Museums might not be an activity for everyone, especially children. There is, unfortunately, this common misconception about museums that makes people think that only artists, connoisseurs, or simply knowledgeable people are the ones who like long and quiet exhibitions. It's sometimes difficult for people to stand up in front of a painting or a sculpture during what could seem an eternity. It usually feels like this for some when they don’t understand the meaning behind an abstract masterpiece. However, museums are much more than just standing up and analyzing artwork all day long; they can be interactive and an adventure for a whole family or a group of friends who don’t know what to do during their spare time or when it’s raining. When people leave museums at the end of their tour, they leave less ignorant and more inspired or more creative than when they stepped in.
What most people don’t know is that there are all kinds of museums; not all of them revolve around art. There are many around the world that actually have to do with food. Maybe some of them are more known than others like the Museum of Ice Cream or of Candy, but you’d be surprised by how many foods are represented around the world. They not only teach you about the food you eat, how to eat, and where it comes from, but they also add some joy to your day because food always makes people happy (when it tastes good obviously). Here's a list of 20 food museums you should visit.
18 The Frietmuseum
Isn’t it normal to start with fries, the one food people rarely say no to? It might be the go-to snack or meal accompaniment of choice, but how much do we truly know about potatoes? Well, the Frietmuseum has the answer to many questions, such as “Where does the potato come from? Where were fries invented? Are they actually from France?” Founded in 2008, this museum considers itself to be the “first and only museum dedicated to potato fries.” It's located in the small town of Bruges in Belgium, precisely in the Saaihalle building, which is an important touristic site and thus attracts many tourists every year.
17 The Currywurst Museum
In 1949, a lady named "Herta Heuwer" invented the currywurst: a pork sausage seasoned with a curry-powdered ketchup. She sold these sausages in the streets, and they later became a best-selling fast food, selling 10,000 currywursts a week. It's now very popular in Germany, and the museum was built, in Berlin, to honor the currywurst’s genesis. The museum also teaches people the many ways to try and eat it. You’ll find many games, challenges, and even some singing ketchup bottles telling you about the famous sausage’s story. You can even eat some currywurst while visiting the museum and take a break on the currywurst-like sofa!
16 The Museum of Celebrity Leftovers
The Old Boat Store Café, in Kingsand, Cornwall (England), run by a couple, Michael and Francesca Bennett, was never meant to become a museum. It happened unexpectedly. The first celebrity to enter the café was David Bailey, a photographer. He came in one day to eat a sandwich, and when he was done, he left a little piece of it on his plate. When he left, the couple had the idea to keep this bit left in a paper bag. After this visit, other celebrities came to the café to eat and left some bits of food, too. This inspired the couple to preserve these foods and present it to the public. It’s not only thrilling to get inside a now-famous café and grab a bite, but it’s also fun to brag to your friends about going to the same places that celebrities go to and to see their food.
15 The Big Mac Museum
Have you ever wondered who invented one of the most famous McDonald’s burgers of all time and where the idea came from? We mostly just enjoy eating it, but FYI, the Big Mac was created by a man from Pennsylvania who owned a McDonald’s: Jim Delligatti. The first Big Mac to be served was served in 1967. In 2007, the location Delligatti owned was remodeled and then, it turned into the Big Mac Museum, with a giant burger displayed in front of it. We only told you a tiny part of the story, so to know the rest, you should definitely drive to the States and pass by the museum because McDonald’s is almost omnipresent in anyone’s life anywhere in the world. It’s somehow part of pop culture, whether it's considered healthy or not.
14 The Museum of Ice Cream
There's got to be a museum for people's favorite summer dessert, no? Well, thanks to the 26-year-old genius behind it, Maryellis Bunn, the Museum of Ice Cream was born. Bunn always wanted her childlike imagination to come to life and had a desire to create a space for people to feel less lonely, an emotion she felt while living in New York City. The museum has been traveling in the States since it opened in 2016 as a little art exhibit in New York. It moved to Miami and is now open in San Francisco. The architecture, the installations, the colors etc. are similar to those of the Dessert Museum, but this one's focused not just on sugar but also on the memories we create when we eat ice cream together.
13 The Watermelon Museum
Let’s move on to fruits! And what better than the watermelon? The Watermelon Museum, compared to most food museums on this list, is a young one; it was founded in 2002. The museum, located in Beijing, China, adopts a futuristic and modern look, both from the inside and outside, but especially from the inside, where you’ll find wax watermelons, neon lighting, a section on the culture in China on this fruit, and the different methods for growing watermelon. The museum even shows ancient poems talking about watermelons! The only downside to visiting the museum is that nothing is subtitled in English, but it’s so colorful that your Instagram page will thank you for it!
12 The Potato Museum
If Belgium is too far or expensive for you, then why not do a little road trip to O’Leary and visit Canada's Potato Museum? Yes, you read that right—since 1993, Canada has had a similar museum to the one in Belgium, and it even has a Potato Country Kitchen, open from mid-June to mid-September only, so make sure to plan your trip during that period of time. The museum updates its menu on its website during the summer season, so you can have an idea of what they cook. There are two types of tours: the simple museum tour and the visit to the local farm, which includes a tour, lunch from the kitchen, making your own potato fudge, and much more!
11 The Coffee Palace
Before the fries, don’t we start our day with a specific drink? The majority of people can’t start theirs without their coffee, and some are simply addicted to the smell of roasted coffee beans… What better place to visit than Starbucks? The Coffee Palace in Santos, Brazil! Back in 1914 until 1950, this place was where beans were sold and their prices determined. Coffee was the main source of income for the country. It was later transformed into a museum that not only has a gallery representing the black and white era but also has a café where you customize your coffee drink and taste different flavors of the region. Plan your morning there; you’ll feel hyper for the rest of the day!
10 The Cup Noodles Museum
Whether you’re in the city of Yokohama or of Osaka Ikeda in Japan, the Cup Noodles Museum resembles a high-class modern and colorful industry. It almost feels like the food version of the Pompidou Centre in Paris. You can spend a whole day there, as there are many exhibitions to see and activities to do: from the Chicken Ramen and Cup Noodles factories (in the latter factory, you get to create your own cup design and choose your favorite soup flavor) to the Momofuku Theater and the Noodles Bazaar (where you get to taste all kinds of noodles from around the world), with a spice of history and background on how the noodles became a famous meal. You can even download the museum’s app on your phone to use it as a tour guide!
9 The Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum
Before we leave Yokohama, there's another wonderful (and noodly) museum to visit: the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum. It’s obviously a tour for ramen noodles, but this place is much more than a museum. It indeed calls itself the “first food-themed amusement park.” Founded in 1994, the park is divided into two main sections: on the first floor, you get to do a historical tour on ramen, and in the “basement,” you're stepping into what looks like an underground city filled with restaurants serving different types of ramen meals. Sure, the concept sounds similar to the Cup Noodles Museum. However, the setting and the ambiance are different. And if it’s important to you, Wi-Fi is available, so you can share epic stories on Snapchat!
8 The National Mustard Museum
As strange as it sounds, there's a museum solely for mustard in the State of Wisconsin. It was founded in 1992 by a former Assistant Attorney General, Barry Levenson, who one day, decided to quit his job and find meaning to his life. The National Mustard Museum was thus born! This is the proof that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. You can create anything! Why is the museum popular? Because of its free admission and its presentation of their Mustard History collection that consists of vintage mustard pots, jars, and ads.
7 The Museum Kimchikan
The Kimchi is a traditional dish from North and South Korea. It's an extremely spicy fermented cabbage with garlic, vinegar, peppers, vegetables, seafood, and other spices. It's considered one the of healthiest meals since it's rich in vitamins. In Korea, people eat it at every meal. People also use it as a pizza topping. Moreover, you can add a side of rice or noodles. Considered the start of kimchi’s global journey, in 1988, people who visited South Korea during the Olympics really liked the Kimchi. They visited the Kimchikan Museum, opened in 1986, to know more about it, and since then, it's become a very popular attraction in Seoul. There's a display of about 180 types of kimchi regional dishes, and people can watch documentaries on the making of the meal.
6 The Dessert Museum
It's dessert time! Let's travel to Manila in the Philippines and enjoy a visit to the Dessert Museum that has “8 mouthwatering rooms of sugar-filled happiness.” Not only is the museum brightly and colorfully pink and sweet, but its tour is also super fun. You can slide, swim in sprinkles, and run through a candy forest... This museum isn't just for you to act like kids with your friends again or a fun family adventure. It's also a place to taste, during your visit, many samples of donuts, cupcakes, candies, and more! As you're discovering some desserts, you learn interesting facts about them. At the end of the tour, you might get a cavity. Other than that, though, you might have the best day of your life!
5 The Museu de la Xocolata
This museum is a bit small and looks strange from the outside (like a simple apartment block), but it's one of the most educational places when it comes to chocolate. The Museu de la Xocolata presents the history of chocolate in Europe: the discovery of cacao, exchanges between countries, and lessons on how to eat chocolate using your senses. The moment you buy an entry ticket, you're given a piece of chocolate to start your visit on the right foot. You also get a link, which is an interactive tour guide and that you go to on your phone using the museum's wi-fi. You choose the language of your choice, then let yourself be carried away by a soft voice giving you explanations, just like Siri but more exotic. Plus, you get to see breathtaking statues made out of chocolate!
4 Gingerbread Museum
This museum might be a little misleading, as it's not quite a museum. Located in Prague, Czech Republic, the so-called museum is indeed a little art exhibit and a shop at the same time. If you're a gingerbread lover, you'll be in awe of the various gingerbread cookies and designs you'll see once inside. They have some of the freshest and most delicious cookies. A lot of tourists buy gingerbread products and bring them home because of how good and beautiful they are. I mean, you can't go wrong with pastries from Europe, can you?
3 Jell-O Museum
This museum for “America’s most famous dessert” is located in a small town called "LeRoy" in the New York state. If you ever pass by the area, make sure to go to the Jell-O Gallery because first of all, the entry fees aren't expensive at all ($5 per adult and $1.50 per child). And second, there are quite some interactive activities, such as sharing your Jell-o stories and recipes, voting for your favorite flavor, and going on a guided tour of the exhibit. Plus, have you ever been told about the history of Jell-O? Probably not, and that's some interesting knowledge to acquire for the whole family. Moreover, you get to shop for some Jell-O accessories, recipe books etc.
2 The Cork Butter Museum
Butter might not be food to eat like fries, but it's an essential ingredient for most of our meals, especially in Europe. The Butter Museum in Cork, Ireland is located in the most popular market. Since the mid-1800s, the market, which is at the center of the city, has had the biggest butter exchange globally. The Cork Butter Museum was built in 1855. If you go there, you’ll learn about the butter market internationally, its history from a thousand years ago to the 21st century, and the tradition about the butter from Ireland.It might sound like a history or marketing class, but it’s still as interactive as all the museums on this list and a little more cultural than commercial.
1 And Now, For Something A Little Different...
The list had to end with a museum out of the ordinary! Did you ever expect the existence of a disgusting museum? Or should I say a museum about disgusting food? There are two museums of this kind in the world. There's one in Los Angeles and one Malmö, Sweden. Maybe you feel like you're not missing out on anything if you decide not to go because you're afraid to throw up. However, we humans tend to be attracted by what's gory—well, only at times. The museum has a totally surprising perspective when it comes to disgusting food: “The evolutionary function of disgust is to help us avoid disease and unsafe food. While the emotion is universal, the foods that we find disgusting are not.” So, do you want to go?