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Family Holiday Sunshine Coast

Where should we stay for our Family Holiday on the Sunshine Coast?

Where is the Sunshine Coast?

The Sunshine Coast is located 100km north of the Queensland capital, Brisbane, in the south east of Queensland. It is the third most highly populated city in Queensland and taking a family holiday on the Sunshine Coast should be on everyone’s list.

Getting to the Sunshine Coast

Apart from all the amazing offerings the Sunshine Coast has, another great appeal for holiday makers, is the easy access visitors have to the Sunshine Coast.

Brisbane to Sunshine Coast By Car or Transfer

From Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast, by car, it is an easy drive up the Bruce Highway. Although the Bruce Highway can get busy, particularly during peak periods, it is the most direct route from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast.

On route, you will pass the popular Australia Zoo turn off, as well as the Glass House Mountains. Both are iconic to this area and you may like to consider making the time to stop in and explore.

Alternatively, you can book a transfer from Brisbane Airport to the Sunshine Coast – this certainly takes the stress out of getting from A to B.

Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast on public transport

From Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast by train is an excellent choice, as well. From Brisbane’s Central Station, travel by electric train for approximately one and a half hours, to arrive at the end of the line, Nambour.

Nambour is technically in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, however, is centrally located to reaching many destinations within the Sunshine Coast.

Fly to the Sunshine Coast

While you can fly from Brisbane and transfer to the Sunshine Coast, you also have the option to fly directly to Maroochydore, a popular holiday destination on the Sunshine Coast. The flights can be more expensive, however, you will certainly save on time. You can easily hire a car, directly from the airport and head off on your holiday. Alternatively, get a taxi or bus to your holiday location.

Why have a family holiday on the Sunshine Coast?

There are so many things to do on the Sunshine Coast for families, it is truly a great destination for a family holiday. Unlike a trip to Far North Queensland, a holiday on the Sunshine Coast, is much more accessible to families and it offers a wide range of activities, meaning there is something there for everyone.

Where to go in the Sunshine Coast

There are lots of towns on the Sunshine Coast, that are definitely worth visiting. The bigger cities, however, are a great place to base yourself, to have a great Sunshine Coast family holiday. The most popular destinations on the Sunshine Coast are Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, Noosa, Caloundra, Coolum and Bribie Island – all unique their own way.

MOOLOOLABA

It takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes to get from Brisbane to Mooloolaba.

Mooloolaba has a great beach side vibe and is a fantastic location for a family holiday on the Sunshine Coast. The Mooloolaba Esplanade has beachfront views and offers boutique shopping, cafes, restaurants and bars. The Mooloolaba Surf Club has always been a great family friendly place for a meal, be sure to book in to avoid disappointment.

The beach is popular for surfers, body surfing and body boarders. There is a walking track that stretches the length of the main beach and goes beyond; it is popular for locals and tourists, who like to get their daily walks and runs in. The beachfront also houses a children’s playground, toilets, picnic tables and a nice grassed area before meeting the sand.

Things to do in Mooloolaba with kids, big and little

Mooloolaba has a great deal to offer, without leaving the beachfront. However, there are so many great opportunities on the Sunshine Coast, you will have missed out on some amazing sites and activities if you don’t venture out a little.

Below are some popular tours and activities available from Mooloolaba, you might like to consider.

Mooloolaba Cruises
Underwater World and Sunshine Coast Tour
…and something just for the grown ups

Mooloolaba accommodation

Mooloolaba accommodation is all about location! When you decide where to stay in Mooloolaba, don’t forget to look at the map of Mooloolaba as this will help make your decision. Mooloolaba accommodation on the Esplanade would be a fantastic location, however, prices will be on the higher side.

Mooloolaba camping is a popular low cost accommodation option; Mooloolaba Caravan Parks also have cabins available to rent – Mooloolaba Beach Holiday Park comes highly recommended.

Mooloolaba Hotels and Resorts

There are several Mooloolaba Hotels that are recommended, take a look at these ones as a starting point:

Mooloolaba Apartments

MAROOCHYDORE

It takes approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes to get from Brisbane to Maroochydore.

Maroochydore is well known for its spectacular beaches, river precinct, leisure activities, shopping and casual vibe.

Maroochydore is the closest, major tourist town, to the Sunshine Coast Airport. Home to Sunshine Plaza, the big biggest shopping centre on the Sunshine Coast, you’ll have everything you need for a great Sunshine Coast family holiday.

Things to do in Maroochydore

Set on the Maroochy River and around the corner from Cotton Tree, a popular picnic and beach point for families, Maroochydore is a popular location for a Sunshine Coast family holiday.

There is a great coastal walk between Cotton Tree and Alexandra Headland with walking, running and biking opportunities for the whole family. Alexandra Headland is spotted with lovely beaches as well and is a popular surfing location.

Not far from Maroochydore, you will also be able to explore Buderim where you will find the Buderim Forest Park and Buderim Falls. The walk through the Buderim Forest to the Buderim Falls, is a great activity to do with kids on the Sunshine Coast.

From Maroochydore you should venture across to Gympie and visit the Ginger Factory which offers fun rides for kids, tours, and a unique retail opportunity and cafe nestle in beautiful sub-tropical gardens.

There are some great tour opportunities from Maroochydore including the Rainforest, Views, and Montville Day Tour which takes in many of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland highlights; as does this Full Day Private Tour for those looking for something more personal. For those of you who like craft beers, this Half-Day Coastal Craft Brewery Tour may be of interest – alternatively, check out where they’re going on the tour and take yourself!

Moroochydore accommodation

The Maroochydore accommodation options are endless and certainly not just restricted to Maroochydore itself; Cotton Tree and Alexandra Headlands also offer great choices.

Moroochydore Hotels and Resorts

Moroochydore Apartments

NOOSA

It takes approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes to get from Brisbane to Noosa.

If you are flying in from Brisbane, you can also get a private airport to Noosa transfer, which may be a more convenient and an affordable option, depending on your group size.

Noosa is an iconic Sunshine Coast family holiday destination. It is known for its great beaches, rain forest walks and National Park, the Noosa River and the infamous Hastings Street.

Things to do in Noosa with kids, Family Friendly Activities

Noosa and it’s surrounds, undoubtedly offer some of the best Sunshine Coast beaches. If you are looking for picture perfect, white sandy beaches, you will find them if you are willing to explore at little. Some would say that Noosa’s main beach is the best beach on the Sunshine Coast.

…and something for the grown ups

Looking for something unique?

For something a little different (and to escape the crowds), you may like to learn to surf Australia’s longest wave at Double Island Point only accessible by 4WD vehicles! Alternatively, partake in a Stand Up Paddle lesson on Double Island.

For those not scared of heights, you could jump from an aeroplane on a tandem skydive from 15,000 feet up!

Go into the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Fraser Island

If you have the time to spare, make sure you get across to Fraser Island, at the very least for a day trip! Alternatively, you can get on an overnight tour to experience so much more of the magnificent Fraser Island.

Eumundi

A Sunshine Coast holiday is incomplete without visiting Eumundi on Market Day! If you are in Noosa over a weekend, make sure you get to the Eumundi Markets. They are hugely popular, offer a great range of stalls and have the most delicious food available to buy.

Noosa accommodation

Noosa Hotels, Apartments and Noosa Resorts for families

Lots of accommodation caters really well for Noosa holidays for families. There are lots of Noosa family accommodation choices in and around Hasting St, as well as Noosaville which is also a great location for Sunshine Coast holidays.

CALOUNDRA

Things to do in Caloundra

Caloundra accommodation

Caloundra Hotels and Resorts

Caloundra Apartments

Sunshine Coast with kids

kids activities Sunshine Coast

Mini golf Sunshine Coast

School holiday activities Sunshine Coast

Best beaches on the Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast beaches

Where to go in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Glass House Mountains, Montville and Maleny

Accommodation Sunshine Coast Hinterland

What To Do In Albany, WA

What To Do In Albany and Accommodation In Albany

Where is Albany?

Albany is located approximately 400km south of Perth, in the Great Southern Region, Western Australia. Albany is a port city and is the oldest colonial settlement in Western Australia.

Perth to Albany, Albany to Perth

You can fly to Perth, hire a car and drive to Albany directly in approximately 5 hours, depending on the number of stops you need. The scenic route, however, is to drive along the Great Southern Highway, through Margaret River and the Karri Forests.

You can also fly directly into Albany from Perth or get a bus. Car hire in Albany is also an option if you choose to arrive by plane or bus. It is good to have a car when you are holidaying in Albany as there are so many great things to do in Albany’s surrounds.

What to do in Albany

Albany Visitor Centre

Visit the Albany Visitor Centre early on to pick up all of your essential maps and guides.

The Best Things To Do In Albany

There are lots of great Albany tourist attractions and you may not be able to get to them all. As a start, here are a list of things you should not miss when you are in Albany:

Whale Spotting Tour

During whale season (mid-May to mid-October), you MUST go on a whale spotting tour. If you’ve not seen whales in the wild, this is an absolute must – you will not be disappointed. The great thing is, you will spot more than just whales, you’ll see seals and dolphins too if you’re lucky!

Make sure you book in your tour so you don’t miss out on a spot. You can book the King George Sound Whale Watching Tour online.

The Gap, the Blowholes and Natural Bridge – Torndirrup National Park

If you have access to a car, take the scenic drive to The Gap and Natural Bridge. The Gap is a natural channel, created by the crashing waves of the Great Southern Ocean up against the rugged granite rock.

The Blowholes are very impressive (and can be noisy), especially if you’re there on a ‘stormy’ day – you may just need a waterproof outer layer and some ear muffs! The Natural Bridge if also a formation, as a result of the waters of the Great Southern Ocean.

You can do this for free yourself by car, or join a tour.

Walk the Esplanade from Middleton Beach to Albany

The Esplanade has a well maintained walking and cycling track which is frequently used by locals to keep up their fitness. For visitors, it is a must-do walk, if you are physically able. The views along the Esplanade are remarkable and the port town is beautifully highlighted as you walk towards Albany.

Be sure to step off the main track and explore the ruins of Point King Lighthouse.

Middleton Beach and Middleton Bay

Located just 4km from Albany City Centre, Middleton Beach and Middleton Bay are the most popular beach in Albany. It is easily accessible, complete with amenities, playground, a cafe and restaurant – Three Anchors.

History Enthusiasts

Visit the WA Museum (Albany), the Princess Royal Forts and the Brig Amity.

The Best Beaches In Albany

The Region is bursting with great beaches, it is often hard to choose which ones you should and shouldn’t go to! Here are the Top 5:

  • Goode Beach
  • Little Beach
  • Emu Point
  • Middleton Beach
  • Frenchman Bay
Goode Beach

Albany Tourist Attractions and Tours from Albany

There are a great range of tours available from Albany. You will need to plan your stay carefully to ensure you can see and do all of the great things that the Region has to offer!

Albany Accommodation

There are lots of places to stay in Albany and fortunately to suit all budgets.

Albany Caravan Parks and Holiday Parks

Airbnb Albany

Middleton Beach Accommodation

Visit Denmark

Albany to Denmark

Just fifty-three kilometres west of Albany, is the most gorgeous little town and region of Denmark. Denmark is an absolute must when holidaying in Albany.

What to do in Denmark

If you only have a day, you will have to explore quickly or simply choose a few things to do and do them well. Here is a list of the top things to do in Denmark:

Denmark Brewery, Meadery and Denmark Cidery

  • Bartholomews Meadery – visit and experience award winning and internationally renowned mead and honey.
  • Boston Brewing Co.
  • The Denmark Heritage Cider Company.

Denmark Wineries

The Lake House Cellar Door
  • The Lake House Cellar Door – a lovely destination for lunch in a natural setting and boasts rustic charm. Browse the store, taste local produce and purchase wine.
  • Rising Star Wines – one of the original vineyards in the area and just 4km from town.
  • Rockcliffe Wines – 5 red star winery set amongst the Karri trees, in the Scotsdale Valley just 3km from town.
  • Rickety Gate Wines – boutique producer of ultra-premium cool climate wines.
  • Poacher’s Ridge Winery and Cafe – spectacular views with a cafe, cellar door and gamekeepers cottage. It is located between Denmark and Mt Barker.
  • Moombaki Wines – Halliday 5 star rated and a hidden gem in the region and a little bit off the regular route.
  • Gilberts Wines, Cellar Door & Cafe – with regional cuisine being their speciality.
  • Freehand Natural Wine – they produce organic/biodynamic, small batch, hand crafted, premium quality wine without chemical additives both in the vineyard and winery.
  • Castelli Estate – one of the more eye catching wineries in Western Australia – opening hours are by appointment only.
  • Somerset Hill Wines – the most elevated vineyard in the region with views of the Southern Ocean and Stirling Ranges. The Cellar Door, however, is at the bottom of the hill.

Denmark Cheese Factory

Duckett’s Mill Wines is also home to Denmark Farmhouse Cheese; cheeses are handmade on site in their cheese factory. They have a range of soft and hard cheeses, you can order online or visit as it is open everyday. You can eat in and enjoy a cheese platter, their handmade fudge and taste their wine.

Darkside Chocolates

Enjoy tasting a range of unique flavoured handmade chocolates – the blue vein and mascarpone is truly divine!

Denmark Beaches

Denmark can boast some of the best beaches in Western Australia. Many of Denmark’s beaches are relatively short and end in granite cliffs, dune cliffs and long stretches of ocean.

Elephant Cove

West of Denmark, towards Walpole, is William Bay National Park and East is West Cape Howe National Park. You will not regret visiting any of these Denmark beaches.

  • Ocean Beach
  • Greens Pool
  • Elephant Cove
  • Lights Beach
Greens Pool

Denmark Accommodation

There are a number of great options for accommodation in Denmark. Top hotels in Denmark:

Airbnb Denmark

Camping in Denmark

Here you will find a comprehensive list of camping in the area.

Visit the Porongurup National Park

The Porongurup National Park is part of the Great Southern Region and just 40km from Albany. The Porongurup National Park protects the Porongurup Range, an ancient and mostly levelled mountain range which was formed in the Precambrian over 1200 million years ago. The granite peaked range, measures just 15km from east to west and it’s highest point is at the Devil’s Slide at 670m.

Albany to the Porongurups

From Albany to the Porongurups, it is just a short and pleasurable drive. Pack your bag with a picnic, water and snacks to keep you going throughout the day. Take a jacket to keep you warm through the cooler months, as the higher points can be a little chilly.

You will pay an entry fee to the park, then decide which track you are going to walk. There is an information shelter, BBQ area and toilets at the main car park.

Granite Skywalk, Castle Rock

The main walk from the car park at Castle Rock, up to Granite Skywalk is on a recognisable track, however, it can be slippery when it is wet. There are lots of great spots to stop along the way and enjoy the views and take in the bush land of the Porongurup National Park.

Be sure to wear sturdy shoes, particularly if you plan to walk out onto Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock. This is not for the fainthearted, but well worth the climb if you are physically able.

Take care when climbing the rocks and ladder, those with littler legs, may find it challenging. The ladder up to Granite Skywalk requires a certain level of fitness and nerve, especially on a windy day.

If you would prefer, you can book yourself into a guided tour to Granite Skywalk and Castle Rock.

Porongurup Accommodation

If you are looking for accommodation in the Porongurup area, you must find somewhere to enjoy the outlook. Have a look at these great highly recommended properties:

Find The Best Food Tours Around The World

Where To Find The Best Food Tours Around The World

One of the greatest things about doing a Food Tour is getting to see all the ‘behind the scenes’ activity and preparation, that goes into producing the most amazing traditional meals from around the world. Food is an important aspect of lots of travel experiences and you can seriously explore some of the best food in the world, by doing a Food Tour.

Fortunately, Food Tours and Cooking Schools are becoming more and more popular around the world and we are able to experience authentic food and cooking experiences, while travelling.

Continue reading and live vicariously through these wonderful anecdotes of Food Tours around the world.

Food Tours in Europe

Bulgaria – Balkan Bites

Two years later, what stands out most about our month in Sofia, Bulgaria was the incredible food tour we took there from Balkan Bites. Even now, we often reminisce about some of the incredible foods we had during the experience! And, best of all, the whole thing was completely free (other than an optional-but-encouraged tip for the tour guide, of course).

The organizers at Balkan Bites have partnered with some incredible restaurants that offer truly memorable meals. The list of four restaurants was diverse, with the selections ranging from farm-to-table slow food to burgers. The tour even offered vegetarian-friendly alternatives.

Our guide did a fantastic job of combining history, culture, tradition, and – of course – food! As she led us through the back streets of Sofia, she gave us cultural insights that offered so much more context for what we were eating. It was clear that she was really passionate not only about the culinary world, but also about her city itself.

We went into the tour expecting to maybe find one or two restaurants we would come back to for a full meal later. We came away from the experience feeling like for the first time, we really got a glimpse at what makes Sofia the city that it is. (And yes, we did also go back to three out of the four restaurants we visited on the tour! The only one we skipped for a return visit was the burger place, because we were more interested in eating specifically local food.)

Reservations in advance are encouraged and appreciated. All of the food on the tour is free – but don’t forget to bring a tip for your guide. We expected a bite or two at each place, and came away pleasantly surprised by how full we were, so show up hungry! The tour officially includes four restaurants, but you may also get a snack or two along the way. 

Written by Gretchen Holm, from Three Big Bites

Spain – Vegan Cuisine Tour

As a vegan it isn’t always easy to find good food abroad, especially if you don’t know where to eat. Therefore, I’ve frequently turned to food tours to give me some suggestions of accommodating restaurants and what to order. One has particularly stood out: the Spanish Vegan Cuisine tour in Barcelona, which I found on Airbnb experiences.

The guide was lovely and gave me such great local information and history. I didn’t know that Barcelona was so encouraging of vegan options, but my guide told me that the government even offers tax incentives to restaurants if they offer something veggie.

Every eatery we visited was outstanding and I enjoyed all of the food immensely. On our specific tour we had appetizers (two dips and a tofu tartare) at Biocenter. Next at Vegetalia we tried a vegan paella along with Catalan tomato bread (a Barcelona specialty made with crushed tomatoes) and patatas bravas (potatoes). We finished at The Green Spot with a pesto pizza, and then Cava for dessert, along with lime and celery sorbet and strawberry rhubarb granola grumble.

I’m still dreaming about this food! It was also incredible to get to try veganized versions of traditional Spanish food. We were also given additional recommendations for the rest of our time in Barcelona. I highly recommend this tour and given the amount of food and drink we were given I think the price is very fair.

Written by Summer, from TravelingSummer.com

Italy – Roman feast and catacombs tour

In a city with so many wonderful food experiences to try, this Roman feast and catacombs tour is something very special. Join your host Debora for a walk through her neighbourhood on Giancolo Hill and discover the area’s ancient past. Starting in a local cafe, you’re introduced to the area and its history over coffee and pastries. You’ll hear stories of former inhabitants including saint San Pancrazio, who was executed by Emperor Diocletian for his faith in the 6th century AD. 

Next go underground to visit secret Roman catacombs which are part of a labyrinth of tunnels that weave for 15 kilometres under this area of the city. These were important hiding places for Christians during Roman times but are now mostly closed to the public except for special tours like this one.

Your experience culminates in an amazing ancient Roman feast in your host’s home. A family style lunch is served with dishes made from 2,000 year old recipes including wine and bread. Each of the plates is described in terms of its provenance and importance to the people of Rome at that time. You’ll even try cheese and olives cured using methods unused for centuries and stews made from ancient grains. So much meticulous research has gone into making this food tour as authentic as possible. They even have costumes for guests to wear so you really feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

Written by Katy Clarke, from Untold Travel

Italy, Sorrento – Gourmet Girls Italy

Southern Italy is famous for sun, incredible scenery and sapphire blue seas but it’s also known for legendary hospitality and delicious food. If you’re visiting Sorrento, make sure you book into a food tour with the fun team at Gourmet Girls Italy and get ready to discover why the Campania region is known as the kitchen of Italy.

Hosts Lee and Vanessa have lived in Sorrento for over 50 years between them and have learnt everything they know about Italian food (which is a lot!) from their mother-in-laws and extended family. You feel right at home as you visit venues throughout the city discovering the unique regional cuisine. Being so close to Naples, pizza is always on the menu and you’ll usually taste the buffalo mozzarella that this region is famous for. 

Italian cuisine is regional and reliant on seasonal produce and your hosts are committed to this philosophy. On their Taste of Sorrento tour you have a truly authentic experience trying dishes made from the freshest local ingredients. For example, they explain why you won’t be trying pasta with ragu in the height of summer. At that time of year the dishes are lighter and look to the sea for inspiration. Grilled calamari is fresh off the boat and delicious. 

Being surrounded by lemon groves you also taste delicious lemon gelato and, if you’re keen, the limoncello liqueur Sorrento is famous for. Of course the dishes at each stop on the tour are accompanied by matching local wines, and huge helping of fun and  laughter which makes this experience a must do when you visit Southern Italy.

Written by Katy Clarke, from Untold Travel

Italy, Rome – Testaccio Food Tour

When in Rome, do as the locals do and mangia! In a city as storied as the Eternal City, there is certainly no shortage of fine meals to enjoy and savor. The choices are overwhelming, which is why the quest to find the most delicious and iconic Roman cuisine should begin with a food tour in the neighborhood of Testaccio.

Located to the south of the ancient city across the Tiber River, Testaccio is a traditional working-class neighborhood that was once a major meat-packing district. Today, the community has the most Roman inhabitants living and working in it, which means its authenticity and attention to good local cuisine make it the perfect place for a leisurely food tour.

Our Eating Europe food tour showcased a vibrant district filled with small restaurants and businesses that have been serving locals and lucky tourists in the know for decades.

Our food tour of Testaccio began with aperitivos of refreshing aperol spritz and tarallini crackers in the wine cave at Enoteca Palombi, also known as L’Oasi della Birra for its impressive selection of imported beer. At nearby Masto Restaurant, we sampled a delicious plate of local mortadella, prosciutto, cheeses and honey.

We enjoyed an al fresco pasta dinner with coda alla vaccinara – a traditional Roman oxtail stew braised with tomatoes in a slow simmer for five hours. Paired with a local Cab Franc wine, this main meal at family-run Ristorante Angelina was heavenly, and the highlight of our tour which also included a stop at the famous Trapizzino for its iconic stuffed pizza pockets.

Somehow, we managed to find room to squeeze in a zabaglione gelato topped with a dollop of freshly whipped cream at Giolitti, which has been operating since 1914. It was a fine ending to a truly scrumptious tour of Rome’s most up-and-coming neighborhood.

Written by Claudia Laroye, from The Travelling Mom

Italy, Sicily, Palermo – StEAT

We took a street food tour in Palermo, Sicily which was a fascinating look at the city’s history. We visited 2 of the 3 oldest street markets in Palermo with StEAT Palermo in a group of 10 people. The oldest one street market, The Capo, has been in operation for 1200 years on the same streets that it still occupies now!  
Sicily was one of the main granaries for the Roman Empire because the land is so fertile. You could definitely see the variety of vegetables and fish and seafood on offer. For example, there were so many varieties of tomatoes on offer that we stopped counting and I’m sure that some of the zucchini we saw were longer than our children were tall.

We tried various foods in the markets which are popular with the locals such as, frittolas (veal offal boiled and fried), babbaluci (snails cooked in garlic), arancina (deep fried balls of risotto), panelle (deep fried chickpeas) crocche (deep fried potato). You get the general theme – lots of food is deep fried and the Sicilians are adventurous eaters.

The most famous dish in Palermo is the pani ca musa, a spleen sandwich. The spleen sandwich is an acquired taste in my opinion but if you like eating offal, you will love it. 

The guide was terrific with my children. My son tried everything but my daughter was more squeamish. They had little stamps they got for trying each of the dishes. My daughter would eat almost anything for a stamp but she stopped short of the spleen sandwich. 

We were really glad we took the food tour because he took us all around the  markets. We learned more than we would have with a simple stroll by ourselves. We definitely ate more than we would have on our own because some of the foods were outside our comfort zone. 

Written by Shobha George, from Just Go Places

Book your next European Food Tour

Italian Food Tours

Food Tours in the America’s

USA – Downtown Los Angeles walking food tour

Not that long time ago I took a Downtown Los Angeles walking food tour with Sidewalk Tours.  This company offers food tours in San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Paris, and New Orleans.  They cover different neighborhoods in each city.  Therefore, food lovers can get a good grasp of the culinary scene of a city (if desired).

Sidewalk Tours specializes in providing generous samples, a knowledgeable (and fun) guide, and superior customer service.  The company is open to arranging private tours and catering to dietary restrictions.

I am continually looking for ways to get to know Los Angeles, the city I have called home for more than 15 years, better.  After the tour, I felt like my knowledge of Downtown LA increased threefold.  I discover so many places serving delicious food!

The tour started with an almond croissant piece from Pitchoun Bakery!  This French boulangerie prepares eclairs, macarons, tarts, and much more.  Then, we continued to take a look at the glamorous Biltmore Hotel.

The second and third tastings took place at one of the coolest spots in Downtown LA, the Grand Central Market.  This historic space can be seen as a food hall serving dishes from a wide array of cuisines.  We got to try the brisket from Horse Thief BBQ and a grilled cheese sandwich bite from DTLA Cheese.

At the next stop, Spread Mediterranean Kitchen, we had falafel, hummus, and tabbouleh salad.  A short walk took us to the Spring Street Arcade, another foodie hot spot.  During the walk, I knew we were going to have tacos at Guisados.  We sure did! Tacos are the real deal in this Boyle Heights born institution.  I recommend trying the horchata (not included on the tour but worth trying).

In addition, we had a slice of pizza from Pizza Napolita, a new establishment bringing Neopolitan tradition to Los Angeles.  The eating frenzy ended at Bottega Louie with a Berliner, a type of German stuffed donut.

 If you are interested in exploring the dynamic gastronomic offerings Los Angeles,  give Sidewalk Tours a try.

Written by Ruth, from Tanama Tales

Mexico City – Vegan Street Food

Mexico City prides itself in its culture and its cooking. When I first arrived in Mexico City, the street market scene was mesmerising with versatile taco vendors lining every corner. Initially I was worried that their focus on meat would mean that veggies (like myself), would be kept at the wayside. Fortunately, the Vegan Street Food Experience through AirBnB offered a delicious look at the blossoming meat-free Mexico City scene.

Andrey our tour guide from Columbia, promised tired feet and full bellies and he was right. At £34 per person, you’ll be getting both a local city tour as well as 6 to 7 food stops.

On the 4-hour walk, we were introduced to unbelievable vegetarian and vegan alternatives to Mexico City’s well-known dishes including delectable tacos al pastor, mouth-watering tortas, unbeatable gorditas, burritos as well as traditional drinks and desert stops to cool you down during noon heat. The dishes are packed with an abundance of flavour with the options to eat more at each stop.

The real-stand out for this tour is the knowledge of the guides. There is a story told for each vendor and dish we ate. In something as simple as a taco carries a history which is fascinating to learn. Do not expect the walk to take you to the generic Condesa and Roma tourist hubs. What you’ll see here is the real Mexico City from the real locals. Enjoy!

Written by Akid Zolkifli, from Asian Boy Astray

Mexico City – Aura Cocina

If you visit Mexico City, a place with an incredibly rich and fascinating food culture, you’re going to want to dive deep into the history and context behind all the delicious food surrounding you. There’s no better way to explore the local food culture than a cooking class in Mexico City with Aura Cocina, which if you take the morning class, includes a tour of the local market.

How did shawarma come from Turkey and become the beloved tacos al pastor? Did you know that poblano peppers and ancho chiles are the same pepper, but anchos are the name for the dried version? Get ready to learn all sorts of new and exciting things about food in Mexico City.

You’ll start at Aura’s bright and airy space in Mexico City’s hip Roma Norte neighborhood, meet the chef that will lead your class, and start with a tour of nearby Mercado Medellín. Along the way, you’ll learn about (and taste) some classic street food, like blue corn quesadillas filled with Oaxaca cheese and squash blossoms and sweet tamales, learn about some of the different varieties of produce that Mexico grows, and purchase ingredients that you’ll be using for your authentic Mexican cooking class. Then, you and the group will take those ingredients and, with the help of your instructor, transform them into an incredible four course meal complete with appetizers, a unique white mole, and dessert.

If you’re in Mexico City and you love food and connecting with like-minded locals and travelers, then a cooking class with Aura Cocina is a must-do in Mexico City. They also have a variety of other classes that explore different aspects of Mexican cuisine, like street tacos, vegan tacos al pastor, and traditional salsas. 

Written by Matt, from Wheatless Wanderlust

Book your next Food Tour in the America’s

Food Tours in Asia

Japan – Nagoya Food Tour

I love Japanese food, and especially exploring the local cuisine all over the country. In Nagoya, you can do that by joining a Nagoya Meshi Food Tour.

The tour introduces you to the local Nagoya cuisine which is called Nagoya Meshi. I tried the most delicious dishes I had never even heard of before, like Miso Nikomi Udon (thick white noodles in a dark brown flavorful broth), shrimp rice crackers which were more delicious than I expected, and Japanese style chicken wings. But the absolute highlight was Hitsumabushi (grilled eel on rice) which is a real luxury food in Nagoya.

Aside from tasting the dishes, learning about the food, food culture, and Nagoya, in general, is also a big part of the tour. Did you know for example that the white towels you get at restaurants are for cleaning your hands before eating?

The tour is in small groups of up to 6 people and usually private. After the 3,5 hour long tour you will be full to the bursting and won’t need anything to eat for the next couple of hours. Guaranteed!

Written by Lena Yamaguchi, from Nagoya Foodie

Vietnam, Hanoi – Street Food Tour

If you are planning to visit Vietnam, one of the best things to do when you first arrive is to take a food tour. Not only do you get to taste a wide range of tasty foods and drinks, you also learn how to eat it and where to find it.

One of the best food tours in Vietnam is in the north of the country. Organised by Hanoi Street Food Tours, they take you on a culinary adventure through the chaotic old quarter of Hanoi.  As Vietnamese cuisine varies a lot by region, a food tour in in each city is a great way to discover the local specialties.

As you dodge scooters and admire the charming alleyways. the fun and knowledgeable guides teach you a little about Vietnamese history and a lot about their food. It is a fantastic way to explore the historic area of this city while snacking on some of the best food in the country.

You’ll try eight different street foods from different vendors during the tour. Enjoy bun cha, watch in awe as they make fresh rice rolls for Banh Cuon and snack on Nom Bo Kho (a delicious dried beef salad) before trying other treats such as Lau (hot pot) and the local Vietnamese coffee recipe (with condensed milk) and Ca Phe Trung (egg coffee).

One of the reasons food tours are such a great experience when traveling is the chance to get off the tourist track and discover the local cuisine. You eat at restaurants you may never have found on your own and this is never more so than in a country like Vietnam. 

Written by Rachel Rodda at Coffee Wise

Philippines – Chinatown Food and Heritage Tour

Manila Chinatown, being the first chinatown in the world, is located in the heart of Manila, Philippines.  I expect to indulge on Chinese food on this Chinatown Food and Heritage Tour.  

Entering the Filipino-Chinese Friendship arch symbolized that you are already in Manila Chinatown.  Here, it made my nose sensed spices which smells like from their stir-fries.  And my eyes kept skipping from store to eateries, wondering what each one offers.

The food tour includes Estero foods where several Chinese fast foods are just beside the creek.  Squid stuffed with chives are eye-catching.  The squid is then cooked to its perfection with all the juiciness, blended with its tasty sauce.  Oh, such a refreshing food, a good start for the whole day walking tour. 

We dropped by to Sincerity Cafe Restaurant to taste the best fried chicken served dated from 1956 and still the same recipe used until now. And I cannot forget their oyster cake, a little bit oil yet very tasty.

We cannot help but to purchase more than what we want on the Hopia stores, there are assorted flavours to choose from. 

A long line awaits a customer for her turn to buy Fried Siopao – that soft white dough wherein you bury your teeth and then taste the unique filling inside, wonderful!

We chose to stop at Quick Snack for lunch.  Here you can taste authentic Chinese dishes that are worth to try.  We ordered for tauhu and tenderloin steak, all cooked with the touch of Chinese secret spices. And it turns out real great.

We visited the New Pou Heng Lumpia House wherein they actually do the spring roll in front of you. 

And you would marvel on the vegetables on it, blended with crushed peanuts that added texture and some tasty ingredients on its dark sauce.  All of these complete this refreshingly lumpia.

This Chinatown Food Tour opens my eyes how exciting to try new food and how happy to share it with new found friends.

Written by Elsa, from Travelling Quote

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Morocco – Marrakech Food Tour

My favorite food tour was in Marrakech, Morocco.  It had a nice mix of adventurous vs. less adventurous (but totally delicious) foods; places to sit down vs. street food to eat on the go; and food vs. drinks.  

We started the Marrakech food tour in the main square of the old town before heading to a meat restaurant with a traditional ‘oven’.  Historically, huge pits deep underground were used to roast whole sheep.  These days, there are only a few left and are also used to slow cook tangias – meat stews cooked in earthenware pots.  This was also the most adventurous stop.  In addition to the delicious tangia stew, there was a head of a sheep, complete with the eyeball.  I dug it out of the socket and popped it into my mouth – surprisingly delicious.

From there, something more familiar – different olives sampled directly from tiny stalls in the market.  Other street food we tried included a savoury crepe made in front of us, a spicy snail stew (also delicious, though the nearby plastic tubs filled with crawling live snails was a little off-putting) and freshly-dried donuts, served on a palm frond string and dipped in orange blossom syrup. 

Sit-down stops included sardine burgers, couscous (of course) and Moroccan pastries served with a date or avocado smoothie. In between we wandered through the narrow streets of the souk (market), stopping off to see bread baked in a communal oven, more tangias being slow-cooked over the fire that heated a hammam (public bath) above, and piles of mint used to make the ubiquitous sweet mint tea. 

The tour was the perfect introduction to Moroccan foods I wouldn’t haven’t otherwise even known to try and foods not available in most restaurants, as well as fascinating insights into Moroccan culture.

Written by James Ian, from Travel Collecting

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The Best Cooking Schools Around The World

Where Are The Best Cooking Schools Around The World?

There really is nothing quite like a great traditional food experience when exploring the world – always in search of the best food in the world! Who doesn’t love to try new foods when they travel? Who isn’t so curiously minded that you wonder what on this earth have they put in a meal to make it taste so good? What better way to find out but to go to a Cooking School, take a class and do a food tour!

Why Should I Attend A Cooking School and Take Cooking Classes?

Not only are cooking classes fun, they teach you new things and they allow you to try new foods. You learn about cultures, cuisines, how foods are harvested and prepared for meals.

Going to Cooking School makes a unique date night and an awesome travel experience. A cooking class will teach you to perfect a dish and they will teach you to cook like a real chef!

Cooking Schools and Cooking Classes in Asia Pacific

Vietnam – Vy’s Market Restaurant & Cooking School

I have a confession: before we went to Vietnam, I wasn’t too excited about Vietnamese food. Despite having tried pho several times at various restaurants at home in California, I found it bland and overrated. Imagine my delight at discovering just how delicious Vietnamese food really is! Of course, that meant immediately booking the most highly recommended cooking class we could find.

Vy’s Market Restaurant & Cooking School came up in several people’s recommendations, so off we went! It was easy to book a class for the next day, even in peak tourist season. And we were lucky enough that our group of four was the entire class.

We realized we had made the right choice as soon as we set foot in the door. In Hoi An’s packed Old Town area, starting a cooking class with a street food tour wouldn’t be practical. Instead, Vy’s Market brings the street food to you! The class takes place in a large covered courtyard market surrounded by stations making various traditional foods.

During the class, we spent some time at each of those stations. One or more people at each would demonstrate how to make traditional Vietnamese food, showing us the techniques for everything from pressed noodles to grilled rice crackers. And at each station, we were warmly invited to jump in and try for ourselves. While our folded dumplings and banh mi buns weren’t as pretty as those made by the professionals, it was so much fun to eat our own creations.

We came away from the class knowing not only how to cook several local dishes (including Hoi An’s famous cao lau), but also with a deeper understanding of Vietnamese ingredients and techniques. My very favorite part was at the end, when we were invited to try a wide range of “weird” foods ranging from jellyfish salad to steamed pig’s brain. It was definitely a memorable ending to an incredible class! Plus you’ll get some printed recipes and even a seasoning pack to take with you so you can recreate Vietnam’s amazing food at home.

Written by Gretchen Holm, from Three Big Bites

Japan, Kamakura – airKitchen

Towards the end of our month-long journey around Japan, my husband and I booked a cooking class in Kamakura with airKitchen. For me, the biggest appeal of the airKitchen classes is that they are offered by locals in their own homes. This makes it a much more personal experience than attending a group class in a restaurant or some other professional space.

To be honest, even though I’m a huge foodie, I’m not really into cooking food. What I really wanted was to be invited into a local’s home and have the chance to chat with Japanese people and learn about their cuisine. And with this class in Kamakura, that’s exactly what I got. When I explained to our host Naoko that I wanted to learn from her about Japanese food but didn’t necessarily want a lot of hands-on practice, she adapted the class to suit my needs.

The fact that my husband and I are both vegans was no problem either, as many of the airKitchen classes have a vegan option. For our Japanese cooking class, the theme was ofukuro no aji, which translates literally as “mother’s flavor”. Basically, it’s the homecooked food that Japanese mothers prepare for their families.

And the best part was that Naoko’s 88-year-old mother was there to teach us as well! While her mother only spoke Japanese, Naoko was fluent in English (and French) so she was able to interpret for us. It was fascinating to hear her mother’s stories about when she worked as a tea ceremony host when she was younger. Even though it rained the whole time we were in Kamakura, I remember the town very fondly because of the wonderful experience we had at Naoko’s house.

Written by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan

South Korea – Kimchi Making Class in Seoul 

Kimchi is one of the staples of Korean cuisine. Wherever you go in South Korea – whether you’re out at a restaurant or invited into a Korean friend’s home, you will always find a generous serving of kimchi at the table as a side dish. 

Kimchi is actually pickled, fermented vegetables. This dish is most commonly prepared with cabbage but there are actually more than 180 different types of kimchi! Radish kimchi and cucumber kimchi are also very popular. 

Eating something that has been fermented may sound questionable, but kimchi is a lot more appealing than it sounds. The vegetables are marinated in a flavourful blend of garlic, shallots, ginger, chili flakes and miso sauce. The vegetables are then tightly sealed and stored in a dark place to ferment for three days. 

There are several excellent places in Seoul where you can take a kimchi-making class. My friend and I participated in a class at the Seoul Kimchi Academy in Myeongdong. The teachers help make Korean cooking seem like a breeze! You can also wear hanbok (traditional Korean noble dress) and take photographs dressed as a Korean noble as part of the experience.   

Written by Melissa, from High Heels & a Backpack

Australia – Sydney Seafood School

The Sydney Seafood School based at the Sydney Fish Markets in Pyrmont, Sydney is the best place to learn seafood cooking in Sydney. If you are a tourist to Australia it is a great way to taste local flavours and learn more about Australian seafood.

Being based at the Sydney Fish Markets where the fish trawlers come in to unload their catch you know that the seafood used in the class will be the freshest seafood available in Sydney and also the best quality. The Sydney Seafood School have a wide variety of different seafood classes ranging from cooking seafood paella, Singapore chilli crab, Thai squid salad, barbecue seafood, preparing sushi and lots more. Classes vary in length from 2 to 4 hours depending on the class you choose.

The classes start off with canapes and then a lecture theatre cooking demonstration often by a leading Australian chef, who teaches you how to cook the dish. You learn tips about choosing the best ingredients and seafood, preparing the seafood and other tips to ensure you get the best flavours possible in your dish. 

One of the best tips I picked up in the seafood paella class was to NOT stir the pan after adding in the rice if you want that delicious crunchy carmelisation at the base of your paella pan, or socorrat as it is officially known as. 

After the demo you then move to a professional kitchen where everything is provided for you to recreate the dish yourself in a small group of 4-6 people. There is ample space, equipment and supplies for everyone, and assistance is available as required.

Once you’ve finished cooking you get to enter the nearby dining room to feast on your cooked seafood dishes whilst savouring a glass of wine. Takeaway containers are available for any leftovers. You also get to take home a Sydney Seafood School apron and recipe booklet.

I highly recommend the Sydney Seafood School especially if you are a keen foodie or cook. I may be biased but I truly believe these cooking classes are the best in the world.

Written by Ingrid, from Fabulous Fun Life

Vietnam – Old Hanoi Restaurant

Bánh xèo, Nem Cuôn tôm thịt, Gà nướng lá chan…Vietnamese food is a culinary tongue twister to an English-speaking tongue. But learning the tonal nuances is worth it to enjoy savory turmeric crepes dipped in a sweet chili fish sauce or prawn and pork eggrolls deep-fried to a crispy golden crust (the first two dishes listed). Just thinking about them makes my mouth water. 

My early retirement life in Manila, Philippines, gives me easy access to delicious and affordable international dining. But to satisfy my appetite for the authentic sweet, salty, and sour flavor profile of Vietnamese cooking, I headed to the source, Hanoi, Vietnam. 

Old Hanoi restaurant in the Ba Dinh neighborhood of Hanoi runs highly ranked private cooking classes. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey has an affiliation here. With Ramsey’s reputation for exacting standards, this place was my first choice for a Vietnamese cooking class. 

Classes start with a trip to the local market to shop for fresh ingredients. For those that have never been to a wet market in SE Asia, your senses can easily get overwhelmed: the colorful fruits and vegetables, the loud haggling of prices in Vietnamese, and the unavoidable odor of butchered animals. My mom, with prodding and translation help from our guide, joined in on the action to negotiate for our shrimp.

Then it’s back to the restaurant to pep all the ingredients. Our chef breaks down the process and provides help, while the students prepare a 4-course meal. Ours included skewered grilled chicken and lemon leaves (Gà nướng lá chanh), sticky caramelized clay pot pork (Lợn kho tộ đât), and the ubiquitous Vietnamese spring rolls (Nem Cuôn tôm thịt). After cooking, we dined on our hard work in the nicely appointed dining room of the restaurant. Even at $80 per person, this was an experience well spent. 

Written by Marco Sison, from Nomadic FIRE

Vietnam, Hoi An – Tribee Bana Heritage Hostel

The Vietnamese food is very delicious and no wonder it is trendy all over the world. Joining a cooking class at Hoi An, was one of the memorable experiences of backpacking Vietnam for me, along with trying out local street food in all the towns I traveled.

Tribee Bana Heritage Hostel, the place where I stayed in Hoi An in the old quarters organize cooking class once a week, which is super fun to participate. The best things about this cooking tour are it is free for all to join, you will get to meet and socialize with fellow travellers, and the cooking is easy to learn.

It is a traditional Vietnamese dish consisting of rice vermicelli(bún) that is usually topped with prawns, pork, and other vegetables, all wrapped in bánh tráng or rice paper, which is also called cold roll. 

The spring roll has its origin in China and was introduced to Vietnam through Chinese immigrants during the early 15th century. Since then, Gỏi cuốn has become to be a very popular appetizer consumed all across Vietnam that is also an integral part of street food.

The hosts were amiable and hilarious as they instructed us on how to make Gỏi cuốn or Vietnamese spring rolls. We were given bánh tráng or rice paper, which is readily available in all shops. After dipping the paper in water, it is allowed to cool down and become soft for some time. It is filled first with a few strips of rice vermicelli. Then, you need to apply the sauces(sour, hot and sweet) on the paper. Then top with chopped pork/prawns/vegetables, and roll gently, folding at the edges. The Vietnamese spring roll is usually consumed cold or at room temperature. We savoured the delicious rolls along with Bia Hoi.

Don’t miss joining a cooking class in Vietnam on your trip!

Written by Reshma Narasing, from The Solo Globetrotter

Nepal

When heading to Nepal, you will soon enough fall in love with MoMo – and, if you are like me, develop a hate-love relationship with the sometimes bland but always comforting Dahl Bhat. Instead of buying souvenirs nobody likes and I won’t even look at twice when I’m home, I like to take cooking classes. That way I learn new skills (I learned how to temper spices for instance) and I get to impress friends and family with my exotic cooking and dishes.

One of the best cooking classes I have taken so far was a very simple, very personal class in Kathmandu. We were picked up by a 4X4 early in the morning and driven to Kirtipur – a historic city just outside Kathmandu. Here we were to take a cooking class with a local family. We learned how to make MoMo, Dahl Bhat, Curried Chicken and Chutney. It was such a lovely experience, not only because we were alone in this local lady’s small kitchen, but also because of the love our host had for food and cooking. We got to know her family and her husband who used to be a Sherpa but now takes tourists onto hikes.

First we were welcomed with a glass of amazing masala tea – some call it milk tea, which she showed us how to make. Then we went onto making curry chicken, greens, dahl bhat and other accompaniments. After everything was ready we ate out ‘creations’ as lunch with the family. In the afternoon we made cheese and meat MoMo. Our host was incredibly patient and helpful.

Another detail I remember as clear as day is the amazing view we had over the Kathmandu Valley from her house. We saw onto Swayambunath over green paddies and fields. Overall, this was one of the best, most personal cooking classes I have experienced and I loved every single minute of it!

Written by Lieze Neven, from Glitter Rebel

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Cooking Schools and Cooking Classes in Europe

Italy, Tuscany – Chicca

Bolgheri and Castagneto Carducci are at the heart of the area’s “Oil and Wine Road” (La Strada del Vino) along Tuscany, Italy’s Etruscan Coast. This is one of the best regions to dive deeper into the top quality ingredients and food heritage of Italy. To do just that, we highly recommend the cooking classes and food tours by Chicca Maione of Cooking In Tuscany. Her collaborative home-cooked meal experiences are sure to delight your taste buds. 

The owner of Casa Toscana, Chicca, is a charismatic host and fantastic home cook. She lives on the main floor of her Tuscan farm house, where she hosts cooking classes from her self-designed kitchen, and she rents out two self-contained apartments above. Cooking with Chicca is an interactive cultural experience ending in a feast for the whole family. A short but vigorous hike up the hill from the house is a charming little village with cafes where you can truly experience Tuscany off the beaten path. This is a great area to relax a bit, enjoy great food, and make lasting memories.

My husband and I had the opportunity to stay with Chicca and take part in a number of her cooking classes and tours. The delicious dishes we made ranged from hand-rolled pasta to chocolate almond cake. The recipes come from past generations in Chicca’s family, and the ingredients come from the garden or local Italian producers. This is truly a food experience we’ll never forget!

Written by Michelle, from Intentional Travelers

England, London – Sauce

I recently did a cooking class at Sauce by The Langham Hotel, in Marylebone, London. Sauce is a cookery school in the centre of London where you can master your knife, baking or pasta making skills. They have lots of different classes so you can learn more about the different types of food in England. This time though, I was learning how to make Canadian lobster poutine. 

Classes include all the equipment and ingredients, and a glass of wine or two, too. You’ll be in a group of no more than 10. The class I joined was great. We were taught by one of the most famous TV chefs in Canada, Chuck Hughes. He was fun and taught us so much about what goes into a true Canadian lobster poutine.

With stories of his cooking skills, life and kitchens he entertained us for hours. And then it was our turn. I really enjoyed cooking the food, and of course, eating it afterwards. So tasty and the quality of the ingredients shined through. 
Chuck was great, the food was fab, it was really interesting and we didn’t even have to clean up after ourselves – dreams. I laughed, I ate, and I drank lots of wine. Dream day!

Sauce regularly run classes with celebrity chefs, so if you want to make your cultural immersion into England even deeper, then splash out on a foodie experience for a day out in London!

Written by Vicky, from Flip Flop Travels

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Cooking Schools and Cooking Classes in the America’s

Peru – Choco Museo

You probably know that chocolate comes from cacao beans, but did you know that the cacao probably started growing in the foothills of the Andean mountains 100 million years ago. (Yes, that’s in the time of the dinosaurs)

That’s the kind of fun Peru fact you learn during the totally awesome chocolate making tours offered at the Choco Museo (Chocolate Museum) in Cusco, Peru.  We did a super fun workshop called ‘From bean to bar’, which as the name indicates, you follow the process of changing a simple cacao bean through to a delicious moulded chocolate.

Our bubbly instructor started out by showing us which varieties of the cacao bean are in Peru, to roasting the beans (we all got to stir the pot).  After that we shelled the beans, then ground them up (it was hard work) before making a chocolate paste.  Finally we poured our own chocolates…!  And do you know what the “icing on the cake” of this tour was – we came back a couple hours later and got to pick up the chocolates to take home! 

These Choco Museo tours are an awesome way for kids to learn about the world, and of course about the simple cocoa bean that becomes the chocolate that is such a big part of our (Western diets.) this is totally my kind of ‘worldschool’ tour and it is recommended for all families visiting Cusco with Kids, and especially for Chocoholics!

The Choco Museo in Cusco was so popular it has since expanded across Latin America, and there are similar museums and chocolate making tours in places like Lima, Antigua Guatemala, and Granada Nicaragua.  

Written by Ariana, from World of Travels with Kids

Peru, Lima – Cusco

Peru has recently become one the leading culinary destinations in South America, if not the world.  With the popularity of ceviche and the superstar status of Peruvian chefs like Gaston Acurio one thing you must do while in Peru is take part in a cooking class.

Lima is the heart of the Peruvian culinary revolution, and there are a lot of great food tours and cooking classes in Lima Peru.  In my case I did a food tour and cooking class in the stunning and cultural city of Cusco while spending a few days acclimatising before a trek. 

While some Cusco cooking classes have a well-stocked pantry on the premises, our class started in the wonderful San Pedro market, in the historical centre of Cusco.  Having a food tour at the beginning of the class was just awesome! The range of foods in the market were amazing, from jungle fruits, to salted high mountain cheeses, right through a range of different ‘exotic’ foods like frogs legs and various cuts of meat.

From the San Pedro market we travelled to a Cusco residential area to the “Rooftop Kitchen” on the 11th story of an apartment block – the kitchen had stunning views over Cusco, especially as the sun set.

We prepared a series of fusion gourmet dishes using regional products, and as someone who is not a “foodie”, much less competent in the kitchen I felt both competent and enthusiastic.  

First up on the menu were Pisco Sours, which were made with great gusto, and helped the group bond a little sipping them out watching sunset.  From here we made a Fennel and Olive trout Tiradito, with red quinoa and red wine glazed turnips.   A tiradito is a Peruvian dish of raw fish (like ceviche) but cut in the shape of sashimi.  The main course was Red Quinoa “quinotto” (Quinua Risotto) with wild mushrooms and blue cheese. It was simple to make, and yet appeared so fancy when finished.

If you are not a great home cook, I want to assure you that these Peru cooking classes will be fine for you and  you should totally give it a go while in Peru!  You will not regret it.

Written by Ariana, from Apus Peru

Cuba, Trinidad – Milagro Tamayo

One of the best food experiences I’ve had is cooking in Trinidad Cuba. Milagro Tamayo has a casa particular here with rooms to rent and she teaches people how to cook out of her family kitchen below. 

The family often joins in if they are around and so you get a great experience of being in a local home, learning how to cook local food and talking to them about their life in the city.

As it was low season I was the only person in the class and was able to request what I wanted to make, subject to availability as supply in Cuba is not always steady. I chose fufu for the appetizer, ropa vieja as the main course and flan for dessert. 

When I arrived they greeted me with a classic Cuban drink from Trinidad called a canchanchara, which they later showed me how to make later on.  We also made several other bonus dishes like traditional corn fritters.

The class was 3 hours long and only $30 before tip. Family came in and out, each sharing their favourite foods or giving me advice on where to eat in Trinidad and Havana. It was really nice to visit a home and learn from people. Afterwards we all sat down to a fantastic meal. Thankfully I have the recipes now to recreate this at home.

Written by Ayngelina, from Bacon Is Magic

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The Best Traditional Meals Around The World

A great food experience when you’re travelling, can easily become the one thing you remember a country for. Perhaps it was a fabulous location, or the textures of the food? Maybe it was the way it was cooked and the incredible aromas that came from your plate? Or perhaps it was a food tour or cooking school you attended.

Would you travel to a country, just to eat their food? Live vicariously through this compilation of amazing culinary experiences from across the globe.

Which Country Has The Best Traditional Meal?

The Best Traditional Meals in Asia

China – Baozi

My absolute favorite food (that you can’t find just anywhere) is baozi, or Chinese steamed buns. Made with soft bread and different types of fillings, these are a popular food for any time of day.

When I spent a summer abroad in China, I ordered some every single morning for breakfast! Fortunately Dalian, where I studied in Liaoning province, had a little restaurant a couple blocks away from my apartment that specialised in this delicious food. Another bonus is that a full order of 8 buns only cost about $1 USD and I could cut the price by ordering half an order!

My two favourite options were the baozi with pork filling and the baozi with egg and chive filling. Good Chinese food is hard to find in the US and this particular dish isn’t easily found outside of big cities. I’ve tried to make it at home, but still haven’t gotten the hang of it. Therefore, I definitely want to return to China for these delicious buns (and because I love the culture, scenery and people, as well)!

Written by Raquel, from Meals and Mile Markers

Singapore – Laksa

Every local resident in Singapore, mentioned that we must must try the local Laksa. Laksa is a soup based dish which is made substantially filing with noodles inside. They are usually wheat based, but a gluten free rice vermicelli noodle is often available too. The soup is infused with  a very rich curried coconut milk to really fill up the stomach!

We had it in the infamous Little India, Singapore and it was a true delight. The bursting flavours will not be forgotten and you could almost taste the centuries of hard work that had gone into perfecting the balance of spices. Worried about getting a balanced diet? There is nothing to worry about with the Laksa soup, it is traditionally loaded with an array of vegetables, including coriander, lemongrass, shallots, onions, chillies, ginger and garlic.

In all honesty, we have struggled to find such great Laksa outside of Singapore!

Written by Manpreet, HelloManpreet.com

Japan – Shojin Ryori

As a vegan, I was worried about finding food when I travelled to Tokyo. Little did I know the Buddhist culture there caters well for us and it is not hard to find variations of vegan temple food around Japan.

The official name for this Japanese Buddhist cuisine is shojin ryori and the meals often come in a few different dishes so you get to try a variety of tastes. While you can head to vegan Michelan-star establishment Itosho to get a taste, you can find this cuisine in very unassuming places. I used the HappyCow app to try and track them down, and often found myself down unassuming, residential alleyways or climbing up fire escapes.

I always loved eating at these establishments, which grew out of Zen Buddhism and felt welcomed when I entered the premises. Usually, it was shoes off and traditional, sit down seating arrangements.

Far from bland, they usually consist of all five flavours: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. They generally consisting of a variety of soy meats, tofu vegetables, plus side dishes of pickles and miso soup. Two years have past and I still long for another hearty Japanese meal like this!  

Written by Cassie, from Cassie The Hag

Malaysia cuisine

If this was a competition, I would boldly claim that Malaysia has the best cuisine in the world. As the literal melting pot of three distinct cultures of Chinese, Malay and Indian, these cultures are represented wholeheartedly in Malaysia’s incredible versatile and variety of dishes. It is challenging to pin-point one dish to represent the whole country, as it would potentially be doing a disservice to one of the cultures.

It could be the uniquely sour Asam Laksa or the humble roadside Nasi Lemak, but then we must also consider the wok-fried Kweay Teow and the fond memories of Roti Canai. Then again, the internationally renowned Satay, or the simplicity of the sweet Cendol would go amiss.

From the myriad of favourites, I might have to cheat my way out of this internal debate and settle for the simple Nasi Campur (pronounced Cham-Pur). The literal translation means Rice (Nasi), Mixed (Campur). The dish popularised in Penang, on the west coast of Malaysia is essentially plain white rice with whatever dishes are on offer on the day. If you head to a Nasi Campur stand, you will be greeted with possibly 20 different curries, vegetables, fish and side dishes that the vendor has prepared on the day to complement your rice.

It is always a surprise and allows you to sample the very best of the cultures – the best aspect is you can try a variety of completely new dishes the next day too!

Written by Akid Zolkifli, from Asian Boy Astray

Indonesia, Bali – Gado Gado

My most memorable traditional dish has got to be Gado Gado in Bali. The first time I ever tried it was from a street vendor at the beach on my first ever trip their and it instantly became my favourite Balinese dish.

The moment was made even more memorable by the fact that my partner had been telling me about it and I thought he was talking about “gateaux” so I was expecting a cake or dessert. Imagine my surprise when I actually got stir fried vegetables, spicy peanut sauce, crispy tofu, fried egg and of course shrimp crackers.

I look back now and not only laugh at my naivety but remember how much that experience changed my life forever. It was one of many firsts for me on that trip and Bali has become a place that is very dear to my heart with the food being one of my favourite things about it.

Written by Sophie Marie – Lifestyle Queensland

The Best Traditional Meals in Europe

Italy – Tigelle e crescentine

The medieval town of Bologna, located in Northern Italy, is quite a hidden gem compared to Venice, Florence and Milan. The traditional dishes of Bologna that come to mind are tortellini, lasagne or pasta with bolognese sauce (in Italian “ragú”). However, the most unusual and memorable traditional meal we enjoyed in Bologna was “tigelle e crescentine”. 

Let’s start with the basics: “tigelle” bread are flat and round, the size of the palm of your hand. “Crescentine” bread instead are fried, bigger than a fist, crunchy outside but soft and empty inside. These types of bread come warm in baskets, ready to be filled with all the most delicious products of Bologna and of the region of Emilia-Romagna. Usually, a platter will include local cured meats (“salumi” in Italian) such as mortadella and prosciutto crudo; typical soft cheeses like stracchino or squaquerone, light and easy to spread; and lots of pickled vegetables, from mushrooms, to onions and peppers. Each restaurant may have their own secret recipes of spreads and extra delicacies. 

We loved tigelle and crescentine because of the possibility to mix and match flavours and textures: it felt like exploring the whole city and its culinary tradition.

Don’t forget to ask for some local wine! The typical Bologna house wine is a red called Sangiovese. Enjoy!

Written by Giulia and Darek, from Travelling Sunglasses

Italy – Puglian Cuisine

We all think we know Italian food, but the fact is that there are many different cuisines throughout the 20 different regions of Italy. Puglia, the heel of the boot in Italy’s far south, is home to a cuisine that’s rather different from anything you’ve ever tasted in Rome, Florence or Venice, and certainly different from anything you’ve eaten at an Italian restaurant outside Italy.

Long considered to be the poor part of Italy, the style of cooking here is known as “cucina povera”, or “poor man’s cuisine”. Stale bread is moistened and reused in soups and salads, ingredients are used only when they’re in season, and nothing goes to waste. Since the land here is not suitable for grazing cattle, most of the dishes are based on vegetables, grains and legumes rather than animal products. Indeed, Puglia’s cuisine is probably the most vegan-friendly cuisine in Italy.

As a vegan foodie traveler and Italophile, I’m in heaven whenever I go to Puglia! My favorite local dish is orecchiette cime di rapa, which is made with Puglia’s most popular pasta shape, orecchiette or “little ears”. While most other types of fresh pasta contain eggs, orecchiette are made just with durum wheat flour (semolina) mixed with water. When tossed with sautéed broccoli rabe, they made a nutritious and delicious meal!

Written by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan

Italy, Sardinia

Think about food, and the first country that comes to mind is most likely Italy. But contrary to what many think, there isn’t just one traditional Italian food, but many regional cuisines – each of them unique, delicious and offering a fantastic culinary experience. 

Come to the lesser known island of Sardinia, for example, and a traditional meal is most likely a feast that will have you seated for a minimum of 3 hours and trying a variety of appetizers which usually include vegetables cooked in about a million ways, cheese, meats, pasta (malloreddus and culurgiones are usually on the table) and the real king of traditional Sardinian cuisine: “porceddu” – a suckling pig slow roasted on the fire until the meat melts in your mouth and the skin becomes crispy. A meal won’t end without Sardinian sweets – usually a mix of dry cookies made with almonds, and “sebadas,” a light pastry filled with a mild cheese mix with lemon grind and fried until golden and crispy and served with honey. Meals are usually accompanied with Sardinian wine – the most popular is Cannonau – and concluded with traditional liquors such as mirto. 

The best places to try a typical Sardinian meal are agriturismi. Keep in mind that if you want to taste the suckling pig you do need to make reservations in advance, because it can take up to 5 hours to cook!

Written by Claudia Tavani, from Strictly Sardinia

Italy, Florence – Wild Boar Ragu with Pappardelle

Eating a rich, delicious wild boar ragu with pappardelle in the dish’s native Tuscany is an experience all visitors should indulge in while on vacation.

Whether you’re just touring the Tuscan countryside or visiting popular cities such as Siena, Florence or Pisa, you’ll find a wild boar ragu with pappardelle just about anywhere.

Wild boar (‘Cinghiale’ in Italian) features in several Tuscan dishes as they roam wild across the Tuscany region and when slow cooked, it’s as tender as fish and is especially tasty with a local Tuscan red wine.

I enjoyed my first wild boar ragu with pappardelle in Florence where I have now lived for a year. In fact, it’s probably my favourite meal when I dine out.

The combination of the tender wild boar, amazing home-made pasta and rich sauce is something to savour. And of course, with a glass of red, it becomes not just a meal but an experience.

It makes you feel like you’re really immersed in the Tuscan environment.

So if you’re planning a Tuscan vacation, add wild boar ragu with pappardelle to your to-eat-list!

Buon appetite!

Written by Matt, from It’s All In Italy

Greece – Lentil Soup “Fakes” 

Greek cuisine is renowned for its marinated meats and street food dishes like souvlaki and gyros. However, Greek food is so much more than that. Contrary to popular assumption, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options in Greece. Fakes (pronounced Fah-kes) is one such example. 

Fakes is the Greek answer to lentil soup. The dish is quite simple yet incredibly flavourful. It is made up of tender lentils drizzled in extra virgin olive oil and cooked with red wine vinegar and onions. 

You can find fakes in tavernas and restaurants across Greece all year round, but this soup is especially popular during the winter months when people want something to warm themselves up. A huge portion of fakes at an Athenian taverna will usually cost you no more than €4-5 including a side order of bread. You can get a pot of soup to take away and eat at home if you wish and the portions are huge!

Written by Melissa, from High Heels & a Backpack

Greece – To steki tou Ilia

There are many foodie experiences in Athens that are worth writing home about, and one such experience is eating lamb chops in “To steki tou Ilia”. Located close to the Thissio metro station, “To steki tou Ilia” is a psistaria (grilled meat restaurant) that is famed for its tasty, succulent cuts of meat especially lamb that are grilled to perfection.

While the signage of “To steki tou Ilia” is barely noticeable from the side of the road, the delicious smells wafting through the street and the full tables of locals will let you know you’re in the right place! The wooden tables covered with gingham cloths and the low-key atmosphere all add to the charm of the place and in summer, when the restaurant expands into a hidden garden over the road, “To steki tou Ilia” is the place to be.

The menu here at “To steki tou Ilia” is simple and traditional but this just goes to show that these guys stick to what they know best. The best way to enjoy a meal at “To steki tou Ilia” is to visit with friends and order a collection of lamb and pork chops along with dips, chips and salad and let everyone dig into their heart’s content.

Written by Chrysoula, from Athens and Beyond

Poland – Pierogi

There is one thing I crave as soon as I land in Poland and that is Pierogi. Pierogi is a traditional Polish style dumpling that is just the most divine food that fills you and makes you feel warm on the coldest of nights.

There are so many different types that you can try from meat and cabbage even a vegetarian style in some areas, either steamed or fried. Some will have them as an entree to a larger meal and some places will have servings large enough for an entire meal. Whatever you chose you will love them either way.

For us, we have been lucky enough to have them homemade in a tiny kitchen from a friends mother. This is an amazing way to try a favourite Polish meal. For others not so lucky you can head to a local restaurant to try them. In most of the places you will stay in Poland they will have a favourite place that prepares them, normally by a local lady.

If you are in a larger city you can head to a Restauracja Zapiecek for a serving as they make a very good one here.

Written by Bec Wyld, from Poland Travel Expert

The Best Traditional Meals in the America’s

Costa Rica – Rondon

Although many travellers come to Costa Rica for its stunning views, eco tourism experiences and the pura vida lifestyle, you cannot overlook the incredible Costa Rican food.

The country has delicious fruit, vegetables and fantastic seafood opportunities.  Food here is influenced by the Caribbean, especially Jamaican immigrants who arrived to work on the railroad.

In southern Costa Rica one of the popular dishes is called rondón. The name comes from a Spanish take on the English phrase “run down” as it is a versatile dish based on whatever the home cook could acquire or run down.

It is a spicy coconut fish soup that uses Panamanian pepper, a spicy but fruity chile pepper in the scotch bonnet family. The soup often includes whatever fish is available and sometimes lobster or crabs. It is given a bit of heartiness with large chunks of root vegetables, which may include plantains, taro root or cassava.

Written by Ayngelina Brogan, from Bacon Is Magic

Costa Rico – Gallo Pinto

Since creating a home-base in Costa Rica, Gallo Pinto has become one of our favourite dishes. In fact, we like it so much it ends up on our plates even while we are abroad. 

Gallo Pinto is the national dish of Costa Rica. It is a traditional Costa Rican breakfast food that consists of rice and beans served with egg, sausage and slathered with Lizano sauce (a Costa Rican local’s favourite).

Some foreigners liken Gallo Pinto to just “rice and beans” but we would contest it is much more than that! It is a delicious mix of white rice, black beans, fresh red bell peppers, cilantro, and onion.

Gallo Pinto is a staple of every Costa Rican household and shared amongst family and friends. Its ingredients go a long way in creating other dishes and often leftovers are cooked up into another favourite Costa Rican dish – Casados. Zero waste is a win in our books!

Written by Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel.

Argentina, Buenos Aires – Asado

Argentina is world-famous for its meat so of course my most memorable traditional meal involves eating the best steak in Buenos Aires. But not in a steakhouse (or as the locals call it, a parilla), at an asado. Asados are events, barbeques with family and friends. They are drawn out affairs and can last the entire day.

Living here in Argentina, it’s how I spend most of my birthdays and special events. All my closest friends come over with a bottle of wine in hand, while we prepare the meat. Chorizo, sweetbreads, and blood sausage always make up the first course. They’re followed by massive hunks of beef, tenderloin, and ribeye, as well as racks of ribs, that have slowly cooked for hours over the fire. The meat, like the event, is communal. It’s sliced at the table to be shared.

To attend an asado is to experience a traditional aspect of Argentine culture.   

Written by Erin Mushaway, from Sol Salute

Mexico – Tacos

We loved visiting Mexico city for the tacos. Tacos al Pastor are the local Mexican taco variation.  It reminded us of a London kebab store because the meat is grilled similarly. Then we found out the reason! The Taco Al Pastor was started in Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. Instead of the usual lamb used in Shawarma wrapped in pita, they went with local ingredients – pork and tortillas. The pork is also marinated with a chili/vinegar sauce before it is grilled.  The taco filling is put into a taco shell and it’s super delicious.

You can also get tacos of other varieties as well. We love all sorts of tacos fillings from fish and meat to vegetables. We have frequented lots of places in the world where tacos have been brought by Mexican immigrants, including Paris and London. Our favourite fast casual taqueria in London is Benito’s Hat. They’ve put out a cookbook which also lets us make cool taco fillings at home. The great thing about tacos is their endless variety and they make great street food snacks. We even found a variation of French Tacos in Toulouse where they have a crepe wrap instead of the usual tortilla. 

Written by Shobha George, from Just Go Places

The Best Traditional Meals in the Middle East

Egypt – Koshary

Travelling to Egypt is almost guaranteed to encompass unique experiences, friendly locals, beautiful landscapes, and a good mix of cultures and languages.

Known for its ancient monuments and Pharaonic civilisation, however not much is known about the food of Egypt that includes delicious dishes such as koshary, ful, and fiteer. Egyptian food makes heavy use of legumes, vegetables and fruit from the region’s rich Nile Valley and shares similarities with the food of the Mediterranean region.

The national dish of the country would be koshary, served in virtually every restaurant and in every home. Originating in the early 19th century, koshary is made of rice, macaroni, and lentils mixed together, topped with a spiced tomato sauce and garlic vinegar. It is then garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions with sprinklings of garlic juice, garlic vinegar and hot sauce. This cheap and simple dish is easy to find and is a must try dish when in the country.

Written by Rai, from A Rai of Light

The Best Things To Do In Koh Chang

The Best Things To Do In Koh Chang

Where is Koh Chang?

Koh Chang is located in the Gulf of Thailand, near the Cambodian border. It is approximately 300km east of Bangkok, the the Trat Province. The translation of Koh Chang is Elephant Island and is name this because of the its elephant shaped headland. Koh Chang is part of Mu Ko Chang National Park.

How to get from Bangkok to Koh Chang

The trip from Bangkok to Koh Chang differs depending on your mode of transport you choose. You can travel by plane, bus, mini-bus, express-bus or taxi. The duration by road depends greatly on the traffic and can range anywhere from 5 and a half hours.

Due to the time it can take to get there, many people opt to stop somewhere along the way for a night, to ensure they have plenty of time. Although Pattaya is not half way or on the direct route, it is a popular stop for tourists who are looking to explore different parts of Thailand.

For those in a hurry to get there or who are not interested in taking the journey by road, the plane is the best option.

Trat ferry to Koh Chang and Koh Chang ferry timetable tips

If you decide to travel by road, the final stage will be the Trat ferry to Koh Chang, this can add an additional half an hour to the trip from Bangkok. The Trat ferry to Koh Chang is a pedestrian and vehicle ferry.

Be sure to check the Koh Chang ferry timetable for departure times and plan your trip around this. While the Trat ferry is well used and been running for years, you are best to also make contact on the day, to make sure that they and you are on schedule. Also, allow plenty of time so that you are there well before the departure time – there is nothing worse than standing seaside watching your ferry glide away from you!

Things to do in Koh Chang

A holiday in Thailand’s Koh Chang will take visitors to an original and traditional holiday location of Thai’s. It is different to the busy tourist islands in the south and well worth your consideration for your next Thailand island holiday.

Koh Chang has a great number of restaurants serving a variety of local cuisine at a very reasonable price. The main road through the island, shows off some the Koh Chang’s shopping strip. Be sure to wander down the smaller streets to find some interesting stalls and genuine local arts and crafts.

The beaches in Koh Chang

Bang Bao Beach

The beaches in Koh Chang are absolutely a highlight. Take the time to cruise around the island on a motorbike, explore by local bus or on foot and discover your own piece of a beautiful Koh Chang beach.

It is hard to choose where to go first – here is a list of some of the best beaches in Koh Chang:

  • Khlong Prao Beach
  • Kai Bae Beach
  • White Sand Beach
  • Bang Bao Beach
  • Lonely Beach
  • Kong Koi Beach
  • Ko Wai Beach
  • Long Beach
  • Ko Klum Beach
  • Ko Laoya Beach
  • Klong Kloi Beach
  • Chai Chet Beach
  • Wai Chaek Beach
  • Bailan Beach
  • Klong Son Beach

Kayaking, sun lounging, snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming, paddling and beach volleyball are among the outdoor activities you will find on the beaches of Koh Chang.

Koh Chang Waterfalls

Klong Plu Waterfall is a must for any visitors to the island. It is managed by the National Park, so you need to pay an entry, however, this easily accessible waterfall is worth a look.

It is located near the west beaches on the island and is great place to cool off on a hot day and have a swim in the large plunge pool or the smaller pools down stream. Although it is a great spot, in high season it can get very busy, so the earlier in the day you can visit the better, to avoid the crowds.

Khlong Nonsi Waterfall known as a hidden gem and a Koh Chang waterfall to enjoy at most times throughout the day. Khlong Nonsi waterfall is not as easily accessible as Klong Plu waterfall and therefore not as busy! If you can, hire a motorbike and head across the island to enjoy the spacious pools for a swim.

Than Mayom Waterfall is another popular Koh Chang waterfall that if you should visit if you can! Hire a motorbike and take the trip to Than Mayom waterfall. You will enjoy the quieter plunge pools, soaking up the sun and jumping into the pools.

Koh Chang accommodation

One thing Koh Chang accommodation boasts, is the wide range of choices for all budgets. There is a popular backpacking scene, right through to luxury resorts.

Beach side huts are very popular and are dotted across the edges of the islands at a very reasonable price. Most of them provide an ensuite and air conditioning as well as the bonus of waking up to the sounds of water lapping up on the bank of the beach.

Many Koh Chang accommodation providers will also have an onsite restaurant available. The range in prices and authenticity will vary, however, there are plenty of great choices to make your trip perfect for your preferences!

Here is a list of Koh Chang accommodation well worth a look:

Bungalow accommodation:

Hotel accommodation:

Villa and Homestay accommodation:

Where to next?

Go beyond Koh Chang and Thailand, explore more of the great region of South East Asia – Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar,  Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.

The Best Food In The World By Country

How far would you travel, for the best food in the world?

FOOD TRAVEL – THE BEST FOOD IN THE WORLD BY COUNTRY

One of the best things about global travel, is global food! Properly explore a country, learn about a new culture or experience a region, by trying their local cuisine. National foods from different countries, means a variety of foods and delicacies for us to all enjoy.

Cooking your own meals is great, you can experiment and try lots of new things, without leaving your kitchen; you will also save a whole lot of money. However, even if you consider yourself the best cook in the world, there really isn’t anything like eating authentic food, in the foods origin.

Explore this compilation of some of the best cuisine in the world and the best national foods. Consider a food tour or cooking class on your next destination holiday and create a lifelong traditional meal memory.

Countries with the best food

The Best Asian Food

Image from The Travel Scribes

THAILAND

Sizzling bowls of noodles ready to be slurped, marvelous plates of mango sticky rice doused in warm coconut sauce and the famous tom yum, a hot and sour soup swimming with delicious prawns.

It can only be the tantalizing cuisine of Thailand.

Globally renowned for its food, Thailand is known for its creamy curries – the legendary green and red curries being the most coveted – as well as spicy stir fries and a myriad of desserts. With a fascinating mix of textures and flavours on offer, Thai food is often characterized by it’s use of fresh herbs (coriander being a favourite), pastes and sauces like shrimp paste, varying levels of hot chillies and, of course, coconut in every form you can think of: from flaked to milk, shavings to the hearty flesh.

I’m itching to return to Thailand particularly to indulge in khanom krok. These more-ish Thai coconut pancakes are to be found in hawkers stalls and markets across the country; a salty and sweet taste explosion in a small ball made of rice flour, coconut milk and sugar.

Written by Lee from The Travel Scribes

Explore Thailand and experience their amazing cuisine. Cooking Schools and Food Tours in Thailand.

JAPAN

We go to Japan often and always rave about Japanese cuisine. You can often see fresh seasonal ingredients and seafood being highlighted rather than just meat, though their Kobe beef is known to be the best beef in the world. Japanese dishes are nutritionally balanced and beautifully plated, so it’s no wonder visitors head to Japan just to eat! 

What you’ll notice about Japanese food is the simple yet complex flavors with sweet, salty, and umami (savoury) flavour. Locals love carbohydrates and it’s not uncommon to see people ordering a bowl of plain white rice to go with their bowl of noodles. Many restaurants will serve a set which couples a main dish with a bowl of rice or noodles and miso soup to give you a complete meal. 

If you have the chance to explore Japan, check out the regional specialties of each region. You’ll get the chance to experience different flavors. While sushi and ramen are a crowd favorite, our favorites include eating Hiroshima style okonomiyaki in Hiroshima and everything matcha flavor in the Kyoto area. One thing that is on our food bucket list is to try the ishikari nabe (seafood hot pot) in Hokkaido.

Written by Jackie Szeto and Justin Huynh, from Life of Doing

Attend a cooking class, visit a cooking school or do a food tour on your next holiday to Japan.

TAIWAN

Taiwan is renowned for its famous night markets and they are an integral part of their culture. Food lovers regularly praise the quality of the street food stalls which sell delicious and very cheap Taiwanese cuisine.

There are a wide variety of traditional foods I want to try but the main one is the Xiao Long Bao –a steamed rice dumpling which is filled with pork meat and soup, and is adored by Taiwanese people! Stinky tofu is another dish that also intrigues me and one I have heard so much about.

This is a very iconic snack that is made from cubes of firm tofu which have been soaked in a brine for weeks then usually deep fried. The dish is meant to have the most rotten smell but apparently tastes very good – I’d like to judge that for myself!

Written by Caroline Keyzor, from CK Travels

On your next holiday to Taipei, support Sweet Potato Mama Project – helping single mothers launch their own sweet potato businesses.

VIETNAM

With influences by the French and as well as neighbouring countries like Thailand, Cambodia and China, Vietnam is Asia’s leading culinary destination. 

Vietnamese food is comprised of basic everyday ingredients like rice, rice noodle, pork and vegetables. And almost everything is eaten with fresh herbs and fish sauce. 

Where you go in Vietnam, you will always find classic Vietnamese dishes like phở bo (rice noodles soup with beef and herbs), bún thịt nướng (grilled pork with rice noodle) and bánh mi (baguette sandwich with pork sausage, cucumber, pickled carrots and coriander). Other regional dishes reflect the history, climate, location and local produce availability. 

In Northern Vietnam, try regional dishes like bún chả (grilled pork with white rice noodles eaten with herbs and a fish sauce) and bánh cuốn (steamed noodle roll).

While you are in Southern Vietnam, try the bold and sweet flavours of com tam (broken rice with pork) and bánh xèo (crispy egg crepe with pork, shrimp and beansprouts). 

And Central Vietnam has distinct flavours that are different from the north and south. Try Hoi An’s signature dishes, cao lầu (pork, vegetable with rice noodle), and mi quang (shrimp, pork and vegetable rice noodle).

Written by Queenie Mak, from MS Travel Solo

Explore some of the great cooking schools and food tours in Vietnam.

Bhutan

Located in the Eastern Himalayas is this beautiful country called Bhutan. Popular for its foggy mountains and the air of mystery surrounding it, Bhutan is also home to some very unique food.

The National dish of Bhutan called the Ema Datshi is a dish made of chilies and cheese. It is one Bhutanese dish most tourists try while visiting Bhutan. This dish is also prepared with potatoes and mushrooms and is equally delicious!

One of our favorites is the Jasha Maroo, a soupy Bhutanese chicken stew. It is such a flavorsome dish and best eaten with red rice, which is the staple food in Bhutan.

The Bhutanese Butter tea called ‘Suja’ is another must-try item while at Bhutan. This is more like a soup than tea, and the people of Bhutan love to have a cup of Suja before starting their day! You can also try the ‘Ara’, which is the traditional alcoholic beverage produced in Bhutan.

By Athul, from Our Backpack Tales

Explore Bhutan and create your own Bhutan food memory.

India

India is a country famous for its wide variety of food. Each state in India has unique food styles, and they are some of the most famous cuisines in the world. You can find two kinds of food cultures in India – the North Indian and South Indian.

While North India is popular for its rotis, parathas, and a variety of delicious vegetarian dishes, South India is known for its dosas, idlis, vadas, and its spicy non-vegetarian dishes.

You can find some fantastic non-vegetarian food in the Malabar regions of Kerala, like Kannur and Kozhikode. You will find a variety of ‘rice baats’ in places around Bangalore and some of the best biriyanis in Andra Pradesh. Mumbai is famous for its vada pav and chaat, whereas West Bengal is the place to be to try to delicious fish curries.

Punjabi tandoor rotis and butter chicken are very famous around the world. This makes India a perfect place to visit to try its food!

By Athul, from Our Backpack Tales

Travel India and learn how to master an Indian dish from the masters themselves.

The Best Food In Europe

ITALY – CASUNZIEI IN CORTINA D’AMPEZZO

As a dumplings lover, from Polish pierogi to Japanese gyoza, discovering new types of Italian stuffed pasta is always a pleasure. In the town of Cortina d’Ampezzo, located in the Veneto Dolomites in Northern Italy, the half-moon “casunziei” is the local speciality of ravioli.

The concept is very simple: a beetroot filling inside the delicate fresh dough, dressed with melted butter and a sprinkle of poppy seeds. The result is memorable and iconic: the sweet and savoury tastes mix together in a delicious and surprising combination.

Besides being a favourite dish for celebrations (usually prepared by the patient grandmothers), casunziei are available at many restaurants in Cortina and at rifugios on the ski slopes.

Written by Giulia and Darek, from Travelling Sunglasses

On your next Italian journey, considering one of their marvellous cooking schools or food tours!

MALTA

The best thing about the food in Malta is the freshness and variety to be found. Everything from fresh meats and seafood to spices, fruit, and vegetables all over the island.

It has been influenced by various cultures and cuisines throughout its long history and its position in the middle of the Mediterranean. So expect to find a taste that caters to just about every palette.

Following the direction of someone in the know helps to discover what the locals eat, how to eat and what to avoid. Traditional Maltese food is rustic and based on the seasons. Trying the variety of dishes is one of the best things to do in Malta, where some of the favourites include Kapunata, Lampuki fish pie, rabbit stew, and Bragioli beef olives.

Written by Rai, from A Rai of Light

Create your own Maltese food memory by travelling to Malta.

SPAIN – CANARY ISLANDS

Every time we visit Canary Islands, we think about one special dish – Canary Potatos! As part of Spanish tapas, the potatos are boiled in their skins with sea salt (this leaves a fine crust) and are served with delicious Mojo sauce.

If you’ve never had Canary Potatos before, you probably think that there can’t be anything special about potatos, right? You can’t be more wrong! The “Papas arrugadas” which translated into English means “wrinkly potatoes” are probably number one choice amongst tourists visiting Gran Canaria. If you like salty snacks, we can guarantee that you will fell in love with the Canary Potatos.

Written by Darek, from Darek and Gosia

Paella, tapas, food tours, Spanish cuisine – create your own everlasting Spanish food memory!

AUSTRIA

Vienna in Austria is heaven for food lovers, especially if you love to eat meat, sweet dishes and anything with high amounts of calories. Vegetarians and all who prefer to eat clean and healthy food: don’t go there.

In Austria, you will get the best sausages, fried meat, ribs, knuckles of pork – you’ll be lucky if you find something vegetarian on the menu.

Don’t miss to try the Wiener Schnitzel on any visit to Vienna – it’s probably to most popular Austrian food. The Sacher Torte, a world-famous chocolate cake. These two are the classics of Viennese cuisine and a must-eat in Vienna. If you love sweets, you should also try the Esterházy Cake, the famous Austria Apple Strudel, Kaiserschmarrn and Mozartkugeln.

Written by Places of Juma

Learn how to make Apple Strudel & Salzburger Nockerl in Austria.

GREECE

For most of my adult life, I’ve embraced a Mediterranean diet packed with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and seafood. So when I had the chance to visit Greece, one of the European countries whose traditional cuisine embraces locally-sourced seasonal foods, I was in food heaven!

Greek cuisine includes vine-ripened tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers topped with tangy feta cheese, thick yogurt piled high with fresh berries, and mouthwatering fish and seafood pulled from the sea that morning. And if that’s not enough, there’s always a slice of flaky honey-drenched baklava for dessert! 

Yes, I love the beautiful coast, rich history, and amazing architecture of Greece, but I’d go back in a heartbeat just to eat the food!

Written by Sage Scott, from Everyday Wanderer

Attend a Greek cooking school or food tour and learn from the best.

The Best Food In The Americas

BRAZIL

Brazil is high on my list of places that I would love to take my family, for several reasons, not the least of which is the incredible food!

Have you ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse? If so, you might be familiar with the Brazilian churrasco, or barbeque. This is a style of eating where large quantities of meat are grilled at once and served until the feasters are stuffed. This practice originated in Southern Brazil from a time when the nomadic peoples had no way to preserve meats, and went all out after butchering livestock.

While delicious grilled meat might be synonymous with Brazilian cuisine for a lot of people, there are many other foods from Brazil that I have tried at home, and would love to visit the country to try authentically.

Pão de queijo, or cheesy bread, is unlike any other cheesy bread that you’ve had. This gluten-free treat is a soft, squishy ball of perfection.

Açaí berries, popular in the US as a health food, are a staple of the region, and can be found sold as a delicious snack or mixed into smoothies.

Written by Dani Ward, from Diapers in Paradise

Attend a cooking class or join a food tour to explore more of Brazil‘s best cuisine.

COLOMBIA

A country that I want to visit not only for its culture & natural wonders but also for its food scene is Colombia. While Colombian cuisine is not as popular as many other cuisines, it is surely gaining a lot of attention. It has influences of Spanish and African cuisines and even within the country, the food served in different regions varies dependant on the local produce.

Some of the Colombian foods that I want to try are – the Arepa (a kind of bread made from fresh cornmeal and topped with butter, cheese and/or veggies), Ajiaco Negro (a hearty Colombian vegetable soup), Torta de Plátano Maduro (a Plantain cake), Buñuelos (fried dough balls that are both sweet and savoury) and Patacones (fried green Plantain). As you might have noticed all these are vegetarian dishes but Colombia caters well to meat-eaters as well.

If you are a foodie traveller, Colombia would be a great destination to try out new flavours and food.

Written by Deeptha, from The Globe Trotter

Tour Colombia to create a fabulous food memory for yourself.

Which country would you travel to, just to eat the amazing food?

We’d love you to leave a comment and tell us where you would travel to in the world, just to eat the amazing local cuisine.

Kids Cooking Party

KIDS COOKING PARTY – MAKING COOKING FUN FOR KIDS

Cooking with kids is not always easy, if I’m really honest. However, cooking is such a valuable skill for kids to learn and there are some fantastic unintentional learning moments in it. It is important to find a way to make cooking with kids as enjoyable as possible, for everyone involved; we do this by having a ‘kids cooking party’.

Why Is Cooking With Kids So Important?

Children need to understand the importance of this great life skill. Cooking at home means are able to enjoy better financial health by saving money. Also, it means we are looking after our bodies by fuelling ourselves with more natural foods than what we get from a packet. Finally, children learn more about sustainable living and looking after their environment.

It’s important for kids to know that they don’t have to go to the supermarket to get a packet of biscuit; also, to know that there are other ways to get a pizza than from a shop!

How To Make Cooking With Kids Fun

We find cooking recipes for kids, which include foods that they will love to eat at the end. Sweets and baking with the kids are a favourite, but so is homemade pasta and pizza!

Kids cooking can be really fun. We have a kids cooking set which includes:

  • kids cooking utensils;
  • kids cooking apron; and,
  • easy cooking recipes for kids.

Easy Cooking For Kids

Cooking with kids can look a range of different ways and it certainly doesn’t mean they have to be part of every single step in the process. You can make a decision about the level of involvement they have, depending on what you are cooking. Remember, it is about involving them in the food process. Here are some examples:

  • read the recipe;
  • get the ingredients from the cupboard, fridge or garden;
  • weighing ingredients;
  • kneading, mixing, beating, stirring;
  • decorating, icing a cake, plating up;
  • topping a pizza, running pasta through a pasta machine or pressing scones.

Home Meals From Around The World

HOME MEALS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Homemade gnocchi

Cooking at home is a great way to save money for your next holiday, eat healthy and try a wide range of new cuisine from around the world. All you need is an open mind, a willingness to try new things and be prepared to make mistakes. You can have yourself a global table, before you know it!

FOOD FROM AROUND THE WORLD

The origin of food is really interesting. So often we eat food and don’t even think about where it comes from. Some foods are obvious, we tend to know where pizza and pasta originate; but do you know where tzatiki dip originates? Or celery soup? I was wrong on the first one and had no idea on the second!

We love to explore different foods from around the world and create our own Home Meals from around the world.

HOME COOKED MEALS & HOME COOKING ADVENTURE

Get your family together and have yourself a home cooking adventure. There is great satisfaction in preparing and cooking a meal from start to finish, where the taste actually takes you to the country where the meal originates. The aromas while cooking, the taste and flavours, the textures and high satiety!

WHAT MAKES HOME MEALS EASY?

You don’t need a whizz-bang kitchen to make cooking easy, if you could see my kitchen, you’d understand that this is certainly not the case! What you need however, are a few key items that will make your cooking experience that much easier and therefore more enjoyable!

The Best Time To Visit The Great Wall of China

The Best Time To Visit The Great Wall Of China

Where is The Great Wall of China located?

The Great Wall of China is located in the northern Chinese city of Beijing. The Wall stretches approximately 21,000km in length and there are several access points along the way for visitors to come and explore and enjoy this UNESCO Heritage listed and New 7 Wonder of the world.

The best time to visit The Great Wall of China

The best time of day to visit The Great Wall of China is dependent on the experience you are looking for and also which section of the Wall you are visiting.

The Summer months bring the heat, higher prices and crowds; whereas the Winter months can prove to be bitterly cold and precarious for hikers, however, incredibly picturesque, often snow capped. March to May and August to October are the less populated months of the year, typically.

If you are looking to beat the crowds and experience the Wall with ease and take it all in, the earlier in the day the better. If you are lucky to arrive before the hawkers do, you will have access to much of the Wall to yourself. This can be a truly remarkable and unbelievable pinch-yourself experience.

The best place to visit The Great Wall of China

Sections of The Great Wall of China to visit

Mutianyu is the most popular section to visit for international tourists and it is the most kid friendly section of The Great Wall of China. Mutianyu is about one and a half hours from Beijing by car.

Jinshanling to Simatai is the most popular section to hike. Some of this section is restored and is arguably the most beautiful. Jinshanling is a 2-3 hour drive from Beijing, you will need to play your time to do this section and include an overnight stay.

Jiankou which is completely original, untouched and in some parts very dangerous. This section is for fit, serious hikers and for photographers, typically. Jiankou is about a three hour drive from Beijing.

Simatai is the only part open at night and should be considered by tour only. This is about a 2-3 hour drive from Beijing.

Huanghuacheng is known for the lake and water views and the ancient wall. It is roughly an hour and a half from Beijing. During the warmer months, May to September, hiking and camping is encouraged.

Gubeikou is wild and untouched, which protected an important pass to Beijing from Northern Mongol regions. It is roughly 2 hours from Beijing.

Badaling is the most popular for Chinese tourists and is typically very crowded. There are some sections of this that are wheelchair friendly.

Juyongguan is the closest part to Beijing and is known to be the greatest Great Wall forts to have defended ancient Beijing. This section is wheelchair friendly.

Huangyaguan is three hours from Beijing and is where The Great Wall marathon starts each May.

Shanhai Pass is about three hours from Beijing and is where the Great Wall meets the sea at the east end of main Ming Dynasty Great Wall.

Interesting facts about The Great Wall of China

Why was the Great Wall of China built?

The Great Wall of China is a collection of walls which were constructed to protect and consolidate Chinese States and territories.

Who built The Great Wall of China?

The Great Wall was built in different areas by different people to serve the needs of those in each section.

  1. The (Pre-) Warring States Period (770-221BC) – A Qi State duke first built walls to prevent invasion.
  2. The Qin Dynasty (221-207BC) – Emporer Qin unified state walls to secure the northern China border.
  3. The Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) – The Han Great Wall was extended to protect the silk road trade.
  4. The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) – Most of The Great Wall was built or restored during the Ming Dynasty.
  5. The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) – The emperors of the Qing Dynasty didn’t build The Great Wall, in fact they forbade it.
  6. Modern Times – The Great Wall reconstruction and protection began in Badaling in 1957.

Height and length of The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China measures 21,196.18 km (or 13,170.7 mi), as per all known sections. The walls were built with the intention of being roughly three times the height of any human.

Other interesting things to do in Beijing

There are so many fabulous things to do in Beijing; here are some popular ideas for tourists:

Accommodation in Beijing, China

Accommodation choices are endless in Beijing. You are best to plan your trip and stay in Beijing and then book accommodation based on where you are best situated to access attractions you wish to visit. Be sure to read reviews and carefully select accommodation to suit your needs.