10 Best Worldwide Lunches

A handy guide for the global traveller

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1 | New York
As befits the home of the United Nations, New York boasts restaurants from more different countries than any other city in the world. If you find yourself overwhelmed by a craving for Croatian, or a yearning for Yemeni, NYC cannot be beaten
Where and what? With Italy not featuring on this list and the city being home to a big Italian community, try Robert De Niro and chef Andrew Carmellini’s Locanda Verde for delicious squid ink linguine.

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2 | Oaxaca
Chillies aside, Mexican street food is so hot right now, even recently receiving Unesco Cultural Heritage status (the first cuisine to do so). The culinary heart of Mexico is Oaxaca, where the best chillies and mezcal – tequila’s trendy, classier cousin – hail from.
Where and what? Seek out Casa Oaxaca for classic dishes from masterchef Alejandro Ruiz, including grasshoppers (chapulines) and rich mole – chocolate and chilli – sauce. 

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3 | San Sebastian
One of the largest cities in Spain’s Basque region — the current culinary capital of Europe — San Sebastian has more Michelin stars per head than Manhattan or Tokyo. The city’s competitive gastronomic societies keep standards high.
Where and what? No European town rewards an inquisitive epicurean more. Wander the pintxoterias (Basque tapas bars) to try spider crab tartlets, anchovy croquetas and txakoli, the fizzy local white wine.


4 | Lyon
If only to infuriate Parisians, we plump for Lyon for the best food in France. And plump is how you’ll end up if you eat too often in the city’s bouchons (traditional bistros), famed for their anti-nouvelle cuisine; full-fat, nose-to-tail, pork-based eating; and silky, rich sauces.
Where and what? Eat the benchmark andouillette sausages in a Beaujolais sauce at Café du Jura. This is fine wine country, too, so open a fine red Rhône (or a Beaujolais) to go with it.


5 | Cape Town (pictured above)
The go-to gastronomic destination in Africa, this city and the adjacent Cape Winelands combine cracking raw materials with properly innovative cooking in beautiful surroundings. Exploring the vineyards on horseback avoids the issue of drink driving.
Where and what? Brit Luke Dale-Roberts’ The Test Kitchen is generally regarded as the best restaurant in South Africa. Book well in advance for his fine gourmand menu with SA wines.


6 | Copenhagen
The great Scandinavian restaurant revolution can be traced back to René Redzepi’s Noma in Copenhagen in 2003. Getting a table is still nigh-on impossible, but happily former sous-chefs at the gastro-temple have opened their own joints offering similarly high quality.
Where and what? Noma graduate Christian Puglisi’s Relæ in the hip Nørrebro district for elderberry infused wild duck with burnt onions and an akvavit — Danish firewater.


7 | Mumbai
There are 14m mouths to feed in Mumbai, and while the famed dabbawallahs deliver lunch to many of these, countless stalls do a roaring trade in chaat, southern Indian street food from puri pastries to panki chatni pancakes.
Where and what? For street food classics in comfortable restaurant surroundings, track down Swati Snacks. Try gatte ki sabzi dumplings (admittedly a Rajasthani dish) with sugarcane juice for a quick lunch on the go.


8 | Hoi An
If street food is the culinary trend of the moment, then nowhere does it better than Hoi An. A French twist on the already exceptional Indochinese cuisine means the local food is almost universally delicious, but this Vietnamese city is the particular place to try pho, the sensational broth of onion, meat stock and fish sauce with rice noodles, beansprouts, beef, basil, lime and chillies.
Where and what? Those who know their pho swear by Pho Xua at 35 Phan Chau Trinh.

9 | Hiroshima
It may be alarming when a city famous for having an atomic bomb dropped on it produces freakishly large oysters, but one taste of a Hiroshima bivalve and any lingering fall-out concerns will be shelved. The season runs from November to March with oyster festivals galore.
Where and what? Not blessed with glamour, but the 11th Floor Panorama Food Court at Hiroshima JR train station is full of superb stands serving oysters fried, grilled, baked and in okonomiyaki pancakes.

10 | Sydney
The influence of Asia is strong upon the stunning harbour city, and in the absence of a Chinese entry on this list, we recommend it for some of finest dim sum on the planet.
Where and what? At his eponymous restaurant, Mr Wong gets it very right serving dreamy dim sum by day and sublime Peking Duck and other classics by night. It has a savvy, spice-friendly wine list, too: not a regular find in a Chinese and to be welcomed. 



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