Short for ‘south of Folkungagatan’ SoFo is Stockholm’s hippest neighbourhood, lauded for its array of fashionable boutiques, galleries, erotic stores, and trendy restaurants. You’re in luck if you’re in town on the last Thursday of the month—not only do the shops stay open until around midnight, but provide free snacks, drinks, and live music, as well as slashing their wares’ prices by as much as 50%. At SoFo’s heart is the historic Nytorget Square, found via the green subway line (hop off at Medborgarplasten), and lined and surrounded by boho eateries. One of its most alluring is colourful Cafe String whose legendary cakes are served as you’re sat on donated furniture (so the look changes constantly), that, along with the artworks on the walls, is all for sale. A few doors down, Meatballs For the People dishes up, you guessed it, some of the city’s best meatballs (they’re a thing in Stockholm), crafted using unusual ingredients like wild boar and veal.
Here’s Verve’s pick of some more interesting eating hubs from around the world:
Pretty much every major city on Earth has its own Chinatown, but few rival Bangkok’s in terms of size, quality or history. It’s a vibrant hub that, says the BBC, “still largely reflects what life was like in the 1960s, ‘50s and even the ‘20s”. The street Thanon Yaowarat marks its main spine and is said to represent the body of a dragon—and a bedazzling one at that thanks to its near-ceiling of neon lights. From the ‘dragon’, a network of smaller alleys flow, all rammed with steaming, fragrant food stalls selling everything from seafood to teas to fresh fruit. The more daring might opt to try some fried insects. There are plenty of eateries too, such as the legendary Nay Mong that’s been around for 60 years. Their speciality dish is oyster omelette.
There’s plenty of soul food on offer in what is possibly the USA’s most soulful city. The West Bank (or “Wank” as the locals call it, seriously) is a neighbourhood known for outstanding Vietnamese and Thai offerings. Lakeview has a selection of seafood eateries where you can savour platters of prawns, oyster, crab and catfish overlooking the water (try Brisbi’s, set in a glorious historic white lakefront villa); while you’re guaranteed to be accompanied by some seriously cool live bands while you feast in the neighbourhood of Marigny.
Hong Kong is a foodie’s haven, a compact mass of exquisite eateries that range from Michelin-star to market stalls with everything in between (there are around 14,000 restaurants in total), and you have to go a long way to find a bad meal—probably another country. Wandering the main regions of Central and Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island—famed for those towering skyscrapers—and, across Victoria Harbour, the more traditional expanse of Kowloon, it feels and smells as though every other establishment is there to feed you. Don’t leave without tasting the city’s iconic dumplings or fish balls, and be sure to head for seafood among the serenity of Lamma Island or Sai Kung village where you can sit outside restaurants as fishing boats bring in their catches from the sea.
Peruvian cuisine has long been recognised as a world-leader, few of its capital city’s neighbourhood better exemplify its gastronomical greatness as Barranco. Perched at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, this historic neighbourhood is now the hippest, home to street food stalls, inns and high-end eateries. No trip to this Latin American legendry destination would be complete without sampling some ceviche and there are spots where you can witness cooking demonstrations too. El Piselli is a wonderful 19th-century bar that hums with local chatter and sing-alongs to regular live performances, while dishing up snacks and a stupendous selection of local booze; while Cala is a seriously contemporary restaurant with white table cloths and floor-to-ceiling windows with Pacific views—menu highlights here are the conchitas and Japanese-inspired tiradito (a raw fish dish). Keep an eye out for bohemian Barranco’s fascinating street art along its palmed-lined routes as well.
Boulangerie Murciano, a Jewish bakery in Paris
Of course Paris has some of the finest—most would argue the finest—food establishments on Earth, but readers may be surprised to hear there is a thriving street food culture in the French capital too. Check out the Rue des Rosiers in the Jewish Quarter for falafel and shawarma sandwiches, and then head to nearby public garden Jardin de Rosiers-Joseph Migneret to tuck into them. If you’re looking for the more conventional classic French eateries then consider the neighbourhoods of Montmarte for traditional bistros (Le Coq Rico on Rue Lepic is famed for its duck, chicken and guinea fowl); Saint-Germain-des-Prés for coffees and croissants on the banks of the River Seine; and of course the Champs-Elysées for an iconic, Michelin-starred feast.
Words: Jamie Christian Desplaces