Editor's note: The following guest post was written by Robert Reid, the US travel editor for Lonely Planet.
I always say the things we do when traveling — going to museums, climbing a tower for a view, sitting in a park, standing below an iconic monument — are simply the way we fill time between meals. It's the food, served in first-class restaurants or on plastic-stool seats on cracked sidewalks, that gives you more of a sense of how a place lives. And anyway, we have to eat, right? If you think this way too, Lonely Planet’s new Food Lover's Guide to the World is perfect for you.
Read on for more.
To me, nothing beats breakfast in an exotic place. Many people know Vietnamese pho (beef noodle soup), but in the capital Hanoi bun rieu cua (crab noodle soup) can be a tastier way to start the day in the tiny lanes of the Old Quarter.
Source: Flickr user avlxyz
You can't say you've seen Paris until you've had a simple espresso and croissant breakfast, standing or take-away, in a sidewalk café; one of the best, according to Food Lover's Guide to the World, is Aux Folies, a real deal, crammed-with-locals place in the bohemian Belleville neighborhood.
Source: Flickr user longhorndave
In between meals, it's fun to shop for food. London's Borough Market was a weekend routine for me while living there a decade ago. Dating from the 13th century, the market has 100-plus stalls where you can stock up on artisanal breads, rare-breed meats, and take some local cheeses away to eat along the nearby Thames.
Source: Flickr user HerryLawford
Istanbul's spice bazaar has been a destination since the Silk Road days. Wander among the vibrant pyramids of multicolored spices and bricks of fragrant lokum (Turkish delight) — and be ready to get lost in its labyrinth.
Source: Flickr user Terrazzo
If you're the type that thinks that any time of day is good for chocolate, there are two places you have to go to. Start in Belgium, home to over 2000 chocolate shops, with some of the world’s most imaginative creations, found at purveyors like Antwerp's Hans Burie. To head to the source, the king of cacao beans is Ecuador. Chocolate bars made with ginger, sea salt, and fiery red peppers are made across the country, and farms north of Quito can be visited if you really want the knee-deep experience.
Source: Flickr user Chocolate Reviews
Some restaurants are destinations in themselves. In Food Lover's Guide to the World, renowned food writer Tom Parker-Bowles flagged 11 of his must-eat restaurants of the world, including the world's purist pizza at Da Michele in Naples, London's St John where no organ goes uncooked, and Prince's Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville that serves birds crispy and highly spiced. Yes, please.
Source: Flickr user avlxyz
Lonely Planet's Food Lover's Guide to the World outlines lore, recipes, and secrets of cuisines of 14 nations and various themes you find anywhere you go.