Lima, Peru. Tel Aviv, Israel. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Osaka, Japan. New York City, USA.
Different cities, different countries, different cultures—what do they have in common? They are all food tourism destinations.
What is Food Tourism?
Food tourism, also known as culinary tourism, is the exploration of different foods, beverages, and cultures in relation to travel. Food tourism locations are limitless—any expert will tell you that popular eateries include food trucks, street vendors, restaurants, vineyards, and wineries. Recently, many travelers have focused on food exploration as the purpose for traveling—due, in part, to the popularity of food and travel blogs and culinary television programs. Television series—from the pioneering Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations to the present-day Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table—showcase how food has transformed from mere sustenance to something people prioritize during their trips.
For those who are traveling to destinations they’ve never visited before, dining out has become a no-brainer. According to the Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, tourists consider food experiences just as much as they consider climate, accommodation, and scenery when traveling. In fact, 61 percent of millennials in the United States say food and culinary experiences are the most important things to them when traveling, according to Contiki, a tour operation company that caters to millennials. In reality, more than half of all travelers say that food experience is their main motivation for booking a trip.
Exploring Different Destinations
As an avid traveler myself, I find that the cities mentioned above offer a variety of food choices and opportunities for tourists to explore. The culinary choices in these cities are often responsible for attracting tourists to these destinations.
Israel has, over the past decade, grown into one of the world’s cuisine frontrunners. With a melting-pot population, authentic and generational recipes have crossed paths with the fusion cuisine the country is now famous for. In Israel, food tourism is a rapidly growing sector of the country’s hospitality industry. Tel Aviv boasts the highest number of sushi restaurants per person in the world and restaurants that serve Italian food in Tel Aviv have been described by the Italian government as the best Italian food outside of Italy.
In Malaysia, food expresses the identity and culture of the diverse populations that make up the country. Kuala Lumpur is rich in its heritage and has three dominant races living in the city: the Malays, the Chinese, and the Indians. With the blend and combination of three different cultures, Kuala Lumpur has become a center for foodies. The city is known as a 24-hour eatery, with cuisine ranging from traditional and authentic food to modern day fare. Travelers who visit will surely satisfy their palates by taking part in the city’s food culture.
Osaka, the food capital of Japan, offers many traditional Japanese dishes for tourists to try. This city offers food that has been cooked and perfected over hundreds of years of experience. Approximately 13 percent of travelers to Japan include the city in their itineraries due to its reputation as the culinary center of the country, local news outlets report. Traditional Japanese dishes one could find in Osaka are okonomiyaki (savory pancake), takoyaki (octopus balls), yakiniku (Japanese barbecue), and ramen (noodle soup). In recent years, the city has also started to offer excellent Korean food.
According to Reuters, Peru’s overall tourism industry has seen “steady annual growth over the past decade,” thanks to the city’s emerging culinary scene. Currently, the Peruvian gastronomy scene is a bigger draw for tourists than the local Inca sites.
The true “city that never sleeps,” New York City offers numerous food-centered tourist activities on top of plenty of tasty cuisines. Travelers can plan visits to food production facilities and food history museums like the Museum of Food & Drink, and Chelsea Market and Turn Style. For students, NYC is packed with educational opportunities, including schools that teach pizza-making skills, brewery tours, culinary institutions, and more. In New York City travelers will find plenty of unique eateries, making the city an American mecca for food lovers.
If you’re looking to explore unique places and taste some delicious dishes, consider turning your next vacation into a food tourism trip. But if you’re not able to go far, don’t worry! The best part about food tourism is that you don’t need to venture far to get the best food experience. Essentially, you can be a tourist in your own neighborhood. Next time you’re looking for a new dining experience, try one of the local eateries in your area.
And don’t forget: one way to capture these delicious memories is to snap a photo on your phone. Respected institutions, like Johnson & Wales University, recognize food photography as an emerging trend—and it’s a way for you to remember your trip for years to come.
For more information on pursuing your BS – Tourism & Hospitality Management degree at Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education, complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881 or email: [email protected].