Ten great global food experiences

If you've an appetite for the authentic, there's a world of taste sensations out there.

1. Dinner at someone's house, Cienfuegos, Cuba

There's a saying, "The three worst things about Cuba: Breakfast, lunch and dinner." But this doesn't have to be the case. As an alternative to hotel accommodation, consider staying at a Casa Particulares; essentially the Cuban version of a B&B except you're staying in someone's actual home. Pick up a fresh lobster from the market, your hosts will happily cook it up and enjoy dining with local people over a bottle of rum. See casaparticular.com

2. Bouchon, Lyon, France

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, hungry silk workers around Lyon would eat at cosy, inexpensive inns serving hearty, traditional food. Though very few authentic places remain, a handful still operate. Amid low lighting, wood panelling, chequered table cloths and a flurry of cheek kissing, you can enjoy the likes of rich duck pate, braised beef cheeks in red wine sauce, blood sausage with stewed apples and meat dumplings. See lesfedeslyon.com

3. Sushi and sake for breakfast, Tsukiji Market Tokyo, Japan

Observing the frenetic haggling at the world's busiest fish market has long been a favourite pastime of travellers but the real joy here is sampling the catch. Surrounding the fringes of the market, a bunch of inauspicious looking shacks sell the freshest sashimi in the world. Sliced thin on a wooden board, it goes down well with hot sake, even if it is 5am. I imagine. See tsukiji-market.or.jp/tukiji_e.htm

4. Parilla steakhouses tour, Buenos Aires, Argentina

In Buenos Aires, parillas – no-frills Argentine steakhouses – are as synonymous with local culture as tango or the beautiful game. Traditionally the meat is seasoned only with salt and pepper then seared over hot coals at low temperature to ensure it remains tender. Tourist imitations are rife so consider a whirlwind tour of some of the best with a professional operator. See parillatour.com

5. Borough Market's speciality food shops, London, England


With a food trade dating back to the 11th century, London's Borough Market needs no introduction, but the surrounding speciality food shops should not be overlooked. Among the artesan bakeries, butchers and specialist pork producers are some of the finest gourmet cheeses found anywhere in Europe. Yeah, take that France. See boroughmarket.org.uk

6. Jellyfish on a boat, Qut Nhon, Vietnam

Incredibly, jellyfish now serve an added purpose beyond ruining a perfectly good surf: dinner. Popular in salads, the gelatinous critters are often sliced into thin strips then marinated in sesame oil before being tossed with coleslaw and poached chicken. Sample this peculiar delicacy first hand on a battered disused fishing boat now doubling as a restaurant in Quy Nhon. Head to HOA HOA, 3/8 Phan Chu trinh Street, Quy Nhon.

7. Pull up a stool, La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona's markets may be world-famous but fewer people realise you can eat there too. Navigate the labyrinth of stalls to the back where a clutter of restaurants take simple ingredients – an olive, a hunk of cheese or slice of cured meat – and turn them into something genuinely special. See boqueria.info

8. Strange beer, with a side of sausage, Berlin, Germany

Rich enough to double as a meal, the Berliner Weisse is a favourite beer among Berliners that's unique to the city. A wheat beer with a brewing lineage dating back to the Middle Ages, it's sweetened with syrup to make the sourness more palatable. It comes in two flavours, "Waldmeister" a woodruff green or "Himbeer" a raspberry red. Order a side of blutwurst (blood sausage) or currywurst (a rich sliced pork sausage) for the ultimate Berlin experience. See germanbeerinstitute.com

9. Veg out, Dhabas, Punjab, India

Don't be afraid, dhabas, the ubiquitous roadside restaurants around highways throughout India may be little more than tumbledown sheds but they are where you'll find some of the most authentic food in the country. Cheap vegetarian staples such as dal, aloo, roti and saag are served alongside warm, oven-baked naan bread and lassi, a cooling blend of yoghurt, water, fruit and spices and it'll set you back less than a schooner in Oz.

10. Smilie and homebrew, Township, Cape Town, South Africa

Experience another side of Cape Town with a local guide on an insider tour of a local township. More intrepid foodies may get the chance to sample boiled sheep's head; a local delicacy nicknamed a "Smilie''. If your constitution permits, try the moonshine from a Shebeen, an alternative "pub" specialising in lethal homebrewed beer. See townshiptourscapetown.co.za