For those who travel around the world in search of the best local eats, finding the balance between a lighter option and an indulgent feast can be tricky. From street food and regional delicacies to fine dining, here is a list of international cuisines designed for those on a health kick, and where to go for an all-out feast.

Several churros served on a round, wooden chopping board alongside a terracotta ramekin of chocolate sauce.
Churros fall firmly into the indulgence category © Alexander Prokopenko / Shutterstock

Madrid, Spain

Indulgent: Churros

If you’re visiting Spain’s delicious capital, you need to make a beeline for churros – a Spanish dessert of fried dough and a dipping pot of thick hot chocolate. The long, piped doughnuts are deep fried to golden perfection, served piping hot, and taste deliciously indulgent.

Recommendation: Chocolatería San Ginés
No trip to Madrid would be complete without a visit to Chocolatería San Ginés. Boasting a star-studded guestbook, this cafe dates all the way back to 1894 and still serves endless dishes of churros to chocolate lovers today. Whether it’s enjoyed at breakfast, as a mid-afternoon snack or an evening pick me up, the churros here are worth blocking out your calendar for.

An aerial shot of a table with several sushi dishes laid out. There are three hands holding chopsticks reaching towards the dishes from around the table.
Low calorie and high in omega-3, opt for sushi in Tokyo if you're on a health kick © Rawpixel / Getty Images

Tokyo, Japan

Healthy: Sushi

To fully appreciate this celebrated delicacy, sushi is best enjoyed in the dynamic city of Tokyo, where the dish is both an art form and a way of life. As salmon and tuna contain high levels of omega-3, it’s particularly great for heart health. Nori (seaweed) is also high in protein and fibre making this a sensational meal to satisfy your taste buds, without the need to loosen any buttons. Check out our guide to Tokyo restaurant etiquette before you go.

Recommendation: Manten Sushi Marunouchi
Head to Manten Sushi Marunouchi for premium quality sushi without the hefty price tag. This famed eatery offers an omakase dinner (chef’s menu) for ¥6000 which consists of nine small plates and a selection of 13-15 nigiri rolls (depending on the produce of the day).

Sunday roast with roast beef, roast potatoes, green peas, Yorkshire pudding and gravy on a rustic wooden table viewed from above; a traditional British dish.
A hearty roast dinner is a must when visiting the UK © istetiana / Getty Images

London, England

Indulgent: Roast Dinner

A roast dinner is a tradition in the UK and regarded as one of the best comfort eats in Britain. Typically served on a Sunday, this dish includes roasted meats (or a vegetarian alternative), Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, stuffing, mixed vegetables and a thick gravy sauce.

Recommendation: The Pig and Butcher
A gastropub in Islington serving meat heavy meals to the hungry diners of London. Guests are advised to book weeks in advance and to come with an appetite ready to tackle the generous mounds of food served during Sunday lunch. If you’re still not sated after this feed, why not try one of the 10 best afternoon teas in London?

A variety of traditional dim sum served at a Hong Kong restaurant with a hand holding chopsticks reaching over the food.
Dim sum is a good healthy option when in Hong Kong, until you get carried away and order the whole menu... © d3sign / Getty Images

Hong Kong

Healthy: Dim Sum

Meaning ‘touch the heart’, dim sum is a Cantonese delicacy made up of a variety of bite-sized dishes best enjoyed with family and friends over pots of Chinese tea. For those on a health kick, stick to steamed baskets such as har gow (crystal prawn dumplings encased in a delicate translucent wrapping) or siu mai (open-faced pork and prawn dumplings).

Recommendation: Fook Lam Moon
Fook Lam Moon in Kowloon has over 70 years of history and is considered to be one of the best spots for traditional Cantonese cuisine. Come here for the har gow, salted egg yolk buns and the signature crispy fried chicken.

Greek gyros served with tzatziki sauce and fries on a wooden table with two glasses of cola in the background.
The perfect morning-after-the-night-before food, greek gyros will make everything better © Joshua Resnick / Shutterstock

New York City, US

Indulgent: Mixed chicken and gyro platter

From burgers, $1 pizza slices to pretzel stands, there’s no denying NYC is one of the best food destinations in the world.

Recommendation: The Halal Guys
Opt for the Combination Plate ($7.49), a joyful combination of tender minced lamb and grilled chicken over spiced basmati rice, a side salad and the signature white and hot sauce – and don’t miss out on the chilli and white sauce hidden in sachets. It’s high in calories, extremely filling and deliciously satisfying for the soul. Reserve this for the morning after a heavy night.

Traditional seafood ceviche from Peru served on a white dish with a lemon wedge on top of a bed of raw fish, sprinkled with parsley.
Ceviche is most often served without any processed foods, making it a delicious healthy option when travelling © etorres / Shutterstock

Lima, Peru

Healthy: Ceviche

The preparation of Peru’s national dish is simple – raw fish, a squeeze of lime juice and chilli peppers. Ceviche has enough flavour to persuade salad dodgers to consider a healthier option and is the perfect food to detoxify after an indulgent few days. 

Recommendation: La Canta Rana
Located in Barranco, La Canta Rana is considered by many to be the top place to visit for ceviche and other seafood dishes. Opt for the ceviche guardia imperial, a portion generous enough for two, snack on cancha serrana (roasted corn nuts) and swish it down with a pisco, Peru’s signature spirit

An authentic Neapolitan Pizza Margherita served on a blue woven tablecloth.
Want a piece-a this? Head to Naples for a traditional and delicious Neapolitan pizza © Angela Sorrentino / Getty Images

Naples, Italy

Indulgent: Neapolitan pizza

A Neapolitan pizza is the definition of indulgent. The ingredients seem straightforward: a basic dough, home-grown tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, a few basil leaves and a dash of olive oil. But bake it for 60 to 90 seconds in a wood-fired oven and mamma mia, magic has been created. If you’re spending more time in this boot-shaped beauty, make your travels as delicious as possible with our guide to Italy’s best dishes and where to try them.

Recommendation: Concettina Ai Tre Santi
With pizzas from €5, this quintessential Naples restaurant serves traditional Neapolitan pizzas alongside a number of creative seasonal options. Keep an eye out for their slider-like Annarella; pizza-dough buns filled with artichoke and prepared three ways (boiled, creamed and fried).

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