Around The World: The Ultimate Food Bucket List

Updated on February 15, 2022

For those of you who are torn apart by culinary choices when travelling, here is something that will make your life easier, wherever in the world you may find yourselves.

Kick off your ultimate food bucket list with these 20 dishes to bring your food and travel game to a whole new level.

1. Escargot in France

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Served as a starter, this delicacy comes with a seductive garlic, butter and herb-flavored sauce almost as charming as France itself. Whether you are dining with your special someone, or having a party for one, this dish is aimed to provide you with an unforgettable culinary experience.

My favorite part of French cuisine is the quality ingredients. Everything tastes great because so much care is put into producing great ingredients. The flavors just shine and you can taste the love that went into growing or making each element of a dish. If I had to pick a favorite ingredient, well, that’s easy — french butter! – Jordan, The Hungry Traveler

2. Meat Pie in Australia

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The Australian meat pie, or the classic Aussie food icon that birthed the Great Aussie Pie Competition, this one is a can’t miss Aussie delight. The puff pastry sheets are moulded into small cups which are then filled with minced beef and a flavorful gravy. Brushed with an egg yolk, the pie is then placed in the oven where it cooks until golden. Served with ketchup and a 6 pack, this is the Australian seven-course meal you have to try.

3. Gelato in Italy

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What better way to enjoy Italy than strolling down narrow streets perched with ancient ruins, whilst holding an enormous gelato? With countless flavours to choose from and endless summer days, I think we can all agree that this truly is la dolce vita.

4. Gyros in Greece

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Savor an unforgettable fulfilling gyros sandwich in the land of the Greeks. The crispy and moist slices of chicken or pork work beautifully with the fresh chopped onion, tomatoes and french fries. Brought together by a generous amount of tzatziki sauce and rolled into a pita, this Greek meal will leave you wanting more.

Greece was always on my bucketlist. Once I saw the beautiful islands of Mykonos and Santorini, I felt as though I had seen it all because I had never witnessed so much beauty anywhere in my life, and I couldn’t imagine any other place in the world being as beautiful as Greece. I love Greek cuisine because I believe in a healthy lifestyle. Greek food consists of a lot of extra virgin olive oil, which never makes me feel heavy even after a rich meal.

There are plentiful of vegetarian options to choose from, such as hummus, grape leaves, Greek stuffed tomatoes, and so much more. Additionally, there are plenty of grilled options too, one of my favorites being chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce. Overall, lots of flavorful protein and vegetarian options, so you can go easy on the carbs. My favorite ingredient was oregano and the Greeks put oregano on everything! My favorite dish with oregano were the roasted potatoes accented by oregano, olive oil and lemon. So simple, light and delicious. – Nisha, Honey, What’s Cooking?

5. Peka in Croatia

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An explosion of flavors and aromas, peka is more than just a traditional dish. The preparation process is an art itself, and like art, it cannot be rushed. Fresh chopped vegetables are placed in a pan with the meat, then sprinkled with some olive oil and Mediterranean herbs. In the end, everything is safely covered with a peka lid and left in the fireplace to simmer for a few hours.

I’ve been fortunate to have spent three winters in Croatia’s dazzling region of Dalmatia. Each time, I’ve been impressed by the Croatians’ emphasis on high quality fresh food, as well as their connection to the land. I also appreciate that many Croatians – regardless of whether or not they have another full-time job – dabble in wine making, olive oil production, meat-curing or making their own preserves and herbal tea.
The sense of community is strong in Croatia, and food plays an important role in social gatherings. On weekends, you’ll often see families enjoying a glass of wine while waiting for meat and vegetables to slow-roast under a peka bell in their outdoor grill. You’ll also glimpse friends socializing over a cup of coffee on a sunny promenade overlooking the Adriatic Sea. I’ve found the Croatians to be some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met. My husband and I have been invited to harvest olives and wild asparagus in the countryside, and to share a Christmas meal with our new friends. When my husband completed his Master’s degree, our guesthouse owners even surprised us with a bottle of wine and peka, incorporating the octopus that our host had just caught himself. – Tricia, Travels with Tricia
What makes Croatia’s cuisine so special is definitely its diversity. The country has a natural divide with the Dinaric Alps splitting Croatia’s Mediterranean Coast with its interior, commonly known as continental Croatia. By the coast, you’ll be feasting on grilled sardines, and vibrant salads drizzled in olive oil and on the other side of the mountains you’ll find hearty stews like čobanac, and roasted goose. This diversity makes for some great eating! My absolute favorite ingredient in Croatia has to be the opulent white truffle. Head to Istria in Croatia’s North West, where every Autumn these subterranean fungi are hunted by highly trained dogs and sold on the lucrative truffle market. There are many festivals in Istria throughout Autumn which celebrate the white truffle, the best being in Buzet and Motovun. In my opinion, everyone needs to try a white truffle in their life, which by the way are much more intense and aromatic than their cousins the black truffle. – Mate, Chasing the Donkey

6. Döner Kebab in Turkey

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Although quite similar to the Greek gyros, this Turkish delight will pamper your taste buds like no other. Picture hot roasted slices of beef, lamb or chicken mixed with fresh salad, and drizzled with flavourful Turkish toppings, all wrapped up in a pita to make your experience complete.

What makes Turkish food so unforgettable? The smokey aroma of fall-apart tender meat – usually lamb or beef – that makes mouths and eyes water. Creamy pureed eggplant and thick, tangy yogurt cut the unctuousness of the protein and keep dishes from feeling too heavy. Dried fruits like currants and apricots add a hint of sweetness, while walnuts and pine nuts give a satisfying crunch. But it’s the generous hospitality of the Turkish people that brings these humble ingredients to life. Every mouthful conveys the warm welcome that’s been a hallmark of Turkish culture for centuries, a feeling often reinforced by attentive restaurant service. A parting gift of Turkish delight is just honey glaze on the baklava! – Heather, Ferreting Out The Fun

7. Pavlova in New Zealand

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The famous Pavlova cake – a dessert as light as a feather, but delicate and tasty like no other — will instantly have you considering New Zealand for your next big trip. Even though it has been the epicenter of a long-lasting cultural battle between New Zealand and Australia, everyone can agree that this meringue-based cake topped with fresh strawberries or forest fruits is one of those food bucket list items you just have to tick off.

I think New Zealand’s cuisine is special because it’s largely driven by local ingredients and seasonal variations, and because of the unique Māori influence. I like the blend of European, Asian and Māori traditions that come together in New Zealand cooking! I think Manuka Honey might have been my favorite ingredient to enjoy when we visited. It has such a richness that is unique to that honey and one that you can’t find in the US! We also enjoyed some of the classic New Zealand baked goods: Lamingtons cakes, Anzac biscuits, Afghans cookies, and Rewena bread! – Anjali, The Picky Eater

New Zealand is such a naturally pristine and beautiful country that their ingredients tend to need very little done to them to showcase how fantastic they are. Whenever I visit New Zealand I also always make sure to have some New Zealand lamb and cheese. It’s like an obsession really! – Lorraine, Not Quite Nigella

8. Sashimi in Japan

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Eat your way through Japan with a generous dose of sashimi. The fresh raw fish – salmon or tuna – served with nothing but a few drops of olive oil, soy sauce and some sesame seeds sprinkled all over your plate is not only a healthy food choice but also an experience that will bring your culinary game to a whole new level.

The Japanese are perfectionists so their dedication to quality is second to none. You can see this in their approach to food. I’ve often heard that it takes at least 10 years of apprenticeship to be considered a master in Japan. Whether it be making sushi, soba noodles, or preparing fugu, you need to be doing the same thing over and over for 10 years to get it right. I think this is why you see so many specialty restaurants in Japan that focus on just one thing like unagi or ramen. It takes that much time and dedication to achieve the results they want. And you can definitely taste it.

More so than any one ingredient, what blew us away was the freshness of their food. Unlike other Asian countries, the Japanese don’t use a lot of aromatic spices so the freshness of the ingredients is paramount. When they serve you something – whether it be sushi, ramen, or pastries – they want you to eat it right away. For example, this one pastry shop in Kurokawa Onsen told us their cream puffs would only keep for 3 hours. Well, we kept them for several days and they were still delicious! It just goes to show you how important freshness is to the Japanese. – JB & Renee, Will Fly For Food

The patience, heart and perfection is definitely what earns Japanese cuisine a trophy in my heart. There are so many Japanese ingredients I find interesting but I am obsessed with the usage of yuzu in many different ways other than just in desserts; its what makes ponzu great, a pleasant surprise in ramen or a spice to grilled chicken. Japanese cuisine never fails to amaze me. – Jamie, Jamie Liew

9. Peking duck in China

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Ever tasted the amazing Peking duck during your China trips? If you haven’t yet, you should know that this lavish dish requires the precision of a swiss watch, with ducks bred specifically for this type of meal. The perfect crisp skin is the main delight and is merely accented by a side serving of pancakes filled with a sweet bean sauce, scallions and cucumbers.

10. Tandoori Chicken in India

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India’s cuisine, the vibrant land of spices and vivid colours, is anything but boring. Tandoori chicken is the proof that India is always filled with surprises. Marinated in a mixture of yogurt, with a variety of Indian spices and honey, this dish is cooked in a tandoor clay oven and served as a main dish with a side of naan bread.

For centuries, the Indian cuisine has had a lot of influence from various part of the world, especially Asia and Europe. Rulers, traders and even travelers bought their native cuisine here, transforming the landscape of Indian food completely. In different parts of India you can see these dishes being widely celebrated. Be it the use of mustard in the East to the use of chilies in the West, be it the use of saffron in the North to the use of vinegar in the South, there are hundreds such combinations springing up in every corner of India. This unique amalgamation of flavors make Indian cuisine very diverse, yet so delightful! And this can be noticed in every 50km of India, where the dialect changes, the cooking style changes, the ingredients change and so thus the flavors of the dish change as well. The other aspect is of course use of spices as per your liking with no written down quantities, adding uniqueness to the flavors every time you make them. – Rohit, Rohit Dassani

11. Paella in Spain

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Hold the best of Spain in one spoon with this nourishing dish. After an entire day of exploring Valencia, treat yourself to a mouth-watering Paella at an authentic restaurant right in its hometown. Grab a glass of Spanish red wine to accompany this delicious mixture of seafood, chicken, rice, healthy veggies and vivid spices. What a perfect ending to your Spanish-infused day!

12. Tacos in Mexico

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The best way to eat a tortilla? With your hands of course! Forget about utensils when indulging in this Mexican delicacy made out of wheat or corn tortilla. Brimming with a diversity of fillings – from beef, chicken to pork and vegetables – this dish leaves a lot of room for variety. Add in some salsa, guacamole, chili peppers or cilantro and you got yourself a one-way ticket to Mexican authenticity!

13. Currywurst in Germany

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The world renowned currywurst is one of those food bucket list items you just have to try. So, when you find yourself wandering through Berlin’s streets with no idea what to eat, remember this: when in Germany, a currywurst is always a safe bet. This delicious pork sausage is not only appealing to the eye but also delicious. Dip it in some curry-powder ketchup and serve it with some french fries on the side. Trust us, it’s truly mind blowing!

The German cuisine is a greatly underrated one, broadly associated with large portions of pork and potatoes, huge glasses of beer, and not much else.  But though hearty dinners are popular up and down the country, there is much more to German food and drink than sausages and Schweinshaxe.  The German cuisine is fiercely regional, extremely traditional and heavily reliant on the changing of the seasons: the Germans love not just meat and potatoes but fresh fruit and vegetables too, and they stick largely to fresh produce grown in and around their own regions.  Supermarkets simply do not stock everything all year round, meaning you’ll find it impossible to buy fresh plums or cherries in winter, and trying to get your hands on pumpkins and kale during spring and summer is pointless.  Fresh produce is instead celebrated with boundless enthusiasm as it comes into season: there are festivals for everything from strawberries to onions; queens are crowned to promote various vegetables and fruit, from white asparagus to apples; and special seasonal menus are drawn up in restaurants and taverns.

With such adherence to the seasonal culinary calendar, it’s easy to get excited about fresh ingredients as they become ready for harvesting. The dish I love to cook most during its long season from Maundy Thursday until autumn’s first frost is Frankfurter Grüne Soße, or Grie Soß in the local dialect, a cold green sauce made from seven specific herbs that are grown in Frankfurt and sold in white paper packages around the region. It’s traditionally eaten with boiled potatoes and eggs, white fish or beef and washed down with a glass of local Apfelwein (apple wine). As a seasonal, regional speciality for which every local family has their own recipe, Grüne Soße exemplifies perfectly how different the German cuisine can be to its pork and potatoes stereotype, and in my opinion, just how special it is, too. – Christie Dietz, A Sausage Has Two

14. Piri piri chicken in Portugal

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Cooked with what some may call Liquid Hell, this dish is certainly not for those with sensitive palates. The secret to its extreme hotness lies in the piri piri peppers, some of the hottest peppers ever known to mankind. So, take a deep breath and give it a go if you’re brave enough.

I find what makes Portuguese cuisine so special, is the blending of the traditional and the new. Traditionally, Portuguese cuisine can range from heavy dishes such as Cataplana de Marisco, a seafood stew served with rice, to a freshly caught, lightly grilled sardine with olive oil, and lemon wedge. As I began my food quest there however, I found that I was very impressed with the blend of the two time periods coming together on the plate. Many new chefs in Portugal keep their roots, while trying to squeeze out fresh, and inventive flavors from the dishes. One place that comes to mind is the Time Out Market in Lisbon. A true melting pot of Portuguese cuisine, Time Out showcases the region’s distinct flavors, all in one place so that you can enjoy your food journey throughout this gorgeous country.  – Marta, Marta on the Move

15. Bulgogi in Korea

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This savory beef dish is not only tender and juicy, but also sweet and abounding in flavours. It is usually marinated in soy sauce with sugar and pear juice, but it is just as good when sprinkled with some plain salt to enhance its natural aromas.

16. S’mores in USA

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Picture this: a fun night spent with your friends by the campfire while indulging in small bits of s’more heaven. The fire-roasted marshmallow placed on top of a piece of chocolate brought together by two pieces of crackers will make your getaway complete, adding an amazing taste to any camping adventure.

17. Asado in Argentina

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The Asado, or the traditional Argentinian barbeque is a long living tradition strongly rooted as a point of pride for the South American nation and a must on your food bucket list. That being said, there are plenty of ways to enjoy it, but here is how you can make the best of it: indulge in some delicious short ribs cooked at a low heat, crispy on the outside, but oh so tender on the inside!

18. Ceviche in Peru

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National heritage and a self-standing national holiday held in its honor? Yes, that’s the Peruvian ceviche. Although, the classic version of the dish is prepared using raw fish marinated in lime or orange juice with chili peppers, salt, pepper and onions, the Peruvian one makes use of garlic, corn, seaweed or the famous minced Peruvian aji limo.

I was actually surprised at the variety of food in Peru. I loved the soups and the cheap two course meals offered in Cusco. We actually had one of the best curries during our travels in Cusco too! I really liked the use of quinoa, especially in the soup dishes. I was only aware of quinoa from the new wave of yummy-mummy yoga type meals back home, so was pleasantly surprised to see it used in Peru. I couldn’t bypass a granadilla either!  – Gemma and Craig, Two Scots Abroad

19. Pho in Vietnam

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We all know that Vietnam is a hot destination and it’s not only because of its out-of-this-world landscapes. Food is simply magnificent and since we’re in this area let’s just say that a bowl of pho will do way more than just relieve your hunger. This beef dish confines some of the best flavours out there – we’re talking ginger, cilantro, basil, garlic, lime and green onion. Add in thin slices of beef sirloin with rice noodles and you’re in for a great treat.

20. Wiener schnitzel in Austria

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This Austrian pan fried delicacy is made of veal and until you’ve tried it, you cannot say you’ve experienced Austria. Your wiener schnitzel will be served with parsley drizzled potatoes and a slice of freshly cut lemon. Order a beer on the side and enjoy your stay in the Alps!

So, which one (or maybe the question is where) will you start with?

Antonia is a passionate writer and an avid reader. Eat well, travel often - are some of the words she lives by. When she's not writing or reading, she loves getting out in nature, hiking or losing herself in unknown cities.

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