Eat to live or live to eat? If you’re anything like me, you fall in to the latter category. Food plays a huge part in my life and sampling the best local cuisine a destination has to offer when I travel is a favourite past time. What better way to live like a local than to first eat like one?
For many people however, dietary restrictions and requirements have meant that travel has traditionally been fraught with the worry that eating will be at the very least challenging and at the very worst impossible.
Well, I’m thrilled to say that need not be the case. Merit Travel has curated a list of the best destinations to head to depending on your dietary requirements or preferences. There’s a whole world just waiting to be discovered, dish by dish, so read on to find your ideal culinary destination.
There are many parts of the world to find excellent vegetarian options, and India is definitely one of them. Due to a high volume of religious dietary restrictions, and 20-40% of the population being vegetarian (predominantly for religious reasons), India has tons of mouthwatering cuisines for the “just veggie” eaters out there. To add to this, there are very clear food labelling laws in India to make it easy for vegetarians to travel around without worrying about what’s in their food.
Indulge in some of India’s finest: coconut, red bean or chickpea curry, flatbread stuffed with potato and vegetarian kababs made with spinach.
When you hear the term “fresh”, you’re probably used to the loosest meaning of the term. But when South Africa says their meat is fresh, they mean it. If you call yourself a true meat-lover, then South Africa should be the next place you visit—and you’ll come back with a better understanding of how meat should really taste.
Enjoy a barbeque like never before. Some famous South African delicacies include boerewors, which is a type of sausage that originated in this fine country. It is made of minced beef, sometimes combined with lamb or pork (or both) and spiced to perfection, usually with toasted coriander seed, black pepper and nutmeg. Another is the beef bobotie, a pure South African dish made with minced or shredded meat, with an addition of fruit and spices to get all taste buds going. The dish is topped off with a savory custard.
Travel doesn’t discriminate. Health-conscious eaters can indulge on vacation too, and California (including Los Angeles) is the perfect destination to do so with a wide range of restaurants to choose from, providing all the superfoods, grains and nutrients your body needs. There’s no shortage of options. With healthy habits being such a trend these days, it’s no surprise that California is leading the pack with trendy, Zen-like, good-for-your-gut options. Big salads, quinoa bowls and juice joints that will fulfill that sweet tooth, you’ll leave here feeling energized and refreshed.
Passion for Pasta
There is no better place to stuff your face with pasta, pizza and gelato than Italy—a pasta lover’s paradise. If you love your carbs and want to let loose on watching what you eat for a few days, visit the pasta capital of the world where you can have an authentic Italian dinner, al dente. From Carbonara pasta, insalata caprese and pizzette e saltini, you’ll leave every meal feeling as though you could never eat again—that is, until you have to decide what pasta dish you feel like all over again the next day. We’re thinking spaghetti Bolognese. Oh no, maybe a linguini with pesto sauce …
No Carb Diet
One can still enjoy the joys of European culture and food without eating heavy. Greece is a great place to go if you aren’t into a carb-heavy vacation, where you’ll find everything from the fresh seafood, to Greek salad (is it still called a Greek salad in Greece?) with mouth-watering tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese and kalamata olives like you’ve never experienced. Lest we forget the chicken kababs and of course enjoy a bowl of Greek yogurt with honey and berries for breakfast.
Seafood Fanatics/ Pescatarians
If you can’t get enough dishes from the sea here in Canada, then Jamaica could be the spot for you. Some say Jamaican seafood is second-to-none, but don’t take our word for it—experience it for yourself. To enjoy seafood properly, you’ll want to go to a place where a body of water is so close by so that your meals are always fresh (and so beaches are in walking distance). Jamaica is the epitome of the term “best of both worlds,” with both great food and stunning beaches. Enjoy some of their garlic buttered lobster with plantains and bammy, curried shrimp, crayfish, crab, shrimp soup and steamed fishes.
So there you have it. Six of the best destinations to visit based on what you eat. What do you think? Do you have any other recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.