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World’s Best Food Tours and Culinary Walks, All Tried and Tested

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The world’s best food tours and culinary walks have provided us with some of our most unforgettable food memories, from inhaling fresh herbs and fragrant spices at local markets to savouring street food treats at smoky roadside stalls and traditional eateries.

We may have set some kind of record for the number of culinary experiences – from street food tours to cooking classes – that two travellers have done. In the last few months alone in Vietnam we’ve undertaken half a dozen tours, from street food strolls to market walks that kick off cooking classes, in Hanoi, Hue and Hoi An, and we’ve got more to do.

We’ve experienced so many across the globe – all in the name of research for you, of course – that we thought it was time to share our picks of the world’s best food tours and culinary walks.

The World’s Best Food Tours

These are our picks of the world’s best food tours of those we’ve road-tested from Mexico City to Melbourne. Dig around in our experiential travel archives under take a peek at our taste posts and you’ll find many more. Below are tour details in a nutshell, but click through the links to our original posts on the tours and you’ll find more comprehensive reviews and links to the tour operator sites.


The tour: Mexico City Street Food Tour
The operator: Eat Mexico
The guide: Our guide was Eat Mexico founder, third generation Mexican-American, Lesley Tellez, a journalist who blogs about Mexican cooking at The Mija Chronicles and recently released a cookbook.
Why do it: “Street food is so ingrained in Mexican culture,” Lesley says. “Some of these vendors have been here forever.” This also goes down as one of the very best of the world’s best foodie walks.
Food you’ll try: Everything from tacos al pastor and tlacoyos (fried masa patties) to tacos de canasta (‘basket tacos’), and tasty carnitas (‘little meats’).
Highlight: Cochinita pibil (slow roasted pork) and tinga de pollo (spicy stewed and shredded chicken with chipotle) from La Abuela, Río Lerma and Río Rhin.
Best tip: On identifying carnitas, Lesley warns: “These places never have any signs. Look for the glass case with pork steaming inside, and listen for the sound of chopping on a wooden breadboard.”
Where it starts: Our tour began on Río Lerma in Colonia Cuauhtémoc. It’s easy to get to by taxi from anywhere in the Centro Historico, just allow plenty of time.
Where to stay: The nearby colonias of Condesa and Roma are home to boutique hotels, however, we stayed in a holiday rental in the Centro Historico.
Where to dine after: You’ll try a lot of food on the tour, but not so much that you won’t get hungry again. For more of the same, head to Salon Corona. For creative contemporary Mexican cuisine, book ahead for our favourite restaurant in the city, Chef Enrique Olvera’s Pujol.


The tour: London for Foodies.
The operator: Context.
The guide: Our guide was self-confessed foodie Phillipa Owen.
Why do it: To get a taste of the fantastic produce being produced in the UK by a new breed of purveyors who are extraordinarily passionate about their produce, as well as the superb local specialty shops in London.
Where you’ll go: We visited The Ginger Pig, La Fromagerie, Fish Works, Rococco Chocolates, Biggles Gourmet Sausages, Italian deli Lina’s Stores, Algerian Coffee Stores, Borough Market, Monmouth Coffee, and Neal’s Yard Dairy.
Highlight: Neal’s Yard Dairy, specialists in British artisanal cheeses. Try the ‘Stichelton’ (unpasteurised English blue cheese considered to be more like ‘real’ Stilton), Colston Bassett Stilton (rich and creamy, with a tang providing balance), Montgomery’s Cheddar (a sweet, bold cheddar with a dry texture), and a Tunworth soft cheese (similar in texture to Camembert).
Where it starts: Our walk began in Marylebone at The Ginger Pig, easy to get to by bus, tube, taxi, or foot, depending on where you’re staying.
Where to stay: We only stayed two days last trip — too short really to rent an apartment. For finding hotels in London we like which lists properties all over the city.
Where to dine after: As our tour finished at Borough Market, our guide Phillipa recommended Roast, specialising in British cuisine, in the heart of the market. We had the superb Market Menu, based on what’s fresh and in season that day.


The tour: The Masala Trail, Dandenong
The operator: Foodie Trails, an offshoot of guide Himanshi’s family-owned Mumbai travel agency, which also runs culinary tours in India.
The guide: Indian-born Himanshi, a foodie who lived in Dandenong as a student.
Why do it: To get a taste of Little India in Dandenong, a suburb of multicultural Melbourne where 55% of residents are foreign-born, from 156 different countries. Few foreign visitors get here.
Food you’ll try: Northen Indian specialties, including chaat (see Highlight), aloo tiki (potato cutlets), samosa channa (chick peas, cauliflower, potatoes, and peas in a deep fried roti), spicy masala tea, and Indian sweets, and Southern Indian food, including a thali platter laden with tasty curries, lentil soup, rice, sambal, papadums, and crispy dosa, washed down with lassi, and more sweets.
Highlight: We loved the chaat, made from flat crispy biscuits topped with potato, tamarind sauce, green chilli, chickpeas, yoghurt, salt, chilli, and cumin powder.
Best tip: Himanshi’s advice on what products to buy from Indian Bazaar.
Bonus: You’ll also visit a Bollywood music and DVD shop, an Indian clothes shop, and an Indian grocery shop cum spice bazaar.
Where it starts: If doing the Dandenong tour, you’ll meet Himanshi at Dandenong train station. She also runs a tour in Melbourne city centre if you’re stuck for time.
Where to stay: The Melbourne CBD is central, or anywhere on a train line. We tested out these boutique hotels and apartments.
Where to dine after: We were too full to eat a large meal again that day. If you get hungry later try the Vietnamese pho on Victoria Street, Richmond.


The tour: Markets of Istanbul
The operator: Context
The guide: Aylin Oney Tan, a culinary writer and food columnist for Istanbul’s national daily newspaper, Cumhuriyet.
Why do it: For a local insight into the city’s markets and to discover the best places to shop for everything from coffee and spices to dried fruit and cheese.
Food you’ll try: Dried fruit and vegetables, such as kayisi doneri (a fruit doner kebab); Turkish cold cuts and cheeses, such as pastirma and tulum (sheep cheese in dried goat skin); tavuk göğsü, a creamy pudding made of finely shredded chicken breast; lokum (Turkish delight); pickles and peppers; and (at an annotated sit-down tasting), traditional buffet dishes, such as pickled cabbage in yoghurt and succulent kebabs.
Highlight: Pulverised wild cherry kernels from Malatya Pazari.
Where it starts: We began our tour at Mısır Çarşısı, the Egyptian Market or Spice Bazaar at Eminönü.
Where to stay: We stay in apartment rentals in Beyoğlu when we’re in Istanbul, from where it’s a fascinating 30-minute amble down to the Egyptian Market.
Where to dine after: We couldn’t eat another thing after this tour – it was a lot of food to try, so skip breakfast. You’ll probably be happy just continuing to snack on goodies you buy on the tour.


The tour: Budapest Market Walk
The operator: Taste Hungary, owned by Carolyn and Gábor Bánfalvi.
The guide: Carolyn Bánfalvi, author of Terroir Guides’ Food Wine Budapest and The Food and Wine Lover’s Guide to Hungary.
Why do it: For local insight into Hungarian cuisine through the prism of Budapest’s best market, Central Market Hall. Caroline explains how locals shop, what they buy, where they buy it from, and what they do with it.
Food you’ll try: This isn’t really a tasting tour – although lunch at a local eatery is included after the walk – rather it’s a chance to find out what the local specialties are and who the best purveyors are.
Highlight: The pork shop! Smoked pork knuckle, pork jelly aspic, unprocessed bacon, tripe, pig snouts, feet and tails, pork brains (crumbed, fried and eaten with mayonnaise), and pork crackling… it’s all here!
Best buy: The pork crackling and famous Pick winter salami (the one with white mould around it).
Best tip: Don’t buy the ‘saffron’ the guidebooks all recommend – it is not in fact saffron at all, but safflower.
Best discovery: The Asian supermarket hidden away downstairs, packed products from Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America.
Where it starts: We met Carolyn at the main entrance to the Central Market Hall. Allow plenty of time if taking connecting trams.
Where to stay: We spent a couple of weeks in an apartment rental on Andrássy Avenue, which is central and a couple of (connecting) trams away from the market.
Where to dine after: Get tips from Carolyn – she’s the expert on eating out in the city.


The tour: Tsukiji Fish Markets & Outer Markets
The operator: Etsuko Nakamura of
The guide: Tokyo food and sake expert, Etsuko Nakamura.
Why do it: To appreciate that there’s more to a Tsukiji Fish Market visit than watching a tuna auction and that the Outer Market, a warren of narrow lanes lined with specialty shops and stalls, is equally rewarding to visit if you go with a local. This is easily one of the world’s best food tours.
What you’ll see: Scores of specialty shops selling everything from kitchen supplies to a particular type of product or produce from a specific town or region. For example, a handful of shops only sell Tamago-Yaki (Japanese omelette) in different styles; tofu specialists sell every conceivable form of tofu, including tofu icecream; and countless shops sell only nori (seaweed), unagi (dried fish) or katsuobushi (bonito flakes).
What to try: If you’re here in summer, try the colossal succulent rock oysters from Ivakaki, which you can slurp down as they’re freshly shucked.
Highlight: A shop specialising in products from Kanogazawa on the coast selling delights such as tarako (spiced cod roe) and karasumi (bottarga).
What to buy: Handmade Japanese knives.
Best tip: Unagi (dried fish) is seasonal and July is the month to buy it.
Where it starts: We met Etsuko outside Tsukiji-Shijo station (Oedo line; exit A1), however, Tokyo Metro Hibiya line’s Tsukiji station is also handy.
Where to stay: We stayed in an apartment rental in Akasaka for two weeks, however, it doesn’t matter where you stay in Tokyo because a train station is never far away.
Where to dine after: Ask Etsuko to direct you to her favourite teishoku (set menu) place, where you can eat well with the locals. We tucked into sea urchins with vegetables, sauces, pickles, miso soup, and rice for US$9 and there wasn’t a foreigner in sight.

Worlds Best Food Tours – We Want Your Tips

We’re currently completing a comprehensive culinary travel guide and will be covering the world’s best food tours in that, from market walks to longer ambles covering the culinary history of a place. We’ll be embarking on trips to test them out, one destination at a time, and we want your tips. Have you done a foodie walk you absolutely loved? Do you offer a foodie walk that you think is the best in your destination? Please leave a link and tell us about it in the Comments below.


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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

39 thoughts on “World’s Best Food Tours and Culinary Walks, All Tried and Tested”

  1. You need to try the tapas “crawl” or as locals call it, the Senda de los Elefantes, of Calle Laurel in Logroño the culinary and political capital of Rioja

    One street with mana, many, many tapas outlets, all with their own specialities, and Rioja wine of course.

    If your travels take you to Spain, check it out, and even better, plan to be there for the EWBC conference (food and wine related) in October.

    See you there!

  2. Hi Robert – thanks for the delicious tip! We used to get to Spain fairly frequently – it’s one of our favourite countries – but we’re more focused on Asia these days. But when we return we’ll definitely try out your Rioja crawl. Not a fan of conferences, sorry – food and wine festivals, yes! Thanks for dropping by!

  3. We do get back to Dubai/UAE from time to time, we just haven’t had a chance recently – plus we don’t feel the need to spend a lot of time there these days as it was our home from 1998 until recently (we still have our things in storage there and are currently trying to decide where to move them!). Now it’s time to get to know another part of the world as deeply as we did the Middle East.

    Having said that, I did include Arva’s tour in this ’36 Hours in Dubai’ piece I did for The Tele in the UK as I’ve heard such great things about it and was pleased someone was finally doing a foodie walk – we thought about it so many times over the years. And I am tempted to try it when I return, however, I probably shouldn’t – Arva focuses on the neighbourhood we lived in and wrote about for so long that I’m worried I’ll be a tough critic, as wonderful as it (and she) sounds.

    I am glad you came and mentioned it here, thank you!

  4. We have been to Helsinki and we loved it, but it was in 2006, so before the foodie tours started. Would love to get back there – will have to work on getting a magazine commission! We’ll definitely keep this in mind for when we do. Thanks for the link!

  5. Had an amazing tour in Athens with Culinary Backstreets. Knowledgeable, friendly, flexible and filling ;) Vancouver Foodie Tours also very good. Find foodie walks great when travelling alone (safely meet others with a common interest) and often get off the classic ‘tourist routes’ when visiting a city!

  6. Frying Pan Food Tours in Dubai, Betel Box in Singapore, Foods of New York in … New York, Culinary Backstreets in Georgia.

    Can I just say with the first: I grew up in Dubai, as did Arva, and it’s been a treat to see her showcase restaurants and dishes that newer expats either may not have tried or explored :)

  7. Hi Devina

    Completely agree with you! But not only expats – but also food tourists, obviously, who often, strangely enough, think they know more than residents, citizens and nationals. We blame Trip Advisor!

    We have to confess that we love Arva – and Farida and their mum Nafeesa (they did our tour here in Cambodia last year and we spent a lot of time with them) – and we were some of Arva’s first supporters, writing about Frying Pan Adventures in mainstream publications such as The Telegraph soon after they started.

    Their tours have been hugely successful at showing people the ‘real Dubai’ that we knew and loved when we lived there (long before there were many tours at all, other than desert safaris) and showing visitors to Dubai that there’s so much more than shopping malls and five-star hotels, and we love them for that too!

    Thanks so much for dropping by! Appreciated.

  8. Hey there! We’d love to be on the list, along with our friends at Devour Madrid, Devour Seville and Devour Malaga! Let us know if you’re ever in one of our Spanish cities!

  9. I have three submissions for you. The first one was a food tour that I have taken twice over the span of 10 years in between each tour. This was my first food tour ever taken and it was fantastic. The site is

    The second one is a food tour that I took in Greece. It was informative, fun, and not only did it offer a great amount of food, but the food itself was great! I highly recommend

    Currently I have started a food tour of my own in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We give visitors a glimps of what it would be like to participate in an Argentine Family’s weekend asado (local bbq). We show our guests how to light the grill, how to make chimichurri and then we go shopping for the ingredients. We visit several shops, talk to the shop owners, give a little bit of history of Borge’s childhood neighborhood. We then head back to the house and prepare the asado in the very fashionable neighborhood of Palermo Viejo. The tour is called AsadoAdventure and we are brand new to the food touring scene.

  10. Hi! I have started LjubljanaNjam foodie walks in Ljubljana, Slovenia, out of my passion for local foodie scene three years ago in 2013, and it’s been showing the yummy side of the Alps to many satisfied guests since then. I hope one day you join me and check for yourselves. :) I take you to my favorite places and I like to merge traditional with signature dishes so you get a sense of what used to be going on, and does now, with our cuisine. Welcome!

  11. Hi Lara,

    Great post and blog. A mutual contact put us in contact on Twitter a few days ago as she thought our Parrilla Tour food tours in Buenos Aires would be a great to include in your list of food tours.

    We run food tours several days a week in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the focus being on visiting neighborhood restaurants that aren’t touristy, where the locals dine, to try traditional Argentine dishes like empanadas, choripan, different cuts of steak, provoleta, ice cream and of course some great wine. Here is a link to our website,

    Let me know if you have any questions or need more info.

    Cheers from Argentina.


  12. Thanks, Iva! Sounds right up our alley actually. As I said to Frank, below – I wish there would have been something like this on offer when we were there. Hopefully we’ll get back in the future!

  13. Hey Lara,

    As I mentioned the other day on Twitter, I’m running a series of Food Tours around Guadalajara, Mexico.

    Jitomate Street Food Tours is a spin off the local Jitomate Blog. These Street Food Tours help visitors explore and experience some of the best dishes in and around Guadalajara, capital of the state of Jalisco. Region that witnessed the creation, and shared to the world, Tequila, Birria, and Mariachi, among many other things.

    The Jitomate Street Food Tours were designed with one thing in mind, to help visitors explore Guadalajara and understand the gastronomic identity around it. In order to do this, we explore local eating spots, hidden in markets and small streets, side by side with hungry locals away from home during breakfast, lunch or dinner.

    the tours are mostly custom made and we have walking tours, day tours and cantina tours, as well as what we call executive tours, which are targeted at business travellers, that may not have enough time to spend a whole day walking and eating !

    Make sure you check us out ! !

    Thanks !

  14. If como to Helsinki you definately should try out local food tour operator Food Sightseeing Helsinki!

  15. Hello Lara, as mentioned on Twitter we do culinary walks in Lisbon. Building on more than a decade of experience, we’ve designed a selection of tours offering visitors the chance to eat their way through the less-explored parts of this fascinating city. From traditional homestyle dishes to their contemporary interpretations, the age-old charcutaria to the backstreet tasca, these tours are an odyssey through Portuguese cuisine and the city’s living culture and offer a revealing brush with the charming inhabitants of one of Europe’s oldest city. See our Lisbon routes here:

  16. I’ve been doing culinary tours with Paris by Mouth ( for the last few years.
    Each 3-hour tour offers the best that the various neighborhoods have to offer, including chocolate, cheese, wine, pastries, viennoiserie, bread, charcuterie, etc.
    It is truly the best job I’ve every had! The shopkeepers are delightful to work with and I get to meet and share French food traditions with amazing people from all around the world.
    Hope to see you in Paris one day!

  17. Hi Jennifer, thanks for dropping by and reminding me – we did the tour you’re describing with a guide from Paris By Mouth, through Context, early in 2010. I don’t remember her name… I think she said she had a background in health policy or something like that… the review would be somewhere on our site, so I’ll look for it and add it to the list above, as well as to my notes for our guide.
    We’ve spent a lot of time in Paris over the years – about 12 years ago we wrote the first ‘Best of Paris’ guide for Lonely Planet. So these days we’re focusing on Asia. But when we do get back I’ll definitely get in touch. Thanks for dropping by!

  18. We would love to have you visit and explore the smallest state in the United States and the 1st colony to become independent from Great Britain,Rhode Island, lots of amazing Colonial history here! We also have 400 miles of coastline, mansions, world class schools like Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Art School, Johnson and Wales Culinary School(JWU) which explains why we have some of the most creative and freshest food in the country.
    We include much of this in our 2 walking food tours. Rhode Island Red Food Tours has 2 food tours one in Downcity Providence and the other in Newport. They are 3.5 hr walking tours that explore both the history, architecture and culture of the neighborhoods as well as 6+ tastings and sips along the way.
    If you would like more info feel free to contact me.

  19. Btw, Lara, the state is so small, 37 miles x 48 miles, if you came to Rhode Island I would be happy to give you a personal tour around the state and offer free lodging in my Airbnb. It might be something to consider taking a trip to New England in general, if you haven’t before ;)

  20. Hi Paula, thanks for the tip and kind offer – sounds wonderful! We don’t have plans to return to the USA in the immediate future, but we’ll definitely let you know and get in touch if that changes. Thanks again for dropping by!

  21. This blog strikes the ideal balance between the basic pleasures of food, beauty, and design, on the one hand, and the more deep experiences that life has to offer, on the other. Because of your work, I frequently find that I am brought to tears or that it deeply inspires me. We are indebted to you for sharing such wonderful concepts with us.

  22. You all are such a ray of sunshine in this world; I always come here to read your arguments, and after I do, I can’t help but grin because not many people have taken the time to write something that is interesting to the people who are reading it. Thank you for all the love, positive thoughts, and best wishes that are being sent your way.

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