Anyone with saved up frequent flyer miles can traverse the globe like Anthony Bourdain. You might not get paid for your sojourns, but you will receive something equally valuable – a first-hand education in excellent food and drink. Is there anything more to life?
Whether you're a bartender who's been working too many Saturday doubles or a chef in desperate need of inspiration, it's time to buy your ticket and start planning the foodie trip of your dreams. Not sure where to go? Here are some of the coolest food and drink destinations around the world.
La Rioja, Spain
You'd have to be crazy not to love La Rioja. The Spanish region is buzzing with incredible culture, jamon – ham – and Riojas of every sort. According to the Tourist Office of Spain, this part of the country has more than 500 wineries in addition to a number of UNESCO world heritage sights.
Unlike staying in a major city, you're not confined to driving in La Rioja. Take a horseback ride or a hot air balloon over the sprawling vineyards. Then, belly up to a tapas bar for your fix of patatas bravas and small draft beer, called a "cana" in Spanish.
For a nice sit-down meal, The New York Times recommended La Taberna de Baco. NYT extolled it as a nice place to give your stomach a break from all of the rich wines and food. Opt for a fresh salad, made from locally sourced green guindilla peppers, tomatoes and onions.
Consider Japan if you're more into sushi and sake. The hardest decision you'll have to make once you land in Tokyo is what restaurants to visit. As stated on Migrationology.com, the city boasts more than 160,000 great eateries.
"Tokyo has more restaurants than any other city in the world."
Tokyo has more restaurants than any other city in the world. Lonely Planet did the math to confirm that tidbit and recommended Kyubey as a must-see for sushi and sashimi. Be sure to bring plenty of yen, as the eatery has been known to draw in celebrity clientele – an indicator of a place's price points.
Don't spend so much time on sushi that you forget to take a trip to the fish market to see where that sushi comes from. Set your alarm and wake up nice and early to catch the great tuna auction at Tsukiji fish market. Migrationology described the market as "the best place on earth."
For your street fair fix, hop a plane to Bankgok. Trip Feast and several other publications have claimed that Thailand has the best street food in the world. Do you know what else? Street food isn't confined to the streets.
That's right, you can try anything from pad Thai to an insect-rich entree from a boat shop, otherwise known as the floating markets. CNN pointed out that Bangkok is also home to some of the top culinary schools in Thailand, and there's even a winery.
Marlborough, New Zealand
Who says you have to choose between an island getaway and a food excursion? Get the best of both worlds in Marlborough. Take advantage of your waterfront food options by trying green-lipped mussels.
Wash down the briny seafood with some of the best sauvignon blanc on the planet. You have your pick of wineries, as there are more than 40 in the area, as stated on NewZealand.com. Still not satiated? Then you're ready for the mother of all foodie trips – China.
Not for the weak of stomach, Beijing offers some of the strangest meals on the planet. If you thought Peking duck was a delicacy, just wait until you see the plates full of bugs at the Donghuamen Night Market.
CNN asserted that it's a great spot for adventurous eaters as you'll find long sticks covered in centipedes, silkworm cocoons and scorpions. Locusts are eaten as a meat substitute because they're rich in fiber. The news provider confirmed that they taste just like chicken.
How can anyone choose?
Of course, with so many options spanning so many counties, it can be hard to pick just one place. But you have to start somewhere. Throw a dart at a map or pick a place that jumps out to you to pinpoint your foodie destination of choice. Then, get to planning. You'll only be sorry you didn't go sooner.
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