A 14-day Culinary Tour of China, with an enthusiastic native Chinese food blogger, exploring some of China’s most diverse gastronomic traditions and culture.
Notice as of July 2023: There aren’t any new itineraries for Culinary Tours of China at the moment.
After a fantastic two years organizing my Culinary Tours of China, I’m excited to introduce my new program which I’ve tweaked to offer an even better experience: more food-related activities and a more relaxed schedule. I’ve taken on board my previous tour members’ valuable feedback. My own experiences on tour and further research over the past two years have also influenced my new program.
The new program embraces my original idea of providing a small group of participants with ample opportunities to explore Chinese cuisine first hand in several distinct regions. As always, I will be your guide and companion (Read more about me) throughout the 14-day journey, together with my trusted assistant Jo.
To learn more about my previous Culinary Tours of China, please scroll down to read testimonials from some of my tour members.
May Tour: 5th-18th May 2020 October Tour: 11th-24th Oct 2020
Note: Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, my 2020 tours were canceled.
Maximum 10 persons
DESTINATIONS & ROUTE
Beijing — Lanzhou — Xi’an — Chengdu — Shanghai
DAY 1 to Day 4 · BEIJING
Our exclusive culinary tour of China will start in BEIJING, where I spent several years as a local journalist and a city I know intimately. We will explore the culinary delights of this ancient capital and visit some of its most important cultural heritage sites.
- A welcome dinner with a Peking Duck serving demonstration
- An exclusive private banquet prepared by a master chef of Northern cuisine
- A hands-on cookery class focusing on essential skills of Chinese cooking
- A Beijing signature noodle lunch in a time-honoured restaurant
- A rural feast of fresh fish prepared “country-style” in a tranquil village
- Great Wall of China, one of the greatest wonders of the world that you must see when visiting China
- Forbidden City, the imperial palace for some five centuries which houses numerous rare treasures and curiosities
- Temple of Heaven, an imperial complex with historic significance, grand architecture and unique layout
- Tiananmen Square, the site of several important events in Chinese history
- Lakes & Hutong alleys in the old city, a picturesque area where you will have a glimpse of the traditional lifestyle of Beijing natives which is slowly disappearing under the influence of the city’s fast-growing economy
DAY 5 & Day 6 · LANZHOU
LANZHOU, the capital of Gansu province, is where I grew up and a place which holds many happy food-related memories for me. Although less known on the tourist atlas of China, Lanzhou was adored by all of my previous tour members and was praised as a real hidden gem.
- A private audience to view the preparation of Beef Noodle Soup, a legendary dish which Lanzhou is most famed for.
- An exclusive noodle pulling class instructed by experienced chefs
- A visit to a buzzing night market to absorb Lanzhou’s food culture and try some local street food.
- A regional speciality feast featuring exquisite lamb dishes and many other North-western delicacies
- The Yellow River, the Mother River of China flowing through Lanzhou city where you may experience a ride on inflated goatskin rafts
- Lanshan Mountain, the peak of the city where you can overlook the interesting geographic features of Lanzhou: a city built between two mountain ranges, with the Yellow River flowing through the valley
- Watermill Park, a riverbank leisure setting showcasing a series of large traditional wooden watermills
- Intangible Heritage Museum, a great place to learn about local custom, traditional art form and food-related heritage
DAY 7 & Day 8 · XI’AN
The third stop of our Culinary Tour of China is XI’AN, the capital of thirteen Chinese dynasties and the home to the Terracotta Army. Renowned for its street food culture, it’s also an unmissable location on the gastronomic map of China.
- A dumpling banquet showcasing the finest culinary art of Chinese dumplings
- A Visit to Xi’an’s most vibrant street food market packed with eateries and snack stalls
- A Shannxi cuisine lunch featuring hearty and delicious specialities originated in this region
- Terracotta Army, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a huge collection of terracotta sculptures made over 2000 years ago
- Old City Wall of Xi’an, the most complete city wall remaining in China from which you can view the splendour of this historic capital.
- Muslim Quarter, the hub of the Chinese Hui community which stands out for its rich history and unique culture
DAY 9 to Day 11 · CHENGDU
Here comes the “hottest” part of our culinary tour of China: CHENGDU, the capital of Sichuan province. It holds the title of UNESCO City of Gastronomy for being the land of spices and the home of China’s most famous cuisine.
- A cookery class to learn three popular Sichuan dishes prepared the authentic way, then receive a Rookie Master Chef Certificate
- A private guided tour of Sichuan Cuisine Museum to learn about local food history, experience ancient cookery tools, identify special ingredients and sample many typical street foods of Sichuan.
- A Sichuan style red oil hotpot meal at a sought-after restaurant.
- A visit to a popular market to explore some of the most unusual vegetables, spices and condiments unique to Chinese cuisine.
- A fine Sichuan cuisine feast of both classic and innovative dishes
- A visit to a traditional tea house to sample local green tea while watching the magical Mask-Changing art of Sichuan Opera
- Giant Panda Research Base, a beautiful parkland setting where you will meet many adorable pandas of different ages
- People’s Park, a perfect spot to witness Chengdu natives’ leisurely lifestyle: hobby groups performing with an enthusiastic audience, family and friends playing Mahjong while sipping local tea.
- Wide & Narrow Alley, a culture quarter famous for its collection of the symbolic architecture of the city
DAY 12 to Day 14 · SHANGHAI
As the heart of China’s economic development, SHANGHAI is also renowned for its cultural heritage and for its outstanding local cuisine which is commonplace throughout China.
- A feast of Huaiyang cuisine, one of the Four Great Traditions of Chinese cuisine, featuring various specialities from Shanghai’s neighbouring regions
- A lunch of the most popular Shanghai street foods in a pedestrian area with many traditional architectures
- A farewell dinner of Shanghai cuisine to draw our Culinary Tour of China to a close
- The Bund, a waterfront area where you will encounter both the historic colonial architecture of the city, as well as the towering skyscrapers of modern China.
- Huangpu River, the last significant tributary of the Yangtze River before it empties into the East China Sea
- Yuyuan Garden, an excellent example of a Chinese garden built in the Ming dynasty
- Shanghai Museum, a large and renowned museum housing over 120,000 precious artifacts spanning over 5000 years of Chinese history
As a professional chef I am so glad that I joined Wei’s tour. This journey is one that is jam-packed full of food, culture and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Looking back, it’s hard to believe we accomplished so much! I was utterly overwhelmed by the beauty and size of the Forbidden City, humbled by the power and history of The Great Wall, delighted by standing only feet away from Pandas, and brought to tears by the joy of food, feasts and ingredients I have only dreamed about experiencing.
I was able to participate in what chefs dream about. I not only tasted 100% authentic Chinese foods, I also had my hands in it. We made dumplings twice, prepared ingredients for traditional homestyle dishes. We saw, touched, and purchased local Chinese ingredients, some of which are unavailable in the States, and we cooked some of the most famous Chinese dishes the way they were meant to be cooked.
I have traveled before this trip and I expect to travel again, but no trip has left me feeling as reflective and transformed as this one. It is worth every step you take in preparation, every penny you spend, every moment it takes to take part.
Michael & Judith
We won’t quickly forget the glorious trip with delicious, well-chosen dishes, plenty of cold beer and interesting talk — about China, its food and traditions and also its modernization. Wei’s tour itinerary was an exquisite introduction to the old China and its cuisine within the framework of a dynamic modern China.
We enjoyed the way the tour was conceived and planned but were also delighted at how Wei and her assistant Jo carried out the tour: minimizing obstacles, incorporating changes as needed, highlighting important items in cities and sites while letting us all have the freedom to act independently within the cohesive group. Those wonderful Chinese regional banquets have given us a great inventory of dishes, tastes, styles and ingredients to use for comparison on future trips to China. Congratulations to Wei and Jo! I hope the pleasure they got from seeing it work out and noting the obvious delight of our group is equal in some way to the excitement, wonder and pleasure we had while experiencing it unfold for us over 2 weeks.
My mind and spirit are still on cloud 9 after a most enjoyable culinary tour of China in May 2019. Without reservation, I would recommend this curated tour by Wei, if you want the gastronomic adventure of a lifetime, combined with some awesome sightseeing.
This trip gave me a wonderful insight into China’s regional cuisines, from street food to lavish banquets, that I would not have found in other tours. All this was made possible by Wei, the tour organizer, and her assistant Jo, who worked tirelessly to keep us happy, comfortable, informed, not to mention, well-fed and entertained, throughout the journey.
China is so modern and so full of energy. The people were uniformly pleasant and the sights were amazing. For that alone this trip would be worth considering. But the food! Glorious.
Wei did not stint on presenting the group with regional specialties in great numbers, allowing us to sample a wide variety of tastes and textures. The chef-prepared meal, the two cooking classes, the food streets, the behind-the-scenes looks, all offered outstanding opportunities to understand these robust cultures.
The hotels could not have been better, from a look back at old China with the hotel in Beijing to the modern ones thereafter, the rooms were quite comfortable and each offered glorious breakfast.
Wei and her aide Jo made it even better. They were easy to get to know, knowledgeable and kept track of us as we went about enjoying the sights. If you’re thinking about a culinary trip to China, do yourself a big favor and book Wei’s culinary tour of China. You will thank yourself for making that choice. My high expectations were far exceeded.
I am so glad we found Wei’s culinary tour. It was excellent! From unique fine-dining experiences, to delicious street food, to fun home-cooking, to grocery-store snacks, we ate and drank our way across China! I had a double-handful of best-in-my-life culinary experiences on this trip.
Besides hitting all the standard tourist attractions you wouldn’t want to miss, I enjoyed our cookery classes and some very special behind-the-scenes looks at several restaurants, even talking and drinking with the chefs. I would be much too shy to do this on my own, even if I had the connections. Wei is a great facilitator!
Wei made a great itinerary and handled all the details. Arrangements for culinary activities and tourist sites were no problem and what would have been intimidating or impossible for us on our own was relaxed with Wei. I am sure Wei put in a lot of behind-the-scenes effort to create a great experience for us. I am confident that even someone completely new to China will have a great time. Wei will take care of you!
I have always been fascinated by China and Chinese cuisine and have always wanted to sample the cuisine where it is made and to experience the culture with an expert who knew what was going on. It was this that drove me to take a gastronomic tour of China with Wei.
Wei’s knowledge of both China and Chinese cuisine made it possible for her to be able to choose the best and assure we experienced fabulous meals every day. As a seasoned traveler, I know how difficult it is to experience consistent high quality cuisine when on a trip. But with Wei doing the hard work, I knew very quickly we were in good hands.
What made the tour so successful was not just Wei’s expertise but her drive to get it right with her trusted assistant Jo, who was there to help us every foot of the way. The small group made it a personal experience with opportunities to do your own thing and flexibility in the scheduling. This tour felt like it was a group of friends traveling together versus a formal tour. Would I go again? You bet I would.
5 classic noodle dishes from regions on my Culinary Tour of China
- Beijing Zha Jiang Mian
- Lanzhou beef noodle soup
- Xi’an Biang Biang noodles
- Chengdu Dan Dan noodles
- Shanghai spring onion noodles
Photo credit: Image 1: Crystal Liang; The rest: Wei @ Red House Spice