The best things to eat in major cities around the world, according to people who've lived there

AS photo studio / ShutterstockYes, New Yorkers may tell you to get a slice of pizza. But they might also suggest Chinese food.
  • One of the best ways to set your travel agenda is to ask locals where to go.
  • Local foodies will be able to tell you about all the under-the-radar places to eat and recommend truly quintessential meals and snacks.
  • It’s easy to look to social media for restaurant recommendations, but the most Instagrammed dishes may not actually be the best the city has to offer.
  • So INSIDER turned to foodies, reporters, bloggers, and some of our own global Insider Inc. team members who have lived in cities all over the world for advice on what to eat in the place they have – at one point or another – called home.
  • From the Italian food in London to the Chinese cuisine in New York, here are some of the best things to eat in 19 cities around the world, according to people who have lived there.

One Tel Aviv local of seven years, Ross Belfer, told INSIDER that shakshuka — a spicy tomato dish with eggs — is a must-try and “perfect for any meal!”

Calliopejen1/Wikimedia CommonsPictured here is a skillet of shakshuka.

Source: Ross Belfer of EagerTourist

Shakshuka loosely translates to “all mixed up,” which is the true essence of the dish.

Business InsiderYou can use bread to soak up the sauce and cheese in any shakshuka dish.

Source: Culture Trip

For Toronto-based blogger, Nellwyn Lampert, it’s all about the fusion and international cuisine scene in her city of 10 years.

Jiann M./YelpA watermelon dish at one of Toronto’s Asian-fusion restaurants, DaiLo.

Source: Nellwyn Lampert of Nellwyn Lampert blog, Toronto Life

With access to both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the selection of seafood in Cape Town is plentiful. Cape Town-based travel blogger, Kiersten told INSIDER it’s one of the best things to eat in the city she’s called home for two years.

iStock/Getty ImagesKingklip is a type of fish found off the coast of southern Africa.

Source: Kiersten of The Blonde Abroad

She also suggests visitors “sneak a proper braai experience with locals” during your trip. A braai involves lots of meat being cooked over an open flame.

Source: Kiersten of The Blonde Abroad

I lived in Cape Town for six months, and having been to several myself, I think the weekly Sunday braai at Mzoli’s in Gugulethu Township blows all classic barbecues out of the water.

Per-Anders Pettersson/Contributor/Getty ImagesAt Mzoli’s, you pick out your meat at the butcher, and wait at tables outside for it to be cooked. There’s always loud music and plenty of drinks for sale.

Amsterdam-based food and travel blogger, Danika, told INSIDER when in Amsterdam, you’ve got to have some fries — the double-fried variety.

Courtesy of NoDestinations.comThese are some loaded fries.

Source: Danika of

You can ask for the fries with peanut satay sauce, mayo, onions, curry ketchup, and a number of other toppings.

ullstein bild/Contributor/Getty Images

Source: Danika of, I Amsterdam

She has lived in the city for a year, and said Dutch cheese is also one of the best things to eat there. Gouda — pronounced how-dah — is one of many cheeses native to the Netherlands.

Courtesy of NoDestinations.comHere you can see counters lined with different types of cheese.

Source: Danika of, Awesome Amsterdam

When it comes to other Dutch cuisine, Danika labels it as hearty comfort food — so as a local looking to diversify her diet from traditional meat and potatoes, she says she eats a lot of the international offerings instead like Indonesian, Indian, and Ethiopian food.

Flickr/brownpauPictured here is traditional Ethiopian spongy bread topped with different stews and vegetables.

Source: Danika of

The Dutch-classic stamppot — or potatoes mashed with things like greens, sauerkraut, and other vegetables — is typically served with sausage.

Marcus Meissner/FlickrStamppot is a hearty dish.

Source: Danika of, I Amsterdam

Marjolein de Bruijn, Amsterdam-based food blogger and project manager for BI Studios, says you’ve got to try osseworst — a close-to-rare sausage snack made from smoked beef, sometimes spelled ossenworst.

Wikimedia Commons/Attribution-Share AlikeOsseworst can be served with pickled peppers, onions, or mustard.

She told INSIDER you can either eat it on a sandwich or on a plate as a snack, and you can find it at the “brown bars” — or traditional cafés — in the Jordaan neighbourhood of Amsterdam.

One blogger from Mumbai, Brinda Shah, told INSIDER the best dish to try in her city is called the Mumbai sandwich — which may contain fresh slices of cucumbers, beetroot, tomatoes, and mint chutney. She’s lived in Mumbai for 22 years.

Veg Recipes of India/YouTubeYou can see the Mumbai sandwich layers here.

Source: Brinda Shah of Seamless Symphony

It can be served in four triangles, which Shah says helps keep the layers from spilling out the sides. “Toast and grill sandwiches have the most refreshing tangy taste after each bite,” she says. “It’s affordable and a must-have if you’re in Mumbai.”

Source: Brinda Shah of Seamless Symphony

Seven-year New York City dweller, Elspeth Velten, says the array of Chinese food across the five boroughs is not to be missed.

Source: Elspeth Velten of TripSavvy

She told INSIDER, “From the cheapest Fujianese dumplings in the Lower East Side and Xi’an cumin lamb dishes across Queens and Manhattan to Cantonese classics in Sunset Park, you can travel so much of China without leaving the five boroughs.”

LWYang / FlickrYou may find a variety of steamed dumplings on different menus city-wide.

Other native New Yorkers, like myself, might say if you can only have one meal in New York City, grab a slice of pizza — if the place is tiny and has a line out the door, I’d say it’s probably worth the wait.

ChameleonsEye/ShutterstockThere are plenty of options at pizza joints around New York.

Tanya Dua, a fellow New Yorker of six years and reporter at Business Insider, agrees.

She also told INSIDER that bagels are on her list of NYC must-haves.

liz west/FlickrIf you’re a fan of seeds, sesame and everything bagels — seen here — are great options.

Tanya has also lived in Singapore, naming Singapore Chilli Crab one of the city’s best culinary staples …

Flickr/May WongPictured here is a dish of Singapore Chilli Crab.

… along with a dish known as chicken rice that you can get at a hawker center — essentially a large food court.

Tanya Dua/Business Insider

Source: Singapore

She was born and raised in Delhi, where she highly recommends popping over to Chandni Chowk shopping area for some street food — which can include plates of biryani, mutton korma, and burrah kebab all pictured here.

Tanya Dua/Business InsiderClockwise from the top is biryani, burrah kebab, and mutton korma.

Avocado toast and sweet potato fries are a must-try in Perth, Australia, one vegan-friendly food blogger, Helen Janneson Bense, told INSIDER. Bense has lived in Perth for 12 years.

iStock/Getty Images; iStock/Getty ImagesSweet potato fries and avocado toast make for a colourful meal.

Source: Helen Janneson Bense of Gypsy Lovin Light

She also said fish and chips are a staple beach snack for non-vegans.

Modern Fish and Chips/Wikimedia Commons/AttributionYou can order fish and chips to-go.

Source: Helen Janneson Bense of Gypsy Lovin Light

Elspeth of TripSavvy has lived in Australia, too, but in the city of Melbourne. After spending more than a year there, she says the café scene is not to be missed.

Tooykrub / Shutterstock

And while some cafés, she says, are somewhat over-the-top and aiming for “the Instagram crowd,” you’ll be able to find others with “simple dishes paired with expertly prepared coffee.”

Monique McDonald McCullough, an Australian-born-and-raised blogger, writes that fairy bread is “the quintessential birthday party food item” in Australia.

Mary and Andrew/Flickr Creative CommonsFairy bread is white bread topped with margarine and sprinkles.

Source: Another South, ellaslist

Some will say it’s a treat that should be reserved only for parties of all sorts. But if a celebration at someone’s home isn’t on your Sydney itinerary, you can find it on café menus across the city.

Source: Rachel Tsoumbakos, ellaslist

Also in Sydney, lover of all things natural and self-proclaimed foodie, Sophie Fisher, says the Fruitologist acai bowl is “iconic” and an “absolute must try.”

Sophie Fisher/coconutandblissThe peanut butter on this acai bowl looks picture-perfect.

Source: Sophie Fisher of Coconut and Bliss

According to TripSavvy, feijoada — a stew of beans and meat — is “Brazil’s national dish” and a must-have in Rio de Janeiro.

André Ribeiro/FlickrFeijoada is packed with protein.

Source: TripSavvy,Culture Trip

It’s sometimes served with farofa, — flour made from a root vegetable, cassava — shredded kale, rice, and oranges.

Source: TripSavvy,Culture Trip

One London-based author and foodie, Katie Quinn, told INSIDER that Indian food has a “zeallous following” in her city of two years.


Source: Katie Quinn

Alison Millington, senior editor at Business Insider UK, says her London foodie recommendations change rather quickly depending on her own tastes. But, she makes it a point to recommend tasting “something you can’t get at home, or have never tried!”

She has lived in London for nearly six years, and told INSIDER one of her favourites at the moment is fresh pasta.

Chloe Pantazi, Lifestyle Editor at INSIDER in New York, also says the Italian food in London is great — she spent some time living in the city after growing up nearby.

Will Martin, a reporter for Business Insider UK, told INSIDER that after four years of living in London, he highly recommends ordering a British pub roast when visiting.

Jeremy Keith/FlickrA proper British pub roast dish comes with all the sides.

Also called Sunday roast, it’s typically a dish of roasted meat and potatoes, Yorkshire pudding seen here, vegetables, and gravy.

ShutterstockYorkshire pudding is baked to look like this.

Source: The Spruce Eats

Anais is a Mexico City-born culinary tour guide and food blogger. According to this expert, one of the most popular breakfast dishes around is called chilaquiles — deep-fried tortillas soaked in a tomato- or tomatillo-based sauce, topped with cream, grated cheese, and onion.

Anacleto Rapping/Contributor/Getty Images

Source: The Curious Mexican

Author, Lesley Téllez, told Mic the dish started as a Hail Mary of sorts — a last-ditch attempt at salvaging stale, leftover tortillas.

Source: Mic

Anais told INSIDER that tacos and street food are among the best things to eat in her city overall.

Thomas Barwick/Getty ImagesYou can eat tacos for a meal or as a snack.

Source: Anais of The Curious Mexican

According to Los Angeles Magazine, the city of angels has a lot of “iconic” dishes to choose from.

Alex Millauer/Shutterstock

Source: Los Angeles Magazine

One of them is the original French dip sandwich from Philippe’s.

Yelp/Trang H.The French dip sandwich was invented by mistake.

Source: Los Angeles Magazine, Philippe’s

Philippe’s says it’s traditionally made with roast beef — and admittedly invented at the restaurant by accident. Now, you can order the sandwich with any of the following: roast beef, roast pork, leg of lamb, turkey, pastrami, or ham — it can also come topped with cheese.

Getty Images

Source: Philippe’s

The bun is dipped into the juices of the meat, which is the main characteristic of the sandwich.

Source: Philippe’s,INSIDER

Nisha Stickles, Production Coordinator at Business Insider Today, says noodle soup is a staple in her home city of Bangkok.

She told INSIDER most restaurants or food shops will specialize in a version of noodles in broth. It can be spicy or mild, may feature some sort of meat, and can include a variety of rice or egg noodles.

Portland Press Herald/Contributor/Getty ImagesThere are endless combinations of flavour when it comes to noodle soup.

Katie Canales, a reporter at Insider Inc., spent around 19 years living in Austin, Texas, and takes the Tex-Mex stance when talking about her city’s best food.

Business InsiderChips and queso is a big part of Tex-Mex cuisine.

She did also say some people will argue barbecue is the front-runner.

YelpThere are plenty of places in the city where you can find classic, Texas barbecue.

According to HuffPost, these cream puffs are “one of the best things one of Le Huffington Post’s editors have ever eaten in Paris.”

Nikola C./YelpPopelini specialises in cream puffs.

Source: HuffPost, Popelini

You can find them at Popelini — a pâtisserie that serves cream puffs exclusively.

Source: HuffPost, Popelini

Shayanne Gal, a graphic designer at Insider Inc., has lived in Santiago, Chile, and told INSIDER that a completo — a hot dog topped with avocado, tomato, and mayo — is a “staple late-night food.”

Paul Lowry/FlickrA completo can be eaten as a snack or a late-night meal.

While you may be visiting a certain city because you saw a cheese pull that just got you hooked …

… at the end of the day — or the trip, rather — you can have your cheese pull, or taco spill, or generally Instagram-able photo trait, and eat like a local, too.

Courtesy of Katie QuinnLondon-based author and foodie Katie Quinn.

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