Leave it to Andrew Zimmern—the Travel Channel’s peripatetic Bizarre Foods TV host—to create the ultimate foodie traveler’s global bucket list. We love that no place is too fancy (a caviar bar in St. Petersburg, Russia), too humble (noodle soup at a wholesale market in Bangkok), or too far-flung (tuna and lamb ribs in Samoa) to make the cut. We caught up with Zimmern at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen last weekend to get the inside scoop on his picks. Check out the full list on Pinterest here.
How did you choose your 31 meals?
The word “meal” to me seems limiting: how do you decide on 30 meals in the world when there are hundreds of thousands of places to choose from? I love leading people to travel experiences where they can carve out their own food destiny for themselves. That’s why the majority of my choices ended up being markets. I’m more about people seeking out unique adventures and letting them decide for themselves what they like about it.
Markets can be overwhelming though. How can travelers navigate their way to the best eating experiences?
You should either ask locals for their recommendations, or just look for the longest line. There are hundreds of vendors at any given market, but there’s one guy who’s got the biggest line early in the morning. Guess what? That’s where you should be eating.
Asia’s famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo isn’t on your list, but Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul is. Why?
The reason, very simply, is that at Noryangjin is not as touristed or fetishized as Tsukiji, and more importantly, there’s an entire restaurant culture that’s sprung up around the market where anyone can buy a fish or shellfish and take it to the restaurant and have it cooked. That doesn't really exist at Tsukiji market. To me, the essence of travel is about discovery, so I’d rather have someone go to Noryingjan seafood market and become a part of the action and ask around: where’s the restaurant where I can take this amazing yellow snapper to? It's the type of experience that you can go and participate in.
How does a Michelin-starred meal such as Mugaritz in San Sebastián, Spain, stand up next to a humble seafood shack like Badjao Seafood House in Palawan, in the Philippines?
You can’t say that a meal at Mugaritz is any better than a meal at Badjao Seafood House. The fish and shellfish at Badjao rivals what’s at Mugaritz. It’s as well tended, and it’s as beautifully created. You’re talking about a culinary experience in a magical restaurant versus a transporting little place where you walk out on a dock and sit in this little bamboo hut perched out over the water. “Best” and “most interesting” are relative terms.
We noticed that you included Kau Kee restaurant in Hong Kong—a favorite among T+L staff. What made it worthy of your top 31?
I like to go to Kau Kee and sit there for about an hour and a half, and every half hour I’ll have a bowl of brisket and noodles. It’s the essential Hong Kong experience: you’re in an old restaurant that only does one thing, and it costs anywhere between $1.50 and $3 per bowl. The reason I sit there for an hour and a half is not because I want time to have six bowls of soup. It's so I can watch all of Hong Kong go by—neighbors, families, shop owners—right from those tables. These are the types of experiences that make travel so unique.
Jennifer Flowers is the Hotels & Food Editor at Travel + Leisure. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.
What would the modern-day Marco Polo look like? After a global search on Facebook, which included 26,000 applications, 26-year-old Liam Bates is the successful recruit. He'll become the foreign ambassador to represent the city of Hangzhou, a major tourist destination in China, and will work to encourage visits and increased tourism from foreign nationals.
The announcement was made on Monday, May 19, commencing the start of a 15-day trip to Hangzhou for Bates and a salary of 40,000 euros.
Whether it’s a local weekend getaway destination or a far-flung city, T+L’s editors are consumed by travel most days of the week. Pinterest recently released a breakdown of what people Pin on different days and it seems that travel (and specifically, summer vacations) are top of mind on Saturdays.
We’ll do our best to keep you Pinning over the weekend, while still giving you a dose of wanderlust during the week, in case you need a little pick-me-up.
According to Pinterest data, here are the top 50 Place Pins (real and imagined destinations) trending on Pinterest:
Untamed mountains, green forests, pristine lakes, and wide-open spaces. What better way to celebrate Earth Day than at a U.S. national park? Facebook agreed and put together a list of the top 2013 check-ins from national parks around America.
Top US National Parks:
1. Grand Canyon 2. Yosemite 3. Yellowstone 4. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts 5. Great Smoky Mountains 6. Zion 7. Rocky Mountain 8. Everglades 9. Acadia 10. Joshua Tree
Interestingly enough, 12 percent of those who checked into a park on Facebook in 2013, live in another country, with the United Kingdom in the lead.
The U.S. cities whose residents are the top visitors to U.S. National Parks are from Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Denver.
Wherever you are in the world, Earth Day is the perfect excuse to get outside and enjoy, well, the earth!
Gabrielle Blitz is Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.
It's been a rough week for airlines on social media.
After a Dutch teenager jokingly tweeted a bomb threat to American Airlines—she has since been arrested—the air carrier is now fielding dozens of other fake bomb threats over Twitter.
Meanwhile, U.S. Airways, is in crisis mode after it accidentally included a pornographic picture in one of its tweets. Even though the airline deleted the Tweet soon after, the image had already gone viral, with thousands of responders mocking U.S. Airways.
One bright spot: Southwest Airlines had a hit with its stand-up comic flight attendant delivering one of the coolest safety briefings we've ever heard. (Watch video above.) If you're going to go viral, that's the way to do it.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.
Fat Tuesday marks the end of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but we’re still reminiscing about the flaky slices of King Cake and over-the-top parades. These numbers, officially crunched by Facebook, show the most popular bars, hotels, and neighborhoods in NOLA from 2013, based on the volume of and increase in Facebook check-ins during the week leading up to Mardi Gras. Only check-ins within a 15-mile radius of the city center made the cut, so vicarious revelers couldn’t skew the stats. Read on to see how many of your 2014 party spots racked up against last year’s.
What are the go-to apps and websites for hotel research and booking? Which hotel brands are the most innovative in personalization? We're discussing hotel strategies with the experts this Tuesday, March 4th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. Join along and ask them for their insider advice!