• BIRMINGHAM The U.K.'s second city has long held an undeserved reputation for grittiness. Initiatives like the futuristically designed Selfridges department store, tel: (44-121) 600 6796, may finally start to redress this wrong. The store—decorated with 15,000 bright metallic disks that were apparently inspired by the famous chain-mail dresses of French designer Paco Rabanne—is home to easily the best food hall north of London. Aside from all the gourmet groceries one could require, there's a wealth of hip takeaway outlets to choose from—among them a New York-style deli counter, a branch of London's trendy YO! Sushi restaurant, and a Veuve Cliquot champagne bar.
• HONG KONG Located in the basement of Hong Kong's swanky Pacific Place mall, the Great food hall, tel: (852) 2918 9986, overflows with gourmet comestibles, stocking around 46,000 products from exquisite smoked salmon and marinated olives to fresh oysters. But it's the non-Western delights that are Great's real points of difference, with the store boasting very wide Japanese, Korean and kosher selections alongside the Italian, German or French fare. Choose your sashimi or sushi, get some kimchi on the side, and then head over to nearby Hong Kong Park for Asian alfresco dining.
• PARIS Founded on the Left Bank as Paris' first department store, the Louis-Auguste Boileau and Gustave Eiffel-designed Le Bon Marché boasts a breathtaking ground-floor food hall, La Grande Epicerie, tel: (33-1) 4439 8100. This is the place to procure everything from Alsatian foie gras and pâtés to Breton sea salt and artisanal honey from Provence. Grab a top vintage or exotic aperitif in the wine-and-liqueur department, then head to the fresh-produce section for your pick of the juiciest Charentais melons, gourmet cheeses (200 types) and much more.