The world teems with good food. It’s everywhere you care to look, and if you’re looking to get a true insight into the nature of a city, or a country, or a culture, then there are few better places to start than with what’s on their plate. As such, it is difficult to understand where to begin, if you’re a hungry soul seeking out the best food destinations that the world has to offer. You may be jaded from having pizza in Naples, or schnitzel in Vienna - been there, done that, gained the half-a-stone.
Well, thankfully for you, we set aside a little bit of time, and the expertise of our network of insiders, to draw together a list of the very best dining experiences you can find in 2019. Some are luxurious; some are daring; some are comforting; some feel like being a million miles away. All of them can be found on The Wanderlist - our selection of 50 unmissable travel experiences for this year; and all of them will yield memories that will last a lifetime.
The Alchemist, Copenhagen, Denmark
How adventurous an eater are you? Would you curl your nose up at a heart tartare, served with an IV drip, and an organ-donor card? How about being presented a lamb’s skull, which you’re instructed to break the head cavity of, to then eat a mousse of its brain with mealworms, lemon thyme, and ants? If you answered those questions in the affirmative, then The Alchemist - which is set to be 2019’s hottest restaurant opening - is for you.
Wunderkind Danish chef Rasmus Munk is opening the second incarnation of his restaurant on the grandest scale imaginable, using every inch of his enormous Copenhagen warehouse space to put on a 50 course, 5 hour dinner for 40 guests a night, in what promises to be a spectacular dining experience by any measure, in one of Europe’s very best food destinations. Read more about The Alchemist here.
Jowar el-Sama, near the Cedars of Tannourine, Lebanon
Take a taxi out from Beirut towards Kniset el-Rab, high up in the cloudy climes of Mount Lebanon: one of the highest and most breathtaking churches in the country. Once there, ask a local where the nearest restaurant is, and they’ll take you to Jowar el-Sama - a shonky-but-beautiful family-run restaurant unknown to tourists. Should you feel bold, they serve sawda nayye - raw liver sandwiches - and arak, the mentholated anise liqueur that’s used as a chaser for the liver’s peculiar taste. But if you’re feeling more cautious, Jowar el-Sana also serves kibbeh, falafel, mujaddara, and all other manner of magnificent Lebanese dishes, in a setting without compare. Read more about the experience here.
Pure C, Cadzand, Netherlands
There is far more to the Netherlands than Amsterdam, and all the baser instincts and indulgences that are associated with Europe’s ‘Sin City’. Take, for instance, Pure C - a true destination restaurant in every sense of the term, situated in an old holiday resort on the coast of Cadzand (the Dutch equivalent of Cleethorpes). Syrco Bakker, Pure C’s dynamic head chef, has firmly established his modern Dutch cuisine with inflections from Indonesia, flavours from Suriname, and methods from Japan, earning the restaurant a Michelin star which it has kept tight-hold of for coming up to seven years. Find out more on when to go and how to get there.
Souji-in Temple, Mount Koya, Japan
The explosion of veganism as a cultural movement over the last five years has been nothing short of sensational; food has never been more inclusive, inventive, or ethical than in this present moment. But however groundbreaking we may feel the adoption of jackfruit, seitan, and tofu has been, the Buddhist monasteries of Japan must consider it all old news. For 800 years, Japan’s monks have practiced shojin ryori, a way of eating that is intensely focused on balance, seasonality, and a total absence of animal produce.
You can try this way of life, too, with a visit to, or a stay in, the Souji-in Temple in Mount Koya, who operate by these wholesome culinary principles. Monks will prepare dishes for you in accordance with their philosophy, high up in Japan’s sacred mountains - unquestionably, this makes the temple one of the best food destinations on the planet, whether you’re a herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore. Discover more about shojin ryori here.
Fulton Market, Chicago, USA
Much like many cosmopolitan cities across the world, Chicago’s vibrant food neighbourhood has been built from the remnants of its former meat-packing district. Unlike the equivalent districts of many cosmopolitan cities across the world, Fulton Market kicked into action while still functioning as a meat-packing district - meaning that early adopters in the area had to hose blood down from the streets before opening.
Thankfully, the area has since been sanitised and regenerated, now playing host to every conceivable kind of establishment - from cocktails that border on high art, to authentic Japanese izakayas, to Brazilian churrascarias. It is an unmissable experience, an all-American gem, and a true must-see in the Windy City. Learn more about Fulton Market here.
These selections have been taken from The Wanderlist - a list of the year’s 50 best travel destinations and experiences, curated by Amuse. If you want an unforgettable trip, this is where to go in 2019.