15 International Dishes Worth Traveling For


Food is a universal language; diving headfirst into its cuisine is the best way to experience a new culture. With generations-old recipes and modern dishes bursting with fresh flavors, our world is an array of culinary delights waiting to be explored. So, grab your fork (chopsticks or spork!) and experience the world through your taste buds with these 15 must-try foods.

Pizza (Italy)


This global comfort food needs no introduction. But there’s nothing quite like a pizza crafted in Naples, the birthplace of this culinary icon. Neapolitan pizza is known for its thin, slightly crunchy crust, simple tomato sauce, and minimal toppings. For an authentic experience, look for pizzerias serving pizza ” al forno,” baked in a wood-fired oven.

Nihari (Pakistan)


A labor of love and a popular option, this stew can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Beef shank or shin is slow-cooked overnight in a rich gravy infused with bone marrow, onions, ginger, and a blend of warm spices like cloves, cardamom, and black pepper. The result is a melt-in-your-mouth meat and a flavorful gravy, often eaten with naan or roti, a flatbread for scooping the goodness. Lahore, a historic city in eastern Pakistan, is known for its exceptional nihari.

Sushi (Japan) 


Freshness reigns supreme in Japanese cuisine, and sushi is the poster child. Thin slices of raw fish (or other toppings) draped over perfectly cooked rice is a simple concept done oh-so-right. Even though conveyor belt sushi chains offer a fun and affordable option, head to a local sushi bar ( a sushiya) for the real deal. In Tokyo, Tsukiji Outer Market, the world’s largest market for fresh seafood, is a must-visit for fresh ingredients.

Pad Thai (Thailand) 


This stir-fried noodle is a sweet, savory, and tangy flavor symphony. Thin rice noodles are stir-fried with eggs, vegetables, protein (usually chicken, tofu, or shrimp), and a tasty sauce that combines tamarind, fish sauce, palm sugar, and lime juice. Every region in Thailand has its take on Pad Thai, but head north to Chiang Mai for a taste of the classic version.

Poutine (Canada)


This Canadian comfort food is a delightful marriage of savory and salty. French fries are smothered with hot gravy and cheese curds, creating a satisfying and addictively delicious meal. Montreal is considered the poutine capital, with many variations available. Try smoked meat poutine for a classic Montreal experience, or get adventurous with toppings like pulled pork or lobster.

Tacos al Pastor (Mexico)


Tacos al Pastor is a symphony of flavors and textures. The marinated pork slices are stacked on a vertical rotisserie, slowly cooking and caramelizing. The meat is then shaved off and assembled on small corn tortillas with pineapple, onions, cilantro, and a tangy salsa. Head to Mexico City for the best tacos al pastor, where the tradition originated.

Pho (Vietnam)


This fragrant noodle soup is a Vietnamese staple, perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A rich beef broth simmered with fragrant spices like star anise, cinnamon, and cloves forms the base. Thin rice noodles, thinly sliced beef, fresh herbs, and vegetables like bean sprouts, lime wedges, and Thai basil are added for a customizable and satisfying meal. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is famous for its incredible pho options.

Mandi (Saudi Arabia) 


Mandi is a true celebration of meat and spices. Marinated whole chicken, lamb, or goat is slow-cooked in a large underground oven lined with fragrant wood chips. The meat absorbs the smoky flavor and becomes incredibly tender and juicy. Mandi is traditionally plated on a large communal platter with rice, vegetables, and a flavorful tomato-based sauce. The southern regions of Saudi Arabia, known for their expertise in slow-cooked meats, are the perfect place to try this delicious food.

Dosa (India)

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It is a South Indian staple, a crispy crepe made from fermented rice and lentils. The naturally gluten-free and vegan dosa is incredibly versatile. It can be enjoyed plain, stuffed with spiced potatoes (masala dosa), chutneys, and sambar (a lentil stew). Chennai in southern India is a haven for dosa lovers, offering several varieties to explore.

Jerk Chicken (Jamaica)  


This iconic Jamaican delicacy offers an explosion of flavor. Chicken is marinated in a fiery spice blend, often including Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, thyme, and nutmeg. The chicken is then slow-cooked over pimento wood, infusing it with a smoky flavor. Negril, a famous beach town in Jamaica, is famous for its beachfront jerk shacks, which serve this flavorful bite.

Churros (Spain)  


These golden-fried pastries are a delightful Spanish treat. Long, thin tubes of dough are fried until crunchy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. Churros are traditionally dusted with cinnamon sugar and enjoyed for breakfast or as a sweet afternoon snack. Madrid boasts countless churrerias, where you can experience churros dipped in thick hot chocolate for the ultimate decadent treat.

Feijoada (Brazil) 

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This hearty stew is a national dish of Brazil, bursting with flavor and cultural significance. Black beans are the base, simmered with various cuts of pork (including sausage and jerky), vegetables, and aromatic herbs. Feijoada is traditionally served with rice, farofa (toasted manioc flour), and a fried egg for a complete and satisfying meal. Rio de Janeiro is famous for its vibrant culinary scene, and feijoada is a must-try for any visitor.

Couscous (Morocco) 

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Feast on the fluffy semolina delicacy, a staple across North Africa. Steamed couscous forms the base for countless variations, often accompanied by vegetables, meat (like lamb or chicken), and tasty broths or stews. In Morocco, couscous is a celebratory dish, often served with a vibrant tagine, a conical clay pot used for slow-cooking stews. Marrakech is a foodie paradise for this dish’s lovers, offering many restaurants specializing in traditional Moroccan cuisine, including couscous.

Baklava (Greece) 

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This rich and decadent dessert is a staple across the Mediterranean and Balkan regions. Layers of flaky phyllo dough are brushed with butter or ghee and filled with chopped nuts, typically walnuts or pistachios. The baklava is then baked and drenched in a sweet syrup, creating a crispy and gooey treat. The historical city of Athens boasts countless pastry shops where you can find baklava made according to time-tested recipes.

Steak Frites (France) 


Indulge in this classic French cuisine that celebrates simplicity and quality ingredients. A perfectly seared steak, usually a cut like ribeye or sirloin, is served alongside crispy French fries. The key to a great steak frites lies in the quality of the meat and the perfect sear on the outside, leaving the inside juicy and tasty. Paris is a haven for steak frites enthusiasts, with countless restaurants offering their take on this culinary classic.


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