Faster Travel

Where do top chefs go on holiday?

Gastronomes wanting to book their next break need look no further. The Faster Track asks eight top chefs about the foodie cities that most surprised them

HK
1

Hong Kong

Michel Roux Jr, chef patron of Le Gavroche
Hong Kong is such a vibrant gastronomic city. The attention to detail, quality and love for the food is exceptional. I'll never forget my first snack on Lamma Island: steamed clams, ocean-fresh, with black-bean sauce. Now when I go there nothing can stop me visiting Dim-Sum Tim Ho Wan. The steamed pork buns are mouthfuls of pure joy.

Istanbul
2

Istanbul

Ken Hom, chef and ambassador for MEE in Rio De Janeiro
I've always been fascinated by Istanbul's history and architecture, but hadn't appreciated how tasty everything was until I visited. 360 Istanbul has a great fusion menu. Its zucchini blossom dolma are filled with rice, pistachio and sun-dried mulberries. The restaurant's modern 'remix' of the traditional shish kebab was the best I've ever had.

BKK
3

Bangkok

Shaun Hergatt, executive chef and partner of Juni in New York
Some of Bangkok's best-kept secrets can be found in the markets: fresh coconut juice, candle nuts and Thai sweets such as kanom krok (grilled coconut pancakes).  Harmonique is my favourite restaurant. It's actually an antique store selling furniture. The two old lady owners serve amazing food, using recipes passed down through generations.

DK
4

Copenhagen

Richard Bertinet, chef and founder of The Bertinet Kitchen in Bath
On my first visit to Copenhagen, I visited Noma and was blown away. It sums up everything good about food in Copenhagen - clean, fresh and healthy. Restaurant Relae was another fantastic find. It has a great informal atmosphere and cracking food. As a baker, I also really liked Brød bakery for its fresh loaves.

SanSeb
5

San Sebastian

Aurélie Altemaire, head chef at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon 
This coastal city in the Basque has a real mix of French and Spanish cooking. I went for the first time two years ago to celebrate my birthday. I can recommend Mugaritz. Each course is a piece of art. I was mesmerised by the macaroon with foie gras sandwiched in between.

PEru
6

Arequipa, Peru

Martin Morales, founder of Ceviche, Andina and Ceviche Old St
The cooking techniques used in Arequipa have remained untouched for more than 100 years. I ate at La Nueva Palomino run by fourth-generation chef Monica Alpaca. She served me her great-great grandmother's version of chupe de camarones - an ancient recipe for prawn chowder made with quinoa. I liked it so much I introduced the dish to Andina's menu. 

SG
7

Singapore

Andrew Turner, executive chef at  Café Royal
The variety and taste of Singapore street food is mind-blowing, and is best summed up by chilli crab. For a true flavour of the place, try Osia. Singapore pushes the culinary boundaries and is definitely a food destination to watch.

8

Kuala Lumpur

John Burton-Race, chef patron, The New Angel
I visited Kuala Lumpur for the first time last year and was surprised by the diversity of delicious foods. At Shook! I tried a dish called Dancing White Prawns, made with wok-fried prawns, hot mayonnaise and honey-glazed walnuts. It was unusual, but really worked. For simple and inexpensive Malaysian fare, head to the basement level of Lot 10 on Bintang Walk.