Violent crimes, kidnappings, and political turmoil are probably not things that anyone looks for in a travel destination. But what if you found out that these hazardous destinations could provide you with exceptional local eats? Could the quest for new culinary adventures override the fear of potential danger?
The unfortunate truth is that places with some of the most breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, historic sights, and exceptional food specialties have become known for political unrest and violence. But adventurous travelers willing to brave danger will usually be the first to tell you that their culinary discoveries — be they at roadside stands or meals shared with those less fortunate — are often better and more memorable than any five-star experience you could pay for at home. Of course, caution is essential, and nobody is suggesting that you risk personal safety for food or take lightly the political, social, military, and economic issues and natural disasters affecting dangerous areas. But should you be curious, or find yourself in one of these places, consider that you just may find yourself stumbling across, if not the best, perhaps some of the most underrated great food in the world.
The numerous delicacies that await the daring traveler include anything from dinner at a restaurant recently voted as the sixth-best in the world to a local sandwich specialty stuffed with french fries to handmade arepas.
In order to find a solution to the dilemma of "to go or not to go?" we decided to dig deeper into the facts and figures on the safety of some of the world’s most dangerous, yet gastronomically alluring, places. To compile our list of the 25 Most Dangerous Food Destinations, we used reports from the U.S. State Department as our main source, and advise anybody planning to visit a destination in these "culinary danger zones" to check the most recent warnings and advisories before every trip.
However, if high crime, risk of terror attacks, and political riots don’t stop you from craving new, thrilling food adventures, browse through our countdown of the 25 Most Dangerous Food Destinations in the slideshow.
#25 South Africa
The famous "Gatsby sandwich" is a soft, foot-long roll stuffed with meat or fish, French fries (a.k.a. "hot chips"), and a spicy sauce. While this over-the-top street food might just be worth traveling for, use some extra caution: New reports from the U.S Embassy list Cape Town, the country’s administrative capital, as a "critical crime threat spot," where violent crimes such as armed robbery, car-jacking, and mugging still are common. If you plan on traveling to Cape Town, try The Test Kitchen, Luke Dale-Roberts' restaurant serving eclectic, international cuisine. Listed as "one to watch" on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, this eatery serves standout dishes such as plum-cured foie gras, morel-glazed sweet breads, and duck liver and morel "royal" with onions.
Following the May 2014 military coup, Thailand became a nation of civil unrest. After the Royal Thai Armed Forces dissolved the government and senate and established a military dominated legislature, the country came under martial law. Thailand may seem a dangerous place to visit, but for the foodies who know better, this country is home to some of the most scrumptious food — especially street food — in the world. Marketplaces overflow with colorful foods, fragrant spices and noodles, and classic dishes like pad Thai or tom yam goong (a type of soup with shrimp, shallots, fish sauce, lemon grass, chiles, and more). Some of the best street food markets can be found in Chiang Mai, a Northern culinary capital that is set on the outskirts of the Thai jungle, with its Prathu Chang Puak night market and its cooking classes a plenty. Bangkok, which briefly enforced a curfew throughout the city immediately following the coup, is teeming with world-class street food as well as world-class restaurants; the city’s nahm restaurant was rated number 13 on The 50 Best Restaurants in the World list and was also ranked number three on The Daily Meal’s list of the Best Restaurants in Asia.