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Is it a good idea to take food tours when traveling? Here’s everything you should know

Is it a good idea to take food tours when traveling? Here’s everything you should know

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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?

street food

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

thai street food

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

guided food tour

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

Food walking tour

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

street food joint

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.

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

food tour sightseeing

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

meet other foodies

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

reasons to take a food tour

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 tour stands

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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Nia Nal

Monday 27th of April 2020

Local food has always been unique and I think it is time we start putting time into it as a government. It will help a lot in saving costs and as such will probably increase the value of our money. I really do hope this comment is approved so readers can know my opinion. Again, I really love your article. It is indeed interesting and fun to read. Definitely I would bookmark your blog.

Passport Symphony

Friday 1st of May 2020

Thank you, Nia, I'm glad you enjoyed this post.

Lyla Peterson

Monday 18th of November 2019

I like that food tours can help you to support local businesses in the area you're visiting. My sister and I have been talking about traveling to Europe next spring. I think food tours are something we should definitely take advantage of to see as many sights as possible and support the local economy.

Passport Symphony

Monday 18th of November 2019

Great thoughts Lyla.

blair villanueva

Monday 29th of July 2019

They said that you can only understand the local people and its lifestyle through experiencing their food. This is true. You got to mingle with the locals, and see that smile as they take pride on what they have.

Passport Symphony

Monday 29th of July 2019

Indeed, Blair- couldn't agree more :)

Medha

Monday 29th of July 2019

I am a foodie but have never taken a food tour. Whenever I travel, I make sure to eat the local cuisine and take tips from locals about where to eat the best food. Taking a food tour would make total sense for me. Also, you can't go wrong when you're taking a guided tour, they're likely to take you to the best of places, so the risk factor of ending up at a place you do not like is very less. And all the knowledge about their culture that comes along with it, is priceless!

Passport Symphony

Monday 29th of July 2019

Absolutely, Medha. And since you're a foodie, I hope you go for a food tour sometime soon and share your experience :)

Aleksandr Popkov

Sunday 28th of July 2019

oh well, never been to a food tour, but I actually think I am the right person to do that. I can eat a lot. I was in Italy, where everyone endlessly trying to give me food to taste and they talk about food without stopping. They looked at me, and told "Alex likes food too, but he doesn't talk, only eats" I do a lot of sports.... so eat 6 times a day... no time to talk.

Passport Symphony

Monday 29th of July 2019

well, even for people that aren't fond of talking, food tours are a great idea for obvious reasons :)

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