Working for BM, I am naturally curious about trying different foods, and enjoy attending food tours, especially when I visit somewhere new. I was fortunate to visit my daughter recently who is studying in NYC. We spent a wonderful day with Foods of New York Tours.
As well as being very entertaining, it reminded me that as well as sustenance, food plays a vital role in creating and sustaining cultures. It’s also a great way to connect people.
Next time you go somewhere new here are 5 reasons to book food tours.
Get to know the city quickly
You can read about a place online or in a lonely planet guide, but for me the most enjoyable way to find out about a place is by understanding the food. A city’s food culture reflects its social history, religious traditions and its geography.
A good tour guide (ours, was a resting actor called Chip) will have insider ‘local’ knowledge about events, places to go and how to avoid expensive tourist traps.
Eat like a local
TripAdvisor is great, but a foodie tour provides a short cut. In big cities, TripAdvisor reviews are more often compiled by travellers as opposed to the locals. So, on a foodie tour you eat like a local. Foodie tours also mean walking – and you pass by lots of other eateries that you can go back to later. And you get a chance to ‘walk off’ all that extra food you have eaten!
Lots to try
Usually at a restaurant for a meal you can only choose one thing. On a food tour you can try lots of different things from the menu! We tried Cuban, Italian, Keralan and Spanish food as well as ice cream, bread and chocolate! But Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, founded by fourth-generation pizzaiolos, was amazing, I defy anyone to eat a whole one! We also tried incredibly expensive and rare coffee at the Porto Rico Importing Co operated by the Longo family for three generations.
Meet other foodies
Our tour had 15 people, with nationalities from as far away as Iceland and New Zealand. One lady seemed to have travelled to all four corners of the world. She told me the first thing she always does when she visits a new place is book some food tours. It sounded like she had eaten everywhere! We sat with different people at every stop. It was fascinating learning more about their countries and recommendations for where to eat in NYC.
A cultural walk
A food tour also contains a walking tour of a neighbourhood. It’s not just learning about the food and restaurants; a good guide brings context to the food. Our guide, Chip talked about scenes from famous films (SATC), local celebrity hangouts and he pointed out striking architecture and shared notes about history. As an actor, his delivery was theatrical and entertaining too.
No two food tours are the same and not even two food tours in the same place are the same. A food tour is a fun experience, and the memory of the tastes gives you a brilliant souvenir.
So, it’s summer holiday time, what are you waiting for? Book some food tours!