Everyone eats when they travel, but more and more people are booking flights JUST to eat. And while all sorts of fancy food and wine festivals top most foodie “list articles” or “listicles”, sometimes you already know what you want to eat and just want A LOT OF IT, in all of its forms, all up in your face. This is what I am all about right now. Just take me to the best of the best without having to think about things. I did all the work for you, so you’re welcome. Here are the most amazing global food festivals centered all around a particular type of food. Sometimes you just gotta take a deep dive into whatever foods you already know you love!
KFC…wait what!? Nope, not talking about fast food from any colonels, this is “Korean Fried Chicken” and this festival is actually a compound word for two amazing things- Korean fried chicken (chikin) paired with beer (maekju)- spelled as either “Chimac” or “Chimaek”. Chimac is a popular “anju” or food consumed with alcohol in South Korea. If you haven’t tried Korean fried chicken, stop what you’re doing and go get some. This stuff is super crispy and juicy; you can choose whether you want it regular or spicy. But beware, the term “spicy” can be highly subjective and ranges from kinda spicy to burn your face off, at which point an ice cold maekju becomes a fire extinguishing beverage.
What? Chimac Festival
When? 18-22 July 2018
Where? Daegu, South Korea
Give me more details, juseyo!
Who doesn’t love Gelato, ice cream’s sophisticated European cousin? Check out this fascinating traveling food festival and competition all in one! I had never heard of this type of event before. This Italian gelato competition is hitting the road and hosting events around the world, starting with select cities in the USA. Tickets grant you access to a gelato-filled day where you learn about this sweet treat, TASTE LOTS OF IT, and get to vote for your favorites! Eventually, the winning gelato artisans will compete against each other for bragging rights. According to their site, “Gelato is a natural food with important nutritional components” so that means its ok to follow them around from city to city and eat there every day, right?!
What? Gelato Festival
When? August-October 2018
Where? Cities across the United States and Europe
Give me more details, please!
The California Avocado festival is a three-day celebration of my favorite fruit! I can’t think of anything more glorious than spending a day in sunny California, eating my way through all the green, creamy goodness of stuff like guacamole, deep-fried avocado, and avocado ice cream. The town of Carpinteria pays homage to this super fruit’s historical importance to the area, hosts competitions, and even offers lessons on grafting these trees. (Did you know that you can’t just plant an avocado seed and grow a fruiting tree? Believe me, I learned the hard way!) If you’re an avocado aficionado, put this on your calendar!
What? California Avocado Festival
When? 5-7 October 2018
Where? Carpinteria, California
Give me more details, please!
I had no idea there were so many different kinds of ramen until I went to the ramen museum in Yokohama which offers a taste of regional varieties. I wanted to taste them all but made a rookie mistake of filling up on side orders of gyoza and only managed to slurp my way through three different styles before throwing in the towel. I am ready for my next challenge! This ramen festival in Tokyo is where I need to go to take my ramen connoisseur-ship to the next level!
You can taste different Japanese regional specialties of ramen as well as limited edition concoctions made just for this event. They have little booklets with information on what’s available so you can do some research before you dig in. Alternatively, you can do what I usually do: skip the research phase and just get in the longest lines you can find. The beauty of queuing in Japan is that it usually goes by quickly and quite often, your patience is tremendously rewarded.
What? Tokyo Ramen Show
When? 25 October- 4 November 2018
Where? Tokyo, Japan
Give me more details, kudasai!
A food festival focused on chocolate in a beautiful South American country. Need I say more? Just go, and if you need a Spanish-speaking translator, take me with you. While fancy European chocolate brands are what most of us know and adore, why not go directly to the source to experience the chocolatey goodness for yourself? Some of the highest quality cacao originates in Ecuador and this festival is all about celebrating the region’s cacao, chocolate, and coffee beans.
What? Salon del Chocolate, Cacao, Cafe
When? Typically in June
Where? Quito, Ecuador
Give me more details, por favor!