Tourists often experience negative food incidents at tourism destinations, which can elicit negative emotional reactions. However, this important topic has been examined only in the narrow context of restaurants with a particular focus on customers’ negative restaurant experiences. This study is the first to incorporate three types of food establishments, namely, full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, and street stalls, to investigate the effects of negative food incidents on tourists’ negative emotions. Using a qualitative approach to capture the cause-effect relationship between negative food incidents and tourists’ negative emotions, this study found that food-related issues trigger tourists’ sadness and shame; queue management leads to fear; and high prices, unethical business practices and poor service quality result in anger. The three types of food establishments are correlated with different negative food incidents. In addition to providing theoretical contributions, this study also provides practical suggestions for food outlets at any destination.