Is “will travel for food” your motto, like mine? Do you plan you holidays based around dishes you want to try? If so- you’re going to love this list of my favorite 11 Affordable Foodie Destinations from Around The World.
I’ve spent nearly six years on the road traveling the world looking for the best in foodie destinations. In that time I’ve visited more than sixty countries across five continents. Today I’ll share with you my favorite countries that not only have some of the best food in the world but are also affordable to travel.
You can also head over to JustFly to research and find flights to these great destinations. Let’s get started!
11 Best Affordable Foodie Destinations Around the World
Thailand is a great option for those looking to take a foodie themed trip, while still keeping things affordable. Thai food is popular all around the globe, so what a great experience to get to taste authentic, local Thai food on your trip.
Street food is a very popular cuisine in Thailand. Noodles, dumplings, and sticky rice are some of the most common types of street food that you will find in Thailand. Most people agree that you will find the best street food in the world in Bangkok, although the restaurants in Chiang Mai may be a close second!
Bangkok is full of street food vendors, and you will find them almost everywhere there are people in the city. Most of the vendors have everything they need on their cart, and they cook the food right in front of you after you place your order. While some vendors offer many types of food, try to find ones who specialize in just one dish. They typically offer better and more authentic local food.
You will find dishes with lots of curry, soups, noodles and pad thai in the streets of Bangkok. One of the most popular local dishes is mango sticky rice. This is typically eaten as a dessert, and you can find many vendors who sell it.
Thai food is typically inexpensive. Most vendors sell their dishes for anywhere from $0.90 to $2.50 USD0- much cheaper than you can find in many parts of the world! Given the cheap prices, and the flavor and variety of foods available, Thailand is a great option as a foodie destination!
Republic of Georgia
Georgian food is not as well-known as some of the others on this list, but some people believe it is one of the most underrated cuisines in the world. Friends and family are a huge piece of Georgian culture, and this is evident in their food as well. The culture here is very much known for comfort food, and spending time with friends and family while sharing a meal.
One of the most popular Georgian foods is khinkali, or Georgian dumplings. These dumplings consist of twisted dough stuffed with meat and various spices. Generally, the khinkali are either boiled or steamed. While they are traditionally filled with meat, you can also find vegetarian versions made with cheese and vegetables.
Georgian foods include flavors from both Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. You can find a wide array of choices from restaurants in Tbilisi (the capital city) to smaller markets in the countryside. Homemade breads are a staple in nearly all of the meals that you will find in Georgia. Bread is served with almost every meal alongside kabobs and other spices meats, and the bread can include various spices as well. In some cases, the bread is often stuffed with cheese.
The cost of a meal here varies depending on which area of the country you are in, but a typical lunch in the city costs around $4 USD, and that even includes your drink. While you may not be as familiar with Georgian cuisine, it is definitely worth a trip to experience this affordable and delicious food.
Bulgaria is quickly gaining popularity as a foodie destination due to its rich food history and affordability. Located in the central Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria is also home to quality wines that pair perfectly with the food. The capital city of Sofia is a great place to experience some of the cuisine of the country has to offer.
Bulgaria is known for its fresh and delicious vegetables, and this is reflected in most of the dishes that you will find here. Most meals always start with an appetizer salad. In fact, one of the most popular dishes in Bulgaria is the shopska salat.
The shopska salat is a fresh salad made with tomatoes and cucumbers. It is topped with a local cheese that is similar to feta cheese. Following the salad, you will usually experience a meal of meat and vegetables cooked in a variety of ways. Stewing meat in clay pots is a common cooking method in Bulgaria.
Following dinner, dessert is often served with meals here as well. Common desserts include cakes and tarts. A local wine is often paired with your meal in order to make things complete.
The cost of living in Bulgaria is about half that of the United States. Hence, you can get a three-course meal for two at a restaurant for around $25. The delicious cuisine and affordable prices make Bulgaria a must-visit for any foodie.
Romania is another country that is exploding onto the global food scene. Some experts are even saying that Romania could become the next “food capital” of Europe.
Many Romanian dishes are built around meat, and pork is the most common meat used in Romanian cuisine. You are likely to start your meal with an appetizer of sour soup, as this is one of the most common dishes there.
The most common entrée is likely sarmale. This is considered by many to be the national dish or Romania. It is made of minced meat and rice wrapped in cabbage leaves.
The price of food in Romania can vary greatly depending on the type of restaurant you visit. You can spend up to $50 USD on a nice restaurant meal, with some restaurants offering a full-course menu for $125 or more. Or, you can have a meal in a typical local restaurant $5-6, including a glass of wine! If you are looking for a foodie trip, Romania should be on your list.
Much like Thailand, Vietnam has a thriving street food scene. The streets of the capital city, Saigon, are bustling with street food vendors. These vendors serve a variety of dishes, many of which are very affordable and tasty.
A couple of the most popular Vietnamese dishes are Pho and Bahn Mi. The Bahn Mi is a Vietnamese sub sandwich, and it was invented in the city of Saigon. You can find many different variations of the sub sandwich, and they are all delicious.
The food in Vietnam is quite inexpensive. You can find meals at the street vendor carts for less than $2. A typical meal for two in an air-conditioned restaurant usually runs less than $20. Given the wide array of food available as such low prices, a trip through Vietnam to experience their cuisine is something that you should consider.
Albania is another location that is typically not well known for its food scene; however, it is starting to rise in the culinary ranks. Meat and vegetables are staples of Albanian cooking, and you can find regional differences in the food depending on which city you are visiting.
Tave Kosi is considered by most to be one of the favorite dishes in Albania. This is a dish consisting of baked lamb and rice, and it is served with a yogurt sauce. The dish itself is quite simple, but the flavor is something that everyone should experience.
Mixed meat BBQ platters served alongside salads and fresh breads are also very common.
The prices of food in Albania are not the cheapest, but they are far from expensive. A typical meal will set you back around $5. You can visit a nice restaurant and indulge in a three-course meal in a restaurant in Tirana for around $12. You should definitely consider trying Albanian cuisine before it gets too popular and the prices increase.
Peruvian cuisine is considered by some to be the best in the world. With such a bold claim, our list would not be complete without visiting the food of Peru. Peruvian dishes utilize a variety of ingredients, from fresh fish to fresh vegetables like corn and potatoes.
One of the most well-known Peruvian dishes is their ceviche. Ceviche is becoming more popular in the United States, but Peruvian ceviche is like no other. The freshness of the seafood and the flavors of the marinade make this a dish you must try.
Given the quality of the food in Peru, it is still very affordable. Most menu items are in the $3 – $5 range, and you can typically enjoy a meal for $10 or less. You can find good street food in Peru for even less than these prices.
This should come as no surprise to anyone reading this list. Greece is well-known around the world for its food, and for good reason. Greek food consists of many different ingredients, and ranges from salads and hummus to meat and pitas.
Grilled meat is one of the staples of Greek entrees. Whether you consider it a kabob, gyro, or souvlaki (they are all technically different), grilled or roasted meat is the highlight of the meal in many cases.
Another very well-known Greek menu item is baklava, the sweet pastry dish made of layers of phyllo dough and filled with honey and chopped nuts.
Greece is one of the more expensive places on this list, but the food is well worth it. A meal at a casual restaurant in Athens usually runs about $12, while a nice restaurant can cost you upwards of $20. You can find souvlaki being sold on the streets for about $2.
Also, it is worth noting that smoking is very common in Greece. It can sometimes be difficult to find smoke free zones in which to enjoy your food.
Given Portugal’s location at the mouth of the Mediterranean, the country is best known for its access to fresh seafood year-round. Portuguese cuisine also uses ingredients from other parts of the world, making it a blend of multicultural food scenes.
When it comes to seafood, one of the most common dishes in Portugal is salt cod known as bacaloa. Cod is a fish that is readily available in Portugal, and it can be prepared in many different ways. In fact, locals say that they have a different recipe for it each day of the year.
Great desserts can also be found in Portugal. One of the most popular is a sweet custard tart that is inside a flaky crust known as pastel de nata. It’s topped with cinnamon and is quite delicious.
The prices are somewhat average in Portugal, and you can enjoy a restaurant meal for around $8 – $10. You can find street vendors with cheaper food, but make sure there is a crowd there. Portugal cuisine is something that you should absolutely try.
Morocco is another place with an underrated food scene. The cuisine here is a blend of many cuisines from around the region including Arabic, Mediterranean, and Roman.
One of the traditional Moroccan dishes is couscous. Most people consider this a national delicacy. Beef is also common throughout Morocco, and it is usually served with a variety of vegetables.
The food in Morocco is on the less expensive side. A meal can be had at an inexpensive restaurant for around $3, while more upscale restaurants can go up to around $10. It is worth mentioning that Morocco has quite a wealth gap in their country. This causes some items there to be very expensive.
While Mexico has traditionally been known as more of a street food destination, its culinary scene is starting to become more upscale. You can now find many upscale restaurants in Mexico serving a wide range of Mexican food.
Mole sauce, a typical Oaxacan dish, is considered by most to be the national dish of Mexico. You will often find it served over enchiladas filled with beef, chicken or cheese. Tacos are still very popular here, and you can find them with many different types of fillings.
The food around Mexico varies wildly as each region has their own distinct culinary traditions. Some of my favorite regional food are the Mayan dishes found in the Yucatan peninsula. Some of my favorite examples of Mayan food include panuchos, cochinita pibil and sopa de lima. You can find great examples of traditional Mayan recipes at the restaurants in Merida, the capital of Yucatan.
Mexican food is on the cheaper side, and you can purchase a meal in the business district for around $5. As in other places, street food is usually cheaper, and Mexico still has plenty of street food vendors. This is a place that is definitely worth a stop on any foodie tour!
Which of these affordable foodie destinations do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments section below!
Travel writer and owner of the blog. My work has been featured on Fodors, Eater.com, International Living, and Great Escape Publishing, among many others. My story? Nearly six years ago, I left my job at an Oklahoma City law firm and embarked on a journey around the world. At the time, I thought I would only be gone for 6 months, but the more I traveled, the longer my bucket list became. Flashpacker describes how I travel. Rather than traveling as the normal world wise backpacker and staying in hostel dorms, I prefer a more comfortable experience, and typically stay in private rooms, take Ubers instead of taxis, and now use a suitcase instead of a backpack. Foodie, on the other hand, describes one of the key reasons why I travel. I love to pick a central “base camp” and then explore the surrounding area, really immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people, and enjoying and exploring the food of an area is an essential part of this experience.