Ho Chi Minh City
We’re taking our time while traveling this year. After a fitful 2022, when a wave of pent-up wanderlust crashed over hot destinations, overwhelming hotels and airlines, 2023 seems like a chance to give up revenge travel and reset. That means leisurely strolling through neighborhoods with no set plan, putting aside time to unwind in nature, and following surprising new passions, to-do list be damned.
In picking dining destinations for the coming year, we thought not just about hit lists and must-try dishes (though those are important, too), but also the aspects of meals that make them feel immersive: the people, environment, culture, and history behind foods that force us to pause, inspire us to stray off the preplanned path, and tempt us to stay forever. Whether it’s the acidic hit of banana ketchup that sparks dialogue about Filipino food history, the intricate durum wheat pastas that distinguish Sardinia’s rural identity from the Italian mainland, or the endemic tītī seabird harvested by Rakiura Māori hunters that has aided a conversation about language and Indigenous culinary roots, these elements reveal deeper context to visitors who hang around long enough to taste it. Our sister publication Punch brought the same curiosity to its exploration of this year’s greatest drinking destinations, Where to Drink in 2023, from late-night drinking spots buried like time capsules beneath the streets of Osaka, Japan, to the revived corner bars reinventing Midwestern hospitality in Madison, Wisconsin. Together, these projects celebrate the ways food and drink viscerally tether us to a place. They encourage us to not just stuff ourselves until we’re full, but to eat, drink, and travel fully.