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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Budapest: Hungarian Cooking Class and Market Hall Tour
- Seville: 3.5-Hour Spanish Cooking Class & Triana Market Tour
- Paris: Full-Day Cooking Class, Market Tour and Lunch
- Laconia: Organic Greek Farm Tour with Cooking Class
- Split: Authentic Farm to Table Day Trip
Italian Food Tours
- Bologna & Tuscany: 7-Day Lost Flavors Cooking Tour
- Rome: Market Tour + Private Cooking Class With Chef Matteo Ferroni
- Rome: Food Markets Tour and Cooking Class with Lunch
- Florence: Market to Table Cooking Lesson
- Milan: Central Market Tour and Cooking Class
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
- Los Angeles: Downtown Food Tour
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.
Book your next Food Tour in Asia
Japanese food tours
- Tokyo: Tsukiji Market Walking Tour & Rolled Sushi Class
- From Hoi An & Da Nang: Authentic Vietnamese Cooking Tour
Thai food tours
- Koh Samui: Traditional Thai Cooking Class with Market Tour
- Chiang Mai: Evening Local Street Food Market Tour
- Chiang Mai: Lunchtime 20 Dish Food Tasting Tour
- Bangkok: Half-Day Thai Cooking Class with Market Tour
- Bangkok: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour and Authentic Thai Cookery Class
Vietnamese Food Tours
- Hoi An: 6-Hour Vegeterian Cooking Class Tour
- Ho Chi Minh City: Farm-To-Table Healthy Cooking Class: Half-Day Tour
Food Tours in Africa
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