Every country in the world has some delicious cuisine to offer. However, some places definitely know what they’re doing with food a little more than others. Thankfully, UNESCO has identified where these places are and put together a list of the world’s food capitals so you can try their delicious dishes for yourself.
UNESCO has been naming cities as food capitals of the world since 2005. The first destination to receive this label was Popayán in the southwest of Colombia. Some of the dishes worth trying here include the city’s specialty, empanadas de pipian, hogoa, and arroz con leche de coco. With a cuisine that combines local foods with Spanish and African influences, it’s hard to find flavors like this anywhere else.
Japan is a fascinating mix of hyper-modern cities and natural civilizations. Tsuruoka definitely falls into the latter category, boasting a lot more agriculture than Tokyo 300 miles south. This part of the country is well-known for its soba noodles, but other dishes like moso are also favored here. The town is surrounded by different environments, making it easy for the locals to source ingredients from trees, mountains, and the sea. With its incredibly sustainable cuisine, it’s perhaps no wonder that UNESCO heavily approves of this place.
Chengdu might be known for its panda research, but that’s not the only thing that makes this Chinese city special. UNESCO apparently considers it to be the cradle of spicy Sichuan cooking, which is excellent for anyone who loves some heat in their food. Ginger and garlic are common ingredients in this region’s dishes, although local chefs do what they can to create an intricate balance of flavors. You’re just as likely to find something sweet or sour here as you are something spicy.
Most people who visit Brazil do so because they want to explore Rio de Janeiro. However, if you’re looking for the best food that the country has to offer, you’ll want to travel some 500 miles south of the city. That’s where Florianopolis is, a place known to many as the Oyster Capital of Brazil. With a gorgeous coastline that offers plenty of fishing opportunities, this UNESCO-approved location is ideal for any seafood lovers out there. Sequência de camarão and casquinha de siri are just some of the delicious dishes worth trying.
The town of Östersund isn’t as heavily populated as some of the other food capitals of the world. However, what it lacks in people, it more than makes up for in sustainable food and culinary traditions. Boasting an intriguing mix of the traditional and the contemporary, this Swedish destination is worth the effort it takes to get here. The creativity in this town is beyond belief, resulting in mouthwatering dishes like kolballen with lingonberries and smoked char with Jerusalem artichokes. Nowhere is doing it quite like Östersund.
While you’re bound to enjoy some of the food on offer wherever you go, if you visit one of these food capitals, your taste buds will be eternally grateful.