15 food tours that’ll tickle your taste buds in every way imaginable

January 12, 2016                 7m read time
Emily Matras


From grilled jungle rat to Burgundian goat cheese, these tours are guaranteed to tickle all of your taste buds—even ones you didn’t know you had.

Let’s put a twist on an old saying: The way to the heart of a culture is through the stomach. Eating your way around a foreign city on a walking tour might just be the best method for embracing the local people and experiencing their traditions. You may expand your waistline, but you’ll expand your horizons too—totally worth it. These 15 unusual food tastings and tours from around the world run the gamut from the gag-inducing to the palette-refining, and pretty much everything in between. Which food tour is calling your name (and stomach)?

1. Most Thorough Food and Cultural Tour

Pisco sour  Ildi Papp

Pisco sour 

Ildi Papp

 

Looking for a food tour that’s super thorough—and thoroughly delicious? For about $4,000, this Epitourean tour takes you on a 10-day jaunt through Peru and its most scintillating specialities. Expect to taste (and make) some familiar classics, like ceviche, quinoa, and pisco sours. But you might want to bring some Pepto-Bismol for some of the more challenging dishes on the menu—beef heart marinated in spices, anyone? Who knows, after more than a week of cooking classes, visits to local markets and food stalls, and Peruvian street food purchases, you just might find yourself going back for some “hearty” seconds.  

2. The Most Bizarre Food Tour for Meat Eaters

Crispy meatballs Daniel Kristanto

Crispy meatballs

Daniel Kristanto

 

Don’t get too cozy in Cartagena, a bustling port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast that’s home to pastel-colored colonial buildings and charming cobblestone streets. On the Bizarre Foods Tour, even meat lovers will be asked to step outside their bacon-covered comfort zone. Meats on the menu for this tour include alligator tail, armadillo, and (gulp) jungle rat. Yum… we think? Don’t worry, though, you’ll have an English-speaking guide for the whole tour, which means you’ll always have an opportunity to ask, “So, what exactly is in this?”

3. The Best Tour for Wine Lovers With Wobbly Legs

Spier Wine Farm  Spier Wine Farm

Spier Wine Farm 

Spier Wine Farm

 

If you’re the type to flip to the wine list as soon as the waitress hands you a menu, then the vineyards tour at Spier Wine Farm in Stellenbosch, South Africa is for you. This tour comes complete with a wine tasting, exploration of the biodynamic farming area, and to-die-for views of the Stellenbosch Mountain Range and Table Mountain. And if your legs tend to get a little shaky after a glass or two, no worries. This tour comes with a twist: Segways! Yep, you’ll be ridin’ through the vineyard in style on your very own Segway; just try not to mow down any grapevines while trying to master your three-point turn.

4. The Food Tour With the Wettest Transport

Floating market in Thailand c sa bum

Floating market in Thailand

c sa bum

 

In a busy city like Bangkok, Thailand, it’d be hard to hit up more than one food market in a day. That is, unless, the food markets were conveniently located on the water, making them easy to visit via Thailand’s waterways. And when we say “on the water,” we’re talking literally. In the Floating Market Food Tour, you’ll visit three markets that, you guessed it, float right on the river. Ride on a boat through a coconut farm, marvel at market wares at Samut Songkhram, Thailand’s “Venice of the East,” and snack on sweet delicacies like roasted banana.

5. The Best Food Tour for Brave Souls

Mealworms to be eaten Hans Splinter

Mealworms to be eaten

Hans Splinter

 

Do you prefer your steamed rice pancakes stuffed with giant water bugs? Hey, don’t knock it before you try it—which you can do on the Food on Foot Tour in Hanoi, Vietnam. Other creepy-crawly and slithery concoctions await you, from worm pancakes to cobra wine (you can see the snakes floating in the bottle). If your wimpy Western stomach recovers, more familiar eats can be found on this three-hour tour, including fried sweet potatoes, grilled pork with noodles, and coconut wine.

6. Most History-Laden Food Tour

Restaurants in Philly  Adam Kuban

Restaurants in Philly 

Adam Kuban

 

On the Taste of Philly Tour, you’ll get your fill of cheesesteak facts from the author of “The Great Philly Cheesesteak” herself (or one of her other trusty tour guides). Aside from plenty of insider info—including tips on how to order, so native Philadelphians don’t give you the stinkeye in line—you’ll also learn the history of other famous Philly foods, such as scrapple, soft pretzels, and hoagies, as you’re guided through the Reading Terminal Market, where these Philly-licious goods are sold.  

7. The Best Tour for Fancy Pants Food Lovers

Fancy oysters on a plate with a lemon jshyun

Fancy oysters on a plate with a lemon

jshyun

 

You’ll want to break out the monocle and ascot on the ultra exclusive Bangor Farm Food Tour. Capped at 18 participants for an intimate feel, this culinary outing in Tasmania, Australia, includes visits to Tasmania’s farmland, coastline, and vineyards via private plane. After flying over the Tasman and Frontier peninsulas, you’ll touch down at the Bangor Nature Preserve and Farm. Sip world-class wine and dine on oysters, abalone, mussels, and other fresh seafood while wallabies bound past your window. If any fishy juices drip unbecomingly down your chin, just wipe it up with your posh pocket square.

8. Tour Most Likely to Induce a Blood Sugar Spike

Cakes and icing  RossHelen

Cakes and icing 

RossHelen

 

Pastries, ice cream, and chocolate, oh my! Get a taste of all three in a single afternoon on the Cakes and Chocolates Walking Tour in Venice, Italy. Stops at three different patisseries, an ice cream parlor, and two chocolate shops are included in the tour. But wait, that’s not all. Participate in a chocolate tasting with a professional chocolatier, who’ll teach you how to describe the flavor of chocolate beyond “really yummy.” Tour guides add a dose of history to your overdosage of sugar with fascinating explanations on the origins of tiramisu, coffee, and more. Delizioso!

9. The Best Food Tour for Fear Factor Fans

Scorpions on lettuce Food Fear Factor Tour

Scorpions on lettuce

Food Fear Factor Tour

 

Did that infamous “Fear Factor” episode where contestants chowed down on cow brains make you giddy? Then head straight to Saigon, Vietnam, to grab a spot on this Food Fear Factor Tour. On the scooter tour, you’ll get to try cooked snakes, scorpions, fertilized eggs, duck blood pudding, worms, and grilled frog. Not squirming yet? Don’t forget Pha Lau, a soup composed of beef and pork intestines, lungs, kidney, heart, and stomach (and it comes served with a side of bread to sop up every last drop. Lucky you!).

10. Most Aromatic Food Tour

Aromatic spices in pots elena moiseeva

Aromatic spices in pots

elena moiseeva

 

Let your nose lead the way on this exploration of the cacophonic souks in Marrakesh and the breezy, coastal town of Essaouira. On the five-day Moroccan Spice Tour, you’ll learn how to cook tagine, order produce in Arabic, and sniff out the finest spices at the market. The tour also includes a bike ride through Essaouira, an easy-going artists’ town. Fuel up with some strong Arabic coffee and pedal off all those meals.

11. Meatiest Food Tour

Meat and chopsticks Indypendenz

Meat and chopsticks

Indypendenz

 

You might forget you’re in Columbus, Ohio, on this surprisingly ethnically diverse food tour—which just goes to show you that the love of meat knows no borders. Stops on the Meat Lover’s Tour includes a 100-year-old restaurant that specializes in European-style cured and smoked sausages and meats, a tandoor grill at a Pakistani market, and Korean BBQ so good you’ll be eschewing all napkins in favor of licking the beefy sauce off your fingers. We don’t think it needs to be said, but the tour specifies that it’s “far from vegetarian friendly.” Good.

12. The Best Tour for Cheese Aficionados

A huge hunk of cheese being sliced Ewais

A huge hunk of cheese being sliced

Ewais

 

Parlez-vous fromage? You’ll be fluent in the salty, creamy, dairy goodness after embarking on the Burgundy Wine and Cheese Tour. Roll through the verdant French countryside in search of the best glass of red to pair with your cheese, whether it comes from cows, sheep, or goats (you’ll taste all three on the tour). After artisan cheesemakers give you the lowdown on crafting cheese, we have a feeling you’ll want to quit your day job immediately.  

13. Most Beer-tastic Tour

Two big beers diamant24

Two big beers

diamant24

 

Does it come as any surprise that this tour takes place in Munich, Germany? This beer capital hosts the Size Matters Beer Tour, where giant mugs of beer are used to wash down pretzels the size of your head and brats the size of the average woman’s sexual fantasy. Visit four different beer halls, down a shot of Jagermeister, and see if you have what it takes to earn the prize for “best beer drinker of the night.” A word of caution: You might need to loosen your lederhosen after this calorie- and carb-laden tour.

14. Best Tour for Breakfast Lovers

Traditional soup dumpling Chinese cuisine Ronnie Chua

Traditional soup dumpling Chinese cuisine

Ronnie Chua

 

If all you know about Chinese food comes from greasy takeout containers of orange chicken, then 1) we’re sorry, and 2) book a flight to Shanghai, stat. The Shanghai Street Food Breakfast Tour shows off another side of Chinese cuisine, where savory breakfast pancakes, fresh noodles still hot from the pan, and tender soup dumplings make for a delicious start to the day. Groggy from the tour’s 8 a.m. start time? Learn some moves from the tai chi practitioners in the market, and then get to eating.

15. Tour Most Likely to Give You a Southern Accent

Fried chicken on a waffle  Linda Hughes

Fried chicken on a waffle 

Linda Hughes

 

Pecan pralines, BBQ pork, and crisp fried chicken (from Dr. King’s favorite spot, no less) all mean one thing: You’re in the South, ya’ll. The Southern Food Walk in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, serves up so many Southern specialties you might find yourself speaking with a drawl post tour. This restaurant crawl isn’t just about the tastings though. You’ll also learn the history behind Atlanta’s most famous dishes and dining spots, thanks to the colorful yarns spun by the tour’s “culinary storytellers.”  

Emily Matras

[Emily](http://emilymatras.com/) is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. See more of her writing on travel, food, and culture at [www.EmilyMatras.com](www.EmilyMatras.com), and follow her on Twitter at @EmilyMatras.

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