Food is an integral part of a country's culture, and I genuinely believe that you don’t know a place until you’ve tasted their cuisine. It goes without saying that we travel to eat. There is just as much time put into researching restaurants and culinary experiences than there is in planning activities. Therefore, I’ve asked a few fellow foodies who happen to be travel bloggers to recommend some of the best food tour experiences around the world. They’ve shared food walks, culinary adventures and hands-on workshops that will leave you with a full belly and a happy heart.
Food is everything we are. It's an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It's inseparable from those from the get-go. -Anthony Bourdain
Food Tours Around the World - Europe
Food Walk in Athens, Greece by Dawn from 5 Lost Together
Greek food is incredible, but sometimes it is hard to get past tourist staples like souvlaki, moussaka, and spanakopita. We did a Family Food Tour with Athens Food on Foot where we were shown the places Greeks go to eat in Athens and sampled a huge variety of Greek foods. The tour included staples like Greek yogurt, olives and olive oil and Greek pies. But also lesser known specialties like koulouri bread, sardines, raw pistachios and ice cream made right before our eyes. While we were tasting and learning all about Greek food, we were also seeing Athens’ most interesting neighbourhoods and learning about Greek history and culture.
Athens Food on Foot offers classic food tours of Athens, but also specialty tours for families or vegetarians. As a family with kids and vegetarians, it was wonderful to experience the fantastic foods of Athens. Our morning tour left our bellies stuffed, making this food walk great value as it took care of our breakfast and lunch that day. Read more…
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Book a Food Tour with Athens Food on Foot here.
Related: Athens In Three Days
Wine and Tapas Food Tour in Barcelona, Spain by Wendy Lee from Empty Nesters Hit the Road
I knew that I had to take a culinary tour while visiting Barcelona. So my husband and I researched all of our options and finally selected a wine and tapas tour with Devour Barcelona. Like most tours the guide can make or break the experience, so we were really fortunate to have Dom, a charming British expat, lead us.
We met Dom at a traditional Boqueria in the Gothic Quarter where we sampled vermouth with patatas brava and a croquette. The setting could not have been more picturesque! Jamon hung from the ceiling, barrels of vermouth were stored up high, and a selection of wine and olives were displayed on the counter.
Next, we moved on to a more modern wine bar. This very stylish restaurant gave Dom the opportunity to educate us on Spanish wine with an emphasis on those made in Catalonia. We sampled white, rose and cava, and by the time we were done I felt like an expert (ok, not really, but we did learn a lot!). Several creative tapas accompanied these wines.
Finally, we ended the tour at a small private tasting room. Here we sampled red wines and had a nice selection of bread, olive oil, meats and cheeses to nibble.
Throughout the evening Dom provided insights about Barcelona and gave us great restaurant recommendations. While we took this tour in November, it could be enjoyed any time of the year. When we return to Barcelona, I’ll definitely be booking another food tour with Devour.
A Weekend At The W Barcelona Hotel
Food Tour in Saint Petersburg, Russia by Campbell and Alya from Stingy Nomads
The best way to get to know a country and its traditions is through meeting local people in an informal setting. Out of several food tours you can do in Saint Petersburg, a private meal with a Russian family offers the best opportunity to meet local people.
It’s not a fancy meal that you can find in many Russian cuisine restaurants, but instead a family-style dinner. It takes place in a typical Russian house outside the city. Return transfer from the city center is included in the price. On arrival you will learn about Russian food and cooking traditions, then your host will show you around the house and answer your questions.
No need to worry about the language barrier, all hosts can speak fluent English. The dinner includes; two types of salads (Vinaigrette and Russian Olivier salad), pelmeni (Russian dumplings) served with sour cream and sauce, pancakes with honey, sour cream, red caviar or home-made jam and Russian pies. The drinks included are a traditional berry drink, water, tea and coffee. Alcoholic beverages are not included but if you’d like you can bring your own.
While enjoying this traditional Russian dinner, you can talk with the host family about the country, history and culture. This tour offers a very unique experience compared to other culinary tours around the world.
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Book this private meal with a Russian family here.
Ballycastle Food Tour, The Causeway Coast N. Ireland by Faith from XYU and Beyond
I searched high and low for a great food tour outside of Belfast and preferably along the spectacular Causeway Coastal Route. And that's when I found Irish Feast and the Ballycastle Food tour.
Caroline at Irish Feast does the best most fabulous food tours of the Causeway Coast. You can take part in tours of Ballycastle where you can try homemade sourdough bread, locally brewed artisanal beers, some of the best seafood chowder ever and some superb pastries. Plus of course Irish scones, Brown Bread and so much more.
Irish Feasts tours include fantastic food tours of Bushmills Village, Glenarm Village and Ballycastle and Rathlin Island tours. All of which have a distinctive local vibe and products.
Caroline does private food tours that include spa retreats, yoga stops, seaweed baths and a host of other intriguing events and activities. My next Food Tour will be Rathlin Island with a real picnic or maybe the Fabulous Feast & Sea Spa private tour or even the Cloud 9 NI Yoga Tour. Or perhaps I will just choose to take all of them.
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Book one of these culinary adventures here.
Related: A Weekend Break In Northern Ireland
Rome, Italy Food Tours by Katy from Untold Morsels
When in Rome you have to eat, right? And you want to make sure you are tasting some of the most authentic and delicious food the city has to offer. Join a private tour with The Roman Guy, and you won’t go wrong.
We explored the Trastevere district with our fantastic guide Fiona who made sure we had the best taste of Rome. We immersed ourselves in Roman food culture over 3 hours and tasted traditional meats and cheeses, delicious Baccala (fried salted cod), pizza and pasta and much more! We discovered local haunts and traditional shops where the owners proudly discussed their produce.
Hearing about the tradition of food in Rome contrasted with our stop at a more modern bar where the owners took a fresh approach to classic dishes. All the eating is complemented with tales of the Eternal City and stories about the characters of Trastevere. The finale was of course gelato. I tried an unusual wine flavour, and it was delicious! Read more…
Book this Rome, Italy Food Tour here.
Related: Best Places To Visit In October
Taste Tours in Budapest, Hungary by Gemma from Two Scots Abroad
Lame joke alert - no one goes hungry in Hungary with Taste Hungary! The five-hour private (or group) tour kicks off with a stomach settler of Unicum, one of Hungary's many tipples. This gets the belly fired up for a morning of rich soups, delicious langos (pastry and sour cream), meat such as tongue and balls (yes!) and stodgy cakes.
The food tour covers a food market, local lunch haunts, historic cafes and ends in a rustic wine cellar for cheese and local wines. Wine is so damn tasty in Hungary, especially the Bull's Blood from the Eger region. Budapest won't hurt the travel wallet either! Bookings can be made at the Taste Hungary website. Find out more here.
Food Tours Around the World - Americas
Food Tour in Mexico City, Mexico by Noel from Travel Photo Discovery
Mexico City is such a fantastic foodie city! I wanted to experience something unique and local in the city with a focus on food and went with Tours by Locals. They offer private one on one city tours with local experts in the area. My private guide Nydia catered to my interest in culture, art and food to create a fantastic tour of the city and for our night tour of the Zocalo district and Garibaldi Square.
The first highlight was to check out the tequila museum and try some local tequilas from the rooftop deck overlooking the square. You can watch the many colourful mariachi bands starting to assemble in the beautifully lit square lined with many restaurants that attract a hungry crowd. Of course, I was famished, and my guide quickly brought us down to the square to check out some of her favourite venues, and it was indeed a treat. We finally settled in a beautiful spot and had a delicious meal with more drinks to enjoy the evening. We even got serenaded by roving mariachis and singing from my guide and driver, lol. It was a fantastic evening, and I would have enjoyed visiting the square another night to try even more venues.
Check out my post on visiting Mexico city with Tours by locals for highlights of the visit and more images for you to enjoy!
Cajun Food Tours in Lafayette, Louisiana by Bret From Green Global Travel
Cajuns- the commonly used nickname for the Acadians, the descendants of French-Canadian colonists who were deported by the British in the mid-1700s– are known for their delicious food. Today, they make up a considerable portion of southern Louisiana's population and have had a significant impact on the state's culture. For our money, the best way to learn more about Cajun cuisine is to take a private tour with Marie Comeaux, the former Louisiana history teacher who founded Cajun Food Tours in 2012.
The mini-bus tour starts in Lafayette, the heart of Cajun country, which has been deemed “the tastiest town in the South” by Southern Living magazine. The tours typically last around four hours and make six to seven stops, tasting a broad variety of samples along the way. The restaurants change from day to day, but we started with a scrumptious King Cake at Poupart’s Bakery and Bistro, the only authentic French bakery in the area. Topped with purple, gold and green sugar, this traditional Mardi Gras treat takes its name from the three kings of the Bible.
Other stops along the way included Catfish Courtbouillon (made with roux, the base for the mother sauces of classical French cooking) at T-Coon's; Boudin Sausage, the Holy Grail of Cajun cuisine, at Nunu's Fresh Market in Youngsville; an incredible smorgasbord of smoked meats at Johnson’s Boucanerie back in Lafayette; and Rum Cake from Keller's Bakery.
By the end of the day, the influence of French-Canadian culture on Cajun cuisine was unmistakable, and our stomachs were pleasantly full without feeling overstuffed. And since we'd driven to Louisiana from our home in Atlanta, we made sure to pick up quite a few local delicacies to take back home. Read more…
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Book Cajun Food Tours here.
Culinary Adventures in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico By LeAnna from Well Traveled Nebraskan
Many travellers heading to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico go to the all-inclusive resorts for a heavy dose of R&R. However, the downside to this route of accommodation is that it is hard to justify getting off the resort and paying even more for food and drink.
To me, you don't really travel if you don't experience the REAL culture of a location without eating authentic meals. And not to be stereotypical, but in Mexico, that's tacos!!! But wow! I never knew Just how many styles of tacos there were until we took a "Bikes and Bites" tour with Vallarta Food Tours. While you can do group tours, we were able to get a private one where we took really easy to ride bikes. The guide took us to amazing locations near the city center that only the locals knew about, despite being such a touristy city! The guide made sure to go on routes that weren't hard because of my (in)ability to ride bikes well.
Out of all our stops, no two tacos were the same. But as a special bonus treat, in addition to all the tacos, we also made quick stops at places that served local beers, homemade ice creams and other fun stalls that really let us glimpse into the local food culture. And I didn't even feel guilty about all those calories because we were exercising on the bikes! (That counts for something, right!?)
Needless to say, we were full and happy that we got off the resort for the afternoon to really experience some local culture in what otherwise would have felt like a very touristy town. Read more…
Book "Bikes and Bites" tour with Vallarta Food Tours here.
Food Tours Around the World - Asia
Gwangjang Market Food Tour, Seoul, South Korea by Marie from Be Marie Korea
This Seoul Food Tour of Gwangjang market is part of the Airbnb Experience program and only accepts up to 6 people max.
Gwangjang Market is the oldest covered market in Seoul and used to be part of Dongdaemun textile market back in the day. Now the focus lies mainly on traditional Korean street food.
The market can get really crowded during weekends and evenings but mainly with local Koreans as Gwangjang is not that popular among foreign visitors yet. Which is perfect if you want to get a real local food experience.
Evan, the tour guide, is a passionate foodie and a Korean food expert. During the trip, you'll have the option to try 2 different snacks, one main drink and one type of traditional Korean tea or alcohol. The menu varies by season as some dishes are only available during certain months. Some of the foods you might try include Korean style noodles, Patjuk, live octopus, Korean pancakes or Kimbap.
The tour is available any morning starting at 9.30 am or on Saturday/Sunday at 6.30 pm. The market is less busy during weekday mornings than during the weekend. Which means you’ll get to enjoy the calm atmosphere and chat with the vendors if you visit during non-peak hours.
Book this Seoul Food Tour here.
Related: Seoul: 18 Things to Do
Seminyak Bali Food Tour, Bali, Indonesia by Kaila Yu from Nylon Pink
This Bali Tour is really special because you get to speak with an English-speaking foodie guide who really knows the culture. The best time to go is dependent upon your location. For Seminyak, you will want to arrive at the departure point, Pison Coffee, between 4 and 4:15 PM.
Now comes the best part: what you will eat. You will eat traditional Indonesian foods including Babi Guling, which is known as “suckling pig.” It is very popular nationwide, and there is no better place to try it than on this food walk. Bear in mind that alcoholic drinks are not included.
This is a door to door food tour in Bali. You can opt to book it as a private tour or a group tour, and a local foodie will take you around. You will try 7 or 8 different small portions and learn some history along the way.
Related: Luxury One Week Bali Itinerary For First Time Visitors
Private Dumpling Food Tour in Beijing, China by Sonia from Ticking the Bucketlist
If dumplings are your thing, then Beijing is the place to be. Nothing beats the joy of gulping a steaming hot dumpling, straight from the bamboo basket. Even the Dragon Warrior - Kung Fu Panda cannot resist them, I am a mere mortal!
I am a foodie by heart, but often, my taste buds are deprived of many joys as I am a vegetarian. I wasn’t expecting anything delightful to come my way while visiting China. However, I stumbled upon a private dumpling making tour in Beijing. My guide escorted me to a hutong, which is a traditional Chinese house with a courtyard. I was then introduced to a local who spoke little English. In her tiny living room, were arranged all the things needed to make ‘authentic’ Chinese dumplings, tuned to my preferences.
My host taught me how to roll dumpling sheets, as thin as paper and fold them like an expert. I even learned some fancy ways to seal the dumpling. She then took them to her kitchen to steam them and within minutes, got me a plate full of steamy hot dumplings served with soya and chilli sauce.
Long live the Dragon Warrior…and his love for dumplings!
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Book this Beijing food tour here.
Food Crawl in Bangkok, Thailand By Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
One of the unmissable things to do in Bangkok is a private food tour. This isn't just a way to gorge down on all the delicious food that this incredible city has to offer, but it also allows you to learn more about the history and culture of the country. And to observe the way of life of the people that live there.
This food tour typically takes you around Chinatown and makes several stops which include the 24/7 Flower Market, and various street food places. The different foods tasted along the tour include noodle dishes (egg and glass noodles with shrimps, chicken and eggs, all accompanied by the local lager beer), seafood like grilled squid and scallop, and the unmissable stuffed ravioli. The tour also includes samples of local fruit, the best one is pineapple, and a taste of the most famous Thai dessert, mango with sticky rice.
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The best company to do the tour is Context Travel. The tour can be booked here.
Food Tour in Hoi An, Vietnam by Ben from Horizon Unknown
Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage town in Central Vietnam, and apart from the colourful lights that shine through the night, this ancient port is well known for its cuisine. The best way to experience a taste of the food on offer is to take a tour from a local.
Booked through our accommodation, Paddy’s hostel, my partner and I set off with a professional chef and a local tour guide, Tray. After visiting the locals market, we rode our bicycles to Tra Que Organic restaurant.
In rural Hoi An, locals rely heavily on farms to survive. Tra Que Organic restaurant ingredients are entirely sourced from these local farms, and in doing so supports the community. Cuisine in Hoi An differs from the rest of Vietnam, and its specialties include shrimp style “pancakes” and green papaya salad. All items on the cooking list were easily swapped out for vegetarian ingredients as well.
It is one thing to eat local, unique cuisine, but preparing the meal yourself (under the watchful eye of Tray) makes the experience all the more satisfying! Hoi An is a great destination for many reasons, one being the incredibly tasty food! Read more…
Food Tours Around the World - Africa
The Taste of Yeoville Food Tour Johannesburg, South Africa by Iga From Eager Journeys
South Africa is known as the rainbow nation. It’s a melting pot of nationalities, from those who were here from the very beginning to 17th-century settlers and migrants in search of better economic circumstances. This cultural array also influences Mzansi’s culinary offerings.
During Apartheid, Yeoville was one of Johannesburg’s first grey cities. Where white and black people lived side-by-side during racial segregation that permeated every aspect of life. Today, Yeoville’s vibrant streets make neighbours of people from across the continent.
Our first stop along the three-hour Taste of Yeoville food walk with Dlala Nje is Ekhaya And All That Jazz. We listened to live music while eating communal starters of salads, beef chops and mielie pap (made from corn flour). We walked through a market to our next stop, La Camerounaise restaurant. Here we ate whole, grilled Garapau (Mozambican mackerel) with hand-cut potato wedges that are served with a homemade chilli sauce and washed down with a beer. This is followed by a game of snooker and a mini-bus taxi ride back to Ponte Towers.
Dlala Nje means ‘just play’ in isiZulu. This social enterprise offers walking tours around Joburg’s inner-city which fund its free youth community centre situated at Ponte’s base. Dlala Nje’sTaste of Yeoville Tour can be experienced year-round as a private or small group tour. Visit during the weekend to get a sense of place. This pan-African culinary experience covers 3km, offers vegetarian options and is in English, though French, German and Chinese are available on request.
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Book the Dlala Nje’sTaste of Yeoville Tour here.
Next time you are looking for a fun activity in a city you are visiting I hope you choose to experience a food tour! If you've been on a great food tour, I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below. Where was it and what made it special?
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