Travel is no longer just about visiting a destination, it is about immersing oneself in all that the destination has to offer. Culinary offerings have risen to the forefront as one of the top reasons we travel, with recent data from Luxury Escapes revealing that 65% of Aussies plan trips around culinary experiences. Whether it is to enjoy some of the best true Neapolitan pizzas in Australia, the melting pot of cultural influences in New Caledonian cuisine, or finger-licking BBQ joints in the US, embarking on a dining odyssey can create lasting memories. As food has become a pivotal motive influencing our travel decisions, we’ve put together our top 6 culinary experiences that are well-worth travelling for.
Try Real Neapolitan Pizza at Award-winning 400 Gradi
With seven restaurants across Melbourne and Adelaide, Australians can enjoy a Neapolitan pizza without the long journey to Italy. 400 Gradi’s founder Johnny di Francesco was the first ever Australian to obtain a certification from the True Neapolitan Pizza Association, giving him the rights to sell a real Neapolitan Margherita pizza. Johnny’s pizzas have been voted the best in Australia and one of the best in the world at the prestigious World Championship this year. Johnny has also won several awards in competitions such as the 50 Top World Artisan Pizza Chains 2022 and the Made in Italy 2022 Latter Sorrentina Award to name a few. 400 Gradi is well worth the weekend trip to Melbourne or Adelaide, but if you’re planning for an American adventure, head to Dallas Texas to be one of the first guests at the McKinney 400 Gradi restaurant, opening this year.
Soul Food in Memphis, Tennessee
Known as the capital of the world’s best barbeque, Memphis has an incredible food scene that continuously surprises tourists. As a vibrant and lively travel hotspot, Memphis is famous for its barbequed pork, which has been smoked to perfection and topped with mouth-watering sauces or delectable herbs. The Memphis Barbecue Company is the perfect place to try Memphis’s famous BBQ, serving classics like pulled pork, slow-cooked ribs and beef brisket (served with a side of potato salad of course!). To wash down your meal, head to Cameo, a locally owned, craft cocktail bar offering classic cocktails and fun tiki-inspired drinks. If you are vegan or vegetarian you won’t miss out on the goodness, as Memphis has plenty of vegan comfort food options too. Plant Based Heat is a 100% vegan restaurant that serves up delicious sweet and sticky cauliflower wings and loaded vegan burgers.
Tropical Cuisine of The Islands of Tahiti
If you’re a fan of seafood, look no further than tasting the national dish of The Islands of Tahiti, Poisson Cru. With a delicious mix of ceviche-style fish and coconut flavours, this is the perfect dish to serve on a hot, tropical day. Some of the best restaurants to enjoy fresh Poisson Cru are at ‘Snack Mahana’ in Moorea, at Coco d’Isle in Hauru. If you’re interested in exploring some of the more hidden gems and lesser-known spots, the Tahiti & Moorea Food Tour with the local tour guide Heimata Hall might be just what you need.
Yo-Chi’s Delightful Dessert
Australia’s fastest-growing frozen yogurt brand, Yo-Chi has acquired a cult following around the country, so much so that some people travel across states and make sure to include Yo-Chi on their to-do list once travelling to locations where they’re located. The buffet-style toppings bar and regular rotation of delicious frozen yogurts such as Butterscotch, Signature Tart and Strawberry, bring people together from all over the country to ‘Share the Chi’ with friends and family. The brand is regularly popping up in new locations with some of the most recently opened venues in Surfers Paradise; Sunshine Plaza, Maroochydore; Newtown, Sydney; and Henley Beach, Adelaide.
French Influence with South Pacific Fusion in New Caledonia
Australia’s closest neighbour, New Caledonia is a tropical island paradise with European charm, which is evident in the cuisine. Local restaurants like Le P’tit Café and Les 3 Brasseurs offer a delightful blend of French cooking techniques and fresh local ingredients, creating uniquely New Caledonian dishes such as Beef Carpaccio with Taro and Le Entrecote Frite with honey and vanilla. New Caledonia’s must-try unique, local delicacies including the famous Kanak Bougna dish, incorporating yams, tropical fruits, chicken or seafood, and coconut milk.
Shizuoka’s Rarest Delicacies
Home to delicious ramen and tempura, Japan is on every foodie’s travel bucket list. Some of Japan’s rarest and most distinctive dishes, however, come from the Shizuoka Prefecture. Shizuoka produces over 40% of Japan’s green tea, so it’s no surprise that their green tea sweets and brewing workshops are among the best in the world. Chaluck is adored by locals for its tea-based sweets and homemade red bean paste that will get your taste buds tingling. Found only in Shizuoka’s Suruga Bay and Taiwan, Sakura Shrimp is one of the world’s rarest delicacies. Often enjoyed raw, deep-fried, or cooked in rice, these shrimp are renowned for their delicate sweetness and can be sampled in Shizuoka City during harvest seasons.