Gourmet, connoisseur, epicure, gastronome, foodie, and such words (as I understand them) imply a focus on the quality of food and a discriminating taste. Gourmand has come to mean that as well, with an emphasis on eating a lot of food (similar to glutton?).
But I think there are a lot of people that are interested in food as a way to get to know other cultures and/or other people, and I can't think of a word that encapsulates that very well. People who travel to different parts of the world to seek out street food, or to try to get invited to people's houses to try things they could never get in a restaurant, etc. What is the closest word to describe this?
"I heard Jessica is a foodie."
"She's more of a xxxxxx than a foodie — you'll never find her at Jean-Georges. Much more likely she'll be in an underground mall in Flushing, trying some dish I've never heard of"