Top 10 experiences for food lovers

I really enjoyed reading this article, so I’m re-sharing it here!

by Tom Marchant

Food and travel are the two loves of our lives, and there’s nothing quite like the appetite to ignite that spark of wanderlust, from the incredible street food in Mexico’s bustling capital to uncovering the hidden local hotspots in Vietnam. So we’ve scoured the globe searching for our favorite culinary experiences, from truffle hunting in Italy to tasting the freshest ceviche in Peru. Bon Apetit.

Vespa food tour, Saigon, Vietnam

We all know there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing, but what about the motorbike capital of the world, Saigon? Rumor has it that there are 4 million motorbikes whizzing round the city, meaning over half the population owns one, so what better way to see it than by joining them on a vintage Vespa. Saigon showcases an exceptional mix of ancient Vietnamese and French colonial culture as you zip through the streets where you can’t help but notice the delicious aromas wafting through the streets. Add in a couple of expert tour guides who know the roads and foodie hotspots like the back of their hand – and you’ve got yourself an unforgettable private food tour of Vietnam’s most enchanting city.


Fish market, Tokyo, Japan

It’s no surprise that Tokyo is home to the world’s largest and biggest fish market with such a love for sushi and sashimi. To make the visit worthwhile you simply must go in time to catch the 5 am live tuna auctions, where one of these rock-solid frozen fish, looking like steel torpedoes can sell for £6000. Master the arts of sushi-making and test your culinary creations in time for breakfast. The market is split into Inner and Outer markets, those willing to brave the extra fishiness will find themselves dodging fish laden trucks in the inner market whilst the rest might stick to the Outer where you’ll find every type of sea-food imaginable as well as the Real Wasabi.


Pasta making, Tuscany, Italy

Italy’s 20 provinces undoubtedly offer a rich and diverse selection of scrumptious food, so learn how to cook like an Italian and be the talk of the town. Tuscany is famous for its extraordinarily beautiful rolling hills as well as its mouth-watering pasta dishes. Getting the know-how from a chef that learnt from their mother and grandmother is certainly the way to master Nonna’s touch. You’ll learn how to make dough from scratch using a traditional pasta maker to stretch out the dough. Then it’s time to get creative and make your own shapes, either carefully by hand or through the pasta machine. And as a reward for all your hard work, sit back and relax with a glass of wine and a delicious dish as you take in the lush countryside around you.


Piedmont truffle experience, Italy

Step into the heart of the truffle county to learn about and sample the most expensive ingredient in cooking. First you’ll want to submerge yourself in la dolce vita and wander through endless stalls laden with the freshest produce in Acqui Terme market. The ‘Alba Madonna’ truffle is the holy grail of fungi so get ready to be introduced to one of Italy’s oldest traditions; truffle hunting. Not only is it a great way of discovering the surrounding countryside but with an expert guide (and his loyal dog) in tow, you will gain a unique insight into how these amiable villagers help fuel the global obsession with these little white fungi. After becoming a master in truffle hunting, become an expert in cooking the fungi with a personalized cookery lesson in La Villa.


Oysters and whiskey in Hobart, Tasmania

After nothing but biltong and bush food to feed your hungry stomachs, head to Hobart for world-class oyster and mouth-watering whiskey. The island produces 4 million dozen oysters each year and each oyster growing region, like wine, has a distinct flavour, colour and appearance.  An education in Barilla Bay will give you a knowledgeable introduction to oyster farming in Tasmania in an exceptional setting, which has certainly come a long way since its humble tin-shed beginnings.  Take the whiskey trail to the Coal River Valley to learn about the history of single malt whiskey and be taken through the brewing process in this sumptuous sojourn. You’ll be rewarded along the way with a selection of creamy oysters and oaky whiskey to satisfy your taste buds.


Street food in Mexico City, Mexico

In a nutshell, Mexico City is a must visit gastro-jungle. Learn how to tell your tacos from your tlacoyos in a tour of Mexixo City’s best street food hotspots. We just love the names rolling off the tongue of the Chicharrones, flautas, camotes, and tlacoyos. And they taste even better in the mouth. Especially the Pambazo, a Mexican sandwich made from hard white bread rolls soaked in guajillo chilli sauce, filled with generous portion of diced potatoes, chorizo, lettuce, sour cream and sprinkled queso fresco. You’ll be left scooping the remains with your fingers as it’s just too good to waste. Spot the masters of the tortillas flipping the corn treats straight from the tortilla press. Try everything, but don’t blame us if your diet feels somewhat mundane upon arriving home.


Sample succulent steak in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentina is home to the most talked about steak in the world, so you’ll just have to hop on over to form your own opinion. Head out late for dinner as the party doesn’t get started in BA until well past midnight so you’ll need to stay awake somehow. Steak and Malbec really does the job.  There are plenty of other foodie experiences to enjoy. A cooking lesson with local chef Ezequiel Gallardo will get you whipping up tasty empanadas after choosing the ingredients in the fresh food market down the road.


Napa Valley food and wine tour

Enter the sun-kissed wine valleys of Napa for an ultimate food and wine jaunt. In a private tour it’ll just be you and the winemaker himself knocking back a glass or two whilst learning lots of very important things about wine. Food and wine is definitely a winning combination at the award winning Kendall Jackson Vineyard with the food and wine pairing menu. Ever wondered what goes hand in hand with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc? Fresh oysters of course. And that hearty Pinot Noir? It has to be the rich crème brûlée with white chocolate.


Gourmet tour of Lima

Lima is fast becoming one of the most cosmopolitan and sophisticated cities in South America and is experiencing a gastronomic boom to match.  An evening food tour will see you learning to prepare the refreshing national dish of ceviche under the watchful eye of an award winning chef, and shaking pisco sours on the beachfront – definitely a dinner party staple for when you get home. Experience a flavour explosion with dinner at Ámaz which is a traditional Amazonian restaurant, before being whisked off for a Peruvian dessert in the bohemian Barranco district. It’s a hard life.


Eat like a local in Georgetown, Penang

Earning the title of being the street food capital of Asia is surely a good enough reason to go and check it out for yourself, right? Navigate the bustling streets of the UNESCO world heritage site and ‘hawker’ food heaven, Georgetown, for a culinary extravaganza. Your expert guide will take you where the locals go for the best ‘Char Koay Teow’ a delicious Malay rice noodle dish, which will leave you scrambling for more. After really adopting that grazing mentality (trust us you will need to), have a break from eating and visit a heritage coffee shop.  Sample the delights of the evening hawker food and all that Malay, Chinese and Indian fusion cuisine is in full force until the small hours – who knows, you may even make breakfast.


Tom Marchant is Co-founder of Black Tomato.




Seville (AKA Sevilla), Spain

As I promised before in my South of Spain Itinerary post, this post will be about Seville pronounced in Spanish (sevi”y”a). One of the most beautiful cities i’ve seen in the South.


A lot of people gave me good feedback on my Cape Town post, so i’ll follow more or less the same layout? Please ask if you have any questions, more than happy to help through sharing my experience 🙂

1. Sleep.

SO, when it comes to Sevilla, following recommendations are work for a group of friends, family or a couple. For those who know & like my taste, you will love the hotels. For those who don’t know my taste, please do do your own due diligence on the hotels and how they’re designed etc.

  • EME Hotel. A nice hotel recommended by locals, and in front of the cathedral. (*****)
  • Hotel Casas de la Judería. In the historic city center. Lots of patios and nice views. (hearts)
  • Hostal Callejon del Agua. A very small hotel but convenient and cute.
  • YH Giralda. Near the EME hotel, very good  location. (****)

PS. Honeymooners, what I read is good/romantic for a honey moon in Sevilla are those hotels:

  • Hotel Casa 1800 Sevilla
  • Hotel Palacio De Villapanes – AlmaSevilla

2. Walk around & Discover.

During the day, go and walk around Plaza Nueva, Plaza de San Francisco and Plaza del Salvador. These are the main three squares and each is next to the other. There, you can find many tapas bars, and terraces if the weather is good. Also, go walk around Barrio de Santa Cruz which is the old city centre. This area is probably a bit touristic (as most city centers) but is worth visiting.
In the afternoon/evening you could go to to the Arenal area. In this area you can see the bullfighting ring (called “Maestranza”) which has an interesting museum about bullfighting history in Sevilla. Around the Maestranza there are many bars and restaurants. A restaurant I tried and recommend BIG TIME is called “Bulla” located in calle Dos de Mayo.

3. Touristy stuff.

Must seesAlcazar, Catedral and Archivo de Indias.Ofcourse, there is always the Hop-On Hop-Off bus/tour where you could by a ticket and use it to go around the city. I believe the ticket is valid for two days or such and you could easily get the ticket from either your hotel or the station of the bus.

Try to also see;

-Barrio Santa Cruz

– Plaza de España


– Maria Luisa’s Park (there are old bulding from the Universal Exposure in 1929)

– Puente de Triana (Bridge) & walk around Triana

There are a few nice terraces and cafes to enjoy the view in the Plaza de America. If you’re into Flamence; Flamenco was born in Sevilla. You could arrange to learn & take Flamenco lessons.  Otherwise, you could arrange with your concierge to book a Flamenco show with a dinner if you prefer. If you’ve never seen a flamenco show in your life, I highly recommend its fun and loud!!

4. Food.

For restaurants, what I did was rely almost 100% on trip advisor. As we walked, we had internet access on our phones, and Trip Advisor installed. We’d just search for places near by and walk in. We were never disappointed!

Other than the delicious “Bulla” that I mentioned earlier, the one other restaurant that I still remember my friends and myself liked is called Carmela .. Spanish cuisine, amazing tapas. (in Calle Santa Maria La Blanca)

– Checkout EME Catedral Hotel Rooftop Terrace for sunsets.



– Check out Red House Art & Food: known as a creative art space, this cafe and performance venue is unique in Seville.


5. Ronda

An option is to do a day trip to Ronda. You rent a car and drive there. Ronda is absolutely BREATH-TAKING. It was one of my favorites parts about Andalucia. If you don’t feel comfortable driving, there is an option where it could be arranged via a day tour that includes watching a bull-fight. For more information on this feel free to ask me and i shall provide you with the details.

6. Final words.

Get lost, walk around, explore Sevilla at your own pace 😉 Spain is generally safe and people stay up late so enjoy!!




Menorca, Spain

Minorca or Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. Its name derives from its size, contrasting it with nearby Majorca. Menorca has a population of approximately 94,383.


How to get there.

  • Menorca’s Airport is located just 20 minutes from the centre of Maó; there are buses from the town and back, as well as a taxi stand (the journey costs around €15)
  • By plane from Madrid
  • By boat from Mallorca
  • By sea is about eight hours from Barcelona to Maó


Menorca’s beaches get crowded in peak season (July and August) – Many of the island’s hotels and restaurants close for the winter months.



Barcelo Hamilton Hotel (5 minutes walk from Mahor Harbor where all the restaurants and coffee shops are)

– Paradise Club & Spa ApartHotel

– Insotel Punta Prima Resort




– You can find as many restaurants as you want in Maó Harbor

– Margarita Cafe (Nice cafe right on the harbor – try their carrot cake)

– Nou Sizoco (Great sea food)

– Bracafé (for pastries in mahon port)

– Dinkums  (amazing sea food – try their sole fish, octopus, squid & the lemon icecream)


Things to do/beaches to see.

  • Platja des Banyul
  • Cala tarqueta
  • Check out Maó Harbor market of hand made goods
  • Explore Menorca on horseback
  • Watch sunset in Cova d’en Xoroi at Cala’n Porter, which is a spectacular bar with outside terraces is set within natural caves 25 metres above sea level



– You can’t reach most of the beaches by car, kayak or a small speed boat only

– You won’t find anything in the beach area, no coffee shops, no bars, no restaurants so you have to bring your own stuff with you; Towels beverages etc.


“Get a tan, fall in love..”


Must see 11 Hotels: Coming Up in 2015!

1. Lizard Island (Australia)

Lizard Island

Lizard Island’s villa interiors are a nod to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef just outside. The earthy palette is accented by pops of coral, blue and gold.

 2. The Reverie Saigon (Vietnam)


Part of the Times Square building in Ho Chi Minh City, Reverie Saigon has an Italian design, a helipad and a fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantom Dragons.

3. Park Hyatt Zanzibar (Tanzania)


With 67 rooms spread over two buildings, Park Hyatt Zanzibar features intricate carvings and a peaceful courtyard.

4. SLS Park Avenue (New York)


Located in New York’s NoMad (north of Madison Square Park) neighborhood, SLS Park Avenue has a moody color scheme and lots of designer furniture.

5. Patina, Capitol Singapore

Patina, Capitol Singapore will occupy two heritage-listed buildings: the Capitol Building and Stamford House. Staff double as concierges to create personal experiences for guests. HIDE CAPTIO

Patina, Capitol Singapore will occupy two heritage-listed buildings: the Capitol Building and Stamford House. Staff double as concierges to create personal experiences for guests.

6. Anantara Tangalle (Sri Lanka)

Anantara Tangalle Resort and Spa is located in Sri Lanka's beach town of Tangalle. Its design is inspired by traditional Sri Lankan architecture.

Anantara Tangalle Resort and Spa is located in Sri Lanka’s beach town of Tangalle. Its design is inspired by traditional Sri Lankan architecture.

7. Alila Seminyak (Indonesia)

Alila Seminyak sits on a beach along Bali's southwest coast, a short walk from the bars and restaurants of Seminyak.

Alila Seminyak sits on a beach along Bali’s southwest coast, a short walk from the bars and restaurants of Seminyak.

8. Lofoten Opera Hotel (Norway)

Norway's Lofoten archipelago is a dramatic union of soaring peaks, untouched beaches and sheltered bays. The Lofoten Opera Hotel cascades toward the sea from the mountains.

Norway’s Lofoten archipelago is a dramatic union of soaring peaks, untouched beaches and sheltered bays. The Lofoten Opera Hotel cascades toward the sea from the mountains.

9. Four Seasons Hotel Seoul


The Four Seasons Hotel Seoul is adjacent to Gwanghwamun, the main gate of the Gyeongbok Palace and the historic districts of Jong-re and Isadong.

10. Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi (Malaysia)

Fringed by tropical rainforests, The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi has a private cove and beach overlooking the Andaman Sea. The resort and villa buildings reflect kampong village styles.

Fringed by tropical rainforests, The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi has a private cove and beach overlooking the Andaman Sea. The resort and villa buildings reflect kampong village styles.


Travel far enough, you meet yourself”