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One of the best ways to experience a new place—to understand its culture, history, and vibe—is by tasting the local cuisine. It’s why food-related activities have grown in popularity in recent years, becoming some of the most-booked in-destination experiences around the world. At Holiday Lettings, with a little help from our friends at TripAdvisor, we’re showcasing five amazing food markets (and local tours for each)—plus great places to stay during your visit. If you’re planning a trip to one of these cities, consider booking an apartment rental from Holiday Lettings as your home base. You’ll no doubt make use of the full kitchen after visiting these world-class markets.
The vivid colors, the mouth-watering aromas, the sounds of good-natured bargaining…. In any corner of the world, a local food market is a multi-sensory snapshot of that region’s culture. Here are five tours that will guide you deeper into some of the world’s most famous markets, for a delicious taste of the homegrown way of life.
Just about every tourist who comes through Seattle stops to watch the fishmongers throwing their catch around. Few get to actually try their hand at throwing a fish, but that’s what you’ll get to do on Savor Seattle’s special-access tour of the Pike Place Market. You’ll arrive just as the market opens, before the crowds descend, and sample at least 17 delicacies from nine different vendors during the two-hour tour. Leave with a discount card that gives you 10-15% off at more than 40 of the city’s restaurants and attractions.
Speaking of fish, Tokyo is home to the world’s largest seafood market, and this four-hour tour combines an exploration of Tsukiji’s inner workings (where tuna are auctioned off to restaurants and retailers from around the globe) with a sushi-making workshop led by a sushi master—capped off with lunch to taste your creations. You’ll return home knowing how to choose the freshest fish in your neighborhood grocery store.
Do you love Italian food? Enjoy bites of pastry, buffalo mozzarella, suppli (fried rice balls), pasta, wine, cheese, and gelato from Rome’s oldest gelateria during this four-hour walking tour of the historic Testaccio market and neighborhood. You’ll also see Rome’s only pyramid and the oft-overlooked Protestant Cemetery, where poet John Keats is buried.
France’s capital is full of food markets, but the Marché d’Aligre, in the 12th Arrondissement’s Bastille district, is one of the most authentic and traditional. Book an apartment with a kitchen so that you can load up on produce and other gourmet ingredients during this three-hour market tour by The French Way, which includes food, wine, and olive oil tastings. The tour ends in an elevated garden built atop abandoned train tracks, a spot known to locals but few tourists.
If Mexican food means little more than tacos to you, prepare to be surprised by the breadth and depth of the country’s culinary history during a food tour on Mexico City’s street food. Taste grasshoppers, edible flowers, organic coffee, and gourmet cheese at the San Juan Market, then head to the nearby Artisan Market to browse through handmade pottery, silver, leatherwork, and more from around the country. At both markets, your guide will lead you to the booths with the finest goods, where you can speak directly to the people who prepared the snacks or produced the crafts.