Why you must experience these 5 foodie destinations at least once in your lifetime

Some people say the best way to know a city or country is to eat your way through it, because food has a way of bringing people together and is a compelling expression of culture. It’s no secret that spices, cooking methods and traditional dishes get passed down from one generation to the next and help carve out distinct or blended identities. So what people eat, how they purchase and prepare it, who they dine with, and their established customs around things like mealtimes and food etiquette combine to help tell unique stories.

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.”  – James A. Michener

While I don’t consider myself a true foodie, and I’m now grudgingly savvy enough to know vacation calories DO count, a girl’s still gotta eat for nourishment, right? Some of my most memorable trips would have been incomplete had I not consumed more than my fair share of gelato and pizza in Italy, oxtail and Malva pudding in South Africa, crawfish and gumbo in NOLA, pisco sour and ceviche in Peru, and chicharrón (fried pork belly) in Colombia. 

“Food makes travel so exceptional, because you get to taste what it is actually supposed to taste like. To eat the real Pad Thai or finally have a proper curry is pretty amazing.” – Meghan Markle.

Now savor that thought while I roundup my top 5 foodie destinations.

[Sidebar: If you want to read more about other things I did in any of these places, you can click on the name of the city or country.]

New Orleans


Oooh, chile. From beignets to pralines to jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish, crispy fried chicken and everything in between, I can’t adequately describe the NASCAR type rush of serotonin that shoots through your brain after the first bite. I kid you not. The reaction time is like zero to 100 in two seconds flat. Serotonin unleashes naturally occurring chemicals that contribute to our general feelings of wellbeing and happiness, and there’s absolutely no denying the fact that the food in Nawlins makes you VERY happy! Be prepared to lean back and undo your belt, while you mentally buckle up to experience multiple firework-esque foodgasms. 



I’ll be the first to admit that my palate may have been partial to Cartagena’s fusion of Latin, Caribbean and African cuisines because I’m Jamaican. But even if it wasn’t, I’m still sure the food was amazing because everyone else I met there said so too.  You can opt for upscale dining if you want to, but I explored the street food scene, and even everyday dishes like arepas, empanadas, patacones (deep-fried green plantains), fresh fruits and chicharrón were divine.



There’s a reason Italians coined the phrase la dolce vita.  Having completely mastered the concepts of sweetness and the art of taking-your-time-over-food, I wouldn’t be surprised if they also invented the modern-day equivalent: livin’ your best life. If you value having your meals prepared with only the freshest ingredients, pretty much any region in Italy will be right for you. What about getting to enjoy a good glass of wine over dinner? You can put a big smiley face beside that criterion too. And if a mindset that fiercely protects the sanctity of family time, friendship and fellowship is important to you, Italy will serve up your triple pleasure.



If you don’t put much weight on anything else that I say in this post, trust me on this one. There’s a reason Peru was named Best Culinary Destination in the World for six years in a row (from 2012-2017) by the World Travel Awards. As one UK Telegraph writer puts it, “its cuisine is madly fashionable.” However, what is not as well-known is that “Peruvian food is not just about the Lima restaurant scene with its fabulous fusions and experiments, but also the richly varied traditions of the Pacific coastal strip, the Amazon jungle and the Andes.”

When I was there in 2018, one of my tour guides said they had such a large variety of cuisines and dishes you could go out to eat for three years straight without repeating the same meal.

Cape Town


As someone of African descent, I guess it goes without saying that I would appreciate being able to eat different varieties of the grains, yams, beans and slow-cooked stews typical of food I grew up on. But when I tried other combination dishes that the Dutch, British and other nationalities brought to the table over many years of interwoven histories, my taste buds almost ended up packing their own oversized suitcase to stuff it all in. In Cape Town, you can literally go on a global epicurean journey by moving from one dining establishment to the next.


What have been some of your favorite foreign food experiences? I hope you’ll share some of your stories with me below in the comment section

9 Safety tips for solo female travelers

Over the years, I’ve talked to a bunch of friends, family members and colleagues about my solo jaunts, and those conversations have made me realize safety is THE biggest concern for women considering taking a trip on their own. Now, while rational fear of the unknown is understandable, I think the debilitating dread that keeps some people in a perennial state of inertia can be avoided. In my experience, reaching for your dreams involves pushing through your fear, not caving into it.

So, if you’re reading this and anxiety is holding you back from taking that dream trip alone, don’t let it! The best moments and memories happen when opportunity meets preparation.  If you’re feeling scared or uncertain about making that reservation, don’t worry, I ‘ve got you.  Below are 9 simple safety tips to help you prepare for your first solo getaway.

1. Do your homework ahead of the trip.

Spend time researching destinations by surfing the internet to find news and travel articles about the safest neighborhoods and modes of transportation in each.  Being aware of things like local dress codes and customs in advance of arrival helps you to be better equipped as well.

2. Try to arrive in your destination during daylight hours.

Plan to do this if you’re visiting someplace new, and especially if you don’t speak the local language. Things like signage visibility, distance and depth perception change after dark, all of which can impact your ability to follow directions and your ease of mobility. Also, sometimes service counters at airport or city information desks go on skeletal shifts or are not manned after regular business hours, which means it’s harder to ask questions of designated officials.

3. Do not be penny wise and pound foolish.

That’s a very British Commonwealth way of saying ‘stop yourself from penny pinching’ for the rock-bottom, cheapest accommodation if the location or building gives you the creeps when viewing it online (or when you get there). To help with place selection, avoid looking at hotel videos or images only. Use traveler-sourced photos and reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and YouTube too, and check others like HotelTonight if you need to make an on-the-spot booking change.

4. Pack a doorstop alarm or door wedge to secure your room.  

Since reading about one woman’s horrific attack in her locked hotel room, this precaution will be a 2019 addition for me, for sure. Whether you’re staying at an Embassy Suites, a 5-star property, or an Airbnb, you never really know how many people have access to your room key or how foolproof the deadbolt is. If you can take anything that prevents the door from opening inwards or gives you fair warning that someone is trying to enter, it’s worth the extra investment in my book.

If you’re not sure where to start looking for one, don’t worry. I wasn’t either. Thankfully, two gadgets came highly recommended from a FaceBook group of frequent travelers I’m a part of. The first is a called a Door Jammer, and the other one is a Wedge Door Stop. You can click on the images below to find them on Amazon, and the great thing is, neither of them is priced to break the bank!

5. Always be observant of your surroundings.

Even though you’re checking things out on the sly, walk around confidently, not tentatively, and with a sense of purpose. Most crooks are looking for easy targets and can sense fear.

6. Try to blend in.

Dress modestly so as not to attract undue attention. If your GPS or directional apps don’t work without WIFI or data, try not to pull out maps that mark you as a tourist in public locations. Write out directions before you leave your hotel instead. Also, join day tours when you can to sightsee within the safety net of a small group.

7. Know when to stop sipping those margaritas and martinis dah-lings.

Not going overboard with your alcohol intake is a good guideline for life in general, but it is even more important for a woman on vacation alone. A good night out is a good night out. However, it’s no secret that excessive drinking clouds our judgment and weakens our reflexes, which makes us vulnerable.

8. Avoid posting to social media in real-time. 

In this world of prolific social sharing, I know this might be the hardest bit of advice to swallow, but it just might be one of the most crucial ones to know. To a certain extent, Facebook check-ins and live Instagram Stories are like flashing neon lights. Think about it. If you’re by yourself and are tagging your exact location in real-time, anybody with a phone or device attached to the internet can find you and show up where you are.  Wait a day or two to post that picture at your favorite attraction or restaurant find, and if you absolutely must show your friends how much fun you’re having, tag the country only, not the exact city or hotel you’re in.

9. Leave a copy of your itinerary with someone trustworthy.

And check in regularly with a family member of friend at home. I always give my family a list of my flights and the hotels I’m staying when I take off alone. Also, I don’t have an international phone plan, but I only stay at hotels with free WIFI so I can hop on WhatsApp to call or text home FREELY and REGULARLY.


I hope these tips help alleviate some of your fears. But if they didn’t, you can read this related article for more inspiration: The benefits of traveling solo.

Disclaimer: The Amazon product links included in this post are affiliated, which means I have the potential to earn a tiny commission from qualifying purchases.