The only passport you’ll need on this trip is one for your taste buds: local food tour company, Chopsticks+Forks, takes guests on an epicurean adventure right in their own backyard. Thanks to globe-trotting celebrity chefs and Instagram posts worthy of the #foodporn hashtag, the appreciation of food culture has exploded in recent years and Toronto-based “chronicfoodie”, Jusep Sim, has leveraged the craze to create Chopsticks+Forks. Sim’s natural affinity for story-telling through food has catapulted the company into the #1 spot on TripAdvisor, where guests rave about their experience on the Kensington Market Food Tour.
The tour that started it all leads hungry guests to six restaurants in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood where they taste everything from Tibetan momos to Jamaican patties and Canadian bannock. And new this spring, Sim has answered the demand for a quintessential Canadian Food experience by adding The Great Canadian Food Tour to the Chopsticks+Forks lineup.
The launch of the Canadian Food tour will mark the company’s upcoming third anniversary and will follow a similar pattern to the Kensington Market Food Tour with the obvious caveat that all foods were born here in the Great White North. Guests will tempt their taste buds with Canada’s major contributions to the global culinary scene including butter tarts and poutine, as well as more idiosyncratic dishes like Pow Wow Cafe’s tacos served up on Ojibway-style frybread—a dish that’s older than Canada itself!
“My passion is to connect people to the world through food,” explains Sim, who credits a trip to Kenya back in 2007 with completely changing the way he saw food. “I realized that food is more than just how we nourish ourselves. It’s central to the culture of a place—a way to communicate what a place is about beyond language.”
Chopsticks+Forks is the local manifestation of Sim’s food travels that have taken him to over 54 countries around the world on a quest to get to know the local fare. And Toronto’s reputation as the world’s most multicultural city—a whopping 50% of the population is foreign-born—makes it the perfect backdrop for Sim to relay his love of exploring food from across the globe, to others.
Will Travel for Food
In a time when people watch The Food Network and its roster of celebrity chefs instead of sitcoms and when our social platforms are rife with the millions of tantalizing food photos that are posted daily (the #foodporn hashtag alone is used on 188 million Instagram posts), it’s no wonder that “food tourism” is a growing trend. “Food tourism” is defined by the World Food Travel Association to mean “the act of travelling for a taste of place in order to get a sense of place,” but they are careful to point out that by their definition, “travelling” also includes those who travel in their own regions, cities and neighbourhoods to try a new food or beverage or dining experience. Furthermore, those dining experiences aren’t limited to restaurants, but run the gamut from street vendors to local pubs, wineries, and fine dining establishments. No matter how near or far the ultimate destination is, and regardless of what form it takes, the bottom line is that unique food experiences are becoming increasingly important to travelers:
- over 59% of respondents to a 2016 survey said that food and beverage is more important when they travel than it was 5 years prior.
- 81% of respondents said they learn about food and drink when they visit a destination.
- 93% of travelers had participated in a unique food or beverage activity while travelling in the past 2 years.
- food tours were the fastest growing experience category on TripAdvisor in 2017.
Chopsticks+Forks tours run rain or shine all year round and are suitable for most ages. In addition to the Kensington Market Food Tour and the Great Canadian Food Tour, Sim has designed a palate-pleasing sit-down Korean feast for the armchair travelers among us. Korean Food 101 is a private dining experience for groups of four or more, that turns an ordinary dinner with friends or a typical corporate event into a memorable, out-of-the-ordinary meal.
To book a tour or private dining experience, visit chopsticksandforks.com.
About Chopsticks+Forks – Chopsticks+Forks is a Toronto-based company offering food tours and private dining experiences that spotlight the city’s reputation for ethnic diversity through its cuisine. Founded in 2016 by world-traveler-turned-CEO (Chief Epicurean Officer), Jusep Sim, Chopsticks+Forks enjoys the reputation as Toronto’s #1 rated food tour on TripAdvisor, owing to Sim’s ability to tell the story of a place through food. Tours run rain or shine all year round and are designed for anyone who appreciates a gustatory adventure with the goal of increasing one’s confidence when it comes to trying new foods.