If you think a stroll through a city’s bustling market is a required activity during a vacation, love discovering an off-the-beaten-path restaurant only frequented by locals and pass over touristy souvenirs and trinkets in favor of oils, spices and foodstuffs, you’ll relish the experiences offered by one culinary-based tour company.

Someone mixing fresh ingredients in a bowl by hand.
Connect with local cooks on the road © The Traveling Spoon

The Traveling Spoon connects travelers with private, vetted, authentic food experiences with locals around the world, from market tours to home-cooked meals to cooking classes. The company was founded in 2013 by Aashi Vel, a food and travel enthusiast with a background in industrial design and Steph Lawrence, who has experience in marketing and business strategy including that in the culinary realm.

Woman drinking a glass of red wine offering a dish to someone off-camera.jpg
Meet and chat to locals while you eat ©The Traveling Spoon

There are a whole host of meaningful, immersive foodie-focused activities offered through the Traveling Spoon. An excursion in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia takes visitors into tour guide Daniel’s home, where his wife Tigist will teach guests to make injera in their family kitchen and take part in a traditional coffee ceremony in its birthplace. Accompany Tania to her family garden outside Beirut, Lebanon’s city center then return to her home as she prepares dishes using ingredients she’s harvested. In Ubud, Bali, Dewa welcomes you into his traditional family compound, where members live and share a communal cooking area with a wood-fired grill; he and his wife Jero teach traditional Balinese recipes while sharing information about their culture. Learn to make tortillas and chiles rellenos in Mexico City, or heritage pasta (including gluten-free at a villa just outside Milan.

Stuffed green chillies on a plate.jpg
Try new things and meet new people © The Traveling Spoon

"Our hope is to connect travelers with culinary traditions passed down through generations, while at the same time supporting locals and providing meaningful income around the world,” Lawrence says.

Woman grating a coconut.jpg
Learn new skills from your new friends © The Traveling Spoon

Traveling Spoon currently operates in 50 countries and more than 160 cities around the globe. Experiences range from $20-250 (€18-227) per person, with the average between $80 (€72) and $100 (€90). For more information, check out their website. Enter the code BLKFRIDAY20 during checkout Black Friday, 29 November, 2019 through Cyber Monday, 2 December, 2019 to receive 20% off of your experience. The code is valid for these dates only but the offer is valid for travel within the next 12 months.

Explore related stories

Kem Beach is one of the island's prettiest - Phu Quoc - Vietnam © James Pham / Lonely Planet


Copy My Trip: A Phu Quoc beach escape

Jul 19, 2024 • 5 min read