From the smell of kebabs and nihari in the streets of Old Delhi to the clatter of freshly caught fish fried in a variety of spices – India offers a wide range of gastronomic experiences. Hence, it comes as no surprise that a growing tribe of travel enthusiasts from across the world are now planning holidays to the country based around its cuisine aka culinary tourism. Even the latest Godrej Food Trends report states that 87.1% food experts believe that people will travel more to experience culinary culture and cuisine in the coming years. Recognizing its potential beyond its rich culture and heritage, the country’s tourism industry is now tapping the opportunities for such culinary travel.
Digging into Culinary Tourism
Culinary tourism, also known as food tourism, provides a gateway into the cuisine, flavor and food culture of a destination. “Culinary tourism is a vibrant and desirable option for many high-end travelers. It involves interacting with chefs and food experts, exploring local markets, trying fresh local produce and beverages. The most preferred option in India is regional local Cuisine and wellness are the cuisine,” says Krithika Subrahmanyan, founder and managing director of Swatma Thanjavur, a property in Tamil Nadu that offers culinary travel experiences.
In this emerging trend, itineraries include a glimpse into the cuisine of the regions one is traveling to. “We curate food in the form of menu options as well as dining experiences for our guests. Often, we have guests pre-booking for experiences that reflect singular preferences from options already offered. Our chefs are trained to cull the authentic from the extravagant and enhance the guest experience of the venue with the historical relevance and health benefits of our unique vegetarian culinary program.
world of experiences
From visiting different destinations with the aim of tasting local cuisine to full stays where you become part of the kitchen, visit local markets or farms and learn how to cook new dishes – this form of tourism offers many ways to whet your appetite. does.
Indore-based chef Amit Pamnani, who runs a culinary homestay, tells us, “I call it living with a chef. I host people who are true foodies and are coming to Indore just for the food. They stay at my place, I have two rooms dedicated for guests. I take them around the iconic and hidden food gems of Indore, host a workshop for them where I teach them the local cuisine and also provide a private dining experience in my kitchen. Elaborating on the markets that will take its guests, Pamnani said, “Indore is known for its street food. So Chappan Dukan and Sarafa are the two main street food markets where I take them. Then there is an organic farmers market called Jaivik Setu where they enjoy organic food, live music under the trees.
Whereas Malabar House in Kochi, Kerala, offers the experience of catching fresh produce from the sea and having it for your next meal. Joseph Garcia, COO of the boutique hotel, shared, “We are just a few hundred meters away from the famous Chinese fishing nets where fresh fish can be bought from the fisherman. They are then cooked according to the guests’ preferences. Nearby There are also fish vendors who sell fish of the day at stalls. Mattancherry is the center of the spice trade where guests can spend hours and get an in-depth knowledge of spices, its origin and the history of the spice trade which has existed since BC and how the Portuguese, Dutch and British established trade with the kings of Kerala.
Nestled in the secluded lanes of Old Delhi, Haveli Dharampura offers an experience that blends a luxury stay with a royal gastronomic treat. “Our seven-course tasting menu offers a glimpse of Old Delhi cuisine with the luxury of dining in a 200-year-old UNESCO-awarded haveli known across the globe,” says Vidyun Goyal, director of Haveli Dharampura. Apart from satiating your tastebuds with Mughlai cuisine surrounded by a vintage ethnic ambiance at their on-premises restaurant, they also organize food walks in Chandni Chowk. “One of our first stops is a sherbet stand in Gali Suiwalan run by Nafees Khan which is famous for bels. Another option is the gur ka sharbat in Gali Pahadi Imli, Bazaar Matia Mahal. They have been selling fresh sherbet since 1947 and the brass spoon used is the same one used in 1947. Tasting Murgh Musallam, a popular Lahori dish with sheermal/rumali roti at Rahmatullah Hotel, Matia Mahal Bazaar, is one of the stops on the tour. At Kallan Sweets in Bazaar Matia Mahal, guests relish the unique keema samosas, paneer ki jalebi or habshi halwa. Bazar Sita Ram ki Kuremal ki kulfi, of which mango, pomegranate, rose, paan etc. are famous,” she adds.
response so far
with accommodation prices from anywhere 6,000 per person, per night multi-city tour price 15,000 per person, per day, food tourism has found takers only in the last few years. However, chefs and tour operators say the future is looking bright. Subrahmanyan shared, “The response has been fantastic for the orientation of ingredient choices along with DIY culinary classes by our expert Siddha doctors, who advise guests one-on-one on what suits their metabolism.” The organic as well as the farm to table menu are positive signs. Pamnani chimes in, “I can see this trend growing exponentially. Tourists nowadays want to check out local food, tribal food, food that is historically significant but not well documented and lost recipes. This is the perfect option for them”
Travelers should also be aware that food tourism may also include beverages, hence breweries, distilleries, and cideries. Additionally, non-alcoholic options, such as tea tours, are another great way to experience the culture and beverage-making processes in another place.
globetrotting for food
As this trend is gaining momentum, Indians are also traveling to offshore destinations that offer culinary experiences. “I went to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, to explore the country’s unique food culture. I had Ca Phe Trung – egg coffee, bun cha, a grilled pork cutlet served with vermicelli noodles in pork broth and more. Now, I am excited about exploring South Asian food and for this, I have traveled to Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam in the last six months,” says Nikhil Chawla, Food and Travel Influencer.
Similarly, foodie Nitish Jha, who recently visited Dubai for a gourmet holiday, shared, “It was a foodie’s paradise. While the city has a strong influence of Middle Eastern, Turkish, Pakistani and Indian cuisine, you can also find Continental Ethiopian, American and African cuisine in the pocket. Price ranges range from a $5 meal on the street to over $1,500 per meal at fine dining.Author Tweet @later_gaytor