Celebrate ‘International No Diet Day’ with a Trip to a Top Foodie Destination
There is a saying that “calories don’t count when you’re on holiday” and that rings even more true on May 6 – International No Diet Day. Rather than count calories or fret over the latest dietary fad, why not take advantage of every meal as a chance to enjoy a sensory experience as part of a healthy lifestyle with no need for stress or self-scrutiny.
To celebrate this unique day that champions love for all body shapes, Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest range of incredible places to stay, presents a list of top foodie destinations based on its exclusive traveller endorsement data, as well as what to eat and where to stay while you’re there. Pack your appetite and get ready to tickle your taste buds, because enjoying delicious food is one of the most enjoyable aspects of travel!
Italy and food, food and Italy. One couldn’t exist without the other. Home to so much more than just pizza and pasta, Italy’s culinary credentials can’t be overstated. Even if you’ve been to an Italian restaurant before, nothing beats sampling the real thing in Italy itself.
- Rome: Fiori di Zucca
One of Rome’s most popular antipasti (starters), Fiori di Zucca is made from squash blossoms. These edible flowers are lightly battered and fried to crispy perfection, sometimes coming with a filling of cheese, anchovies or prawns.
Where to stay: Green 152 - Luxury Apartments Rome Colosseum Monti
- Naples: Pizza Marinara
In the home of pizza, Pizza Marinara is considered by many to be the most authentic of them all. Topped with mozzarella, tomato, oregano, garlic, olive oil and basil, it’s said to be named after the hungry fishermen who would devour this tasty dish upon returning from sea.
Where to Stay: Talismano Luxury Bed & Breakfast
- Bologna: Tortellini in brodo
Tortellini en brodo (meaning ‘in broth’ in Italian) is a classic and very traditional course in Bologna. This soup, as simple as it is tasty, is filled with light and fluffy meatballs and tender tortellini. Che buono!
Where to stay: Aemilia Hotel Bologna
The United States of America (US)
The US has always been a melting pot of outside influences, and when it comes to gastronomy, it’s no different. Bringing together the best of Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and beyond – and always adding its own twist – American cuisine is as rich as it is filling. Welcome to the United States of Food.
- New Orleans: Gumbo
If the US is a melting pot then New Orleans is a crucible. French, Spanish and African influences blend together in this magnificent city – so it’s fitting that its signature dish is a hotchpotch of world cuisines. Gumbo is a tasty stew usually combined with vegetables, spicy broth, sausage and shellfish.
Where to Stay: Madame Isabelle's House
- Chicago: Deep-dish Pizza
It’s often said that everything’s bigger in the US. In Chicago, that’s certainly true of the pizza. The Windy City’s star dish takes an Italian classic and beefs it up. It’s cooked in a deep dish, allowing for extra cheese, extra sauce and extra filling.
Where to Stay: Chicago Athletic Association
- San Francisco: It’s-It Ice Cream Sandwich
This tasty San-Fran classic is incredibly simple – take a scoop of ice cream, sandwich it between two oatmeal biscuits and dip in dark chocolate. Take your ice cream pick from vanilla, chocolate, mint, green tea and more.
Where to Stay: Argonaut Hotel, a Noble House Hotel
If you think Spanish food and beverages are limited to paella and sangria, think again. Spain’s cuisine is a rich blend of seafood, olive oil, fine wine and a whole lot of pork. Each region has their own speciality – but you need to visit to taste the real deal.
- Córdoba: Salmorejo
Creamier than its more famous cousin, gazpacho, Salmorejo is a purée has only recently gained the credit it deserves outside of Córdoba. Served with slices of serrano ham and diced hard-boiled eggs, it’s a summer classic down south.
Where to Stay: Apartamentos Casa del Aceite
- Valencia: Arròs al forn
Valencia’s rice dishes are the pride of the region. While paella grabs the headlines, we recommend giving arròs al forn a try, which is rice cooked in a clay pot in the oven. It’s usually combined with pork, chickpeas, potatoes, tomato and garlic.
Where to Stay: Cathedral Suites Hotel
- San Sebastián: Pintxos
This Basque speciality is more of a concept than a specific dish. Pintxos consist of a small slice of baguette with some kind of seafood, meat, egg or vegetable combination on top. If that doesn’t sound exciting, just head to any bar in San Sebastián’s Old Town and prepare to eat the tastiest humble pie ever.
Where to Stay: Pensión Peñaflorida
Greece is best known for its stunning beaches, fascinating history and great food. Mediterranean cuisine at its best, Greek food boasts plenty of vegetables, olive oil, lamb, yoghurt and cheese. The culinary gifts devised by modern Greeks are a treat you won’t forget in a hurry.
- Skyros: Souvlaki
Souvlaki is Greece’s signature dish par excellence. Simple and tasty, it consists of meat or vegetables marinated in lemon juice, oil and spices, then spiked by a skewer and grilled over smouldering coals. Serve in pita, add a dollop of yoghurt sauce and you’re good to go.
Where to stay: Vina Beach Hotel
- Arachova: Soutzoukákia
Originally a Turkish dish, these meatballs have been adopted by the Greeks, who have made them their own. Soutzoukákia are made up of small, succulent balls of mincemeat doused in a rich tomato sauce and served with rice. Delicious!
Where to stay: Elafivolia Arachova Suites
- Delphos: Galaktoboureko
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then you’ll love Galaktoboureko. This Greek tart is made from semolina custard and filo pastry and is usually drizzled with clear, sweet syrup and flavoured with lemon or rose.
Where to stay: Amalia Hotel Delphi
Japanese food has a whole lot more to offer than just sushi. Japan is a place where anything is turned into an intricate art form – and the food is no exception.
- Kyoto: Mamezen Soba
The capital of old Japan is the place to be to enjoy this unique type of ramen, which is served in a soymilk broth and with an accompanying yuba donburi rice bowl.
Where to stay: Japaning Hotel Gion
- Osaka: Okonomiyaki
One of the most famous food cities in Japan, Osaka is proud of its Okonomiyaki, which is an extra-succulent pancake filled with cabbage and a variety of other toppings of your choice. Just delicious!
Where to stay: Drop Inn Osaka
- Takayama: Hidagyu
Hidagyu beef competes with that from Kobe. Smooth and soft, this marvel is of premium quality and melts like butter in your mouth. Words only get in the way…
Where to stay: Sumiyoshi Ryokan
With exotic meat options like kangaroo, crocodile and emu, not to mention a vast range of seafood, Australian gastronomy is a pure reflection of the country’s personality: rich, mysterious and multicultural. You’ll love its curious blend of smells, tastes and dishes.
- Melbourne: Yabbies
Melbourne is a serious culinary hotspot and yabbies is its star dish. This freshwater crustacean is related to the lobster and is often served with sour cream.
Where to stay: Punthill South Yarra Grand
- Sydney: Meat Pie
You can’t leave the Aussie capital without enjoying a meat pie – or two. Meat pie, often containing diced or minced meat and gravy, is an Australian icon and fully of yummy goodness!
Where to stay: Bondi Beach House
- Brisbane: Anzac Biscuits
Brisbane, capital of Queensland, is a metropolitan city with a great gastronomy. It’s also a great place to taste Anzac Biscuits, which are a traditional, hard Aussie cookie complete with rolled oats, coconut and syrup.
Where to stay: Rydges South Bank Brisbane
South Africa’s food scene has a touch of indigenous essence along with sprinkling of a Dutch, French and Indian influence. This magnificent country will amaze you with its vibrant cuisine. Get ready to discover a new world of flavours!
- Durban: Biltong
Golden beaches, a glass of good wine and a cut of biltong is all what you need. This kind of dried, cured meat seasoned with vinegar, salt and spice is tasty and unique.
Where to stay: Holland House B&B
- Cape Town: Bobotie
One of the most iconic cities in the world fascinate every traveller and feeds the senses. Bobotie, a dish of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping, is a national speciality.
Where to stay: The Cellars-Hohenort
- Oudtshoorn: Koeksisters
Experience a unique travel and taste by biting into a koeksister, one of sweetest things in the world. This traditional treat is flavoured syrup infused fried dough and is just delightful.
Where to stay: Karoo Sun Guesthouse
Brazil’s gastronomy is as rich and colourful as the country itself. There are plenty of wonders to choose from in this melting pot of cuisines, where every region has its own appeal. Join the Brazilian beat and chow down on some of South America’s finest food.
- Sao Paulo: Virado à Paulista
Almost every restaurant within this enormous and vibrant city offers a traditional touch of local cuisine on its main menu. Virado à Paulista is a very typical dish because of its simplicity and its favour. It’s a mix of ingredients – rice, pork, banana, vegetables - all combined together. Give it a try, you won't regret it!
Where to stay: NOD Hotel
- Gramado: Acarajé
This tiny, picturesque mountain resort is a jewel and acarajé is one of its charms. This dish is one of Brazil’s specialties and is made from black-eyed peas formed into a ball combined with garlic, ginger and salt and then deep-fried in dendê.
Where to stay: Chalés Família Fioreze
- Belo Horizonte: Quindim
Beautiful Belo Horizonte is the perfect place to taste quindim – a popular baked dessert made from sugar, egg yolks and ground coconut. It’s usually presented as an inverted cup with a shining touch. Que bom!
Where to stay: Max Savassi Apart Service
China boasts a highly developed culture and society that was way ahead of its European counterparts for centuries. Therefore, it’s no surprise that their food is full of unique, exciting flavours that taste of real culinary expertise. It’s a wonderful world of tanginess – a ‘Tang dynasty’, you could say.
- Guangzhou: Dim Sum
China’s third largest city will have your mouth watering for its traditional dim sum – bit size dumplings filled with meat, seafood or vegetables and steamed to perfection. But the culinary delight doesn’t stop there; the drinking of the tea while enjoying dim sum is as important as the food.
Where to stay: Oakwood Premier Guangzhou
- Beijing: Peking Duck
Peking duck is probably the most famous dish from Chinese cuisine. No wonder as it’s a dish that’s been in the Chinese menus since the imperial era. This delicious crispy duck is served with hoisin sauce and scallion, all rolled up in a thin crepe.
Where to stay: Beijing Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel
- Shanghai: Dragon's Beard
Similar to spun sugar, this sweet treat fascinates people of all ages. While wandering through the streets of Shanghai, keep your eyes (and stomachs) open for a food stand serving this Chinese delicacy.
Where to stay: Fraser Residence Shanghai
France has long been the home of gourmands and joie de vivre and has a more legitimate claim to be gastronomy’s world champions than most. Rich, flavourful and refined, French cuisine hits the spot for many a connoisseur. Oh là là!
- Strasbourg: Chucrut
The thought of German gastronomical influences may have many a Frenchman spluttering into their apéritif – but Strasbourg’s star dish is a worthy inclusion on this list. Made from sauerkraut and roast sausages, chucrut’s a warm and hearty dish to combat that blustery Northern French weather.
Where to stay: Hôtel Hannong
- Lyon: Quenelle
Lyon is France’s self-proclaimed food capital, and one of its most famous exports is the quenelle. These balls of creamed meat or fish are breaded, poached and then grilled or sauced. Quenelles made from pike are some of the best.
Where to stay: Okko Hotels Lyon Pont Lafayette
- Nice: Beignet
When you think of donuts, France may not be the place that immediately springs to mind. But once you discover beignets, you’ll change your mind. These succulent treats are made from choux pastry, which is deep-fried and dusted with sugar – a memorably indulgent morsel.
Where to stay: Les Suites Massena
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