Food Walking Tours, The New Way To See A City

by Cailin O'Neil on March 8, 2012

Some of the tasty food I had on my NYC food tour

Maybe they are just a new concept to me, however I think food walking tours are rising in popularity and are a great new way to learn about a city and not only see it with you eyes but your stomach too.

While in Seattle several weeks ago I was perusing the brochure rack at the Seattle Hotel HI Hostel and the Savor Seattle” food tour brochure caught my eye. They offered chocolate food tours, a food tour of the famous Pike Place Market and the one that piqued my interest the “Gourmet Seattle” food tour. At this point on my trip I was trying to come up with reasons to extend my time in Seattle¬† and the Gourmet Food tour was as fine a reason as I could imagine to stay longer.

The great food at Il Bistro on my Seattle Food Tour

That was probably the best food tour that I could of gone on as my first ever (I might be biased though as it was my first ever). Since then I have gone on two more food tours, one in New York with “Foods of New York Tours and another while in Puerto Rico called Flavours of San Juan: Food and Culture Tours. I am not ashamed to say that I am now addicted to Food walking tours. I am honestly even contemplating setting one up in my own city.

Food on my Puerto Rican food tour. That Mango, passion fruit smoothie was soooo good!

I think I love Food Walking Tours like I love the idea for this blog, travel and food. Putting two of my favorite things together. I also like to tell myself that it is ok be eating all of the food on the tour because we are at least walking everywhere to get to it. Right? You also learn just as much about each city as you would on a regular walking tour but this way you get to constantly stop for snacks! Who wouldn’t like that? The restaurants you visit give you VIP treatment, sometimes the Chefs come out to talk to you, other times you are grabbing a quick bite on the street and often times you are given a discount on all of the places you have stopped at along the tour if you return later for a meal. Win!

My friendly tours guides (clockwise): Mark from Savor Seattle, Anny from Foods of New York, and Leslie Owner and often tour guide for Flavors of San Juan.

It’s hard to say which of the three were my favorite as they were all different in their own unique way. Seattle was the first one I went on so of course I’ll always be fond of it. New York was similar in ways to the Seattle tour, but the great tour guide Anny who sang us all a song at the very end gave it its own flair and then the Puerto Rico was altogether its own thing as all the food we ate were staples of Puerto Rican culture where as the others dabbled in many cuisines.

You can see my review of the Savor Seattle Food Tour HERE and stay tuned for the NYC and Puerto Rico food tour reviews coming soon.

Have you taken a food tour before? Are there any that you recommend?

Creator of www.TheTasteOfTravel.com along with www.TravelYourself.ca and www.CailinTravels.com. She is a Canadian obsessed with traveling the world, eating the best food she can find and creating her own travel TV series.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie - The Travel Chica March 8, 2012 at 9:34 am

I love this concept! I’m doing a wine walking tour next week.

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cailin March 8, 2012 at 11:50 am

@Stephanie – The Travel Chica: Ohh! A Wine walking tour! That sounds pretty awesome! You won’t be walking a straight line by the end of it though I’m sure… ;) haha

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Joshua March 8, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Excellent post, Cailin. I think Brooklyn would be a great place for a food tour, maybe with two stomaches.

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Cailin O'Neil March 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm

@Joshua: I agree! Brooklyn would be a wicked place to do a food tour. A great way to bring more people to the area too :)

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D.J. - The World of Deej March 8, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Not only a new way, but really the best way to see a city. No better way to learn a culture and new place than by its food:)

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Cailin O'Neil March 12, 2012 at 11:36 pm

@D.J. – The World of Deej: You speak truths my dear friend. I love them :)

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Alouise March 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

I took the Edible BC tour in Vancouver at TBEX last year and definitely became a food tour convertee. Seattle looks like an awesome place for a food tour. I’m hoping to do a food tour when I go to New Orleans in a few months.

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Cailin O'Neil March 12, 2012 at 11:37 pm

@Alouise: Oh wow I bet the Vancouver tour was great! and I bet that the New Orleans tour with be fantastic! All of that Cajun food and seafood and french food #meganoms haha :)

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Pete March 10, 2012 at 3:03 am

I’ve never done one, as I like to stumble through the food scene on my own. Although, if you have a limited amount of time in a place and want to get an idea of the culinary scene, this looks like a good option.

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Cailin O'Neil March 12, 2012 at 11:39 pm

@Pete: I would recommend it even just as a way to see a city the minute you get there. You don’t know what you could be missing out on by only doing it yourself! I think both together are a great option :)

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Laurence March 10, 2012 at 5:39 am

A food walking tour eh. I’d be concerned I’d get too full and not want to walk any more ;)

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Cailin O'Neil March 12, 2012 at 11:41 pm

@Laurence: hahaha thats definitely a possibility. In Seattle there was a hill or two that I was like “let me digest this first please” hahaha but everything has a pretty good portion to not make you too full just be sure to not eat before the tour and bring a bottle of water with you :)

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Tawny- Captain and Clark March 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

It all looks so good! I think you’ve convinced Chris and I to try the walking food tour of Seattle. Maybe followed by a little bit of Yogurtland :)

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Cailin O'Neil March 12, 2012 at 11:42 pm

@Tawny- Captain and Clark: You should definitely do the Savor Seattle tour!! And I was serious the other day when I said I wanted you to Fedex me some Yogurtland…. don’t tease me! haha

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Abi March 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I think they’re a great idea – did one in Copenhagen and another in Sydney (although, to be fair, that one concentrated more on the drinks!)

Hope they catch on!

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Cailin O'Neil March 12, 2012 at 11:42 pm

@Abi: Ohh I missed out on one in Copenhagen, but I will be back in Sydney in a few weeks so I will definitely try that one! Thanks for the heads up :)

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Randy Kalp March 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Love food tours! One of our favorites is in Boston’s North End, which is the city’s Little Italy. The company that does that one also does one in China Town too.

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Cailin O'Neil March 15, 2012 at 11:52 pm

@Randy Kalp: Ooh I bet a food tour in Boston would be pretty wicked! Good to know :)

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Cam March 14, 2012 at 2:43 am

Did someone say food and drink? Sign me up!
I’ve never done one of these tours but they are certainly gaining momentum. I think its a great way to see experience a city, especially if you don’t have a lot of time.

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Cailin O'Neil March 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm

@Cam: I agree with you completely Cam! You guys should try one on your next trip! They all generally let kids under 5 to go for free too :)

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Anuj March 19, 2012 at 11:28 am

Chicago Food Planet has a great walking/food tours in (not surprisingly) Chicago. Worth a look see.

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Candice April 3, 2012 at 11:07 pm

GIANT POPSICLE! That is all.

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Alexa Meisler April 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Yes I do believe that food tours are one of the best ideas of mankind and the Seattle Food Tours look absolutely delicious! I’ve always heard of Pike Place Market and I have yet to enjoy what that place has to offer. Great post!

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