Foodie travellers know it’s not just about new flavours when you travel. Food really is one of the best ways to connect with culture, history and people – wherever you go.
With these fresh new dishes and drinks on the menu for 2024, you can explore destinations with your tastebuds. Learn how to make beloved dishes from locals. Discover unexpected flavours. Watch experts at work. Share stories while breaking bread. Here are 17 dishes and drinks that will have you craving seconds.
1. Sip Japanese tea at its source
On the Japan Real Food Adventure, you’ll get a taste of Japan’s intricate and integral tea culture at a tea farm. Learn the difference between daily tea varieties commonly drunk around the country, from everyday houjicha and genmaicha to premium gyokuro and the fine matcha powder used in tea ceremonies and enjoy a little tasting too.
2. Learn to make Croatian hand-rolled pasta
On the Croatian island of Korcula, locals have been making a hand-rolled pasta called Zrnovski makaruni for centuries. In the small village of Zrnovo, families make tubular pasta with a small hole through the centre, the perfect conduit for homemade sauce. On the new Croatia Family Holiday, you and the kids will get hands-on with this unique pasta shape, learning how to make it yourself before tucking into the fruits of your labour with the other families on your trip.
3. Dine with a local in South Korea
There’s a lot to love about South Korean food, and on the South Korea Real Food Adventure, you can experience a whole range of flavours from the kitchen table of a local. While the menu may change as the months roll by and produce comes into season, you can expect things like kimbap (a type of Korean sushi roll), japchae (a stir-fried sweet potato noodle dish) and banchan (a line-up of small, shared side dishes like kimchi and sauteed vegetables that are served alongside rice to enhance the flavour of your meals).
4. Wake up and smell Hue’s salted coffee
Imagine the rich aroma of roasted coffee beans. The golden sheen of crema floating above the rich mahogany coffee. Now think of that familiar first sip of smooth, slightly bitter brew, but with a salty tang. In Hue, Vietnam, salted coffee is a popular way to drink coffee. On the Vietnam Real Food Adventure, visit a third-generation coffee farmer who carefully selects the finest beans and expertly roasts them for his special salted coffee recipe. This combination of sweet, salty and bitter is different from cups of joe you’ll find around the world and is not one to miss.
5. Slurp noodles in a Cambodian village
Watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat marks the perfect start to your day in Cambodia. The only thing that could make it any better is to follow it up with a traditional homemade breakfast. On Cambodia Real Food Adventure, visit the village of Preah Dak, where local families have been making num banh chok for generations. A popular Khmer dish, discover a little about the history of the dish as you watch the noodles come together and then enjoy this rich and flavourful breakfast.
6. Picnic on the Istrian Peninsula
The Istrian Peninsula is known for its coastal towns, cultural heritage and culinary delights. On the Ljubljana to Split Real Food Adventure, dig into a picnic of traditional, seasonal treats in a spot overlooking the stretch of the peninsula that joins Slovenia and Croatia. Local goods on the menu include meats, cheeses, bread, jams and seasonal fruits and vegetables.
7. Sample some protected heritage in Croatia
There is a cake that is so iconic and beloved in Croatia that their Ministry of Culture has listed it as a protected item of intangible heritage. Hrapocusa is a rich layered cake of fluffy sponge and sticky sugared walnuts. Made on the island town of Dol off the coast of Croatia, the sponge is almond-based and includes delicate flavours of orange, while the sticky walnut topping is caramelly and crisp. Taste a slice for yourself in the very town it was invented when you join the Croatia Real Food Adventure.
8. Sip spicy sand coffee in Marrakech
Tucked in the medina of Marrakech is a locally owned coffee shop where the smell of freshly brewed coffee laced with a blend of spices wafts throughout the market. This coffee, spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom and star anise, is brewed and heated using a special method of hot sand and copper cups. On the Morocco Real Food Adventure, see how this Moroccan favourite is prepared and try some for yourself.
9. Taste the difference of biodynamic wine
Jump on the Best of South Australia trip, where you’ll go to take a drive down to McLaren, one of Australia’s most famous wine regions. Gemtree Wines is a biodynamic, sustainable winery found there. During this experience, you’ll head out on the Gemtree Eco Trail with a Ngarrindjeri elder who will share ancient stories of their people and the importance of protecting the land. Back at the winery enjoy a plate of native food and produce, served, of course, with a tasting of their wine.
10. Cultivate your Chechen cooking skills in Georgia
In the heart of the Pankisi Valley of Georgia is a family of Kists – descendants of the original highland Chechens – who have been making the traditional dish of zhizhig galnash for generations. On the Georgia Real Food Adventure, you’ll get to learn how to make this warming meal made of hand-rolled noodles, traditionally served with lamb and potatoes in a garlic sauce. Your guesthouse hosts will walk you through all the steps before you enjoy the flavours of your hard work in the comfort of their home.
11. Dine farm-to-table in Mexico
In Tlahuac, Mexico, there is an area preserving the ancient Mesoamerican tradition of chinampa farming. Here, you’ll find rows of small fertile rectangular islands abundant with fresh fruit, vegetables and plants. On the Mexico Real Food Adventure, navigate through the canals between islands and learn about this ancient technique from a local farmer while filling a basket with produce for a salad to pair with fresh tortillas stuffed with home-cooked pork and vegetables.
12. Sample sustainable wine in California
The perfect pairing for a day along the California coast is a trip to a sustainable winery in the Carmel Valley. Wander through grape vines before joining your group for a dining experience and a cellar-door wine tasting with views of the surrounding vineyard. Enjoy the flavours of their organic wine with the salty air of the nearby North Pacific Ocean around you on the Las Vegas to San Fran: Parks, Canyons, Valleys trip.
13. Learn insider soparnik skills in Croatia
On the outskirts of Split, there’s a family who have been making soparnik – a savoury pastry – for weddings and events for years. On the Ljubljana to Split Real Food Adventure, you’ll join them in the kitchen as they make this delicacy beloved by locals. Made of silverbeet, onions and parsley sandwiched between thin layers of pastry, the pie is baked until golden and brushed with a mixture of locally made olive oil and fresh garlic. Pay close attention and you’ll pick up some tips and tricks from these experts on how to make soparnik at home.
14. Head out on a bush tucker walk in Tasmania
Just outside Hobart, in piyura kitina (Risdon Cove), learn about how the local palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal people) eat off the land. On this bush tucker experience, your palawa guide will teach you about the culturally rich landscape around you, sharing stories as you walk through the region, tasting bush tucker (native flora, fauna and funga used for culinary or medicinal purposes) and finishing with a group lunch of local produce. When you join the Best of Hobart and Southern Tasmania trip, you’ll discover the ancient culture of the traditional owners who have lived off the land for millennia.
15. Enjoy home-cooking in Portugal
Portugal is famous for its olive groves, centuries of winemaking, rich cured meats and fresh cheeses and, of course, the pastel de nata and glasses of port. Join the Portugal Real Food Adventure to explore all these flavours and more. Experience home cooking at its finest during a stay in an historic guesthouse in the Coa Valley, and get hands-on when you learn the secrets to crafting iconic dishes like pork with clams, baked goats cheese, or cheesecake flavoured with local honey and lemons at a farm stay in Alentejo.
16. Discover some of Iceland’s local flavours
In a workshop on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland, you’ll find a family using Icelandic ingredients to make herbal teas, jams and salts. Expect seasonal produce turned into incredible condiments like crowberry, wild blueberry and redcurrant jams, kelp and garlic and grey lava salt blends, and teas made of wild arctic herbs and meadowsweet. Join Iceland’s Golden Circle in Depth and sip on one of their delicious teas while taking a tour of their production area and learning about their sustainability initiatives.
17. Soak and steam in Japan
Not much is better than bathing in a natural hot spring, the tension leaving your muscles and your skin soaking in the incredible minerals. On the Southern Japan Experience, visit Beppu, where you can follow up a soak in their onsen with a steamed dinner of fresh local produce. In this unique restaurant, you’ll select the food you’d like, put it into a steamer, and let the steam coming off the natural hot springs cook your food. This is wellness inside and out, as your food takes on the same minerals found in the baths.