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Whether you’re a well-seasoned foodie or someone looking to try something new, Vancouver will certainly not disappoint! With so many vibrant neighborhoods and cultural diversity, there are tons of food options and things to do in Vancouver.
If you ask us, one of the best ways to get an idea of the food scene in any place is to hop on one of the great tours offered in Vancouver! Not only do food tours give you a sample of some of the best dishes around, but you also get to explore, learn from local guides, and meet some awesome people on the way.
We’ve been on quite a few and even found some new favorite spots because of them, so keep reading for our top 4 food tours in Vancouver!
Why Join a Food Tour in Vancouver?
When I first visited Vancouver (now this is making me feel old) the first tour I ever did was a food tour. Not only did I get to learn a ton about the city and get my bearings, but I got to eat some incredible food and discover some of the local secrets in the city – talk about an introduction.
Food tours in Vancouver are just that – the perfect introduction to the city.
But I also love the fact that someone else does the hard work of planning for you. I mean, planning travel can be fun, but sometimes I just love to leave it to the pros.
Of course, I’m now a Vancouver local and personally take my friends on my own food tour through the city, but once upon a time, I had no idea where to start. So, join a food tour in Vancouver and eat your way around one of Canada’s best cities!
4 Best Food Tours in Vancouver
1. Vancouver walking tasting tour with Secret Food Tours
Gastown is a Vancouver neighborhood full of some really incredible restaurants to grab a bite, but there are also some great locations in downtown Vancouver too. This walking tasting tour combines the best of both worlds, resulting in an experience that showcases some of the best foodie spots Vancouver has to offer!
Kicking off at the Dominion Building, we met up with our guide TJ at 11 am and headed out on our mission for some tasty local food. Along the way, we also explored Stanley Park, as well as the Seawall to the modern Olympic Cauldron built for the 2010 Winter Games. Ending in Gastown, we even got the chance to peep at some of the best sights in Gastown including the famous Gastown Steam Clock and Maple Leaf Square – a real treat!
But don’t worry, it’s not all walking; there’s lots of tasty food to try in between! We got to dig into some delicious sushi rolls, as well as Aburi sushi – if you have yet to try it, it’s a type of pressed sushi lightly torched for a smoky, delicious flavor!
Next up was some tender pulled pork poutine that seriously hit the spot and some sweet chili cauliflower to balance it all out. It ends with some sweet treats like local ice cream and a secret spot that we won’t spoil for you, but we’re pretty sure you’ll love it!
The tour lasted about 3.5 hours and had a maximum of 10 people per tour, making this tour feel really personalized as we asked tons of questions along the way. Whether you’re looking for a fun activity or want an intro to the history and tastes of downtown Vancouver, it’s an amazing way to get to know the local food scene.
Tickets for the tour cost $129 CAD per person. Our stomachs agree that it’s well worth it! There’s also the option to take a truly private tour instead, where you follow the same route, but there’s more room for personalizing the tour, with tickets for this tour costing $189 CAD per adult.
Whether you’d like to take a private tour or opt to go in a small group, this experience really is a great intro to the incredible food scene in Vancouver! You can select your dates and book this tour online here.
Related Read: You can also explore Victoria’s Chinatown and the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever seen on tours from Vancouver to Victoria!
2. A Wok Around Chinatown
Did you know that Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest in all of Canada? Well, now you do, and it’s a great reason to hop on this culinary tour called A Wok Around Chinatown (I know, we love the name too!). This is an awesome way to see the area, and your guide, Robert “Bob” Sung, is an actual chef – packing this 4-hour tour full of amazing culinary tips from a local expert.
Starting off strong at the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens, this smaller tour (10 people or less) is the perfect way to learn more about the history and culture of the area. After all, Vancouver’s Chinatown has been around since the 1890s!
You’ll get to see and sample loads of tasty bites along the way, with highlights like Chinese BBQ (crispy duck is the winner here!), tea brewing, and tasting. Oh, and did we mention the authentic Dim Sum lunch that is sure to leave you satisfied?
One of my favorite stops on this tour (although they are all awesome) was the medicinal food hall, where you can learn about different foods used in traditional medicine.
Bob does an amazing job of sharing his culture with guests, and his knowledge and mouthwatering food are the perfect recipe for a fantastic city tour of Vancouver. Whether you’re locals like us or a visitor to the city, you’ll enjoy this one!
This tour is an absolute steal at $115 CAD per person – Bob is a great character who helps to make the experience really memorable. So, if visiting Chinatown sounds right up your street, then you can check availability and book your tickets online here.
Why We Book Tours with Viator
Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:
- Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
- Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
- Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
- Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.
Check out the Viator website here!
3. VIP access Granville Island market tour
If you were to ask us what the best things to do on Granville Island were, we’d say you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Granville Market! You’ll find so many diverse vendors here, selling fresh meals, bread, cheese, handmade jewelry, and arts and crafts. If you’re worried it’s just a touristy spot, don’t fret – lots of locals shop there too, us included!
Since there are so many food stalls to try, a 2-hour tasting tour is one of the best Granville Island tours as you’ll uncover the hidden gems you might otherwise miss out on. Your guide seamlessly takes you through the market for 20 samplings at 10 locations, where you’ll enjoy bites of fresh bread with homemade pate, local cheeses, candied salmon, fluffy donuts, and piping hot coffee.
I’d say only about 20 minutes of this tour is walking – the rest is tasting and chatting with vendors about their products or taking in the fun facts and history your guide provides. It really doesn’t feel rushed at all, which is something people can often feel when there’s a lot to see and do on tours.
The group is also limited to 15 people (as a maximum!), so you’ll have plenty of time to speak with your guide and ask any questions you may have. It’s these little details, like keeping the groups small, that add up to a great experience. But you don’t have to take our word for it, the tour has also been named a Canadian Signature Experience by the Canadian Tourism Commission!
The tasting tour starts at $129 CAD per person and runs from 10:30 am on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and even some Mondays during summer in Vancouver. Be sure to book early for the date you want, and prepare for a culinary adventure! You can grab your tickets for this tour online here.
4. Gastown historic walking food tour (Our top choice)
And now, the creme de la creme: a Gastown walking food tour! Gastown is one of our top spots in Vancouver, and we recommend this food tour to anyone visiting the area – whether it’s your first time or your 10th. We hopped on this tour to taste our way around Gastown but learned lots of tidbits from our awesome guide, which was a welcome bonus!
We explored the area for around 2.5 hours, grabbing 7 tastings, including fresh poutine with squeaky cheese curds and fresh gravy, spicy Japanese chicken karaage, and tasty treats like fresh waffles and ice cream. As if the deal couldn’t get any sweeter, it also includes 3 alcohol tastings, including a stop-in at one of the famous (and our favorite!) Steamworks Brewing!
Tours run at 2 pm and 3 pm every day of the year, no matter the weather, making this one of the great activities to do when it’s raining in Vancouver! Not only is it a delicious intro to the culinary scene in Gastown, but you’ll also see famous sites like the Steam Clock and Maple Tree Square as you explore the cobblestone streets of Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood. Talk about a history and food mega combo!
Tickets for this tour cost $125 CAD per person, with a maximum of 16 people (our group had around 12). The friendly folks running the tour are also great at accommodating folks who have food allergies as well. Ready to dive into an experience full of culinary delights? You can check your dates and book your spot online here.
Related Read: If the quick visit to the brewery in this tour has you craving more of the craft beer scene, check out the top brewery tours in Vancouver!
Reasons to Join a Food Tour in Vancouver
If you’re still not sure if a food tour in Vancouver is for you, here are a few reasons to consider it…
Bailey and I are food tour lovers. It’s something we do in most countries, including our recent Yangon food tour in Myanmar.
But why a tour? I guess it’s true, you could just walk the streets and visit places on your own. But think about your local hot spots in your hometown, how long did it take for you to find them? Probably months, if not years!
It’s safe to say that most local spots are found over many years of experimentation. It takes a few bad eggs (literally) to find a hidden gem.
On holiday you don’t have the time for that. That’s why we always join food tours, and particularly at the start of our visit. You’ll find out the best dishes and places to enjoy them, as well as pick your guide’s brain for all the other places you check out while you’re here.
It’s a win-win (especially in a city as big as Vancouver!). To us, a food tour is a great addition to any Vancouver itinerary.
It’s super easy!
We love going on hikes around Vancouver, but sometimes we just want to enjoy ourselves. To us, getting toured around a city all while getting fed yummy foods along the way is an awesome way to spend a day. It’s zero stress and the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit – even if it’s not Christmas!
Try something new
On food tours, you’re usually ordered a dish and asked to try it. Maybe it’s something you wouldn’t normally order, but you’ll probably love it anyway! It’s an easy way to get outside your comfort zone and try something new, even if it’s something you’ve never tried before.
A food tour is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Vancouver!
Related Read: Want to go on an epic road trip? Check out our guide to driving from Vancouver to Banff which includes the absolute best places to stop along the way.
Other Things to do While You’re in Vancouver
Van has a special place in our hearts – with so much to do, it’s impossible to get bored here! The city is chock-full of countless new and exciting things to try, from enjoying an epic sunset on a dinner cruise to relaxing at some of the best beaches in Vancouver. If you’re looking for activities to enjoy here, we’ve got you covered.
- Go whale watching – Funnily enough, humans aren’t the only tourists that flock to Vancouver every year! From the beautiful black and white orcas to the lively humpbacks, going whale watching in Vancouver makes for a truly unforgettable memory. This half-day whale watching tour offers an amazing experience at only $226 CAD per person!
- Hiking – There really are loads of incredible hikes in and around Vancouver, perfect for all abilities! If you’re down for a challenge, we recommend tackling the infamous Grouse Grind on Grouse Mountain, or if you’d like something a little easier, but with equally stunning views, try the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge!
- Ride in a Seaplane – For the very best views of Vancouver, nothing quite comes close to riding in a seaplane. Not only is taking off and landing in water totally surreal, but the best part is that these planes operate year-round. You can even take a seaplane tour to get from Vancouver to Victoria! We had an absolute blast on this 20-minute seaplane ride, which costs about $160 CAD per person.
- Visit the aquarium – The Vancouver Aquarium is home to some 65,000 animals, from adorable penguins to stunning tropical fish! Whether you’ve got little kids who dream of swimming with mermaids or bigger kids who love all things ‘shark’, it’s an amazing place for families, as well as anyone with a love for Earth’s amazing animals! It’s also a great activity for those looking for things to do in Vancouver when it rains.
Where to Stay in Vancouver
It’s no secret that Vancouver is one of the most popular cities to visit in Canada, especially during the summer and winter! We highly recommend taking the time ahead of your trip to get your accommodation booked, as it’s not uncommon for hotels to be completely full during peak times.
We have this complete guide on where to stay in Vancouver that breaks down all the areas you can stay in the city. For the brief version, these are a few of our favorite hotels in Vancouver for a variety of budgets.
Hyatt Regency Vancouver – $$$
Located between the ever-popular Gastown and Stanley Park areas, the Hyatt Regency Vancouver really makes its mark being within walking distance of many of Vancouver’s top attractions! It makes for the perfect base to go out and explore the downtown neighborhoods, like Sunset Park, English Bay, and much more.
It’s all about luxury at the Hyatt Regency, with clean, well-kept rooms as well as a fully-equipped gym. There’s also an on-site Starbucks for when you need your morning coffee fix, and the views from the rooms are just incredible! Rates here start at $284 CAD and you can book your stay online here.
Times Square Suites – $$
For a more moderate budget, the beautiful Times Square Suites is a very popular option, situated close to the beaches of Stanley Park. The rooms are very quiet, and the fully furnished suites with kitchenettes make for a very relaxing and homey stay!
We think this hotel offers the perfect mix between luxury and affordability, with a great location to boot. Rooms here start at $240 CAD and do get booked up quickly, so make sure to secure your dates online here.
HI Vancouver Jericho Beach Hostel – $
Whether you’re a backpacker looking for a base to lay your head, or traveling to Vancouver on a budget, the HI Vancouver Jericho Beach Hostel is a great choice! As the name suggests, this hostel sits less than a 15-minute walk from Jericho, Locarno, and Spanish Banks beaches.
There’s a warm and welcoming community feel with super friendly staff and there are loads of opportunities to meet like-minded travelers at their on-site café, lounge, games room, and TV room. Offering dorm beds in mixed or single-gender rooms as well as double, triple, and family rooms, bunks in dorm rooms here start at around $40 CAD per night. You can book either on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com!
Renting a Car in British Columbia
If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Thanks for reading!
There’s no doubt that Vancouver offers some of the best places to eat in the country, and going on a food tour is a fantastic way to get a taste of what’s on offer! We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about four of our favorite food experiences in this incredible city.
If you’re looking for more ideas on what to do while you’re here, have a look at our other blogs about BC’s West Coast. There’s everything from epic road trips to restaurant recommendations and epic activities to fill your time while you’re exploring this beautiful part of Canada. As well, here are three more blogs we think are super helpful for anyone visiting Vancouver!
The 4 BEST Whistler Tours from Vancouver
13 BEST Restaurants in Kitsilano, Vancouver
15 Things to KNOW about the Richmond Night Market, Vancouver