Our children were born and raised in Hawaii, the most racially diverse state in the United States as there is no real majority. With 23% of Hawaii residents claiming to be multi-ethnic (two or more races), in Hawaii you’ll find many groups adding their own variety of culture to our local way of life. Therefore, introducing our children to different cultural foods was easy because we had access to so much variety.
As we began to travel, our childrens tolerance for adapting to different cuisines never became an issue. They ate whatever was being eaten at the table in whatever country we were in. But as our children grew, so did their interest in the foods they were eating. They now wanted to know more about “what” they were eating and how it was prepared. They started to compare who had the best “hotdog” or best “ice cream” in every city we went to; eating a donut and then comparing it to another they recently had.
As parents of “young foodies” we found ourselves online trying to “seek out” the best of the best foods in every country we visited just to keep our children entertained, informed and educated. Seeking out great eateries and restaurants became time consuming, and like many we had limited days to spend in one city and all the great places to eat, according to TripAdvisor, were scattered sporadically all over the city map!
It was then we discovered FOOD TOURS!
Food tours can provide a different experience for the whole family and takes the “hassle” out of knowing what to eat and where to eat when you’re visiting a new country. Our first food tour experience was with Hungry Birds out of Amsterdam, Netherlands. When we wrote to them we mentioned we had 2 young children who loved food, so they customized a tour just for the kids called the “Hungry Birds Junior Street Food by Foot Experience”. We were booked within a day and it was one memorable trip for all. Since then, we’ve been on several food tours in Paris, Brussels, Barcelona, Marrakech and Dubai.
Here are a few food tours that promote themselves as “kid-friendly”, some we have been to. You may want to contact them when you’re in the neighborhood and give them a try.
- Scott’s Pizza Tours in New York – Show your children pizza in different sizes, and how they are made. The place is filled with foods; it can feed you and your family the whole day.
- Naples Food Tour for Children – The best thing in this tour is the hands-on experience. What to expect in this tour? Italian culture, history and art.
- Devour Barcelona Food Tours – This tour provides Catalan cuisine from Spain and different kinds of museums such as La Case dels Entremesos that talks about the hidden gem at the center of the city, and Museo de la Xocolata where you will find chocolate life-sized figurines. They have tons of other museums and tasty food workshops for kids. Some of the restaurants are Kasparo that has a playground for kids, La Nena restaurant has homemade pastries, lunch fare, a collection of second-hand children’s books, games, and toys, Semproniana that provides kids cooking workshops and more.
- Trinity Bellwoods Chocolate Tour located at the Queen west and Dundas West around Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto, Canada. Kids will find out where chocolate comes from, why we love chocolates, and why it’s good for us.
- Marrakech Food Tours is owned and operated by a husband and wife team who has made it their mission to bring the read food of Marrakech, Morocco to visitors of the Red City.
- Original Farmer’s Market Food & History tour located at Los Angeles, California – This tour provides markets, restaurants, and shops of different ethnic foods, gourmet market, candy shop and famous donut shop. Kids will love the old Hollywood history decoration and celebrities visiting the place too.
- Frying Pan Adventures There’s much more to this city than just glitzy hotels and shopping. Learn about Dubai’s historic streets while tasting your way through different ethnic cultures that first graced the city back in the “old days”.
- Hawaii Food Tours prides itself on flavor, education and entertainment promising an intimate family-style experience.
We suggest contacting a few food tour companies prior to your trip, let them know you’re bringing children and see what they have to offer. Some may offer you a discount for your little ones and/or tailor a private tour. And if they don’t keep looking, eventually you’ll find a food tour that’s right for you and your family.
Food tours are a great way to start your children eating different cuisines. Don’t be afraid that the kids won’t enjoy the experience. Kids are always looking for something new and fresh and they’ll definitely pick up a lot of knowledge along the way.
TIPS FOR FOOD TOURING WITH KIDS
- Most tours last between 3-4 hours, make sure your children are old enough to handle the walking as many are walking tours. Ages 5+ usually do well.
- Book your food tour as soon as you arrive into the city or country or you’ll end up eating the worst instead of the best.
- Most tours start mid-morning. Don’t have a heavy breakfast as you’ll be sampling anywhere from 8-12 different food items and will get full before the end of the tour.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Be prepared incase of weather changes. Many tours take place rain or shine.