jungsik

Places like Bologna and San Sebastián have long been the centre of culinary travels, but why go somewhere when thousands of others have already pipped you to the plate? Certainly not forward-thinking foodie behaviour. We’ve tracked down the hot new places to chow down in, from Scotland to South Korea. So, don your elasticated trousers and rally your most cherished dining companions…

Dubai, UAE

Anything you can do, Dubai can do better. Certainly, its flash-the-cash attitude has helped it erect buildings that touch the sky, light shows that beguile and bedazzle and play host to air-conditioned beaches. But money (and lots of it) has also attracted some of the most-lauded chefs and restaurateurs to set up shop there, making for a truly cosmopolitan culinary circuit. That means a constellation of famous names like Jason Atherton, Tom Aikens, Gordon Ramsay, Virgilio Martinez and the Galvin Brothers, while British burgers can be gorged on at Burger & Lobster, Indian molecular gastronomy ordered at Farzi Café and Peruvian flavours indulged in at Mayta. From industrial chic interiors to dining rooms with a view, this town’s got it all. And all is just the beginning.

Charleston, US

We love them dearly, but Americans aren’t generally known for their gastronomy – at least not in the way of the Europeans. New York aside, you only have to eat on South Beach Miami to know that’s true. But Charleston, South Carolina, may just be the city to shake things up. It started with the opening of celebrity chef Sean Brock’s Husk restaurant, billed as “a celebration of southern ingredients” – with signatures such as glazed pig’s ear lettuce wraps – and a wave of excellent eateries have followed suit. With menus built mostly around a farm-to-table ethos thanks to a local year-round bounty, essential reservations include smart stalwart Peninsula Grill for fine dining accompanied by tinkling ivories, experimental eatery FIG for chicken liver pâté like no other, cool ‘n’ casual 167 Raw for super-fresh seafood at the counter, and brunch favourite The Mackintosh for its beserk-but-beloved bacon happy hour. What you waiting for? Head south this winter.

Glasgow, Scotland

Beyond the fabled deep-fried Mars Bar and can of Irn-Bru, Glasgow hasn’t got much going for it in terms food, right? Wrong. Word on the street is that Scotland’s largest city is positively bursting at the seams with gourmet gems, and you’d be a fool to judge it too soon. Ubiquitous Chip is something of a 70s institution, complete with its own makeshift tropical garden serving regional dishes using strictly Scottish produce; Number 16 is an award-winning affair in the glittering heart of the West End with a taste for international flavours; and The Dhabba encapsulates the city’s penchant for feasts from the east with north Indian cuisine. Meanwhile, the steaks are always high and mighty at Bo’Vine Meats & Wines, a glam steakhouse that’s all exposed brickwork and bull’s head sculptures. Still judging?

Seoul, Korea

In North Korea, diners are may critique restaurants at their own peril. In Seoul, however, patrons can breathe easy as they ponder over their kimchi. With streets divided into “towns” dedicated to particular cuisines, it’s a flavour-fest for the senses. Rice cakes, blood sausage, savoury pancakes and Korean barbecue washed down with soju rice wine all play a part in the rich tapestry of taste here. Just call it Seoul food, baby. Make a beeline for revered Jungsik – headed up by chef Jung Sik Yim who also has an outpost in New York – for formal Korean fusion but unfussy service while Hansik Olbaan offers signature Korean buffets with seasonal produce and regional specialities. These are just two ends of ends of the spectrum, with thousands of restaurants in the middle. Animal cafés firmly excluded.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Between beautiful faces and bronzed bodies, Tel Aviv does a fine line in world-class food, with menus as alluring as its models. From a well-established café-culture involving countless espressos and salads to high-octane dining rooms frequented by star-studded clientele, this city is full of surprises. Bag seriously hot tables at experimental fusion restaurant Messa, renowned for its décor as much as its dining; Yaffo-Tel Aviv, where celebrity chef Haim Cohen does wonders with fresh fish from a clay oven; and OCD, a hip and happening spot manned by an Instagram-star-turned-chef with a penchant for nine-course tasting menus. But you don’t have to dress up to the nines or have the maître d’ on sped-dal to experience Tel Aviv’s melting pot of cuisines: a wander around a market like Shuk HaNamal will put you on foodie frontline, with dishes influenced by Morocco, Tunisia, Spain and the Yemen. Amen to that.

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