Group of tourists enjoying a food tour

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Food Tours Are The Best Way To Explore A New City

I love watching travel shows! From the days of Samatha Brown on the Travel Channel to one of my all-time favorites, “Somebody Feed Phil,” on Netflix, I have loved the thought of exploring a new city through its food. But how does someone find the best places to eat while exploring a new city or an unfamiliar country? We don’t all have access to insiders in every location, or do we? Booking food tours is the best way to explore a new city or country and tap into local experts. Here, we will look into the best ways to book a food tour, what food tours have to offer travelers, and how to get the most out of the tours.

Let me get one thing straight: I’m not really a tour person. I don’t like being herded around like cattle from one sight to another. So, it took a lot for me to start booking myself on tours in recent years. But I often struggle when I’m visiting a new city or a new country when it comes to finding the best places to eat. A fantastic way to get over these hurdles is to book a small group or a private tour. Food Tours are an immersive experience filled with local restaurants, off the beaten path destinations, and lots of new foods to try. Honestly, they are just so much fun: finding the best spots to eat, challenging your taste buds, and meeting new people while enjoying a culinary experience. 

Reasons to Take A Food Tour When Exploring A New City

Get Familiar With The Destination

Exploring a new destination or culture is a great reason to consider taking a food tour.  On your next trip, I recommend booking your tour in the first two days of your stay in a new location. This way, you can learn more about the city or country and put it to use during your trip. By exploring the local cuisine, you are also discovering the local culture. Your local guides can show you some delicious food and tell you so much more. They can share hidden gems that aren’t tourist traps, teach you how to use public transportation, tell you the best way to get to the airport and suggest safe areas to explore on your own. 

Most food tours cover a variety of food options, from traditional restaurants and cafes to food markets and street food. Tours can be a walking food tour or use all types of public transportation. You will often cover large sections of the city, which can be helpful in getting the lay of the land during your stay. A good guide can become a valuable resource. 

At the end of most tours, you will receive a follow-up email with information on all the places you visited. This can help you plan meals on your own for the remainder of your visit. The follow-up information may also have recommendations for places you were not able to experience during the tour. Almost every guide will offer to answer any questions you have while visiting; just email them, and they will be happy to help.

It’s A Great Way To Meet Other Travelers

One of the best parts of the food tours I’ve experienced is getting to know other travelers. Mike and I aren’t typically fond of meeting new people and starting conversations, so this came as a surprise to us! However, we had the pleasure of meeting some amazing individuals over a delicious meal and drinks. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about experiences and activities that others have enjoyed in the destination, which you may not have tried yet. It was also an excellent way to connect with like-minded people who have a love of food and travel and to gain inspiration for future trips and adventures.

Finding Great Places To Eat

Exploring a new location is exciting, but finding the right dining options can be quite challenging. With so many choices available, it’s not always easy to decide where to go. Online reviews and tourist guides can be helpful, but they’re not always reliable, and you may end up discovering only the most popular and touristy places. 

In such situations, going on a food tour curated by local guides can be an excellent option. These guides have insider knowledge about the city’s culinary scene and can take you to hidden gems that you may not find otherwise. While it’s true that they may have agreements with the restaurants they take you to, they usually recommend what they consider the best or most unique places to eat. 

Overall, if you’re looking for a unique dining experience that goes beyond the usual tourist traps, a food tour curated by local guides is something you should definitely consider. The information you gather during the tour will prove to be very useful throughout the rest of your stay, and you’ll get to try some of the best and most authentic food the city has to offer.

Asian food market, with vendors in background
Photo courtesy of Zach Inglis from Unsplash
Trying several places in a short time

A food tour is a great way to explore the local food scene and try out new and exciting dishes. Typically lasting between 4-6 hours, a food tour can take you to 5-8 different places. Each stop on the tour offers you the opportunity to taste small bites of 3-6 different dishes. This means that by the end of the tour, you will have had the chance to try out a total of 15-48 different dishes! 

But it’s not just the number of dishes that makes a food tour so unique. By visiting multiple places in a short period of time, you get to experience a variety of different cuisines, cooking styles, and atmospheres. Each place has its own unique character and flavor, and you get to sample them all. 

This means that you get to pack a lot of culinary exploration into just a few hours. Whether you’re a foodie looking to expand your palate or a traveler eager to discover the local culture, food tours are the best way to explore a new city.

The photos below are from an amazing Prague food tour. If you are heading to Prague, check out my post, The Best Things To Do In Prague During A Winter Visit. Even if you plan on visiting during the summer, it has lots of great tips.

Trying New Things, Food tours are great for exploring new things

There are many different places to visit on the tour, which gives you the opportunity to try foods that you may not have encountered before. This could be due to a lack of time or a lack of courage. It could be an unusual local specialty or an exotic food choice. You don’t have to order a full plate of something unusual, but you can try a bite or two and expand your culinary horizons.

It helps with the language barrier

Sometimes, language can be a major obstacle to enjoying international cuisine. It can be intimidating to order when you don’t understand the language or cannot read the menu. Tourists often end up at restaurants that cater to tourists and offer English language menus, which can lead to less than authentic experiences. However, when you book a tour, you have the option to select a language for your guide, who can act as your translator. This opens up a wider range of food options that you might not have otherwise been comfortable exploring.

Floating Market on food tour in Asia, taking a food tour is the best way to explore a new city

How to Book A Food Tour When Exploring A New City

Food Tours Are The Best Way To Explore A New City, but finding the right one for you is easier than you think. Check out a few tips below:

Book with a tour operator 

If you’re looking for the best food tours, you can start by checking out services like VIATOR or GET YOUR GUIDE. Both of these services offer a variety of tour options around the world. Most of the tours available on these sites are small groups, with fewer than 10-20 people, making them perfect for many travelers. Honestly, the food tour business is booming, and you will have so many options to choose from. 

For more unique experiences, you can try EATWITH. This service connects you with unique dining experiences that are not exactly food tours but rather local food experiences. You can enjoy a dinner in a local’s home, whether it is a grandma’s house or even a local celebrity chef’s home. EATWITH also offers cooking classes on local cuisine.

You can also check with your hotel for tour options. Often, hotels can recommend tour options and even organize a private tour, which can provide a more intimate experience without larger groups.

Look for well-reviewed tours 

If you’re looking for a tour that meets your requirements, then it’s best to go through all the reviews. Based on my experience, tours that have over 100 reviews and positive feedback usually live up to their reputation. You can easily find tours in big cities like New York City, New Orleans, London, Prague, and Rome. However, some fantastic tours are also available in the countryside areas surrounding these cities.

In conclusion, food tours are the best way to explore a new city and its culture. They provide a unique opportunity to try out local cuisine, get familiarized with the destination, and meet other travelers. With a local food tour guide, you can discover hidden gems that are not tourist traps and get insider knowledge about the city’s culinary scene. By taking a foodie tour, you can make the most of your trip and create unforgettable memories. So, next time you’re planning a trip, consider booking a food tour to discover the best and most authentic food the city has to offer.

Below are links and resources to help you plan The perfect trip

Travel Resources

  • HOTELS and are great resources for accommodations around the world. Book almost any hotel directly from these links.
    The best places to book tours and activities are Viator or Get Your Guide . From great food tours to guided hiking adventures to local walking tours, you will find great experiences to add to your travels here.
    EatWith is a great resource for authentic culinary experiences with passionate locals worldwide. Connecting travelers with hosts in over 130 countries, providing unique, intimate, and immersive experiences in private homes and exclusive venues.
    Trainline is Europe’s leading train and coach app. They work with over 210 rail and coach companies to help their customers travel to thousands of destinations across 45 countries. 

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