CNN  — 

It’s not just the taste of the pintxos served at the bars in San Sebastián’s old town in Spain’s Basque country that makes it Lonely Planet’s #1 food experience in the world.

It’s the experience of hopping from bar to bar along San Sebastián’s narrow streets to try each kitchen’s unique pintxos, some classic and others inventive, modern interpretations.

Pintxos, a Basque play off of the Spanish “pinchos,” translates as spike or thorn, which is the spike or toothpick that pierces the snack.

Can’t schedule a Spanish barhopping trip to try these delicious snacks? Not a problem. You can choose from one of the top 500 experiences in “Ultimate Eats: The World’s Top 500 Food Experiences…Ranked,” which published August 14.

Recommendations from world-renowned chefs José Andrés, Elena Arzak and Eric Ripert; television food star Andrew Zimmern; BBC MasterChef judge and chef Monica Galetti; and 15 more of the world’s top chefs and food writers are also included in Ultimate Eats.

Not just about the food

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Lonely Planet's top 500 food experiences
01:21 - Source: CNN

It’s not about the perfect meal at a three-Michelin star restaurant: It’s about how a dish tastes, its cultural significance and the importance of the location where it’s made and eaten.

“When you have a salad Nicoise in New York, you might think, oh this is nice,” Lonely Planet destinations editor Matt Phillips told CNN Travel.

“When you have it where it came about (in Nice, Franc