From Mexico City to Tel Aviv, these are the culinary cities chefs can’t get out of their heads.
Whether it’s trying street food or heading to a great restaurant, food is the centerpiece of any great vacation.
It’s a great way to explore local cultures and get to know the country you’re visiting better.
Chefs are no different – they obsess over food while abroad, often drawing inspiration from it for their own recipes back home.
Planning a vacation and want it to be delicious food? This is where the chefs think you should go…
Ixta Belfrage doesn’t stop for a second, immediately declaring Mexico City as its favorite food city.
“It’s one of the most beautiful and amazing cities in the world, and the food scene there is just ridiculous,” she says. “There are so many amazing heirloom ingredients that Mexican chefs are working with – all different types of corn, all different types of tomatoes, and all different types of peppers – it’s so exciting.
“It’s beautiful and vibrant – there’s everything from street stalls on every corner, to high end, and everything in between.”
Mezcla: Recipes to Excite by Ixta Belfrage (Ebury Press, £26)
“In terms of dining, I think it’s really hard to beat London,” says Ukrainian-born chef Olia Hercules. “We have some really fantastic places, and I feel really lucky to be here.”
She is particularly excited about the idea of a new Ukrainian restaurant joining the London food scene. “It’s called Mriya, which means ‘dream’. My friend, chef Yurii Kovryzhenko, actually came to the UK to do a pop-up, then the war broke out and he got stuck here. Now , he opened a restaurant that employs Ukrainian refugees – that’s an amazing thing, so hopefully we can have really good Eastern European food too.
Mriya is now open in Chelsea, London, serving classic Ukrainian dishes including Kyiv borscht and chicken.
Home Food by Olia Hercules (Bloomsbury Publishing, £26)
Sabrina Ghayour is torn between two cities for her favorite. “London aside – because I have a bit of a loyalty to London, in the sense that there are very few places in God’s earth where you can get so much diversity and do well – I had the I used to spend a few months a year in Bangkok,” she says.
“Bangkok to me is crazy. How it represents so many different cultures – not just Southeast Asia – but there’s nothing you can’t eat in Bangkok. You want Turkish food There is good Turkish food.. You want Chinese, Japanese – all these are just a given.
“There’s so much diversity and eclectic cuisines there, I love it. Obviously, I love Thai food and the diversity of all the different regions of Thailand, which are so different. I love Bangkok, it’s is very special to me.”
Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour (Aster, £26)
“We went 10 years ago to Tel Aviv and Israel,” recalls Ella Mills, aka Deliciously Ella. This particularly suited Mills, as Israeli cuisine is very supportive of plant-based diets.
“Vegetarian food in the Middle East is amazing,” she says. “It was extraordinary – I have never eaten such amazing food.”
How To Go Herbal by Ella Mills (Yellow Kite, £26)
Philli Armitage-Mattin dedicated her first cookbook to the flavors of Asia, so her favorite foodie city isn’t much of a surprise.
“Taipei is amazing,” she says. “They’re all about street food markets, which I love. They have bao – I’m obsessed with bao in Taipei, they’re literally the fluffiest bao in the world.
“They have this fried squid. And it’s just the hustle and bustle of the city. I think there are 10 small street food markets in Taipei, it’s crazy. It’s really good, they’re open really late, the drinks are awesome, and the people are awesome too.”
Taste Kitchen: Asia by Philli Armitage-Mattin (Robinson, £26)