Sometimes getting children to eat unfamiliar food can be a challenge, especially if they’re not used to exotic colours and flavours. Thus, training their palettes and nurturing a love for exotic food at an early age is a great gift to give, sure to help them out later in life. Food tours are a great way to accomplish this, especially in Southeast Asia with its varied cuisines, as well as just being a lot of fun for the whole family and an excellent way to experience the local culture. Food tours also commonly include cooking classes and trips to the market for ingredient-shopping, which leaves your guests with the skills required to recreate their favourite dishes back home.
The beginnings of a cooking demonstration.
A street food tour in Vietnam offers a look into the core of Vietnamese cuisine. From Bun Cha to Bahn Mi to Pho, traditional Vietnamese food is well suited as street food. The clear winners in terms of range and quality in their street food are Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. In Hanoi your guests can spend a day wandering the narrow alleys of Old Quarter, sure to stumble on some delicious street food, or take a guided tour to find the secret spots that only locals are aware of. Meanwhile, in Ho Chi Minh, the best street food can be found at Bến Thành Street Food Market. While the Vietnamese food here is of course delicious, street food from all over the globe is on offer here, sure to satisfy anyone regardless of their tastes in food.
Some traditional Vietnamese cuisine.
Vietnamese food, unlike its cousin in Thailand, is generally mild with the spices present being subtle, making it perfect for families with children who might not love spicy food. This changes in Hue however, as here the royal heritage of the city has left its mark in its cuisine, with spices and chilli being liberally applied to most local dishes. This means that Hue makes for a great mid-point in a culinary journey through Vietnam, providing some spice in the middle of the trip.
In Laos, Luang Prabang and Vientiane serve as the joint culinary capitals of the country. Both cities have an amazing array of excellent restaurants from every corner of the world, as well as some great tours showcasing authentic local food. Travelling Spoon in Luang Prabang and Lao Experiences in Vientiane come with the highest recommendations, and both tours lets you experience the food through every stage of preparation, from buying the ingredients at the market to sitting down and digging in.
The night food market in Luang Prabang is also wonderful and is sure to be popular with the kids in your group as the entire thing is one giant buffet, letting you pick and choose exactly what you want.
The wonderfully authentic Luang Prabang street food alley.
Over in Cambodia, the restaurant scene in Phnom Penh is among the best in all Southeast Asia. Virtually food from every country is available, and prepared well.
Siem Reap on the other hand is the undisputed street food champion of Cambodia, and many tours of the streets crowded with vendors operate in the city.
In Thailand, the markets of Chiang Mai and especially Pai are culinary highlights. Here you can find almost any type of food at exceptionally good prices, allowing your guests to sample all sorts of flavourful delights without having to commit to a single dish. The food market in Pai is located on the main street every night and is impossible to miss, whereas the two best markets in Chiang Mai is the Chang Pheuak Gate market on weekday nights, and the Sunday Walking Market in the weekend.
The night market in Chiang Mai is a perfect place to sample authentic Thai cuisine.
Bangkok meanwhile, is famous worldwide for its street food. As Central Thai cooking is what most international Thai restaurants serve, the food will be familiar to most people, and includes most of the Thai classic dishes, like Pad Thai and Papaya Salad.
Thailand and especially Bangkok has a large and thriving community of Sino Thais, which is in fact the largest and most well established Chinese community outside of China. It should come as no surprise then, that the city has a vibrant Chinatown positively full of street vendors of all sorts, making for some truly excellent food tours to get a taste of Chinese/Thai fusion food.
Some authentic Thai cuisine.
For a food tour especially geared towards families with children, check out “Kid ‘n’ All Tour” in Hua Hin. On this tour you get to taste lots of authentic Thai food, cooked by local families, as well as learn how to make them. They’ve also taken special care to provide plenty of “kid friendly” options, in case the little ones get overwhelmed with all the exotic and new flavours.
The rich and vibrant cuisine of Southeast Asia makes it an excellent destination for people interested in cuisine, and how it shapes and is shaped by local culture and customs. This makes it a prime destination for any Food-travel package, especially for families looking to expose their young ones to a wide range of food types.