A food tour is a great activity when you travel, especially in a foodie city or an unfamiliar country.
Do you want to come back to the alley kitchen to see how the noodles are made?
Do you taste the difference of this mezcal after you take a bite of the taquito?
Do you want to come behind the counter and chop some meat?
These were some of the questions we were asked on our food tours. We booked a food tour because it was something interesting to do. We never would have guessed that they would be some of our best travel memories! It’s about much more than food. After taking food tours in Bangkok, Mexico City, Cairo, and New York City, I highly advocate it when traveling. Why? Keep reading!
5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Food Tour When You Travel
1. Eat the best bites.
Of course, food is a big part of the experience. These bites and restaurants are approved by the tour operators, so you know you’re dining at some of the best restaurants. Tour operators are also vouching for their cleanliness, so you shouldn’t need to worry about getting sick. You’ll hopefully be tasting everything from appetizers to drinks to dessert. For cities that have many notable restaurants, like New York City, it’s a great way to check them off your list efficiently and not have to wait in line if they’re a popular establishment. Your guide could also give you more restaurant recommendations for the other days of your trip.
2. Learn about the local cuisine.
Food tours teach you all about the cuisine, from what the locals eat and drink to how they do it. Your guide will tell you all about the traditions of cooking and eating. This is especially helpful in foreign countries, and I recommend taking the food tour on your first day. You’re not only paying for a food tour but you’re soaking up knowledge from a local to use throughout your trip.
3. Learn the history and culture about the city or country.
Food, history, and culture are deeply intertwined. Look at a city’s cuisine and you can see its history. Whether it’s a specific group that settled there or a discovery or popularization of a certain ingredient, learning about the history and culture will give deeper meaning to the food you’re trying. You’ll also be learning about general history and culture from your guides who love to share about their city and country. They’re usually an open book to all your questions. These discussions are also enlightening to see a different perspective of your home country.
4. Meet other travelers.
My people! People who love food, people who take photos of their food, people who are curious and adventurous. It’s fun to get to know each other, give each other trip recommendations, and geek out about food. You’ll likely meet people from around the world, and there’s something magical when you dine in a community. Who knows? You might meet some life-long friends.
5. Explore the city.
Food tours might take a little bit of the adventure out of discovering food on our own, but I would argue that food tours make us braver and more likely to explore. These tours take you around the streets of the city and familiarize you with the neighborhood. You’ll build the confidence to wander on your own and you’ll also have a list of restaurants you can return to later. These are guided tours, so you’ll likely get insight on the neighborhood or see some well-known sights and landmarks along the way.
Food Tour Logistics
- Pricing: The tours I’ve been on ranged from $50-100 USD. While it’s a little on the pricier side of activities, I think it’s worth it for the amount of food and the overall experience. Don’t forget to tip the tour guide!
- It usually ends up being A LOT of food but thankfully, many tours are walking tours, so you get some time between bites.
- Tours usually visit six to eight different stops for food and drinks in four to five hours.
- While private tours are available, I’ve enjoyed group tours and there’s usually no more than 10 people. I think six to eight people is the sweet spot, especially if you’re walking.
- Need a recommendation? Here are the food tours I’ve enjoyed around the world so far:
- Here’s a list from Tasting Table about the best food tours around the world.
Have you ever been on a food tour? Tell me your favorite thing about it!