Best Local Specialty Foods
  1. T+L
  2. Food and Drink

Best Local Specialty Foods

Nadine Ingram
Where to try paella in Spain and recommendations for more iconic dishes you can't get (or get as good) anywhere other than the local source.

See 100 Places to Eat Like a Local

Farinata, Genoa, Italy

Liguria’s beloved equivalent of the French socca is a thin, pizza-like pancake made from chickpea flour, served hot from the oven and typically adorned with hunks of gorgonzola or Stracchino cheese. Find the best at the family-run trattoria Sa’ Pesta, deep in the centro storico. $$

Cao Làu, Hoi An, Vietnam

This quaint fishing village is justly celebrated for cao làu soup, whose thick noodles must be cooked in water from one of five local wells. So insists Vy Trinh Diem, whose restaurant Morning Glory serves a stellar version: a tangy broth laced with juicy strips of pork and chewy rice noodles. $$

Hokkien Mee, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

NYC chef and Malaysian food expert Zak Pelaccio swears by this savory-sweet tangle of egg noodles charred in a wok with crisp bits of lard, pork, shrimp, fish cake, and cockles. Seek it out at Aik Yuen Restaurant, in the K.L. suburb of Setapak. Jalan Sarikei, Setapak. $

Chicken Tagine, Marrakesh, Morocco

Al Baraka may be the best gas station you’ll ever eat at. Head to the tagine window for a whole-chicken stew, pungent with preserved lemons and olives. RP 24 Commune Annakhil, Sidi Yousef Ben Ali. $

Bouillabaisse, Marseilles, France

In the fishing port of Vallon des Auffes, the idyllic L’Épuisette serves a proper Provençal bouillabaisse that’s oceans away from all others—brash and intense, rich with saffron and garlic and tasting unmistakably of the sea. $$$

Panéed Rabbit, New Orleans

Think of Brigtsen’s as fine dining stripped of all pretension. The signature dish—sesame-crusted, shallow-fried rabbit served with mustard sauce—is a masterful blend of Cajun ingredients and Creole technique. $$$

Paella, Pinoso, Spain

In a sleepy hamlet 35 miles west of Alicante, the chef at Paco Gandía layers rice in a pan the size of a bicycle tire, along with rabbit, tomatoes, saffron, and snails that feed on wild herbs. Licked by flames from an open fire, the paella is not just good—it’s near-mythical. $$$

Lamingtons, Sydney

At bite-size bakery Flour & Stone, these quintessentially Aussie squares of vanilla sponge cake, slathered in chocolate icing and dusted in coconut, come stuffed with panna cotta and berry compote. $$

Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150

More from T+L