We all have our food faves: tacos, pizza or a cheeseburger with fries are standard classics. But what if you want to be more adventurous in your culinary outings? Here are some cool food festivals from around the world that will surely get you off the boring food couch. Eat up!
Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, Hokitika, New Zealand
What’s on the grill? Seagull eggs and possum cutlets. Not your style? Try some Huhu beetle grubs for instant protein. The most “familiar” treats you’ll find at this food fest are frog legs or escargot. Maybe grab some shrimp off the barbie before you peruse the pickings here.
The Onion Market, Bern, Switzerland
Whether you like them fried into crunchy rounds, sautéed into carmelized gobs of goodness or shaved thinly and left raw atop a mixed green salad, onions are king at the annual onion lovers fest in Bern. Every fourth Monday in November at 5 a.m., onion soup and onion tarts start a-cookin’. Garlic-lovers are equally welcome. Mints are optional.
Salon de Chocolate, Quito, Equador
Ecuador stands as the world’s top producer of high-quality chocolate, and this fest will delight attendees with tasting sessions and cooking classes. About 15,000 visitors attend this early summer fest, which is capped off with a chocolate sculpture competition.
Blue Food Festival, Bloody Bay, Tobago
Head on down to the Caribbean and tuck into dishes made with dasheen, a member of the taro root family. When dasheen is ground up then cooked, it turns blue. As weird as that sounds, the dasheen transforms into crispy, tasty chips, silky smooth mash and a potato-like additive for stews. Its leaves are cooked with okra, coconut milk and warming spices to replicate the popular Caribbean dish “callaloo,” which has the texture of creamed spinach.
PoutineFest, Ottawa, Canada
An entire festival dedicated to Canadian comfort food? Sounds good, eh? At its most basic, poutine contains thick French fries, cheese curds and brown gravy. Over time, it has morphed into multiple flavor profiles, including butter chicken poutine, smoked meat poutine, smoked salmon poutine, pastrami poutine and pulled pork poutine.
Dumpling Festival, Hong Kong
These little pillows of goodness (known as zongzi) aren’t the overcooked, bland versions you get in many stateside buffet houses. Linked with the annual dragon boat races that take place in May/June, these delicacies can be found at food trucks and street vendors. The sticky rice surrounds a salted egg yolk or other fillings like mung beans or grilled pork belly. One is a meal in itself. Two might land you on the ground with ice on your head.
Pahiyas Festival, Lucban, Philippines
There is no shortage of food to be had in this annual festival. Lumpia (tiny fried eggrolls with shatteringly thin wonton wrap skins), pancit habhab (flavorful noodles with soy sauce, vegetables and meat wrapped and served in a banana leaf) and longanisa, fried pork sausages flavored with garlic.
Pizzafest, Naples, Italy
Now hold on, cowboy. There are no “meat-lovers bonanza” or stuffed-crust pizza pies here. More than 500,000 foodies vie for more than 100,000 pizzas at this week-long foodfest. Varieties include more than 50 historic flavor combos that include Margherita, marinara and Napolitana. The entire event leads up to a “Best Pizza in the World” competition.
Herring Festival, Hvide Sande, Denmark
Look, we know it sounds weird, but herring is actually really delicious. At this festival, you can feast on traditional pickled herring, crispy fried herring or delicate herring fishcakes. They’re great on dark bread with minced onions and crumbled hard-boiled eggs.
Maslenitsa Pancake Festival, Russia
This event isn’t just a festival, it’s a holiday proper. The nation gathers to celebrate the end of winter and the start of spring. Blinis are butter-drenched pancakes made with buckwheat flour and traditionally topped with sour cream and caviar, berries or jam.
Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany
In Munich, Oktoberfest features 14 beer tents for revelers to indulge in. For food, you can count on hearty meals and snacks that include dumplings (spaetzle), bratwurst, duck, baked goods and German potato salad.
Your stomach is growling, we know it is. If you can’t get to these festivals, there are usually smaller counterparts in towns across the U.S. Do a bit of Googling and you’ll find one near you.