What is Food Tourism?

Food tourism is the desire to travel in order to absorb new cultures through flavors and tastes. We are motivated to experience differences throughout the world in the dishes people eat and the way they share meals together. Food, in fact, is one facet in cultural diversity which brings people together that transcends words. When we taste something, we learn a great deal about that culture and the person who made the dish. There are even insights into how humans throughout history have learned to cultivate the land they have been given, as well as how to support their people through the climate that they find themselves in. Food is the basis and the crux of any society, and its diversity should be taken advantage of when traveling the world.

Much of the success this food tourism industry sees is due to the fact that tourists are looking for unique and authentic experiences while traveling. Food has the ability to satisfy both of those sought-after qualities. In fact, travelers spend close to 1/3 of their allotted trip budget on food*. Sometimes, people don’t even know that they are taking part in this trend. Any time a tourist eats local food that reflects the culture, practices, and history of the country or region it can be considered food tourism.

Food tourism can take place as far as across the globe or across the country. But, it can also be found in your next town over. So, take advantage when you travel and explore the ways that people prepare their food and use the resources they have around them, no matter your distance from home.

Food Etiquette Around the World

Meal times are a very big indicator of how a culture lives. For instance, in Spain lunch is the most important meal during the day. Following lunch many people take a siesta/nap or close their businesses down for a short period of time to enjoy a break during the day. This reinforces the more laid-back philosophy they have in their culture; work and play have to be balanced.

Another example is respect for elders in South Korea, which is apparent at meal times. When a meal is served the eldest person in your group should be the first person to take a bite of their food. And, in China it is polite to leave food on your plate. This shows that you weren’t able to finish it all because it was so satisfying and filling, a sign of respect to the chef. Here we can see that food traditions tell us a great deal about cultures around the world.

Examples of Food Tourism, and How to Partake

Eating local street food- this may give you insight into everyday quick meals that people of that area gravitate towards regularly. And even if this food has influences from other cultures as well, it’s usually some of the best food around at a reasonable price

Visiting Local Food Market- you’ll be able to see fresh produce that is country and region specific. This will give you great insight into what ingredients are used most often in their cuisine. You can even taste new fruits and vegetables that you’ve never heard of before.

Participate in Cooking Classes- there are regional differences in the way that food is prepared. By signing yourself up for a cooking class you’ll be able to learn this from a chef that is proficient in these techniques. You’ll even be able to take these skills home and use them with your regional ingredients to create something totally new and unique

Eat at Local Restaurants Not Chains- Local restaurants will allow you, and almost force you, to try traditional foods from the culture that you are visiting. By visiting a chain you’ll likely be presented with American or Americanized food options


Whether you’re traveling for food, sights, or climate always travel protected. Talk to your travel agent today or visit travelinsured.com to learn more.


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