Cook your way around the world at these phenomenally social and scrumptious stays
Food brings people together, but rather than simply eating your way through an abundance of dishes, what better way to experience the culture of a new destination than to take a cooking class? With 45% of Australian travelers saying that they pick a destination because of its great food and drinks,* Booking.com, the digital travel leader connecting travelers with the widest choice of unique places to stay, a range of must-do travel experiences and seamless transport options, has delved its more than 187 million verified reviews from real guests to find those delicious destination with places to stay recommended for their cooking classes.
Black Swan Hostel - Seville, Spain
The capital of Andalucia is the perfect place to experience all the best Spanish cuisine has to offer. With over Over 4,000 tapas bars, travelers will be able to get their fill of regional specialties such as Salmorejo (a local, slightly thicker version of Gazpacho) or espinacas con carbanzos (chickpeas and spinach).
And what better place to start exploring this foodie destination than in your own hostel? Apart from teaching guests how to cook a mouthwatering paella, the Black Swan Hostel is much praised by Booking.com customers for its Spanish hospitality. Not only do they offer cooking classes, but the friendly staff offers free walking tours, trips to see flamenco shows and many other events that can help their guests meet new people.
“By far the best hostel where I have stayed. The hostel organized social events on a daily basis (free dinner, free pub crawl, free flamenco night, paella cooking class) which allowed the guests to meet people sooo easily in a lovely environment.”
-- Maria from Portugal
Nomadas EcoHostel - Mérida, Mexico
The cultural capital of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mérida is a treasure trove of Maya ruins, colorful architecture and lively music. As a melting pot of cultures that celebrates both Maya and European influences, the city is also a gastronomic delight producing delectable combinations like Cochinita Pibil, a Mayan pork dish infused with the flavors of Spanish oranges and Queso Relleno, ground beef wrapped in Dutch Gouda cheese.
Mérida has one of the largest historical city centers in the Americas, its streets resplendent with colonial-era architecture. It is in one of these colonial houses that you find the Nomadas hostel. The hostel is located in what our guests rate as one of their favorite parts of Mérida, and offers a range of classes and other activities.
“The thing about Nomadas is its sense of community. Nomadas hosts these free classes for Salsa, Mexican cooking and Yoga and thus helps bring people together. It’s a great place to meet people, get to know about Mexico and swap travel stories and information.”
-- Aditi from Australia
SLA Boutique Hostel - Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Although Phonom Phen boasts some of the world’s most beautiful Buddist temples and iconic Khmer architecture, it is a city that needs to be experienced rather than bucket-listed and tick-boxed. And what better way to do that than to submerge in the bold flavors of Cambodian cuisine?
At the crossroads of Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese culinary influences, Cambodian cooking is milder, somewhat tangier than Thai food and rich in fresh herbs and fiery condiments. From exotic curiosities such as beef sprinkled with red ants and deep-fried tarantula, to French bistro style dining, there is something to explore for everyone. For those travelers less inclined to insects but who still want to take some of those exotic flavours home, the staff at the SLA Boutique Hostel can teach you how to prepare a wonderful papaya salad.
"[The SLA Boutique Hostel is] very clean and fresh. The staff were always friendly and helpful, and as we were in a private room they offered us a free breakfast. They also do very cheap food at the hostel and you can watch the cook it and chat to them (the food is also amazing). The hostel is also very aesthetically pleasing and pretty and well kept."
-- Anon from the UK
Casa de Avila - Arequipa, Peru
The modern taste for classical Peruvian staples like quinoa, ceviche and pisco sour have earned Peruvian cuisine a distinctly modern reputation. However, the country’s culinary heritage goes back thousands of years and combines cultural influences from the Inca Empire, the country’s prominent Japanese community as well as European culinary influences.
It is not just the rich history that makes Peru a true foodies paradise. More than 80 of the Earth’s 104 existing ecosystems can be found in Peru, which makes it one of the countries with the highest biodiversity in the world. Few countries have as many crops and species within their borders (including, to give you a taste, several thousands of varieties of potatoes!)
Casa de Avila is located in Arequipa, a city with a distinct cuisine influenced by the Spanish. Join the Casa’s cooking class to learn to prepare local dishes such as rocoto relleno, a stuffed pepper dish that is thought to have its origin in Spain, and causa, a highly photogenic dish of layered potato.
“The Peruvian cooking experience was a blast.”
--Amanda from the USA
Pushkar Cooking Art and Home Stay - Puskar, India
There is no such thing as “Indian cuisine.” Rather, there are around 30 regional cuisines, each with their own palette of flavors and ingredients. Rajasthan, an arid region in the north of India, is characterised by its wholesome specialties and an enthusiastic use of milk, clarified butter (ghee) and buttermilk. Probably the most famous dish is the scrumptious Dal Baati Churma, which consists of little dough balls that are dipped in with a fragrant lentil stew and served with a side of sweetened and cardamom-flavoured breadcrumbs.
Apart from teaching guests how to cook the perfect Baati, Shivani and her team at Pushkar Cooking Art and Home Stay are beloved by Booking.com travelers for being wonderful hosts, with travelers giving the staff at this property an almost perfect review score of 9.7 out of 10.
“We did the Cooking Course which was very detailed, hands-on and well organized. Although we were all experienced Indian foodies, we learnt a lot, especially about bread making techniques and spices.“
-- Judith from South Africa
Sweet Life Community Guesthouse - Ko Lanta, Thailand
Ko Lanta is the less touristy neighbour of Ko Phi Phi and is world-renowned for its beaches, snorkelling and emerald waters. But did you know that Malay and Indian influences from overseas also make this the perfect place to try Masaman (“Muslim Style”) curry?
Thai cuisine needs no introduction, but for those looking to introduce some Thai flavors to their repertoire, Mon at Sweet Life offers a cooking course that comes warmly recommended by Booking.com travelers.
“Make sure you sign up for a cooking class with Mon the owner, one of the best things I did. Old town is wonderful to stroll through and although this is not the beachy side of the island you get the culture which is so rich.”
-- Sonya from Canada