You've heard it before. There's no better way to get to know a culture than through its food. It's true. We know it. You know it. That said, it can be easier said than done when you've got limited time in a city to soak up, breathe in and experience all it has to offer. Especially when all the sights you wanna see tend to be surrounded by tourist traps, mediocre food fare and are probably passionately avoided by locals if they can help it. Add in a solo femme traveler with no friends in said city and well, what's a girl to do?! Enter this compilation of the best Foodie Tours from East to West and everything in between. These tours are all centered around intimate, local led tours that allow you to meet like minded peeps who share your love of food and cultural immersion. There's really no better way when you hit the ground running to learn the lay of any urban sprawl, make the most of your time and make some new friends on your solo journey. We recommend these tours as one of the first things you do when you arrive.
FRYING PAN ADVENTURES | DUBAI
When it comes to variety, Dubai is hard to beat. 7* star, Michelin, food trucks, hole in the wall, you name it. It's there. This company was the first culinary tour operation in Dubai and offers the best insight into the eclectic mix of cuisines in this metropolis.
Their Middle Eastern Food Pilgrimage allows you taste the best of Emirati, Palestinian, Lebanese and Persian specialities. It's difficult to find legit Emirati food outside of a local home, so take advantage of this opportunity!
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Leaving the city without sampling piping hot cheesy pastry, crisp falafels with moist emerald green bellies, Emirati spiced meat and pistachio-studded Iranian ice cream is nothing short of culinary blasphemy. We shudder at the thought that you might forget to bag a stash of Lebanese baklava or a case of Iranian ''sargol" saffron. Keep your tastebuds honest with our Middle Eastern trail in Deira—we'll regale you with flavourfully-spun stories, gastro trivia and above all, the flavours that have made our stomachs groan with pleasure over the years.
THEY ALSO OFFER: Taste of Little India and Ramadan Walking Tours
EATING LONDON TOURS | LONDON
The East London Tour takes you through the bohemian neighborhood of London and gives you a taste of bacon sandwiches, bagels, English cheeses, fish n' chips, curries, pub food and sweets. Meet the folks behind some of the top restaurants in London and get to know an area rich with architecture, street art and history.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: The East End is a neighbourhood like no other. Its tapestry of diverse cultures, mouth-watering cuisines, unique architecture and fascinating stories make it an unforgettable destination. Our 4 hour East End Food Tour offers eight authentic tastings (a huge meal!) at a diversity of places like markets, shops, bakeries, pubs and restaurants.
THEY ALSO OFFER: Twilight Soho Food & Cocktail, Brick Lane Flavors of India & a Pub Grub Tour
CLUB TENGO HAMBRE | MEXICO CITY
This roving supper club is more like being shown around town by friends and their Street Food Essentials Tour is an intimate gathering that roams around the best of Mexico City's regional street food scene. Tacos doesn't begin to describe the tasty dishes you will devour. It doesn't really get more 'in the know' and 'live like a local' than this.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: From its street side stands to the cramped stalls of its renowned public markets, join our roving supper club on a whirlwind, food-filled adventure on the streets of Mexico City to devour this street food capital’s quintessential fare.
THEY ALSO OFFER: Tours in LA, Baja and Market centered tours
WALKS OF ITALY | ROME | FLORENCE | VENICE
Wandering the streets of Rome, Florence or Venice with these guides is the best way to get to know these culturally rich cities. They're all super passionate about their tours and most weren't recruited. They just showed up unsolicited, wanting to be a part of the group. They're all incredibly knowledgable and well worth your time while visiting. We recommend doing one of these when you first get to the cities. You'll be better acquainted with the neighborhoods and will get much more out of your time there.
In Rome, visit a traditional food market and learn to shop like a local from the locals, taste local cheeses, meats, olive oil, vinegars, meet store owners and learn everything you need to know to make quality pizza before trying your hand at it in a local pizzeria. Alternatively, learn to make pasta on a roof top terrace while indulging in prosecco, wine and appetizers as you learn. The small, intimate setting will feel more like a dinner party.
In Florence, stroll the local neighborhoods led by a Florentine on a balmy evening and hit all the best dining spots in this beautiful, walkable city. You'll get to savor charcuterie, bruschetta, wine, traditional starters, wine, Florentine steak, wine, desserts, gelato and a digestif. You'll get to know lesser known neighborhoods that aren't frequented by tourists.
In Venice, ride a gondola to hit both sides of the Grand Canal, learn the cultural history of this romantic city through its food. You'll visit markets and establishments where you'll taste, wine, pasta and more.
THEY ALSO OFFER: A variety of historical and cultural walking tours that all look amazing.
VANCOUVER FOODIE | VANCOUVER
Get to know this underrated city exploring neighborhoods, markets and food trucks galore! Their tours are fun, intimate and a foodie dream. The diversity of the Vancouver food scene is not to be missed.
Food Truck Tour: explores downtown, goes behind the scenes of the food truck movement introducing you to the crews of top foodie trucks and lets you experience the street art and music vibe of this area.
Gastronomic Gastown Tour: Takes in the historical sights and best foodie adored restaurants in the city. Try out Canadian favorites and get to know the neighborhood like a local.
THEY ALSO OFFER: Granville Island Market Tour & Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour
INTREPID TRAVEL | INTERNATIONAL
These guys not only offer food tours, they offer food centered trips ranging from days to months all over the globe. They are conscious of culture, local economies and their ethical footprint. Great reviews and flexibility make this a huge contender in our book and you get real insight into the local way of life with these trips.
Some of their shorter excursions include 3 days exploring food in Istanbul, Dehli, Colombo, Bangkok, Hanoi, Lima, Antigua, Buenos Aires or Santiago.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Uncover a world of authentic, mouth-watering food tours & travel designed to suit any budget, appetite and time frame. By pairing the classic grassroots Intrepid travel style with a special food focus, our itineraries aim to really get you under the skin of the world's most exciting food cultures, be it chomping a trail through Thailand's food markets, whipping up Peruvian delicacies under the tutelage of passionate local cooks or touring Tuscan vineyards.
THEY ALSO OFFER: Other themes trips for every kind of traveler. Perfect for solo femmes.
EAGER TOURIST | TEL AVIV
The food scene in Tel Aviv is eclectic, fresh and full of passionate foodies brewing and creating modern versions of traditional foods thousands of years in the making.
Choose from a boutique beer tour which visits local spots that care as much about the process as they do the end result, a workshop in a local residence that teaches you all the staples of Israeli cuisine influenced by multiple cultures around the region or a market tour that dives into the neighborhoods, eateries, bakeries and specialty shops surrounding these sprawling and colorful markets.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Indulge in Tel Aviv's bustling markets, high-end restaurants and ethnic foodie staples through guided culinary expeditions led by local chefs and insiders. We create exclusive culinary experiences in Tel Aviv, from cooking, and food styling workshops to dinners in private residences.
NO TASTE LIKE HOME | ASHEVILLE, NC
One of the most unique tours on the list in perhaps one of the best cities to experience the real Americana culture and foodie scene, this group takes you into the fields and forests surrounding Asheville, which is part of the Blue Ridge Skyway and one of the most beautiful parts of the country, to collect a myriad of edibles and teach you about what you might find in your own area or backyard. After foraging, sample your bounty, learn to cook your catch or take it to a local restaurant that will cook up your finds for you in a gourmet setting. They describe it as modern hunter-gathering, find dining and Survivor Meets Iron Chef.
THEY ALSO OFFER: Mini Tours 5 minutes outside of Asheville & Private Tours
DESTINATION KITCHEN | NEW ORLEANS, LA
Hop through the French Quarter tasting Gumbo, Jambalaya, Boudin, Brisket, Muffalettas, Pralines and New Orleans cocktails and learn everything there is to know about this buzzing, historical neighborhood that has a heartbeat of its own or get off the beaten path and explore Oak Street's charming neighborhood full of swoon worthy Southern cuisine only New Orleans can do right. Alternatively, take part in a "Foodie Crawl" and savor the best this jazzy city has to offer, getting to know the kitchens and lesser known hot spots that get to the grit of what food is all about in NOLA.
TASTE OF HOI AN | HOI AN, VIETNAM
Perhaps the most sincere and thoughtful tour on this list, Taste of Hoi An narrows the scope of over 1200 establishments in a beautiful, pedestrian friendly city to share, teach and immerse you in the diverse and generational cuisine of Hoi An in a comfortable, clean and informative way. You'll walk through markets and taste over 40 different foods, learn the names of local foods, how to pronounce as well as how and when they should be eaten.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: A Perfect Blend of Food and Culture (We’ve got it all). We’re different from any food tour you’ve ever taken. We’ll answer those BURNING questions like, ‘Why do Vietnamese throw food scraps and litter under their table?’ and ‘Why do Vietnamese use MSG in everything?’ or ‘Why do Vietnamese appear to be eating all the time? ‘ Stuff you’ve ALWAYS wanted to know, but maybe afraid to ask. As locals, passionate about discovering the best-of-the-best local foods, we’re able to steer you in the right direction to make the most of your time in what is fast becoming the culinary capital of Vietnam.
LITTLE ADVENTURES | HONG KONG
Their signature Street Food Walk dubbed the Won-Ton-A-Thon boasts a picky selection of the best handmade noodles, bbq, buns and street food found in traditional family run shops and is led by a chef or renowned journalist in the area.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: 'We give you a living seminar on our city– its culture, its society and current events, and most of all to its jewel: our local cuisine. Our private Hong Kong walks and food experiences take you to a hidden, delicious Hong Kong that might otherwise take you months or years to find on your own. Our local intelligence orientation programmes give executives and expats the cultural fluency they need to thrive in the city’s business environment and fully enjoy its lifestyle.'
THEY ALSO OFFER: Craft Beer & Cocktail or Cook's Tour guide to Cantonese cooking
EAT WITH | INTERNATIONAL
EAT WITH is the AirBnB of food experiences. With option in over 200 cities you can dine in a local residence or help a creative entrepreneur fund their passion for food by booking a meal or experience. From tastings to meals to special events, there is truly something for everyone on this site. Cities like San Francisco, Barcelona, New York, Paris, Sao Paulo, Melbourne, Zagreb, Berlin, Budapest, Jerusalem, Marrakech, Lisbon and Cape Town are all on this ever growing list.
In Paris, have a three course Parisian dinner based on seasonal ingredients, served with Bordeaux wines and Chocolate Fondant Cake in the Montmartre home of Claudine or join Jean Yves, MasterChef, for a Macaron MasterClass rounded out with Champagne for tasting.
In a village near Jerusalem, learn to make Challah bread or taste the variety of Middle Eastern cuisine inspired by famed chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.
In Marrakech, dine in a Riad courtyard inspired by the morning markets feasting on Seared Calamari, Saffron Lemon Chicken Tajine, Saffron sweet potatoes and Rosewater Meringue on a bed of chocolate ganache.
CULINARY BACKSTREETS | INTERNATIONAL
A few years ago, Culinary Backstreets in Istanbul was my first foodie tour experience. I was worried I was wasting my time on another American style tour wandering around with people shamelessly sporting their fanny packs, loud English and kitschy t-shirts. I was wrong. This small group allowed me to meet people from all over and our guide was a local gal who knew her history. We talked politics, religion, and everything Turkish. I tasted more than I could have imagined, including a freshly cooked and dissected Sheep head minus the eyeball because I couldn't do it, learned more than any guide book could've told me and got to see a helluva a lot of the city. I felt much more confident wandering around on my own after that and cannot recommend this service enough.
In Istanbul alone, you can participate in the Two Markets, Two Continents Walk, Culinary Backstreets of the Bazaar Quarter, Born on the Bosphorus, Culinary Secrets of the Old City, Hidden Beyoglu, A Hands On Culinary Adventure, A Kebab Crawl or A Night of Mezze, Raki and Tradition.
THEY ALSO OFFER: Tours in Athens, Barcelona, Lisbon, Naples, Tbilisi, Queens, Mexico City, Rio, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing and Izmir
Hopefully, this list inspired your wanderlust as much as it made your mouth water thinking about all the tasty adventures that await you. Traveling as a solo femme CAN be limiting at times, particularly in the socializing department if you're an introvert or have your mom's childhood advice 'Don't talk to strangers' ringing in your ear. I've never had as much fun exploring a city as I have when I participated in above said tours. Better get to planning love. You've got some serious eats to savor.
Linny | Founder & Editor