Seafood is woven into many international cuisines, often becoming a core source of protein. Historically, locals turned to seafood where meat wasn’t available or was too expensive for the average person, and the result is a rich culinary tradition involving fresh fish.
If you’re a seafood lover, then there are a few countries around the world you need to add to your bucket list. Many boast all kinds of fish and crustaceans, but they all have one particular specialty that they do better than anyone else. It’s often worth making the trip over just to taste it. Check out these 10 locations that you must visit if you love seafood.
12 For Lobster: Canada
If you’re a fan of lobster, one of the best places you can go to is Canada. According to Trips to Discover, Nova Scotia is one of the best places on earth if you love seafood in general, but has exceptional Atlantic Lobster.
You’ll also get the chance to sample some Digby scallops, fish and chips, and local seafood chowder which is to die for. The Halifax area, in particular, is great to visit because it’s home to a Farmer’s Market where you can sample delicious local produce from over 200 stalls.
11 For Sardines: Italy
People tend to think of pizza and pasta when they think of Italy. But the coastal towns and regions of the country actually serve up some of the yummiest seafood you’ll ever eat. In Sicily, the specialty is sardines. These are freshly fished and then prepared in a variety of ways.
Sicily also specializes in sea urchins, and while you’re on the island, you’ll get a chance to sample the delicious spaghetti al ricci, which is spaghetti with fresh sea urchins. The ultimate combo of carbs and seafood, this is one dish you’ll need to try while you’re in town.
10 For Octopus: Greece
Greece is renowned for its seafood, with many of the islands serving up the freshest fish available. You won’t be strapped for choice here, with mussels, whiting, anchovies, sea bass, red snapper, swordfish, cuttlefish and squid on offer. But the one specialty standing out from the rest is undoubtedly the octopus.
Among the Greek Islands, octopus is served up in a plethora of ways. According to Bradt Travel Guides, you can have it with pasta, in a salad, grilled, in a stew, or boiled and served with oil and vinegar. Traditionally, fishermen beat octopus around 40 times to make sure it’s tender before cooking it.
9 For Lobster: USA
Lovers of lobster also flock to the United States when it comes time to satisfy their cravings. There are several destinations within the country known for their lobster and other seafood delights, including Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay region, Maine, New Orleans, and the foodie city of Seattle. Many cities around the United States have their own seafood signature dish.
Pike Place Market in Seattle is the ideal place to witness a traditional fishermen’s market setting. Here you’ll see bartering between vendors and customers as fresh crab, lobster, salmon, and halibut are flung between them.
8 For Oysters: Sweden
Many of the countries in northern Europe are known for including seafood as a cuisine staple, and Sweden is no exception. Along the western coast of Sweden, you’ll discover oysters that taste as though they’ve been sent by the sea gods. The taste is so unique because the cold waters surrounding the country stop the fish from growing too quickly.
There is an array of seafood available in Sweden in addition to oysters. Take your pick from mussels, crabs, lobsters, prawns, and langoustines, which all taste divine thanks to the temperature of the water.
7 For Herring: Finland
Herring is a delicacy in Finland and is also readily available in locations like Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands. There are several ways to eat it, but in Helsinki, it tends to be served on dense brown bread. Topped with flavorful additions like mustard and dill, the herring is usually marinated in a kind of sweet and sour sauce.
The ultimate street food in Finland, you can buy herring in markets and from street vendors throughout Helsinki and other towns and cities. No trip to Finland is complete without it!
6 For Scallops: Vietnam
Vietnamese cuisine is packed with colorful and tasty dishes that provide the ultimate culinary experience. When it comes to seafood, Vietnam is the king of scallops. In Mui Ne, scallops are usually served simply with just a little salt, pepper, and lemon juice for garnish. You can also get tasty king prawns here which are huge but don’t lack in flavor.
There are endless seafood eateries in Vietnam, many of which allow you to select your own fish from the tank. From fine-dining experiences to casual food outlets, you’ll never run out of places to sample fresh seafood.
5 For Prawns: Mozambique
The long coastline in Mozambique provides an abundance of seafood for locals, which has become a staple in the national cuisine over the years. If you’re going to try any seafood here, let it be the prawns for which Mozambicans are renowned. You won’t regret it!
The prawns that come from Mozambican waters are enormous, but they aren’t missing any flavor. They’re also incredibly tender and easy to eat. When you’re finished with the prawns, be sure to sample the octopus, lobster, crab, and crayfish, all of which are equally delicious.
3 For Eel: England
Eel doesn’t sound appealing to everyone, but if you’re a true seafood lover, you won’t want to miss out on this delicacy. One of the best places to sample fresh eel is England, according to Lonely Planet. Forget about the iconic fish and chips while in London and instead head into a traditional pie and mash shop.
Inside, you’ll find meat pie and mashed potatoes accompanied by cold jellied eels, which has been a longtime favorite of working-class locals. Historically, those who didn’t have the funds for meat ate eels from the River Thames instead.
1 For Raw Fish: Japan
Raw fish can be a disaster if it’s not done right. To make sure you’re getting the best raw fish experience possible, see the sashimi masters in Japan. Eaten at all hours of the day, traditional Japanese sashimi might consist of salmon, tuna, shrimp, and sea urchin, all tasty, light, and gleaming with freshness.
In Tokyo, you’ll also find the largest fish market in the world. Visit Tsukiji Market to get a first-hand look at highly sought-after fish going up for auction before a crowd of passionate prospective buyers.