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These are the top food cities in America — here's what to eat when you're there

Bravo's "Top Chef" winner Brooke Williamson and Dean Norris from "Claws" on TNT at Chelsea Market in Manhattan, New York. 
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Bravo's "Top Chef" winner Brooke Williamson and Dean Norris from "Claws" on TNT at Chelsea Market in Manhattan, New York. 

Travelers are picking their vacations with their appetite.

In a recent survey by Booking.com, more than half of American travelers surveyed (51 percent) said they pick a destination for its great food or drink, and half of American travelers (50 percent) are likely to seek out local street food markets. Fifty-two percent of Americans also said they are looking to be more adventurous with the type of cuisine they eat while traveling, and 61 percent will try to eat more local food in 2018.

Here are Booking.com's top U.S. destinations for trying local food.

New York, New York

The Empire State Building and One World Trade Center are seen from the top of Rockefeller Center on March 21, 2014.
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The Empire State Building and One World Trade Center are seen from the top of Rockefeller Center on March 21, 2014.

Known as the food capital of the world, New York City has an iconic food scene that celebrates all types of cuisine across five boroughs. Popular foods include pizza, bagels, cheesecake and deli-style sandwiches. The city is also known as a place to try authentic international food without having to travel overseas, thanks to the diverse immigrant and ethnic communities. Chelsea Market in Manhattan has more than 50 food outlets, from bakeries to sushi, like Beyond Sushi; Vatan serves Indian cuisine in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan; there are many Korean BBQ joints, like Jongro BBQ in Manhattan's Koreatown; traditional Polish food at Karczma in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; Los Hermanos, inside a taco factory, serving authentic Mexican in Bushwick, Brooklyn; and Russ & Daughters Cafe in Lower East Side, serving Jewish foods like knishes and latkes (from the same owners of Russ & Daughters, originally opened in 1914 by Joel Russ, a Jewish immigrant from Poland, known for its fresh-baked bagels and smoked fish).

New Orleans, Louisiana

Musicians perform in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana in May.
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Musicians perform in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana in May.

New Orleans' food history dates 300 years (the city is celebrating its tricentennial this year), where visitors can traditionally find Southern Cajun and Creole, with famous dishes like jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbo, fried chicken and mufulettas (an sandwich on round Italian bread filled with Italian meats and cheeses). Many famous restaurants are inside historic, centuries-old buildings and have been in business for more than 150 years, like Arnaud's in the French Quarter. Star chefs have helped shape the food scene, like celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, star of "Eat the World" on Amazon, and Nina Compton, a former contestant on Bravo's "Top Chef" and 2018 best chef in the South winner for James Beard Foundation.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

A two-hour drive from Charleston, South Carolina, the town of Myrtle Beach is a seaside resort town known for great beaches, recreation sports like golf and an excellent food scene. Visitors can find an array of seafood restaurants with just-caught fish and fresh-shucked oysters. Seek out raw bars (like Rockefellers), barbecue joints (like Carolina Roadhouse with its famous "fall-off-the-bone" ribs), pancake houses and casual spots (like Peaches Corner, a family-owned diner that opened in 1937, the year before Myrtle Beach was actually incorporated as a city).

San Francisco, California

Photo by RICOWde

San Francisco is considered the best food city in America by many top critics, including U.S. News & World Report.

"With the possible exception of New Orleans, no American city obsesses more about food — buying it, cooking it, eating it, talking about it," according to The Washington Post.

San Francisco is known for many things foodie: It has numerous Michelin-starred restaurants, like Benu, Quince and Saison, as well as progressive chefs, like Alice Waters and Michael Mina. Then there are the ubiquitous farmers markets and cheap local eats, like Cholo Soy, which has fresh ceviche for $5, and Market Street's popular Popson with $5.25 burgers.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada
RebeccaAng | Getty Images
Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas goes over the top, even with food. Resorts offer massive buffets, from breakfast to dinner, and celebrity chefs have restaurants in and around the Vegas Strip, like Gordon Ramsey, Guy Fieri, Guy Savoy and Bobby Flay. Travelers can find all types of cuisine, and at various prices, since Vegas is a city you can visit on a budget or splurge. Great meals range from the $2.25 tacos at Tacos El Gordo, known for authentic, Tijuana-style tacos on homemade corn tortillas and made-from-scratch guacamole, to a $135-per person, 5-course meal at Le Cirque.

Booking.com also determined its top international destinations for tasting local food, including Nagoya, Japan; Joao Pressoa, Brazil; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Colmar, France; Lima, Peru and Catania, Italy.

For the report, Booking.com surveyed 56,727 respondents around the world who have taken a trip in the last 12 months or planned to take a trip in the next 12 months.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns Bravo.

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