Fine dining, diverse cuisine and unique culinary experiences
When traveling internationally, one of the ways in which visitors can tangibly absorb the culture, personality and literal taste of the destination is through food. While all travelers may have their own criteria by which they assess the cities in the world with the best gastronomy, there are three main categories food and travel experts consider as they list the best culinary destinations – number of world-class restaurants, cultural diversity of the cuisine and overall experience of dining in the city.
Smart Meetings researched these topics and compiled a list of cities that are consistently scoring high in all three categories, making them desired destinations for meeting professionals who want to treat event attendees to a mouthwatering international experience.
Consistently ranked highly if not the highest in both the number of world-class restaurants and overall food experience, Tokyo is home to some of the most refined food and skilled chefs in the world. With over 280 Michelin stars to date, it is no wonder travelers and foodies flock to this culinary mecca and experience the internationally revered cuisine.
Holding down its place in the Michelin Guide Tokyo for 16 years, Ginza Toyoda offers the tranquility of Japanese culture with some unexpected modern twists. More than just a restaurant, Ginza Toyoda encourages guests to join the chefs in a welcoming environment and participate in the journey as the dish is being created by “enjoying the aroma and sound…until the dish is ready.” With a focus on the four seasons, Chef Seiji Funashima travels around Japan to find the best seasonal ingredients to create his menus.
But travelers to Tokyo can expect more than traditional Japanese food. Rich with diversity, highly celebrated French restaurants are increasingly setting up shop in Japan’s capital city. Pierre Gagnaire Tokyo serves the most luxurious ingredients with impeccable French cooking techniques.
The French chef is now to be featured in the French film “The Taste of Things,” or “La passion de Dodin Bouffant,” which will be available in Japanese. He is offering a special course menu featuring the dishes featured in the film that is set to be released in January, 2024.
If seeking out a city with incredibly diverse culinary options, London is an international hub of different cultures and cuisines. With strong communities comprised of populations from all over the world, it is no surprise that London is considered to be an international marketplace of some of the best global restaurants.
Representing the large West African population in London, Chishuru serves elevated West African cuisine that people from any background would love. Chef Adejoké (Joké) Bakare is a Nigerian native who moved to the UK decades ago to pursue her dream of bringing West African cuisine cooked with modern techniques to the big city. Named one of Code’s 100 Most Influential Women in Hospitality and shortlisted as Innovator of the Year at the GQ Food & Drink Awards 2022, she is now shortlisted as Chef to Watch in the National Restaurant Awards 2023.
Refusing to be one note, Jikoni has named itself the “no borders kitchen.” Pulling inspiration from South Asia, the Far East, the Middle East, East Africa and its home in the UK, Jikoni dedicates its menu to both highlighting similarities between international cuisines as well as celebrating the stark differences. What brings diverse cuisines and flavor profiles together? Dishes that are made with love and comfort but with an elevated sophistication.
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If looking for an international city to not only taste amazing food but to immerse in the food culture and participate in the cuisine, Singapore is a desirable choice. The Lion City goes beyond its reputable fine dining cuisine in its globally celebrated restaurants by offering visitors opportunities to participate in the culturally rich culinary world, from the farms and rivers to markets to kitchens.
Lets Go Tour offers a full market-to-table culinary tour experience with an included cooking class for visitors to experience an authentic day in the life of the food scene in Singapore. Starting at local wet markets, named for the constant cleaning of produce and floors with water, visitors will learn how to grocery shop in Singapore like a local. Expert chefs will then hold a cooking class to demonstrate how to make regional staple dishes, such as Hokkien prawn noodles or Singapore chilli crab. Recipes are gifted to participants so visitors can recreate the Singapore experience in their home kitchens.
For the even more adventurous, dare to visit NOX Dine in the Dark for a somewhat risky culinary experience. Upon entering, all phones and other light-emitting devices will be stored in lockers as guests are briefed on the concept. After a beverage and an amuse-bouche, guests will head into the pitch-dark dining area and tended to by a wait staff – all who are visually impaired or blind. There diners will be served a menu of delicious delicacies without knowledge of the ingredients and encouraged to experience food in a new way once one of your main senses is gone. Guests will then retire to the lit lounge where they can discuss their experiences before the chef reveals the dishes and their ingredients.
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