Some people travel for adventure. Others hit the road for romance, work, or just to escape the grind of everyday life. More and more, however, travellers are planning their trips around food.
Culinary tourism is one of the best ways to dig in and experience a foreign culture. From learning to cook dumplings in Shanghai, to tapas tours of Madrid, focusing on food allows travellers to connect with locals, try new flavours and expand their cooking repertoire.
Here are 10 foodie-centric tours from around the world that are sure to tantalize your taste-buds:
Mexico is a tourist mecca, but the food in most resorts, such as in Cancun or Cozumel, is far from the fresh local cuisine foodies know and love. So, be adventurous and leave the confines of your all-inclusive resort for a food tour of San Miguel.
Sip horchatas while nibbling on ceviche tostadas (made from fish straight off the boat) and other Yucatan delicacies. Gobble up mole enchiladas, fresh coconut, crispy tacos, savory soups, regional sweets, and more while you try out your Spanish skills on local artisans.
Sure, Vancouver has a thriving restaurant scene that is not to be missed. But some of the city's most exciting and innovative cuisine is located right on its streets. Hop from small carts to food trucks on a tour of Vancouver's street food.
We're talking Berkshire pork hot dogs at Japadog, a Japanese fusion hot dog cart, and butter chicken naan kebabs from the Top Chef approved Soho Road Naan Keba cart. Move on to a hot smoked wild salmon sandwich from Kaboombox, possibly the world's only salmon-smoking food truck, and then switch gears and head over to visit the Roaming Dragon, British Columbia's first mobile gourmet food truck, and sample their acclaimed rice balls.
Goa is known for its gorgeous beaches and wild parties, but it's also a haven for foodies. The cuisine combines Indian food with Portuguese influences (they had a settlement here in the Colonial period). Get acquainted with the area's history and learn some new skills with a 3-day cooking course at the boutique Siolim House hotel, a palacio built in 1675 during the Portuguese occupation.
From tradition Hindu vegetarian cuisine (try their staple kokum fruit), to fresh fish curries and Catholic dishes like arroz doce and their world famous vindaloo (did you know the name comes from the Portuguese?), you'll be immersed in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Indian delicacies.
From bulgogi to kimchi and Korean barbecue, the food options in South Korea are not to be missed. Embark on a lunchtime tour of Seoul's best food shops, street carts and hole-in-the-wall restaurants to try delicacies like seafood pancakes and lettuce wraps.
For the full Korean cuisine experience, take a cooking class to master the art of making kimchi and bulgogi and then explore a traditional market to pick up the ingredients you'll need to make the dishes at home!
Spain is known for its tapas, but in the fiercely independent Basque region their miniature dishes are known as pinxtos.
In Bilbao, a cooking class with a local chef is the perfect way to get acquainted with the regional cuisine. Pinxtos are distinctive taverna snacks that are generally served on skewers (the Spanish word pincho means 'spike'), variations include local fish pinxtos; tortilla de patatas; stuffed peppers; and croquettes. Pinxtos are meant for socializing, so pair your cooking class with a Basque wine tasting session for the perfect Bilbaíno evening.
One of the best ways to experience Moroccan culture is through their delicious cuisine. Learn to cook an authentic Moroccan meal from start to finish in Marrakech. Start with a basic Arabic lesson, before heading off to try your new language skills in the market to haggle and pick up produce for the meal.
You'll sample local ingredients like saffron from Taliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, and use them in traditional dishes like couscous, tagine, tanjia and harir. Cook and eat in a Moroccan riad -- a traditional house with an open air inner courtyard.
Italy is a foodie traveller's paradise, and the options for culinary tourism are seemingly endless. At a traditional market in Florence, you can make stops at local farmers' stands and check out fresh buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, and other artisanal cheeses.
Taste hand-sliced, cured Tuscan prosciutto, fresh bread, and roasted porchetta. Sample olives direct from the farmer's home on the Amalfi Coast or head south to Palermo, where you can master Sicilian cuisine by cooking a traditional 6-course meal from scratch. In Parma, visit the birthplaces of Parmesan cheese and the Parma ham.
In bustling Bangkok it can be hard to uncover the heart and soul of Thai cuisine. Put your stomach in the hands of a local guide and head out for an off-the-beaten-track food tour of Old Bangkok.
While you stroll past ancient temples, sample some original roasted duck with rice (Kao-Nha-Ped), authentic Thai papaya salad (Som Tam), crispy catfish, and signature 'curry on egg'. Ask the local vendors for some delicious green custard and barbecue pork buns and slurp up some green curry beef served with roti.
Culinary tourism is a perfect vehicle for meeting locals and exchanging cultures. In Istanbul, enjoy a home cooked meal with a local family and enjoy the Turk's famous hospitality.
A typical meal starts with soup, followed by a dish made of vegetables or legumes boiled in a pot with bulgur pilaf and some cacık (made from diluted yogurt and minced cucumbers).Then sit back and smoke some nargile (water pipe) and sip tea, while learning more about Turkey's ancient and vibrant culture.
Between the beach, volleyball, futbol and sambaing the night away, you'll probably work up quite an appetite in Rio. Satisfy it with a cooking and cocktail making class where you can learn some hallmarks of Brazil's melting pot cuisine.
Try your hand at making moqueca, a seafood coconut stew, and aipim frito (yucca fries), or take a stab at feijoada, a black bean and meat stew. Wash it all down with two local cocktails: the famous caipirinha, made with cachaça, sugar and lime and batida de côco, a scrumptious coconut cocktail.
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