This South African city has been voted as one of the world’s best for food

 ·1 Jun 2024

Johannesburg has been voted as the world’s second best city for food.

This is according to a new Time Out ranking which looked to rank cities which sport good quality meals at reasonable prices. 

Time Out surveyed thousands of locals about eating out in their cities to rank the world’s culinary capitals in 2024.

The ranking focused on quality, affordability, and top recommendations. Cities with lower scores were excluded to ultimately form a list featuring the highest-scoring city per country.

The results of the top 5 cities from the survey were:

1 – Naples, Italy

Must-eat dish: Pizza margherita

Pizza place terrace with Naples view, Italy. Photo: elvirkins (Shutterstock)

“You can’t talk food in Italy without talking Naples – and you can’t talk food in Naples without talking pizza,” said Time Out.

Pizza originated in Naples during the 19th century as a speedy and inexpensive meal option for the working-class population. Today, traditional pizzerias, primarily located along Via dei Tribunali—affectionately referred to as Pizza Street—still serve the appetites of the locals.

“While there are certainly elevated iterations around the city, it’s still the cheapest bite in Naples – locals named pizza a portafoglio the city’s best-value dish, a grab-and-go folded slice that costs around €1 a pop.”

Additionally, Naples ranked as the most affordable city to eat out in the survey.

2 – Johannesburg, South Africa

Must-eat dish: Kota sandwich

 Close up of Traditional African bread based street food called Bunny Chow/Kota at an outdoor festival in Soweto. Photo: Sunshine Seeds (Shutterstock)

“Cape Town might steal the limelight for its international cuisine, but Jo’burg is a worthy rival for the title of South Africa’s food capital,” said Time Out.

Time Out highlighted that Johannesburg offers a diverse culinary experience, ranging from Ethiopian cafes in Little Addis to Nigerian and West African restaurants in the south of the city.

However, the majority of locals recommended indulging in the city’s traditional South African specialties, such as the Sowetan kota sandwich, bunny chow, and mala mogodu.

“If Jo’burg is the soul of South Africa, Braamfontein is the pulse of the city,” said Johannesburg food writer Thando Moleketi-Williams.

“This central neighbourhood is home to some of my favourite places to eat, people-watch and dance, with some of the most innovative ventures combining the forces of food and culture,” added Moleketi-Williams.

3 – Lima, Peru

Must-east dish: Ceviche 

Peruvian seafood and fish sebiche with maize. Photo: Larisa Blinova (Shutterstock)

“Lima is not only the culinary capital of Peru, but of the entire South American continent,” said Time Out.

The city is home to the ‘world’s best restaurant’ in Central, but people can have a taste of the Peruvian flavours on Central’s ten-course tasting menu everywhere across the city (for a fraction of the price).

The locals in the Time Out survey approved of tangy pisco sours, citrusy ceviche, and lomo saltado (Peruvian beef stir fry).

However, when it came to value, the simple and hearty arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) was named the most affordable dish in the city.

“Lima’s meteoric rise to leading culinary city was cemented last year when Central topped the world’s best restaurant list, throwing light on a country where ancient grains meet the fish-rich Humboldt Current and the culinary influences of Chinese and Japanese immigrant communities,” said travel writer and Lima expert Steph Dyson.

4. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Must-eat dish: Pho Saigon

Vietnamese Pho Saigon. Photo: CheDima (Shutterstock)

“Sweet, spicy, fragrant, fishy – however you’d describe it, Vietnamese cuisine never compromises on flavour, and you can sample the very best of it in Ho Chi Minh,” said Time Out.

Beyond the roadside food stands and vibrant markets that offer banh mi, snails, broken rice, and offal stew, there lies a collection of Bib Gourmand and Michelin-starred eateries that present innovative takes on classic recipes.

But by far the most mentioned dish in the Time Out survey was pho. “The warming noodle soup – in the south typically heavily garnished with basil, coriander, chilli and hoisin sauce – is a Vietnamese staple, ubiquitous across the city,” said Time Out.

“Though Hanoi might be the birthplace of Vietnamese cuisine and culture, Ho Chi Minh has emerged as the country’s most exciting dining destination,” said Ho Chi Minh writer Dan Q Dao. 

5. Beijing, China

Must-eat dish: Peking duck

Sliced Peking Duck in bamboo steamer served with fresh cucumber, onion, Hoysin sauce and roasted wheaten pancakes. Photo: Natalia Lisovskaya (Shutterstock)

“Beijing is a city for carnivores – asked which dish everyone should try when visiting their city, locals overwhelmingly put meat on the menu: gongbao chicken, hot pot, and (of course) peking duck were the most common answers,” said Time Out.

But vegetarians would not be disappointed either – stir-fried, steamed, spiced or parcelled veggies in a dumpling, you can find the good stuff all over the Chinese capital.

Time Out mentioned that although Beijing has many high-end restaurants, the numerous snack streets and night markets in the city offer affordable dining options.

“Peking duck is the quintessential Beijing cuisine, and my go-to spot is Siji Minfu,” said Wendy Xu, editor at Time Out Beijing.

“It’s not unheard of to wait more than an hour to be seated here, even when you book ahead, but their perfectly roasted ducks with crispy skin make waiting in line so worth it,” added Xu.

Read: South Africa voted as one of the most beautiful countries in the world

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