10 Dream destinations & Workaway experiences for Foodies

From indulging in Italy's pasta passion to the curry carnival of India, these foodie destinations promise a feast of flavours and fun experiences that celebrate the heart of each culture - FOOD! 

Whether you want to learn how olive oil is made, pick up permaculture tips or sample street food, Volunteering with Workaway is one of the best ways to travel through your taste buds! 

The destinations on this list are as diverse as they are delicious, with volunteering as the perfect cherry on top. Locals are ready to share their family recipes, dreamy delicacies and traditional treats with those hungry for adventure and new foodie finds. 

Are you ready to embark on a gastronomic journey to discover some of the world’s most famous foods? With this guide you won’t just get to taste them, but learn how to grow them, cook them and share them just like a local. Let’s go food fans…

workawayer cooking food

Dream destinations & Workaway experiences for Foodies

1. Italy: Pasta and Pizza Paradise

Italian cuisine boasts many iconic dishes that have become beloved worldwide. Italians place a strong emphasis on using seasonal, fresh ingredients and letting their natural flavours shine. Here are some top tips for foodies in Italy:

  • You will never be hungry: Lunch and dinner are usually a few courses and may include: Antipasti (appetisers) followed by primi (first courses, often pasta or risotto), secondi (main courses), and dolci (desserts).
  • Regional variations: Northern Italy is known for its rich dishes such as creamy risottos and hearty stews. Central Italy is home to classics like pasta and rustic soups. Tuscany is a foodie haven in particular, famed for its hearty meats and beans. Southern Italy is more influenced by Mediterranean flavours as well as the beloved pizza, pasta and fresh seafood. 

  • Pride in local produce: Italy is one of the largest producers of olive oil in the world. It’s also famous for its wine regions producing renowned wines such as Chianti and Prosecco. If tomatoes are not your vibe, Italy won’t be either. They’re used in almost all dishes from sauces to salads to stews. 

Best Workaway Experiences for Foodies in Italy

With over 500 hosts in Italy ready to share their homes, you could potentially live off pasta and pizza forever! Buon appetito! 

workawayer learning how to make gnocchi

2. Japan: Sushi Sensation

Japanese cuisine, known as "washoku," is deeply rooted in traditions that have been passed down through generations. "Wa'' means Japan and "Shoku" means to eat. When it comes to culinary culture, locals place great importance on aesthetics, balance, and respect for ingredients. If Japan is on your foodie bucket list, here’s a few top tips: 

  • Umami: It’s worth knowing that the concept of "umami," the fifth basic taste, is a cornerstone of Japanese cuisine, contributing to its distinct flavours. 
  • Traditional dishes: Iconic dishes include: Sashimi which is thinly sliced raw fish, sushi, ramen, a noodle based broth, Yakitori which is skewered and grilled chicken pieces and Tempura which is lightly battered and deep fried seafood and vegetables. 
  • Ceremonies: If you get the chance, take part in a traditional tea ceremony which is a ritual centred around preparing and serving - you guessed it - tea! You’ll also find casual, pub-like establishments called Izakaya where you can enjoy small plates and drinks. For a super special treat, you may get to experience a Kaiseki meal which can be anywhere from six to 15 courses (usually around 9) with each course an absolute work of art. 

Best Workaway Experiences for Foodies in Japan

Ready for ramen? We have nearly 200 hosts in Japan, here are a few foodie favourites:

traditional Japanese izakaya collage of two photos - two men drinking sake and another couple sitting at the sushi bar

3. Spain: Trailblazing Tapas

Social butterflies will love Spain’s foodie scene. The country is famous for its lively food culture, where meals are a social event. The country is also known for its traditional festivals dedicated to food, such as La Tomatina (tomato fight) and La Feria de Abril (April Fair) in Seville. Hungry to hear more? Here’s our top tips for foodies in Spain: 

  • Traditional dishes: Tapas where people enjoy small bites while socialising, is a culinary custom in Spain. Chocolate fans should try churros which are fried dough (think skinny, tall donuts) often dipped in chocolate for dessert or breakfast. Not forgetting Paella - A Valencian rice dish typically cooked with saffron, vegetables featuring seafood or meat.
  • Regional variations: Each region in Spain has its own distinct culinary identity. For example, Andalusia is known for gazpacho (cold soup) fried fish, and flavorful stews, whereas Catalonia is famous for its seafood dishes, tapas, and Catalan cream dessert. Head to Basque Country for its innovative cuisine, including pintxos (Basque-style tapas) and hearty stews or seafood lovers may prefer Galicia which is notable for its seafood, octopus dishes, and empanadas (savoury pastries).
  • Late dining: Spaniards often gather with family and friends to enjoy leisurely meals that extend late into the night. Partly thanks to the mid-afternoon siesta, it’s not unusual for dinner to start around 10pm in the evening.

Best Workaway Experiences for Food in Spain

Tempted by tapas? We have hundreds of hosts in Spain ready to share their recipes with you, these include: 

group of travellers enjoying wine and seafood paella outdoors in the Spanish countryside

4. Mexico: Taco Fiesta

Mexican cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its use of fresh ingredients, rich spices and blend of indigenous ingredients and Spanish influences. Meals are often communal events, and traditional Mexican markets (mercados) play a central role in the foodie culture here. Anyone with an appetite for adventure will love Mexico, because…

  • Street food scene: Mexico is famous for its vibrant street food culture. Food stalls offer everything from tacos to elote (grilled corn on the cob.) It’s ideal for those travelling on a budget, as the average taco from a street vendor in Mexico costs between 10-15 Mexican Pesos (roughly $0.50 – $0.75 USD) 
  • Traditional Dishes: Many Mexican dishes are corn (maize) based. It is used to make tortillas used in enchiladas and tacos as well as Tamales. Tamales are steamed or boiled pockets of masa (corn dough) filled with various fillings and often wrapped in corn husks. You can also try pozole, a hearty soup made from hominy (corn kernels) and meat. 
  • Regional Variations: Mexico's cuisine is incredibly diverse. For example, the Yucatan Peninsula is known for using achiote (annatto seed) and unique dishes like cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork). Oaxaca is famous for its rich moles, tlayudas (large tortillas), and chapulines (edible grasshoppers!) And Puebla is the birthplace of mole poblano, chiles en nogada, and other iconic dishes.

Best Workaway Experiences for Foodies in Mexico

You’ll become a taco pro with over 500 hosts to choose from all over Mexico. Here are a few food focused hosts to inspire you:

hostel volunteers enjoying mexican food with local

5. France: Culinary Elegance

Those who are more into sophistication than street food, will LOVE the food in France. It is renowned worldwide for its elegance (French people even eat their burgers and pizzas with cutlery at restaurants - fancy!) 

Like most European countries, there is no rush when it comes to food. The French are all about savouring meal times as they are enjoyed at a leisurely pace with family and friends. Here’s our fave foodie facts on France: 

  • Traditional tastes: Wine lovers, listen up! France is renowned for its wine regions including Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne producing some of the world's finest wines. If you’ve a sweet tooth you need to visit the famous patisseries (pastry shops), which offer pastries and desserts that taste as good as they look as well as boulangeries (bakeries) famed for their baguettes and croissants. Feeling adventurous? Why not try escargot, snails cooked in garlic butter, bouillabaisse - a fish stew from Provence or Duck à l'Orange roasted duck served with a sweet orange sauce.
  • Regional variations: Provence is known for dishes rich in herbs and olive oil, such as ratatouille and bouillabaisse. Normandy is famed for its apple-based products like cider and also Camembert cheese. Whereas Alsace cuisine is influenced by German traditions, so you can try dishes like choucroute (sauerkraut) and flammekueche (a type of flatbread).
  • Cheese please: If you lived in France for an entire year, you could try a new cheese every single day and STILL there would be some new varieties to try! This is because France has nearly 400 types of cheeses that are traditionally made there. 

Best Workaway Experiences for Foodies in France

Fancy France for a foodie adventure? Good news is we have over 500 hosts dotted all over the country! Here are a few favourites to whet your appetite:

woman eating french breakfast on balcony

6. Thailand: Land of Smiles...and street food!

Thai cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its balance of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy flavours, not forgetting the stunning presentation! Thai people love to use chilli peppers, garlic, lemongrass, and lime for their bold flavours. 

There is also an epic street food scene, particularly at night markets with traditional treats like Pad Thai, Mango sticky rice or Beef Panang Curry costing as little as $1. It's no wonder Thailand is one of the most popular places to travel in Asia on a budget. It couldn’t be easier to travel through your taste buds in Thailand thanks to…

  • Traditional Dishes: You cannot leave without trying Tom Yum Goong a hot and sour shrimp soup, Pad Thai which is stir-fried rice noodles with shrimp or chicken, green Curry (Gaeng Keow Wan) a spicy curry made with a paste of green chili peppers, coconut milk, vegetables or meats and Massaman Curry which is a rich and flavorful curry influenced by Indian spices, often made with beef, potatoes, and peanuts.
  • Sweet treats: Many Thai dishes have sugar added to them. Even unexpected ones like Pad Thai or green papaya salad, it is common for sugar to be added during the preparation. If you don't want your food to be too sweet, just say 'waan noi', which means slightly sweet.
  • Eating alone: Unlike Japan where eating alone is common, and they use "Mokushoku" to describe “silent eating” or “eating alone,” in Thailand eating alone is a sign of bad luck!

Best Workaway Experiences for Foodies in Thailand

There are so many destinations to volunteer in Thailand, but for foodie experiences in particular, check out these hosts: 

thai woman selling street food

7. India: Curry Carnival

Indian cuisine is celebrated globally for its use of aromatic spices, varied regional specialties and rich cultural history of vegetarianism. Indian food culture is deeply intertwined with daily life, family gatherings, and cultural celebrations. You’ll find most meals are often shared with family members and served in a communal manner. There is so much we could share about the vibrant flavours of Indian cuisine, but here’s a few top tips:

  • Vegan and vegetarian: If you’re wondering how to travel through Workaway as a vegan, India is a great place to start. Some of the best vegan Indian dishes include chana masala, palak (tofu) paneer, biryani, masala dosa, baingan bharta, gobi manchurian, aloo gobi, kofta balls, pakoras, and samosas. 
  • Regional Variations: Thanks to the country’s immense size, you can expect a multitude of foodie traditions for each region. For example, North Indian Cuisine is known for its rich curries, bread varieties like naan and roti, and Mughlai influences. South Indian Cuisine on the other hand is characterised by rice-based dishes, coconut as well as dishes like dosas and idlis. West Indian Cuisine is famed for seafood dishes and flavours influenced by Portuguese colonisation, but East Indian Cuisine is inspired by neighbouring countries like Bangladesh. 
  • Spice capital of the world: India produces more than 70 percent of the world’s spices and has a greater variety of spices than any other country. Not a fan of spice? No worries! Northern Indian cuisine uses more milk products than that of southern India so the food is considerably less spicy.
  • Sweet Treats: There are over 200 Indian desserts (often called Mithais.) The most common is Kheer, a traditional rice pudding, or Gulab Jamun, Indian milk balls served with honey syrup.

Best Workaway Experiences for Foodies in India

With over 500 hosts in India, we hope you’re hungry for one BIG adventure! Here are a few foodie faves:

local family enjoying indian curry on the floor

8. Israel: A Haven for Hummus

Do you crave a vibrant and unique foodie adventure? Israel should be your next destination! 

The traditional food scene in Israel is a mosaic of flavours and influences thanks to a blend of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Jewish, and Arab culinary traditions. Here you can expect fresh ingredients, bold spices, and mezze-style dining, where a variety of small dishes are shared…Oh, and ALOT of Hummus! 

  • Hummus: Who knew this creamy chickpea dip could be so controversial. Israel originally adopted hummus as its unofficial national dish because it suited Jewish kashrut laws. These are religious rules that cover eating and food preparation. While many Israelis believe hummus is their creation, other middle eastern nations (such as Lebanon) disagree. Egyptians also claim hummus is their invention and it's also a staple along the Mediterranean coastline. Want to know what all the fuss is about? Learn how to make hummus the Israeli way here.  
  • Traditional dishes: You cannot leave without trying falafel (deep fried balls of chickpeas typically served in pitta) Shawarma (usually grilled lamb, chicken or beef served in flat bread) or Baba Ganoush, a dip made from roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon juice and garlic. 
  • Street food scene: Israel is famous for its vibrant street food scene with bustling markets and food stalls. It is the best place to try the national favourites mentioned above like hummus, falafel, shawarma, and shakshuka on a budget. 
  • Sushi fans: Fun fact: Tel Aviv has over a hundred sushi restaurants! This means it’s just behind Tokyo and NYC for the most sushi restaurants per capita!

Best Workaway Experiences for Foodies in Israel

Hungry for more? Why not check out our hosts in Israel. Here are a few for inspiration:

volunteers cooking and learning how to make isaeli good and hummus

9. Vietnam: Street Food Symphony 

Vietnamese cuisine is known for its emphasis on light and healthy preparations, as well as its creative use of herbs and spices. You’ll also find a vibrant street food scene that offers a wide range of delicious and affordable options. Many dishes are rice based as Vietnam rice production ranks second in the world (after Thailand!)

  • Traditional dishes: The most popular Vietnamese dishes are Pho, a fragrant noodle soup, Banh Mi, a French-influenced baguette filled with meats, vegetables and condiments and Goi Cuon fresh spring rolls made with rice paper, shrimp and vermicelli noodles served with peanut sauce. 
  • Blood for breakfast? If you’re someone who likes to try the unusual foods on offer, Vietnam is one of the very few countries in the world where people eat animal blood (Tiet Canh). You can try pig blood, duck blood, dog blood and shrimp blood. 
  • Sauces for all: Are you a condiment connoisseur? No other place does dipping sauces quite like Vietnam. From fish sauce to frog sauce, the country has more than 30 kinds of sauces!

Best Workaway Experinces for Foodies in Vietnam

We have nearly 100 hosts in Vietnam, but here are our top foodie finds:

group of local ladies selling street food in vietnam

10. Peru: Andean Culinary Expedition

Chinese, Japanese, African, and European influences have all contributed to the unique flavours found in Peruvian dishes. The diverse climate and geography has resulted in a wide variety of locally grown ingredients which is reflected in the country’s foodie scene. Did you know Peru is the birthplace of potatoes? Here’s a few more things to know about food in Peru…

  • Traditional tastes: Peru is known for its superfoods like maca, lucuma, and sacha inchi, as well as quinoa which have gained global popularity for their nutritional benefits. Some iconic Peruvian dishes include Ceviche which is fresh raw fish marinated in lime juice served with onions, cilantro and spicy peppers. Lomo Saltado, a stir-fry dish featuring marinated beef, onions, tomatoes, and French fries, often served with rice. Pachamanca, a traditional Andean dish featuring meats, potatoes, and vegetables cooked in an earth oven and Causa Rellena, layers of seasoned mashed potatoes filled with ingredients like chicken, tuna, or vegetables.
  • Peru and potatoes: As the birthplace of potatoes it's no surprise Peru is home to 3000 types of domesticated potato. It also boasts over 100 varieties of corn!
  • Try Cuy: Seasoned with spices then grilled on open fire, guinea pig known as cuy has been a delicacy for the Andes people for a long time! 

Best Workaway Experiences for Foodies in Peru

With nearly 300 hosts in Peru, it could not be easier to travel through your tastebuds. Here are a few stand out food focused hosts: 

peruvian lady cooking local dishes in a kitchen

Hopefully now you consider Workaway your foodie fairy godmother! Join us to connect with locals who are as passionate about their cuisine as you are. From swapping family recipes in cosy kitchens to sharing traditional treats during festivals, these volunteering experiences are the ultimate recipe for travel that feeds both your stomach and your soul. Bon appetit! 

group of volunteers eating meal from leaf

food travelcultural exchangelocal food

About Lauren

Growing up in a small coastal village in Scotland inspired Lauren to seek adventure and challenge the norm. Armed with just her backpack and trusty travel companion Darren, she quit her day job to liv... show more...

View all posts by Lauren

Visit Website

Share the Workaway idea


You might also like

Exploring Love and Wanderlust: Pros and Cons of Travelling as a Couple
Volunteering for a Cause: Workaway Projects with a Social Impact