For some people, food tourism seems like an odd thing, but the niche has exploded. The majority of people love to eat, and Instagram has made it easy for us to show off. Picking destinations based on the local cuisine is a pretty good reason (or excuse) to see the world.
With more than 30 different food tours available in Ireland, visitors are spoiled by choice. If you only have time for one, locals tell us that the Taste & Tours in Belfast is a must. The 4-hour guided food tour will take you to some of the best spots in the centre of Belfast. Tours start at the famous St George’s Market where you’ll meet local food producers before you make your way to a traditional bar. Along the way, you’ll learn about the history of the city before finishing the night at one of the city’s top restaurants in the Cathedral Quarter. By the end of the tour, you will have sampled more than 25 varieties of food and drink.
For the second year in a row, IBEROSTAR properties is bringing back their popular Chef on Tour series. Nine leading chefs with a total of 14 Michelin stars will be serving exclusive dinners at four different locations in Jamaica, Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Each 4-6 course meal uses only the best ingredients and is paired with wines. The program runs through July, so there’s still time to book a seat at the table.
If you don’t want to dedicate your entire trip to one of the top food tourism destinations, Urban Adventures offers food tours that take just a few hours in many major cities. They tell me that the wine tour in Venice, Prague Beer and Czech Tapas Tour, Tokyo After 5, Ethnic Neighborhoods Food & Culture in Los Angeles, and Saigon Street Food by Night are their most popular trips. I personally took the Tokyo tour and can tell you it’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
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Silversea Cruises – Culinary & Wine Voyages
Silversea Cruises offers Culinary & Wine Voyages that will indulge your taste buds on land and sea. Partnered with Relais & Châteaux, guests will sample fine foods from all over the world. This isn’t just an eating experience, you’ll take part in live chef demonstrations, private tours of world-class wineries, and even a knife skills workshop. No matter where you sail, you’ll be guaranteed unique flavours in each destination.
Dubai is home to more than 200 nationalities and has become one of the top spots for restaurants. The diverse culture has seen a fusion of flavours, yet it manages to keep all palates happy. Some of the top restaurants in the city include Mazaher, a vibrant venue that serves authentic Lebanese cuisine, Fish Beach Tavern, where you’ll be served Aegean cuisine that includes fresh fish from the Mediterranean, and Nobu, celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s first outpost in the Middle East that blends his Japanese style with Arabian flavours.
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Last year Contiki announced a limited edition food tour called ‘Munch’ where travellers get to sample some of the best food in Spain, France, and Italy. This nine-day tour caps at 30 people, and they’ll get the chance to source the best ingredients at local markets, prepare meals, and even make their own wine. Even if you can’t make the ‘Munch’ trip, Contiki has announced that they have partnered with Masterchef Judge, Thomas Castberg, to overhaul the menu at their own branded properties.
Intrepid Travel Food Adventures
A small group adventure travel company, Intrepid Travel has been offering food tours for a while now and has seen consistent growth. Their Real Food Adventure – South Korea is one the most popular trips and it’s no surprise. Wash down your Korean fried chicken in Seoul with a glass of Soju and have bibimbap in Jeonju, the foodie capital of South Korea. Not only will you sample some of the best food, but you’ll also learn about how food is sourced in the country and how to prepare a traditional meal of Jeon (Korean pancakes).
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Resort food tends to be hit or miss, so why not head to Barbados during the Food & Rum Festival when you know you’ll be getting some of the best cuisine available? Barbados’ reputation as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean was cemented when it became the first Zagat-rated island. The Barbados Food & Rum Festival was designed with guests in mind and offers gastronomic creations from world-class international and local chefs. Oh, did we mention that rum is one of the main attractions? Expect expert presentations on the local drink and mixologists coming up with some creations that you’ve never tasted before.
Many people don’t think of Amsterdam as one of the top food tourism destinations, but you’d be surprised at what this city has to offer. The Jordaan Food & Canals Tour, from Eating Amsterdam Tours, is one of the best experiences in the city. This guided walk and private boat tour will take you to a dozen places in the historic neighbourhood of Jordaan where you’ll chow down on some delicious Dutch Cuisine.