When visiting a new place, after seeing the popular sights and can’t-miss landmarks, you may want to branch out a little and get a taste of the local culture. One way to quite literally taste the culture is by booking a cooking class, giving you a hands-on crash course in the culinary traditions of places far from home. One of the best ways to learn about a destination and its culture is through food, which is why TripAdvisor is announcing our 2019 Travelers’ Choice winners for top cooking experiences—from Thailand to Peru to Austria and so many other far-flung locales with delicious culinary culture.
Whether you’re in the middle of planning a trip or just daydreaming about your next vacation, use this list of the world’s best cooking experiences as a guide for creating an unforgettable getaway. And remember, all of the world’s best travel experiences below are bookable right on TripAdvisor. After you decide on your experience and destination, you can book your accommodation with us, too! We check up to 200 sites to bring you the lowest price on hotels. Plus, we offer alternative lodging options like vacations rentals, inns and bed-and-breakfasts.
Thai and Akha Cooking Class in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Visitors to Thailand can sample the region’s local culinary delights by taking this cooking class, which provides six hours’ worth of hands-on training in Chiang Mai. After being picked up from your hotel, you’ll head to the cooking site—after a stop off at a local market to pick up some fresh ingredients—and you’ll dive into preparing the cuisine of the Akha, an indigenous hill tribe of Southeast Asia. The experience includes prepping things like appetizers, a soup and desserts, along with several other special Akha-style dishes. And before you leave, you get the perfect memento—a cookbook you can use to recreate these dishes once you get home.
Peruvian Cooking Class Including Local Market Tour and Exotic Fruit Tasting
Peruvian food has exploded in popularity in recent years. Visitors to the country’s coastal capital city of Lima get a firsthand look at the trendy cuisine via this four-hour cooking class, where participants shop at a local market and prepare iconic Peruvian dishes. Reviewers note this class takes place in a relaxed atmosphere, with helpful demonstrations. One traveler says, “The class is informative and light on work, as it is meant for having fun more than anything.” When cooking classic dishes like ceviche—you’ll use ceramic pots, the same ones that older generations did, to ensure the flavors are as authentic as possible.
Austrian Apple Strudel Cooking Class including Lunch
Salzburg has some prominent claims to fame—it was the beautiful setting of The Sound of Music and the birthplace of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The city’s residents also have something of a sweet tooth, as you’ll see on this delicious experience, where you’ll learn how to make an Austrian Apple Strudel, along with the signature soufflé of Salzburger Nockerl. A chef will show you how to stretch and prepare the pastry, while you enjoy a bonus of hearty goulash soup before getting down to work to on the desserts. And you’ll have plenty of attention, since this 1-hour, 30-minute class is limited to just five people for an intimate cooking experience.
Half-Day Chengdu Courtyard Cooking Class with Local Spice Market Visit
You may think you know Chinese cuisine, but this half-day cooking class in a Chengdu courtyard will take you on an expansive culinary journey that broadens your horizons. After stopping at a local spice market, you’ll visit a Sichuan courtyard restaurant for some culinary instruction, led by a professional chef who’ll teach you how to make multiple dishes. The ingredients and spices you picked up from the market will be put to use, and you’ll also enjoy Sichuan Gaiwan tea, in the traditional style for entertaining guests. Here’s how one thrilled traveler described the experience: “The tour of the market was excellent and the cooking class 1st rate. We’d recommend this to anyone, without reservation!”
Pizza and Gelato Cooking Class in Tuscan Farmhouse from Florence
TripAdvisor reviewers have given this pizza and gelato cooking class a near-perfect rating, and it’s easy to see why. People visit Italy for many reasons—the sun, the history, the sights, but also, of course, the sublime cuisine. Cooking is a heightened art form in Italy, which is why something like this cooking class, according to one recent TripAdvisor reviewer, is a “10-star amazing experience.” You’ll work with hosts and teachers in a Tuscan farmhouse outside Florence to make pizza and gelato, perfect for travelers with a passion for Italian food and a wish to delve deeper into Florence’s culinary scene. This class takes place at a relaxed Tuscan estate, where you’ll end the experience by feasting on pizza you’ve been taught to make, complemented with beer or wine and creamy gelato. And the meal won’t just be a memory—you’ll leave with recipes you can recreate again and again.
Experience Singapore: Cultural Cooking Class
Singapore is one of the world’s great cities for the foodie’s bucket list. It’s also a veritable melting pot, with a culinary scene that encompasses everything from street-food stalls to high-end restaurants and draws on Malay, Chinese, Indian and British cultures. For this experience, you’ll learn how to make authentic dishes with local instructors during a three-hour, small-group class in which you’ll create Singapore favorites like Iaksa and Hainanese chicken rice. When the class is finished, everyone will sit down together in a dining area to enjoy the preparations in a relaxed, no-pressure atmosphere that will truly be a highlight of your stay in the country. Don’t worry if you’re new to cooking—one traveler says, “this cooking class is a fantastic experience for novice and more experienced chefs alike.”
Benny’s Home Cooking Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai, Thailand
TripAdvisor reviewers have given this Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai a perfect set of reviews so far, so it’s a good bet it will be a memorable part of your stay in Thailand. It showcases some of the best parts of the city’s culinary traditions and includes touring a local market with a guide to learn about various Thai ingredients. You’ll choose from three different cooking options, including a daily course, dinner or special Sunday course, where all the ingredients and instructions are included. No matter which option you pick, you’ll not only enjoy a great meal but learn how to take the tastes home with you.