As Vancouver’s restaurant scene has taken off in recent years, so has the phenomenon known as culinary touring. The idea is simple: In company of an intrepid guide, eat your way through city streets – feasting on local favourites and skipping the tourist traps.
These days, there are culinary tours exploring everything from Gastown’s hippest restaurants and pubs to Vancouver’s growing street food scene and the bounty of Granville Island Market. Prices might seem a bit steep at first glance, but keep in mind tours often include food (and alcohol, in some cases), plus guide and behind-the-scenes access to kitchens, chefs and wine cellars.
- World’s Best Street Eats Tour: This five-course street food tour offers a crash course in Vancouver’s best food carts, from the fusion favourite Japadog to Kaboom Box, perhaps the world’s only salmon-smoking food truck. Meet the chefs, tour the carts and stuff your face. $49 from Vancouver Foodie Tours
- Gastown Craft Beer ‘n Bites Tour: The gastropub scene in Gastown has exploded in recent years, and this tour promises to hunt down the best microbrews and local, seasonal pub cuisine. Enjoy four beer and food pairings at four different Gastown venues, in the company of a “passionate beer educator.” $80 from Vancouver Food Tour
- Plugged-In Granville Island Market Tour: This classic 90-minute tour – led by a real chef – lets you get intimate with the grocers, butchers, fishmongers and bakers that inhabit Granville Island Public Market. Apart from hearing some fascinating stories, you’ll get tips on how to prepare all that fresh, seasonal produce and meat. $40 from Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
- Chinatown Dim Sum: Vancouver is lucky to have one of North America’s largest – and most authentic – Chinatowns right in the heart of downtown. This two-hour tour probes historic streets and hidden alleys, with stops at herbal stores, meat shops and bakeries. It concludes with a guided, dim sum lunch. $65 from Edible Canada
- Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour: A relatively new addition to the city’s culinary lineup, this tour is for big eaters with adventurous appetites. Over the course of the three-hour tour, you’ll sample everything from pulled pork prepared by Canada’s Top Chef (Dale MacKay) to artisan-made sake, award-winning dim sum, local wine and – finally – some of the city’s best gelato and sorbetto. $69 from Vancouver Foodie Tours
Got another favourite food tour? Please let us know below.
Want more updates on Vancouver and beyond? Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.