Sri Lanka

Table with bowls of Sri Lankan hoppers and other foods

Despite Sri Lanka’s small size (its land area is 25% smaller than Scotland), the weather varies across the country. Winter sun seekers should stick to the central region and southwest coast, as it’s monsoon season in the northeast between October and January. With consistent 30C temperatures year-round and fantastic beaches and food, the island ticks all the boxes as a winter sun destination.


Food highlights

Hoppers – these bowl-shaped rice pancakes are served at both breakfast and dinner – the perfect vehicle for mopping up curries. Look out for string hoppers too, thin patties of rice noodles more commonly found at breakfast.

Rice and curry – The quintessential Sri Lankan supper is ‘rice and curry’. Served like a thali, a dinner usually consists of a main chicken or fish curry alongside 4-5 vegetable curries, like okra and beetroot, pickles, poppadom, dahl, and a mountain of rice.

Pol sambol – This garnish of grated coconut, red onions, chilies and lime is served with most meals in Sri Lanka and is seriously addictive.

Lamprais - A fragrant parcel with chicken curry, spiced samba rice, prawn belacan, seeni sambol, ash plantain, brinjal egg and a fish frikkadel, all wrapped in a banana leaf before being steamed.

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Kottu roti – If you hear the rapid, rhythmic clank of metal on metal anywhere in Sri Lanka, follow your ears to the source. Kottu roti is made on a large flat grill, where the chef will lay out roti bread, meat or fish and vegetables, then chop it all together as it cooks. Served with a dipping pot of curry, it’s one of Sri Lanka’s most satisfying dishes.

Pol roti – These flatbreads are made with flour and grated coconut. They can be served with dahl, curry, or just eaten on their own with a dollop of pol sambol.

Devilled cuttlefish – said to originate in Sri Lanka’s Chinese restaurants, this dish of fried cuttlefish or squid is served in a tangy, spicy chilli sauce that lives up to its ‘devilled’ name.

Where to stay

Santani Wellness Kandy ££ – Santani is a luxurious wellness retreat in the remote countryside outside Kandy. As well as Ayurvedic treatments, twice-daily yoga and the beautiful scenery, Santani serves terrific food in its striking glass and wood pavilion restaurant. Traditional curries are well done, but the highlight is the modern Sri Lankan tasting menu, which offers a fine-dining spin on classic dishes.

Nine Skies ££ – Located about 10 minutes outside Ella, Nine Skies is located on a working tea plantation, surrounded by row upon row of tea plants. The five-bedroom boutique hotel is housed in the original plantation manager’s nineteenth century bungalow, and offers fresh Sri Lankan curries at dinner, egg hoppers for breakfast and even a British afternoon tea.

Malabar Hill £££ – Sri Lanka’s new luxury star is Malabar Hill, a gorgeous 15-bedroom hotel located on an old cinnamon plantation just outside Weligama. From its hilltop perch, the hotel has expansive views looking back towards the coast and further out to lush green paddy fields. Its open-air restaurant and bar offers a wide-ranging menu of excellent Sri Lankan, Indian and South East Asian dishes.

Eden Villas £ – A great choice for families, Eden Villas has a huge portfolio of modern villas and private homes available to rent across the south coast. Each villa comes with a small team of staff, including a chef who will rustle up fresh Sri Lankan specialities in the privacy of your own home.

Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle ££ – A family-friendly five-star resort perched on the beach just outside the coastal town of Tangalle. It’s about a three hour drive from Colombo airport but it’s well worth the extra journey as this stretch of coast is much quieter than areas closer to the capital. The 152 room hotel offers two large pools, kids' club, spa, tennis courts and a multitude of restaurants, including the Italian Il Mare, a global buffet restaurant; Journeys poolside bar; and Verala, which serves Sri Lankan and Japanese dishes from an open-air wooden dome by the sea.


Bangkok Thailand

Hot sunny days of around 32C, combined with some of the best food in the world (and cheap prices to boot) make Thailand a near-unbeatable winter sun destination. You can find incredible food anywhere in Thailand, but the capital Bangkok is still the standout for the variety and quality on offer.

Food highlights of Bangkok

Street food – Bangkok can justifiably claim to be the street food capital of the world; no other destination can really compare to the sheer variety and quality of what’s on offer here. Even Michelin has a dedicated street food section in its Bangkok guide, with several of them awarded Bib Gourmands. The guide is a good starting point, but half the joy is exploring street food areas such as Victory Monument and Yaowarat to see what catches your eye, before perching on a colourful plastic stool to enjoy one of the many local specialities. Don’t miss oyster omelette; som tum (papaya salad); boat noodles (in a flavourful stock thickened with pig's blood); and pad gra prow (minced chicken with Thai basil and fried egg).

Samrub Samrub – Chef Prin Polsuk worked for David Thompson for years and now runs the excellent Samrub Samrub, a chef’s table restaurant that offers a monthly changing menu based on Prin’s deep research into regional and historical Thai cuisine.

Polo Fried Chicken – Fried chicken is a staple in many cuisines but at this Bib Gourmand-rated spot it’s a whole new level, with golden fried chicken topped with a mountain of crisp garlic and served with a sour, spicy dipping sauce.

Jay Fai – This Michelin-starred street food spot is run by a Bangkok legend, Supinya “Jay Fai” Junsuta. She can be seen outside the restaurant wearing huge goggles in front of the flaming-hot woks and has reached celebrity status since being featured on Netflix’s Street Food: Asia. Be prepared to queue a long time for specialities such as the famous crab omelette.

Charmgang Curry Shop – a stylish spot specialising in khao gaeng (curry on rice). Curries such as pork jowl or smoked kingfish are modern twists on a comforting Thai classic.

Where to stay in Bangkok

The Peninsula £££ – superb five-star luxury hotel situated right on the river, featuring an epic breakfast buffet, large outdoor pool, smooth service, and even a free boat transfer to whisk you to the other side from the hotel pier.

COMO Metropolitan ££ - A smart, modern hotel in the business district of Sathon, within walking distance of many of Bangkok’s best bits. The hotel has a large pool and is home to David Thompson’s legendary Nahm restaurant, which is well worth a visit.

Josh Hotel £ - Cheap but stylish rooms, plus an outdoor pool make Josh Hotel a great budget option. It’s located in Ari, one of Bangkok’s most interesting, laid-back neighbourhoods, home to hipster coffee shops, restaurants, and stores.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh CIty

The north of Vietnam can be chilly in winter, but the south is at its best from November to April, with temperatures between 25C and 35C and very low rainfall. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is the largest city in Vietnam and offers the best of the country’s vibrant cuisine, from regional specialities to incredible street food.

Food highlights of Ho Chi Minh City

Bánh Mì Bày Ho – The tiny Bánh Mì Bày Ho is one of the city’s best places to try banh mi. Featured on Netflix’s Street Food: Asia series, the crunchy baguettes are filled with grilled pork, liver pâté, cucumber slices, pickled vegetables, and coriander – a serious cut above what you’ll find outside of Vietnam.

Pho Mien Ga Ky Dong – Pho originated in the north of Vietnam but is now found all across the country (and indeed, the world). The Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated Pho Mien Ga Ky Dong is a standout option in Ho Chi Minh, offering a superb beef pho and chicken pho from breakfast through to late night in a no-frills cafeteria.

Quan Nem – Another dish originating from Hanoi is bun ca - cold vermicelli noodles with grilled pork, spring roll, carrots fresh herbs and Vietnamese fish sauce with chilli. It’s a brilliant dish and can be enjoyed in superb fashion at Quen Nem, where they offer a special crab spring roll alongside grilled pork and meatballs for the bun ca toppings.

Su Van Hanh Street – there are many street food areas in the city offering phenomenal food for barely believable prices. Su Van Hanh Street is the place to come to try bánh xèo, Vietnamese savoury pancakes. There are dozens of sellers here specialising in the dish; a huge folded crepe made with rice flour and turmeric, stuffed with pork and bean sprouts, and cooked over charcoal-fired grills until crisp.

Vinh Khanh Food Street – another popular food street is Vinh Khanh, which is the place to come for fresh seafood. Snails are a big speciality here, but you’ll also find clams, oysters, grilled fish, and seafood hotpots. There’s a great atmosphere too, with people sprawled out on plastic stools all along the street eating and drinking.

Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City

Myst Dong Khoi ££ - A swish, modern five-star hotel featuring a striking patchwork exterior of irregular shapes, luxurious rooms, and a fabulous tree-shaded rooftop pool.

Sofitel Saigon Plaza ££ – An affordable five-star option in the downtown heart of the city, featuring classic French style and service, several restaurants and a rooftop pool and bar.

The Alcove Library hotel £ - brilliant budget option that has bags of character, with comfy rooms and walls lined with bookshelves. It’s in a quiet area but still within easy reach of the city’s central areas.



Despite its modest size, Singapore boasts one of the most diverse and exciting food scenes in the world. As a former trading port along the maritime silk road, this cosmopolitan city-state is a melting pot of cultures, with influences from Malay, Indonesian, Chinese, and Indian cuisines. Whether you're a street food aficionado or looking for Michelin-starred restaurants, Singapore has something to offer for every budget. With temperatures ranging between 25C-32C from October to March, it's also the perfect destination for foodies seeking winter sun.

Food highlights of Singapore

Hawker Centres – UNESCO-protected street food markets that are popular among locals and tourists alike. There are more than 100 across the island but a handful of the more central ones such as Amoy; Maxwell; Chinatown Complex; Hong Lim; and Tiong Bahru will be more than enough for most visitors. Unlike Bangkok, having a solid plan of which stalls you want to visit and which dishes to try is the best approach here, as the quality can be varied – many stalls have Michelin Bib Gourmands, which is a good place to start. Must-try dishes include chicken curry noodles; crisp curry puffs; laska; chicken rice; chee cheong fun (rice rolls); and hokkien mee (prawn and pork belly noodles). In an otherwise expensive city, eating at hawker centres offers incredible value too.

Le Bon Funk - A modern wine bar and restaurant with beautiful interiors and an impressive selection of natural wines. Chef-owner Keirin Buck oversees a fun, creative menu that includes parmesan and tapioca fritters and the homemade crisps with caviar and French onion dip.

Cloud Street – there’s some great options for blow-out Michelin star meals in Singapore, but few as original as Cloud Street, the two-Michelin-star spot from chef Rishi Naleendra. The eight-course tasting menu takes in influences from Rishi’s Sri Lankan upbringing as well as his time living in Australia, resulting in eclectic and unusual flavour combos that always hit the mark.

Live Twice – Technically more of a cocktail bar, the food at the Japanese-inspired Live Twice is also superb. Tuck in to the ebi and corn katsu sando, clam dip, and fried chicken alongside expertly crafted cocktails.

Da Chi Jia Big Prawn Mee – This Bib Gourmand-rated spot specialises in prawn mee, a noodle soup in a bisque-like broth that’s made from scratch in house, topped with big juicy prawns.

Where to stay in Singapore

Marina Bay Sands £££ - Marina Bay Sands is an iconic luxury hotel known for its stunning architecture and world-class facilities. It features a rooftop infinity pool, a variety of gourmet dining options, and an exciting nightlife scene.

Raffles £££ - an icon around the world, the original Raffles hotel is still Singapore’s finest address. Recently renovated, the hotel is pure luxury with slick service and an impressive line-up of restaurants and bars including the Butcher’s Block and the Long Bar, home of the Singapore Sling cocktail.

The Mondrian ££ - the newly-opened Mondrian Singapore has a rooftop pool and stylish, design-led rooms and public spaces. There’s also a restaurant from Italian chef Dario Cecchini and a fun cocktail bar, Jungle Ballroom.

The Warehouse Hotel ££ - a smart conversion of three listed warehouse buildings on the Singapore River has given the city one of its best boutique hotels, with industrial chic rooms and a classy lobby bar.

Gran Canaria

Colorful waterfront houses at the harbor of Puerto de Mogan with small motor boats, Puerto de Mogan,Gran Canaria Island, Canary Islands, Spain.

Escaping the UK for winter sun usually involves a long-haul flight, but there are a few destinations closer to home, such as the Canary Islands, where you can catch a few rays. Gran Canaria is the island with the best food and winter sun combination, with average temperatures between 18C and 21C through the winter, and an excellent local food scene.

Food highlights of Gran Canaria

La Aquarela – this Michelin-starred restaurant is among the island’s best, with superb seasonal tasting menus that lean heavily on local seafood and island produce.

El Santo – located in the capital Las Palmas this casual, stylish spot is the place to come for modern takes on local specialities such as papas arrugadas, ‘wrinkled’ black potatoes boiled in their skins and topped with a spicy mojo picón.

Los Guayres – chef Alexis Alvarez’s Michelin-starred restaurant has an eight-course tasting menu for €120 featuring the likes of red shrimp with avocado and corn, and pork with pineapple and red cabbage. Grab a table on the outdoor terrace for the best experience.

Deliciosa Marta – Located in the trendy Triana neighbourhood of Las Palmas, Deliciosa Marta is one of the island’s hottest restaurants and you’ll have to book well in advance to get a table. It’s modern, refined cooking but served in a relaxed dining room with only an a la carte menu on offer.

Ibéricos Jose Cruz – Classic Spanish tapas is the order of the day at this popular spot in Las Palmas, with cured meats and cheeses on offer alongside anchovies, morcilla, and fried squid.

Rias Bajas – the freshest seafood dishes served in a traditional dining room on the southern tip of the island. Goose barnacles, spider crab, and the black rice paella with squid and aioli are particular highlights.

Where to stay in Gran Canaria

Santa Catalina £££ - This five-star Grand Dame of Gran Canaria has been open since 1890 and offers luxurious rooms, a lovely outdoor pool, city views, and a Michelin-star restaurant, Poemas, by the Padrón brothers.

Occidental Roca Negra ££ – An adults-only retreat on the quieter western side of the island in the seaside town of Agaete. Prefect for couples looking for peace and quiet.

Design Plus Bex Hotel £ - a smart boutique hotel with a low price point located in a converted old bank building. Centrally located in Las Palmas and a short walk from the beach.

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

South of the equator, Buenos Aires is basking in hot summer sunshine (think highs of 30C) during the UK winter, so it makes a brilliant winter holiday destination. The time difference is only three hours behind the UK too, so jet lag is kept to a minimum despite the long flight. Famous for both its wine and steakhouses, Buenos Aires has that and plenty more to offer food-loving visitors.

Food highlights of Buenos Aires

Don Julio – this temple to beef and wine is widely considered to be the best parilla in the city; it even holds 19th place on the World’s 50 Best list (2023). Sweet breads, spiral sausage and empanadas make for great starters before tucking in to thick juicy steaks cooked rare over charcoal. To drink, there’s a cellar of at least 14,000 bottles featuring some very special (and very old) vintages.

El Preferido – in an earthy-pink corner restaurant just a block from Don Julio, is El Preferido a relaxed modern bistro from Don Julio founder Pablo Rivero. The menu showcases beautiful fresh produce from Pablo’s own farm, plus a signature schnitzel and house made charcuterie.

San Telmo Market – The city’s famous food market has been in operation since 1897 and still retains much of its original ironwork structure and grand central dome. You can find everything here, from traditional butchers and fresh produce stalls to hip cafes, bars, and restaurants.

Sui Gelé – Perhaps due to the high proportion of Italian immigrants in the population, Buenos Aires has some of the best ice cream anywhere in the world. A particular stand out is Sui Gelé in Palermo, which has cute retro interiors and serious flavours including dulce de leche with honeycomb and fresh cherry with almonds.

Empanadas – this quintessential Argentine snack can be found on nearly every corner, but Brozziano is a local chain worth keeping an eye out for, offering both traditional flavours and a rather good cheeseburger version.

La Mezzetta – The Italian influence on the city is again felt in the quantity and quality of its pizza joints. Head to this 1930s late night spot to try the Fugazetta, which is really more cheese than dough, oozing with molten cheese, oregano and onions.

Chori – Another must-try dish is the choripan, a sausage sandwich topped with chimichurri. You’ll find that classic plus modern twists at Chori, a fun spot in Palermo.

Where to stay in Buenos Aires

HOME Hotel £ – this boutique hotel in the heart of Palermo ticks all the boxes, with great-value rooms and lovely gardens with an outdoor pool.

SLS ££ - in the modern waterfront Puerto Madero area of the city is a new outpost of SLS, featuring modern rooms with balconies and great views.

Be Jardin Escondido by Coppola £££ – this seven-room boutique hotel is owned by Francis Ford Coppola and is one of the city’s most unique, intimate hotels.

Rio De Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

While big cities are usually where you’ll find the best food, that normally means sacrificing proximity to the beach. Not so with Rio De Janeiro where you can combine great Brazilian food, winter sun, and plenty of beach time all in one place. February and March are the hottest months with highs between 24C and 30C but watch out for December which is still hot but also the wettest month.

Food highlights in Rio de Janeiro

Galeto Sat’s – this late-night chicken joint is open until 5am every night of the week and specialises in charcoal-grilled chicken marinated in lemon and garlic. It’s also famous for chicken heart skewers, garlic bread, and farofa (toasted casava flour, a Brazilian staple) with banana.

Porco Amigo – nothing says Rio than sitting outside with a chopp (an ice-cold crisp beer) and a snack of torresmo, crisp fried pork belly with salt and lime. Porco Amigo is an excellent place to do just this, as well as try more pork-centric dishes like pork coxinha (Brazil’s answer to the croquette).

O Carangeujo - This old school seafood spot is handily located just a couple of blocks from Copacabana beach and has many typical Brazilian dishes on the menu such as crab pastel (similar to an empanada), moqueca (seafood stew), and broccoli rice, which you’ll see on almost every menu in the city.

Junta Local – A roving weekend market that showcases and promotes small-scale, local producers. It’s a great place to eat, drink and experience Rio’s indie food scene. Check the website for details on markets.

Majorica – visiting a churrascaria (Brazilian BBQ restaurant) is a must in Rio, and one of the best is Majorica, a classic that’s been open since 1961. The menu covers every cut of beef going, as well as chicken pork and seafood.

Oteque – Flying the flag for modern Brazilian fine-dining is chef Alberto Landgraf’s Oteque. A superb tasting menu featuring re-imagined classic dishes has seen Oteque win two Michelin stars and become one of the country’s hottest restaurants, placing at no.12 on Latin America’s 50 Best list (2022).

Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro

Emiliano Rio £££ – impressive five-star lodgings located on Copacabana beach. Making the most of its location the hotel features a rooftop pool, restaurant, and bar, plus large suites with sea-view balconies.

Yoo2 Hotel ££ – A great all-rounder near Botafogo beach, Yoo2 has comfortable, well-designed rooms, a pool and bar on the roof, and views of sugar loaf mountain and Christ the Redeemer.

Casa Geranio £ - Away from the beaches, Santa Teresa is Rio’s most picturesque neighbourhood, with its Portuguese colonial architecture. Casa Geranio is an excellent guesthouse in the area, with just a handful of cosy rooms and great views of the city below.

Mexico City

Mexico City

Mexico City is an ideal winter sun escape, with temperatures that never really drop below the low 20s at any time of year – during the day at least (the city’s high elevation mean it can get chilly at night). Packed in every direction with taquerias, markets, bakeries, street stands and much more, the Mexican capital is also one of the world’s great food cities.

Food highlights of Mexico

Mercado La Merced – this sprawling, chaotic market is the largest and best in the city, a must-visit for a comprehensive tour of the dishes and produce that make up Mexican cuisine. As well as the rows of butchers, spice merchants, and piles of fresh fruit and vegetables on offer there’s street food galore, with everything from tamales and tacos to insects and stews on offer..

Taqueria El Turix - This tiny hole-in-the-wall taqueria is one of the city’s best, renowned for its cochinita pibil tacos, slow roasted shredded pork with achiote and lime.

Masala y Maiz – This restaurant run by husband-and-wife team Norma Listman and Saqib Keval reveals the modern, inventive side of Mexico City. Masala y Maiz serves a menu inspired by Mexico, India, and East Africa, expertly blending, spices, flavours, and techniques to create something truly unique.

Pujol – Enrique Olvera’s Pujol is one of the most influential restaurants in the city, if not the world. The restaurant shines a light on Mexico’s indigenous cuisines and culinary history through dishes like the rich 400 day-aged mole negro and baby corn with chicatana ant mayonnaise. Its £100 tasting menu is expensive for Mexico, but still incredibly good value.

El Moro – An essential visit, El Moro has been serving the best churros in the city from its original Centro Historico location since 1935. Stop by for fresh golden churros with chocolate sauce or, best of all, the churros ice cream sandwich.

Where to stay in Mexico

Circulo Mexicano ££ – This boutique design hotel from local Grupo Habita is in a converted old townhouse with beautiful minimalist rooms, a rooftop pool, and an excellent restaurant, Comedor Mexicano.

Mondrian Condesa ££ - this newly opened Mondrian hotel has a great location, between the city’s two best neighbourhoods, Condesa and Roma. Highlights include the artfully designed rooms, and a lobby deli, café, and florist called The Flower Shop, which champions local producers and artisans.

Hotel MX Roma £ - No frills but attractive contemporary design and a brilliant location in the heart of Roma make this a great budget choice.

Cape Town

Camps Bay Cape Town Clifton Scenic Aerial View South Africa

Cape Town is an ideal winter sun destination, with long hot summer days throughout December to March. January and February are the hottest months with temperatures usually hitting 30C. With beaches, some incredible scenery, brilliant food, plus a time difference of only +2 hours, Cape Town ticks every box.

Food highlights of Cape Town

The Pot Luck Club – Together with its fine dining sister restaurant The Test Kitchen, The Pot Luck Club was one of the restaurants at the forefront of Cape Town’s gourmet revolution when it opened in 2011. It’s still one of South Africa’s best, serving fresh Asian-inspired dishes with lovely views from its perch atop the converted Old Biscuit Mill factory.

Neighbourgoods Market – The Old Biscuit Mill is also home to Cape Town’s best street food market, which operates every Saturday, offering everything from Mexican and Korean to fresh oysters and lobster rolls.

Bunny Chow – One of the best known South African dishes – influenced by its significant Indian diaspora – is bunny chow, essentially a hollowed out half loaf of bread filled with curry, usually beef or chicken. Try one at the Eastern Food Bazaar, an indoor market packed with cheap eats.

Stellenbosch Wineries – just outside Cape Town is Stellenbosch, the heart of South Africa’s wine industry. It’s a jaw-droppingly beautiful place, with rolling hills, green mountains, and some of the most picturesque vineyards in the world. You can easily visit on a daytrip but staying over a couple of nights is even better – Boschendal Wine Farm is a top pick.

Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia – A stunning setting with views over the vineyard looking down towards Cape Town and False Bay in the distance, Chefs Warehouse is one of the city’s best dining experiences. The four-course menu by chefs Ivor Jones and Liam Tomlin is more than a match for the surroundings, with much of the produce coming from local farms.

Where to stay in Cape Town

Ellerman House £££ – the best luxury option in Cape Town, this clifftop mansion offers incredible service, beautiful sea views, outdoor pool, a wine gallery, and an exceptional art collection. Well worth splashing out on.

Kensington Place ££ - one of the best mid-range boutique hotels in the city, with service and a setting near Table Mountain that punches well above its price point.

Hotel on the Promenade £ - as the name suggests this charming eight room guesthouse is located just off the sea front and is a great budget choice.

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