5 trips for new cooking experiences

Food is a firm part of any holiday, but have you taken a trip where you’ve learnt to create the country’s best dishes on your own? From Thailand to Paris, these trips include cooking classes to improve your culinary skills
cooking spring roll
Cooking spring roll. Photo: Shutterstock

Cooking spring roll. Photo: Shutterstock


Taking a holiday creates countless memories and experiences to enjoy. What if your next trip saw you take a new skill home too? We’ve collected our favourite holidays where, through cooking classes, tasting sessions and market tours, you can learn new recipes, foods and flavours on your travels too


Insight Guides provides trips around the world, covering the wilds of Patagonia to Burma’s most beautiful temples. We work hard to ensure every trip is special and unique, to ensure an unforgettable experience for you. The trips listed below have been selected from our portfolio and include cooking classes showcasing the best of the host country’s cuisine.


1. Hanoi’s hottest flavours

What? A hands-on lesson
Where? Hanoi, Vietnam
Which trip? Vietnam Culinary Experience

After a brief introduction to Vietnamese cuisine, understanding ingredients used in traditional dishes, you’ll be guided through Hanoi’s Chau Long Market. Your expert chefs will highlight the finest daily produce and the best ways to buy your ingredients.

Returning to the Hanoi Cooking Centre, you’ll don your chef whites to rustle up your own meals. Directed through the cooking experience from start to finish, you’ll sample your creations, which could include anything from green bean cake to quail eggs.

Take me to Vietnam

2. A luxurious culinary experience

What? A French cookery class
Where? Paris, France
Which trip? Luxury Paris

Explore a full range of French flavours and tastes, on a half-day course with the capital’s best chefs. Meet your teacher in the morning for a market visit, where you’ll browse for produce among freshly-baked breads, stalls packed with cheese, and the day’s freshest vegetables, purchasing your ingredients along the way.

The aim is to learn recipes and techniques you can easily recreate at home, with the chance to cook an entire three-course meal. Example dishes could include duck with prunes and wine sauce (allegedly one of King Louis XIV’s favourites) or Roquefort salad with pears and fragrant spices.

Take me to Paris


French macaroons. Photo: ShutterstockFrench macaroons. Photo: Shutterstock


3. A journey through Japan’s food

What? Sake tasting and Japanese cooking class
Where? Kyoto, Japan
Which trip? Japan Culinary Discovery

There’s more to Japanese cuisine than sushi and soups but, for beginners, it’s a good place to start; discover the flavours and fragrances on a cooking class in Kyoto. You’ll begin your introduction to the country’s specialities with a guided walk through Nishiki Market, purchasing local produce along the way.

After the market, navigate the city’s maze of backstreets to a former sake brewery for a tasting session of the country’s world-famous drink. Next up, your cooking class takes place in an old-fashioned, wooden Japanese house where you’ll be taught how to make a traditional meal; from sushi rolls to miso soup, salads and seasonal fruit for dessert. 

Take me to Japan

4. A taste of Thailand

What? Private home-cooking class
Where? Bangkok, Thailand
Which trip? Bangkok Gourmet

This private cooking class introduces you to Thai cuisine, under the expert guidance of Angsana Anderson, a Thai homemaker with years of experience teaching Thai cooking in her kitchen. Begin with a trip to the local market to shop for your exotic ingredients. Then take part in a hands-on session, based on a pre-selected menu of three dishes and one dessert. Of course, you’ll save the best until last, by tasting your creations once complete.

Take me to Thailand

5. Cooking highlights in Kuala Lumpur

What? Malaysian home-cooking
Where? Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Which trip? Unique Rustic Malaysia

Rustle-up a range of Malaysian dishes on a half-day, private, home-cooking class. Begin your day by haggling among housewives and hawkers for produce at the city’s Chow Kit market. Here you’ll find a mish-mash of Chinese, Malay and Indian traders, showcasing the huge range of flavours, tastes and foods Malaysia’s varied cuisine is home to. LaZat’s Malaysian Home Cook Class will then teach you traditional techniques to create the best of Malaysian cuisine, the way it has been cooked for generations.

Take me to Malaysia


Rolling sushi class. Photo: ShutterstockRolling sushi class. Photo: Shutterstock