Time Out Iconic Eats List
Time Out Media

The world's most iconic dishes according to city locals

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Time Out PR

Today, Time Out reveals the Iconic Eats list, which showcases 46 dishes that best represents the flavours of cities around the globe, as voted by locals. Over 38,000 people voted for their city's most iconic dish, and the results are not what you might expect.

Time Out believes that food is the best way to emotionally connect to a city and its people - to discover and experience the soul of the city. The 2020 Iconic Eats list showcases the dishes that locals believe everyone should try when visiting their city, from internationally recognised gastronomic touchstones to local classics that you’ll struggle to find anywhere else.

In Portugal, many would assume city locals would be united in suggesting the delicious custard tart called pastel de nata. But the majority of Porto residents advocated the city’s own  francesinha, a stacked meat sandwich drizzled in melted cheese, which took 65% of the vote, while Lisbon locals thought bacalhau (15%), dried and salted cod, was the main dish of their city for visitors to try. 

The UK is known for being a culinary melting pot with some of the world's best chefs, yet Londoners believe their city’s most iconic dish is the simple-yet-tasty fish and chips (19%). The people of Edinburgh urge visitors to try the traditional haggis (23%) while nearly half of Brummies (49%) want the balti curry recognised as their most iconic dish, since it was popularised in the city in the 1970s. 

Tacos seem to be the most popular food within US cities, as Austin (28%) and LA (34%) both picked local variations as their most iconic dish. Pizza is also a major  go-to dish, voted for by New Yorkers (48%) and Chicagoans (32%) – although local tastes mean the cities chose very different takes on the classic Italian dish. Bostonians love their seafood, with lobster rolls taking the highest spot (23%).

As part of the Iconic Eats list, Time Out’s expert editors and local food influencers have also recommended the best spots to try each city’s iconic dish.

James Manning, International Editor at Time Out, says: “Signature dishes are part of any city’s identity, and our survey showed that people all over the world are passionate – and often in disagreement! – about the dish that best represents their city. Many dishes picked by locals have deep or surprising local roots, but the Iconic Eats list also shows how much of their food and identity the world’s great cities owe to immigration. Though locals might not eat these dishes every day, they all say something crucial about how that city sees itself, and offer a genuine taste of local life.”

From A-Z by city, Time Out’s ‘world menu’ of Iconic Eats includes:

  1. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Bitterballen
  2. Austin, USA: Breakfast tacos
  3. Barcelona, Spain: Patatas bravas
  4. Berlin, Germany: Currywurst
  5. Birmingham, UK: Balti
  6. Boston, USA: Lobster roll
  7. Budapest, Hungary: Gulyás
  8. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Asado
  9. Chicago, USA: Deep dish pizza
  10. Copenhagen, Denmark: Smørrebrød
  11. Dubai, UAE: Shawarma
  12. Edinburgh, UK: Haggis
  13. Hong Kong, China: Dim sum
  14. Istanbul, Turkey: Döner kebab
  15. Johannesburg, South Africa: Braai steak
  16. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Nasi lemak
  17. Lisbon, Portugal: Bacalhau
  18. London, UK: Fish and chips
  19. Los Angeles, USA: Street tacos
  20. Madrid, Spain: Cocido madrileño
  21. Marseille, France: Bouillabaisse
  22. Melbourne, Australia: Parma
  23. Mexico City, Mexico: Tacos al pastor
  24. Miami, USA: Cuban sandwich
  25. Milan, Italy: Risotto milanese con ossobuco
  26. Montreal, Canada: Poutine
  27. Moscow, Russia: Shaurma
  28. Mumbai, India: Vada pav
  29. Naples, Italy: Pizza margherita
  30. New York, USA: Pizza
  31. Osaka, Japan: Takoyaki
  32. Paris, France: Steak frites
  33. Philadelphia, USA: Cheesesteak
  34. Porto, Portugal: Francesinha
  35. Prague, Czech Republic: Svíčková
  36. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Feijoada
  37. Rome, Italy: Carbonara
  38. San Francisco, USA: Burrito
  39. São Paulo, Brazil: Pizza
  40. Seoul, South Korea: Korean barbecue
  41. Singapore, Singapore: Chicken rice
  42. Stockholm, Sweden: Köttbullar
  43. Sydney, Australia: Rock oysters
  44. Tokyo, Japan: Ramen
  45. Vancouver, Canada: Sushi
  46. Washington, DC, USA: Half-smoke

To discover more about the iconic dishes visit: www.timeout.com/iconiceats

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