Food Travel Near And Far: 10 Tips To Become A Great Food Traveler

This article has links to products and services we recommend, which we may make a commission from.

Food travel, also called food tourism, offers a unique perspective on a city or destination.

It involves biting, sipping, and tasting the local culture while being immersed in the heart and soul of the place.

When you travel for food, you get an authentic view of the culinary flavors, traditions, and culture and how they are woven into the country’s fabric.

As culinary travelers and founders of Authentic Food Quest, we’ve been eating our way around the world for more than 8 years.

This unique way of traveling has allowed us to connect deeply to a place and the locals through its delicious flavors.

As you plan your next trip, be it domestic or international, consider making food the main motivation for your travels.

Use the tips below to guide you, and prepare for a surprising, delicious, and unexpectedly enriching trip.

Authentic Food Quest Page_Break

What Is Food Travel or Food Tourism?

Tapas Girona Spain by Authentic Food Quest
The best way to experience a culture is through food

Food tourism, also called culinary tourism or gastronomy tourism, is rising worldwide.

Research shows that the global culinary tourism market is expected to grow to $3.28 trillion in 2031, up from $804.95 billion in 2022.

The World Food Travel Association defines food tourism as “traveling for a taste of the place in order to get a sense of a place.”

And, the UN World Tourism Organization describes gastronomy tourism as applying to those who “plan their trips partially or totally in order to taste the cuisine of the place or to carry out activities related to gastronomy.”

Traveling for food involves a mix of adventure, fun, and a mindset of curiosity. 

Since starting Authentic Food Quest in 2015, we’ve made authentic food the primary reason to visit a destination.

Traveling with a healthy dose of curiosity and a deep yearning to connect with the local culinary traditions has been a life-changing experience.

We invite you to travel deeply when you include food tourism activities in your travel itinerary.

10 Food and Travel Experiences That Can Motivate Us To Travel Deeply

Being a food tourist is one of life’s most enriching experiences. It’s deliciously easy to start as eating the local food specialties is at the core of the experience.

Whether you are traveling near or far or trying new flavors in your kitchen, the choice is yours.
Become a food traveler by adopting any of these food tourism activities.

RELATED: 20 of the Best Culinary Destinations In The World for Scrumptious Adventures

1. Go on Food Tours

Pintxos Crawl San Sebastian Food by Authentic Food Quest
Pintxos Crawl during a food tour in San Sebastian

Not all food tours are created equal. Sure, they take you around the city offering samples of food, but the depth of expertise varies.

As a food traveler, you want to seek out the food tours that offer authentic tastes of the place

Those experiences that take you to the backstreets and alleys to discover the hidden gems and the people behind the food.

On our food and wine travels through Europe, we love Devour Tours for their focus on the local food specialties and the people behind the food.

And, in Asia, A Chef’s Tour offers extraordinary food tours led by local experts. 

Be selective when choosing your food tour experiences. Look for those that don’t skip foods deemed off-putting for tourists.

One tip we offer is to take your food tour early on your trip. That way, you’ll know what to eat and the best local restaurants to visit.

RELATED: 9 of The Best Italian Culinary Tours for Amazing Food and Wine

2. Take Cooking Classes – Live or Virtual

Claire and Rosemary for Cooking Class in Luang Prabang by Authentic Food Quest
Discovering new cooking techniques in Laos

Taking a cooking class is one of our favorite activities when traveling. In every new destination,  we take cooking classes to learn more about the local specialties.

In each class, you’ll learn about the local ingredients, and the emblematic dishes, while picking up new cooking techniques.

Whether it’s learning how to make pizza and gelato in Rome, Turkish cuisine in Istanbul, or  Peruvian cuisine in Cusco, you leave with a deeper appreciation for the local dishes.

If you have no immediate travel plans, taking a virtual cooking class can take you on an immersive culinary journey.

The Chef and The Dish offers cooking classes via Skype with chefs from around the world. It’s a fun way to about a different culture’s cuisine from the comfort of your kitchen.

Whether you take a cooking class in person, or virtually, you’ll meet locals and explore the cuisine and culture. 

In addition to savoring the delicious meal you’ll make, you have the added benefit of the recipes to make the dishes over again.

RELATED: Unleash Your Inner Chef By Taking a Cooking Class on Your Travels

3. Local Market Visits

Fruit Vendor Outside Cho Con Market Danang by Authentic Food Quest
Local fruits at the market in Danang, Vietnam

Meandering through local food markets should be on any food travelers itinerary.

Local markets are the heart of local food culture, and they are alive with the country’s colors, flavors, and aromas.

Most cities have at least one main public market and several smaller weekly markets

Each one filled with seasonal produce and moving at its own rhythm and pace.

The key to an immersive food travel experience is to adopt a sense of curiosity

Ask about strange and unusual fruits and vegetables at the market. Use a smile and sign language if the local language is unspoken.

Pluck up your courage and meet the local vendors. Follow your nose and eyes to delicious-looking stalls and try the local specialties. Be open to the flavors at the market food whether in Mexico, Bologna, or Buenos Aires.

Right there and then, you are in the city’s culinary heartbeat. Observe the culture and relish the flavors. You might be surprised to discover that your best food experience might be at the market.

On your next trip, regardless of country, make a market visit part of your experience. Keep your valuables safe, and allow yourself to become one with the local culture.

RELATED: 10 Simple Ways To Prepare Your Stomach For Travel

4. Eat at Local Restaurants

Cumana Restaurant Buenos Aires by Authentic Food Quest
Local Cumana restaurant in Buenos Aires

Anthony Bourdain, once said “sometimes the greatest meals on vacations are the ones you find when Plan A falls through.” 

And, I’d add, “you have to be willing to go through a few mediocre meals to get the great ones.”

In any new destination eating at local restaurants is the best road map for food travelers.

Your chances of discovering new tastes, flavors, and textures are much higher at these local eateries.

However, finding these unusual gems is not always easy. Sometimes, the tastiest food is offered at places that are not outwardly inviting. 

But you have to be willing to eat off the beaten path. To stretch beyond and adjust your expectations.

In Vietnam, you may need to sit low” to the ground while eating. Or, eat street food in Palermo, Italy, Europe’s street food capital.

Traveling to a new destination gives you the perfect opportunity to eat something new. 

And the restaurant gems frequented by locals offer some of the best places to taste the culture.

RELATED: 10 Unmissable Traditional French Restaurants in Paris For Authentic Food

5. Visit Artisanal Local Producers

Catching Gambas de Palamos Spain Authentic Food Quest
A unique adventure with fishermen in Spain

Understanding the local products is another expression of food tourism.

Food travel can take you to the local artisans and the people keeping the culinary heritage alive.

Each destination you visit has native or autochthonous products that are part of the local culinary fabric.

Seek out the family-owned businesses and local artisans that are keeping the culinary traditions alive. 

It can be local cheesemakers, farmers, or even chocolate and coffee artisans like we had the pleasure of meeting in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Ask locals what the unique products are to the region, and seek them out. Let your curiosity take you on an exciting food journey.

One of my most memorable experiences was becoming a fisherman or woman for a day. 

This was in Palamos, Spain, where we took a fishing boat in the hunt for Gambas de Palamos, considered the best prawns in the world.

Seeing the commitment to sustainability, quality, and dedication left a deep impression on me.

Food tourism experiences that put you in touch with the artisans will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on you.

RELATED: Gambas de Palamos – A Fascinating Day in the Life of a Fisherman

6. Take Amazing All-Inclusive Cooking Vacations

Sicily Cooking Class in Palermo by Authentic Food Quest
Learning how to make Sicilian desserts in Palermo

Home cooks of all skill levels can take their cooking skills to new heights with an all-inclusive cooking vacation.

Under the guidance of the watchful eye of a local chef, you learn to make local and authentic dishes on cooking vacations.  

Traveling through cooking vacations offers a different perspective on the place. The cooking vacations are immersive and last anywhere from 3 to 8 days.

Imagine cooking in France or in a region like Tuscany and learning about the local food specialties and culture.

Many cooking vacations pair the experience with visits to local markets, producers, wineries, city explorations, and more.

For food travelers, cooking vacations can be a new way to travel. 

You’ll leave with new stories, a deeper culinary experience, and cooking skills that will impress. 

READ MORE: 12 of The Best Cooking Vacations Around the World

7. Experience a Multi-Day Culinary Tour

Food Stall in Malaysia Food Traveler by Authentic Food Quest
Street food stall in Malaysia

A culinary tour over multiple days and to multiple cities can take your culinary explorations to an even deeper level.

Often traveling slow, over several days, you’ll discover a wealth of amazing food traditions and history while making new local friends.

Multiple-day culinary trips include a variety of activities. Visiting heritage sites, private food and wine tastings, along with guided local tours add context to the experience. 

Depending on the length of stay, visits to local artisans, food tours, and cooking classes may also be included.

This kind of food traveling through culinary tours can be fun and stress-free.

There’s something freeing when someone else has made the arrangements and takes care of all the details. 

As long as local foods and authenticity are at the core, you can relax and soak in the experience.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Make your culinary travels worry-free! With the right travel insurance, you’ll enjoy a delicious experience. From medical emergencies, flight cancelations, car rental protection, or tour cancelations, a good travel insurance has got you covered. Check out our travel insurance review for food lovers to get started.

8. Participate in Food Festivals

Les Instants Roses Angers France by Authentic Food Quest
Wine festival in the Loire Valley, France

Food festivals where local specialties are put in the spotlight is another way to celebrate the local culinary heritage.

These festivals can take place outdoors or indoors for one day or several days. 

These are places where you’ll discover good food and great wine while meeting local producers and chefs.

As you plan your travels to eat, find out if there are any local food or wine festivals taking place when you’ll be there. 

Plan to include visits to local culinary festivals in your travel itinerary. One of our favorite local festivals was in the Loire Valley in France. 

It was an outdoor event dedicated to the region’s famous Rosé wine from Anjou.

Local wine producers, in partnership with restaurants and artisans, offered tastings of Rosé wine paired with local specialty bites.

Under the blue sky with background beats from a DJ, everyone had a great time celebrating this treasured drink.

Food and wine festivals are fantastic venues to learn about artisanal craft-making and local culinary history.

RELATED: 20+ Best Unique Food Gifts for Food Travelers (2024)

9. Explore Drinks from around the World

This Chile Drink Mote con Huesillo is like food by Authentic Food Quest
Mote con Huesillo, a drink you can also eat

Eating local goes hand in hand with drinking the local beverages. To taste a place, sipping on the local brews is part of the experience. 

While local drinks don’t get the same notoriety as the food specialties, it doesn’t make them any less desirable.

On our first visit to Chile, I remember being intrigued by a local drink with a peach floating in it. 

This drink, mote con huesillo, which translates to peaches with wheat, is a traditional popular drink served with a spoon. It was a surprising drink, full of flavor and a true taste of the country.

Wines and wine tourism are growing sectors within food travel experiences. 

Pairing local dishes with wines made from autochthonous grapes allows you to appreciate the country’s gastronomy fully.

In Sicily, we learned to love wines like Grillo and Marsala. The wine regions of Chile surprised and delighted us each time we sipped on Carménère, Chile’s emblematic red wine.

Vranac red wine popular in Montenegro and the Balkan, was a delicious discovery. As were the indigenous wines from the island of Crete in Greece.

On the road, visiting wineries are experiences not to be missed by foodie travelers. 

And, at home, the international wines sections of liquor shops hold many of these cultural treasures.

RELATED: Top 12 International Wine Clubs To Sip On

10. Travel in Your Kitchen with Local Recipes

Kalitsounia_Greek Food Food and Travel by Authentic Food Quest
Travel around the world through recipes

Travel doesn’t have to mean boarding a flight or taking a road trip. It can be as simple as stepping into the kitchen in your home.

With a sense of adventure and the willingness to experiment, a good cookbook can turn you into a world chef.

At Authentic Food Quest, we share recipes that bring the tastes of travel home. They are simple recipes of emblematic foods, along with the stories behind the dishes.

Choose your country and your flavors and surprise yourself with new worldly cuisine at home.

Why is Food Travel Important? Going Beyond The Comfort Zone

Mi Quang Noodles Da Nang Food by AuthenticFoodQuest
Mi Quang, the most famous dish in Danang

When you travel, you make choices. Do you book your accommodations in touristy areas or do you choose local neighborhoods for a closer connection?

Do you engage with the locals around, or stay in your comfort zone with your traveling companions? 

Local food has a way of breaking down barriers – of entering our bodies and captivating our souls. 

Of broadening our perspectives as we discover new textures and flavors.

As food travelers, we’ve come to appreciate the power of food. The universal language that brings us together over a meal.  

The interactions with locals in cooking classes, food tours, and shared meals, have been personally enriching on multiple levels.

There is a strong human connection that is formed. A bond that is created with stories and lessons carried forward.

I never leave the same after a food travel experience. I leave richer and more fulfilled based on the connection to the local food culture.

To become a food traveler is to embark on a transformative journey

And, thinking about it further, isn’t that what travel is all about?

Authentic Food Quest Page_Break

Do you consider yourself a food traveler? What’s your favorite food travel experience? Please let us know in the comments below.

Savor The Adventure!

Love Food Travel ? Pin It!

Pinterest Food Traveller by Authentic Food Quest

6 Comments on “Food Travel Near And Far: 10 Tips To Become A Great Food Traveler”

Leave a Comment

Post a Comment

We love to hear from you, so tell us what you think.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.