What does “foodie” mean, exactly? It varies from one social circle to another. Some use the term to categorize those friends who are constantly tweeting, instagramming and reviewing restaurants around their cities. (Get your cronut off my newsfeed!) Others have the money to jet to a Michelin-starred meal halfway across the globe. In this case they may use the term with their friends when their food arrives, exclaiming, “We’re such foodies!” as they drizzle truffle oil onto their prosciutto. Whatever the expression means to you, there’s no denying that food is one of the best parts of any vacation. Here are our top five foodie hot spots to hit up in 2014.
1 – JAKARTA, INDONESIA
Photo by: New Routes
If you’re traveling on a tighter budget, head to Indonesia. The country, the world’s largest archipelago, is one of the cheapest places to visit if you’re willing to budget by preplanning your hops between the nation’s 6,000 islands. Getting from one end of the archipelago to the other can cost upwards of $300, and the tricky part is that many Indonesian airlines don’t allow non-Indonesian credit cards when booking from within the country. Despite this hiccup, Indonesia welcomes all visitors with its delicious cuisine, which varies greatly by region. Expect a lot of vegetables, rice, noodles and grilled protein. Food prices are ridiculously low throughout the country; meals can cost less than a dollar. While you’re there, be sure to sample some gulai, meat or vegetables in a currylike sauce cooked with coconut milk, and sate, grilled meat on a stick served with peanut or sweet soy sauce that you can commonly find on the streets.
DON’T MISS: Indonesia is its own culinary melting pot. One of the most popular restaurants in Jakarta is Bandar Djakarta, a seafood joint that’s well worth the trip across the sea. You actually choose what you want to eat from the restaurant’s aquarium that’s filled with everything from sharks to lobsters. If you can’t get into one of the several locations around the city, we recommend trying a dish that is common in all areas of the country, like semur (stew), soto (soup), tumpeng (rice dish) or nasi goreng (fried rice). 2 – CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Photo by: Richard Moross
Cape Town’s tourism sector is already feeling the boom after being named “a top 2014 global holiday destination” in the yearly New York Times travel list and landing the World Design Capital title for 2014. Table Mountain, one of the country’s most visited natural attractions, already received two percent more visitors last December alone! Knowing that many more trekkers will be flocking to South Africa’s most-visited region, you’re going to have to splurge a little to really get the authentic culinary experience. Travel company Red Savannah has curated a lovely “Gourmet South Africa” eight-day tour that brings you to the most incredible hotels, restaurants and wineries in and around Cape Town. We love that this tour combines South Africa’s rich culture with the utmost decadence the country has to offer.
DON’T MISS: **When we found Red Savannah’s itinerary we immediately fell in love with the idea of having a morning of seal-watching via cruise ship, driving to Chapman’s Peak and then having a five-course meal at chef Bruce Robertson’s own home, the Boat House. Oh, and that night you stay at The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, located in the historic Constantia Valley, known as “Cape Town’s Vineyard.” It doesn’t get any better than that!3 – MONTREAL, CANADA**
Photo by: Chrysaora
While Montreal is yet another culinary melting pot, it’s the chefs and their unwavering love of anything and everything rich that make it so special. Some of the most gifted chefs are coming out of the francophone province right now and it’s fairly easy to get a seat at their restaurants, as long as you reserve. Dine in Normand Laprise’s restaurant Toqué! The Toqué! cookbook won Laprise the Best Canadian Cookbook of 2014 award. Celebrity chef Chuck Hughes’ Old Montreal tavern Garde Manger is a spot you’ll know if you’re a fan of Food Network’s Chuck’s Day Off. Garde Manger turns into a wicked bar after service if you’re looking for a good place to meet locals! David McMillan and Frédéric Morin, friends of Anthony Bourdain and world-renowned chefs thanks to their popular restaurant Joe Beef, have opened Vin Papillon, a wonderful little wine bar, and Liverpool House, a great place to go if you just can’t for the life of you get seats at Joe Beef. Then, of course, there’s the artery-clogging delicacies of Martin Picard over at Au Pied de Cochon. They’ve started serving a dim sum–style breakfast from their food truck outside if you can’t make it in. If you’re looking for vegetarian-friendly meals at these restaurants, you may have a bit of a hard time since the chefs all take pride in serving fresh meats, fish and oysters.
DON’T MISS: Joe Beef is now letting you live in their restaurant—seriously. Upstairs from the notorious restaurant they’re renting out a beautiful garden suite for as low as $185 a night. Beer and wine is cooling in the fridge, but you’re going to have to pay for it. 4 – CHIANTI, ITALY
Photo by: Fattorie Coli
It would be sacrilege not to include Italy if you’re looking for good grub abroad. Instead of just falling back on good wine and cheese as you navigate their piccolo cafés and restaurants, why not make it an exceptional experience by booking the unique tour from Saveur’s Culinary Travel 2013 winner, Edible Destinations by Epitourean. Their package is loaded with cooking classes, local wine tastings and exploration of the most popular destination spots. What sets this tour apart is the exclusive experience of a truffle hunt in Chianti, an act that’s “cloaked in secrecy,” headed by a truffle hunter and his dog. The only snag is that if it’s pouring rain the day you’re set to hit the woods, you won’t be able to go. Would you really want to be stuck wandering around the woods in a downpour anyway?
DON’T MISS: *Unlike other travel packages, this one gives you a lot of time to wander the villages of Italy. We’re partial to the small town of Greve in Chianti, often called the “entrance gate into the Chianti region” since it’s the first town you reach as you travel from Florence to Siena. Grab a slice at Pizzeria La Cantina and find a seat on the large terrace of Albergo Ristorante Giovanni da Verrazzano, where you can people watch the goings-on in the main piazza. *5 – NASHVILLE, USA
Photo by: Jbcurio
Nashville’s food scene is exploding right now, and we believe that absolutely everyone needs to experience it. Whether you head over to Burger Up for a bison burger in the ever-evolving 12South district, stand in line at Loveless Café for their world-famous biscuits and white gravy or kick it up a notch at Nashville’s fine dining spot Watermark, there’s a lot to eat and see in Music City, USA. This midsize city has big food sensibilities which have drawn a lot of fixed gear–loving, coffee-roasting, food truck–driving hipsters, so be warned if you’re not into the laissez-faire way of life.
*DON’T MISS: *If you can wait for some good Southern nosh until September, be sure to grab a ticket to Music City Eats, which brings the nation’s top chefs, wine and spirit and beer purveyors into one place for restaurant showcases, demonstrations and undeniably some of the best food and greatest bands in the country. “The best of high and low cuisine is found at the Flavors of Nashville, featuring authentic Southern dishes and fabled Music City favorites from over 25 of [the] region’s top restaurants,” boasts the website. The first ever Music City Eats was held last year with chefs like Michael Symon, Jon Shook, Vinny Dotolo and Edward Lee. We can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for us.