At Our Whole Village, we plan meaningful vacations for families who want to create lifelong memories and show their kids the world in a more conscious and intentional manner.
We help families take meaningful vacations so that they can escape everyday life, show their kids the world and make lifelong memories - with care, confidence and peace of mind.
Your (free) guide to the top travel destinations for families with babies, teens and everyone in between.
American chef and cookbook author James Beard believed, “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” It transcends language barriers, cultural differences, and geography. No matter where you hail from, you’ve got to eat. And as the Food Network attests, people from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds appreciate good food wherever they find it.
Of course, some destinations stand out from the crowd when it comes to vacations for foodies. Let’s take a closer look at kid-friendly, food-oriented trips and why your family will fall in love with the local eats and sweets in these locations.
Peru has been at the top of food travel destination lists for the last decade, and with good reason. The country has preserved some of the oldest cooking methodologies on the planet and has the ancient indigenous agriculture to support it. Regional cuisines vary wildly and can leave families new to the scene feeling overwhelmed about what to order.
We suggest starting your family vacation in Lima, the best place to gain your gastronomical footing. A veritable melting pot of Peru’s diverse regional flavors, Lima has played a significant role in attracting the nation’s international culinary reputation. It also showcases Peruvian cuisine at its best, including plenty of noodle dishes, “fast” food, and finger foods. These are all excellent for enticing little ones — even picky eaters — to get adventurous with their tastebuds.
Among our favorite dishes when traveling with kids? Salchipapas, a hearty dish made with potatoes and sausage, and tallarines verdes, a Peruvian take on spaghetti and pesto. And your kids will fall in love with picarones, a doughnut-like pastry made with squash and sweet potatoes. Check out our post on Peruvian classics kids will love for more tips. And don’t forget to explore Asian influences on the nation’s cuisine, too.
When it comes to family foodie hotspots, put Phuket, Thailand, at the top of your list. This dynamic metropolis garnered UNESCO’s City of Gastronomy award in 2017, making it the best location to launch a culinary exploration of the nation. Authentic Thai food packs an incredible punch of flavor while achieving a harmonious balance between spicy, bitter, sweet, salty, and sour. And you’ll also find plenty of comfort food that kids can get behind.
At the top of our list for kids looking for something familiar is fried rice. Most people think of it as a staple of Chinese food, but it’s just as big a deal in Thai restaurants. Jam-packed with bits of stir-fried egg and veggies, order it with your choice of pork, chicken, shrimp, or crab. Another fantastic option is sticky rice, a fun and tasty treat that invites little hands to play with their food. Whether you choose a savory option like grilled chicken sticky rice or a sweet choice like mango sticky rice, it’s a go-to dish and a surefire hit.
Another delish option to introduce your children to Thai food is massaman curry, known colloquially as “children’s curry.” Why? Because of its mild flavors and sweet mixture of flavors. The curry is prepared in a peanut-based creamy sauce that lacks the spiciness of other curries, making it excellent for less mature palates. Click here for more Thai staple snacks and treats.
Traditional Portuguese fare is renowned for its robust dishes chock full of seafood, meat, vegetables, and legumes. Inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, the nation’s food also contains a surprising variety of spices from Portugal’s former colonies: paprika, clove, piri-piri peppers, allspice, and cumin. You can also expect a delicious dose of onions, garlic, coriander, rosemary, oregano, bay leaf, and fresh cilantro.
Where to start when exploring tasty Portuguese dishes kids will love? Pastries! In Portugal, bakeries abound, filled with delicious treats like fruit cakes and custard pastries. When in Lisbon, head straight to Belem to savor the nation’s celebrated Pastais de Nata, a custard cake dusted with sugar and cinnamon.
Besides satiating your sweet tooth, you’ll find plenty of savory dishes to dig into. They include bacalhau, a meal of dried salted cod with vegetables, hardboiled eggs, and rich drizzles of olive oil. Piri-piri is a rich and spicy roast chicken dish seasoned with ground piri-piri peppers and served with crispy French fries. Caldo verde is a robust soup of chourico sausage, cabbage, and potatoes, and you can’t go wrong with dishes featuring grilled pork, fresh seafood, sausage, or beef. Find out more about eating with kids in Lisbon.
Costa Rica hosts fantastic biodiversity, reflected in its incredible food offerings. Choose from a cornucopia of fresh vegetables, fruits, and tasty local coffees. The nation’s focus on pura vida influences the culinary scene by relying on wholesome, hearty, locally-grown ingredients presented in uber-fresh, tasty presentations.
Finger foods are a great way to get kids interested in sampling new and different flavors. And when it comes to finger foods, there’s only one place to start in Costa Rica: arreglados. Think of them as the Costa Rican version of sandwiches. But instead of bread, arreglados are encased in crusty, golden puff pastry-like shells made with corn flour. Inside, you’ll find everything you’d expect from a fully loaded sandwich, including different types of meat, tomatoes, lettuce, sweet mustard, and more.
Another dish worth diving into is gallo pinto, a plate of rice, beans, and vegetables served with meat and eggs. A breakfast staple in the country, it’s fantastic with a cup of coffee or freshly squeezed juice for the kids. Children will also get behind gallitos de picadillo, the Costa Rican version of “Indian Tacos.” Think a corn tortilla heaped with fresh vegetables, squash, and ground beef sauteed in peppers and onions. For the full scoop on more must-try menu items, read this article.
Sunny Spain has so many kid-friendly dishes it’s hard to know where to begin. After all, we’re talking about the land of churros and chocolate! But kids will also dive into plates of cured meats with gusto. And croquetas represent the ultimate in crispy fried goodness, with countless tasty filling options, from chicken to potatoes, ham to salt cod, and more.
Another yummy kid-friendly recipe is tortilla de patatas, an egg and potato omelet that’ll tempt even your pickiest eater. (Here’s a tasty recipe for tortilla de patatas.) Tuna pasta is another excellent choice made with fresh tomato sauce, and Spain’s famed canned tuna and fried calamari rings are great for grabbing and devouring.
Spain’s version of roast chicken is another tasty option that’ll make little (and big) mouths water. And tapas bars abound, where you can order many little plates perfect for sharing and sampling new flavors. Of course, there’s no better way to end a meal than crispy and light churros paired with thick, hot dipping chocolate. It doesn’t get any more decadent than that! Read our post on the perfect itinerary for Barcelona with kids for tips on finding the best café to savor this treat.
The best vacations push you and your family members outside of your comfort zones. They encourage your children to try new things and savor exotic flavors. In the process, you’ll encourage your kids to become international foodies while broadening your family’s understanding of the world and its cultures.
Whether you head to Peru to explore one of the globe’s most celebrated culinary scenes or journey to Spain, where kid-friendly eats prove plentiful, your family has many exciting options. There’s also the spicy food of Thailand, the fresh and rustic cuisine of Costa Rica, and the bountiful flavors and ingredients prized in Portugal.
Which of these destinations is right for your family? Or perhaps you’d like to explore other options? We’re here to help. Contact us now to learn more about the best family vacations for foodies.
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