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My newest addiction is food tours. Each time I head to a new country, I search out a food tour to take on my first day in the city. It is a great way to get a sense of the place and an understanding of the cuisine, which I feel enhances the rest of my trip. I shared some of the great food tours I have found in a recent story in the Napa Valley Register which you can read here. The late Anthony Bourdain once said that “Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”
On his show, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” he filmed 96 episodes over 11 seasons in which he shared his passion for culture, food, travel and adventure. His enthusiasm was contagious, and we were all inspired explore the world through food.
Or, at least, I was.
After all, what better way to explore a different culture than through its food? Of course, there is architecture, art, religion and nature, but food has so many meanings and incorporates everything. Food is a cultural identifier. Food is shaped by location and by history. Food can represent status and pleasure or can be for survival. Food is also about community and is a unifier across cultures.
As I traveled to countries for my first time, I have found myself in search of food. Yes, I like to eat. And, I can think of no better way to learn about a city and a culture than through its food. But, how does one decide where to go?