Tokyo tops for food lovers

Thu Apr 9, 2009 1:52pm EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Tokyo is the hottest city for food lovers for a second consecutive year because of its abundance of innovative restaurants and superb ingredients, according to a U.S. food magazine.

Barcelona came in second, followed by Copenhagen, London and New York in Food & Wine Magazine's fourth annual list of top cities to go for cutting-edge cuisine and vibrant food scenes.

"Tokyo is the best food city hands down," Jen Murphy, the magazine's travel editor, said. "That's where chefs are going for innovations. There's also a history of food traditions. They are so far ahead of us."

All the top cities on the list offer "fantastic food at all price points," Murphy added.

In a surprise move, Paris with its abundance of Michelin-star restaurants fell off the list after placing second last year.

While this was not a slam against French cuisine, which remains top-notch, Murphy explained, "Right now, there's no new excitement to the food scene there."

The global dining scene, meanwhile, has been adversely affected by the economic downturn. For example, Moscow was in contention for a spot on the magazine's list this year, but it dropped out of the running as the Russian economy soured, according to Murphy.

While diners may be eating out less, chefs around the world are still creating dishes with unusual ingredients.

"There will always be die-hard foodies who will fly to Copenhagen to taste them," Murphy said.

(Reporting by Richard Leong; editing by Patricia Reaney)

<p>A businessman stops to look at a menu placed in front of a restaurant in Tokyo January 30, 2009. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao</p>