Heading to Paris or Rome? Looking to spend some time in Asia? As any traveler will tell you, enjoying the local food is one of the greatest experiences one can have. Before you hit the road, we’ve put together a list of websites you’ll want to check out that will guide you to the best restaurants around. These celebrated travel food bloggers give their first-hand account of fantastic food experiences in their cities as well as the ones they visit. As a special treat, many of these sites also provide recipes to mouth-watering dishes from cultures all around the world. Now let’s dive in.
1. Parla Food
Food journalist and culinary historian Katie Parla runs Parla Food, a blog that’s dedicated to finding you the best food and drinks in Rome and beyond (places include Istanbul, London and New York). The Yale graduate moved to Rome in 2003 and has since contributed to 15 guidebooks and chronicles her eating adventures through this well-organized blog. Her casual writing style makes you feel as though she can be one of your well-cultured friends who knows all the latest and greatest culinary hot spots around. Make sure to check out her list of favorite meals and destinations of 2011 to see her top picks from last year (they include The Fat Duck just outside of London and Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare.)
Tip: Parla just released her very own app for iPhone, iPad and Android called Rome for Foodies. Though it costs $3.99, LA Times calls this “a steal” because it gives you access to a list of 135 personally and recently vetted venues to find the best places for food and drinks in Rome.
2. Eating Asia
Robyn Eckhardt is a journalist who has written for such highly regarded publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, and Food & Wine. (In July 2011 Robyn was named one of the world’s Top Culinary Guides by USA’s Travel+Leisure magazine.) Seven years ago, she started writing about food but she started living all around Asia, including Hong Kong, China, Thailand and Vietnam for over 14 years now. With graduate degrees in Asia Studies and political science from Harvard and UC Berkeley, this isn’t your typical blogger. Her website, called Eating Asia, will teach you as much about the local culture as it will about the food. Her personal writing is only enhanced by the incredibly rich pictures, taken by her professional photographer and husband David Hagerman. Each post makes you feel as though you’re taking a trip – experiencing the sights, smells and sounds of faraway places you can’t wait to visit next.
Tip: If you’re headed to Malaysia, get in touch with Robyn or David for a special food walk or photography tour through Penang. See here for more details.
3. My Kugelhopf
Heading to Switzerland? Have a sweet-tooth? Here’s a blog you should definitely check out called My Kugelhopf. Named after a sweetened bread (similar to a brioche), this site will guide you through Zurich, where food and travel writer Kerrin Rousset lives, as well as through France and New York. With so many different cultures surrounding her, Rousset decided to start this blog in 2008 to document her adventures and discoveries throughout Europe and beyond. This food blogger has a laid-back writing style that’s both easy to read and entertaining. Many of her posts show her passion for sweet desserts, which includes everything from comparing chocolate bars to checking out pastries.
Tip: Enjoy Switzerland by hopscotching around the sweetest side of Zurich with Kerrin Rousset as your guide. She conducts these tours which will show you secret spots not usually found in the guidebooks. More information can be found here.
4. David Lebovitz
Professional cook and baker turned author and writer David Lebovitz started his blog to share his thoughts on food, travel and cooking. As a trained and award-winning pastry chef, he’s accomplished in his field, yet he left the restaurant business in 1999 to pursue writing books and finds a great deal of enjoyment in sharing his experiences of living in Paris on his blog. With over 100,000 followers on Twitter and almost 27,000 fans on Facebook, Lebovitz has quite the following due to his open and honest nature. If you’d like to go straight to his restaurant recommendation in Paris, you can click “My Paris” to see the coveted list and read about the dishes you should try. The blog also has a nice selection of recipes you can try out including ones for candies, cakes, custards and sorbets.
Tip: From June 18-24, 2012, come to Europe to experience a trip of a lifetime through Paris and Lausanne, Switzerland. Lebovitz will be your guide on this chocolate and gastronomy tour which is a 6-night experience that includes a dinner to Paris’ secret underground restaurant and visits to behind-the-scenes laboratories and production facilities, which are not normally open to the public. Space is limited to 10 guests. See here for more details.