I love taking food tours when I travel. I find them to be the perfect introduction to a destination – you are essentially on a guided historical walking tour themed around the cultural cuisine an food of a country or city.
Tours don’t get much better than that if you ask me. If I’m going to be walking around and learning about all the ins and outs of a culture, why not add in some food and drinks into the mix? So when I got to San Juan, Puerto Rico, I instantly looked up food tours. The first one I came across was the Spoon Food Tours.
They run different tours, and since I was going to be taking the tour with my mom who has a lot of dietary restrictions (no gluten, no dairy, no red meat, no nightshade vegetables, etc) I need to first check if her needs would be accommodated. And I was very happy to hear from Paulina, the owner that the evening 4pm tour would work well!
We met our guide Caroline in front of the Plaza del Armas and were ready for the tour. Our guide was originally from Spain, but went to school at McGill in Montreal, before living with her husband in England and finally settling down and having a baby in Puerto Rico.
She was bubbly, she was chatty, she was passionate about both food and Puerto Rico – just what you want in a tour guide. After explaining a bit about the history of Puerto Rico (the Spaniards were in control for 400 years until the Americans took over in 1898) we were ready for our first stop.
We entered this bright and vibrant restaurant where the focus is on locally sourced home made food.
We also learned from Carolina that Puerto Rico makes some seriously delicious coffee. Coffee used to be the island’s largest export, but now it needs to be imported and what happens is that major brands will purchase the coffee from Mexico, mix in a minimum amount of Puerto Rican coffee and then sell it as Puerto Rican coffee. Currently, there is a rise in single origin specialty grade coffee and as this becomes more popular, there will be more small coffee growers entering the market.
That wrapped up our food tour! We had a great time with Caroline as our guide, who is simply brimming with information and passion for the Puerto Rican food scene and the culture. She took some time after the tour to share her favorite foodie destinations in the city, and we left with a list of at least a dozen new restaurants to try.
I fully enjoyed this food tour, which not only lets you sample bites of the traditional cuisine, but also is a guided tour around the historical center of the city with lots of both historical and culture information.
To book your own food tour head on over to Spoon Food Tours. We went on the sunset walk and taste 4pm tour, but there are lots of other tours to choose from. The total tour price with tax + fees for the evening tour is $105, and while this seems like a lot, you need to view this not just as a dinner with drinks and dessert, but a full tour experience where you also have a guided city tour built in as well. If you have dietary restrictions the evening tour will be able to accommodate them.