Last updated on November 18th, 2023
Featured image: A woman enjoys a plate of pasta and a glass of wine. Food is one of the best ways to learn about a new culture! | Photo by vadymvdrobot on Envato
Navigating the world of culinary travel: our favourite food experiences
Food is one of the ways we can truly understand a culture and connect with communities and history in meaningful ways. When we asked readers about their most memorable cultinary travel experiences, there was no shortage of mouth-watering moments. What’s most surprisingly about this list is that no one experience was duplicated — they are all unique! If you travel for food, these 27 tips might just inspire you to start planning a future trip.
27 culinary experiences to include in your future travels
1 Austria: “We had lunch at a woman’s house in the countryside of Austria. Homemade sausages on the grill and everything else (cheese, blackberries etc) came from her farm. So fresh.” — Laurie F.
2. Guatemala: “Street food tour in Antigua, Guatemala; food tour out of Bologna that covered small family run operations for balsamic, cheese and prosciutto (could have missed the latter) and ended with a multi-course meal at a great restaurant with unlimited wine; walking food tour in Rome; public food market in Panajachel; tapas and market tour in Barcelona – actually public food markets anywhere I’ve travelled!” — Lois R.
3. Croatia: A culinary and wine tour in Croatia. Two weeks of everything from farm-to-table meals, small family vineyards, taverns on the Adriatic and 4-star restaurants. It was a gourmand’s delight! I’ve also done a culinary tour of Ireland and Istanbul as well as cooking classes in at least a dozen countries.” — Valerie S.
Discover the Croatian countryside on a wine tour like Valerie / Photo by MatthewWilliams-Ellis on Envato
4. Israel: “In Israel, our tour guide took us into the West Bank, to the restaurant of a friend of his. Everything was fresh and homemade, prepared based on a phone call notifying them of our impending arrival–veal and lamb butchered that day, vegetables harvested from the garden out back, freshly baked bread, etc. Hands down the best meal I’ve ever had in 46 years.” — Stephanie C.
5. Slovenia: “In Slovenia, their national desert Prekmurska Gibanica. I enjoyed it outside at a cafe waiting to go in the Postojna Caves. It was absolutely delicious and always brings back warm memories of that particular trip!! If in Slovenia…you must try it!” — Ivy H.
6. Venice: “An architect I met in Venice insisted on meeting for drinks later, magical night, tried Campari at local bar then heard Vivaldi concert at church we walked by followed by private risotto lesson, Cinderella caught last vaporetti back to her hotel at midnight.” — Marie L.
7. Tuscany: “A week with Cook in Tuscany in the hilltop village of Montefollonico, Tuscany. Best food experience ever cooking with local nonnas in neighbouring villages and accommodation in a boutique hotel – was an ancient olive mill.” — Nelleke G.
8. Colombia: “I just took a cooking class at Sky Kitchen in Cartagena, Colombia. It was so much fun and a terrific meal.” — Marti S.
9. Greece: “A cooking class in Greece. Also took ones in Vietnam and Thailand. Still make tzatziki from the recipe.” — Toni K.
10. Iceland: “In Iceland, Hofn had the best fish and chips ever. I know that doesn’t sound exotic, but the other meal was local horse steak which was really good. The best crepes ever were in remote Siwi Oasis Egypt. Crocodile in Nairobi, best hamburger (really) in Santa Cruz, Galapagos, rack of lamb with pomegranate sauce in Santa Fe, New Mexico, best pizza ever was in Katmandu, best Chilean Sea Bass in Ushuaia, Argentina, Paella in Sevilla, Haggis Tati and Neeps in Edinburgh, Yak stew in Lhasa, grilled conch in Honduras. I would need some more time to remember the others without looking at old pics.” — Yvette B.
11. New Orleans: “Classes at the New Orleans Cooking School, making pasta at a restaurant in Tuscany, watching grannies in their 80’s making biscotti in Rome. Learning how to make french pastry in Montreal.” — Marion B.
12. Italy: “An outdoor restaurant in Portovenere, Liguria, Italy, looking down across the Bay of Poets. I had always had an emotional reaction against eating rabbit, but I decided to be brave and ordered the dish. It was delicious, as was the rest of the very expensive meal. The natural environment was extraordinary and I can still feel it if I close my eyes. My next favourite would be the black truffle scrambled eggs, I was served for breakfast in our hotel in Assisi.” — Margaret B.
13. San Sebastian, Spain: “Just got back from Spain… the pintxos (tapas) in San Sebastian were fabulous!” — Patricia C.
Patricia raved about the pintxos in San Sebastian, Spain / Photo by ipolly80 on Envato
14. London: Ottolenghi in London! ALL delicious, I eat at his restaurants as often as possible!! Find his cookbooks if you are not in London. Get his cookbooks in French at BHV in Paris. YUMM!!” — Jennefer P.
15. China: “We went to a restaurant and had a Chinese interpretation of a western meal. We ate meatloaf and chicken cordon bleu. It was a fantastic cultural experience.” — Janis R.
16. Toulouse, France: “The market tour with Jessica’s Taste of Toulouse including tastings and lunch. Toulouse, France. Lunch at Pastis in Montpellier with wine pairings—Michelin star restaurant. No diet tour Toulouse. I do food experiences everywhere. My favourite foodie cities are Lyon, France and Amsterdam. In the USA, San Francisco and New Orleans.” — Fetchin G.
17. Scotland: “I had the best Indian food of my life in Stornoway, a village in the Outer Hebrides. I never would have guessed that I would have the best paneer tikka EVER on a tiny wee island off the coast of Scotland!” — Jane L.
18. Italy: “Making pasta and goat cheese from scratch on an Italian farm, then cooking the pasta with fresh tomatoes etc and enjoying all with a glass of crisp white wine.” — Mary M.
19. Ubud, Bali: “At Casa Luna in Ubud we took a Balinese cooking class. We made friends and had dinner with them every night at a different restaurant.” — Jane C.
20. Georgia: “One of my favorite discoveries while traveling was Khachapuri —- Georgian cheese bread. I prefer the kind without an egg on top, but either way it’s sublime.” — Paula L.
21. Portugal: “Food takes low priority when I travel, but two little things had an impact! To this day I still use vegemite on my avocado toast after spending time in Australia and I would seriously go back to Portugal just for one more Pastel de Nata tart!” — Vivian F.
22. Belgium and Spain: “I enjoy finding at least one Michelin-starred restaurant when I travel. In Brussels, it was Comme Chez Soi. In Prague, I adored the Tasting Menu at Ginger & Fred, in the Dancing House – so fun! I also enjoyed my paella cooking class in Valencia. Restaurant Botin in Madrid was a hoot! and purports to be the oldest continually operated restaurant in the world (as do several other places! ).” — Suzanne McC.
23. Zanzibar: “Cooking huge snappers wrapped in banana leaves over wood off Zanzibar.” — Rebecca Pardue
24. Vietnam: “Street food in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia… And literally everything I eat every time I go to Italy (including raw fish and seafood in Puglia).” — Roxane C.
A traditional floating food market in Bangkok, Thailand / Photo by Mint_Images on Envato
25. Antarctica: “The Galley (Dining Hall) while working at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Dux de Lux – Christ Church, NZ (Closed after the earthquake).” — Randi A.
26. Ireland: “Irish whiskey added to steel cut oatmeal in Waterford, Ireland. Thought that was a Country standard, but only offered there.” — Judy Raiman
27. Puerto Rico: “White bean soup at Marmalade in Puerto Rico. I would fly back there just to have that again!” — Carolyn R.
More Food to Discover Around the World
Enjoy all the fresh cuisine you can in Oaxaca, Mexico — from street food to upscale rooftop restaurants, you’ll love every bite.
Our list of restaurants, cafes and markets, from street food to upscale, recommended by the locals in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
We asked some of our JourneyWoman women’s tour partners, who are experts in local cuisine, to share their best culinary travel experiences.