Plan your foodie travels with Lonely Planet's Ultimate Eatlist in hand! »

Confidently eat your way around 500 destinations

By Paula Wriedt
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Lonely Planet's <i>Ultimate Eatlist</i>, (1st Edition)

Lonely Planet's Ultimate Eatlist, (1st Edition) [©Lonely Planet Food]


If you love travelling, eating and experiencing true culture, then Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist is a must read for you. This book “travels the world with an insatiable appetite” and contains 500 of the most memorable eating experiences around the globe. 

Ultimate Eatlist tempts you with Pintxos in San Sebastian, Spain – at the coveted number 1 spot – through to Stinky Street Food in Taiwan (number 500) and 498 other 'must try' foods in between.

With the globalisation of food today it is possible to eat many of the dishes in the book almost anywhere in the world. But at the heart of this book is consuming each recipe at its place of origin,  where the dish is combined with the local sights, sounds and smells. In doing so, Ultimate Eatlist promises that each meal will be a truly memorable experience.

I was curious about how, or indeed who, put together the list of the top 500 to make it into the book? If you consider the large variety of cuisines and dishes around the world, to narrow it down would be a massive task. Although I would willingly volunteer to undertake the research!

Published by Lonely Planet, the book drew on the experience of their many writers and globetrotters as well as asking 20 name chefs and food writers for their top 5 favourite food experiences.  

A panel – including TV presenter Adam Liaw and food blogger Leyla Kazim – then had the onerous task of narrowing down the final list using criteria including the taste of the dish, its cultural importance and the special atmosphere of the location. No doubt the list will provoke much discussion by well-travelled readers who will each have their own culinary favourites. 

Ultimate Eatlist has two indices: one at the front, which lists the 500 food experiences, and the index at the back, ordered according to countries.  This makes it easy to look up your travel destination and the dishes that are the 'must try' in those places.

Surprisingly, the top 10 food experiences in Ultimate Eatlist don’t include any from the much-feted gastronomic destination, France. You have to turn to number 14 to find the first mention of France – for their fine cheese experiences.  Perhaps this signals a move away from more traditional French cuisine?

Australia claims 13 different listings in the 500 – including the much loved, but simple, Avocado on Toast in Melbourne at number 343, sentimental favourite of a Meat Pie at the MCG at number 385, to the more exotic Moreton Bay Bugs in Brisbane at number 402 and Bush Tucker at Uluru at number 91.

As a passionate Tasmanian I was delighted to see that my home state had two entries in the book. Tasmanian Oysters are the highest ranking Australian entry at number 13 and the 1½ page feature of them which includes a glorious picture of Wineglass Bay is a spectacular advertisement for Tasmanian tourism. 

Further along at number 185, the humble-but-delicious Scallop Pie gets enough of a mention to make me want to track one down as soon as I can. According to Ultimate Eatlist the best one can be found at the Exeter Bakery in the state's north, a few hours’ drive from my place. I guess I’ll just need to ensure that next time I am up that way that I call in.

Most listings are however about a particular dish you can find at a range of places at the destination. Some listings specifically name restaurants, but others give you instructions like “any of Hong Kong’s ubiquitous shopping malls” or “head to the market and find the stall with the longest line of locals”. 

With my upcoming European family holiday, I was quick to look up Spain, Italy and France. Unsurprisingly, those destinations all had multiple entries which are now on a list of our 'must have' dishes in these countries.  With Pintxos in San Sebastian at number one I’m disappointed that our plans haven’t included travelling there. I only wish this book was published a month earlier as my devotion to the ultimate food experiences would have seen me change our itinerary accordingly!

I must admit to have been a Lonely Planet devotee since I began travelling overseas in my early 20’s. In all this time I don’t recall ever being let down by any of their recommendations for activities, dining and accommodation. Each trip I would head off with a dog-eared copy of the relevant Lonely Planet Guide in my bag and use it as my point of reference for my travels. 

While the internet has brought us a plethora of sites for reviews of restaurants, hotels and activities, I still put my trust in the Lonely Planet publications for excellent advice. I feel confident this book is no different.

Like all Lonely Planet publications, Ultimate Eatlist is a practical guide that will ensure you have the best of culinary experiences on your travels.  My copy is now peppered with dozens of sticky notes, ready for me to make my own list for our trip. I am sure that other devoted foodies will do the same. 

But even if you just want to be an armchair traveller, this book is a delightful collection that will have you salivating over the beautiful pictures of both food and destinations.  A great Christmas gift for loved ones with foodies – and be sure to put in your own sticky notes as hints on where you’d like to go!


 Read more in the press release here »

Lonely Planet's Ultimate Eatlist is published by Lonely Planet (London, UK, Aug 2018; Hb; 304pp; A$39.99). It is available at all good bookshops and can be purchased online via »

About the reviewer:  Paula Wriedt is a self-confessed foodie.  Whilst she loves her job running the small charity Cystic Fibrosis Tasmania, her real passion is food. She lives in Kingston with her two teenage children who have inherited her love of cooking so her house is always filled with the welcoming smells of delicious food.  

As a former State Minister for Tourism, Paula is passionate about Tasmanian produce and our beautiful island state. Travelling is high on her agenda but she enjoys returning to Tasmania and sharing with friends and family the many recipes she discovers on her travels.

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November 13th, 2018
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