Food walks are hugely popular and highly effective way of exploring any place. In a country like India with dozens of different cuisines, cultures, languages and people, food walks are fast gaining popularity among international as well as local tourists. Different places in India offer different culinary experiences and a food walk in different cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai etc. will be completely different from each other in terms of food, sights as well as overall experience. A good food walk can be customised according to requirements of the guests such as dietary preferences, places they want to visit and so on. The travelers should take care to inform their food guides about any food allergies or intolerance well in advance to avoid an unpleasant experience.
There are a number of factors which make for a great food walk apart from the food. The most important one is the variety of food from most authentic sources. A lot of food walk operators will just take their guests to a couple of food joints and source all or most of their food items from there. While this may be a good option in certain cases, this is actually the laziest and least desirable way. A good food walk should take the tourists to a number of different food joints of all types, with different specialised food dishes and preferably a history of their own.
Another way to choose a good food walk is by it’s duration. A person can eat or taste only a limited quantity in a certain amount of time. While short food walks of 3-4 hours may work for some, most travelers need more than that to properly taste and appreciate the different dishes without getting too full too soon. A full fledged food walk can contain 12-20 different food items and go on for 5-8 hours. Beware of the food tour operators who claim to operate a full fledged food walk in 3-4 hours by visiting 2-4 food joints. They may be cheap, but the quality of experience will be unsatisfactory.
In addition to good food, food walks may also contain activities such as sightseeing, tea tasting, market visits, rides, etc. The break in between food tasting offered by these activities helps in pacing the food tour and prevents the tourists from getting full too soon. Following are a few guidelines that tourists doing a food walk in India should keep in mind:
- Start the food walk on an empty stomach or have a light meal.
- Inform the guide of any food allergy or medical conditions well in advance.
- Instead of gorging on a few food items, limit yourselves to tasting a little of everything.
- Check the itinerary before booking. If your food walk covers only 2-3 food joints, then it’s most probably not worth it.
- A good food walk operator will provide stuff like sanitiser, wipes, drinking water etc. But still don’t forget to carry your own.
These days, a few travel companies in India are also offering multi-day culinary tours, but we will cover it in one of our future posts.