Beautiful Vietnam
Hanoi ranks top among greatest cities for food
  • | Vietnamnet | June 20, 2016 11:58 PM
Hanoi placed first in the list of the world’s 16 greatest cities for food selected by the UK’s Telegraph.

“If it's good enough for Barack Obama... The US president was spotted enjoying 6 USD noodles with Anthony Bourdain in the Vietnamese capital on May 23. Clearly he's well aware of the city's culinary prowess,” Telegraph posted the photo and caption by well-known British chef Bourdain about his dinner with President Obama at a “bun cha” shop on Le Van Huu Street, Hanoi.

The Telegraph also advises eating like a local and taking to the streets for freshly prepared dishes such as pho tiu noodles with a sweet and sour soup, pork and fish sauce; banh mi, a baguette filled with pate, cucumber, herbs, crispy onion and chilli; and com tam, broken rice with grilled pork, pork skin, egg and fish sauce. Finish with traditional egg coffee - or ca phe trung - a blend of coffee and egg whites, folded with sugar, drunk hot or cold.

Other cities included in the list are Tokyo (Japan), London (the UK), Jaipur (India), New York (the US), Mendoza (Argentina), Bologna (Italy), Lyon (France), New Orleans (the US), Bangkok (Thailand), Barcelona (Spain), Singapore, Copenhagen (Denmark), Lima (Peru), Fez (Morocco) and Chengdu (China).

Here are the top ten:

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Hanoi, Vietnam

A bun cha restaurant in Hanoi.

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Tokyo, Japan

With more Michelin stars than any city in the world, Tokyo is a shoe-in on the list. The expert of Telegraph there, Danielle Demetriou, says: “It’s not just about sushi. From tonkatsu pork cutlets and unagi eel to okonomiyaki pancakes and all things tofu, Tokyo is home to a dizzying quantity of restaurants specializing in an array of Japanese cuisine.

“Best of all, it caters to all budgets, from wallet-busting skyscraper restaurants to atmospheric local izakaya – Japanese-style pubs where tapas-sized food is washed down with beer and sake – with an emphasis on high-quality seasonal ingredients across the spectrum. All in all, nirvana for foodies.”

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 London, UK

Between the high-class gourmet hangouts of the rich and famous to the endless pop-ups and street food that bespeckle the east of the city, London has world cuisine covered. Telegraph Travel’s London editor John O’Ceallaigh says: “London’s culinary diversity is unparalleled. It is the only British city to feature in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards and the capital’s ethnic diversity means virtually any national or regional cuisine is readily available here.”

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Jaipur, India

Jaipur is one of the few places that represents the cooking of the Rajputs, the warrior princes who ruled most of Rajasthan up until the Sixties. Hunting and expeditions were a big part of it, so chargrilling and barbecuing are well showcased in Rajasthani cooking. This is where the chef Vivek Singh lived and worked in the late Nineties. He recommends Laal maas, a fiery Rajasthani goat curry. The recipe is 45 chillies to a kilo of goat, with a few cloves of garlic, onion and yogurt. The curry is extremely hot but you don’t eat it on its own; you have it with plain rice or flatbread, some raitha [a yogurt-based condiment] to cool it down, chutney and poppadoms.

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New York City, USA

“New York chefs are always innovating,” says Telegraph expert in the Big Apple, Douglas Rogers. “Eight million people from every country on Earth live in New York, so the range of culinary experiences is bewildering. The fine-dining scene changes amazingly fast, with new trends and movements springing up all the time. Whatever the trends, there are always the classics, and New York does them like no other. Don’t miss the oysters at Grand Central Oyster Bar in the basement of the famous train terminal, going strong since 1913; or a Porterhouse steak at the venerable Brooklyn institution Peter Luger (established 1887) – for my money the world’s finest steakhouse.”

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Mendoza, Argentina

Where to come for Malbec and enormous, perfectly cooked steak - Mendoza's 'asados' are legendary. The city is also surrounded by many of the country's best wine-growing estates and as such has a wide range of upmarket restaurants. Try Azafran, one of Mendoza's most popular restaurants for local produce and Cava de Cano, a unique private dining room offering a buffet of traditional homemade treats, such as Argentine stew and empanadas, in a vine-draped garden. The region is not only known for Malbec though, try light, crisp and fruity Torrentes too. 

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Bologna, Italy

Tim Jepson writes: "Bologna is known in Italy as "La Grassa" - "The Fat One" - after its food, which is generally considered among Italians as the country's best. Numerous specialities originated here, most famously "bolognese" sauce and "baloney" (Bologna) sausage, or mortadella, while its position at the heart of northern Italy, close to lakes, plains and mountains, make it an obvious focus for a wide range of natural ingredients and the produce of nearby cities, not least Parma ham and parmesan cheese. Food-lovers will find the city teeming with food stores, street markets and a fantastic range of eating options, from fine dining to simple trattorias." 

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Lyon, France

Lyon is where to try the best of French gastronomy. Michel Roux Jr, the Michelin-starred chef and television presenter, recommend's the city's lovely little bouchons - like brasseries - and offal specialities such as tripe. "Aux Trois Cochons does particularly good Lyonnaise fare, such as tablier de sapeur - breaded and fried tripe," he says. "It's an acquired taste. Another favourite for lunch is Restaurant Thomas.

"Les Halles, the central food market, is a feast for the senses. I also recommend Les Chocolats Bernard Dufoux, and Bernachon, from Philippe Bernachon a third-generation chocolatier.

"Auberge du pont de Collonges meanwhile, from Paul Bocuse, is the grand-daddy of French gastronomy. But don't have any food before you go. The portion sizes are gargantuan and Lyonnaise food is very rich. Try the cervelle de canut, which is a creamy cheese. Most restaurants in Lyon serve it. And also try the famous dayglo pink pralines in a tart, brioche or croissant." 

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New Orleans, USA

Perhaps more famed for its jazz-fuelled parties, New Orleans also offers a surprisingly rich menu of Louisiana Creole cuisine. Local Adam Karlin told Telegraph Travel that the seafood-heavy, largely urban food is reinterpreted on a daily basis by adventurous fusion chefs. He recommends Dauphine Street for international street food and vegan breakfasts, Freret Street for lobster, fried oysters and slow-cooked roast beef and Frady's for the South's meat-and-three tradition - "one meat (smoked sausage, baked chicken) with two or three vegetables or starchy sides".

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Bangkok, Thailand

"If Bangkok has a soundtrack, it is the thwack, thwack, thwack of pestel on mortar, the cracking of machetes on wooden blocks, and the squeals and sizzle of woks," says our expert in Thailand, Lee Cobaj. "And then there's the smells - nose-pinching chilies, fruity wafts of lemongrass, tangy galangal, and stinky durian - aromas so strong that you'll feel like you're eating them.

"It's the foodie city that's got it all, from streetside stalls selling fried oysters in Chinatown, to hole-in-the-walls like the spice-fuelled Hai Som Tam Convent, to trendy chain restaurants like Taling Pling where the beef massaman is king, to a new breed of upmarket restaurants sweeping the boards at the San Pellegrino awards." 

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