Exploring Food & Drinks While Traveling – Part 1: Food Tours
Food is such an important part of culture and experiencing food and drinks the way locals do can be one of the most memorable parts of travel. This is the first in a 4-part series on how to really experience food culture during your travels. Stay tuned for Parts 2 through 4, coming soon!
Part 1: Food Tours
Part 2: Cooking Classes
Part 3: Wine, Beer, Liquor, and other Drinks
Part 4: Other ways to Experience Food
The Joy of Taking a Food Tour
I have taken a number of food tours during my travels, and every single one has been exceptional. The guides are extremely knowledgable about culture and history in addition to food, and their passion seems to permeate through the group.
There’s an excitement during a food tour, of something unknown at every different stop. It’s like a big pile of delicious Christmas presents, that you open slowly and savor one at a time.
Some great things about food tours are:
- You make a connection with a local person
- You meet and interact with other visitors
- You learn a lot about everything, not just food
- You get to sample a lot of different foods and drinks that have been curated by someone who knows the area
- You’ll often get recommendations for other places to eat and drink while you’re there
- You tend to eat a lot but walk it off at the same time
On our last full day in Paris, my family took the “How to Eat Like a Local in Paris” tour with our guide Jessica, and our only regret was that we didn’t do it earlier in the week because we learned a lot that would have been really helpful. For example:
- How to order different types of coffee
- Coffee costs a different amount depending on where you sit in the cafe. That’s why that latte was so expensive!
- How to distinguish between a great baguette and a not-so-great one
- Where to buy wine out of barrels for 2 Euro!
- How to be polite in a French restaurant (There are different expectations than in the US and we might have been unknowingly rude a few times.)
This was all in addition to the great food we tasted.
In Mumbai, Mandi and I took a whirlwind street food tour with Reality Tours and Travel that had us going all over the city, and it was fantastic. Our guide was so personable and professional and he made the tour so much fun. We had taken a guided Mumbai tour the day before, but I think our food tour was better than the guided tour, just in terms of learning about the city.
Mandi wrote up a great account of our food tour experience (and very stressful cab ride home) with some great pictures, so check it out here!
How to Find a Food Tour
There are a couple of different ways I find food tours when traveling. Depending on where you are, these can fill up in advance so I do the research and planning before I go.
Vayable is a website that connects travelers with local people for an authentic experience. We found the Paris food tour through Vayable.
Viator is a site that has many different types of tours, but they have a “food and drinks” section for each city.
In addition to Vayable and Viator, I go a google search for food tours in the city I’m going to. Right now I’m signed up for this food and culture tour in a few weeks which I’m so excited about. I found the site doing a Google search and just loved the description of their tour. I’ll report back on how it goes!
Food tours are a great way to experience food, culture, and history all at the same. They often cover a lot of the same things you’d see in a walking tour, and are an extremely memorable part of travel. Check one out next time you hit the road!