List of most iconic dishes in 47 world cities, chosen by residents

Locals in 47 cities around the globe have voted for the dishes that they think everyone should try when visiting them.

And there’s a huge variety of food on the list, created by a Time Out survey of 38,000 people, from internationally recognised gastronomic touchstones to local classics that you’ll struggle to find anywhere else.

Londoners believe their city’s signature dish is the simple-yet-tasty fish and chips (19 per cent) while the people of Edinburgh urge visitors to try traditional haggis (23 per cent).

Londoners believe their city’s most iconic dish is the simple-yet-tasty fish and chips (19 per cent) in a new Time Out survey 

Almost half of the people in Birmingham say the balti curry (49 per cent) is the city’s most iconic dish and in Ireland, coddle, a hearty leftover stew (12 per cent), is the classic that’s top with Dublinites. 

Tacos are very popular within U.S cities, with Austin (28 per cent) and LA (34 per cent) both picking local variations of them as their most iconic dishes.

Pizza is a major go-to for New Yorkers (48 per cent) and Chicagoans (32 per cent) – although Time Out says local tastes mean the cities chose very different takes on the classic Italian dish. The former like to fold their slices while the latter love pizzas so deep they’re almost casseroles. 

Bostonians, meanwhile, appear to love seafood, with lobster rolls taking the highest spot (23 per cent).

Other signature dishes in the U.S are the Cuban sandwich (Miami, 17 per cent), burritos (San Francisco, 15 per cent)  and a half-smoke – a pork/beef sausage that is smoked and topped with hot beef chilli, chopped white onions, mustard and grated cheddar. That’s the iconic dish in Washington DC (23 per cent).


Amsterdam: Bitterballen (round breaded croquettes)

Austin: Breakfast tacos

Barcelona: Patatas bravas (spicy potatoes)

Berlin: Currywurst

Birmingham: Balti

Boston: Lobster roll

Budapest: Gulyás (goulash)

Buenos Aires: Asado (barbecue)

Chicago: Deep dish pizza

Copenhagen: Smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches)

Dubai: Shawarma

Dublin: Coddle

Edinburgh: Haggis

Hong Kong: Dim sum

Istanbul: Döner kebap

Johannesburg: Braai steak

Kuala Lumpur: Nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf)

Lisbon: Bacalhau (salted cod)

London: Fish and chips

Los Angeles: Street tacos

Madrid: Cocido madrileño (chickpea-based stew)

Marseille: Bouillabaisse

Melbourne: Parma (breaded chicken, Napoli sauce, shaved ham and melted cheese)

Mexico City: Tacos al pastor 

Miami: Cuban sandwich 

Milan: Risotto Milanese con ossobuco

Montreal: Poutine

Moscow: Shaurma (kebab meat, coleslaw, salad and mayonnaise inside flatbread)

Mumbai: Vada pav (deep-fried spiced potato balls on a square roll)

Naples: Pizza Margherita

New York: Pizza

Osaka: Takoyaki (balls filled with pieces of octopus and pickled ginger)

Paris: Steak frites

Philadelphia: Cheesesteak

Porto: Francesinha (stacked meat sandwich drizzled in melted cheese)

Prague: Svíčková (sirloin beef in a creamy sauce of carrot, celery and onion)

Rio de Janeiro: Feijoada (rich stew of black beans, pork and salted beef)

Rome: Carbonara

San Francisco: Burrito

São Paulo: Pizza

Seoul: Korean barbecue

Singapore: Chicken rice

Stockholm: Köttbullar (meatballs)

Sydney: Rock oysters

Tokyo: Ramen

Vancouver: Sushi

Washington DC: Half-smoke (smoked sausage topped with beef chilli, onions, mustard and grated cheddar) 

Source: Time Out Iconic Eats list 

Pizza is a major go-to for New Yorkers, with 48 per cent of them naming it as a must-try dish in the city

Pizza is a major go-to for New Yorkers, with 48 per cent of them naming it as a must-try dish in the city

In Portugal, many would assume city locals would be united in suggesting the delicious custard tart called pastel de nata.

But the majority of Porto residents advocate the city’s own francesinha, a stacked meat sandwich drizzled in melted cheese, which takes 65 per cent of the vote, while Lisbon locals think bacalhau (15 per cent), dried and salted cod, is the main dish of their city for visitors to try.

Other European cities that were surveyed include Paris, where steak frites (six per cent) is named the most iconic dish, Amsterdam, where locals say bitterballen (round breaded croquettes, 18 per cent) is the classic, Berlin, where currywurst (36 per cent) comes out on top, and Barcelona, where you must try patatas bravas  (spicy potatoes, 10 per cent), according to those in the know.

Down Under, the survey shows that those in Sydney reckon rock oysters (six per cent) are the city’s signature dish, while for those visiting Melbourne, locals suggest getting a parma (eight per cent), which consists of breaded chicken, Napoli sauce, shaved ham and melted cheese.

Those in Sydney reckon rock oysters are the city's classic offering

Those in Sydney reckon rock oysters are the city’s classic offering

Steak frites is named the most iconic dish in Paris by its residents

Steak frites is named the most iconic dish in Paris by its residents

The survey also reveals that you should also try sushi in Vancouver (24 per cent), carbonara in Rome (54 per cent), chicken rice in Singapore (39 per cent) and feijoada, a rich stew of black beans, pork and salted beef, in Rio de Janeiro (54 per cent).

James Manning, International Editor at Time Out, said: ‘Signature dishes are part of any city’s identity, and our survey shows that people all over the world are passionate – and often in disagreement – about the dish that best represents their city.

‘Many dishes picked by locals have deep or surprising local roots, but the Iconic Eats list also shows how much of their food and identity the world’s great cities owe to immigration. 

‘Though locals might not eat these dishes every day, they all say something crucial about how that city sees itself, and offer a genuine taste of local life.’