Whether it’s getting to know interesting or off the beaten track delis, cafes, market stalls or restaurants, one of the best ways, by far, to explore a city is to sign up for a food walk.

While going on a food walk in a foreign city is exciting and a great way to get your culinary bearings, particularly if you’re going to stay a while, why not try one nearer home?

In the author’s experience of food walks in Ireland (with Fab Food Trails), people who are familiar with our cities are amazed to discover food outlets and tasty surprises they never knew existed. Visitors leave with insider knowledge of the best of what is happening in Ireland’s food scene.

What’s more the guides usually have a good grasp of history and culture which they are happy to impart as you munch your way from place to place.

Here are some basics:

  • Booking is usually online.
  • Allergies and dietary requirements can be catered for if notified to the operator when booking. If you have an allergy or a specific dietary requirement, please don’t just turn up for your tour expecting to be accommodated. For your own sake as well everybody else. In most cases the food is ordered in advance.
  • Tours typically take 2 to 3 hours and go at a moderate pace. A reasonably good level of mobility is usually necessary. Wheelchair access may not always be available so do check in advance.
  • There are a few different formats. For example, some tours have 6 or more stops and include small tastings usually in delis, cheese mongers, market stalls etc., plus wine and beer in one or two places. Some go for different courses in a selection of restaurants. Others can be themed along ethnic lines.
  • Also look out for beer / wine / whiskey tasting tours. With or without food!

As well as food walks at home in Ireland the author has tried them in San Francisco, Porto, Tokyo and Sydney. A few rare quibbles but never disappointed, so long as I’ve been clear about what I was buying.

So, get out there and chomp your way around town.