50 famous foods you should eat in your lifetime

Supitcha McAdam/ShutterstockCheese-lovers should be required to try Chicago deep-dish pizza.

From iconic desserts like Belgian waffles to savoury dishes such as dim sum, pad thai, and Polish pierogies, just about every corner of the world is packed with famous eateries and must-try foods.

Naples, Italy, is home to what’s been called the world’s best pizza, and New Orleans, Louisiana, is a major Southern cuisine destination in the US.

In the name of adventurous eating, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most famous foods and restaurant dishes that food-enthusiasts should try in their lifetime.


Every food lover should experience a classic Spanish tapas meal, a combination of small plates like roasted peppers, anchovies, and other local dishes.

David Silverman/Getty ImagesA traditional tapas meal.

The Market of San Miguel is one of the most famous food spots in Madrid, Spain, and has rows of vendors offering tapas galore.


You might need more than one person to help you finish paella, another traditional Spanish dish of rice, seafood, and vegetables — all cooked and served in a giant skillet.

Federico Meneghetti/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesSeafood paella.

Paella is believed to have originated in Valencia, Spain. Now, the traditional rice and seafood dish has become synonymous with Spanish culture.


Try colourful marzipan sweets from Barcelona’s iconic food market, La Boquería.

Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesLa Boquería in Barcelona.

La Boquería is a food market in Barcelona home to whimsically shaped sweets all made out of marzipan.


For dessert, enjoy a Spanish favourite — crispy churros dipped in warm chocolate sauce.

Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesChurros with chocolate.

Chocolatería San Ginés is a famous spot for churros in Madrid, but most cafés offer the famous combination of crispy churros with the iconic hot chocolate sauce, and it’s hard to go wrong.


When in London, try fish and chips, one of England’s most iconic dishes.

Yudai/ShutterstockFish and chips, a British tradition.

Locals dip their crispy fish and chips in a vat of malt vinegar.


And don’t miss out on trying a full English breakfast, a traditional take on the first meal of the day.

Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty ImagesThe full English breakfast.

The infamous full English breakfast has a little sampling of everything from potato hash, baked beans, roasted vegetables, sausage, and eggs. Terry’s Café in South East London serves up a famous take on the classic meal.


Take a bite into a picture-perfect macaron, a meringue dessert commonly found in France.

Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty ImagesMacarons are a sweet meringue dessert.

The meringue cookies originated in Italy, but food scholars believe they made their way to France in the 16th century, according to The Atlantic. The first French macaron shop was Laudrée, which opened in 1892 and now has locations around the world.


Adventurous eaters should try escargot, the traditional French snail dish.

ShutterstockEscargot is a French delicacy.

Taste the gourmet dish at L’Escargot Montorgueil, a famous restaurant in Paris.


Everyone should bite into a traditional Italian pizza in their lifetime.

ShutterstockPizza in Naples, Italy.
Naples, Italy, is home to L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, which is widely considered one of the world’s most renowned pizzerias. The Naples pizza shop was featured in “Eat Pray Love,” and it also opened a location in Los Angeles in May 2019.


Dine at Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, which has consistently been named one of the top-rated restaurants in the world.

David Silverman/Getty ImagesOsteria Francescana.

Osteria Francescana was named the best restaurant in the world in 2018 by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, which is determined by more than 1,000 chefs, food writers, and restaurant experts. Though the list isn’t the be-all-end-all of the restaurant world, Osteria Francescana is a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience.


Eat Italian caprese salad with tomatoes, basil, and a fresh dollop of mozzarella cheese.

Max Cavallari/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesCaprese salad is all about the mozzarella.

Caseificio La Fattoria, a restaurant in Italy’s Campania region, makes fresh mozzarella in giant spheres that can weigh up to 88 pounds.


Try dim sum, a Cantonese-Chinese meal of small dumpling dishes.

Kia Nakriz/ShutterstockDim sum is just as delicious as it is aesthetically pleasing.

The translation of “dim sum” means “with a touch of heart,” according to Mental Floss. Condé Nast Traveller calls Koi Palace in San Francisco’s Chinatown some of the best dim sum in California’s Bay Area.


Warm up with a steaming bowl of noodles from Ichiran, a Japanese restaurant famous for its ramen.

Jheng Yao/ShutterstockA steaming bowl of ramen.

Ichiran is known for being a ramen destination, according to Forbes. The restaurant’s specialty is a ramen with pork-based broth, called tonkotsu ramen, with homemade noodles.


Speaking of sweets, taste a slice of baklava, a Middle-Eastern pastry made with flaky filo dough, chopped nuts, and honey.

Mehmet Akif Parlak/Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesBaklava can be messy but delicious.

Shatila Bakery in Dearborn, Michigan, is renowned for its authentic baklava.


The cannolis at Mike’s Pastry in Boston are a serious foodie bucket list item.

Yelp user / Deanna Y.Cannolis from Mike’s Pastry.

The historic bakeshop, which has been serving sweets in Boston since the 1940s, is known for its picture-perfect cannolis.


Lobster rolls are a classic in the Northeast.

Nevin Martell/For The Washington Post via Getty ImagesLobster rolls with coleslaw and french fries.

From Massachusetts to Maine, lobster rolls are a favourite in the Northeast region.


Seafood fanatics can taste fresh oysters at restaurants along Maine’s iconic Oyster Trail.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty ImagesOysters in Maine.

Maine’s Oyster Trail is home to some of the region’s most iconic oyster destinations, including restaurants and farms.


A major New Orleans staple is shrimp gumbo, a flavorful, thick seafood stew served over a bed of fluffy rice.

hiphoto/ShutterstockShrimp gumbo.

A popular New Orleans establishment known for its Creole cuisine is Brennan’s Restaurant in the French Quarter.


New Orleans is also known for beignets, a delectable, doughnut-like pastry topped with powdered sugar.

Ryan Theriot/Getty ImagesBeignets from Cafe Du Monde.

Cafe Du Monde is a famous spot for beignets in New Orleans.


Bite into one of the most famous dishes of America’s South, the fried green tomato.

MShev/ShutterstockFried green tomatoes are a Southern staple.

South City Kitchen in Atlanta is Foursquare’s top-rated Georgia spot for fried green tomatoes.


Chicago’s cheesy, doughy deep-dish pizza is another must-eat.

Supitcha McAdam/ShutterstockThe cheese pulls on a deep-dish pizza are breathtaking.

Eater Chicago calls Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria “one of the original inventors of the Chicago deep dish.”


Chow down on a burger and fries from In-N-Out Burger, a West Coast classic and celebrity-favourite fast-food joint.

Melia Robinson/Business InsiderIn-N-Out is an iconic fast-food chain in America’s West Coast.

In-N-Out is known for its “animal-style” burger, which is grilled in mustard and topped with an extra dose of the restaurant’s special Thousand Island sauce, pickles, and grilled onions. The “animal-style” fries are topped with melted American cheese and grilled onions, then smothered in the world-renowned In-N-Out sauce, according to Brit + Co.


On the topic of fries, everyone should try poutine, Canada’s national dish of french fries doused in gravy and cheese curds.

DAVID BOILY/AFP/Getty ImagesCanada’s poutine dish.

Condé Nast Traveller calls Montreal, Canada, the “undisputed poutine capital of the world” and lists Greenspot in Montreal’s St.-Henri neighbourhood as a top recommendation.


Cheese-enthusiasts should try the Midwest’s take on chilli at Skyline, a restaurant chain that originated in Cincinnati, Ohio.

LWYang/YelpSkyline Chilli.

People in the Midwest swear by this cheese-topped chilli.


Take a bite into a Cuban sandwich, which typically includes ham, Swiss cheese, pork, mustard, and pickles warmed up between two crispy pieces of bread.

Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesCuban sandwich.

Miami is a popular city for the Cuban sandwich, and Eater Miami recommends 925 Nuevo’s Cubano’s, Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop, and Havana 1957 Cuban Cuisine Espanola Way – among numerous other local spots.


A Pastrami sandwich with a pickle on the side is a combination from Katz’s Deli in New York City that everyone should try at least once.

Andrew Burton/Getty ImagesA classic combination at Katz’s Deli.

Katz’s Deli was one of renowned food connoisseur Anthony Bourdain’s many iconic restaurant recommendations.


It might go without saying, but trying a New York bagel should also be a bucket-list item.

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty ImagesDecisions, decisions.

Top New York City bagel contenders include Russ & Daughters, Ess-a-bagel, Tompkins Square Bagels, and Absolute Bagels.


Grab a straw or spoon (or both) and enjoy the Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity 3 in New York City, which will make you feel like you’re in a romantic comedy.

Lavanya Ramanathan/The Washington Post via Getty ImagesThe frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity 3.

The iconic restaurant and frozen hot chocolate dessert was featured in the movie “Serendipity” with John Cusak and Kate Beckinsale.


For the ultimate indulgence, dive into a milkshake from Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in New York City, an eatery known for its extravagant, candy-loaded shakes.

Desiree Navarro/WireImageThe candy is overflowing.

Foodies looking to try a candy-clad Black Tap milkshake should prepare to wait in a long line, according to Yelp reviews.


Taste chocolate rugelach, a flaky pastry from one of the most popular bakeshops in Jerusalem, Marzipan Bakery.

Bob Silverman CDN/ShutterstockChocolate rugelach.

The perfectly golden-brown, sticky pastries, which have chocolate or fruit fillings, will not disappoint. Beyond its Jerusalem location, fans can find Marzipan Bakery goods at shops in the US.


Dip a piece of warm, fluffy pita into hummus, the Middle-Eastern dip made of chickpeas, oils, and tahini.

JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty ImagesHummus is a must-eat dip.

The exact origins of hummus are contested, but communities across the Middle East, from Israel to Lebanon, offer their own take on the chickpea dip.


Taste Korean bibimbap, a colourful, flavorful rice bowl topped with a fried egg and served in a sizzling-hot stone bowl.

Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesA bowl of bibimbap.

Try bibimbap at Jungsik, a restaurant with two Michelin stars. There are locations in Seoul, South Korea, and New York City.


Try kimchi, a traditional Korean dish of cabbage and vegetables fermented in a flavorful paste.

Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty ImagesKimchi, a traditional Korean food.

At Mokbar in New York City, chefs make 200 pounds of kimchi every two weeks.


Dig into spaghetti tossed inside a cheese wheel.

Suzi Pratt/ShutterstockPasta in a cheese wheel.

Have your pasta and cheese and eat them, too, at restaurants including Sapore Di Mare in Miami, Mama’s Boy Peasant Italian in Chicago, and Cacio e Pepe in New York City.


Enjoy a light, fluffy Belgian waffle topped with berries, powdered sugar, or chocolate sauce.

Nataliia Ianchuk/ShutterstockA Belgian waffle.

In Belgium, waffles are served as street food and are typically eaten two ways: without layers of toppings, or with strawberries and whipped cream, according to the Huffington Post.


Taste the melty, chocolate-y goodness of a cookie from Levain Bakery in New York City.

Sarah Schmalbruch / INSIDERCookies from Levain Bakery.

Another fan-favourite dessert establishment is Levain Bakery in New York City, which boasts its version of the “world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie.”


Taste Portugal’s iconic dessert, egg custard tarts.

Beto Chagas/ShutterstockPortuguese egg custard tarts.

Pasteis de Belem in Libson is one of the most well-known spots in Portugal to try these famous tarts.


Bite into a pierogi, the Polish potato dumpling that can hold a savoury or sweet filling.

Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesThe ultimate comfort food.

The pierogi is a traditional Polish dish believed to have originated in the 17th century, according to BBC Travel.


Cool off with ceviche, a seafood salsa-inspired dish with origins in Latin America.

1000Photography/ShutterstockCeviche is a must-try summer dish.

Ceviche is a cold salsa with raw seafood and citrus flavours, and Peru is one country famous for its take on the dish, according to NPR. Other countries in South America and Latin America offer a take on ceviche, according to the Food Network. For example, Chilean ceviche often includes salmon, and in Mexico, ceviche may be made with tuna.


Try a fresh seafood meal at Fisherman’s Wharf, a historic waterfront in San Francisco.

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesA cooked crab over ice at Alioto’s Restaurant.

One of Eater San Francisco’s recommendations is Alioto’s Restaurant, a family-owned establishment that offers a retro dining experience.


Enjoy chorizo, a flavour-packed dish of ground pork sausage common in Mexican and Spanish cuisine.

Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post via Getty ImagesChorizo at La Puerta Verde photographed in Washington, DC.

In Mexican cuisine, chorizo is made of fresh, uncooked pork, and in Spanish cooking, chorizo is made with ground pork sausage, according to Epicurious. Try Washington, DC’s La Puerta Verde for an authentic taste of chorizo.


For another deep-fried, southern favourite, try hush puppies.

Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post via Getty ImagesHush puppies are a favourite in the South.

These balls of corn meal are deep-fried and delicious. Though it’s unclear the exact origins of the classic dish, hush puppies are a staple in the South.


Don’t miss out on crab cakes at Old Ebbitt Grill, one of Washington, DC’s oldest restaurants.

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty ImagesCrab cakes at Old Ebbitt Grill.

One of Washington, DC’s oldest and most historic restaurants is Old Ebbitt Grill, and its seafood is its claim to fame.


Enjoy truffles, candies, and other cocoa confections at Teuscher in Zurich, Switzerland, one of the most famous chocolatiers in the world.

SF11/ShutterstockA hot chocolate and truffles from Teuscher.

Teuscher is a famous Swiss chocolatier known for its decadent truffles.


Dive into a warm bowl of pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup with tons of flavour.

John Patriquin/Portland Press Herald via Getty ImagesPho is a must-try.

Dong Thap Noodles in Seattle offers a massive bowl of pho that weighs about 13 pounds.


Try Peking Duck, a crispy duck dish with roots in Beijing, China.

Nora Tam/South China Morning Post via Getty ImagesPeking Duck.

For meat-eaters, the Peking Duck is a must-try. A restaurant in Beijing, Liqun Roast Duck Restaurant, is so popular that people have to call in advance to order one of the crispy ducks, according to BBC Travel.


Dip naan bread into chicken tikka masala, a classic Indian meal with spices and a creamy tomato sauce.

Getty ImagesChicken tikka masala should be on every foodie’s bucket list.

Foursquare users have ranked London restaurant Punjab the city’s best place to get chicken tikka masala.


Chow down on pad thai made fresh from one of Thailand’s diverse street or floating markets.

KoBoZaa/ShutterstockPad thai is one of Thailand’s most well-known foods.

Try one of the most popular noodle dishes in Thai cuisine from an authentic floating market or one of Bangkok’s vibrant street food stalls.


Another must-try is Greek spanakopita, a pie made of flaky filo dough, feta, and spinach.

Bartosz Luczak/ShutterstockGreek spanakopita.

Dig into spanakopita and other Greek favourites at Varoulko Seaside, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Athens, Greece.


Bite into a golden-brown, crispy empanada, Chile’s national dish and the region’s take on a sweet- or savoury-filled doughy confection.

Jonathan Wong/South China Morning Post via Getty ImagesEmpanadas can be savoury or sweet.

At Tomas Moro, a bakery in Chile’s Las Condes suburb, people line up for hours to buy empanadas by the dozens, according to BBC Travel.

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