Food is an integral part of travel. Whether you’re slurping up a bowl of ramen noodles in Japan or nibbling on fine French cheese and baguette, sampling the local cuisine offers a way to truly understand the local culture.Hotels.com surveyed about 27,000 travellers from all over the globe in the month of June to find the best destinations for food. The results confirm what many global travellers already know: Italy is the world’s best destination for food.
According to the survey, Italy reigns as the number one foodie destination, with 32% of the respondents voting for Italian pizzas, pastas, gelato and more. France came in second with 24% of the votes, followed by Japan with 18% of the votes.
We’ve found the foods that most define the cuisine of each of the top 10 countries in the Hotels.com survey. Be warned: you may want to book your next trip after you’ve read this slideshow.
Within India, the food varies tremendously based on the region you're in: the south of India is known for its incredibly spicy and predominantly vegetarian dishes while the north uses lots of potato and meats (goat, chicken and lamb but no beef) with more mild curries.
There are wonderful breads like naan, dosa, and chapati to accompany every meal. Wash it all down with a lassi (a yogurt-based beverage) to cool off the intense heat.
While it's hard to choose one dish that represents India, samosas are often found around the country. A samosa is a fried pastry that's usually filled with potatoes, onions, peas, lentils and spices.
Where to find it: This dish is found all over the country, but it varies in size and filling based on the region you're in.
Taiwanese food is somewhat similar to that found in the mid and southern provinces of mainland China, but it also has some influences from Japanese cuisine. The cuisine uses lots of seafood and fresh tropical fruit--ingredients that are readily found on this small, tropical island just off the coast of mainland China. Yet the country still employs lots of meat in its dishes, and one of the most popular dishes in Taiwan is beef noodle soup.
Food: Beef noodle soup
Where to find it: You can find beef noodle soup all over the island, but one of the best places to slurp up a bowl is in Taipei, at the noodle shops and stalls in the Shilin Night Market.
Thai cuisine has very unique, aromatic and strong flavours, probably based on the spices and condiments used in making these dishes, like lemongrass, peanuts, fish paste and spicy chilli peppers. There are lots of curries, spicy soups, noodle dishes, fragrant fruits and fresh crisp vegetables.
Food: Curry (massaman curry, red curry, green curry and more)
Where to find it: All over the country.
Mexican cuisine is diverse and varies according to the region you're in. Puebla and Oaxaca are serious foodie destinations, famed for their mole sauces, cheese and chocolate while the Yucatan is the place to get fresh fish dishes like ceviche.
But you'll find fresh corn tortillas, meat, cheese and salsa in nearly every combination all across the country. Our favourite is the simple classic: tacos.
Where to find it: You'll find tacos all over the country, but some areas specialize in certain types. Baja California is famous for its tacos del pescado (fish tacos) while Morelos is the place to get tacos al pastor (shepherd-style tacos usually made with spit-roasted pork).
The U.S. is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, which means that the food is also incredibly varied.
Many people think of the hamburger as the American staple, but what about clam chowder and lobster rolls from the northeast, fried chicken and biscuits from the south or fish tacos and Tex-Mex from the southwest? It's hard to pin down just one food that defines America, so we went with a dessert that's found on nearly every menu of every restaurant in this country.
Food: Apple pie
Where to find it: In restaurants, cafes and bakeries all over the country--especially in November, around Thanksgiving.
Spain has its centuries-old traditions of tapas dishes, but there's probably nothing that defines Spanish food more than paella, a creamy, flavorful rice dish that's chock-full of chicken, chorizo, all sorts of fish and shellfish, vegetables and saffron, the spice that turns the rice its definitive yellow colour.
Where to find it: Paella originated in Valencia, but today you can find it in restaurants all over the country.
China is a huge and diverse country and that means that the cuisine too is incredibly varied. From the Szechuan province, which is known for its fiery spicy dishes, to the inventive street food in Beijing, the cuisine varies tremendously from region to region. But dumplings, which are often served for dim sum (a breakfast-type of meal) are found all over the country.
Where to find it: Every region seems to have its own version of dumpling, from xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) in Shanghai to jiaozi (usually meat-filled crescent shaped dumplings), which are found all over the country.
Japanese food is incredibly inventive, elegant and refined. In fact, there are 32 three Michelin-starred restaurants here--seven more than France, which only has 25 restaurants with three Michelin stars.
Sure, there's street food like ramen and yakitori (skewers of grilled chicken) but there are also plenty of elegant restaurants serving silky fresh fish, high-quality kobe beef dishes, and fresh-out-of-the-ocean sushi.
Where to find it: Though you can find sushi all over the country, some of the best sushi bars are in Tokyo in the ritzy Ginza area or in the neighbourhood of Roppongi.
France is renowned as a culinary Mecca for its buttery flaky pastries, its light fluffy crepes and its comforting dishes like coq au vin and blanquette du veau, but there's nothing more iconic than a simple crusty baguette paired with a stinky cheese and a fine aged wine.
Food: Baguette, cheese, wine
Where to find it: Most wine bars and bistros in Paris--and around the rest of the country--will offer their version of this winning combination.
Though some might argue that pasta and gelato are the best things to eat in Italy, it's the pizza that keeps everyone coming back for more. Rome has its weigh-by-the-slice pizza, but Naples remains the number one pizza destination for its chewy, airy Neapolitan-style pies.
Where to find it: Naples (for Neapolitan-style pies) and Rome (for weigh-by-the-slice Roman-style pies).
NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.