If you want to try some of the best food in the world, look beyond predictable destinations like Paris, New York, and Barcelona.
We asked nine of the most popular chefs in America for their favorite unexpected food destination around the world.
From stateside sleepers like Minneapolis to exotic tropical locales like Sayulita, Mexico, here are 9 of the world’s most underrated food destinations.
Calabria, Italy — Eataly’s Lidia Bastianich
“The region of Calabria is known for peperoncino and ‘Nduja [spreadable pork salumi], which I love on top of grilled Cacciocavallo cheese,” Bastianich says. “In Bagnara, I had the most delicious swordfish parmigiana…A risotto made with the local licorice was unexpectedly delicious, and the meal finished with a licorice ice cream. Calabria is also the region that has one of the largest selection of little known indigenous wine varietals.”
Vancouver, British Columbia — Toro’s Jamie Bissonnette
“The ethnic Asian food, and the French-Canadian food is so great, and the people are unbelievably kind,” the James Beard award-winning chef said.
Make sure to visit this bakery in Vancouver that makes colorful cakes so shiny, you can see you reflection in them.
Copenhagen, Denmark — The Meatball Shop’s Michael Chernow
Copenhagen’s culinary darling may be the recently-closed (and reimagined) Noma, but the city is more than just René Redzepi’s gastronomic legend.
“Before Noma, Denmark was not much of a food destination,” Chernow said. “I’ve been going for 13 years, the food is wholesome, hearty, unique and delicious. If you have never experienced a Danish Christmas, you are missing out on a real treat.”
If you can’t quite afford Michelin-starred fare, there’s always these popular waffles on a stick.
Minneapolis, Minnesota — Chopped judge Alex Guarnaschelli
“I love American food, and Minneapolis is a sleeper of a food destination,” chef Guarnaschelli (judge from “Chopped,” executive chef at New York City’s Butter), said. “For example, I love Gavin Kaysen’s restaurants there. It’s the ‘next’ burgeoning Charleston, South Carolina!”
While you’re there, dive into this incredible five-pound cookie at T-Rex in Minneapolis.
Las Vegas, Nevada — Restaurant: Impossible’s Robert Irvine
Food Network star Robert Irvine says Vegas is actually known for quality of food (not just quantity).
“You don’t have to go far for a great meal from a top chef,” Irvine said. “It’s all in one place in a beautiful location.”
Think outside the box by ordering off of these secret menus all over Las Vegas.
Istanbul, Turkey — Chopped judge Marc Murphy
Chopped judge Marc Murphy raved about a decidedly unique dish: kokorec.
“I was there a few years ago and tried their traditional street food called ‘kokorec’ which is flame-roasted lamb intestine wrapped in fresh soft bread, drizzled in amazing olive oil and dusted in Turkish spices and fresh onions,” Murphy said. “The combination is mouth-watering; I really loved it and crave it all the time!”
Learn how to make this unusual dish here (not for the squeamish).
Portland, Maine — James Beard award-winning chef Ken Oringer
“You would think that Maine is only the home of great lobster, but now it’s a city with amazing bakeries, restaurants, oyster bars, ethnic food, just a great sleeper of a city,” he told INSIDER.
Still not convinced? Here are 25 more reasons why Portland should be your next foodie destination.
Sayulita, Mexico — Australian celebrity chef Curtis Stone
Mexico has some incredible culinary experiences from Tequila (yes, the birthplace of tequila) to the larger cities, but Celebrity Apprentice finalist Curtis Stone recommends a lesser-known town: Sayulita.
“The little surfing town of Sayulita, Mexico has the best fish tacos anywhere,” he said.
El Jakal seafood in particular is known for its excellent fish tacos.
Sicily, Italy — The Chew’s Michael Symon
Another Southern Italian destination is a favorite destination for chef Michael Symon (The Chew, owner of Mabel’s restaurant in Cleveland).
“When I’m in Sicily, I try to spend some time in Puglia and Marsala for a true taste of the island,” chef Symon said. “My mom is Sicilian and Greek, so I grew up with those flavors.”
The post The most underrated food destinations in the world, according to 9 celebrity chefs appeared first on Foodroll.