Culinary classes are an ideal way to immerse yourself in a destination’s food and culture. Taking culinary classes during your travels allows you to sample traditional local cuisine and get a glimpse into local living. I’ve taken culinary classes in nearly every country I’ve visited, and I never get enough! Taking cooking classes is that little something on a trip that keeps you grounded and focused on being in the moment, besides, everyone loves food. If you’re looking to step your travel game up a bit, check out these classes that will give your foodie palate a global taste and add a little spice to your next vacation.
O’ngo Culinary School – Seoul, South Korea
I have a confession to make. I never had Korean food before I went to South Korea. Crazy, I know, especially since I live in New York which has an entire neighborhood dedicated to all things Korean. Yet, despite this faux pas, I’m glad I waited. Taking a culinary class at O’ngo was the perfect way to introduce my palate to the wonders of Korean cuisine and folks, my life has been changed. I opted to take a Korean BBQ class where I learned how to make Galbi, Spicy Stir Fried Pork, Korean Chive Salad and a few yummy dipping sauces. However, you can also take classes on Banchan cuisine, Bulgogi and Seasonal Kimchi, Bibimbap and Korean desserts. O’ngo also offers a variety of culinary food tours around Seoul that will introduce you to everything from Korean BBQ and pub crawls, to gourmet dishes at some of the city’s most exclusive restaurants.
Babushka Alaçatı – Aegean Coast, Turkey
I’ve taken culinary classes all over the world, but this one has to be my favorite. Run by Russian born Olga Irez, Babushka Alaçatı introduces you not only to Turkey’s amazing foods, but to the welcoming spirit of the Turkish people. Your day starts by meeting Olga for a home prepared traditional Turkish breakfast. You learn about the staples in traditional Turkish cooking preparing dishes like Bulgar Salad, Sigara Boregi with Swiss Chard, Pastirma and Feta Cheese, and Turkish Sponge Cake, while sharing laughs with Olga over a glass (or three!) of Turkish wine.
Petra Kitchen – Petra, Jordan
When most people think of Jordan they think of three things – Petra, The Dead Sea and desert. However, Jordan has a rich and flavorful culinary that most travelers overlook. That’s why one of the first things I booked for my Jordanian adventure was a culinary class at Petra Kitchen. My tastebuds were treated to amazing dishes like Araies Lahma (Bedouin Pizza), Sayyadiaah (Spicy fish with rice) and Fatoosh (Cucumber and tomato salad). If you take the special five night course, which includes hotel accommodations and visits to Petra, you get to make shopping trips to the local markets with Chef Tariq, and meet the farmers and vendors who add to the ridiculously hospitable Jordanian experience.
Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour – Cape Town, South Africa
Few cooking classes have reminded me so much of home like the Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour, but then again…it’s Africa. Local celeb and cook Zainie Misbach is a small piece of hilarious sunshine and you’ll be hung on her every word as she walks you through her colorful Bo-Kaap neighborhood recounting tales, helps you pick out fresh spices and give insight into the daily life of the Cape Malay community. Back at her home the real magic begins as Zainie teaches you how to make traditional Malay cuisine such as Daaltjies (Chilli Bites), Samoosas, and chicken curry and rootis, which if you’re a Caribbean girl like me, fills you with all the comforts of home.