The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) surveyed its members recently on where to find the best local cuisine, and Italy (whole country) was chosen as the winner for its diversity from region to region, as well as its consistently high quality.
Paris came in second, followed by New Orleans, Jamaica (whole country) and New York City. The top five choices all represent great local cuisines, and ranked high due to quality or because of the variety of different cuisines in one place.
“ASTA agents, who on average have visited 36 countries during their careers, know what they want in a local cuisine,” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby. "Based on their own experience and feedback from their clients, they know the destinations that will appeal to U.S. travelers who are looking for a culinary experience."
Italy ranked number one for cuisine because the food varies from region to region and it rarely disappoints. Agents agree that the fresh ingredients and great wine in particular make for a wonderful dining experience. “From big cities like Rome to little towns like Supino, it’s all about the food.” ~ Larry Shaffer, Eco Lux Adventures
Paris, which came in second in the survey, was cited for its excellent chefs and venues. Agents gave high marks to restaurants for buying local produce, making it difficult to get a bad meal in Paris.“The best local cuisine can be found in Paris due to the number of excellent chefs and the local sourcing that is taking place. Also, the local sidewalk cafes have amazing food as well.” ~ Theodore Bradpiece, Two Bears Travel
New Orleans was rated the third best destination for local cuisine. Agents find the melded flavors of Cajun, Creole and French create wonderful and varied meals. Additionally, because many restaurants are open late, it is convenient for travelers.
Jamaica and New York City were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. Agents expressed that the jerk and Caribbean flavors in Jamaica were especially enticing. The sheer number of great chefs, restaurants and cuisines available make New York City a destination for foodies.
Travelers who would like to experience these great local cuisines can find a helpful travel agent on the ‘Find a Travel Agent' directory on TravelSense.org, where tourists can search for a travel agent who specializes in the destinations that they dream of visiting.
Survey data was collected through the 2014 ASTA Research Family panel in February/March 2014. This survey has a 95 percent confidence rate with an error rate of +/-4 percent. A copy of the results can be found on the research page of ASTA.org.