Things to do on a food holiday

Taking to the streets

Street food epitomises food holiday ideals of sensing a country's soul - authentic, of-the-moment, plus giving cash straight to vendors. India's chaat (street snacks) include spicy potato treats like vada pav in Mumbai or sabzi in Delhi. In Vietnam, pho noodle soups vie with French-influenced banh mi – rice flour baguettes filled with coriander, pickled carrot, pork or chicken. China adores xiao long bao – hot minced pork dumplings with broth – while Thais plump for rad naa (noodles with meat and gravy), nutty satays or spicy tom yum soup.
Mexican tostadas are fried tortilla with guacamole, salsa or raw fish ceviche – also beloved in Peru, marinated in lime juice, salt and chilli. Argentina's BBQ treats include choripan sausage, while Brazil's African roots shine in acaraje (fried black-eye beans with salted dried shrimp). Turkey offers kokorec (spicy lamb sandwich), balik ekmek (fresh cooked fish in a bun) or midye dolma –mussels with rice, pine nuts and raisins. In Sicily, the bold try pani ca meusa (fried pork spleen bun), the less bold arancini (stuffed rice balls).
Really get into the spirit of your destination with a touch of it's hard stuff

Spirits of place

Sharing national hooch is great for bonding with locals. Knock back artisan grappas like Poli and Capovilla in Italy, or marvel at Norway's 50+ food-friendly aquavits. Discover marvellous mezcals and fine sippin' anejo/reposado tequila in Mexico, or brave China's potent baiju! Or shout 'Kampai' ('Cheers') as you savour classy Japanese whiskies like Yamazaki – before or after delicious sake or shochu.

Stay at home (but not yours)

Even better than eating with locals to learn a nation's foodie passions is staying with them. Sizzle up an 11-dish feast with a passionate Thai host or enjoy traditional cooking in an atmospheric Khmer stilted house. Pitch in with the prep during a Mekong Delta homestay in Vietnam, or pick your own exotic ingredients in India before you get into some cooking at an organic Kerala farmstead. In Europe, delve into Italian regional dishes during cooking classes at an Umbrian organic farm after picking its plentiful seasonal ingredients. Or see another side of Provence while staying with a pair of relaxed French gourmands in a beautiful medieval village set just back from the chic Cote d'Azur.

Our top Cooking & food Holiday

Short break pasta making & Italian food holiday, Tuscany

Short break pasta making & Italian food holiday, Tuscany

A Tuscan food adventure, learn to make pasta

From £825 4 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2023: 16 Jul, 20 Sep, 19 Oct
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Cooking & food or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Let a friendly local cook show you the ropes

Yes, chef!

After tasting dishes you love during a trip, nothing beats learning first-hand from a local cook how to prepare them yourself to keep the memory alive back home – and impress your friends! Many cooking and food holidays offer a chance to rustle up meals with your hosts on homestays or enjoy lessons in restaurants or atmospheric markets. Forget Master Chef – this is a stress-free pleasure!
Written by Norman Miller
Photo credits: [Page banner: Brooke Lark] [Thailand streetfood: Lisheng Chang] [Norway aquavit: subherwal] [Cooking lesson: Alan Levine]