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From the home of the Italian Renaissance to the steamy jungles of Laos, destinations abound for food fans committed to seeking out authentic and delicious eats. Here are five spots where the flavours are vibrant, the ingredients local and the experience always memorable, making them worth the journey for the plates alone.

When in Florence, feast on legendary sandwich lampredotto, the fourth stomach of a cow served in a panino with a vibrant salsa verde. Image from instagram.com/tesoridifirenze

1. Florence, Italy


With the incredible natural larder of produce on its doorstep, it's no surprise that the Tuscan capital overflows with brilliant eats and drinks. Local beef is served as gargantuan bistecca fiorentina T-bone steaks grilled over charcoal, while ribollita is a kale and bean soup with day-old Tuscan bread ripped into chunks that sink like dumplings.


The Mercato Centrale in San Lorenzo is atmospheric and filled with temptation, nowhere more so than stands selling legendary local sandwiches. Lampredotto is the fourth stomach of a cow served in a panino with a vibrant salsa verde made from parsley, garlic and anchovies. Alternatively, slow-cooked tripe or trippa comes with tomato, onion and parsley. For the real deal, ask for it to be dipped in tripe broth.


Outside the market, Trattoria Cammillo is a great choice thanks to being run by the same family since 1945. Another old timer, Mattei, started making hazelnut and almond biscuits back in 1858 and their beautiful blue tins make for perfect culinary take-homes.

In Luang Prabang, dine on unexpected, delicious and unusual combination of flavours at Paste Laos

2. Luang Prabang, Laos


Few South East Asian destinations are as enchanting as this northern Laotian town. The once sleepy spot increasingly features on travellers’ agendas but that hasn’t affected its beguiling charm, especially when it comes to its unfamiliar but excellent cuisine. There’s nowhere better to experience it than at Paste Laos, a new spot from chef Bee Satongun, who made her name in Thailand but whose mum happens to be Laotian.


Bee brings impeccable credentials from her Michelin-starred Bangkok restaurant of the same name, evident in dishes like a larb salad of free-range chicken with ma-khaen pepper and cloves that is an aromatic wonderland. Homemade jaew bong — local sweet and spicy chilli paste — is topped with fresh crab, river weed, lemongrass, betel leaf and dill on a cracker you don’t want to end. And there’s much more: unexpected, delicious and unusual combine to make for a fantastic culinary destination.


Another notable chef is in residence at the recently opened Rosewood Hotel. Culinary director Sebastien Rubis’s work in preserving royal Laotian cuisine, which was almost lost after the 1970s revolution, has earned him an Asia Geographical Indication Ambassador award. Even better, Rubis can often be found socialising with guests and going over some of the finer points of the local cuisine. The setting, in semi-open pavilion The Great House overlooking the pool and grounds, is spectacular for lunch or dinner. Any of the local specialities is worth a try. Try the braised water buffalo with sakkhan root, a wood-like root softened in the cooking that imparts a clean, pine-like flavour to the heavy meat — guaranteed unlike anything you’ve eaten before. Or satisfy yourself with crunchy rice cakes, succulent steamed or grilled river fish, tamarind chicken broth… the list goes on, and includes tasty vegetarian-friendly fare as well.

In San Sebastián, head to Amelia, where Argentinian chef Paulo Airaudo has won rave reviews

3. San Sebastián, Spain


It’s the small provincial Spanish town that needs no introduction for global gastronomes, a culinary Mecca that punches above its weight like nowhere else: welcome to San Sebastián. With a population of barely 200,000, the picturesque Basque seaside resort boasts an incredible 17 Michelin stars, but there’s also local pintxos — Basque tapas — that take some beating. The cobbled streets of the old town are crammed with dozens of bars with mouthwatering displays of small plates.


While the best advice is to follow your nose and the lines of happy customers, Taberna Gandarias features incredible Galician sirloin with green pepper and sea salt, while Bernardo Etxea serves some of the softest paprika-dusted octopus you can find. The always-heaving La Vina<link lavinarestaurante.com/en> is famed for its outstanding baked cheesecakes, served with a glass of sherry.


For a true insider tip for those seeking a finer dining experience, pass on the heavyweight three Michelin-starred spots and head to one-starred Amelia, where Argentinian chef Paulo Airado has won rave reviews for dishes like summer langoustine with tomato essence, and scallops with vanilla oil, caviar and herbs from the sea.

Delight in Bahen & Co chocolate mousse at Wildflower, the Perth restaurant inspired by the flavours and produce eaten by indigenous Australians

4. Perth, Australia


Australia may have better known cities vying for national culinary bragging rights, but Perth continues to make a name for itself as one of the country’s most compelling new dining destinations. That’s thanks to a combination of exceptional local produce, young dynamic chefs and a public open to a world of new flavours. Nowhere is that combination more evident than at Wildflower, an elegant, light-filled space atop the COMO The Treasury Hotel.


They celebrate the best of remarkable native produce like dune spinach, saltbush and wattleseed, as chef Matthew Sartori crafts the flavours and produce eaten for millennia by indigenous Australians into brilliant, truly inventive and modern tasting menus.


Elsewhere across the city, southeast Asian cuisine is especially well-represented, while the city's Night Noodle Markets and other periodic events make the most of the sunny weather for relaxed street dining.

LA’s Zema Food Truck fuses Latin and Caribbean flavour and ingredients, served up in traditional arepas. Image by LATCB

5. Los Angeles, California


It may be a vast urban sprawl, but LA is unequivocally one of the world's finest food destinations — as long as you have access to some wheels. The incredible range of authentic dishes encompasses pretty much any destination you can think of, from Filipino to Colombian, Ethiopian to Sri Lankan and everything in between.


While there's an enviable restaurant scene, nowhere does food trucks quite like LA, and the car-obsessed city makes it the perfect choice for curious diners. Zema Food Truck fuses Latin and Caribbean flavour and ingredients, served up in arepas (grilled corn flatbreads). Their Machu Picchu mixes grilled shrimp with avocado and huancaina Peruvian sauce to great effect — and, this being LA, there are vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.


If you’re after something different however, then Guerrilla Tacos now has a brick-and-mortar location after a decade operating as a food truck. They were beloved by the late Jonathan Gold, a writer who did more to champion food trucks than almost anyone. Guerrilla offers tacos, tostadas and more, often with gourmet ingredients like wild boar or sea urchin, but always with bags of invention and flavor.

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