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9 min read

Top Countries for Expats and Digital Nomads with Great Food

Global mobility
Worker experience

Author

Gabriele Culot

Published

February 29, 2024

Last Update

July 04, 2024

Table of Contents

The importance of choosing the right food culture for your needs

So, what country has the best food?

Our picks for expats and digital nomads

Set yourself up for digital nomad success with Deel

Key takeaways
  1. As a digital nomad, the world is your oyster, with a huge variety of food and cooking styles for you to explore
  2. While taste is important, there are other considerations that are vital. Do you have allergies? Are you vegetarian? Do you have religious rules relating to food?
  3. Choosing the country with the right culinary profile for you is just one of the many steps in building a successful adventure abroad. Deel can help you make the move with ease

In an increasingly connected world, more people choose to live abroad as expats or embrace the digital nomad lifestyle. With experiences, cultures, and landscapes, one key aspect for many modern explorers is the local food culture. For many, food is more than just sustenance - it's a way of life.

Food reflects a nation's history, culture, and soul, but it’s also an essential element in the wellbeing of those who visit or live in a country. In this post, we'll explore the food cultures of various countries and how they cater to the needs of those living away from home.

The importance of choosing the right food culture for your needs

Food culture plays a significant role when selecting a location to live in or work from.

For expats and digital nomads, the local cuisine can make a difference in your daily life. It's not just about satisfying your taste buds — does a country usually cater to diverse culinary needs? Is it safe for those with allergies or intolerances? Can ethical or religious prescriptions be easily followed? How accessible is good food? 

These are all important questions one should ask while determining their next destination. The right food culture can significantly enhance your living experience.

So, what country has the best food?

This question has no definitive answer as it's primarily influenced by personal preference. However, several variables can affect these preferences. Some individuals value creativity and variety in their meals. Others prefer simplicity and quality. The availability of certain types of foods and whether they're locally sourced can also be deciding factors.

Ultimately, the best food culture for you depends on your unique needs and tastes. While global rankings of food cultures can be intriguing, we want to focus on the specific needs of expats and digital nomads.

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Our picks for expats and digital nomads

Below is our selection of countries that, while having a unique local food culture, quality, and variety, also cater to the needs and preferences of an international crowd with diverse tastes and needs.

France

France is a culinary haven for expats and digital nomads with its diverse gastronomy. Renowned for fine dining and local bistros, from pastries for sweet enthusiasts to rich vegetarian options, France seamlessly caters to various food preferences while maintaining its culinary excellence.

Why you should consider moving to France

  • Culinary excellence: Fine dining and local bistros offer a world-renowned culinary experience
  • Diverse options: Accommodates diverse dietary needs with rich vegetarian options and allergy-conscious dishes
  • Bakery excellence: Famous pastries, bread, and desserts cater to those with a sweet tooth
  • Regional specialties: Each region showcases unique dishes, providing a diverse food adventure
  • Wine culture: France's extensive wine culture complements its gastronomic offerings, adding to the overall experience

Spain

Spain's rich variety of flavors caters to every palate. Tapas culture provides a social dining experience with vegetarian options and allergy-conscious dishes. From seafood-rich paella to refreshing gazpacho, Spain ensures a delightful food adventure for expats and digital nomads.

Why you should consider moving to Spain

  • Social dining: Tapas culture creates a lively and social dining experience
  • Seafood paradise: Rich in seafood, especially highlighted in iconic dishes like paella
  • Inclusive options: Vegetarian tapas and allergy-conscious dishes cater to diverse needs
  • Refreshing choices: Cold soups like gazpacho offer a refreshing contrast to traditional hot dishes
  • Cosmopolitan flair: International fusion in cities caters to varied preferences, making it an inclusive destination

Italy

Italy, with its iconic pasta recipes, pizzas, and world-renowned espresso, welcomes expats with diverse dietary needs. Vegetarian staples like Margherita pizza and allergy-friendly options make Italy an inclusive food destination. From regional specialties to international fusion in cosmopolitan cities, Italy offers a culinary journey for everyone.

Why you should consider moving to Italy

  • Comforting classics: Iconic dishes like pasta and pizza provide familiar comfort
  • Regional diversity: Each region offers unique specialties, creating a diverse culinary journey
  • International fusion: Cosmopolitan cities blend traditional Italian dishes with global influences
  • Sweets for everyone: Delectable desserts, from gelato to tiramisu, provide a sweet conclusion to your meals
  • Wine culture: Italy’s diverse wine culture offers something for every preference, including biological and vegan products

Colombia

Colombia, a rising star in gastronomy, caters to diverse preferences. From street food like arepas to regional delicacies, it accommodates vegetarian diets and provides allergy-conscious options. Colombia's culinary scene, with its vibrant flavors, welcomes expats and digital nomads to explore its diverse and inclusive food culture.

Why you should consider moving to Colombia

  • Street food vibrancy: Bustling street markets offer a lively and diverse food scene
  • Regional delicacies: Each region boasts unique dishes, reflecting cultural diversity
  • Vegetarian-friendly: Street food, like arepas, caters to vegetarians
  • Inclusive hospitality: Warm and welcoming atmosphere for expats and digital nomads

Mexico 

Mexico's dynamic street food and traditional dishes cater to various dietary needs. Tacos offer vegetarian options, while authentic guacamole and salsa are a hit with anyone. Mexico embraces global influences, ensuring expats find a culinary home that accommodates allergies, vegetarian diets, and various preferences.

Why you should consider moving to Mexico

  • Dynamic street food: Vibrant street food culture offers diverse and flavorful options
  • Global influences: Mexican cuisine seamlessly incorporates international flavors
  • Vegetarian variety: Tacos and dishes cater to vegetarian preferences
  • Inclusive atmosphere: Welcoming to expats with diverse dietary needs

Morocco

Morocco welcomes expats with a blend of tradition and inclusivity. From vegetarian tagines to allergy-conscious couscous, Moroccan cuisine adapts to diverse needs. Street food markets offer an array of choices, creating a welcoming environment for expats and digital nomads with varied dietary preferences.

Why you should consider moving to Morocco

  • Traditional delights: Moroccan cuisine blends tradition with inclusivity
  • Vegetarian-friendly tagines: Meatless options showcase the adaptability of Moroccan dishes
  • Street fusion: Global influences contribute to a diverse and inclusive food culture
  • Hospitality: Warm and welcoming environment for expats with various dietary preferences

South Africa

South Africa's braai tradition and diverse dishes accommodate various diets. From biltong snacks to flavorful bobotie, the country caters to vegetarians, allergy-conscious individuals, and those with specific dietary needs. The fusion of global and local flavors ensures a diverse and inclusive culinary experience for expats.

Why you should consider moving to South Africa

  • Braai tradition: Social barbecue events create a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere
  • Vegetarian options: Accommodates vegetarian preferences with diverse dishes
  • Allergy-friendly: Culinary scene adapts to diverse dietary needs
  • Global fusion: Blends global and indigenous flavors for a diverse culinary experience

India

India's diverse culinary landscape is a haven for expats with various dietary needs. Vegetarian options abound, and regional dishes accommodate allergies. From aromatic biryanis to comforting dosas, India's cuisine offers a welcoming and inclusive space for expats and digital nomads exploring the vibrant food scene.

Why you should consider moving to India

  • Vegetarian paradise: India offers an extensive range of flavorful vegetarian options
  • Regional specialties: Each region showcases unique dishes, reflecting cultural diversity
  • Street Food extravaganza: Bustling street markets provide a diverse and affordable food scene
  • Spice variety: Indian cuisine showcases a rich array of spices, adding depth to dishes

Thailand

Thailand's street food culture and vibrant dishes cater to diverse diets. Vegetarian options like Pad Thai or green curry showcase inclusivity, while accommodating allergies is part of Thai hospitality. Thailand's culinary landscape ensures expats find a welcoming and diverse foodie haven.

Why you should consider moving to Thailand

  • Street food culture: Dynamic street food scene offers affordable and diverse options
  • Vegetarian delights: Thai cuisine provides a variety of flavorful vegetarian choices
  • Global fusion in cities: Cosmopolitan cities blend Thai and international flavors
  • Fresh and flavorful: The use of fresh herbs and spices adds vibrancy to every dish

Japan

Japan's cuisine caters to diverse dietary needs. Sushi restaurants offer vegetarian options, and gluten-free choices are available. Japan's dedication to precision extends to accommodating allergies, making it an inclusive destination for expats and digital nomads with varied food preferences.

Why you should consider moving to Japan

  • Meticulous cuisine: Precision in preparation and presentation is a hallmark of Japanese cuisine
  • Vegetarian sushi: Sushi restaurants offer delicious vegetarian options
  • Gluten-free choices: Japanese cuisine can cater to gluten-free dietary needs
  • Culinary innovation: Traditional dishes with modern twists showcase culinary creativity
Our top countries for vegetarians
  • India: Renowned for its extensive and flavorful vegetarian options

  • Italy: Offers a wide range of vegetarian dishes, especially in pasta and pizza

  • Spain: Tapas culture provides diverse and creative vegetarian options

Our top countries for seafood lovers 
  • Spain: Famous for its seafood dishes, especially paella and tapas

  • Japan: Offers an exquisite variety of fresh and well-prepared seafood, notably in sushi and sashimi

  • Italy: Coastal regions provide a rich selection of seafood dishes, including pasta and risotto

Our top countries for food variety 
  • Thailand: Known for its diverse street food and rich variety of flavors

  • India: A huge variety of cultures, offering a vast array of regional cuisines

  • South Africa: Fusion of global and indigenous flavors, providing diverse culinary experiences

Our top countries for lovers of culinary simplicity 
  • Morocco: Embraces simplicity in traditional dishes like tagines

  • Italy: Celebrates simplicity in its classic pasta and pizza dishes

  • Japan: Sushi, with its simple yet precise presentation, embodies culinary simplicity

Our top countries for lovers of complex flavors 
  • India: Known for complex spice blends and layered flavors in regional dishes

  • France: Offers intricate and refined dishes, especially in fine dining

  • Japan: Showcases culinary complexity through meticulous preparation and presentation

Our top countries for those with a sweet tooth 
  • France: Famous for its exquisite pastries, desserts, and chocolateries

  • Italy: Delights with a variety of sweet treats, including gelato and tiramisu

  • Mexico: Offers a rich selection of sweet delights, from churros to traditional candies

Set yourself up for digital nomad success with Deel

Selecting the right food culture can significantly enrich your experience as an expat or digital nomad.

Exploring diverse culinary traditions and flavors can provide a sense of belonging and connection to your new surroundings. Whether you're indulging in authentic street food or savoring local delicacies, food can transport you to different cultures and create lasting memories.

We hope this guide serves as your culinary compass, helping you navigate and discover your culinary home away from home. For further insights into remote work and global mobility, visit Deel's blog for valuable resources and information. Deel empowers workers to explore the world and pioneer new ways of working and living based on location independence.

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