From Coney Island hotdogs to pho soup on the streets of Hanoi, authentic food – at the source – is the best way to get to know somewhere new. Culinary tourism isn’t just 2018’s hottest travel trend, it’s changing how we holiday.

It’s official; food is a tourist attraction in its own right, and more holidaymakers than ever are making it the centre piece of their travel plans. The Huffington Post reported a survey by American Culinary Traveler which revealed: “The percentage of US leisure travellers who travel to learn about unique dining experiences grew from 40% to 51% between 2006 and 2013.” And in the years since these initial findings were reported culinary tourism’s popularity has grown further still. Not only is it now a global phenomenon, but a cross-generational one too; storytelling through food pics on social media is the key trend influencing holiday choices for 61% of UK millennials today.

Through food holidaymakers gain a direct and discernible link to the culture and history of a given destination. Culinary tourism and the culture of sharing food photos online has elevated dining alongside warm weather, direct flights and beach access as a major component objective for UK holidaymakers when choosing their destination, hotel and airline. The concept of ‘moments not things’ – meaningful and memorable experiences that can be shared and relived via social media – has put food and dining top of the list above sightseeing as the primary way in which holidaymakers engage with the places they visit.

Kenwood Travel’s holiday experts get a real taste of their specialist destinations when they testdrive our getaways. Whether it be a luxury private island in the Maldives or an urban adventure to the Big Apple, food plays a central role in how we rate our escapes. We asked our team to recommend their current favourite destinations for authentic dining experiences that will look great on your Instagram and Facebook pages. Camera phones at the ready, it’s time to tuck in.

Mexico

Mexico’s Caribbean coastline on the Yucatan Peninsula has long drawn beach babes and sunseekers to its white sand and turquoise waters. And now the foodies are flocking here too. They come for street food staples like nopales asados (grilled cactus) and cochinita pibil (pork slow roasted with Seville oranges, garlic and annatto seeds) sold by vendors along Play del Carmen, plus Mexican classics like enchiladas, huevos rancheros, tamales and tacos. The sights, sounds and colours of these vibrant neighbourhoods seem embodied in the tastes and aromas of the region’s cooking, making a holiday to Mexico a multi-sensory experience.

KENWOOD CLUE | Mexico’s ancient Mayan civilisation gave the world chocolate which today it finds its way into savoury dishes by way of the famous ‘mole’ sauce. Not to be missed; try it in burritos for a sweet and salty treat.

Breakfast in Mexico.

Hueavos rancheros is one of Mexico’s best-loved breakfast dishes.

 

Vietnam 

Interpid Travel blog ranks Vietnam as world travel’s top culinary tourism destination. Our Far East team can see why:

       “For me it’s the diversity of flavours on offer that makes Vietnam such an essential foodie destination. Displaying both Chinese and French influences, Vietnamese cuisine offers travellers a tapestry of taste that makes holidays to Vietnam unique. You’ve got to visit the incredible floating food markets and Ho Chi Minh’s bustling food stalls. Banh mi (tasty meat-filled sandwiches) carts are on every corner and other street food favourites include banh xeo (rice pancakes filled with vegetables, shrimp and pork), nam (spring rolls), and noodle soups; be sure to try the nation’s best known variety and most popular culinary export: pho.” Miranda, Kenwood Travel blogger for the Far East.

KENWOOD CLUE | For a spicy tang, season your pho with a mixture of hoisin and sriracha sauce. Dunk any slices of beef that may still be pink into the broth – the hot soup actually cooks the tender meat before your eyes.

Culinary tourism, Vietnam cuisine.

The unique flavours of Far Eastern cooking have made Vietnam one of the most talked-about stops on the foodie trail.

Mauritius

Our Indian Ocean team singled out the timeless luxury of LUX* Grand Gaube, Mauritius as particular reason for praise. But what sets this beautiful beach resort apart, they say, are its F&B options.  At Inti, diners savour a South American culinary blend that skilfully showcases Peruvian and Argentinian cooking styles across three unique spaces: the vibrant ‘hot salsa’ open grill and kitchen, the ‘ceviche, tiradito and pisco’ bar and a popular pastry station providing a selection of indulgent sweet treats. Bodrum Blue restaurant, meanwhile, brings an east-meets-west Turkish twist to the table, and tops things off with a dash of casual atmosphere and a splash of panoramic perspective over the azure waters. Its position in the glistening Indian Ocean puts Mauritius at the culinary crossroads of the world – perfectly placed to absorb the flavours of its European, African and Asian cultural influences. In adding South America and Turkey to this list, contemporary hotels like LUX* Grande Gaube are putting this sun-kissed island on the map for international fine dining. 

KENWOOD CLUE | LUX* Grand Gaube, Mauritius recently underwent an ‘eclectic retro-chic’ refurbishment by interiors queen Kelly Hoppen, so make the most of your surroundings; chic designs inside and out will make glam backdrops for your food photos ready to share on social media #foodtravel.

Inti restaurant, LUX* Graend Gaube Mauritius.

Stunning interiors to complement your food photography at Inti restaurant, LUX* Graend Gaube Mauritius.

New York 

Take a bite out of the Big Apple with Kenwood Travel’s New York food recommendations. California has the Caesar salad and Napa Valley wines; the Deep South’s got BBQ and Soul Food; Philadelphia has the cheese steak, but when it comes to real food tourism in the US, nowhere beats New York. This cosmopolitan melting pot has been causing a stir on the foodie scene for longer than virtually any other global city, and for good reason. Pizza, bagels, hot dogs, Reuben deli sandwiches; need we say more? Brunch is the city’s must-have food experience though, with Brooklyn leading the way for trendy spots to enjoy late morning meals. Head to hip diner Five Leaves in cool neighbourhood Williamsburg for Morocco-inspired creations like merguez sausage with scrambled eggs, chickpeas and avocado, or Park Luncheonette for breakfast pizza and eggs Benedict ‘bowls’.

KENWOOD CLUE | Brooklyn’s got the brunch spots but Manhattan is where it’s at for luxury accommodation, say our New York travel experts,  who recommend booking in at the Gansvoort Meatpacking District hotel. Stylish rooms, a rooftop bar & pool and a terrific day spa make this a superb HQ from which to explore the city’s foodie highlights, and means you can join in the Manhattanite tradition of crossing the bridge into Brooklyn on weekends for trendy, tasty, Instagram-friendly brunches.

New York diner

Park Luncheonette, Williamsburg. Making the trip over to Brooklyn to sample the brunch scene is a must for holidaymakers staying in Manhattan.

About The Author

Since leaving a role in local broadcasting, Ken spent six seasons working on cruise ships before turning his experiences into a popular travel blog and pod cast. But it wasn’t long before wanderlust came calling again, and after travelling extensively throughout Asia and the Americas, the time has come for this roving writer to tell the tales of his adventures once more.

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