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

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

reasons to take a food tour

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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34 thoughts on “Is it a good idea to take food tours when traveling? Here’s everything you should know”

  1. Oh I love food tours! I did my first one in London and since then I am addicted! Your reasons are definitely valid. My personal reason is that I can never decide what to order, so I like to enjoy everything. I love the pics of this post!!

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  2. I love taking local food tours! And cooking classes too. I’ve taken quite a few all over the world, it’s definitely best to do it at the start of your trip so that you know where to go for the good stuff! And I agree, you’ll try stuff you most likely wouldn’t on your own. I discovered so many favorite new foods by taking food tours and always recommend them to people when traveling.

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  3. I love taking food tours when I travel! They are a great way to meet new people. Especially when I am traveling solo I like having the opportunity to eat with other people as I am exploring the sights. I also agree that they are a good way to learn more about the culture of the place you are visiting.

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  4. I agree with everything you wrote here, especially with the fact that joining a food tour is a way to discover new amazing places. I’ve always been one of those who prefer to explore independently, but recently I’ve been starting to appreciate more and more the help of local guides. It makes such a difference right?

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    • Absolutely, Val. Thank you for stopping by and dropping a comment, I’m glad to hear you could relate to the article 🙂

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  5. I totally agree with the points. Sometimes it is really difficult to judge where offers the authentic local food because many eateries offer dished in the same names but not the authentic quality. Special for example, if you are in Shanghai, you will lost in the millions restaurants. In this case it is better to take a tour.

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  6. I don’t usually join food tour, but I do agree that it is an opportunity to meet other foodies ! I should consider joining food tour in my future travels. Another upside I can think of is that, I get to try more variety of food, of which I can’t do if I’m traveling alone or with my partner.

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  7. Food tours are indeed a great way to get acquainted with the local cuisine. But these tours go so much beyond just-food. They are windows to the history and culture of the region. The best way to get an immersive experience of a place is through interactions with the locals and probably the best way to do this is through food tours.

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  8. I love food and love trying new things but with most of my trips being so short and rushed, I always feel like I don’t have time for tours. Funny how I never thought that it’d actually make the most of my time though since you’re so right… It does give you a great overview of a city’s food scene! Will defs have to sign up for one on my next trip!

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  9. Absolutely a good idea! Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what/where the locals dine and it helps to find the popular and hidden gems!

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  10. I couldn’t agree more with you. I encourage every one I know to take up food tours while traveling. Yes, you get to taste the culture without paying too much, it is honestly a week’s restaurant visits in a day, and you may not be visiting few places independently that you will visit in a food tour. Meeting other foodies is another interesting stuff. Most importantly, you are saying no to international fast food chains and supporting local economies – so, yes for every food tour!

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    • I’m glad to hear you feel the same way about food tours, Shreya. Food tours sure are a great and exciting way to get introduced to a new city

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  11. I agree with every single word you wrote here. While I am not much of a foodie but I love going on local food tours wherever I am travelling simply to experience the local culture and get close to the social fabric of the society. It’s a cheap and great way to taste the finest local delicacies of a country.

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  12. I wholeheartedly agree with each and every one of these reasons to take a food tour! I even take them locally and have learned a thing or two I wouldn’t have otherwise known. I like the curated choices, regional selections, hidden gems, and small plates. And, as they say, “variety is the spice of life!” Yay for food tours!

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  13. 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.

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  14. 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!

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    • Absolutely, Medha. And since you’re a foodie, I hope you go for a food tour sometime soon and share your experience 🙂

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  15. 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.

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  16. 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.

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  17. 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.

    Reply

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