Saturday, 22 June 2013

The World’s Tastiest Food Museums

Flickr/MarcChronicSome art is meant to be touched, but in the case of food museums, it's also meant to be tasted. This genre of museum can spotlight a specific food or brand, and museums around the world exhibit everything from a given food's history to creative variations of a certain dish.

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Some museums spotlight the rich history and pop culture surrounding famous brands, while others celebrate the varieties of products available. Some display impressive collections and still others invite visitors to participate in hands-on activities. To help you plan your pilgrimages to food museums around the world, we've compiled a list the best of the food museums out there and ranked them based on opportunities for visitor interaction, critical acclaim, the age of the museum, and depth of information.

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Spam Museum: Austin, Minn.

This museum has risen to fame because of its comprehensive collection of all things SPAM, the popular canned pork meat. The museum is highly interactive and informative, featuring many unique SPAM artifacts. There is SPAM trivia, old advertisements, a WWII exhibit showing the role the meat played in the war, a SPAM game show quiz, the "Can Chronicles" exhibit, which shows the evolution of the can, and a Monty Python tribute. SPAM is served to visitors on toothpicks and many stop to marvel at the wall of SPAM, a wall of 3,390 cans right in the lobby. Visitors are also encouraged to try canning the meat in a mock assembly line. There is also a store for collectables.

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World of Coca-Cola: Atlanta

More than simply an exhibit, the World of Coca-Cola museum is an entire world dedicated to one of the most famous beverages in the world, Coca-Cola. At more than 100,000 square feet, this museum showcases everything about the beloved beverage and is home to the secret formula that's more than 125 years old. Guests are each given a glass bottle from the assembly line and can view more than 1,200 artifacts. The world also has a 4-D movie featuring 60 beverages from around the world. The museum continuously has new exhibits, and is currently featuring a Norman Rockwell exhibit about Coca-Cola in pop culture history. And don't forget to fill up a glass at Coca-Cola Freestyle vending machine, which houses more than 100 soda choices.

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Currywurst Museum: Berlin

Opened in 2009, this museum is all about pleasing the senses, providing many interactive exhibits for visitors. The museum is dedicated to the currywurst, a curried sausage that is considered an emblem of the city. The museum explains the history and legend of the currywurst and also provides information on fast food and ecology. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the experience - guests can pose behind the counter of a mock snack bar to look like they are running their own currywurst stand. The spice chamber is a popular attraction, inviting visitors to smell their way through the history and secrets of the spices used in the sausage. But most importantly, the museum has many savory treats to offer. There are many options for lunch and you can purchase a ticket that includes (what else?) various kinds of currywurst.

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Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum: Yokohama, Japan

The number one tastiest museum on our list is more than just a museum - it is a ramen amusement park! The planning for this state-of-the-art food experience began in 1990 and the space was finally opened in 1994. The museum has a recreation of Tokyo in 1958, the year instant ramen noodles were invented. There is an old-style bar, a souvenir shop, and ramen packs from around the world. The museum also has the expected exhibits about the creation of the food and the history, but the real charm is in the nostalgic attractions, like cotton candy vendors, around the park. Various ramen restaurants are featured inside, and each shop has a distinctive noodle style. This museum is not only educational and delicious, but a complete time-traveling experience.

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