Cultures and countries are defined by food and many are rightly proud of their culinary heritage. Some dishes are so iconic that they carry the name of their birthplace and, of course, they taste so much better in situ.
So if you're a serious global foodie with a checklist you're itching to tick, we've got a list of where to go and what to eat to start you off:
Image by missmeng
Why Teressa Bellissimo created this Superbowl favourite is disputed by members of her own family. But whether it was for spiritual sustenance, to feed up some drunks or simply to use up mis-ordered chicken, one thing is certain: when you're chowing down on deep-fried wings smothered in a hot and spicy, buttery sauce at the Bellissimo's Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, you won't much care.
Image by einalem
The first Peking Duck restaurant, Bianyifang, was opened in 1416 and still offers amazing duck. The incredible crispiness of the duck's skin is created in a process lasting days and nowadays involves a bicycle pump. Beijing's largest duck restaurant is Quanjude, which can serve over 5000 dishes a day. At seven stories high, it has to be seen to be believed.
Image by Ewan-M
This descendant of the 'dripping pudding', traditionally cooked in the very hot dripping collected under the roasting meat, was created in the north of England as a cheap way to make the Sunday roast go further. In 2008, the Royal Society of Chemistry dictated that a pudding is not a Yorkshire Pudding unless it is at least 10cm tall. Still, others say a true Yorkshire Pudding must be served to you by a person in Yorkshire possessing the brusque temperament of the area which is reflected in the hot fat and resulting crispness of the pudding.
Image by bhamsandwich
The Nice section of the Mediterranean coast is known as the place where 'the fish live in the sea and die in oil' and the perfect Niçoise includes those fish and a view of that sea. The internet is filled with foodies arguing over the 'true' ingredients of Salad Niçoise. Most agree that anchovy, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and black olives are 'in', other ingredients are disputed, but all must be heavily doused in a good local olive oil.
Image by crestedcrazy
These triple-decker treats traditionally involve a layer of chocolate biscuit and coconut, a layer of vanilla- or custard-flavoured butter icing and a thick layer of chocolate. To sit at one of the cafes in Nanaimo's Commercial Street on Vancouver Island and indulge is to pay homage to the home cooking of women called variously Mable, Mabel, Joy and Joyce - all of whom lay claim to having created the original recipe in the 50s.
The residents of Puebla (Poblano) lay claim to the finest mole in Mexico. This rich, dark sauce typically involves at least 20 ingredients (including assorted chillis and chocolate) and is traditionally served over turkey. A popular story of its origin involves the nuns of the Convent of Santa Rosa who needed to feed the Archbishop. They were poor but, inspired by an angel, they mixed together different chillis, day-old bread, nuts and chocolate and left it to simmer for hours. The Archbishop loved it! For extra points eat it at Cinco de Mayo or Christmas.
Singapore chilli crab
Image by Dekcuf
Hot steamy Singapore is foodie heaven; a true Asian melting pot that has perfected many of the popular dishes of the region. However, it does have one dish to call all its own and that is Singapore chilli crab, which was created in 1950 by the owners of Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant. Grab a Tiger beer and spend an evening tearing apart the juicy crab in its sweet, sticky chilli sauce at a hawker market to experience true foodie nirvana.
This article was written in 2011 and refreshed in January 2012 and July 2012.
Read more about the wonders of food in A Moveable Feast.