Food Tourism

I find that food is one of the best ways to experience a culture, and food tourism, which is also called gastronomic tourism, culinary tourism or travel and even foodie tourism, is a growing travel trend – and even passion.


Is the act of traveling for a taste of place in order to get a sense of place. (Eric Wolf)

Simply it is the taste of a place.

A matter of traveling beyond your immediate neighborhood to find great food. Of course, the further you are willing to travel, the broader the your range of culinary experiences will be.

The pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences.

A visitation to primary and secondary food producers, food festivals, restaurants and specific locations for which food tasting and/or experiencing the attributes of specialist food production regions are the primary motivating factors for travel. To make it more simple, it can be stated that food tourism is travelling to other destinations in order to consume their food.

Is the act of traveling for a taste of place in order to get a sense of place.

Food Tourist:

A food tourist might follow their favorite food truck from neighborhood to neighborhood, make a “bucket list” of restaurants across the globe to visit in their lifetime, or plan an entire vacation hands-on cooking workshops.

Travelers interested in eating, sampling drinks, cooking, baking and learning about the history of certain foods and intend to start out culinary tourism packages at renowned destinations and sites around the globe.

Tourists are now more interested than ever before in learning about food culture. Cookery holidays, learn to cook days, organised trips to food festivals or producers, visits to wineries and home cook events are now common all over the world.

Food and wine enthusiasts that enjoy exploring new destinations can indulge in the best of both worlds with a culinary tourism travel package. Culinary tours, food and wine events, and foodie competitions give travelers a chance to visit a new destination and sample local or regional cuisine. Whether the trip involves an opportunity to learn new cooking techniques or attend food and wine tastings, a culinary adventure can be a welcome change from the standard travel itinerary.

In General

Food tourism doesn’t mean that you only eat gourmet meals. Often, food tourists are simply in search of authentic or new culinary experiences. Some like white table cloth restaurants, while others prefer street food. Food tourism isn’t about the type of food that you eat; it’s about the fact that when you go to a new place, you seek out new food experiences.

By combining travel with these edible experiences, culinary tourism offers both locals and tourists alike an authentic taste of place.

Culinary tourism has emerged as a central facet to any tourist experience. By combining travel with these edible experiences, food tourism offers both locals and tourists alike an authentic “taste of place”.

Culinary tourism is not limited to gourmet food. In fact, we like to use the term ‘food tourism’ more often than not just to keep it from feeling elitist. It is about what is unique, authentic and memorable about the food stories in the different regions have to tell. This includes the farmers, cheese mongers, fishermen, drink makers and everyone in between.

It’s the tasty butter tart from that small town bakery you visited as a child.  It’s that interesting café on that nameless street that only locals know about that you stumbled upon last year.  It’s stake makers coming together with farmers for delicious harvest dinners under the stars; or pickling smack-downs over cocktails at boutique hotels.

 It’s  what gives different stories soul and causes our bellies to smile.


The topic of food tourism is not new. At the same time, “yet it is such an integral part of the experience that it is only in recent years that it has become a subject of study.

The Goal:

The goal of culinary tourism is to educate and inspire food and wine enthusiasts while giving the traveler a chance to explore the local area and learn about local food trends, cooking techniques and food history. Travelers can do so by participating in a cultural immersion experience at select destinations around the globe.


Culinary tours and travel packages can include a wide range of activities related to cooking, food sampling, food trends, wine making and baking. In addition to restaurant weeks in different cities, dining events and cooking competitions, culinary tourism encompasses culinary experiences, such as winery and brewery tours, tours of restaurants and food manufacturing plants, conferences and events with culinary professionals and cookbook authors, and ethnic food tastings.

Some destinations offer culinary tours and specialty dining experiences, where travelers visit various restaurants, cafes and bistros, meet with chefs and take part in food seminars or events.

Academic Importance:

Culinary institutes and chef training schools, such as The Culinary Institute of America, the United States’ premier culinary college, Indonesia Old Food School, also offer programs and events for food lovers who want to learn about the local restaurant industry, emerging food trends and food preparation techniques.

According to the International Culinary Tourism Association, culinary tourism is growing exponentially every year. With the steady increase in interest of food channels, travel shows featuring local and regional cuisine, food documentaries and online culinary travel shows, more consumers are traveling to various destinations just to enjoy a new food and wine experience.

Culinary travel agents:

Consumers interested in booking a culinary tour or culinary vacation can work with a travel agent that specializes in specialty travel. They can also turn to the Internet to research local cooking schools and cooking vacation packages in their preferred destination.

Travel agents and tour operators that specialize in culinary tourism may offer insider tips and recommendations for creating a custom itinerary based on the traveler’s goals and budget. Travelers can choose from self-guided tours, food demonstration events and cooking-lesson packages based on their budget and destination.

Motives of the Food Tourism: (Learning – Exploring – Adventuring)


In food tourism we learn about local culinary cultures and customs. We love storytelling and history.


In food tourism we are explorers. We travel near and far to find authentic food and beverage experiences.


In food tourism we discover and open our minds to new flavors, textures, cultures, and heritage.

Food Tourism:

We’ve stated before that our definition of this phrase automatically includes beverages because “food and beverage tourism” is cumbersome to say. Also, it is implied that if people are eating, they are probably drinking as well. For some, “food” sounds too common. Perhaps, but the meaning is clear and it is easy to say. Also, “food tourism” avoids the slightly elitist reputation of the two phrases that follow. We use “food travel” and “food tourism” interchangeably, depending on how the use in a particular situation, although we are sure that there are a few professionals and probably even more academics who will be happy to point out the minute differences among all three choices.

Culinary Tourism:

We began with this phrase when our industry was young, but we realized after 10 years, that native English speakers found the phrase a bit pretentious. That came as a surprise, as this was never our intent. Still, the elitist perception of the phrase remains. “Culinary” echoes time spent in professional culinary training to become a chef. While it may not be the best phrase, it does already include “beverages” without further explanation. And in certain circumstances, such as discussing “culinary culture,” to our ears, this phrase simply sounds better than “food culture”, although again, the terms are interchangeable.

Gastronomy Tourism:

We find this phrase used mostly in Europe, and mostly among speakers of romance languages. For them, “food travel” sounds very basic and banal – almost like cavemen hunting for food. “Gastronomy” is the term used to explain an area’s culinary culture, and for them, it follows that “gastronomy tourism” makes the most sense. To native English speakers, the phrase does sound a bit “elitist,” but in context, we understand why this term is used. In these markets, it is perfectly acceptable to us to use the term “gastronomy tourism”.

Food / Culinary Best Destinations:

If you love food and want to explore some really fantastic foodie destinations, we’ve got the list for you, Adding culinary activities to your vacation itinerary is one of the best ways to experience the culture of the destination you’re in.  This list contains the best places to go for foodie vacations.

Mendoza, Argentina

Mendoza is a perfect spot for foodies who want to enjoy all three of pillars of good travel in one destination: good food, wine and adventures.

Manila, Philippines

One of those things you don’t immediately know about Manila, and the Philippines in general, is that it is a major street food mecca. There are so many different specialties, that it’s nearly impossible to list them all.

Paris, France

It’s France. Of course there’s amazing food! But when people plan their trips to Paris, they tend to forget that the city is a foodie paradise. There are so many fun food things to do that will enhance your trip and help you build lasting memories.

Copenhagen, Denmark

A must-do on many foodie’s list is a pilgrimage to Copenhagen, Denmark, to eat at Noma, a highly acclaimed restaurant that’s spent many years at the top of the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

London, England

Another big city that is often overlooked as a food destination is London. But don’t make this mistake! London is the food capital of the world. No where will you find the array of international food choices, dining experiences, foodie activities, etc, that you will find in London.

Tuscany, Italy

One of the top things on most foodie’s bucket lists is to take cooking classes in Italy. This experience can be found all over Italy — there’s no shortage of cooking schools and wine tasting tours.

Catalunya, Spain

If you’ve been to Spain, you already know that the entire country is vastly rich in culture, heritage, and especially products and foods that are specific to each micro region. Catalunya is one of those regions, and the amount of unique products, recipes and foods you can find there is astounding.

New York City, New York, USA

You really can’t deny that New York City is also a culinary capital of the world. Here you’ll find incredible food everywhere, from street vendors to Michelin-starred restaurants and even a few completely outrageous foods that you won’t find anywhere else.

Hawaii, USA

Do you know that Hawaii has some really great food trucks? It’s a must-visit destination, just for the food. While it has been a premiere foodie destination for a few decades, at least, it wasn’t always as accessible as it is today. You no longer need to have reservations for the top restaurants in town. Some of the best food in Hawaii can now be found in parking lots, street markets, and sometimes just parked alongside the road.

Tokyo, Japan

In Tokyo, you will find the freshest, best, most awesomely amazing sushi in the world. Also totally cool izakayas you can find in all the back alleys and small crevices around the city. Or the Tsukiji fish market, which is an absolute must visit in Tokyo. You’ll see foods you’ve never even heard of before, and get to sample tons of things along the way.

Another great activity in Tokyo for food lovers is participating in a traditional tea ceremony.

Bangkok, Thailand

Thai food is very much a universally loved cuisine. Getting to try authentic Thai dishes at a night market or from a street vendor, of course, It would be one of the best culinary experiences for you.

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia, is a great food city, with many great restaurants to check out around the city.

Australia is home to one of the best, the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. The festival extends for 17 days in March and features global culinary superstars who host events, create unforgettable dishes for participants to sample and draw crowds.

There are lunch and dinner events held in top restaurants all over the region, drinks classes, street food walks, lectures, etc.

Bologna, Italy

While there are many touristy things to do in Bologna and the surrounding area, it truly is one of the best culinary vacation spots in the world. There are so many food experiences to have in this area, from a full blown DOP food tour that takes you to a Parmigiano-Reggiano factory, to a more intimate cooking class in the city, you simply will not run out of food-related things to do.

Mexico City, Mexico

Where you could eat burritos, carnitas, enchiladas, tacos and guacamole all day, every day and be perfectly content, then a culinary trip to Mexico City should definitely be at the top of your list. There are a lot of great eating experiences to have around Mexico City.

Lima, Peru

Peru was named the top South America Food & Drink Destination by Frommer’s and for very good reason. Peru has a multicultural population that includes immigrants from Spain, China, Japan and more, and that helps to create a thriving food scene with regional variations that are unique and unexplored.  Lima’s signature dishes, like ceviche and chicharones, are becoming favorites around the world and opening people’s eyes to the flavors of Peru.


Known primarily as a cheese and chocolate destination, Switzerland has plenty of foodie-centric experiences to offer that will make for a very delicious vacation.


Indian cuisine is all about the spices, Indian cuisine has a lot of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. Famous dishes are Biryani, Tandoori chicken, Chole bhature, Momos, Rajma, Gulab jaamun and many many more. It is very famous of the street and truck foods in addition to different kinds of restaurants.

Istanbul – Turkey

Turkey is no exception from the world. Chef’s, wannabe chef’s and those that simply enjoy great food are visiting not only Istanbul and the popular resorts, but also the less well trodden towns and cities to sample and learn about Turkish cuisine.

Take a culinary tour of Turkey and you will hear the term ‘Anatolian cuisine’. People are, in essence, referring to traditional Turkish food or dishes.

The top destinations for food tourism in Turkey are: Gaziantep – Hatay – Adana – Izmir – Trabzon.

There are also some religious beliefs related to some types of foods in it, such as raw kibbeh, as it is believed that the reason for preparing it with ice cubes is related to the fire that was mentioned in the story of prophet Ibrahim.


Visit Istria, a Croatian-Italian bilingual region that borders Italy and Slovenia, for a strong local food scene that makes the most of the region’s excellent products: look for seafood, olive oil, mushrooms, truffles and prosciutto.


They’ve got jerk chicken, Appleton Estates rum, and Red Stripe drinks, plus all the tropical fruit you can eat. However, there’s so much more to explore in this Caribbean nation’s food scene, often featuring ingredients difficult to find elsewhere.


Also known as Myanmar, this southeast Asian country bordering China, India, and Thailand is recently opening up to the world after long political isolation, and food lovers are flocking there to experience the local cuisine, a cousin to Thai or Vietnamese food but distinguished by local ingredients Westerners might identify as Indian or Chinese.


Georgia is a culinary giant as compared to its size. Come to this country bordering the Black Sea to sample a cuisine with millennia of tradition that celebrates its local ingredients think walnuts, eggplant, kidney beans, pomegranate, hot peppers, and plenty of cheese and meat in dishes such as khachapuri, a cheese bread often baked with an egg on top; badrijani nigvzit, eggplant seasoned with walnuts, pomegranate seeds and other flavorings; and khinkali, a kind of meat dumpling eaten by hand that’s the country’s national dish.


This island of tea and elephants sits off the southern tip of India and is home to a diversity of cultures, flora, and fauna that belies its small size. Similar to southern India in terms of the ubiquity of rice and spicy curries, Sri Lankan cuisine is nonetheless that of an island, with plenty of foods featuring coconut and fish.

The Arab World:

Each of the Arab and Islamic countries is famous for a popular feast and meal, as Arab cuisine is known for its diversity and it is rich in dishes that rival international dishes.

One of the most important characteristics of the Arab folk cuisine is that these dishes usually consist of food ingredients that are distinguished by the local Arab community, as well as influenced by Arab civilizations and civilizations of countries that have gone through and have lived in periods in the Arab world.

Contact with the blogger

Suhair Khan

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