Food is a big driving force behind why we travel. We long to taste new corners of the world; we want to experience through our senses. Sometimes that means a pilgrimage to a hidden trout farm in the mountains, other times it simply means a trip to the city to find local holes-in-the-wall.
When it comes to touring your tastebuds, the best cities are usually the most diverse — with new cuisines to uncover and new flavors to find. But all cities are not created equal when it comes to culinary internationalism. So what’s the absolute best city to visit if you want to try different foods from around the world? Bott+Co decided to use Google Maps to answer that very question. They processed the data from cities with a population of more than 1 million people, looking at the number of national cuisines available in each city.
While most of the top ten make a certain amount of sense, there are some cities ranked lower than expected, with San Francisco and Los Angeles at the bottom of the list.
10. San Francisco, USA
San Francisco starts out the list with a strong showing of 60 national cuisines represented. The majority of those cuisines are pretty evenly split between Pan-Asian and Pan-Europe staples — think dim sum and pasta, two SF specialties.
9. Los Angeles, USA
L.A. comes in ninth with 61 national cuisines available city-wide. While L.A. is dominated by the taco and burrito, it’s Asian and European restaurants that seem to rule the food scene, accounting for almost 2/3 of the diversity.
8. Dubai, UAE
Dubai comes in eighth with 62 national cuisines available — including a fully sanctioned North Korean restaurant.
6 (tie). Melbourne, AUS
With 64 national cuisines represented, Melbourne tied with Berlin. The Australian city has long been considered the food capital of Down Under and has the restaurants to back that claim up.
The local meat pies are always essential but don’t sleep on the amazing Sichuan joints.
6 (tie). Berlin, GER
Berlin is certainly the foodie capital of Germany with a deep and longstanding migrant population coming to the city’s streets to cook great food. Items like the Turkish-inspired döner kebab have become sacrosanct on the streets of Berlin, amping up the city’s multicultural cred.
5. Paris, FRA
Paris is a food mecca and clocks in at fifth with 65 national cuisines available throughout the City of Lights. It’s hard to say what the best is, but we know they make a mean burger in some arrondissements and some of the best Lebanese falafel in others.
4. Chicago, USA
Chicago tucks nicely into fourth with 66 national cuisines. Polish pierogies, German wurst, and some of the best Taquerias east of the Mississippi help make Chicago the Midwest’s food capital.
3. Toronto, CAN
Toronto has 73 national cuisines throughout the city. The multiculturalism is so rich that the city has not one, but two Chinatowns.
2. London, UK
London comes in at number two with 89 national cuisines represented. It’s one of the most diverse cities in the world. People migrate from every corner of the globe to live and work in the iconic city. Thankfully, a lot of those migrants bring their food along too.
1. New York, USA
Atop the list is none other than New York City with 94 national cuisines available. Just think, if you went out once a week to try a different cuisine in New York, it’d take almost two years to try them all.
Two years of eating something brand new every week is culinary diversity at its best.