Crunching Numbers: Which Cities Have the Best Food Scene?

Author: Curt Wagner       

best food cities

Vendors at Borough Market, at the south end of London Bridge, serve everything from cheeses to seafood paella (shown). London is the top food city, according to National Geographic Traveler. (Adobe Stock Image)

Meetings professionals often talk about crunching data to learn all they can about attendees, but Resonance Consultancy tweaked that recipe when it collaborated with National Geographic Traveler to create a list of the world’s best cities for foodies. Call it dining on data.

The index of the Top 21 food cities around the globe appears in the April/May issue of Traveler and on the National Geographic website. We’ll get to the full list later — but here’s an appetizer: The Top 5 are London, Tokyo, Seoul, Paris, and New York.

First, let’s look at how they came up with their data-driven results. Resonance Consultancy, a global advisor on economic and tourism development, uses data to create annual lists of the World’s Best Cities, America’s Best Cities, and the best small cities.

For the culinary cities list, Resonance combed through online channels including Google, Facebook, Instagram, and TripAdvisor in more than 200 cities looking for evaluations of “high-quality restaurants and culinary experiences.” Resonance then measured the number of these qualitative mentions to come up with the list of top cities for feasting.

Armed with this delicious data, National Geographic Traveler interviewed local experts to highlight all sorts of gastronomical delights, including restaurants, street food, iconic dishes, markets, and more.

Find the full list below, but read all the delectable details at National Geographic.

top food cities

Markets in Istanbul’s Eminönü neighborhood have a variety of spices and, as National Geographic Traveler mentions, freshly caught fish grilled to perfection. (Courtesy Emily Rosenbaum)

Top Food Cities

  1. London
  2. Tokyo
  3. Seoul
  4. Paris
  5. New York
  6. Rome
  7. Bangkok
  8. San Paulo
  9. Barcelona
  10. Dubai
  11. Istanbul (see photo right)
  12. Singapore (see video below)
  13. Madrid
  14. Shanghai
  15. Osaka
  16. Las Vegas
  17. Hong Kong
  18. Berlin
  19. Beijing
  20. Rio de Janeiro
  21. New Delhi


Hawker Street Food in Singapore

Strictly Dumpling tries hawker street food, which National Geographic Traveler mentioned when it named Singapore the No. 12 best food city.

Curt Wagner is a Convene associate editor.

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