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A spread of tempting dishes served at Miss Can in Lisbon

Five must-book holidays for the food-obsessed

The best breaks are more than a little motivated by the local fare – these cities dish up a slew of sensational food markets, breweries, bakeries, speciality department stores and more


Nothing says ‘holiday’ quite like enjoying breakfast-to-dinner access to a smorgasbord of new flavours, snacks and culinary adventures. Food tourism has boomed in recent years, and for many has become the main motivation to hotfoot it to the airport. While some travellers might be happy with a quick browse of the in-flight snack menu, others prefer their taste buds to do the guiding and let market, food hall and vineyard visits set the rhythm for their gourmet getaways. Need some inspiration? Here are five of the best destinations for foodies.


Best for tastemakers

No city embodies destination dining more than the home of the restaurant to rule them all, Noma. This legendary three-Michelin-star kitchen may be closing its doors to the public at the end of 2024, but its experimental, casual influence endures. For something more challenging, try the 50-course immersive experience at Alchemist, which lasts four to six hours. Eating well in the Danish capital needn’t be an endurance test, though. Smørrebrød makes a quick and satisfying lunch: try Selma’s inventive takes on the classic open-faced sandwich. The bakery renaissance sweeping Europe could arguably be traced back to Copenhagen. Stop by Juno for towering lemon meringue tarts, expertly laminated croissants and plump cream buns. In Refshaleøen, a former shipping yard turned creative hub, you’ll find popular street food market Reffen and bakery Lille’s tantalising selection of focaccias, sausage rolls and pastries. The neighbourhood is also home to one of popular Hart bakery’s seven outlets. Copenhagen’s design know-how is evident in its stylish craft breweries. Åben hosts pop-up kitchens, and Brus is a lesson in pared-down Scandi chic.

Chow down in Copenhagen

Green falafel served at Saffy's in Los Angeles

Green falafel at Saffy’s, Los Angeles (Joseph Weaver)

Los Angeles

Best for diaspora cuisine

Don’t be fooled by Tinseltown’s healthy-eating credentials: the Los Angeles diet isn’t just about macrobiotics, matcha lattes and identikit orders from Sweetgreen, the popular salad chain. California has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all corners of the world, meaning you’re practically guaranteed a good meal if you stray a little from the beaten path. Plan a date night at Ototo, an Echo Park sake bar serving small bites that change with the seasons (the okonomiyaki always gets rave reviews). A hop and a skip from the enticingly named Thai Town and Little Armenia neighbourhoods, Saffy’s gets plaudits for its Arabic breakfast, a feast of shakshuka, harissa-marinated olives and clotted cream with avocado honey. In the Arts District, Yang Ban is fresh from a full renovation. Expect tofu mole, lobster congee and buffalo milk soft serve from the playful Korean-American duo behind the stoves. Book ahead for feelgood flavours at Chinatown’s Lasita, where with-a-twist Filipino fare is paired with natural wines. And, of course, you shouldn’t skip town without tasting at least one taco: Sonoratown’s paper-thin, mesquite-grilled numbers are the real deal.

Go large in Los Angeles

Satay chef fans his barbecue grill at Lau Pa Sat


Best for street food

Hot, humid and food-obsessed, the tiny island state lives up to its reputation as a melting pot – you’d expect no less from such a strategically located hub. Street food here is big business. Hawker Chan may have lost the Michelin star it famously won for its impeccable soya sauce chicken, but there’s no shortage of other outstanding options. Head for the nearest food court and take your pick from the Indian, Chinese and Malay stalls vying for your appetite. In Chinatown, Maxwell Hawker Centre is an old-school, no-frills classic, whose Hainanese Chicken Rice (poached chicken with zingy lime and chilli dips) is a must. The Victorian good looks of Lau Pa Sat (above) make it a firm favourite with tourists, but locals still head there come dusk for some of the best charcoal-grilled satay in town. Open around the clock, Newton Food Centre (of Crazy Rich Asians fame) is a safe bet for all things seafood: make a beeline for the chilli crab or barbecued stingray at 31 Heng Heng.

Get stuck in in Singapore

Tempting bites served at Miss Can in Lisbon

Tapas at Miss Can, Lisbon


Best for casual grazing

You’ll need fuel to conquer the Portuguese capital’s seven famously steep hills. Thankfully, the residents of this fun-loving city enjoy snacking from the first light of dawn to the small hours of the night. Start your day right with a pastel de nata, the moreish, bite-sized custard tart that put Lisbon firmly on the foodie map. Pasteleria Alcoa uses recipes from a 12th-century convent, so you’re in for an authentic treat. The Time Out Market was a game-changer when it opened ten years ago and is still the best spot in town to sample pork croquettes, prego steak sandwiches or Comporta oysters. At Miss Can (opening image), customers can stock up on prettily packaged canned goods to take home, or tuck into them with a glass of local beer at one of two kerbside tables. If time is no object, settle in for the night at Boi-Cavalo in the atmospheric Alfama district. No eyebrows will be raised should you order one of everything on the small plates menu. For a lovingly prepared, messy bifana (pork sandwich), head for Pigmeu, a head-to-tail restaurant that started out as a snack bar.

Love life in Lisbon


Best for refined dining

Japan takes the art of cooking very seriously indeed – so much so, in fact, that its capital amassed a whopping 240 Michelin stars across some 183 restaurants this year. At one-Michelin-star Tamarawai, the soba noodles are made from buckwheat harvested from the chef’s own field – a chewy, fragrant treat on a hot day. Two-star Maz takes inspiration from Peru’s diverse ecosystems and the Japanese seasons. Or place yourself in the hands of the chef at three-star Kagurazaka Ishikawa for a truly unforgettable experience. There’s so much to try in Tokyo, from superlative ramen to Paris-rivalling pastries, that compiling a comprehensive guide is a futile exercise. Arm yourself with a glossary and head to Isetan Shinjuku department store, where the sprawling food hall in the basement provides a convenient crash course in local tastes. Though its impressive wholesale fish market has changed location, Tsukiji Market is still the place to stock up on Japanese kitchen tools and fresh sushi.

Tuck in in Tokyo