From tapas in San Sebastian to Texas beef brisket and dim sum in Hong Kong, Lonely Planet reveals the world’s 500 best meals… so how many have YOU enjoyed?
- The list appears in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist, a new tome compiled by food-obsessed writers and chefs
- The book includes details around each experience, the culture behind it and what makes it so special
- Countries making the top 10 also include Malaysia, Japan, Thailand and New Zealand – but no France
Pintxos (tapas) in San Sebastian, curry laksa (spicy noodle soup) in Kuala Lumpur and sushi in Tokyo have been named as the top-three food experiences in the world by the travel experts at Lonely Planet.
They come top of a mouth-watering list of the world’s best 500 culinary experiences that Lonely Planet has ranked for a new tome titled the Ultimate Eatlist – a foodie bucket-list that takes into account not just the taste, but the atmosphere that dishes are eaten in.
Dining on beef brisket in Texas has been revealed as the top treat in the U.S. (fourth place globally), while fish and chips sails to first place in the UK (31st globally) and Tasmanian oysters are the catch of the day in Australia (13th globally). Surprisingly, nothing in France makes the top 10. Its best experience is eating cheese, in at No14.
Lonely Planet has ranked the 500 best food experiences for a new tome titled the Ultimate Eatlist, with the taste, ambiance and atmosphere taken into account. First place went to eating tapas in San Sebastian, where food at bars such as Gandarias (pictured) is piled high on the counter
Trying pintxos in San Sebastian (pictured) is advised as a bar-hopping exercise, with diners told to head out around 9pm following a leisurely afternoon nap or trip to the beach
Sampling curry laksa at a stall in the shadow of towers in Kuala Lumpur (pictured) has been revealed as the second-best food experience. Travellers are advised to pick a vendor ‘with the longest queue’, draw up a plastic chair and start the ‘swoon-worthy, sweat-inducing process of eating’
Kuala Lumpur is a bustling city with the modern skyline dominated by the 1,479ft-tall Petronas Twin Towers
Each entry in the new book includes details around the experience, the culture behind it and what makes it so special.
For example, the No1-ranked experience, in San Sebastian, is best approached as a bar-hopping exercise, with diners told to head out around 9pm following a leisurely afternoon nap.
Ultimate Eatlist says: ‘The tiny bites (known as tapas outside of Basque Spain) are best consumed with an accompanying drink…
‘It’s hard to list favourites but the simple examples are often the ones that will blow your mind – battered white asparagus, a tuna and anchovy tart or maybe mushrooms braised with garlic.’
Feasting on fish and chips has been revealed as the number one food experience in the UK and 31st globally
Readers of the new Lonely Planet book are advised to roll up for a sushi masterclass in a traditional Tokyo setting. This is rated as the world’s third-best food experience
In Tokyo travellers are told to take their time to speak with the sushi chef to ‘learn more about this ancient culinary artform’
The travel experts at Lonely Planet say waiting in a long line for brisket (pictured) in Texas is well worth it. This hearty food experience ranks fourth globally
Sampling som tum, a green papaya salad, in Bangkok ranks fifth on the list (left), while snacking on smorrebrod, or open sandwiches, in Copenhagen comes in at number six
In at seventh place in the Lonely Planet book is sampling crayfish on the New Zealand coast. The travel experts note that the seafood tastes so good that there is a town named in the Maori tongue after it – Kaikoura (seen left)
In South Korea bibimbap is a meal in a bowl, with an assortment of vegetables, meat and rice topped with a raw or fried egg. This is rated as the eighth best food experience, with diners told to take a moment to ‘admire the pretty culinary spectacle’ before digging in
BUCKET-LIST FOOD EXPERIENCES: LONELY PLANET’S TOP 20 LIST
1 Pintxos in San Sebastián
2 Curry laksa in Kuala Lumpur
3 Sushi in Tokyo
4 Beef brisket in Texas
5 Som tum in Bangkok
6 Smørrebrød in Copenhagen
7 Crayfish in Kaikoura
8 Bibimbap in Seoul
9 Pizza margherita in Naples
10 Dim sum in Hong Kong
11 Ceviche in Lima
12 Pastéis de nata in Lisbon
13 Oysters in Tasmania
14 Cheese in France
15 Jerk chicken in Jamaica
16 Lamb tagine in Marrakech
17 Chilli crab in Singapore
18 Moules frites in Brussels
19 Peking duck in Beijing
20 Pho along the Hau River in Vietnam
Sampling pizza margherita in Naples is ranked as the ninth-best food experience. Above, a smiley chef pops another pizza in the oven at Naples’ Pizzeria Bellini
Tasting a stack of quintessential dim sum in Hong Kong is ranked as the world’s tenth-best food experience, with it being easy to find at stalls along the bustling Temple Street Market (right)
For second-place curry laksa in Kuala Lumpur travellers are advised to head to a night market ‘in the shadows of towering skyscrapers’ and pick a vendor ‘with the longest queue’. Once they’ve got a bowl of the rich and creamy curry, it’s time to draw up a plastic chair and start the ‘swoon-worthy, sweat-inducing process of eating’.
Third-placed ‘sushi in Tokyo’ is best experienced in a masterclass in a traditional setting, says Ultimate Eatlist.
Diners are advised to take time to speak with their sushi chef to ‘learn more about this ancient culinary artform’, which is now a delicacy all over the world.
Regarding fourth-placed Texas beef brisket, Ultimate Eatlist says that there could be queues of more than four hours at some BBQ joints, but that the meaty meal is well-worth the wait. Franklin Barbecue in Austin is rated as a top spot, with finger-licking pulled pork, ribs and juicy sausages also on the menu.
Other food experiences rounding out Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist’s top ten include sampling som tum (green papaya salad) in Bangkok (5th), smorrebrod (Danish open-face sandwiches) in Copenhagen (6th), crayfish in the New Zealand town of Kaikoura (7th), bibimbap (a mixed rice dish) in Seoul (8th), pizza margherita in Naples (9th) and dim sum in Hong Kong (10th).
How did Lonely Planet rank the 500 best food experiences in the world?
Lonely Planet asked its food-obsessed writers, bloggers and staffers to name their favourite, most authentic gastronomic encounters.
With this long list to hand, it sought to rank the entries: where should you go for the world’s must-have food experiences?
Its team of expert food editors were aided by a panel – made up of chef and TV presenter Adam Liaw and food blogger Leyla Kazim – that evaluated the entries according to the taste of the dish, its cultural importance, and the special atmosphere of the location.
The result is Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist – 500 delicious dishes around the world that will thrillingly put you in touch with a place, its people and their way of life.
At pastry stores in Lisbon, Portugal, the Lonely Planet experts say visitors will find the ultimate egg tart (left). A yellow tram on the streets of Lisbon (right)
Tasting ceviche in Peru is ranked at number 11 in the new Lonely Planet book. It is one of the country’s standout dishes
In Australia you can slurp down Tasmanian oysters straight from the ocean. Above, a view over the stunning Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park
Many of the local oyster farms in Tasmania hold classes showing people how to shuck their oysters safely
For the best experience of 31st-placed ‘fish and chips in the UK’, the Lonely Planet team suggests travelling to the town of Stonehaven in northeast Scotland.
Ultimate Eatlist says: ‘Its pebble-strewn beach traces a kilometre-long bay; sailing boats bob in the harbour; rock pools teem with crabs and sea stars; gulls ride on the breeze; and in the distance, the leaden horizon of the North Sea.
‘Completing the scene, halfway along the beach is The Bay Fish & Chips, whose fish is wild-caught from Marine Stewardship Council-certified stocks.
Tasting cheese in France comes in at number 14 in the new book. Food stalls in the Dordogne are pictured left and a Paris cheesemonger slices into his wares on the right
Feasting on jerk chicken in Jamaica has been revealed as the 15th top food experience (left), with a warming lamb tagine in Marrakech trailing close behind (right)
Throughout Singapore chilli crab (17th) has become a signature dish (left), and it can be found at vendors along from Lau Pa Sat hawker centre to Chinatown (right)
Feast on a plate of mussels in Brussels (left) and take your table for a culinary spectacle in the hometown of Peking duck, Beijing (right). These good experiences are ranked No18 and 19 respectively
Pho on the go in Vietnam comes in at number 20 on the list. A delicious bowl of pho (a meaty soup) is pictured left. On the right, vendors load provisions at Cai Rang floating market
‘Considering the setting, the sustainability and the beautifully cooked fish, is it the best fish and chip shop in the world? The constant queue suggests so.’
Other UK entries include smoked salmon from the Outer Hebrides in Scotland at number 39, a Sunday roast in a pub at number 59 and crab sandwiches in Norfolk at number 80, among others. Irish Stew in Dublin is Ireland’s highest entry at number 47.
Offering further food for thought, the new book also includes favourite experiences as nominated by 20 of the world’s top chefs and food writers, from the Spanish-American culinary whizz Jose Andres to TV personality Andrew Zimmern.
LONELY PLANET’S TOP FOOD EXPERIENCES IN THE UK AND IRELAND
Fish and chips on Stonehaven Beach (#31, Scotland)
Absolute peace in a Scottish salmon smokehouse (#39, Outer Hebrides, Scotland)
A bowl of Irish stew and a pint of the black stuff (#47, Dublin, Ireland)
Sunday pub roast (#59, UK)
Crab sandwiches (#80, Norfolk, England)
Cream tea in an English country garden (#100, England)
Taste the sunniest season with summer pudding (#107, England)
Scotch egg at Fortnum & Mason (#132, London, England)
Khichari at The Wolseley – a taste of the Raj at London’s smartest breakfast venue (#144, London, England)
Haggis – revel in a Burns Night knees-up with its unique centrepiece (#162, Scotland)
Arbroath smokies – with a side-order of fresh air (#163, Arbroath, Scotland)
Pork pie: the pork, jelly, pastry staple of UK pubs and pie shops (#186, UK)
Full English breakfast (#219, London, England)
Linger loch-side with a plate of fresh langoustines (#221, Ullapool, Scotland)
Explore under the arches at London’s Maltby St Market (#229, London, England)
Join the foodie fanclub of British chef, Yotam Ottolenghi (#292, London, England)
Ploughman’s lunch in rural England (#321, England)
From palette to palate: The Rex Whistler Restaurant (#324, London, England)
The Fat Duck (#348, Bray, England)
Bone marrow on toast at St John (#359, London, England)
Descend a Welsh mountain for bara brith (#376, Wales)
Find fiery balti’s Birmingham birthplace (#383, Birmingham, England)
Make space in your festive feasting for a mince pie (#449, UK)
Try chicken tikka masala where it was invented (#450, Glasgow, Scotland)
Breakfast on black pudding and potato in Ireland (#458, Ireland)
Steak and kidney pie (#471, London, England)
Feast on a roast beef baguette from Borough Market (#473, London, England)
Banoffee pie: fuel a southern England stomp with a sticky pud (#479, southern England)
If it’s good enough for the ghouls: Irish Barmbrack (#496, Ireland)
Source: Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist is out now, priced at £24.99, with more than 300 pages covering the world’s top food experiences