What Is Culinary Tourism?

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  • Written By: Lee Johnson
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2019
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Culinary tourism is when people travel to a different country or a different part of a country to enjoy local cuisine. Travelers often look specifically for places with a rich cuisine, food and drink festivals, and cooking classes. Many different destinations are popular for culinary tourism, such as France, Thailand, India, and Japan. Generally, culinary tourists are interested in local delicacies and cuisine rather than generic dishes they could find in their home town. The identification of the trend has allowed popular destinations to capitalize on the interest in their cuisine.

The most basic form of culinary tourism is when travelers go to a country or locale with the aim of trying local dishes. This can be done on a specific culinary tour or as part of a general holiday. Culinary tourists are interested in dishes that cannot be found in other places, and restaurants often identify these dishes for the benefit of culinary tourists. Most travelers are interested in the food specific to the location, but some may be more interested in local beers or wines.


Different activities can be part of culinary tourism, including visiting restaurants and festivals and attending cooking classes. The most common activity for culinary tourists is to try local restaurants and even street food stalls to learn about the cuisine of the location. Food and drink festivals increase culinary tourism because they give travelers a chance to sample many different dishes. Cooking classes also give tourists the chance to learn how to cook local dishes and teach them new techniques in the process. A culinary tour may include a mixture of these activities.

Countries particularly popular for culinary tourism include Thailand, Japan, France, and Italy. Culinary tourists also visit other countries such as China, Vietnam, the Unites States, and India. Any country with a rich local cuisine is a possible culinary tourism destination. China, for example, has numerous different styles of cooking popular in different provinces across the country. This means that culinary tourists can travel around the country and sample a variety of cuisines.

The trend of culinary tourism rose to particular prominence in 2001, but many tourists participated in it before this time. Since the trend was identified, popular culinary tourism destinations have been able to provide information on suggested culinary tours. In addition, restaurants in popular culinary destinations often offer cooking classes for tourists who wish to learn new skills and make local dishes. Popular locations can also start a food festival to encourage culinary tourists.


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Post 4

Can anyone recommend some good dishes I should try when I go backpacking through Europe?

It's a no brainer that I'll be soaking up the delicious pastas in Italy and some amazing French cuisine, but I am not a real foodie, so I don't know what to try exactly. My only experience so far with culinary tourism is going for a few traditional meals in Japan and learning how to properly make sushi. Though I will admit that my sushi wasn't nearly as pretty as that of my instructor.

I love spicy food, rich food and am pretty much willing to try anything that doesn't have shell fish in it, though that is mainly due to an allergy.

Post 3

Whenever you go to a new country it is a really good idea to do a bit of culinary tourism, even if enjoying the local cuisine isn't your primary goal. Whenever I travel to Asia I like to take a cooking class in whatever country I am in so that I can learn to prepare at least one popular local dish. Not only is it fun, but you really take a real skill with you when you leave.

Some of my favorite stops for culinary tourism is actually South Korea. They have wonderful, healthy dishes that are really easy to make. Dolsot bibimbap is a simple rice dish loaded with vegetables and some beef served in a hot stone pot. After you top it with some spicy red pepper paste it looks fantastic and tastes even better.

Post 2

I would love to do a culinary tour of India. I love Indian food and have been making it myself for a number of years so I know I would appreciate seeing where all of that incredible cuisine comes from.

I have heard from Indian friends that there are ingredients and spices that you basically cannot get anywhere outside of India. And there is such a great variety of food there, you could eat a hundred meals and none of them would be the same.

I would also like to see the sights and sounds of the country, but I have a feeling that if I went I would spend most of my time in kitchens and dining rooms.

Post 1

I have been on several culinary tours of Italy and all of them have been a little different.

One was all about food. My husband and I traveled the whole length of Italy eating at some of the most famous restaurants and sampling the signature dishes in every region. Needless to say, it was incredible.

The next trip was all about wine, We went to a number of different regions and sampled the wines that are grown throughout the country. We did a fair amount of eating too but it was mostly about enjoying the wonders of the Italian grape.

Just last year we went back to go on a farm tour of Italy where we visited different kinds of farms. We saw tons of different signature Italian ingredients from tomatoes to olives to a huge field of basil. It was incredible trip and really rewarding to see where all of that delicious food and drink comes from.

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