9 ways to make meaningful cultural connections through food in 2023

written by Intrepid Travel January 2, 2023

Sizzling street food. Spice market tours. Life-changing tapas and noodles galore. Intrepid food trips always pack a punch, delivering divine flavours while showcasing the world’s most captivating culinary traditions. 

This year, as part of our Travel Goals for 2023, we’re encouraging hungry travellers to make meaningful cultural connections through food. And we have a slate of fresh foodie trips and experiences to help you do just that. 

1. Dine like a monarch in Hue, Vietnam 

Every Intrepid Real Food Adventure includes at least one plant-based meal. This helps to reduce our trips’ carbon emissions and puts the focus on fresh local veggies. On our Vietnam Real Food Adventure we’ve introduced a one-of-a-kind experience, where travellers get to eat lunch at the beautiful home of a chef descended from Vietnamese royalty. You’ll also get some hands-on cooking tips and share homemade herbal tea as you learn about the yin and yang philosophy behind Vietnam’s flavoursome cuisine. 

2. Explore the culinary capital of Mexico with a local chef 

There’s Mexican food (yum), and then there’s Oaxacan food (double yum). Thanks to its huge array of tantalising local ingredients and the diversity of its culinary influences – many of which originate from local Indigenous communities – Oaxaca is the ultimate destination for those in search of the perfect Mexican meal. On our revamped Mexico Real Food Adventure, you can now join a local chef on a food market tour and get insider tips while learning to make traditional dishes such as mole and tlayudas. 

3. Bridge the generation gap in Vienna 

City tripping is a tiring business. On our Highlights of Central Europe trip, stop by one of Vienna’s most innovative cafés to recharge with a hot drink and a big slab of homemade cake in a cosy, living room setting. If your sweet treat tastes ‘just like Grandma made it’ – that’s probably down to the retirees in the kitchen. Vollpension employs the elderly to bake their best recipes – simultaneously satisfying hungry customers while helping tackle loneliness and poverty among the older generation. 

4. Taste underrated wine in Tbilisi, Georgia 

For oenophiles (translation: wine lovers), there’s nothing better than sampling a region’s wine on the very soil it came from. But that doesn’t mean they have to restrict their trips to big-hitters like France, Chile and Australia. Georgia is one of the world’s oldest wine regions and its traditional winemaking techniques are recognised by UNESCO for their cultural importance. On a Real Food Adventure through Armenia and Georgia you’ll have the chance to try a locally made tipple or two at a woman-owned vineyard in Tbilisi. 

5. Visit Palestine’s sustainable brewery 

Once you’ve wolfed down a metric tonne of hummus, falafel, knafeh and more in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, you’ll want something refreshing to help wash it all down. Enter Taybeh Brewing Company. Run by the Khoury family since 1994, it’s the only brewery in the State of Palestine. Their sustainable business is run almost exclusively by solar energy and exceeds industry standards when it comes to water conservation. Oh, and their lagers are mighty fine too. Join us on a Real Food Adventure through Israel & The Palestinian Territories to give them a try. 

6. Eat like a local in the Balkans 

We’ve rustled up a generous serving of new foodie experiences on our 2023 Real Food Adventure through the Balkans. On the North Macedonian side of Lake Prespa (also shared by Albania and Greece) you’ll taste fresh local apples on an orchard tour and learn to make antipasti before digging into a traditional lunch in the village of Dolno Dupeni. And you’ll get to practise your pronunciation of ‘živjeli’ (cheers) with a local family in Croatia’s Konavle region as you sample their homemade wines and liqueurs. 

7. Stop for lunch at a café staffed by sheroes in Agra, India 

On our trip through India’s Golden Triangle, Intrepid travellers have the chance to stop for a plant-based lunch at Sheroes Hangout in Agra. This social enterprise café employs female victims of acid attacks, helping to break down stigmas, increase community awareness and support these courageous women. There are no set prices as it’s a pay-what-you-feel system. All donations go towards the campaign to put a stop to acid attacks across India

8. Learn to cook new dishes with a family in Costa Rica 

The pandemic was tough on food businesses around the world. For Javier and Dora, a long-married couple from Quepos, on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, it meant closing their successful market stall – but they didn’t give up. They started rustling up dishes to sell from their house during the hardest months. And now they offer cooking classes – meaning travellers on our Costa Rica family holiday with teenagers can learn to cook authentic Costa Rican dishes with the pros, from the comfort of a multi-generational family home. 

9. Shop for sweet treats that support disadvantaged women in Borneo 

In 2015, a strong earthquake rocked the Malaysian state of Sabah, with most of its impact felt on and around Mount Kinabalu. Villages in the mountain’s foothills were badly affected, with many buildings damaged by tremors. One of those communities is Kampung Kiau, where today, travellers can stop by Everything Pineapple, a community-based project that supports local women to help rebuild their livelihoods and grow the local economy. Save room in your backpack for their delicious homemade pineapple jam if you’re joining our Classic Borneo trip. 

Feeling inspired?

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