Planning a DIY Food Tour

Apr 28, 2016
I’ll never forget my first food tour -- it was about two years ago in Miami’s excruciating summer heat. We went as an office, and splurged for a golf cart excursion rather than dining by foot ... the ultimate in laziness. I discovered many hidden gems that day, but I realized something very important – I could have found all of these delicious places myself, had I only made an effort to look for them.

My husband and I tested this theory on a recent trip to Paris. We researched the best of everything in the city and laid out a map of how to get there, whether by foot, taxi or metro. It became an adventure for us; exploring different parts of the city, tasting many things, staying for as little or as long as we wanted and most importantly, not paying a fortune to be escorted by a guide.

Self-inspired food tours have now become a staple of our vacations no matter where we go, and I highly recommend that you do the same.

Here are some of our favorite homemade food tours.

San Francisco's Chinatown

Andrey Bayda /
  • Stop 1: Green onion bread at New Hollywood Bakery
  • Stop 2: Pork and chicken buns at Good Mong Kok Bakery
  • Stop 3: Dumplings at Delicious Dim Sum
  • Stop 4: Chicken wings at New Golden Daisy
  • Stop 5: Egg tarts at Golden Gate Bakery
  • Stop 6: Cookies at Golden Gate Fortune Cookies
How: All of these top Chinatown restaurants are conveniently within four blocks of each other. We recommend that you begin your tour at the iconic Dragon’s Gate which represents the beginning of the Chinatown neighborhood. Then, walk half a mile up Grant Avenue to Pacific Avenue and make a right. Your first restaurant will be on the left side of the road almost immediately.


  • Stop 1: French onion soup at Au Pied du Cochon – Les Halles
  • Stop 2: Savory crepe at Chez Nicos – Latin Quarter
  • Stop 3: Macarons at Carette – Trocadero
How: This route is best on the metro – Google Maps will show you exactly how to get there from your hotel. We recommend the metro day (or multi-day) pass, which allows for unlimited rides in the city at one price.

New York City

Photo from Flickr by Olivier Bruchez
  • Stop 1: Best tacos ever at Los Tacos No. 1 – Chelsea
  • Stop 2: Chicken bahn mi at Num Pang Sandwich Shop – Chelsea
  • Stop 3: NY slice of pizza at Joe’s Pizza – West Village
  • Stop 4: Macarons and espresso at Bisous Ciao – West Village
  • Stop 5: Cookies at Milk & Cookies Bakery – West Village
How: Begin your foodie excursion at Chelsea Market – both Los Tacos and Num Pang are inside and next door to each other. Then, hop in a cab or Uber and head to the West Village, where Joe’s Pizza has slices as big as your face. You can then walk around the corner to Bisous Ciao, where all drinks come with a free macaron, aka don’t pay for a macaron. It’s then a short walk to Milk & Cookies, where some of the most delicious baked goods are waiting.

More Great Deals & Tips