60 famous foods to try in your lifetime

60 famous foods to try in your lifetime
  • Every corner of the world is packed with famous eateries and must-try foods.

  • Some come from Michelin-star restaurants, while others can be found in open-air markets.

  • From Maine lobster rolls to New York bagels, these famous foods should be on everyone's bucket list.

From Maine lobster rolls to New York bagels, these iconic eats should be on every foodie's bucket list.

Insider compiled a list of the most famous foods from around the world in order to determine the top 60 foods everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. Some, like Chicago's deep-dish pizza, won't break the bank, but others require traveling a little further afield or may even come from Michelin-star restaurants.

Here are 60 famous foods to try in your lifetime.

Every food lover should experience a classic Spanish tapas meal, a combination of small plates like roasted peppers, anchovies, and other local dishes.

spanish tapas
A traditional tapas meal.David Silverman/Getty Images

The Market of San Miguel is one of the most famous food spots in Madrid, Spain, and welcomes more than 10 million visitors every year, according to the market's official website.

You might need more than one person to help you finish paella, another traditional Spanish dish of rice, seafood, and vegetables — all cooked and served in a giant skillet.

spain paella traditional
Seafood paella.Federico Meneghetti/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Paella is believed to have originated in Valencia, Spain, the Boston Globe reported. Now, the traditional rice and seafood dish has become synonymous with Spanish culture.

Try colorful marzipan sweets from Barcelona's iconic food market, La Boquería.

barcelona boqueria candy
La Boquería in Barcelona.Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

La Boquería is a food market in Barcelona home to whimsically shaped sweets all made out of marzipan.

For dessert, enjoy a Spanish favorite — crispy churros dipped in warm chocolate sauce.

churros chocolate spain
Churros with chocolate.Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Chocolatería San Ginés is a famous spot for churros in Madrid, but most cafés offer the famous combination of crispy churros with the iconic hot chocolate sauce, and it's hard to go wrong.

When in London, try fish and chips, one of England's most iconic dishes.

fish and chips
Fish and chips, a British tradition.Yudai/Shutterstock

Locals douse their crispy fish and chips with malt vinegar.

And don't miss out on trying a full English breakfast, a traditional take on the first meal of the day.

full english breakfast
The full English breakfast.Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The full English breakfast has a little sampling of everything from potato hash, baked beans, cooked tomatoes and mushrooms, sausage, and eggs. Terry's Café in South East London serves up a famous take on the classic meal.

Take a bite into a picture-perfect macaron, a meringue dessert commonly found in France.

Macarons are a sweet meringue dessert.Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

The meringue cookies originated in Italy, but food scholars believe they made their way to France in the 16th century, The Atlantic reported. The first French macaron shop was Laudrée, which opened in 1862, as reported by Food & Wine, and now has locations around the world.

Adventurous eaters should try escargot, the traditional French snail dish.

Escargot is a French delicacy.Shutterstock

You can taste the gourmet dish at L'Escargot Montorgueil in Paris.

Another must-try is Greek spanakopita, a pie made of flaky filo dough, feta, and spinach.

greek spanakopita
Greek spanakopita.Bartosz Luczak/Shutterstock

Dig into spanakopita and other Greek favorites at Varoulko Seaside, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Athens, Greece.

Everyone should bite into a traditional Italian pizza in their lifetime.

Pizza in Naples, Italy
Pizza in Naples, Italy.Shutterstock

Naples, Italy, is home to L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele, one of the world's most renowned pizzerias. The Naples pizza shop was featured in "Eat Pray Love," and it has also opened locations in Los Angeles and New York City.

Dine at Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, which has consistently been named one of the top-rated restaurants in the world.

Osteria Francescana
Osteria Francescana.David Silverman/Getty Images

Osteria Francescana was named the best restaurant in the world in 2018 by the World's 50 Best Restaurants list, which is determined by more than 1,000 chefs, food writers, and restaurant experts. Though the list isn't the be-all-end-all of the restaurant world, Osteria Francescana is a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience.

Eat Italian caprese salad with tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella cheese.

caprese salad italy
Caprese salad is all about the mozzarella.Max Cavallari/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Caseificio La Fattoria, a restaurant in Italy's Campania region, makes fresh mozzarella in giant spheres that can weigh up to 88 pounds.

Dig into spaghetti tossed inside a cheese wheel.

cheese wheel pasta
Pasta in a cheese wheel.Suzi Pratt/Shutterstock

Have your pasta and cheese and eat them, too, at restaurants including Sapore Di Mare in Miami and Cacio e Pepe in New York City.

The cannolis at Mike's Pastry in Boston are a serious foodie bucket-list item.

boston cannoli
Cannolis in Boston.John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The historic bakeshop, which has been serving sweets in Boston since the 1940s, is known for its picture-perfect cannolis.

Taste a slice of baklava, a Middle-Eastern pastry made with flaky filo dough, chopped nuts, and honey.

baklava turkey dessert
Baklava can be messy but delicious.Mehmet Akif Parlak/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Shatila Bakery in Dearborn, Michigan, is renowned for its authentic baklava.

Try chocolate rugelach, a flaky pastry from one of the most popular bakeshops in Jerusalem, Marzipan Bakery.

jerusalem ruggelach
Chocolate rugelach.Bob Silverman CDN/Shutterstock

The perfectly golden-brown, sticky pastries, which have chocolate or fruit fillings, will not disappoint. Beyond its Jerusalem location, fans can find Marzipan Bakery goods at shops in the US.

Dip a piece of warm, fluffy pita into hummus, the Middle-Eastern dip made of chickpeas, oils, and tahini.

hummus Lebanese dish
Hummus is a must-eat dip.JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images

The BBC reported that the exact origins of hummus are contested, but communities across the Middle East, from Israel to Lebanon, offer their own take on the chickpea dip.

Shakshuka is a popular tomato-based dish served in the Middle East.

Shakshuka can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.DebashisK/Shuttershock

Shakshuka is a stew of eggs poached in a spicy sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions flavored with cumin that likely originated in North Africa. However, from Israel to Morocco, people from many countries across the Middle East also enjoy shakshuka.

Dr Shakshuka in Tel Aviv is famous for its version of the dish.

Chicken shawarma is a slow-roasted meat popular in the Mediterranean and Middle East.

chicken shawarma roasting on a spitt
Chicken shawarma roasts on a turning spit.Shebeko/Shutterstock

Chicken shawarma can be served with hummus and Greek salad, or included in a wrap or gyro. Patatos and Bambi Cafe were named by TripAdvisor as two of the best places to get shawarma in Istanbul, Turkey, the region where the dish originated.

For another comforting dish, try sausage rolls, a popular snack in Australia.

sausage rolls
Sausage rolls are similar to pigs in a blanket.Erika Cross/Shutterstock

Think of these Aussie favorites like the larger, heartier, and more sophisticated version of pigs-in-a-blanket. Sydney's Bourke Street Bakery is famous for them, The Sydney Morning Herald reported in July.

"Only a fool would turn down a Bourke Street Bakery sausage roll," celebrity chef Nigella Lawson once said in an Instagram post.

Or try dim sum, a Cantonese-Chinese meal of small dumpling dishes.

dim sum hong kong
Dim sum is just as delicious as it is aesthetically pleasing.Kia Nakriz/Shutterstock

The translation of "dim sum" means "with a touch of heart." Condé Nast Traveler calls Koi Palace in San Francisco's Chinatown some of the best dim sum in California's Bay Area.


Warm up with a steaming bowl of noodles from Ichiran, a Japanese restaurant famous for its ramen.

Ichiran ramen
A steaming bowl of ramen.Jheng Yao/Shutterstock

Ichiran is known for being a ramen destination and has some of the best ramen in the world, Forbes reported in 2016. The restaurant's specialty is ramen with pork-based broth, called tonkatsu ramen, with homemade noodles.

Sushi is enjoyed worldwide but is a must-try when visiting Japan.

Sushi at Uobei Sushi in Tokyo, Japan
Sushi at Uobei Sushi in Tokyo, Japan.INSIDER

Japan is known as the sushi capital of the world, but the dish itself may originate from a Chinese dish called narezushi. Regardless, visiting a city like Tokyo wouldn't be complete without sampling some local sushi.

Michelin-star restaurant Omakase is famous for its sushi, while conveyor-belt sushi restaurants like Uobei Sushi are known as "kaiten-zushi," or "rotating sushi," and offer rolls for as little as $1.

Seafood fanatics can also taste fresh oysters at restaurants along Maine's iconic Oyster Trail.

oysters maine
Oysters in Maine.Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Maine's Oyster Trail is home to some of the region's most iconic oyster destinations, including restaurants and farms.



Try a fresh seafood meal at Fisherman's Wharf, a historic waterfront in San Francisco.

alioto's restaurant seafood crab
A cooked crab over ice.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

From outdoor dining to activities for the whole family, Fisherman's Wharf has something for foodies of all ages.

Cool off with ceviche, a seafood salsa-inspired dish with origins in Latin America.

Ceviche is a must-try summer dish.1000Photography/Shutterstock

Ceviche is a cold salsa with raw seafood and citrus flavors, and Peru is one country famous for its take on the dish. Other countries in South America and Latin America offer a take on ceviche, Food Network reported. For example, Chilean ceviche often includes salmon, and in Mexico, ceviche may be made with tuna.

Lobster rolls are a classic in Maine and Connecticut.

lobster roll
Lobster rolls with coleslaw and french fries.Nevin Martell/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

From Massachusetts to Maine, lobster rolls are a favorite in the Northeast region.

Don't miss out on crab cakes at Old Ebbitt Grill, one of Washington, DC's oldest restaurants.

old ebbitt grill crab cakes
Crab cakes at Old Ebbitt Grill.Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty Images

One of Washington, DC's oldest and most historic restaurants is Old Ebbitt Grill, and its seafood is its claim to fame.


A major New Orleans staple is shrimp gumbo, a flavorful, thick seafood stew served over a bed of fluffy rice.

shrimp and sausage gumbo
Shrimp gumbo.Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

A popular New Orleans establishment known for its Creole cuisine is Brennan's Restaurant in the French Quarter, TripAdvisor reported.

New Orleans is also known for beignets, a delectable, doughnut-like pastry topped with powdered sugar.

cafe du monde beignets
Beignets from Cafe Du Monde.Ryan Theriot/Getty Images

Cafe Du Monde is a famous spot for beignets in New Orleans.

Bite into one of the most famous dishes of America's South, the fried green tomato.

fried green tomatoes
Fried green tomatoes are a Southern staple.MShev/Shutterstock

South City Kitchen in Atlanta is Foursquare's top-rated Georgia spot for fried green tomatoes.

For another deep-fried Southern favorite, try hush puppies.

hush puppies
Hush puppies are a favorite in the South.Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post via Getty Images

These balls of cornmeal are deep-fried and delicious. Southern Living reported that although the exact origins of the classic dish are unclear, hush puppies are a staple in the South.

Chicago's cheesy, doughy deep-dish pizza is another must-eat.

chicago deep dish pizza
The cheese pulls on a deep-dish pizza are breathtaking.Shutterstock

Eater Chicago calls Lou Malnati's Pizzeria "one of the original inventors of the Chicago deep dish."

Chow down on a burger and fries from In-N-Out Burger, a West Coast classic and celebrity-favorite fast-food joint.

in n out burger review 2867
In-N-Out is an iconic fast-food chain in America's West Coast.Melia Robinson/Business Insider

In-N-Out is known for its "animal-style" burger, which is grilled in mustard and topped with an extra dose of the restaurant's special Thousand Island sauce, pickles, and grilled onions. The "animal-style" fries are topped with melted American cheese and grilled onions, then smothered in the world-renowned In-N-Out sauce.

On the topic of fries, everyone should try poutine, Canada's national dish of french fries doused in gravy and cheese curds.

poutine canada
Canada's poutine dish.DAVID BOILY/AFP/Getty Images

Condé Nast Traveler calls Montreal, Canada, the "undisputed poutine capital of the world" and lists Greenspot in Montreal's St.-Henri neighborhood as a top recommendation.

Cheese-enthusiasts should try the Midwest's take on chili at Skyline, a restaurant chain that originated in Cincinnati, Ohio.

skyline chili
Skyline Chili.LWYang/Yelp

People in the Midwest swear by this cheese-topped chili.

Take a bite into a Cuban sandwich, which typically includes ham, Swiss cheese, pork, mustard, and pickles warmed up between two crispy pieces of bread.

cuban sandwich
Cuban sandwich.Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Miami is a popular city for the Cuban sandwich, and Eater Miami recommends 925 Nuevo's Cubano's, Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop, and Havana 1957 Cuban Cuisine Espanola Way, among numerous other local spots.

A pastrami sandwich with a pickle on the side is a combination from Katz's Deli in New York City that everyone should try at least once.

pastrami katz's deil pickle
A classic combination at Katz's Deli.Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Eater reported that Katz's Deli was one of renowned food connoisseur Anthony Bourdain's many iconic restaurant recommendations and is also home to New York's most famous sandwich: pastrami on rye bread.

"The sandwich came with a slathering of deli mustard on each piece of bread," Insider's Erin McDowell wrote after a visit in 2022. "The pastrami was juicy, unbelievably tender, and fell apart with each bite."

It might go without saying, but trying a New York bagel should also be a bucket-list item.

new york bagel
Decisions, decisions.STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Top New York City bagel contenders include Russ & Daughters, Ess-a-bagel, Tompkins Square Bagels, and Absolute Bagels.

For the ultimate indulgence, dive into a milkshake from Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in New York City, an eatery known for its extravagant, candy-loaded shakes.

black tap milkshakes
These milkshakes are seriously over-the-top.Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer

Foodies looking to try a candy-clad Black Tap milkshake should prepare to wait in a long line, according to Yelp reviews.

For another sweet treat, enjoy a light, fluffy Belgian waffle topped with berries, powdered sugar, or chocolate sauce.

belgian waffle
A Belgian waffle.Nataliia Ianchuk/Shutterstock

In Belgium, waffles are served as street food and are typically eaten two ways: without layers of toppings, or with strawberries and whipped cream.

Taste Portugal's iconic dessert, egg-custard tarts.

portugal custard egg tart
Portuguese egg custard tarts. Beto Chagas/Shutterstock

Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon is one of the most well-known spots in Portugal to try these famous tarts.

Enjoy truffles, candies, and other cocoa confections at Teuscher in Zurich, Switzerland, one of the most famous chocolatiers in the world.

Teuscher zurich switzerland chocolate
A hot chocolate and truffles from Teuscher.SF11/Shutterstock

Teuscher is a famous Swiss chocolatier known for its decadent truffles, National Geographic reported.

Taste the melty, chocolate-y goodness of a cookie from Levain Bakery in New York City.

Levain and Petrossian Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cookies from Levain Bakery.Sarah Schmalbruch / INSIDER

Another fan-favorite dessert establishment is Levain Bakery in New York City, which boasts its version of the "world's greatest chocolate chip cookie."

Bite into a pierogi, the Polish potato dumpling that can hold a savory or sweet filling.

poland pierogi festival krakow
The ultimate comfort food.Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The pierogi is a traditional Polish dish believed to have originated in the 17th century, the BBC reported.

Enjoy chorizo, a flavor-packed dish of ground pork sausage common in Mexican and Spanish cuisine.

Chorizo at La Puerta Verde photographed in Washington, DC.Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post via Getty Images

In Mexican cuisine, chorizo is made of fresh, uncooked pork, and in Spanish cooking, chorizo is made with ground pork sausage.

Taste Atlas named San Telmo in Melbourne, Australia, as one of the best places outside of Mexico or Spain to try a chorizo dish, while Sensi in Barcelona also specializes in the dish.


No trip to Mexico would be complete without trying birria tacos, which are crispy tacos usually dipped into consomé.

Birria tacos dipped in consomé.Justin Gmoser

Birria tacos are traditionally made with goat meat, but can also use chicken or beef. The tacos are then dipped in consomé, a type of stew made with beef stock, onions, garlic, and more.

While the dish originates in Mexico, it has also become popular in cities like Los Angeles and New York City, where the Birria-Landia taco truck often has lines down the street, the New York Times reported.

Chilaquiles is a delicious dish from Mexico.

Chilaquiles.La Contenta/Yelp

Chilaquiles — which translates to "in a sauce of chiles" from Nahuatl — is a dish consisting of heaps of crisp tortilla triangles tossed in a pan with salsa, and then piled with crumbled cheese and crema. Even better, chilaquiles are often enjoyed for breakfast.

Bite into a golden-brown, crispy empanada, Chile's national dish and the region's take on a sweet- or savory-filled doughy confection.

Empanadas can be savory or sweet.Jonathan Wong/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

At Tomas Moro, a bakery in Chile's Las Condes suburb, people line up for hours to buy empanadas by the dozens, BBC Travel reported.

Mofongo is a plantain dish served in Puerto Rico.

Mofongo comes with rice and stew.Rachel Moon/Shutterstock

Mofongo, a ball-shaped dish of pickled, fried, and then smashed plantains that are flavored with garlic, salt, and oil in a wooden pilón, is a Puerto Rican staple usually served alongside a hearty stew or broth.

Eater named El Campeón in Old San Juan as one of the best places in Puerto Rico to try mofongo.

Taste Korean bibimbap, a colorful, flavorful rice bowl topped with a fried egg and served in a sizzling-hot stone bowl.

bibimbap korean
A bowl of bibimbap.Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Try bibimbap at Jungsik, a restaurant with two Michelin stars. There are locations in Seoul, South Korea, and New York City.

Try kimchi, a traditional Korean dish of cabbage and vegetables fermented in a flavorful paste.

korean kimchi
Kimchi, a traditional Korean food.Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

At Mokbar in New York City, chefs make 200 pounds of kimchi every two weeks, Insider reported in 2018.

Dive into a warm bowl of pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup with tons of flavor.

pho vietnamese
Pho is a must-try.John Patriquin/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Dong Thap Noodles in Seattle offers a massive bowl of pho that weighs about 13 pounds.

Bánh mì is a popular type of sandwich in Vietnam.

banh mi pork sandwich on a baguette
Bánh mì.Shutterstock

The inexpensive staple is usually made with pate, bright, crunchy vegetable slaw, fish sauce, and sliced jalapeño pepper or fresh cilantro. Banh Mi Huynh Hoa is recognized as one of the most famous spots to try the sandwich in Ho Chi Minh City.

Peking Duck is a crispy duck dish with roots in Beijing, China.

peking duck beijing
Peking Duck.Nora Tam/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

For meat-eaters, the Peking Duck is a must-try. The BBC reported that a restaurant in Beijing, Liqun Roast Duck Restaurant, is so popular that people have to call in advance to order one of the crispy ducks.

Kare-kare is comfort food in the Philippines.

Kare-kare is a type of stew.RAGMA IMAGES/Shutterstock

Kare-kare is a nutty and sweet Philippine stew. Its signature flavor derives from a thick and savory peanut sauce.

Dip naan into butter chicken, a classic Indian meal with spices and a creamy tomato sauce.

butter chicken in a cast iron pan
Butter chicken is a must-try food in India.Bartosz Luczak/Shutterstock

Similar to the British-Indian dish chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, or murgh makhani, is a type of curry made with chicken in a creamy tomato and butter sauce.

The Indian Express reported that butter chicken originated in Delhi, India, and Have More is rated as one of the best spots in the city to try it.

Biryani is a popular dish in Northern India and Iran.

lamb biryani
Biryani comes with rice and meat.PI/Shutterstock

Biryani can be made with a variety of meats, from lamb to chicken and beef, and is accompanied by rice and spices. Kolkata, India, is one city famous for its biryani dishes and Aminia is consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world to try this famous dish.

Chow down on pad thai made fresh from one of Thailand's diverse street or floating markets.

thai pad thai floating market
Pad thai is one of Thailand's most well-known foods.KoBoZaa/Shutterstock

Try one of the most popular noodle dishes in Thai cuisine from an authentic floating market or one of Bangkok's vibrant street food stalls.

Peri-peri chicken has roots in Portugal, but the South African restaurant chain Nando's has brought it to foodies worldwide.

peri peri sauce
Peri-peri chicken.Q77photo/Shutterstock

Texas Monthly reported that peri-peri chicken was originally brought over to South Africa by Portuguese settlers and has since become synonymous with one of the most famous chains from the region.

Nando's has locations all over the world, but you'll need to head to Calisto's in Johannesburg, South Africa, to try a traditional version of the dish.

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