alinea, one of only 14 restaurants in the entire United States good enough to be awarded 3 Michelin stars.

Known as the culinary capital of Australia, Melbourne is a top destination among foodies.

According to the 250 food experts, it’s all because the city is a multicultural melting pot where Melbournians are down for trying anything. From Chinese dumplings to Russian borsch and strong Italian coffee, the city embraces its diverse cultures.

This is a great eating city with exquisite haute cuisine, famed street food, and tastes from around the country and the world, particularly Japan, Korea, and Lebanon.

One thing to know about Mexico City: its street food is so good, it is UNESCO recognized as cultural heritage. From tacos to tortas and tamales, chilangos, machetes, dorilocos – a combination of Doritos, sweets and pork rind, there’s so much flavor on every corner

It may be small in size, but the food scene in San Sebastian rivals Chicago where the population is more than quadrupled the size of San Sebastian’s 186,000.

San Sebastian has three 3 Michelin-starred restaurants and to be frank: it’s a place that’s known for its food.

Before you side-eye Bergen, know that Norway’s second-largest city is the capital of gastronomy. In fact, the food scene is so highly regarded, it is a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy because it thrives on organic, sustainable food production, with 3,000 farmers and 200 artisans supplying a city of little over 270,000 people.

Hong Kong’s street food is world famous but what’s probably a little less known is that the city boasts a seven 3 Michelin-starred restaurants.

If you want to go the street food route, curry fish balls skewered on a stick, soy sauce doused siu mai, soft and creamy stinky tofu, smooth cheung fun dipped in sauce, soy-braised cuttlefish, and crisp eggettes are the dishes to try, according to the experts.

Even though Montreal has been regarded as a food destination for some time, new things happening there require some attention from food lovers. The opening of Beba, for example, brought Montreal the Spanish Italian émigré cooking of Buenos Aires and douses it in Montreal twists. Tiers Pasage is another great place that food experts say brings the new-generation wine bars, cave à manger, to the city, great wine and deli-style dishes.

Take pizza out of the conversation. It’s a no-brainer that Napoli is the best city to try pizza in Italy. The reason why it makes the list is because of evertyhing else it has to offer.

From fine dining to mouth-watering street food and, of course, it is the best place to taste pizza, Napoli is a foodie dream come true.

There are four Michelin-starred restaurants, stunning fried street food, bakeries, and a café scene that includes one of the 10 best cafes in Italy, and the famous Neapolitan coffee – the best in Italy.

Simply put: Naples is a genuine underrated foodie destination, a hidden jewel, a place awaiting discovery.

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