We’re big believers that you can really experience a culture through their food. Whenever we’re visiting a new country (or city) we love checking out the local food scene for a taste of daily life. If you’ve got friends in the city that can give you an inside scoop, great! Take advantage of that. But, if you’re on your own in a brand new city, book yourself a tour with a local food guide.
There are plenty of guides available in most major cities in China. If you have trouble finding one, the hotel concierge will be a good source of information or might even take you on the tour himself. If you already speak Chinese it’ll make things a lot easier. But, if you don’t, there are a few English speaking food tours that we’ve tested and approved.
UnTour Food Tour
UnTour takes you on walking tours of the city. They can be found in Beijing and Shanghai and offer English speaking guides that’ll either take you on their breakfast or dinner tours. Their breakfast tours consist of tasty local street vendors that they’ve safely tested and approved. Although the same foods can be commonly found just about anywhere, their choices are clean, safe, and super tasty.
Their tour is filled with random food (and non-food related) facts about the city. It’s a great way to get introduce to your local surrounding and eat some great stuff along the way.
The dinner tour is pretty similar, but it’s at night and it involves some beer drinking. Share a few pints and swap a few stories. The tour takes you to tasty local barbecue places and gives you a glimpse of the local drinking culture.
Lost Plate Food Tours
Lost Plate can be found in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Xi’an. These guys offer a great food experience, with an extra perk - no walking needed. They take to you tasty places around the city on tuk tuks, covering a wider area (and also lets you be lazy and just enjoy the food). They have different styles of tours available - breakfast, dinner, or even a beer tour.
The guides are professional and full of fun facts. Throw in unlimited beers and you’ve got a recipe for a good time out on the town.
If you’re adamant about going out on your own and exploring the local scene, be sure to do a bit of research so you don’t miss out on the crazy, bizarre, and tasty local treats.