Belfast Telegraph

Around the world in five great gastronomic stops

From Turkey to Vietnam, here are the top places the chef and food writer Sabrina Ghayour has fallen in love with

Restaurants in Istanbul
Restaurants in Istanbul
Hanoi rocks: street food in the Vietnamese city
Floating markets in Bangkok
The welcoming city of Barcelona
Canned fish being sold in Lisbon
Sabrina Ghayouris

If you travel with mainly your stomach in mind, you're not alone. Food is one of the great joys of visiting different countries and for cook and food writer Sabrina Ghayour it's a massive part of any trip.

The British-Iranian chef's latest cookbook, Bazaar - which is 100% vegetarian - was published earlier this year, and here she rounds up her absolute favourite places around the world for glorious food.

1. Bangkok

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Floating markets in Bangkok
 

"Bangkok is ridiculously vibrant. There's no food trend they're not on and don't do beautifully.

"You have the whole Thai culture and then you have everything else also - it's just like New York. It's the most visited city on Earth. It's colourful and I love it."

2. Istanbul

"Istanbul connects me to my culture and when I look at these people and the way that they eat, they have pickle stands and watermelon on the side of the street, I'm like, 'These are my people'. It's like the closest I can get to Iran.

"I feel strangely connected to them through kebabs and breads and culture. The diversity of food in Turkey is really priceless, Iran doesn't have that. Every single region of Turkey is totally different from one another, food-wise and flavour-wise. It's very interesting to me."

3. Barcelona

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The welcoming city of Barcelona
 

"The Catalans are just awesome people and they've had vegan cafes since the Seventies. I always feel really welcome in Barcelona.

"Catalonia feels like it could be anywhere - Catalan culture is completely different to Spain. I love the region and I love going into the mountains and the olive trees a couple of hours outside of it - it's just beautiful. I love fideua, which is like paella's cousin - it's vermicelli noodle with seafood. And I love all their meats and cheeses."

4. Lisbon

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Canned fish being sold in Lisbon
 

"From great seafood, reasonably priced seafood, to the culture of tinned fish... There are some brands that we know that are stupidly expensive, but go to Lisbon and stock up on all their conserveira as they call it, all the tinned fish - it's all you want to fill your suitcase with.

"Pastel de nata and drinks and meat - I just love it; it's really diverse there."

5. Hanoi

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Hanoi rocks: street food in the Vietnamese city
 

"I went to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) and I thought my love couldn't increase (for Vietnam) any more, and then I went to Hanoi. 'It's just a city,' my Vietnamese friends would say, but I went there and I was like, 'Oh my god, what a city!' One night only we ate in a restaurant, and I realised what a massive mistake that was, what a waste of valuable time, because it was just mindblowing the food on every corner.

"Both me and my mother are difficult eaters sometimes if we don't know what it is, but guess what - you're not gonna know what it is, so let's just sit and eat everything! You eat so much better on the street - there are so many wonderful things.

"I had every soup noodle going, I must have had 65 banh mis in two days, bun cha - noodles with grilled meats - a very Hanoi dish, they have a different pho, Catfish with turmeric and dill, what didn't I eat? I just ate my body weight in food there."

Bazaar: Vibrant Vegetarian And Plant-Based Recipes by Sabrina Ghayour, photography by Kris Kirkham, is published by Mitchell Beazley, £26

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