While traveling abroad, the first thing most people do is visiting the most famous tourist attractions in the city. Oftentimes, this is all people do when visiting a new country. This is what separates tourists from travelers; if you want to fully embrace the region in which you’re traveling in, you should act like a local and eat what they give you. With enough research, open-mindedness, and willingness to explore, you can do this by yourself. However, most people don’t have enough time and resources to explore a lot while traveling. This where food tours come in. There are a lot of good reasons to take food tours while traveling and in this article, we’ll show you some of them. Let’s start from the beginning:
What is a food tour?
Guided food tours are catered for tourists that want to learn about a city or a region through its local cuisine. As food tourism becomes more important, food tours are becoming more popular among all toursts. Most food tours guide visitors to the city’s most famous landmarks, restaurants, and street food joints. On average, most food tours include 7 – 8 stops where you can taste the best dishes that local cuisine has to offer. With that being said let’s see why taking a food tour while traveling is a good idea.
Appreciate the locals and support small businesses
Going on a foodie tour means you’re avoiding the famous international fast-food chains and experiencing the finest local delicacies that are a crucial part of the local culture. Most of the restaurants and street food joints covered on these foodie tours are operated by families and individuals. These food tours are a great way for these small local businesses to bring more customers to their restaurants and give them the support they truly deserve. If you like supporting small local businesses while traveling, this is one of the main reasons to take food tours.
Taste the culture
You must be thinking “I can always find good places to eat on Google, so why should I even bother taking a food tour?” Well, even though you can always find good places to eat on Google, you probably won’t learn a lot about the cultural importance of certain food and when and how it is eaten unless you take a guided food tour. The culinary aspect of a destination is always an important way to get introduced to a new destination; the best way to embrace a new culture is through your stomach.
Get personalized tips
Even though you can visit all of the restaurants covered in a food tour independently, you won’t be able to learn as much as you could when you have a local guide that knows the best places to eat and has a lot of interesting stories that will enrich your experience. Most of the guides leading these tours are foodies and they can even give you even more useful recommendations. For example, you can tell them what you’re looking for and what’s your budget and they can point you to the best local restaurants that fit your demand.
Finally, these guides live in the city and they are people that can give you the latest updates of the local restaurant and bar scene (that changes very rapidly, especially in big cities). Hence, you can get a lot of useful tips, not only about the best eating places but also about other activities that you probably won’t discover on your own.
Make the most out of your time
Oftentimes while traveling, we fall in love with a new destination, but unfortunately, most of the time we don’t get to stay there as long as we would want. The downside of this is not having enough time to do all the things we want to do during our trip. This is another good reason to take food tours. If you have only a few days (or in some cases even hours), going on a food tour will give you a complete overview of a city’s dining scene.
Additionally, you can also learn cool new things and stories about the most famous restaurants or iconic street food joints. And hearing these stories from locals is always better than reading about it online. This leads us to the next point…
Discovering places that you probably wouldn’t visit independently
Visiting a new city for the first time doesn’t always go smoothly. When traveling, most people tend to favor places with a familiar/reassuring appearance, or places they find in their tourist guides. If you ever went on a food tasting tour, you’ll know what I’m talking about; if you ever got off the beaten track while traveling, you know how much fun can you have if you throw away your tourist guide and try to experience the city like a local.
Well, most of the places food tours cover are not places that get featured in tourist guides. Instead, you’ll be visiting the small restaurants and street food joints that are favorite among locals and maybe even learning a thing or two about local cuisine through various cooking classes.
Meet other foodies
One thing that isn’t easy while exploring alone is meeting new like-minded travelers. This is one of the main reasons to take food tours; they are limited to small groups and you can easily engage in conversations with other like-minded travelers and locals. With food tours, meeting new people is super easy because you have the perfect conversation starter- food! You can share your experience and learn from others about the great places they discovered during their trip but also about the places where they had a bad experience.
You get to sightsee along the way
Did you ever have a foreign friend visiting your hometown? If you did, don’t deny it; you tried to show them the best of your city. The things that make you proud of living there. Well, don’t forget that food tour guides are also locals. And they too, want to show you the best of their city. If a food tour is done properly (and most of the food tours I took were), you will visit not only amazing local eateries but also see some interesting shops, high-end spots, and hidden gems along the way. And it doesn’t get much better than learning about a new city with a full belly!
Take a look behind the scenes
If you devote enough time in research, maybe you can visit most of the places featured in food tours. However, you won’t be able to take a look behind the scenes. Many food tours get visitors to go to the “employee-only area”, see how the food is prepared, and how the average workday in one of the local restaurants looks like. During one of these visits, you might even get a few new cooking tips and learn how to prepare a local delicacy.
Try new foods without wasting money
No matter how open-minded you might be when trying new food, you surely have your regrets on spending on a local delicacy that you didn’t like at all. With food tours, you can eliminate that risk. Food tours usually cover between 7-10 eateries and multiple local dishes. After this, you’ll be able to choose where would you want to come back and which places you’ll skip. In other words, you’ll get…
A week’s worth of restaurants in a day
Food tours will take you on restaurant hopping and make you try so many restaurants that you’ll probably need a week to cover all of them on your own. You can expect to try the best samples of local cuisine, from snacks at farmers markets and street food joints to dining in the most famous local restaurants.
Did you ever take a food tour? What do you think are the best reasons to take food tours? Let us know in the comments!
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